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Don’t You Forget About Me continues the #1 New York Times bestselling series about the provocative lives of New York City’s most prestigious private school young adults. Sharp wit, intriguing characters, and high stakes melodrama drive the action of this addictive series that have made Gossip Girl the lit world’s coveted “it” girl.
Copyright © 2007 by Alloy Entertainment
All rights reserved.
Little, Brown and Company
Hachette Book Group USA
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
Visit our Web site at HachetteBookGroupUSA.com
First eBook Edition: May 2007
The characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Gossip Girl novels created by Cecily von Ziegesar:
You Know You Love Me
All I Want Is Everything
Because I'm Worth It
I Like It Like That
You're the One That I Want
Nobody Does It Better Nothing Can Keep Us Together
Only In Your Dreams Would I Lie To You
Don't You Forget About Me
If you like gossip girl, you may also enjoy:
Bass Ackwards and Belly Up by Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain
Secrets of My Hollywood Life by Jen Calonita
Haters by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
And keep your eye out for Betwixt by Tara Bray Smith,
Coming October 2007
a new york state of mind
"Hello, Manhattan!" Blair Waldorf cheered, hopping off the Charlotte and onto the Battery Park wharf. A huddle of unnaturally tan bikini-clad girls stood next to their private yacht, the Miami Mama, glaring at Blair while their hot, polo-shirted crew unloaded their bulging Coach duffels onto the weathered gray wood of the dock. The high-rises of Battery Park City stood in the distance, the bright August sun reflecting off thousands of windows. Across town, the South Street Seaport boardwalk bustled with tourists wearing unflattering horizontal-striped polo shirts with overstuffed fluorescent fanny packs, and aggressive rollerbladers weaving their way through the crowd.
Blair licked her red and completely bare lips—who needed lip gloss when you'd been kissed that much?—and glanced back at the Charlotte. Nate Archibald's lanky frame appeared on deck, tanned, bare-chested, and grinning, his wavy brown hair streaked with gold, his eyes perfectly matching the green Billabong board shorts hanging low on his hips.
Blair resisted the urge to get right back on the boat and drag him down to the Charlotte's ridiculously tiny bedroom. Even though they'd been together 24/7 for the last month, drinking frosty-cold mango margaritas all day and getting hot and sweaty all night, she still couldn't get enough of him.
Apart from enjoying each other's company, there had also been the requisite visits to charming New England seaside towns like Rockport and Camden for cups of clam chowder—she'd actually learned to enjoy it, despite the fact that chowder was just hot, heavily salted cream with little pieces of chewed, gumlike clams in it—and adventurous forays up rivers and inlets so Nate could feel like the sailor he was.
Blair closed her eyes and inhaled the scent of Guerlain sunblock still coating her skin, taking in the feel of the fine grains of sand still stuck between her toes, and the cool ocean breeze that tickled her cheeks. She sighed happily as she remembered last night, stretched out beside Nate, who was wearing light blue linen pajama bottoms, on the Charlotte's miniscule bed, falling asleep with the sound of his heartbeat in her ears. She ran her hands through her sea-spray-tangled hair and watched as Nate tied the last knot on the bowline and jumped onto the dock.
"Well, don't you look happy?" He wrapped his arms around her tiny waist, burying his face in her dark, wind-blown hair. "You even smell nice, for once." Blair squealed as he began to tickle her, squirming away. "Thanks a lot!" Nate just grinned as he slid his feet into the black worn Teva flip-flops he'd worn every day at sea.
"I wish I could say the same for you!" She punched him lightly on the arm, fantasizing about the L'Occitane honey-and-almond body wash and Frédéric Fekkai shampoo awaiting her at home. The shower on the Charlotte was so fucking small she almost smacked herself in the face with the glass shower door every time she turned around. Though she'd been happy to make space for one more when Nate wanted to join.
