Hey, Upper East Siders.

Gossip Girl here, and have I got some news for you. Word has it that the Netherfield penthouse has been let at last. You know it, that fabulous loft in Manhattan? The one we all partied our adorable butts off at last New Years? Hopefully you weren't too trashed to recall what happened the next morning.

And the fact that the penthouse has finally been let is not even the best news. It's who is letting it. Girls, break out those fabulous thigh-high Chanel boots and your shortest miniskirts. We have a very, very eligible bachelor on our hands, the name of none other than Charles Bingley.

Yes, that Bingley.

Apparently, he's only 20 and one of the richest men in the world. Like, Bill Gates rich. No, Bing is probably richer than Bill Gates. And it's all thanks to his creation of PP networking. You know the site. It began in our sister country of the UK and spread all the way to the States. It's better than Facebook and Myspace combined. After he sold it, Bing made bank. And how could he not with such a suggestive name for a networking site. I mean, PP? Come on. It's suggestively fabulous.

And Bing isn't coming alone, I hear. He may be one of the richest eligible bachelors in the world, but as awesome as Bing is, he is absolutely nothing compared to his bud W. Word has it that W is at least twice as rich as Bing. Basically, he's got a totally absurd amount of dough. I'm sure he's not one to say no to a bottle of Cristal just for laughs and giggles. And how did W get so insanely wealthy? Well, he took over his father's law firm at the age of 21. Apparently, the Darcy law firm has been around since practically the Middle Ages. So not only is W absurdly rich, he's also old money. Now that's a young business buff for you.

Have I mentioned that they are both totally gorgeous?

Watch out, New York City. It's raining hot bachelors. I'm not even bringing out my adorable new Coach umbrella.

xoxo,

Gossip Girl

***

It was a gorgeous New York City day in August. Dandelion tufts of clouds floated in the blue glass bowl of the sky stretching over the busiest city in the world. Even if it hadn't been lovely outside, Fifth Avenue, perhaps one of the most famous streets of the city, would have still sparkled, a diamond amid a pile of dull gray rocks. Prada, Gucci, Salvatore Ferrgamo were all beacons as storefronts along the golden street. Christian Louboutin pumps, Fendi bags, floaty Jovovich-Hawk dresses gleamed on the sidewalks, adorning the feet, arms, and pencil-thin bodies of celebrities, socialites, and the infinitely wealthy. Bendel's, Macy's, Saks were heavens of clothing, shoes, bags, jewelry. The mere beauty of an August, summer day could scarcely compete with the splendor that was Fifth Avenue.

Splendor, that was marred only slightly by Francine "Frannie" Eleanor Bennet's inhuman screech rang out from outside the door of Sak's Fifth Avenue as she peeked into the display windows.

"JANIE! Look at this dress. It's absolutely perfect for you, dear!"

Enter one Jane Francine Bennet, favorite and eldest of all the five Bennet daughters. Beautiful, kind, and unassuming, Jane had the classic taste of Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe, and the Marc Jacobs atrocity glaring at her from the window was hardly something she would wear. Givenchy and Chanel were more suited to her taste, though Marc Jacobs had his own sort of flair. She surveyed it, though, with the grace of a queen, her lovely mind ever open to new ideas, and with mild interest, and murmured,

"Oh, that's lovely, Mom." And to Jane's infinite credit, there wasn't even a touch of sarcasm in her voice.

"Get in there and try it on, Jane dear," Frannie bossed, fluffing her bob in the window's reflection, probably studying the new honey blond lowlights she had gotten. She'd read in Cosmopolitan that honey blond made one look younger. Did the make her cheeks look rounder? Should she have gone with more blond to accentuate her bright blue eyes? It was hard to tell. As she studied her reflection, Jane quietly obliged, always gentle and noncontroversial, sliding through the department store doors gracefully.

"What about me, Mom!? I need a dress too, you know! Just as much as Janie!"

