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New York, I Love You (But You're Bringing Me Down)

By:
dirty diana (dirty_diana)

For:
fluffyllama (Llama)

Fandom:
Gossip Girl

Pairing:
Ed Westwick/Chace Crawford

Rating:
PG-13

Notes:
beta by llaras, thanks darling!

Summary:
Ed is a bit of a slut (but all the world's a stage, and some things he only does when Chace is watching). Chace doesn't mind (but it will take a while for him to figure that out).

 
The first time that Chace meets Ed, they're at the first ever table read. Ed has just come from outside, in his spectator shoes and a haze of cigarette smoke.

"Hi." Chace hasn't yet had enough first days on set that he's over the butterflies. Ed just looks bored. (Chace is going to figure out later that Ed looks like that all the time, whether he's actually bored or not.) "I'm Chace."

Ed just stares straight at him, and says, "Yeah. Okay."

*

The second time that Chace meets Ed, Ed is slouched against a set wall, drinking coffee out of an extra-large paper cup. Call-time was six-thirty in the morning, and Ed looks like he's about to fall over, though Chace doesn't tell him that.

"Hi," Chace tries again.

"Howdy," Ed answers after a moment, and it takes Chace a few seconds to figure out that he's being made fun of.

*

The rest of the cast are easier marks. Penn puts down the newspaper just long enough to say, "Hey, man." Leighton, he recognises from casting. She probably has as many first days on set under her belt as the rest of them combined, and she smiles at him, but doesn't say much. Chace figures it's an early morning thing, (but he's going to figure out that she's like that all the time). Blake is very pleased to meet him. She actually says that out loud, shaking his hand.

Chace repeats her name to himself underneath his breath, so that he won't forget it.

*

The seventeenth time that Chace meets Ed, Chace walks into his trailer and catches Ed going through his mini-fridge. Ed turns around at the sound of the opening door, grins, and says, "The Internet says you're a poof."

Chace squints at him. Ed reaches into the back of the fridge and grabs a Mountain Dew.

"Homosexual," Ed translates, helpfully. "Is it true?"

"Oh." Chace looks at him for a moment. He's never actually been asked that point-blank before. Most people try to figure him out with a series of sideways questions and hand signals, and he takes a weird kind of pride in pretending to be oblivious to all of it. (Ed is not going to be the last person to ask him that, as it turns out, and Chace is going to need to work out a whole different strategy.) "Sure."

Ed grins. He pops the tab on his stolen soda, and takes a sip. "Excellent. I knew there had to be something interesting about you."

(It will never occur to Chace to wonder why Ed is reading about him on the Internet.)

*

He has a lot of scenes with Leighton, which means that they do a lot of waiting together. They share doughnuts and try to stay out of the way of rapidly moving stage lights. Leighton plays with her hair as they chat. Sometimes Blake takes a break from flirting with Penn by the coffee cart long enough to walk by and say, "Hi, Leigh. Hi, Chacey."

Chace just waves back. He has never in his life been able to stop cheerleaders from trying to give him stupid nicknames.

*

First days turn into first weeks, first months, and suddenly it's almost the hiatus and Chace has everybody's number programmed into his cell phone. Then they're spending not just mornings and afternoons together, but nights too. Penn turns out to be nearly obsessive-compulsive about research, and he shows up to work with neatly highlighted copies of New York restaurant guides. He makes the reservations, and they sit and order coffee until they get kicked out. (By the next year, when Ed and Blake turn twenty-one, most of the restaurants get tossed in favour of anyplace where Ed approves of the beer selection. By that time Penn and Blake are on their way to being an item, anyway, and he takes Blake to restaurants voted "most romantic", places to which the rest of them aren't invited.)

*

The first time that Ed and Chace go out just the two of them, it's about like Chace expects it to be. They eat on the rooftop patio, and the waitress who serves them is pretty, long blonde hair and easy blue eyes. She brings them their drinks and laughs at Ed's jokes, and she's all but in Ed's lap by dessert.

"Hey." Ed looks steadily at Chace, from behind lowered eyelashes. "You mind if we postpone the Grand Theft Auto tournament? I think I've got a date." He pauses, smiles, and adds, "I'd ask her if she has a mate, except, you know."

"I can get my own fucking date," Chace says, because he can.

Ed shrugs.

Chace gestures at the waitress by the bar, with the hand that's holding his ice cream spoon. "Is that your type, then?"

"Is what my type?" Ed's grinning mischievously. "Waitresses?"

Chace rolls his eyes. "Blondes."

