The Non-Judging Breakfast Club

Whenever Nate actually considered the root of his relationship problems, which was something he generally avoided doing at all costs, he realized that everything came down one surreal summer night three weeks before the start of freshmen year. By some mix of good luck and good planning, Serena, Chuck, Blair and he had all been back in the city, and every single one of their parents had been gone. Nate impulsively decided to celebrate the moment by hosting an impromptu sleepover on the roof of his building. He remembered lugging his mini-fridge and four sleeping bags laboriously up the stairs and through the emergency exit. He set the sleeping bags first in a perfectly circular pattern, but then, not wanting to seem too compulsive, kicked at them every which way until he was satisfied with how haphazard they seemed. Nate sighed. Sometimes he felt like such a girl.

Blair had arrived first, toting an overnight bag and carrying four flashlights. Nate had grinned at this, and leaned against the railing trying not to laugh as she delicately placed one at the head of each of the sleeping bags, smoothing out Nate's intentional wrinkles and rearranging them back in position.

"They're party favors, N," she had smirked, sending him a sideways glance and tugging down the hem of her dress on one side. Nate always tried to take Blair and her obsession with fashion seriously, but he remembered having difficulty swallowing the particular outfit she wore that August night. Blair had been sporting a light pink, flowing tunic, but, where normal people would have worn pants, Blair had simply allowed her long, tan legs to become the focal point of attention. This meant, naturally, that Nate had been unable to keep his eyes on her face. She had paired the slinky top with a sequined pair of white miu miu pumps.

"You look like a prostitute, Blair," Chuck had drawled as he sauntered up to the two of them, carrying copious amounts of a mystery alcoholic mixture. He poured each a drink and passed them around, flashing a smug smile. Blair delicately placed her glass on the poured cement. She pushed a lock of her long, straight hair behind her right ear.

"Oh?" she said, smirking. "Well, seeing as you are an expert on the topic, I'll just have to take your word for it." Chuck licked his lips seductively.

"I could be the foremost expert on the topic of you," he whispered. Nate just tuned the two of them, and their continual sparring, out of the picture. He sipped the drink Chuck had handed him. It was bitter. Nate hated anything bitter. He set his drink down next to Blair's and gazed out over the skyline into the sunset. Even the pigeons seemed idyllic when bathed in the warm evening glow.

Serena, back then, always seemed to do everything with a little too much flair. She hadn't sounded at all inebriated when he'd called to invite her a couple hours back, but, as Nate too well knew, a couple hours was plenty of time for disaster. Carter Baizen dropped her off, walking her up to the roof like the well-bred gentlemen he was.

"One for the road!" Serena had called, trying to plant a kiss on his lips. She stumbled and missed, smashing her skull into his chin instead. "Ouchie," Serena said joyfully at the same time as Carter went "Shit." He looked carefully at Nate.

"Just… watch her, 'right," he mumbled. Then he left.



The four of them sat on the sleeping bags in an asymmetrical way. Chuck and Blair were facing each other on one, chatting animatedly about Nate had no idea what. Or who. The two of them mostly just gossiped about people, it seemed. Nate found gossip unbelievably boring. Serena was lying down with her knees up, staring at the half-risen moon across the sky. Every time a cloud moved across it to cover the feeble glow, she would whisper, "Nooooo," and hit Nate hard on the knee with her knuckles to draw his attention to the moon. He drew his attention to her. Serena's long, blonde hair was tangled and smelled like smoke, and her makeup smudged throughout her face. Her eyes were red and didn't really seem to focus on anything for too long. Nate thought she looked beautiful.

Chuck broke him from his reverie with an obxnoxious, "Hey, Nathaniel, can we get any room service up in this place?" Nate laughed, but dutifully stood up, and the two of them went down to his floor, returning with most of the snacks in his pantry and four grilled cheese sandwiches the cook whipped up for them. While they were waiting, Nate glanced at Chuck out of the corner of his eye.

"So," he said, "You and Blair seem to be spending a lot of time together lately." Nate smiled. "Is there anything the rest of us should know about there?" Chuck shook his head and gave Nate one of his patented 'you-are-so-fucking-naïve' looks. Nate got those a lot, it seemed.

"Actually," Chuck said, "she likes you. I swore I wouldn't say anything, but you know. It was getting kind of boring to watch."

