So when Dan, and in a moment Aaron show up, it's with a few graceful nods to the inevitable and to the etiquette of death before getting down to it: the fact that life must go on, and if you're in high school that's mostly about sex. It's a truth universally acknowledged that more people get laid the day of a funeral than any other day of the year. It's our last defense.
"Thank you so much for being such a rock these past few days," Serena says, out of obligation. "It's meant so much having you around." They moon about, staring at each other, testing the lines and limits, talking about how "natural" it all feels to cling to each other in the middle of a storm. And when Aaron presents himself, with the same line and the same desires, the same aim, she bemusedly considers them both, side-by-side, in their matching outfits, before responding. "I'm ... actually gonna go to the church with just my family, so... I'll see you both there?" They are both disappointed; the latest round a draw, a tie for the role of strong boyfriend, at the funeral on her arm, telling the story to the world: this is where she shelters.
Lily's trip to the park has, of course, brought her to Rufus. They haven't spoken since the Ball. It was like Anna Karenina by Anna Wintour: dancing the mazurka in front of everyone, offering up the truth and falsities of their lives like Levin with his diaries. They stand under a bridge. "All I want to say is that I'm here," Rufus says, possessed of the same desires and the same aim as her daughter's suitors. "If you want me to keep my distance, I can do that too. I, um, can't imagine what you're going through..." Lily nearly laughs, because of course he can: he danced the mazurka too. "Well, actually, you can better than anyone else can. Everyone's so concerned about the grieving widow, but as much as I feel... shock, and loss... mostly I feel guilt." Rufus begs her not to blame herself, not to fall prey to bargaining; she remembers there's a voicemail left on her phone, Bart's last words. Rufus offers to listen to it with her -- shooting for "stalwart" and ending up, as usual, at "creepy" -- because he can't imagine that Lily ever loved Bart, can't allow her the complexity of loving Bart, and she kindly turns him down. She's got complexities to spare, and secrets Levin never wrote. "Lil, I'm waiting for you this time. Six months, six years. I'll be here."
A soft smile and another in a long series of grand gestures that ultimately mean nothing, under the bridge in winter. Leaving the park, Rufus walks right past CeCe, who followed her daughter; she watches him pass and looks out, into the wilderness.