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Gossip Girl: You Know You Love Me
A Gossip Girl Novel
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Queen bee Blair Waldorf is hitting the books — but is her boyfriend hitting on someone else? The wickedly funny second book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series that inspired the original hit CW show and the HBO Max series.
It’s brunette vixen Blair Waldorf’s seventeenth birthday, and she knows exactly what she wants: Nate, her studly, troubled boyfriend of three years. But Blair’s been too busy filling out Ivy League college applications to notice that Nate has found himself another playmate . . .
Copyright © 2002 by 17th Street Productions, an Alloy company
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Little, Brown and Company
Hachette Book Group USA
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
For more of your favorite series, go to www.pickapoppy.com
First Edition: September 2002
The Poppy name and logo are trademarks of Hachette Book Group USA.
The characters and events portrayed 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
It Had To Be You
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
Betwixt by Tara Bray Smith
Poseur by Rachel Maude
having her cake and losing it, too
"To my Blair Bear," Mr. Harold Waldorf, Esq. said, raising his glass of champagne to clink it against Blair's. "You're still my little girl, even though you wear leather pants and have a hunky boyfriend." He flashed a suntanned smile at Nate Archibald, who was seated beside Blair at the small restaurant table. Mr. Waldorf had chosen Le Giraffe for their special dinner because it was small and intimate and trendy, the food was fabulous, and the waiters all had the sexiest French accents.
Blair Waldorf reached under the tablecloth and squeezed Nate's knee. The candlelight was making her horny. If only Daddy knew what we're planning to do after this, she thought giddily. She clinked glasses with her father and took a giant gulp of champagne.
"Thanks, Daddy," she said. "Thanks for coming all this way just to visit me."
Mr. Waldorf put his glass down and patted his lips dry with his napkin. His fingernails were shiny and perfectly manicured. "Oh, I didn't come for you, darling. I came here to show off." He cocked his head to one side and pursed his lips like a model posing for a picture. "Don't I look great?"
Blair dug her fingernails into Nate's leg. She had to admit her father did look great. He had lost about twenty pounds, he was tan, he was wearing gorgeous French clothes, and he seemed happy and relaxed. Still, she was glad he'd left his boyfriend at home in their chateau in France. She wasn't quite ready to see her father engaged in public displays of affection with another man, no matter how good he looked.
She picked up her menu. "Can we order?"
"I'm having steak," Nate announced. He didn't want to make a big fuss over what he was having. He just wanted to get this dinner over with. Not that he minded hanging out with Blair's flaming father: it was actually kind of entertaining to see how gay he'd become. But Nate was anxious to get back to Blair's house. She was finally going to give it up. And it was about time.
"Me too," Blair said, closing her menu without really looking at it. "Steak." She didn't plan on eating much anyway, not tonight. Nate had promised her he was completely over Serena van der Woodsen, Blair's classmate and former best friend. He was ready to give Blair his undivided attention. She didn't care whether she ate steak or mussels or brains for dinner—she was finally going to lose her virginity!
"Me three," said her father. "Trois steak au poivre," he told the waiter in a perfect French accent. "And the name of the person who cuts your hair. You have marvelous hair."
Blair's cheeks flamed. She grabbed a bread stick from the basket on the table and bit into it. Her father's voice and mannerisms were completely different from when she'd seen him nine months ago. Then, he'd been a conservative, suit-wearing lawyer, all clean lines and sharp edges. Perfectly respectable. Now he was totally camp, with his plucked eyebrows and lavender shirt and matching socks. It was so embarrassing. After all, he was her dad.
Last year, Blair's father's coming out and her parents' ensuing divorce had been the talk of the town. Now everyone was pretty much over it, and Mr. Waldorf was free to show his handsome face wherever he pleased. But that wasn't to say that the other diners at Le Giraffe weren't taking notice. They definitely were.
"Did you see his socks?" an aging heiress whispered to her bored husband. "Pink-and-gray argyle."
"Think he's got enough crap in his hair? Who does he think he is, anyway? Brad Pitt?" a famous lawyer asked his wife.
"He's got a better figure than his ex-wife, I'll tell you that much," one of the waiters remarked.
It was all very amusing, to everyone except Blair. Sure, she wanted her father to be happy, and it was okay for him to be gay. But did he have to be so obvious about it?
Blair looked out the window at the streetlights twinkling in the crisp November air. Smoke billowed out of chimneys on the roofs of the luxurious townhouses across Sixty-fifth Street.