Despite the memory of the dollhouse-size bathroom, Blair felt a tinge of sadness as Nate threw her apple green Hervé Chapelier tote over one shoulder and grabbed his own dirty monogrammed canvas L.L. Bean tote. This had been the most blissful month of her life. After a few days at sea, she'd almost forgotten why she'd been in such a hurry to get aboard—and stay aboard—the Charlotte in the first place: the love letter to Nate that her supposed best friend Serena had slipped into the glove compartment of his father's Aston Martin before they left. Blair had found it while Nate was at a rest-stop bathroom, read it, and promptly shredded the thing to bits. Not that it mattered now. She could totally find it in her heart to forgive poor, lonely Serena—after all, who could not fall in love with Nate? Besides, and most of all, Serena had no chance of coming between them ever again.
She and Nate were more in love than ever and heading to Yale together in just ten days. Sure, Serena was going to be there too, but she and Nate would barely even see her once they ditched their separate and totally-unsuitable-for-living-happily-ever-after dorm rooms and found a shabbily elegant New Haven town house to move into. Once they were settled, they could reenact their cozy time on the Charlotte. She'd laugh at Nate for not knowing how to cook anything—not that she could make much more than caviar on toast points—and he'd have gin gimlets waiting for her when she got back late from one of her pre-law lectures. It was going to be perfect.
"Your house or mine?" she asked with a sultry smile. Nate's emerald green eyes glittered in the sun, and Blair affected a little pout, which she knew he couldn't resist. She turned around to face the water and closed her eyes, basking in the sun like a contented cat.
Nate dropped the totes he'd been carrying and put his hands on Blair's smooth, tanned shoulders. She leaned back into him and he nuzzled her neck, looking out at the shimmering blue water. He thought about the last few weeks. He'd been so happy out on the waves, with nothing in front of them but the clear blue sky and the roaring ocean.
A ringing noise erupted from his pants and Nate jumped back. Shit. His cell. They hadn't had a connection out at sea, and he hadn't heard the damn thing ring in weeks. Nate pulled the Motorola Pebl from his rumpled khaki cutoffs and looked at the screen: HOME. Double shit. He pressed IGNORE and resisted the urge to throw the thing into the water behind him. Then he grabbed Blair's soft shoulders, a little tighter this time, already worried about the unavoidable confrontation with his dad over his future, which was kind of a mess now due to some recent mishaps.
The message Coach Michaels had left him before he climbed aboard the Charlotte repeated itself on a loop in his head. He wouldn't be getting his diploma from St. Jude's; Yale was out of the question. Of course, Coach had probably broken the news to Nate's strict former Navy captain father by now, which meant he'd be getting a serious reaming as soon as he walked in the door. Knowing his dad, he'd probably been calling to rip him a new one every day for the last month, and this was the first time the signal had come through. Obviously he should have dealt with the situation, like, weeks ago, but surrounded by all that ocean and Blair's bikini-clad body, who could think straight?
Nate pushed his parental worries aside and refocused on Blair. He hadn't told her about the diploma—or lack thereof—yet, and he wasn't looking forward to it. He wondered if he could just head to New Haven with her and Serena and sneak into the occasional class on Western films or nude portraiture and tell everyone he had a lot of AP credits so he was taking an easy load this semester.
A load, indeed.
Nate sighed. The truth had waited this long—what was one more day? He bit down on his chapped bottom lip and tried to concentrate on how tan and smooth Blair's shoulders were under his fingers. All he wanted was to crawl back down into the Charlotte's tiny bedroom, get under the covers with her, and never come out, except maybe to smoke a joint.
It's good to see that he has his priorities in order.
"Let's go to your house," he suggested, releasing her. "Myrtle makes the best quesadillas, and I'm freaking starving." She turned around and grinned at him. "Okay, then, let's get the hell out of here, sailor."
Nate headed back to the boat to grab the rest of their bags, whistling as he jumped on board. He'd avoided his moment of truth with the Captain—and Blair—for so long, maybe he could keep on avoiding it a little while longer.
