Blair made it all of four steps out of the elevator before turning around and heading back up.
The baby’s opening wail had become full-fledged crying – crying Chuck was obviously having trouble soothing. That didn’t stop him from trying, though. Blair could see him earnestly speaking to his tiny cousin, probably telling her everything would be okay, the same way he had reassured Milly. Chuck really had become a stand up guy. And he was clearly out of his depth.
So, clearly, was Blair. Because if she was actually considering what she thought she she was considering –
No, she told herself. There was a 圣诞节 玛格丽塔 with her name on it waiting a few blocks away. She didn’t want, she didn’t need –
Beyond that glass, Chuck gingerly lifted Eloise. His elbows crooked to the side as he brought the baby nearer. With slow and reverent care, he kissed her forehead.
At the sight, Blair just …..melted.
Okay, so there was something about a big, macho guy cradling a baby that got to her, she admitted to herself. Especially if that big, macho guy was the fella she was still secretly in 爱情 with.
For a moment longer, Blair deliberated. Then, decisively, she dialed up her friend Hazel. Dismay twisted through her at the raucous sound of 牛油, 黄油 in full holiday-gala mode crackled into the receiver.
She’d probably live to regret this. Her plans, since she’d decided not to 《勇敢传说》 the annual slog-through-the-airport 圣诞节 craziness to visit her parents in Paris, had simply been to spend the season getting drunk, she would of course sober up for 圣诞节 lunch at the 面包车, 范 Der Humphry’s with her 老友记 and their children, before partying her way into the new year. Now, those plans were about to change.
A few 分钟 later, Blair had finished telling Hazel to have fun at the party without her. She put away her cell phone and drew a deep breath. Then, with thoughts of that tender Chuck to Eloise 吻乐队（Kiss） still whirling in her mind, she returned to the office.
At her entrance, Chuck turned his head. Trying to seem as though she had no doubts at all about this harebrained scheme, Blair slung her clutch, suite jacket, and spare shoes on the chair. Then she put her hands on her hips, surveying the out-of-control scene in front of her.
‘All right, I’ll help you,’ she announced.
Chuck smiled. ‘We both thank you, I’m sure.’
Seeing the relief in his face made Blair grin. Seeing Eloise turn her head – fat tears glistening under the fluorescent lighting – and perk up happily at the sound of her voice made her laugh out loud.
‘After all,’ Blair continued, rubbing the baby’s little back, ‘I figured you’ll need someone around to make sure 你 don’t zone out during the stock market 报道 and try to give Eloise the remote control for a teething ring.’
Teething ring? Asked Chuck’s blank expression. Shaking her head, Blair helped him hold Eloise 更多 like a baby and less like a potentially terrifying sack of potatoes.
She might not know much about babies, but she did know nobody liked to be treated like and Idaho Russet.
Murmuring a soothing 评论 about Eloise’s cute lacy socks, she wiped the tears from the baby’s 粉, 粉色 blotchy cheeks, then absently dried her fingers on her scarlet dress.
Chuck gazed thoughtfully at the damp prints near her hip. ‘You’ll miss your party.’
Blair made a dismissive sound. ‘I’ve got 更多 where that one came from,’ she said, waving her hand. ‘A holiday masquerade, two 树 trimming party’s, a 鸡尾酒 party, 晚餐 with Serena, Dan and our godson, Stella Archibald’s December birthday party – apparently Jenny is going all out, and a 圣诞节 eve 早午餐 on Saturday. One event every night this week and two for Saturday. I figure it’s practically a persons holiday duty to make the most of 圣诞节 time.
In Chucks arms, Eloise gave a shuddering sigh. She yawned noisily, her tiny mouth a perfect o. Without seeming to think about it alt all Chuck rearranged his arms so he could strock his fingers over her silky blonde hair.
‘You make the most of everything, and 你 know it. It’s one of your charms.’
‘and pointing out the obvious is one of yours.’ Blair grinned. ‘Holding 婴儿 however, is not. Not yet. Here, let me 显示 you.’
With Chuck’s help, she eased the baby into her own arms. ‘You have to hold on tightly enough to be secure,’ she explained, ‘but loosely enough to protect your fragile load. It’s kind of like…holding a new Valentino bag while the salesperson is hovering nearby. 你 follow?’
‘Not really. Who’s Valentino?’
‘Really. 你 want me to hold her like a purse?’
‘Well that’s how it was explained to me.’
