gossip girl. serena; blair, chuck. r. 1222 words. i’ve thought about writing serena for a while now and lots of people are to blame for this, but i think martyr4mylove4u cinched the deal by referring to dear old s as a fitzgerald female. seventeen, with the world stretched out before them, “I’d rather be chuck’s step sister than dan’s” and she’d meant it and god, she doesn’t love him.
At three and twenty, Serena thinks she could drive this route blind, straight out of Paris and into nothing. She doesn’t take it often, just once or twice a year, but never with more than one drink in her and her eyes know the road like any street of New York.
(Part of it is homing instinct, compass needle leading to an estranged best friend and one time lover.)
Town car, this time. One of Blair’s and Serena drinks champagne in the back seat, wiping it off of her mouth with the back of her hand when it pulls up in front of the château. It’s never taken her long to compose herself. A tug there, swipe of lipstick, fingers through the hair and she’s stepping off the front cover of the magazines on someone else’s nightstand, legs stretching out before her.
The invitation had arrived a week ago, no phone call, no personal note printed out in her friend’s own serious little handwriting. The sight of the words, empty and bare on the cream envelope made the miles between them stretch out in her head- wide and long.
“Marriage,” she thought, that morning as she brushed her teeth in the gold rimmed mirror and shook her head at the reflection. God, marriage and she wrote the words against the glass with cigarette ash. Serena smokes now- it’s a habit she picked up with Dan, something to keep their fingers busy on the balconies of their parent’s parties when they’re too scared to get drunk and too tired to talk.
The car rolls to a halt.
Night time, there’s a swish of black hair in the distance and a pair of porcelain arms that wrap around her.
“Congratulations,” she whispers in to the top of Blair’s dark head.
The party lights twinkle behind them and her best friends fingers slip into hers. She doesn’t think she ever hears.
Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Isn’t that how it goes?
Sometimes, Serena’s too tired to think anymore. Her mouth traces words from old love songs, fingers poring patterns on her pillows and she likes the Waldorf house. Eleanor’s, Harold’s or Blair’s and they all smell the same. Sheets like lavender and curtains that smell like apples, even in New York.
The windows frame the boys in the garden, a golf ball rolling between them and if Serena could, she’d paint them. It’s worth committing to memory.
“You’re up early.”
It bites at her turn.
“Sleep well?” and Blair floats into the room.
“Yes.” It’s short, a lie and fits right in to the disjointed gaps of their friendship.
Blair passes a hand over the chair, trench coat hanging there. Her ring takes the morning light and blinks, blinding up. It’s no Vanderbilt diamond but it’s pretty enough, cut like a star and pressed into the dark gold that circles her pale finger.
“I’m glad you came.”
They’ve never been this polite and Serena manages a nod, all words dying in her throat as the door falls shut.
The cake is chocolate, more like a birthday than anything else. It tastes like sixteen years and no regrets.
(Summer tastes like white lace, boys on barstools and
Her dress, bridesmaid still, is pink and blue with bows tying up the back and she feels too tall, too thin. Too sixteen and her palms sweat against the silk bunched into her hands.
The best man is an investment banker, who spins her around the dance floor, till she’s dizzy. Wild eyes , the bride’s fingers snapped and there’s a pair of arms carting her off to the house.
“I hate you.”
She faces the mirror, but it’s directed to Chuck, his hand lingering too low on her back.
“Come, now,” he chides, “Let’s not fight on such a special day. Its Blair’s first wedding. She’s going to want to remember this one.”
Her nails dig into his hand as she leans over the basin, knees against the porcelain bowl and the moment before she passes out reads irony.
“This is very bad.”
His mouth chuckles into hers, the sound is a lot lighter than the mood.
At seventeen, he wanted her and then he wanted Blair and then he wanted everyone. At seventeen, Serena fell in love, at seventeen they thought things would last forever. Seventeen, with the world stretched out before them, “I’d rather be Chuck’s step sister than Dan’s” and she’d meant it and god, she doesn’t love him.
(Him being anyone, everyone and she’d write out the list if she had paper. Serena’s life is a list of “what ifs” now.)
His hips rock into her and she cries a little, feeling a little bit younger than she ever has before.
Let the record show- Nate Archibald was not her first love.
At fourteen she fell in love with Blair Waldorf, at sixteen she fucked her boyfriend and at seventeen, there was Dan Humphrey and she’s never been in love with a boy before that.
Twenty and three, she fucks the one boy she never thought she would and the moment he pulls out of her, elbows on either side of her ribs and his smirk floating over her, she thinks- “Of course, of course.”
It’s a web, him and her and him and her, too and they can’t quite get out of it. Her fingers tug at his hair, lips sliding over his jaw and-
“I don’t love him.”
Dan, Nate, Dad- insert self.
The morning after the wedding, she has breakfast alone in a tiny café in the near by town. Chuck was still curled in the sheets when she left and he never eats breakfast before noon, anyway.
Two tables away, she catches sight of a pair of legs entwined. Nate, Vanessa and Serena looks away.
It’s familiar, almost, a table in Brooklyn and then, she’d bit her mouth and let the silence eat words.
They haven’t seen her, (thank god. she’s had enough humiliation for the week) Vanessa’s head bent into the crook of his elbow and she’s drawing something on the edge of a paper napkin. There’s a laugh and some sort of switch goes up in Nate’s eyes. It’s sudden, instantaneous and makes her stop wondering why he isn’t Blair’s groom and why fairytales don’t come true.
The waiter taps a bill onto her table, the sound of it clicking into her consciousness. She feels a bit like a voyeur, spilling coins onto the table and walking quickly out.
“Get up, we’re leaving.”
Shirt thrown to his head and he rolls over on the mattress. Serena’s tossing things into a bag, slung across her shoulder.
“What the hell?”
She hesitates, leans over the bed and brushes her mouth against his before leaving the room. Leaves the ball in his court.
He drags the sweater over his head, a pack of cigarettes in his jacket pocket and loose collar, messy hair. Shifts in the seat, like he doesn’t trust her and she’s pretty sure he’s never ridden shot gun before, never not in a limo, no bowtie and the top down.
His elbow rests on the edge of the window, uneasily.
“Any idea where we’re going?”
This time, she laughs and laughs.