Blair slid her enormous tinted Prada aviators over her eyes and starting walking down the gray wooden dock. Things couldn't have worked out better—Blair and Nate, the couple always most likely to end up together, heading off to Yale in ten short days. It was almost too good to be true.
the devil wears dolce
Serena van der Woodsen sat in the Waldorf Rose living room, flanked on either side by Blair's mother, Eleanor Waldorf Rose, and Davita Fjorde—party planner to those residing on Manhattan's Golden Mile. Serena had no idea why she'd been invited to Blair's house, but when Eleanor called she couldn't very well say no to her so-called best friend's mother, whose wedding she had been a bridesmaid in less than a year ago.
"Now, I want it to be surprising and wonderful and luxurious, of course, but I don't want anything too over-the-top. Nothing vulgar." Eleanor wrinkled her ski jump of a nose and straightened the hem of her skintight bronze silk Valentino skirt. After giving birth to baby Yale that spring, she was on a strict Pilates-and-no-carbs diet, and it was clearly working. "Although Cyrus just loved the belly dancers in Corfu."
"Eleanor, my dear, stop worrying. This party will be fabulicious," Davita drawled, scribbling notes in her hot pink, leather-bound notebook with a gold Montblanc pen, her signature pencil-straight ass-length platinum blond hair draping almost to her knobby fishnetted knees. Davita fumbled, dropping the pen, and then pulled an exact replica from her enormous apricot-colored Marc Jacobs tote without missing a beat.
Serena ran her fingers over the miniskirt she'd made herself out of her faded Seven cutoffs. Ever since Blair and Nate had sailed off into the sunrise on her birthday morning, she had been struggling to be her usual cheerful self. Sitting in Blair's living room wasn't helping any. As she looked around at the gleaming oak floor, the heavy crimson silk drapes, the overstuffed toffee-colored, silk-jacquard sofa, all Serena could think about was how she'd spent most of her childhood running around this apartment. She and Blair used to make forts out of all the silk pillows, throwing them off the couch and piling them in the center of the room, pretending the rest of the rug was the ocean while they were stranded on an island. They hid beneath their soft, dark weight for hours, whispering secrets and giggling the day away. Things were so much easier back then—before Nate had come between them. Not that it was his fault.
Why is it never the boy's fault?
Serena sighed and tried to concentrate as Eleanor's nervously loud voice chattered away in her ear, the ice cubes in her Bloody Mary clinking against the glass as she waved her arms about.
"Because, you know, when the Reynoldses had their party last year, they chose that hideous bisque color scheme, which completely washed out Mitzi's complexion," Eleanor was saying, her brow wrinkled in worry. "I was envisioning shell pink or ivory, because those are Blair's absolute favorites, but I just can't stop thinking about Mitzi looking as though she was about to be sick all over her very own soiree." Davita leaned in conspiratorially. "My dear, that event was planned by Samantha Powers and her troop of underlings. Amateurs. You have to relax and realize you're dealing with a professional here!" She threw her overbleached platinum locks over one shoulder and turned toward Serena, her tanned face nearly as leathery as the distressed calfskin bag on the sofa beside her. "Eleanor tells me that you're Blair's best friend," she said with a stewardess smile, scribbling more notes on the pink pad.
Or worst enemy.
Serena nodded. "We've been friends—"
"Forever!" Eleanor finished enthusiastically.
"Mmmm," Davita murmured as she picked up a thin cucumber sandwich—crusts cut off, of course—from a hammered silver tray. She sniffed it delicately, then returned it to the tray.
"Now, Serena," Eleanor began, smoothing her sleek, Fekkai-blond shoulder-length bob, "I hope you don't mind me calling you over, but Blair has been positively unreachable, and I thought that since you two have known each other since you were toddlers, you'd be the perfect person to help plan this event I have scheduled at the Met. We have more than a few milestones to celebrate—Blair and Aaron going off to college, for one. And then there's also—"
Just then Davita's gold Motorola Slvr cell phone began to ring frantically, beeping and burping in the most annoying way possible. Davita jumped up, holding her bony, manicured index finger out in the air, and walked quickly out of the living room, her pewter Jimmy Choo slingbacks sparkling like firecrackers in the light that streamed through the south-facing windows. Serena returned to picking at the frayed threads on her cutoff skirt again. She could barely concentrate anyway. As of today, Blair and Nate had spent exactly one month together, alone on a boat with no one around for miles. They were probably, right at this very minute, eating steamed lobsters with clarified butter and gazing dreamily into each other's eyes. Serena blinked back hot tears as she pictured it.