‘Serena. At Jenny’s baby shower.’ Serena had brought three-month old Conner and ever one was taking turns holding him.
‘Oh, my darling sister. That explains a lot.’ He teased.
When it came to the whole infant – cuddling thing Blair had been a newbie. Then. But Chuck didn’t have to know that. And she sought of liked being an expert on something he valued. The glimmer of respect in his eyes made her secretly proud – and made up for the party she was missing, too.
Besides, Eloise was really adorable. Her wispy hair, her long lashes, her tiny curled fists. The baby instantly grasped her hand, seeming to take comfort in the contact.
On a pleased breath, Blair glanced up. Chuck was watching her…with a mysterious half-smirk that stopped her in her tracks.
‘What is that look for?’ she asked, feeling suddenly jittery. ‘What are 你 –‘
‘It’s for you,’ Chuck said. ‘You and Eloise.’
Chuck couldn’t help but grin wider as Blair shook her head.
‘Oh, no. No, 你 don’t. You’re not getting any crazy ideas are you? Like making me head baby-sitter? Because if 你 are-‘
‘Look at you,’ he insisted. ‘You’re a natural. Eloise loves you.’
‘I complimented her hair bow. Everyone likes someone who compliments them.’
‘In that case…nice dress.’
‘I mean it.’
He did. They both looked at the racy length of the scarlet hemline visible beneath Blair’s armload of baby. Chuck’s gaze traveled farther, all the way down her remarkable legs to those look-at-me shoes. He nodded. ‘I really do.’
‘Okay, I believe you. Physical attraction was never our problem. But despite that fact –‘
‘Have I mentioned how grateful I am for your help? Because I am. Thank 你 for coming back. I know how 你 hate to miss a party.’
Blair hesitated, as though unsure what to make of his remark. Then, she forged onward: ‘You’re welcome. But if 你 think 你 can sweet talk me into-‘
‘You must have some innate knack with babies,’ Chuck continued. Just realizing it, he felt immensely cheered.
‘Maybe it’s in your genes, 或者 your double X chromosomes 或者 something, because-‘
‘Hold on a minute, buster. Did Neanderthal Man just grunt his way in here, 或者 did I actually hear 你 hypothesize that just because I’m a women, I have some super-special baby-care ability?’
He shrugged. ‘Maybe 你 do.’
Her glare gave him the distinct impression she was holding back a growl. 或者 possible a sequined clutch wallop. Backtracking seemed wise: ‘Or maybe you’ve had some experience with babies. I mean 你 had 玩偶 when we were kids.’
Her glacial look could have doused a flaming Yule log. The revelation behind it didn’t do much for Chuck’s meager sense of baby-care confidence, either.
‘But Valentino bag baby-holding instructions,’ he protested, gesturing to her very comfortable grip on Eloise. ‘The teething ring thing. The-‘ he stopped and raked a hand through his hair, then squinted at her. ‘The general baby-style expertise surrounding you….I don’t-‘
At the word expertise, she brightened. Past the point of being misled 由 such a display, Chuck continued: ‘You mean to tell me 你 know nothing about babies?’
Blair drew herself up. ‘So far I know 更多 then you.’
‘That’s not saying much. Everyone knows 更多 then me.’
‘Well, what did 你 expect? She asked. ‘However, I am willing to help you. For tonight. So that’s a start.’
‘For tonight?’ This just got better and better. Milly had 说 that Jack and Amber’s flight could be delayed up to three days. Maybe longer. ‘’I might be taking care of her all week? Until 圣诞节 eve.’
She glance down, cooing at the baby. ‘Isn’t he lucky, to have 你 all week? It’ll be fun!’
Blair’s smile, when she looked up at Chuck again, was brilliantly cheery. She angled her body a little away from him. Through clenched teeth, she added, ‘Ixnay on the arguing, okay? It isn’t good for Eloise.’
‘See?’ Frustration made Chuck pace a few steps across the reception area, then back. ‘I didn’t know that!’
‘Okay, calm down. Just because I’m not an Au Pair in disguise doesn’t mean we can’t handle this together.’
He stopped pacing. Gave he a no-nonsense look. ‘Are 你 sure 你 don’t know about babies? Didn’t 你 have a–a doll 或者 something when 你 were a kid?’
Wearing a patient look, she shook her head.
‘I did have Barbie’s,’ Blair ventured.
New hope rose within him.
