Early in the evening Bart toasts "the merging of two families," as Eric and Serena feel gross about life, Lily feels gross about accepting the proposal, and Chuck thinks about whatever it is that he thinks about. "To my lovely bride and our growing family."
At 90th and Fifth, just after six o'clock, Rufus will be waiting. He'll see Lily coming down the street, without her luggage, and his face will fall. She will be very beautiful as she comes closer, and the love and sadness in her eyes will make it pretty hard for him to say anything at all. Her eyes won't be glassy anymore, but they will shine. "Please, try to understand," she'll say, but he will. He already knew; he was pinned to that corner, afraid she'd come to her senses one more time. She will be sorry, and he will be sorry.
Lily takes a drink and smiles at Bart, and at her children, caught in the middle, and thinks about how much she likes Chuck, and how fond of Bart she is, and how families grow and blend and split apart. She thinks about hotels and husbands. "Mom looks about as happy as Grandma at last call," Eric cracks, awesomely, and Serena compares Lily's dead eyes to Bart's total lack of affect. Maybe it's catching. "I don't even know how she breathes with her blouse buttoned that high," says Serena, and it's true: she's buttoned all the way up to her glassy eyes. She has to be. She always had to be. You button up, and that's what being a grownup is about, and that's the thing Rufus won't ever quite understand. He knows how to play the guitar, and he knows how to walk from Brooklyn to the Palace in a henley, and he knows how to show you his heart, right out there in public, shivering in the cold, but he never figured out how to button up.