Finally their salads came.
"So it's still Yale for next year?" Mr. Waldorf said, as he stabbed at a piece of endive. "That's where you've got your heart set on going, right, Bear? My old alma mater?"
Blair put her salad fork down and sat back in her chair, leveling her pretty blue eyes at her father. "Where else would I go?" she said, as if Yale University were the only college on the planet.
Blair didn't understand why people applied to six or seven colleges, some of them so bad they were called "safeties." She was one of the best students in the senior class at the Constance Billard School for Girls, a small, elite, all-girls, uniforms-required school on East Ninety-third Street. All Constance's girls went to good colleges. But Blair never settled for just plain good. She had to have the best of everything, no compromises. And the best college, in her opinion, was Yale.
Her father laughed. "So I guess those other colleges like Harvard and Cornell should send you letters of apology for even trying to get you to go to them, huh?"
Blair shrugged and examined her newly manicured fingernails. "I just want to go to Yale, that's all."
Her father glanced at Nate, but Nate was looking around for something else to drink. He hated champagne. What he really wanted was a beer, even though it never seemed appropriate to order one in a place like Le Giraffe. They always made such a fuss about it, bringing you a cold frosted glass and then pouring in the Heineken like it was something special, when it was just the same old crap you could get at a basketball game.
"What about you, Nate?" Mr. Waldorf asked. "Where are you applying?"
Blair was already nervous about losing her virginity. All this talk about college was just making things worse. She pushed her chair back and stood up to go to the bathroom. She knew it was disgusting and that she had to learn to stop, but whenever she got nervous, she made herself throw up. It was her only bad habit.
Actually, that's not exactly true. But we'll get to that later.
"Nate's going to Yale with me," she told her father. Then she turned and strode confidently through the restaurant.
Nate watched her go. She looked hot in her new black silk halter top, with her straight, dark brown hair hanging between her bare shoulder blades, and her skintight leather pants hugging her hips. She looked like she had already done it, many times.
Leather pants tend to have that effect.
"So it's going to be Yale for you, too?" Mr. Waldorf prompted when Blair had gone.
Nate frowned at his champagne glass. He really, really wanted a beer. And he really, really didn't think he could get into Yale. You can't wake and bake and take a calculus test and expect to get into Yale—you just can't. And that was what he'd been doing lately. A lot.
"I'd like to go to Yale," he said. "But I think Blair's going to be disappointed. I mean, my grades just aren't that good."
Mr. Waldorf winked at him. "Well, just between you and me, I think Blair's being a little hard on all the other schools in the country. No one says you have to go to Yale. There are plenty of other schools out there."
Nate nodded. "Yeah. Brown seems pretty cool. I have an interview there next weekend," he said. "Although that's definitely going to be a stretch, too. I got a C on my last math test, and I'm not even taking the AP," he admitted. "Blair doesn't think Brown is even a real school. You know, because they have less requirements, or whatever."
"Blair has impossibly high standards," Mr. Waldorf said. He sipped his champagne, his buffed pinky pointing outward. "She takes after me."
Nate glanced sideways at the other diners in the restaurant. He wondered if they thought he and Mr. Waldorf were together, boyfriends. To squelch such speculation, he pushed up the sleeves of his green cashmere sweater and cleared his throat in a very manly way. Blair had given him the sweater last year, and he'd been wearing it a lot lately to reassure her that he wasn't about to break up with her or cheat on her or do whatever it was she was worried about. "I don't know," he said, grabbing a roll from the bread basket and breaking it violently in half. "It would be great to just take a year off and go sailing with my dad or something, you know?"
Nate didn't understand why, at seventeen, you had to map out your entire life. There would be plenty of time for more school after taking a year or two off to sail around the Caribbean or go skiing in Chile. And yet, all of his classmates at the St. Jude's School for Boys were planning to go straight to college and straight to grad school after college. The way Nate saw it, they were signing their lives away without thinking about what they really wanted to do. For example, he loved the sound of the cold Atlantic spraying against the bow of his boat. He loved the feel of the hot sun on his back as he hoisted the sails. He loved the way the sun flashed green before it dropped into the ocean. Nate figured there had to be more stuff out there like that, and he wanted to experience it, all of it.
As long as it didn't require too much effort. He wasn't big on making an effort.