‘But of course, with 芭比娃娃 the whole appeal is really just shopping and wowing Ken and the gang with fab new outfits, isn’t it?’
‘It’s not the same as pretend bottle-feeding a baby wets-a-lot. Not really.’
Her blithe, knowledgeable tone sucked him in yet again. ‘What’s the difference?’ he asked cautiously.
‘Well, cute pink, plastic 芭比娃娃 heels, for one thing. Did 你 know her feet are permanently on tiptoes?’
Chuck gaped at her. She seemed perfectly content with the situation as it was. Probably because caring for Eloise wasn’t really her responsibility. As he shook his head, Blair caught sight of the gesture.
‘Come on,’ she 说 quietly. ‘What did 你 expect when 你 asked me to help? That I’d magically morph into Marry Poppins?’
He gave her a blank look.
‘You mean you’ve never seen Mary Poppins? Boy, is your cinematic history lacking.’
Chuck was reminded of those differences in perspective that had precipitated the end of their initial fling. Forcing himself to concentrate on the issue at hand, he said, ‘We’re getting off track here. I need a commitment from 你 –‘
‘Now there’s a switch’
‘- to help that care of Eloise this week, 或者 this isn’t going to work. I need to know I can count on 你 to help get the job done.’
‘Sheesh. All business, aren’t you?’
He waited. There really wasn’t any reply to that anyway.
‘But then I should expect that,’ Blair muttered. Drawing in a deep breath, she gazed at the 圣诞节 树 in the corner for a thoughtful moment. ‘Yes, I’ll help you. of course. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here.’
‘You commit? All week?’
‘What is this, the inquisition? I 说 I’d help!’
‘I’m not fooling around with Eloise’s well-being. I might not know much, but I know I care about that baby.’
Blair blinked. Her gaze, when she turned it on him again, looked suspiciously moist. ‘Do 你 mean that?’
Chuck was aggravated she had to ask. ‘Of course.’
‘Awww. That’s so sweet. Chuck 低音 all protective, who knew.’
‘Don’t go spreading it around. I know some things about you, too.’
She gasped. ‘You wouldn’t!’
Nodding, Chuck gave her his most dangerous smirk. ‘I would. Limo’s, the way 你 purrr..’
‘Okay, okay. So 你 know stuff, none of that is a crime?’
It wasn’t. But he had her, and Chuck knew it.
She sighed. A moment passed.
Blair shook her head. ‘We’ve got to be the two least likely people in the universe to take care of a baby.’
Her words were less then encouraging. But they were a concession. She was going to help. He felt some of the tension ease from his shoulders.
‘Maybe the second-to-last least likely. We definitely beat out people who glare at 婴儿 on airplanes.’
A ghost of a smile quirked her lips. She smoothed a wrinkle from Eloise’s tiny dress with utmost care. Her voice was small when she spoke. ‘I hope we can do it.’
‘We can do it,’ Chuck assured her. ‘Together we can do anything.’
Her head came up. A hit of sadness darkened her eyes – sadness it hurt him to see. He’d have bet anything in the world they were thinking the exact same thing; Anything ….except stay together.
Their gazes held; deepened. Chuck couldn’t bring himself to look away. He and Blair were the same two people who’d loved ….and lost, years before. They were the same two people who had been too different to really come together, for keeps. But now – now Eloise had brought them together.
She was a tiny 圣诞节 surprise, too small to understand the impact her arrival might have. Chuck understood it, though. And in spite of himself …he hoped. Hoped things might be different this time, that things might change somehow.
Did Blair hope, too?
Looking at her, he couldn’t tell. Even as the 问题 crossed his mind, she blinked and looked away. Balancing Eloise on one hip, she picked up the schedule Milly had left.
‘We’d better get going,’ she said, ‘According to this it’s past her dinnertime.’
‘I suppose a nice thick T-bone is too much to ask for?’
‘she’s a baby, not a beagle.’
With a shrug, Chuck began deconstruction the 粉, 粉色 pileup for Arthur, his driver to take down to the car. ‘Hey, a guys got to hope.’
And that he realized as he considered the days ahead of him, was exactly what he was doing. He just couldn’t help it. He hoped for him and Blair, together.
AN; Pretty please with a 糖果 cane on 最佳, 返回页首 review, if 你 hate it tell me, if 你 think it is lacking – offer suggestions…. Please just please let me know people are ready this, because it is kind of draining to write.
Thanks in advance,