"So," Eleanor said brightly, inching closer to her on the couch and resting one tanned hand on Serena's forearm. "How has your summer been? With Blair gone I've hardly seen you at all, and it's only a matter of days before you kids are off to New Haven!"
"It's been okay." Serena forced a smile as she squirmed on the couch. She'd spent the last four weeks wandering around the city under the pretense of getting her fill of New York in before leaving it behind. In truth, she was just trying to distract herself. Unfortunately, everywhere she went—to the Central Park pond, to feed the mallards; to the mod boutiques on Little West Twelfth Street, to shop; to the steps of the Met, to drink coffee; even her one venture into Brooklyn to see a warehouse art show—reminded her of her friends. They'd grown up together and experienced the city together, and, supposedly, they were leaving it behind together. But here she was, completely alone. "Just the usual. Nothing special," Serena finished, noticing how lean and tanned Eleanor's legs were. Maybe she should take a Pilates class too.
"Nothing special!" Eleanor exclaimed in the way that only mothers can. "May I remind you that your first feature film is going to be released very soon, and you're starting Yale in a week and a half!" She squeezed Serena's knee so hard it hurt.
Serena knew that she had a lot to be excited about, but she just couldn't seem to match Eleanor's enthusiasm. Maybe it was because the thought of heading to Yale in ten days with Nate and Blair and watching them be blissfully in love for four torturous years loomed over everything. "Has Blair . . . mentioned me at all when you've talked to her?"
Eleanor grabbed a white silk handkerchief from the antique coffee table and began to frantically pat her brow with the soft cloth, then sprayed herself thoroughly with an Evian facial mister and dabbed at her face again. "I'm sorry, dear, but is it hot in here? I'm telling you, never turn forty-seven. The hot flashes are unbearable!" She sighed dramatically, throwing the now-damp hanky behind her. "Now, sweetheart, what were you saying?"
Serena shrugged her shoulders, not at all fazed by Eleanor's outrageous behavior. At least there was one thing around here that wasn't going to change. She just wished she had Blair or Nate to giggle with her about it.
Davita flounced back into the room, snapping her cell phone shut with a decisive click. "Okay, ladies," she said, breaking into an enormous smile, her obvious veneers as wide and white as Scrabble tiles. "Where were we?" "Well . . ." Eleanor motioned to Serena, her gold Cartier Love bracelets clinking loudly against one another. "I was just telling Serena we have a lot to celebrate right now. In addition to everyone leaving for college, there's—"
"We're hoooooooome!" A taunting, singsongy girl's voice called out from the foyer, a voice Serena would know anywhere. Her heart fluttered. The sound of bags being thrown onto the marble floor was followed by the unmistakable patter of Blair's light, quick steps. Serena swallowed hard, watching as Nate and Blair appeared in the doorway of the Waldorf Roses' massive, antique-strewn living room, hands clasped, looking sun-kissed, glowing, and more gorgeous than ever.
As if that were even possible.
Nate's green eyes lit up when he spotted Serena sitting on the couch, and she smiled weakly, her stomach folding like pancake batter. Just the sight of him in his stained and wrinkled cutoff khakis and ratty gray T-shirt made her feel lightheaded. The last time she'd seen him, standing at the top of the staircase at her family's house in Ridgefield while she hovered at the bottom, the whole world had gone quiet as she overheard him telling Blair he loved her. Loved. With those words ringing in her ears, something in Serena had finally clicked. She'd watched him lead Blair upstairs and right then she knew as surely as she'd ever known anything that she loved Nate. And now that he was standing right in front of her with her on-again-off-again best friend, she knew it was really true. She loved Nate with her entire heart. It was something she'd always known, deep down. Why hadn't she done anything about it until it was too late?