"Well, Blair's not going to be happy when she finds out you're thinking of taking time off." Mr. Waldorf chuckled. "You're supposed to go to Yale together and get married and live happily ever after."
Nate's eyes followed Blair as she walked back to the table, her head held high. All the other diners in the restaurant were watching her, too. She wasn't the best-dressed or the skinniest or the tallest girl in the room, but she seemed to sparkle a bit more brightly than the rest of them. And she knew it.
Their steaks came and Blair tore into hers, washing it down with gulps of champagne and mounds of buttery mashed potatoes. She watched the sexy way Nate's temple throbbed as he chewed. She couldn't wait to get out of there. She couldn't wait to finally do it with the boy she was planning to spend the rest of her life with. It couldn't get more right than that.
Nate couldn't help noticing how intensely Blair was wielding her steak knife. She cut the meat into huge hunks and gnawed on them ferociously. It made him wonder if she'd be that intense in bed. They'd fooled around a lot, but he'd always been the more aggressive one. Blair always just kind of lay there, making the sorts of mewing sounds girls made in the movies, while he roamed around, doing things to her. But tonight Blair seemed impatient, hungrier.
Of course she was hungry. She'd just thrown up.
"They don't serve food like this at Yale, Bear," Mr. Waldorf told his daughter. "You'll be eating pizza and Combos in the dorms with the rest of them."
Blair wrinkled her nose. She'd never eaten a Combo in her life. "No way," she said. "Nate and I aren't going to live in a dorm, anyway. We're going to have our own place." She stroked Nate's ankle with the toe of her boot. "I'll learn how to cook."
Mr. Waldorf raised his eyebrows at Nate. "Lucky you," he joked.
Nate grinned and licked the mashed potatoes off his fork. He wasn't about to tell Blair that her little dream of them living in an off-campus apartment together in New Haven was even more absurd than the idea of her eating Combos. But he didn't want to say anything to upset her.
"Shut up, Daddy," said Blair.
The plates were cleared. Impatient, Blair twisted her little ruby ring around and around on her finger. She shook her head to coffee and dessert and stood up to head for the ladies' room once more. Twice in one meal was extreme, even for her, but she was so nervous she couldn't help it.
Thank goodness Le Giraffe had nice, private bathrooms.
When Blair came out again, the entire waitstaff filed out of the kitchen. The maÎtre d' was holding a cake decorated with flickering candles. Eighteen of them, including one extra for luck.
Blair stomped back to the table in her pointy stiletto boots and took her seat, glaring at her father. Why did he have to make a scene? It wasn't her fucking birthday for another three weeks. She downed another glass of champagne in one gulp.
Waiters and cooks surrounded the table. And then the singing began.
"Happy birthday to you …"
Blair grabbed Nate's hand and squeezed it tight. "Make them stop," she whispered.
But Nate just sat there grinning like an asshole. He kind of liked it when Blair was embarrassed. It didn't happen very often.
Her father was more sympathetic. When he saw how miserable Blair was he increased the tempo and quickly finished the song. "You smell like a monkey, and you look like one too!"
The waitstaff clapped politely and went back to their posts.
"I know it's a little early," Mr. Waldorf said apologetically. "But I have to leave tomorrow, and seventeen is such a big birthday. I didn't think you'd mind."
Mind? No one likes to be sung to in public. No one.
Silently Blair blew out the candles and examined the cake. It was elaborately decorated with marzipan high-heeled shoes walking down a spun-sugar Fifth Avenue, past a rock-candy model of Henri Bendel, her favorite store. It was exquisite.
"For my little shoe fetishista," her father said, beaming. He pulled a wrapped present out from under the table and handed it to Blair.
Blair shook the box, expertly recognizing the hollow, thudding sound that a pair of new shoes makes when they're shaken in their box. She tore into the paper. MANOLO BLAHNIK, said the type in big bold letters on the lid of the box. Blair held her breath and pulled off the lid. Inside was a pair of beautifully crafted pewter leather mules with adorable little kitten heels.
"I got them in Paris," Mr. Waldorf said. "They only made a few hundred pairs. I bet you're the only girl in town who has them."
"They're fantastic," Blair breathed.