"Yeah, Mom. I do too!"

"Everyone is getting a dress, Lydia," Frannie sighed, herding her two youngest daughters, the twins, through the department store doors. Lydia Cornelia Bennet and Katherine "Kitty" Marie Bennet were similar in so many ways. Both girls were light-hearted to the point of foolishness, superficial, vain, gossipy, and utterly boy-crazy. Lydia was, in fact, well known as the biggest flirt of the Upper East Side. Her adventures with Chuck Bass at the Riley wedding was only too well known, to the embarrassment of her family. They forcefully ignored the whole situation. At the moment, she was mucking around with at least two boys, one more handsome than the next. She simply could not keep her hands off them. And why should she? Every girl deserves a hot boy as her toy. For a vivacious fifteen year old, Lydia was quickly earning the title of "slut" which was not something she was very embarrassed about.

As Robin is to Batman, and Jennie Humphrey was to Blair Waldorf, at least before everyone found out her dirty little secret, Kitty was to Lydia. Kitty was Lydia's sidekick in all they did, and was only too happy to follow her more outgoing sister around. She lacked Lydia's skill in flirting and charming, and was somewhat awkward. But we shall give the poor girl an A for effort, possibly the only one she has ever earned. What she lacked in the departments of wit and persona, Kitty made up for in desperation, determined to be as successful with the boys of the Upper East side as her twin sister.

With a whoosh, Frannie, Lydia, and Kitty vanished into the store, cooing like the pigeons crapping on the roofs above them, leaving the two other Bennet women behind on the sidewalk. Mary Eleanor Bennet, self-declared revolutionist, vegan, angry girl punk rock fan, and animal rights activist shouldered her hemp bag, cast a dark look at the department store, and muttered, "I'll wait out here." Mary was the rebel of the Bennet brood. She was rarely seen with a smile on her face, preferring a degrading scowl, though she would have been quite attractive if she had put the effort into curving the corners of her mouth upward once in awhile. Mary found herself a bench to perch on outside the store, plugged her ear buds securely into her ears, and pushed play on her ipod. She picked at the diamond piercing in her lips, and extracted a book of poetry from her bag, flicking to a middle page, and settling down to read. Such a tormented soul. Life on Fifth Avenue is tough, but someone's got to do it. That, of course, didn't mean that Mary wasn't allowed to bitch the whole time.

"I already got a dress," she added, slightly louder than was necessary, and we can thank Peaches blaring in her ear about penises for that, waving her sister, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Danielle Bennet away with a charming scowl.

"Alright then, see you later, Mare," came the reply from Lizzie, and then she, too passed through the doors. Lizzie was, perhaps, the real black sheep of the Bennet women, even more so than Mary. Out of all of them, Lizzie was the most realistic. She wasn't caught up in the fairy tale life that they lived, instead keeping herself grounded as a journalism major at Columbia University there in New York City. Journalism was real to Lizzie, unlike anything she had encountered in her world where being fake, backstabbing, and lying seemed to be the vogue thing to do. Her sharp wit, sarcastic nature, and intellect, not to mention her "unusual," as Frannie would put it, fashion sense, proved excellent for a journalism career, and allowed her the fortune and misfortune of being quick to make both friends and enemies.

Lizzie found her mother and sisters in the dress department of Saks. Lydia was rifling through the a rack of barely there dresses, mere squares of fabric, plucking out whichever she found suitable and handing them to Kitty to hold. Kitty was already struggling with perhaps twenty dresses, her bony arms threatening to break under the weight of chiffon, satin, lace, and organza. Frannie was seated in a luxurious armchair before the dressing room like the duchess she wished she was.

The whole shopping trip was for the Lucas benefit dinner gathering that night. A yearly affair, the Lucas dinner was always looked forward to. This year, the benefit was for HIV and AIDS, and Lizzie felt that it was refreshing that people were actually trying to help others for once. The theme was naturally red, so the goal was to find exquisite apparel that meshed with the theme.