"You shouldn't have told me then," Nate reprimanded, but he thought it over in his head, anyways. Blair did always seem to be calling him, and running into him in public places, and giving him weird smiles. Blair, he reasoned, is pretty. Not as pretty as Serena or anything, but still. She liked him. It was a weird feeling.

"Your sandwiches, sir," the cook said. Chuck grabbed them and they headed back to the roof. Blair and Serena sat together, giggling about something. They stopped talking when Chuck and Nate sat down. Nate sat next to Blair. She barely acknowledged his presence, continuing her conversation with Chuck. Serena was licking the crust of her sandwich, not actually taking a bite, but staring at it as if grilled cheese were some sort of miracle. Blair still hadn't looked at Nate. Maybe Chuck didn't know what he was talking about. She hadn't touched her sandwich either. He touched her thin, tanned leg.

"Hey," he said. Blair looked at him, then down at his hand on her knee. "Aren't you going to eat your sandwich?" he asked. Nate wasn't sure if he wanted to eat her sandwich himself or if he wanted Blair to eat her own sandwich. She never seemed to eat anymore.

"Um." Blair drew out the word, tugging on her hair. "No." Nate removed his hand. Blair uncrossed her legs. Nate decided that Blair should eat her own sandwich. It's only fair.

"You're too skinny," he said, "eat it, okay." And, to everyone's surprise, Blair did. So, maybe Chuck had her pegged after all.

Two hours later, the four of them were playing this game, ten fingers. Everyone put their hands out into the circle, and they took turns announcing things that they'd 

never done. The statements had to be true. If you had done whatever it was the person hadn't, you had to put down a finger. Nate had six left.

"I've never smoked weed," Blair, to his right, smugly declared. Nate put a finger down. Chuck put a finger down. Serena put a finger down. Nate had five fingers left. Chuck had three. Serena had three. Blair had nine. His turn.

"I've never," he started, looking around at his friends. He felt bad for Blair. She was so far behind. Nate racked his mind, trying to think of something he'd never done that Blair surely must have. Visited Asia? No, he didn't think Blair had been their either. Cheated on a test? No, this was Blair. There's no way she would have, either. All of a sudden, it came to him. Although he didn't really wish to admit this to Chuck, Nate took a deep breath and said, "I've never really kissed anyone." Chuck had two fingers left. Serena had two fingers left. Blair had nine fingers left.

"Wow, that was quite the confession, Nate," Chuck smirked. Blair stared at the ground. Serena laughed.

"Oh, Natie," she cried, "I can fix that!" Serena scooted over towards him and stuck her face in close. She smelled like weed and alcohol and vomit. Nate swallowed. He liked Serena, a lot, but she was kind of disgusting at the moment, and he didn't really want to try kissing in such a public setting. Luckily, Chuck intervened.

"That's cheating," he insisted. Serena backed up.

"Why?" she asked, genuinely curious. Chuck glanced at Blair, who refused to look at Nate, and back at Nate, flushed red and embarrassed.

"It just is," he said. "My turn." Chuck sighed dramatically. He held out his two fingers. Serena held out her two fingers, like a peace sign. Nate held out his left hand, five fingers. Blair held out her eight. Nate looked at her. She had just had nine! He didn't know what to think, now. Has Blair ever kissed anyone? Was she cheating? Nate wasn't really sure why, but he kind of hoped that Blair hadn't ever kissed anyone, either, and was just lying about it. Chuck sighed again.

"Well," he said, "If we're doing confessions, I guess I can be honest. I've never gotten an A in a class." Blair held up seven fingers. Nate held up four. Serena held up her right middle finger to the sky, and giggled.

"Seriously?" Blair asked. "Like, not even in Gym or Study Hall or anything?" Chuck smiled.

"I am untainted by academic glory, B, and I intend on staying that way, too."

Serena glanced around at them. "I've never paid anyone to lie for me in court." Nate looked at Chuck. Blair looked at Chuck. This was clearly a directed statement. Blair held up seven fingers. Nate held up four fingers. Chuck gave Serena his one remaining finger. Blair shifted in her seat.

"Well," she started, smiling at Nate, "If this is confession…" She paused to think for a moment. Nate noticed that she'd removed her white glittery shoes. Her toenails were painted bright purple. "I've never flown anywhere alone." Chuck put his last finger down. Serena put her last finger down. They screamed and high-fived each other for losing together. Nate laughed at their dramatic celebration.

