Three generations of scary blonde Rhodes women laugh and sip their tea. Serena runs off to get pictures of her "summer abroad," which answers a few timeline questions, and left alone, Lily apologizes to Cece for the whole Serena/cotillion thing. "I imagine you came all this way to change Serena's mind, but she is intractable on this." Cece gives a totally crazed, sad, dramatic doom face and tells Lily that she's got lung cancer or something. Lily fully crumples and freaks out, and Cece's voice shakes, and says that her cancer is the free pass that should get Serena to the ball. "Oh, Mother, anything for you!" says Lily, and they hug, and over Lily's shoulder Cece makes a very scary face. Like maybe she's lying about the cancer in order to get her way, which is nuts, or else it's all true, or somewhere in between. Serena comes in and ascertains that her fate has been decided, and Lily tells her straight: "Um, Serena, you're going to the debutante ball." And one thing about Serena is, she doesn't throw Jenny fits. She just makes a resigned face and is unhappy. "Serena van der Woodsen, looks like your invitation just arrived...with strings attached. Come out, come out, wherever you are."
Nate's getting fitted for his tux or whatever and fussing because Blair's late, and he knows this will cause problems for him, even though she's the one that's tardy, because it's his ass that needs to be completely in line with her desires. She finally comes running in tossing out excuse after excuse, and sits down to text and smile, and what's going on is that she totally just hooked up with Chuck Bass and now they are cutely texting each other, and Nate's standing right there getting fitted for a tux. This is all very sad, really. Nate goes on and on about all his plans for their wonderful night and she ignores him, texting and giggling, and finally he's like, "What's going on, though?" She tells him she's texting Serena, and that she has to take over her mother's tea party for Cece. He's like, "Oh, I can help!" But she just runs off, tossing out a sweet, kind little smile at the door: "Not bad, Archibald. I almost forgot how handsome you are." But she's gone. "Spotted: Nate Archibald, learning you don't know a good thing till it's gone and found someone else."