"Come out, Jane dear," she called, applying her pink Chanel lipstick and smacking her lips together, a tiny pocket mirror fixed in front of her face. Lizzie surveyed the scene warily. Shopping trips often ended up badly for the Bennets, with Lydia or Kitty or Frannie throwing a bitch fit. Usually, it was all three. She peeked through a rack of cocktail dresses, and plucked one of the rack. As the dressing room curtains whirled open, Lizzie moved to her mother's side, clutching the dress in her hands. Out came Jane, wearing the Marc Jacobs dress that had been in the window display. The origami folds were certainly interesting, but altogether absurd. Of course, Jane still looked exquisitely lovely, though Lizzie believed she could do better. Actually, anyone could have done better. Let's be honest. The Marc Jacobs dress was horrible. There was an appalling silence as everyone stared at the atrocity that made even Jane Bennet look like she was from Brooklyn.

"Jane," Lizzie called, holding out the dress she had found on the rack. "Try this one."

"What on earth is wrong with the one she has on?" Frannie snapped, shooting a smoldering glare in Lizzie's direction as Jane took the dress. Clearly, Frannie was unwilling to be wrong, though she clearly was. Choosing not to answer, Lizzie moved towards the clothing racks again, this time searching for something herself. If her mother had any taste at all, she would have realized that everything was wrong with the dress.

Behind her, Frannie had started a rant. "That Marc Jacobs is perfect. It's eye-catching! You girls have got to get married someday, and how do you expect to find a man without something interesting on? I mean, take, for example, Lindsay Lohan. Everyone notices her. She has such interesting personal style"

"That's because she's absurd," interjected Lizzie, studying the folds of a Diane von Furstenberg dress. "And because she's in and out of rehab every other week."

Frannie went on, ignoring her second oldest child. "That's how I caught your father's eye, in my multicolored Chanel. I just want you to be happy. And to get noticed! There are going to be many important people at the dinner tonight! I want you to catch their attention!" She wrung her hands in her lap, then reapplied her lipstick once more, perhaps a nervous habit. She smudged it outside her lip line, making her altogether garish.

Lizzie rolled her eyes, hidden behind a rack of yellow dresses. There is a difference between getting noticed for something good, and getting noticed because you look frightful. Obviously, this fact of life had escaped her mother.

Once more, Jane emerged from the dressing room, now dressed in a cherry red, high necked, knee length wonder by David Meister. The back was high as well, and the waist was garnished by an adorable bow. She looked simply stunning in the classic silhouette. Lizzie smiled appreciatively at both her sister and her own stellar taste in clothes, one of the only things she believed that she was very prideful about. Prejudice, however, was an entirely different thing.

"Oh, Jane!" gushed their mother, leaping from the seat, and fluttering around Jane like an annoying fly. "You look gorgeous. Much, much, much better than that Marc Jacobs. Oh, darling!"

"Thanks, Mom," Jane replied, graciously, purposely avoiding catching Lizzie's eye. Both were sure to erupt in laughter at their mother's antics, should they share such a look. "I think it will go wonderfully with my white Manolo Blahnik pumps, don't you?"

"Of course, dear. You'd look simply ravishing in anything," Frannie raved, smiling fondly at Jane. "Help Lizzie find a dress, Jane dear. Katherine, Lydia, let's see what you've found, girls."

Still wearing her lovely dress, Jane stepped towards Lizzie, while Kitty and Lydia moved into the dressing rooms, carrying what seemed like half the store in their spindly arms.

Browsing the racks mindlessly, Lizzie muttered, "I don't know how you stand it," to her sister.

"Oh, Lizzie," Jane huffed. "She's not that bad."

Lizzie met her sister's eyes skeptically, perking up a quizzical eyebrow, and the two girls were forced to duck down behind the rack to hide in attempt to muffle their laughter.