Ed leans back in his chair, his eyes focused darkly on Chace, and says, "Yeah, man. That's my type."

And Chace thinks, shit.

He has very strict rules about not falling for straight guys.

*

The next time that they go out, there's another blonde. The time after that a brunette. Ed looks deeply into their eyes and talks sincerely about music, and all of them giggle and sigh and tell him how much they like his accent.

Chace plays with his drink and thinks to himself that he really does need to get his own date. Before it's too late.

*

A lot of nights, though, they stay inside, where they can both get loaded on tequila shots and not worry about ending up a cautionary tale documented on someone's camera phone. They watch violent action movies, and do a shot after each explosion.

The more Ed drinks, the more expressions he uses that Chace can't decipher. The more slowly he talks, his eyes fixed on Chace's face as if he might find the meaning of life there.

The more Chace drinks, the more cigarettes he smokes, and the more maudlin he gets. The more he starts to worry about everything. One night they got down to the end of the bottle, and Chace found himself leaning against Ed's shoulder, crying warm, wet tears. Ed's fingers stroked his hair. "It will be fine," Ed promised him, and somehow that made Chace cry harder.

He swore off tequila after that. Ed helped him pour what he had left down the drain.

That pact lasted approximately two and a half weeks. (By the time they start filming season two, Chace has gotten into the habit of buying self-help books in stacks. Among other things, he's working on his self-control.)

*

Chace meets a guy in the supermarket, of all places. He's loading up on ice cream and frozen foods when a second cart rams into his, and a deep voice behind him says, "Shit. I'm so sorry."

His name is Matt. Chace extracts both his telephone number and a promise to look where he's going from now on.

*

Chace and Matt have sex on their second date. It's good sex, sticky, messy, unhurried sex, and Chace thinks that phase one of How to Stop Fantasizing About Your Straight Co-Star is actually going pretty well.

That is, until Ed corners him at the craft services tables, the least private place on any shooting set, and says loudly, "We haven't been out in ages, man. Where've you been?"

"Nowhere." Chace is a blusher, and has been since kindergarten. He tries to focus on grabbing the largest slice of cheesecake.

"Nowhere?" Ed repeats. "Have you got a fellow, or what?"

Chace flips him off. He can feel his face getting warmer.

(Chace will eventually work out that ignoring Ed is an action undertaken at one's own risk. Ed will eventually learn that there are better ways to get Chace's attention than embarrassing him in front of the crew, but it will always be the method that he finds the most entertaining.)

*

Chace actually hates living in New York. It's loud, it's crowded, and his first wintertime he's pretty sure that he's going to freeze to death and die. It does help, though, that he's starting to make friends here. Which is maybe what he's thinking about when he walks into Ed's trailer, finds Ed looking at apartment listings and blurts out, "Do you want to move in together?"

Ed laughs and says, "What, like your boyfriend?"

"Like my roommate," Chace answers firmly. Sometimes the key with Ed is to talk very slowly, like with a six-year-old.

"Sure, right. What's your other boyfriend going to say?"

What Chace thinks is, I haven't talked to Matt in a week. What he says out loud is, "Probably that you're an asshole. I withdraw the fucking offer, okay?" And he turns around. Walks out.

*

Just like when Carrie screamed at him on the phone and then said not to call her anymore, Leighton turns out to be just the company he needs. They go to Chace's favourite bar and Chace gets too drunk to stand up. Drunk enough that she has to take his car keys, and his cell phone. He keeps telling her that he's going to call Ed. She keeps telling him that maybe he should get some sleep before he says anything else to Ed, and doesn't once ask him why he's so upset.

From the calm, understanding look on her face as she makes him drink a glass of water before they leave, Chace has a feeling he might already have explained that part.

If Chace kisses Leighton messily on the mouth as she helps him to his door, she manages not to laugh at him, or look like she feels sorry for him. She just says, "Sleep tight, okay, Chace?"

"Okay," Chace says, then stumbles into his apartment. He doesn't even make it as far as his bedroom, but falls asleep on the couch.

*

They have a group interview. Ed shows up nearly a half hour late to the restaurant.

"Sorry, darling," he apologises to the reporter, whose annoyance starts to fade as Ed smiles. "I couldn't for the life of me manage to hail a taxi."

Ed flags a waiter for coffee, and sits down next to Chace, close enough for Chace to notice that he reeks of perfume and stale whiskey.

Leighton catches Chace's eye, and both of them shrug.

*

Matt comes over. Chace turns down all beers but the first. He has a feeling he's going to need to be sober for this.

