Rufus shivers some more, nervously and sort of hatefully: "CeCe's in town? That's nice for ... Lily, to have her ... Mom here..." Dan shrugs, having forgotten CeCe and Rufus ever met, pushing Rufus and Lily's history to the side like he and Serena always do, refusing to let Rufus and Lily's unkind memories of CeCe taint the friendship that he shares with her. How she gives with one hand and takes with the other. But Dan's zeroing in on it: "Did you, uh, did you think of going today?" Rufus casually, elaborately shrugs at the idea. "Why not? I mean, you're one of Lily's oldest friends..." Rufus looks his eldest son in the face, and lies to him. "No, I know. It's just better this way."
Nothing feels right when left here on my own
Left last night it seemed like way too long
Rufus leans, casually fake and fakely casual, against the counter: as thought it's not a remarkably transparent and desperate segue but a polite change of topic. "So, how's Serena?" Dan says, in effect, that Aaron won this round of the Boyfriend Wars, and Rufus perks right the motherfuck up. "You two have been spending a lot of time together since the accident..." Dan's getting more and more suspicious, because what Rufus Humphrey knows about dissembling wouldn't fill the white label on a first-run bootleg import: "So?" So like it or not, Rufus explains, death changes things. "Clarifies them. It brings some people closer together, pushes others... Further apart." Like Bart's death, for example: brings me and Lily together, pushes you and Serena apart, and don't you dare tell me otherwise. "I just thought maybe..." Dan assures his father that they are just friends, barely believing it himself, but that's good enough for Rufus: "Oh. Good." Dan asks what the hell he means, and Rufus mumbles something stupid and awful, and Dan reassures him like a colicky two-year-old: "No. We broke up twice, and it's over. It's very much over." Rufus thinks about that; he thinks very fucking hard about it.
I'm so used to judging Rufus and Lily as parents -- you may have noticed -- that I don't really get around to judging them as people. That's because Lily is usually exemplary, separate from her parenting, and Rufus, likewise, is... Somebody you would date, but not marry. Nice enough, not technically stupid, chock full of tenderness and love feelings; former rockstar, total emo sadsack, given to strumming the guitar at night and crying at the drop of a hat, youthful if by "youthful" you mean "abruptly arrested" and "adolescent." I can't say I'm officially over the Type Rufus phase of my romantic development -- with the caveat that I live in Austin and these boys are like silverfish here -- and I mean, I never said he wasn't hot. (Not enough!)