Nate comes into Vanessa's coffeeshop, where she's working at her laptop. He tries to come up with her name, and she grins up at him without standing. "Vanessa. You're Nate, right? You play a very small but crucial role in my video project." Nate's like, "Yeah, right, your art or whatever. I remember you following Dan around with your video camera." Or, you know, lockpicks, depending on how weird you are at any given time. Dan walks up and greets him, and Nate explains that he's there pay it forward, having taken "every SAT prep and review class in the five boroughs." He plops down about ten inches of study materials, and Dan's impressed. Nate explains that he's already taken the SATs anyway. "My parents don't want me going to USC, so I had to make sure my scores were good enough to get in without their help. Which, thanks to these books, they were, so I'm done." I love Nate Archibald. He's got a plan. Vanessa is unimpressed, of course: "While we all love hearing about the struggles of the idle rich, Dan's got a fine tutor right here. I ace every practice test I take. So we don't need your hand-me-downs." Dan explains that in fact Nate is doing something awesome, and you don't piss on gifts like that, ever, because sometimes Dan actually does need to explain basic shit to Vanessa Abrams.
He thanks Nate profusely for being such a sweetheart, and Vanessa makes mean faces. "Is there a reason you insist on looking so desperate and needy?" And, as if to make her less of an asshole by being more of an asshole himself, Dan explains to Nate as though Vanessa's not sitting there that she's been horrible since birth: "Venomous without provocation." She replies immediately that she'd rather be venomous than a charity case, and Dan and Nate consider her like a science project: "She's rude, too." Nate's distracted by her for a moment, and then takes off. He's so cool. Dan sits down, like, "What? That was totally nice, and it will help!" Vanessa broods, but then notices a handwritten essay on spiral paper, sticking out of one of the books, and because she's Vanessa, she snatches that bitch immediately and starts reading.
Now it's nighttime! Serena wonders if a bar is really the best place to chat, and Georgina reminds her that, as she well knows, "Nothing gets me talking like a Cosmo." Every time either of them exposit that they know each other inside and out, drink. Two guys toast them from across the bar, and G's feeling it, but Serena explains that a lot has changed since they were together. "I know. I get it." Serena explains that this is untrue, because if she did understand New Serena, she wouldn't have sent all that illegal, trouble-causing shit last week. "Oh, come on, sweetie. Those were funny. Get over yourself, I was just trying to make you laugh. How about this? How about for one night, we hang out like old times -- but unlike old times, I won't get out of control. Unless you want me to, I mean, I can totally..." Serena laughs in spite of herself. "No, okay. I won't get out of control, and I totally respect that. Please, stop me any time you feel like answering. Any time. Come on." Serena laughs aloud, for real, and is adorable. "One drink. But only one." Serena's smile, and the way she stirs her drink, says that she thinks she can do this: balance New Serena and the kindness that G needs right now; that she can stick her pinkie toe in the pool without getting wet. That this is a test, of her best qualities and not her worst, and that she's capable of doing it. Georgina's smile says it's bliss, but her eyes say something else, and they toast.