Fandom: Gossip Girl
Word Count: 1,122
Jenny’s eyes widened with worry as she studied her father. “That’s all you can say? Wow?”
Rufus leaned back in the leather desk chair, facing his daughter and Nate. “What do you want me to say?” He couldn’t say he was surprised by their news, but he wasn’t exactly anticipating it either.
“I don’t know,” she admitted, looking over at Nate, who was sitting silently in the chair beside her. He smiled thinly back at her.
Rufus leaned forward, his eyes sparkling with something. “I think it goes without saying Nate needs to move out.” He looked kindly at the younger man.
Nate straightened and nodded slowly. “Of course.”
Rufus chuckled under his breath. “I mean, I don’t think the PTA would approve of my daughter’s boyfriend living with us.”
Jenny made a face, shaking her head. “I don’t think St. Jude’s has a PTA, Dad.”
He shrugged. “Then just call me old-fashioned.”
Jenny rolled her eyes, but inwardly felt relieved beyond measure. “You’re really OK with this?”
“You thought I wouldn’t be?” he countered slowly, looking from one teen to the other. It hadn’t been hard to read their mutual fear when they had entered the office.
Nate looked quickly at Jenny. “We weren’t really sure.”
“We ran into Vanessa tonight,” Jenny admitted, her eyes misting slightly at recalling the confrontation. “She certainly wasn’t happy we were dating.”
Rufus frowned and looked at Nate. “Weren’t you dating Vanessa at some point?”
“Yeah,” Nate replied, wincing. He pursed his lips.
Rufus looked back at Jenny. “I take it Vanessa wasn’t very understanding?”
“That’s an understatement,” Jenny said quietly, her expression clouding.
“Look, Nate I’ve told you you’re one of the family, and I meant it,” Rufus said with finality. “And I think Jenny could do a lot worse than you and vice versa.”
“Thanks,” Nate replied, genuinely touched. He offered Rufus a smile before looking at Jenny. “I can move my stuff out tonight.”
Jenny’s eyes widened and she looked at her dad. “It’s late,” she protested, pointing to the clock that indicated it was after nine.
Even Rufus was frowning. “Nate, I didn’t mean you had to leave tonight.”
Nate shrugged, not worried in the least. “I can stay with Chuck tonight, and we’re on break for the holidays next week. I was thinking about going to see my mom anyway.”
“You were?” Jenny’s tone revealed the betrayal she felt. He was leaving her.
Nate gave her an encouraging smile. “I’ll be back in a few weeks for when school starts back up.”
She digested that bitter news. He would be gone over Christmas and New Year’s. One quick glance at him, though, and she found herself smiling back at him reluctantly. Nate had told her how much he was missing his family. Maybe he needed to be with his mom for the holidays more than she needed him in the city with her.
She wasn’t selfish enough to try and make him stay.
“Then I guess it’s settled,” Jenny said with a small shrug of her shoulders.
“Dan? Dan! Wait up!”
Annoyed at the setback, Dan turned and saw Serena chasing after him down the street. He had gone into the Italian restaurant Vanessa indicated Nate and Jenny were going to only to discover the two never made their reservations. He could only wonder where they really were.
He tapped his foot impatiently as Serena came to a stop before him, her brilliant smile doing nothing to better his mood. “What?”
Her eyes widened as he snapped at her and she shifted slightly. “Are you … Did I do something?”
He pinched the bridge of his nose, angry with himself. It wasn’t Serena’s fault he was in a pissy mood. “No. I’m just … Looking for someone. Have you seen Nate and Jenny?”
Serena looked down at the ground, suddenly intent on studying her feet. “No. Why?”
She was a terrible liar, and they both knew it. He sighed loudly, getting the distinct feeling she knew something and wasn’t ready to share it willingly. “What?”
She glanced up at him, her face innocent. “Nothing.”
“Don’t give me that. If you know something …” His eyes narrowed into thin slits, spearing her to the spot. “You do know something.”
Serena sighed. “Dan…”
“Oh, my, God,” he whispered, shocked and angry all over again. “You know. You know about Nate and Jenny.”
“I only just really found out,” she answered defensively.
“And what? You weren’t going to tell me?” he demanded.
Her eyes flashed with annoyance. “I’m not your girlfriend anymore, Dan. I don’t have some unwritten obligation to tell you everything.”
“No, but I thought we were friends,” he ground out through clenched teeth. “A little heads up my sister was sleeping with my friend would have been appreciated.”
Her jaw dropped. “They’re … Oh, God. How did you find out?”
“Vanessa saw them.”
Her expression was horrified. “She saw them?”
He made a disgusted face. “Not saw them doing … that. Saw them kissing on the street.”
Serena sighed, relieved. “Oh, OK.”
“OK?” he repeated, incredulous.
She bit her lower lip, treading lightly. “Dan, Jenny told me about her and Nate. She’s happy. He’s happy. Why isn’t that OK with you?”
“Why? Because he’s almost eighteen, she’s only fifteen, and he’s living with us,” Dan snapped.
“So he’s a little bit older than her? So what? He’s not some eighty-year-old pedophile stalking her. They love each other—”
“Love each other?” he interrupted coldly. “She thought she loved her last boyfriend, too, and look at what a winner he was.”
“OK, you cannot seriously be comparing Nate to Asher. Asher was an asshole who was using Jenny. Nate is a good guy, and you know it. You wouldn’t have asked him to move in with you if you didn’t think so.”
“I would have asked him to move in with us if I knew he was going to start dating my little sister,” Dan retorted.
“Dan, they knew each other long before you asked him to move in. Nate and Jenny have been friends for a while. It was just a matter of time before they started dating or something. And if you think about it, they’re pretty perfect for each other.”
He sighed, not wanting to admit she was right. Shaking his head, he looked away from her. “They should have told me.”
“Yes, because you’ve reacted with such grace and maturity thus far,” Serena said, her voice heavy with sarcasm, but he could also hear the smile in her tone.
Dan looked back at her and sighed. “OK. Maybe you’re right.”
That smile was back, lighting up the dark street. “I usually am.”