Nate runs all over the place, without perspiring as usual, and finally gets Vanessa to stop roving Williamsburg looking for food in trash cans or clothing in trash cans or whatever it is that she does when not actively fucking everything up for everybody. Needless to say, where the rest of us have little birds that dress us, she has tiny little angry clowns from the '80s, with their sick little New Wave senses of sartorial humor. She's totally rude to him, but in a completely different way from the way she's always rude to everybody. Maybe she's been homeschooling herself in that too. She blows him off a couple times, using all those classic Archibald "I've been busy" excuses he used to throw her when the shoe was on the other foot and, you know, not being used as a goddamn earring in one of her horrible costumes.
Nate, for once not content to float dimly through a storyline believing whatever he's told and fucking people for money, puts it together all aggressively and shit. For just one second he shines like Kate Jackson: "No, wait. Just hold on for a second. You crash the party and you tell me to break it off with Catherine, and then you pull a 180 and you tell me to stay with her, and then you just bolt." You go, Sabrina! And then he just kinda loses it: "I mean, did I do something, or..." (Wait for it.) "What happened?" HA! I don't know if that would be as genius if it weren't like the sequel to "She gave me money!" but I think I would love it just the same. Next time I'm in a tight spot, I'm gonna totally bluff it out just like that: "What is happening?" (Joe R and I were talking this week about how awesome it would be if, just once, the 20/20 Sex Predator just pretended to be sleepwalking. "Chris Hansen, don't wake me up! I might be startled to death! And drop these wine coolers and rubbers I sleep-bought!")
Anyway, V's not even judging him, just trying to get away from him, because she's all consumed with the drama of knowing a secret and the martyriffic self-sacrifice of keeping that secret and she knows if she acts just sketchy enough, he'll notice and ask what's wrong, and force her to admit that she is giving up all she really wants in this life in order to save him, and then he'll make out with her. This plan, while realistic in a high-school fashion and particularly in a Brooklyn-Humphrey-Abrams way, has one weak link, which is: Nathaniel Archibald. Whom, even if he wasn't ... um, let's see how we can... Okay. Whom -- even if he didn't have many wonderful qualities besides intelligence, or what you might call "book smarts," or "street smarts," or... "smarts" -- bears the distinction of being completely surrounded by sketchy-ass people all the time. It's not possible to act squirrely enough to get his attention, because he spends most of his time with Chuck "Konnichiwa" Bass, who spends each day pioneering new ways to act bizarre and squirrely. So once again the world conspires to let Vanessa Abrams down, which in turn makes me want to throw my arms around it. "So that's it? I mean, we're not even friends now?" Vanessa says the truest thing she has ever said in her whole miserable fake life: "We were never really friends, Nate."