She shook her long blond locks, trying to remember to act like a normal friend and not a love-struck freak. She jumped to her feet and ran across the room, her fuchsia flowered Calypso flip-flops thwacking all the way, and threw her arms around Blair, squeezing tightly. All at once Serena felt suffocated by the scent of Nate's Right Guard deodorant clinging to her best friend's skin. She pulled back, looking hopefully at Blair, who was still latched onto Nate's hand. "I missed you." But Blair wasn't smiling back. In fact, she looked less than pleased to see Serena—she looked downright pissed. Serena began to gnaw on her Sephora Supernova-polished thumbnail. Blair could be so scary sometimes. Had she found the letter? Oh God.Why hadn't she thought of that before?
As she wrapped her arms again around Blair's rigid, sun-baked body, she couldn't help looking over Blair's shoulder at Nate. His golden-brown hair was wavier than usual from the salt water. It fell across his tanned forehead and he pushed it away, smiling widely as they made eye contact. His lips looked chapped and swollen, like he'd been making out with Blair all night long—which he probably had been. The thought nearly made her choke.
"Looking good, Natie," Serena sighed wistfully, unable to keep the words from escaping her lips. She pulled gently away from Blair, tendrils of golden hairs escaping her ponytail. Nate dropped Blair's hand abruptly and moved toward Serena, opening his arms. Serena rushed in to hug him, wrapping her arms around his taut waist and holding on tight. He squeezed her back with a fierceness that Blair's hug had lacked. Had he found her letter after all?
"What are you guys doing here?!" Serena's voice was breathless as she buried her face in Nate's warm, soft neck. Blair stared at them, her blue eyes narrowing.
Shouldn't they be asking her that question?
a yabba-dabba-doo time, we'll have a gay ol' time!
Vanessa Abrams staggered out of the Humphreys' living room, her pale arms weighed down with piles of old coffee-stained newspapers. Her army green Triple 5 Soul cargo pants were rolled up to the knees, and her fitted black Old Navy wifebeater was soaked in sweat. "God." She exhaled heavily as she dumped a pile of decades-old New Yorkers in a large blue recycling bin, exposing the dusty parquet floor beneath. "It's amazing these piles of crap haven't toppled over in the night, killing us in our sleep."
Dan Humphrey grunted in assent as he walked down the hall to the kitchen and washed out his coffee-grit-encrusted blue plastic Evergreen mug for the third time that day. He wouldn't mind being dead right about now. They'd been cleaning out the Humphreys' ramshackle, grime-coated Upper West Side apartment for a grueling two hours, but it felt more like two days. Dan just wasn't cut out for hard labor, and he could feel the heart palpitations coming on. At least if he died now, he'd die young, like his idol, the poet John Keats, which he always thought was sort of romantic.
They could bury him beneath the Strand, a copy of Baudelaire's Fleurs du Mal over his ashen face. Maybe Vanessa would weep dramatically as she said her final goodbyes. Or wait, maybe Greg would. This was one of the many problems with recently discovering you might be gay—it was totally unclear whether your future widower would be your longtime ex-girlfriend or your newish-maybe-boyfriend.
After he and Dan had shared a semi-conscious drunken kiss at their literary salon earlier in the summer, Greg seemed to have decided two things: that Dan was gay, and that they were a couple. Dan wasn't sure how he felt about either of those conclusions, but he hadn't had very long to think about it, because Greg's grandmother had passed away a few days later, and Greg had left for Phoenix for the funeral and to spend time with his extended family. He'd been gone nearly a month, and in that time Greg had sent Dan dozens of beautifully crafted e-mails, all with the same theme: absence makes the heart grow fonder. But every time Dan wrote back, he wasn't sure if he was growing any fonder of Greg . . . or just more confused.
Dan tried to shake his uncertainty away. "I'm going to keep cleaning," he announced with a sudden surge of determination, and marched into the living room with the purposeful steps of a military general.