When they had finally straightened up, Lizzie yanked a BCBG Max Azria black mini dress from the rack. "Not that bad? Please, Jane."

"You're too judgmental, that's all," Jane admonished, regaining her composure. "That dress is very you," she then observed, studying Lizzie's pick. "You do realize, though, that Mom will hate it?"

"All the more reason to get it," Lizzie said with a mischievous smirk, flouncing off towards the dressing room, dress in hand. As Jane predicted, Frannie loathed Lizzie's pick. That, however was the least of her worries. Lydia and Kitty had decided that they had to have the shortest minis known to mankind. As in, fabric covered where it counted, and left everything else bare. Considering the fact that the dinner was really a party type of atmosphere, Frannie really could not object to her girls' choices.

"Mom, I need shoes too," demanded Lydia, examining her extremely fitted Elizabeth and James corset-like dress. "I'm thinking those black, t-strap Prada ones. You know, the ones I was telling you about the other day?"

"If Lydia gets new shoes, then I do too!" piped up Kitty. "I really want a pair of those leopard print Jimmy Choo's!"

"Kitty!" ejaculated Lydia scathingly. "Leopard print is soooo tacky!"

Having lived with her adorably obnoxious family for quite too long, Lizzie quickly stated, "Well, since Jane and I are done, I think we'll head out." She paused, trying to feel out any tremors that would lead to a full-blown Fran-tastic explosion. "You don't mind, right?"

"No, no, of course not dear. Here, take this credit card and pay for those dresses." Frannie glanced sharply at Lizzie. "I do wish that you would change your mind about that dress, Lizzie dear."

"Don't worry about it, Mom. I'll make it fabulous," Lizzie assured, swiping the plastic from her mother's hand. "We'll see you at home. Good luck!" she added with a knowing wink.

Soon, Jane and Lizzie were back out in the sunshine, back to blinking in the splendor of Fifth Avenue. Lizzie felt that they had been lucky with the shopping trip. At least it had not ended in tears, while they were there, anyway.

"Come on, Mare!" Lizzie shouted at her sister, and the three of them began to head back to their Fifth Avenue penthouse.

They had a party to get ready for.

****

Hey people!

I know you're all probably getting dolled up for the Lucas party this evening. I know I am. My Diane von Furstenberg dress is just so awesome. Try not to be jealous, ok? I just wanted to let you know that you might want to exfoliate a little extra with your Fresh body scrub or apply a little more of your Burberry Brit fragrance to your décolletage. Want to know why? Of course you do. And how well you know me. You know I can't keep a secret to save my life.

I've heard from a very reliable source that our Bing is making an appearance at the Lucas party. Apparently, Bing is bringing his delightful sister, Ca, along with. You'll recognize her when you see her. She walked in the Eleanor Waldorf fashion show last year during spring Fashion Week. Word has it she has her eyes on her brother's sexy best friend, but I say let's give her a run for her money, girls.

xoxo,

Gossip Girl

***

"Lydia, hurry up! The limo is leaving in, like, five minutes!"

"I'll be there in a second! GOD!"

In the foyer of the Bennet penthouse, Lizzie checked her cell phone for the time, then heaved a sigh. It would be a miracle if the Bennet brood was ever on time for anything. And this was not simply being fashionably late. This was late late, and breaching on rudeness and humiliation. Absently, she picked at her red studded cuff bracelet. She had, indeed, spiced up her little black dress. Cherry red tights made her thin, muscular legs glow in the dimly lit foyer. Studded Burberry ankle boots graced her feet, and she gripped a cream clutch. Beside her, on the couch, Jane was stunning in her bright red dress as she texted on her phone. White Manolo Blahniks gleamed from her feet, and a charming cherry brooch was pinned to the dress. Her blond locks were garnished with a black patent leather headband.

Can you say fabulous?

