Nate waits for Serena in the beautiful courtyard of the Palace Hotel, which Chuck's family recently bought, and where she and her mom are staying while Lily renovates the pain away. "You know my mom: if it's not broke, break it." Nate hems and haws about how he wanted to see how she's doing, because she seemed upset last night at the party, et cetera, et cetera, and I swear it's like 11 in the morning at this point and everybody is screwing around, but whatever, she's like, "I gotta change for school or I'm going to be late." Which is funny, because in a second she's going to be standing on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, eating yogurt and drinking the unending coffee that she and Blair always drink on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art when they would be better served spending that time improving themselves, but I don't judge. He starts in on the heavy emo faces and eyebrowing all over the place and she's like, "Absolutely not." She nearly goes into, like, a sumo pose, like she'll knock him down on her way out the gates if she has to. He starts makin' noise about her coming back and them having assignations of some sort, and she levels with him: "I didn't come back for you. Look, Blair's my best friend, and you're her boyfriend. And she loves you. That's the way things are supposed to be." Clearly, considering he refuses to sleep with her and has apparently had a candle going for Serena this whole time, Nate and Blair are meant to be together. He quite nearly drools.
After a leisurely breakfast and a crosstown trip, Dan gets on the bus behind Nate and Chuck, all three of them wearing identical outfits, because they're all heading to the same school. (Vivaldi's Concerto In G is playing, and the only reason I know that, even though I am a Vivaldi fan, is that the same song was in Marie Antoinette, which is another story about how even if you're nice, maybe a little careless, people will find a reason to hate you, if you were born well-off, a quality over which you have no control. And which is another roman à clef by somebody who grew up that way, and has been paying for it ever since.) Chuck is being gross, of course. "Serena looked effing hot last night. There's something wrong with that level of perfection. It needs to be violated... You're telling me if you had the chance..." Nate protests that he has a girlfriend, but Chuck's grinning all slippery like he knows something: "You guys have been dating since kindergarten, and you haven't sealed the deal." Nate scoffs at him, and the bus pulls up at their school. Chuck whirls on Dan suddenly, although he's been standing there behind them the whole time: "Are you following us or something?" Dan's a bit ironic but stuttery: "No, I go to your school? Identical uniforms? Is that kind of a tip-off?" Nate is unamused, but Chuck's like, "I'm so raping that dude later." They take off and Dan Seths into the silence, "So you guys wanna sit together at lunch?" Cute.
The Met, as promised. Kati and Isabel are univocally praising Jenny's handcrafted invites, while Blair looks on and acts like her mom some more, sitting on the steps like a throne, flanked by Heathers. "Not bad work. And here's yours, as promised." Serena comes running up, all overbite for a second, and cops to having looked all over for them. She introduces herself to Jenny, who does a little overbite of her own upon being spoken to by the Serena van der Woodsen. Like all Humphreys, her filter is broken just long enough for her to pull the "oh, I know who you are" boner for our benefit, so we realize how very famous and charismatic Serena apparently is. She asks the eye-rolling Blair -- unaware that there's a problem -- when the party is, and Blair fakes it up after a long, slow-burn hate smile. "Saturday. And...you're kinda not invited." Serena's smile falls. "Since until twelve hours ago, everyone thought you were at boarding school...now we're full, and, uh, Jenny used up all the invites." She dismisses Jenny, who apologizes to Serena, who takes it in stride but keeps her eyes on Blair, trying to sniff out the issue. She fully chucks the invite at Kati or Isabel's feet, though, which is bad-ass. Blair stands up and takes off, Heathers in tow: "Unless you want us to wait for you. Looks like you got a lot of yogurt left." My whole household erupted in laughter at that one; something about the seething nastiness underneath what seems to be a wholesome desire for Serena to get her active cultures for the day. She waves them on, and it's neat: they're wearing identical patent-leather shoes in bright red, green and blue, so when they're leaving it's like an army. Serena's eyes get bright and she calls after them: "Blair. Think we could meet tonight?" Blair puts her off, mentioning vague plans with Nate, emphasis on Nate, and Serena doesn't blink: "The Palace. Eight o'clock. Nate will wait."