Dan in the army? Don't ask, don't tell!
"Be my guest," Vanessa retorted as she threw another huge stack of newspapers into the recycling bin. "As far as I'm concerned, it's a lost cause." Earlier that summer, her older sister Ruby had returned from Europe with her new Czech boyfriend, Piotr, in tow and had proceeded to kick Vanessa out of the cozy Williamsburg apartment they'd shared for the last three years. Thanks, sis! Since then, Vanessa had been living in Dan's sister Jenny's room while Jenny was at art school in Prague for the summer. Since Dan was heading to Evergreen College in Washington State in less than two weeks and Jenny would be off to boarding school in upstate New York, it looked like Vanessa would be keeping her room in the Humphreys' apartment when she started NYU—after all, somebody had to keep Rufus, Dan and Jenny's lesser-known Beat poet editor father, company. So she'd decided to spend the weekend redecorating the totally dismal pad. And really, what better way to try out Dan's new Queer Eye decorating skills? If he even had any. He was so fresh out of the closet it was hard for her to believe it was really true. But maybe that's because she didn't want it to be true.
Dan closed his eyes, remembering the feel of Greg's lips on his, his scratchy blond chin stubble scraping against Dan's jaw. The more he went over it in his mind, Dan wasn't even sure how he felt about the kiss anymore—or about Greg—except that he was pretty sure he didn't really have any desire to do it again anytime soon. He'd promised himself he was going to get to the bottom of this before he hopped into the 1977 Buick Skylark his dad had given him for graduation and drove to Evergreen in ten days. If he were going to reinvent himself in college, which was basically the whole point of going to college in the first place, figuring out his sexuality would be a good place to start. He'd even picked up a book at the Strand, where he'd worked all summer, called Unlocking the Closet. It explained that feelings of confusion and despair were natural while you were transitioning from one sexual identity to another, and said that one should be totally willing to ask oneself the really "tough" questions. Which he really was trying to do. Like, if he wasn't truly gay, then why had he kissed Greg in the first place? Then again, why was Vanessa suddenly looking so hot with newsprint smudges across her pale cheek?
Dan moved over to the sad gray curtains shading the floor-to-ceiling windows in the musty living room and attempted to tie one limp side back with a twist tie he'd found with the garbage bags under the kitchen sink. The yellow twist tie fell to the ground and he bent down to pick it up.
Vanessa sighed as she watched him. He was really going to have to get in touch with his inner diva if he was going to make a go of it as a New York City-bred gay man.
"There, how's that?" Dan secured the garbage tie and stood back to admire his handiwork, looking more optimistic than he had all day. He placed both hands on his hips. "So much better, right?" The fabric hung to the side, exposing the dirty hand-printed and dust-streaked window. Vanessa looked from the window to her ex-boyfriend—who now apparently had boyfriends of his own. "Uh . . . yeah," she intoned, fluffing a lumpy brown leather sofa pillow that resembled a giant potato. "That's just great. I'm sure we'll be featured in Town & Country next month." The truth was, Vanessa kind of missed him. After returning from a hellish stint as a nanny and then some sort of fashion muse out in the Hamptons, and since Greg had left for Phoenix, she and Dan had spent the last month hanging out in the city, but it had been . . . different. They had fallen into a comfortable, friendly sort of small-talk-making rapport—with none of the sexual tension or heated argument you'd expect from two exes living in such close quarters.
With so little time before Dan left for college, Vanessa couldn't believe that this was the way they were going to leave things. Not even one last lingering kiss or one last roll in the hay? Every time Dan brushed past her when he was making his umpteenth cup of Folgers crystals, or on the way to the bathroom, when she caught a whiff of stale Camels and coffee grounds, she had to stop herself from throwing him down on the dust-bunny-littered floor and ripping off his brown, frayed-at-the-bottom, zillion-year-old cords. In fact, now that Dan was gay—and completely unattainable—the thought was more appealing than ever.
- On Sale
- May 1, 2007
- Page Count
- 304 pages