Eventually, Lydia made her appearance in her minuscule mini, accentuated with dark red snake print, peep toe Mary Janes. Kitty was behind, her new Jimmy Choo's wild on her feet. Mary had on a black and white geometric print shift, cinched with a skinny red belt.

And at long last, the Bennet brood made their extremely tardy way down the elevator and to the stretch limo waiting out on the curb for them. In the limo, Mr. Noah Aldan Bennet and Frannie were arguing about whether or not the living room decor needed to be redone. Frannie insisted that the rich upholstery was from two seasons ago, and therefore completely unacceptable. Noah maintained that buying new furniture was quite unnecessary. Lydia and Kitty were sneaking alcohol from the mini refrigerator within, Mary was listening to the White Stripes, her ipod blaring, Jane was texting someone, her fingers moving rapidly across the keys, and Lizzie was tuning it all out, staring out the limo window at the city beyond. It was beautiful-ugly outside, one of the miracles of human kind. The beauty of the lights shone down on glamour, drugs, and garbage.

Soon, the limo pulled up to the curb of the club the benefit party was being held at. The Bennets rolled out of the limo, Frannie and Noah arm in arm, Jane behind them, followed closely by Lizzie, then an annoyed-looking Mary, who had been forced to abandon her ipod by her mother, and finally, last but not least, the youngest Bennets, already tipsy from the wine coolers that they had snuck fro the mini fridge in the limo. The seven Bennets walked the carpet leading into the club and through the door.

Immediately, Lydia and Kitty set off, abandoning their family for the supposedly pleasanter company of their fellow freshman. Frannie and Noah found some of their own friends – the Waldorf-Roses, the Basses, and the Archibalds -leaving the rest of their offspring to their own devices. It didn't take long for entertainment to find them.

"Lizzie!!" It was Charlotte Lucas, daughter of Sir William Lucas, who was hosting the charity even that evening. Lizzie also counted Charlotte as one of her closest friends. Ah, finally, a bright spot of the evening. Well, ok. That was a bit untrue. But after spending even thirty minutes stuck in the limo with her absurdly adorable family, Lizzie was feeling slightly pessimistic. Charlotte had the spectacular talent of putting a smile on her face, which was exactly what was happening at this very moment.

"Charlotte!" The two girls embraced, then broke apart to examine one another's outfits. Lizzie smiled broadly. "You look awesome." Her friend beamed back at her.

"Right back at you," said Charlotte, deftly linking her arm through Lizzie's. "Let's see who's here." Over in the corner was Blair Waldorf with what looked like a gin and tonic cradled in her hand as she held court with her school friends. Waldorf BFF and life of the party, Serena van der Woodsen was laughing loudly at the bar, no doubt working her charm as she usually did. Nate Archibald, one of the hottest guys on the Upper East Side, was smoking a joint with his slimy friend, Chuck Bass, blowing the smoke into the rafters of the club. Ah, society parties. Could it get any better?

"So when is the famed Charlie Bingley getting here?" Lizzie found herself asking Charlotte. Though she wasn't one for gossip, Lizzie was still faintly interested in the mystery surrounding the new most eligible bachelors of the Upper East Side. And who wasn't? The room was buzzing with talk of the arrival of Charles "Bing" Bingely and Will Darcy. Apparently, everyone had kept up to date on . Nearly every eye was casually trained on the door for the arrival of the stars of the evening, though everyone was trying to pretend not to be too interested.

Charlotte glanced at her Rolex, remarking, "Should be soon. I mean, you guys were already insanely late." Charlotte grinned at Lizzie. "Surely they can't be much farther behind you."

Lizzie elbowed her friend playfully in the side. "Hey. Don't blame that on me." Suddenly, the room was loud with whispers. The poppy music the DJ had been playing died away. A high-pitched giggle rang out. Lydia, of course. True, all of the people at the party may have been socialites and semi-celebrities, but at the arrival of Charlie Bingley and Will Darcy was still something that made them all turn their heads to admire.