Matt makes him dinner. They kiss for a long time after, like it's their first date, and Matt's body feels so good pressed up against his own that Chace even doesn't think about Ed all that much. It's a long time before they make it to bed.

Afterwards, stretched out on Chace's dark blue sheets, Chace says, "I think I'm in love."

"Okay," Matt says.

"With someone else," Chace adds. He's not sure why this makes him more angry at Ed, but it does.

*

When it happens, it's like a scene out of the show. The pivotal scene in the fourth act, the big relationship conversation. Capital R, capital C. (Chace will later find out that he missed the scene before this, in which Ed barged into Leighton's trailer to demand that she tell him what was wrong. With that scene spliced into his memory, the narrative makes a lot more sense.)

Chace walks down a side street at the end of a very long day, in the middle of winter, and finds Ed leaning against his car. Chace says, "Your ass must be freezing."

"Let me in, then," Ed answers, and throws the cigarette he was smoking onto the sidewalk. Chace unlocks the doors and turns on the heater full blast. Ed presses his hands against the dashboard. He's staring at Chace, which isn't so unusual that Chace expects what happens next.

Ed looks at him and says, "I require a lot of closet space, right?"

"Okay," Chace says, slowly.

"And a place where the neighbours won't object to me practicing my guitar. I've still got my band."

"Good for you," Chace says, but his voice is a lot steadier than he feels, because he's getting angry again. "Why in God's name should I care..."

Ed leans forward, cradles Chace's face with both his hands, and kisses him.

Chace is so surprised that he almost hits the steering wheel horn. He relaxes just enough to reflexively kiss Ed back, to part his mouth without thinking and let Ed press his tongue against Chace's own. Ed's hands are cold. His lips are warm. When Ed breaks the kiss, Chace almost can't catch his breath.

"Yeah." Ed leans back, with a self-satisfied expression that's bordering on smug. "Bloody well thought so."

"Seriously, fuck you, Westwick." Chace's face is still warm from the kiss, and the words tumbling out of his mouth are a mess. He pauses, sighs, starts again. "Don't do things like that just so I won't be pissed at you, okay? I mean, if you just think this is what I want, then.."

"You're a little self-centered, Crawford," Ed answers, and then suddenly both of them have to stifle giddy laughter. "Has it occurred to you that maybe this is what I want?"

Chace is frozen silent, because no, that hadn't occurred to him.

"Has it further occurred to you," Ed's breath is gentle, scraping Chace's skin, "that maybe giving you what you want is exactly what I want? That spending Sunday mornings giving you exactly what you want for hours on end sounds exactly like fun to me?"

Chace is suddenly out of breath and speechless.

"It would help, though, if you occasionally told me what you wanted, yeah?" Ed adds. "I'm not a mind reader."

"You're not," Chace agrees. "You're not even a very good listener."

Ed laughs. He strokes Chace's cheek with the rough knuckles of his left hand, and shrugs. "We can't all be good at everything."

*

When they finally decide on an apartment, it's a relief. Chace doesn't want to spend too much, and Ed doesn't want to deal with a commute to set that's more than fifteen minutes long. They agree easily on furniture, though, and hooking Chace's Wii up to Ed's plasma television.

They drive each other to work on alternating days. Driver gets to pick the music. Ed listens to British bands that Chace has never heard of, and Ed types the names into Chace's phone, so that Chace can look them up on MySpace later. Sometimes Chace will put his favourite country music playlist on repeat, just to see how annoyed Ed gets.

(Chace will learn that Ed is a complainer early in the morning, before he gets his second cup of coffee. Ed will figure out that under no circumstances is he allowed to smoke in Chace's car.

Chace will also learn that the best way to get Ed to load the dishwasher is to withhold blowjobs. Ed will retaliate by flirting with their neighbours down the hall, a trio of college girls. Chace will wait for him to work out that that only makes Chace want Ed a little more.)

They have a lot left to learn about each other. Chace is okay with that.

 Comments

 Left By:
fluffyllama (Llama)

At:
2009-01-02 18:57:22

 
Okay, first of all - thank you, thank you, thank you for choosing this prompt! I'd have loved the others too, but it's definitely my mission in life to get more Chace/Ed out there, and I want to thank you enormously for helping that along *g*And such a fabulous fic too! I love Ed's bluntness, I love how I want to knock a bit of sense into Chace (he has that effect on me, unless he's grinning at Ed *g*), but most of all I love the waiting by the car, the freezing, the putting on the heater full blast, the kiss... what a scene. Wow. I could see it unfolding and I savoured every second. Thank you. I love this fic, and now I'm going to read it all over again!