She stood up and walked around the table to hug her father. The shoes made up for him humiliating her in public. Not only were they unbelievably cool, but they were exactly what she was going to wear later that night when she and Nate had sex. Those and nothing else.
what the steps of the metropolitan museum of art are really for
"Let's sit in the back," Serena van der Woodsen said as she led Daniel Humphrey into Serendipity 3 on East Sixtieth Street. The narrow, old-timey hamburger-and-ice cream parlor was crowded with parents treating their kids while the nanny took the night off. The air was punctuated with the shrill cries of sugared-up children, as tired waitresses hurried to and fro carrying huge glass bowls of ice cream, frozen hot chocolates, and extralong hot dogs.
Dan had planned to go somewhere more romantic with Serena. Somewhere quiet and dimly lit. Somewhere where they could hold hands and talk and get to know each other without being distracted by angry parents scolding deceptively angelic-looking little boys in button-down shirts and khakis from Brooks Brothers. But Serena had wanted to come here.
Maybe she was really craving ice cream, or maybe her expectations for the evening weren't quite as big and romantic as his were.
"Isn't this great?" she burbled exuberantly. "Me and my brother, Erik, used to come here like once a week and eat peppermint sundaes." She picked up a menu and examined it. "It's still all exactly the same. I love it."
Dan smiled and shook the scraggly brown hair out of his eyes. The truth was, he didn't really care where he was, as long as he was with her.
Dan was from the West Side, and Serena was from the East. He lived with his father, a self-proclaimed intellectual and the editor of lesser-known Beat poets, and his little sister, Jenny, who was in ninth grade at Constance Billard, the same school Serena went to. They lived in a crumbling Upper West Side apartment that hadn't been renovated since the 1940s. The only person who did any cleaning around the place was their huge cat, Marx, who was an expert at killing and eating cockroaches. Serena lived with her well-heeled parents, who were on the board of just about every big institution in the city, in an enormous penthouse decorated by a famous decorator, with a view of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Central Park. She had a maid and a cook who she could ask to bake her a cake or make her a cappuccino any time she wanted.
So what was she doing with Dan?
They had stumbled into each other a few weeks ago while trying out for parts in a film directed by Dan's friend and Serena's classmate, Vanessa Abrams. Serena hadn't gotten the part, and Dan had almost given up hope of ever seeing her again, but then they'd met again at a bar in Brooklyn. They'd seen each other and talked on the phone a few times since then, but this was their first real date.
Serena had come back to the city last month after being kicked out of boarding school. At first, she'd been thrilled to be back in the city. But then she'd discovered that Blair Waldorf and all her other old friends had decided not to be friends with her anymore. Serena still didn't know what she'd done that was so awful. Sure, she hadn't really kept in touch with anyone, and sure, she'd maybe bragged a little too much about all the fun she'd had in Europe this past summer. So much fun mat she hadn't returned in time for the first day of classes at Hanover Academy in New Hampshire. The school had refused to take her back.
Her old school, Constance Billard, was more forgiving. Well, the school was. The girls were not. Serena didn't have a single friend in New York anymore, so she was thrilled to meet Dan. It was fun getting to know someone so different from herself.
Dan wanted to pinch himself every time he looked into Serena's dark blue eyes. He had been in love with her since he first laid eyes on her at a party in ninth grade, and it was his hope that now, two-and-a-half years later, she was falling in love with him, too.
"Let's get the biggest sundaes on the menu," Serena said. "We can switch bowls halfway through so we don't get bored."
She ordered the triple peppermint sundae with extra hot-fudge sauce, and he ordered a coffee banana split. Dan would eat anything with coffee in it. Or tobacco.
"So," Serena said, pointing at the paperback sticking out of Dan's coat pocket, "is that good?"
The book was No Exit, by Jean Paul Sartre, an existentialist tale of misfits in purgatory.
"Yeah. It's kind of funny and kind of depressing," Dan said. "But there's a lot of truth to it, I guess."
"What's it about?"
Serena laughed. "Whoa," she said. "Do you always read books like that?"
Dan extracted an ice cube from his water glass and put it in his mouth. "Like what?"
"Like, about hell," she said.
"No, not always." He had just finished reading The Sorrows of Young Werther, which was about love. And hell.
Dan liked to think of himself as a tormented soul. He preferred novels and plays and books of poetry that revealed the tragic absurdity of life. They were the perfect accompaniment to coffee and cigarettes.
"I have trouble reading," Serena confessed.
Their sundaes came. They could barely see each other over the mounds of ice cream. Serena dipped her long sundae spoon into the bowl and carved out a perfectly enormous bite. Dan marveled at the long, slim angle of her wrist, the taut muscle of her arm, the golden brilliance of her pale blond hair. She was about to pig out on a disgustingly huge sundae, but to him she was a goddess.