There were three people that had just entered the room, the three people everyone was dying to see. There were two extremely attractive young men. The one on the left had a nice, pleasant smile, accentuated by the brightness in his adorable green eyes. A mop of strawberry blond hair curled into his eyes, a hair color only a man of his hotness could pull off. Rising a few inches about him was the other man, who was, if possible, even more gorgeous. He had a highbred, aristocratic look about him. His nose was perfectly straight. His eyes were deep and expressive. His hair had a shaggy, yet elegant look to it. And his lips were utterly kissable, although they didn't curve upwards as his friend's. Both men were dressed in tasteful tuxedos. Beside him was a model-thin woman in a silver Herve Ledger bandage dress, accentuated with firecracker red pumps. Her lips were painted a shocking red as well, clashing slightly with her lovely red coif.

In a word, they were utterly fabulous.

"Which one is Charlie?" Lizzie whispered to Charlotte, shielding her mouth with her hand as she leaned into her friend.

"The one on the left," Charlotte hissed back, pleased to know something that Lizzie Bennet did not. "And that's his sister," she added, showing off her knowledge even more.

"Who's the one in the middle?" Lizzie asked. "And what the hell is he so pissed off about?"

Charlotte shook her head, a smile betraying her desire to laugh. "That's his friend, Will Darcy."

"God, he looks like his dog just died," Lizzie continued, wrinkling her forehead at Will Darcy. He looked completely boring. Most likely thought he was better than the rest of them. Lizzie ripped her eyes from Will Darcy, only to find that everyone else's eyes were still trained on the threesome. Oh, good God. Roughly, Lizzie grabbed Charlotte by the elbow, and dragged her over to the DJ.

"Hey!" Charlotte protested.

"I'd like to put in a request," Lizzie said sweetly, forcing the DJ out of his stupor. He smiled at her.

"And what is that, pretty girl?"

Lizzie rolled her eyes, but maintained her cool. "Um…how about, "Pokerface" by Lady Gaga?"

"Coming right up." A moment later, the track was playing, bringing everyone else at the party back to life. People began dancing. Take Blair Waldorf and Chuck Bass for example, who were grinding on one corner of the dance floor. Drinks were flowing, laughter and chatter rang out. Now that the guests of honor were here, the party had really begun.

Lizzie and Charlotte had found Jane and were talking to a few friends from high school, cosmopolitans dangling from their loose grips. Unfortunately, Frannie, who had clearly had quite a bit to drink already, interrupted the rather pleasant conversation.

"Lizzie!" accosted Frannie, slurring slightly. "Jane! Come and meet Charlie Bingley."

Ever the obedient child, Jane polished off the rest of her drink, lightly setting her martini glass down on the bar. Beside Lizzie, Charlotte was said, "Oh, come on, Liz."

Lizzie felt she had no choice but to obey as well to avoid a public bitch fit by Frannie. Consequently, she downed the rest of her own drink, slamming the glass down on the bar.

"Alright, let's go."

Frannie led the three girls over to where Noah and Sir Lucas were already conversing with Charlie Bingley, Will Darcy, and Caroline Bingley. Charlie looked every bit as pleasant as his earlier smile had been. He looked thoroughly interested in whatever Sir Lucas was speaking about. As for his sister, Caroline, she looked utterly bored out of her brain, though as she was a model, perhaps that wasn't saying much.

And then there was Will Darcy. He was utterly stony-faced and silent, staring down as his Prada dress shoes. He was such a mystery. Lizzie found herself narrowing her eyes at him. What the hell was his problem, anyway? If he didn't want to be there, then why on earth was he?

"Ah, here they are," Noah was saying, opening his arm to his wife, two daughters, and Charlotte Lucas. "My wife, Frannie." Said wife tittered in a silly way, extending her hand to Charlie. He shook it good-naturedly In turn, Frannie also shook hands with Caroline and Will Darcy, who broke his death stare at his shoes only long enough to do so. "My eldest daughter, Jane," Noah further introduced. "And my second eldest, Lizzie." Lizzie was soon going through the handshaking routine that her mother and sister had just gone through.