"Are you scared of planes?" he asked Blair. Blair shrugged. "I am," he said. Nate wasn't sure where the desperate want to make Blair feel like they were in the same boat came from. He really was scared of planes, though. Something about them felt so… 

unnatural. The tight, airless insides, the way they bounced around. Chuck looked around at them all with mock seriousness.

"I just want you all to know," he started, clearing his throat, "That we here on Nate's roof, we do not judge others." Serena giggled.

"That's because we're fabulous!" she declared, throwing her arms in the air.

"We're the fabulous four," Blair said.

"Anyone breaking the non-judging rule," Chuck continued, "Will be forced to go downstairs and run around the block naked." Nate laughed and put his pinky finger in the middle.

"Deal," he said.

"Deal," Serena echoed.

"Deal."

"And deal!" Chuck's eyes flashed, as if he had every intent of forcing them to follow through on that contract. Nate laughed again.

"We're like the breakfast club," he explained. Nate had seen the breakfast club twice in a row the week before. He loved that movie.

"The non-judging breakfast club," Chuck clarified.

"No, seriously! You're like, the rule-breaking criminal guy. And Blair is like the chick Molly Ringwald played. And I guess I'm the jock."

"Hey B," Chuck said, "This is like foreshadowing." He put hand on Blair's thigh. She moved it off. "You think I'm disgusting now, but we hook up in the end." Blair rolled her eyes.

"You wish."

"Hey!" Serena said, "Who am I then?" Nate thought about this. Serena didn't really fit into the picture.

"I guess you're Ally Sheedy," he conceded. "But you can be the nerdy guy if you want, too." But Serena wasn't listening anymore. She was staring at the sky again, humming to herself. Chuck poured them each another drink.

Two more hours later, Serena had drifted off to sleep. Chuck had drawn on her face with a marker. Her left cheek now read "Whore" and he drew an arrow on her stomach that pointed in the direction of her… feet… and wrote "Feed me!" next to it. Nate had just shrugged at this. Chuck would be Chuck. Who was now missing in action. He had announced an intense need to pee a half-hour earlier and disappeared down the stairs. Nate vaguely wondered whether or not he should go and check on him. Just to make sure he hadn't, like, thrown up on his mother's antiques or anything.

"Do you think I should go check on Chuck?" he asked Blair, "Just to make sure he didn't like, throw up on my mom's antiques or anything." Blair laughed as they both imagined Chuck wandering drunkenly through the Archibald's apartment, staring in awe at all the statues and paintings.

"Nah," she said, "I'm sure one of the live-ins will clean up after him in that case." This was true. Nate knew that Blair always made really logical points. She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. The two of them were sitting on the railing at the edge of the roof, looking out onto the city below. Blair accidentally placed her hand on a splotch of bird poop. "Ew," she exclaimed. "Nate, it's really gross out here." Nate didn't really 

see what she was bothered about. Yeah, the roof was a little dirty, but the view was great. Besides, he could just shower later. He grabbed her hand and examined the palm.

"It's okay," he said, "I don't see any pigeon pee."

"But, there's germs and stuff," Blair protested. Nate didn't let go of her hand.

"Have you ever kissed anyone before?" he asked. Blair didn't say anything. "'Cause when we were playing 'I never', earlier, you didn't put a finger down at first. And I wondered." Blair drummed her fingernails on the railing.

"Well," she said, "No. But one time I lied and told Serena that I had. So I had to keep that going, even though, you know." Nate smiled. His intuition had been right. He looked out onto the city sky again. Blair moved as if to continue talking, but Nate placed a finger to his lips. She turned back to the city, too. Nate realized that he was still holding onto her hand, but he didn't let go. They sat together for what seemed like forever to Nate but it was probably only somewhere around five minutes. Blair kicked her feet against the bricks, refusing to look at him.

"Hey, Blair," he said, softly. Her eyes met his. And before he could change his mind, he kissed her. It was awkward and a little wet and Blair was so surprised she lost balance a little and he grabbed her waist so she didn't fall. He moved his head back and Blair held up ten fingers. Nate pushed one down. Blair smiled and fiddled with her earring. She looked at the ground. She looked back up at Nate. Nate looked at Blair. She was delicate, pure, untouched. (As if Nate wasn't the exact same way.) She scrunched up her face. Nate scrunched up his.

"Hi, Nate," she said. Nate bit his lip.

"I've never," he said slowly, drawing out the words and holding her gaze, "had a real girlfriend before." He held out his hand, palm facing Blair, fingers spread in a sort of rough peace offering. Blair grabbed his hand from him and held it. She pushed a finger down.