"I mean, I can read, obviously," Serena continued. "I just have trouble paying attention. My mind wanders, and I think about what I'm going to do that night. Or something I need to buy at the drugstore. Or something funny that happened like, a year ago or something." She swallowed the bite of ice cream and looked into Dan's understanding brown eyes. "I just have no attention span," she said sadly.
This was what Dan loved most about Serena. She had the ability to be sad and happy at the same time. She was like a lone angel, floating above the surface of the earth, laughing with delight because she could fly but crying out of loneliness. Serena turned everything ordinary into something extraordinary.
Dan's hands shook as he cut off the tip of his chocolate-covered banana with his spoon and ate it silently. He wanted to tell Serena that he'd read for her. That he'd do anything for her. Coffee ice cream melted and spilled over the edge of his bowl. Dan tried to keep his heart in his chest.
"I had a great English teacher at Riverside last year," he said when he'd regained control. "He told us the best way to retain what you read is to just read a little bit at a time. Savor the words."
Serena loved the way Dan talked. The way he said things made her want to remember them. She smiled and licked her lips. "Savor the words," she repeated, the corners of her mouth curving up into a smile.
Dan swallowed a piece of his banana whole and reached for his water. God, she was beautiful.
"So, you're probably, like, a total A student and you've already applied to Harvard early or something, right?" Serena said. She picked a broken piece of candy cane out of her sundae and sucked on it.
"No way," Dan said. "I'm totally clueless. I mean, I definitely want to go somewhere with a good writing program, I just don't know where yet. Our college advisor gave me this big long list, and I've got all the catalogs, but I still don't know what I'm doing."
"Me neither. But I'm probably going up to visit Brown sometime soon," Serena told him. "My brother goes there. Want to come?"
Dan searched the deep wells of her eyes, trying to gauge whether she felt as passionate about him as he did about her. When she said, "Want to come?" did she mean, "Let's spend the weekend together, holding hands, staring into each other's eyes, and kissing for hours at a time"? Or did she mean, "Let's go together because it would be convenient and fun to have a friend along"? Still, he couldn't say no. He didn't care whether she'd said Brown or Loserville Community College, Serena had asked him if he wanted to go and the answer was yes. He'd go anywhere with her.
"Brown," Dan said, as if he were still thinking it over. "They're supposed to have a great writing program."
Serena nodded, combing her long blond hair with her fingers. "So come with me."
Oh, he'd go. Of course he'd go. Dan shrugged. "I'll talk to my dad about it," he said, trying to sound casual. He didn't dare let Serena know that inside he was leaping and bounding around like an excited puppy. He was afraid he might scare her away.
"Okay, ready? Let's switch," Serena said, pushing her bowl toward Dan.
They switched bowls and tasted each other's sundaes. As soon as the new flavors hit their taste buds, their faces contorted and they stuck out their tongues. Peppermint and coffee didn't mix. Dan hoped it wasn't a sign.
Serena took her bowl back and dug in for the final stretch. Dan took a few more bites of his and then put his spoon down.
"Whoa," he said, leaning back in his chair and clutching his stomach. "You win."
Her bowl was still half full, but Serena put her spoon down, too, and unbuttoned the top button of her jeans. "I think we're tied," she said with a giggle.
"Want to take a walk?" Dan ventured, crossing his trembling lingers and toes so tightly that they turned blue.
"I'd love to," Serena replied.
Sixtieth Street was quiet for a Friday night. They walked west, toward Central Park. At Madison, they stopped at Barneys and looked in the window. There were still a few people behind the counters in the cosmetics department, setting up for the Saturday morning rush.
"I don't know what I'd do without Barneys." Serena sighed, as if the store had saved her life.
Dan had only been inside the famous department store once. He'd let his imagination run wild and had bought a very expensive designer tuxedo there with his father's credit card, fantasizing about wearing it while dancing with Serena at a glamorous party. But then reality had set in. He hated glamorous parties, and until a few days ago, he'd thought Serena would never have two words to say to him. So he'd returned the tux.
Now he smiled at the memory. Serena definitely had more than two words to say to him. She'd invited him to spend the weekend with her. They were falling in love. Maybe they'd even wind up going to the same college and spending the rest of their lives together.
Careful, Dan. There goes that imagination again.
- On Sale
- Aug 1, 2008
- Page Count
- 256 pages