Charlie Bingley had a wonderful handshake. Lizzie found she couldn't help but decide that she liked him already, despite only just meeting him. Her own smile grew thanks to his. Caroline offered her a small, uppity smile. Will Darcy scarcely met her eyes with his own, though his handshake spoke of power and influence. He had quite a strong grip.

Lizzie brought herself back to the present. "So, what's brought you to New York?" Sir Lucas was asking Charlie.

"Well, business, mostly," Charlie replied, grinning. "And I'm supposed to help host TRL tomorrow," he joked, every word he spoke electrified by his sexy British accent. Shaking his strawberry curls, he added, "No, I've always wanted to live in New York." He shot a glance at Jane. "The sights of the city are truly something to behold."

Well, someone was a bit of a smooth operator, now wasn't he? Blame it on the English charm. It's utterly irresistible.

"Well, I've heard that the library at Netherfield is a sight to behold," Lizzie stated.

Charlie nodded, a bit vaguely. "It is amazing," he admitted, "but unfortunately I'm not much of a reader." He paused, as though examining his words. "I just find that there is so much else that occupies my time."

"Oh, I'm the same way," Jane seconded, lightly touching his arm. "There's just always so else much to do."

A minute later, Jane and Charlie were on the dance floor together, dancing to "Love in this Club" by Usher. How very appropriate. Obviously sparks were flying and so were the rumors.

"I heard she met him on vacation last summer. And he came after here, all the way to New York," Kati Farkas was telling Isabel Coates in between sips of Ketel One and soda.

"Oh yeah? Well I heard she's carrying his baby, and she made him come back with her," Isabel said smugly.

"Have you seen how skinny she is? There is no way she's pregnant," Kati shot back with an eye roll.

Only on the Upper East Side could such a sweet moment be mutated like so.

Now left with only Will Darcy and Caroline Bingley, as Charlotte was now dancing with a cute guy and her parents had wandered off to find more booze alone, Lizzie was feeling slightly awkward and rather abandoned. She decided that her best option was to forward the conversation. It wasn't as though she, too, could just wander off. She had a sense of propriety, after all. And considering that her so-called best friend and older sister had abandoned her and no one was asking her to dance, Lizzie had no choice. She bravely turned to Will Darcy.

"So…Will, do you dance?"

He was at long last forced into looking at her. His gaze had been wandering the party, thoroughly blank.

"Not if I can help it," Darcy stated, some of the first words Lizzie had heard him speak during the whole evening.

Well, that was seriously a conversation stopper. Seriously, Lizzie wasn't going to hang around if she wasn't wanted. Good Lord, did these rich bastards have any social skills whatsoever?

"Will you excuse me?" Lizzie inquired, quickly escaping the situation. Ok, maybe she had been a little harsh. Charlie had plenty of good social skills. He was nice, charming. Perhaps he ought to teach his friend some manners.

Apparently Charlotte's dance partner hadn't been that good because she was fleeing the dance floor. Spotting Lizzie, Charlotte headed straight for her, took Lizzie's arm roughly. "God, that guy was awful. I need a smoke. Will you come outside with me?"

"Anything to get out of here," Lizzie said. The two girls escaped to the warm night outside, Charlotte digging out her pack of Marlboro Lights as they did. Charlotte flicked out her lighter and deftly lit her cigarette, inhaling and blowing smoke into the air. Lizzie breathed in the fresh air, tainted only slightly by Charlotte's cigarette smoke.

"I have never beheld such a beautiful creature in my life."

Both Lizzie and Charlotte looked at one another. It was Charlie. Both of them huddled into the nearest dark corner, Charlotte shielding the red burn of her cigarette with her hand.

"You were dancing with the only decent looking girl here." Darcy.

"Oh, come on. Her sister, Lizzie, is perfectly good-looking."

"She's alright, I suppose. At any rate, she isn't pretty enough for me."

In the dark, Lizzie and Charlotte exchanged glances.

"You might as well go back inside to that girl," Darcy had continued, a slight chill in his voice. "You're wasting your time with me."

"Oh, come on, grumpy knickers. Inside with you. I'm going to find you a swell dancing partner.

"Oh, Lizzie," breathed Charlotte, when she was sure they were gone. Lizzie broke away from the shadows, shrugging her shoulders. "Just think," Charlotte continued. "If he liked you, you'd actually have to talk with him." Like always, Charlotte managed to put a smile on her face.

"Exactly," Lizzie replied. "Shall we go in and make our own fun?"

"I think we shall," Charlotte agreed, stubbing out her cigarette against the concrete sidewalk.

And they did. Charlie managed to tear himself away from Jane long enough to have a dance with Charlotte. And as for Lizzie, she danced with everyone on the floor, not the type to withhold dancing because of someone's looks. Chuck Bass, however, was an exception. She wasn't exactly in the mood to get groped tonight. After shaking their asses to quite a few songs, everyone seemed to reconvene by the drinks table. Charlotte went off for another smoke, leaving Lizzie with Charlie and Jane. Somehow, Will Darcy had joined their party, sending prickles of dislike squirming up Lizzie's spine.

The four of them, or rather, the three of them (Will wasn't speaking much) were having quite a pleasant conversation until Frannie stumbled up to the group. Clearly, she had a bit too much to drink. And who could blame her with an open bar? "Oh, Mr. Bingley," Frannie slurred, hooking her arm through Jane's in a chummy sort of way. "I do hope you are enjoying New York so far."

"Indeed, I am," Charlie said, looking slightly amused. "I've never seen so many pretty girls in my life," he continued to boast, a small smile on his lips. His eyes flicked towards Jane, barely noticeable.

"I suppose you mean my Jane," Frannie said loudly. "She is lovely, isn't she?"

"Mom," Lizzie warned, rolling her eyes. Dear God. Did her mother have any sense of propriety? Charlie continued to look amused.

"In fact," Frannie was going on, "When she was about fifteen, she had a boyfriend so much in love with her that, I swear to God, I thought they were going to end up together." Frannie gave a slightly drunken giggle. "I mean, he used to write her poetry, for Christ's sake."

Lizzie felt that she owed it to her sister to interrupt their mother. "And that's what ended it!" she stated, eyes flashing in amusement. "I wonder who first discovered that poetry could kill a flourishing romance stone dead." Take Daniel Humphrey, for example. Back when he had dated Serena van der Woodsen for about a millisecond, he had written her poetry. And look where it had gotten him.

'I thought that poetry fed love." Will Darcy had spoken his second sentence of the evening. Cue applause. Lizzie felt her eyebrows rise in amusement.

"Maybe for a steady relationship," she mused. "But if it's still young, I'm convinced that a single sonnet will ruin it."

"Then what would you do to encourage romance at those early stages?" Will asked.

Lizzie couldn't resist a jab at him. "Dancing." She paused, then, eyes sparkling with mischief, she added, "Even if one's partner doesn't meet your standards of beauty."

If Will Darcy was embarrassed that she was calling him out on his bad manners, he didn't show it. Lizzie excused herself, making her way outside to find Charlotte.

"Let's get out of here."

***

Hey people!

So how about the Lucas party? I know I had fun, but word has it that W really insulted our girl L. Doesn't he know that we're the only ones who can insult one of our own? Silly W. Let's hope he's a quick learner. Here in the Upper East Side, everyone knows everything about everyone. Did he really think that his dissing L would go unnoticed? Rule number one, W: never talk crap about people when there's even the slightest possibility that someone might overhear. Especially when you're talking crap about the way someone looks. And especially when you are talking crap about how a girl looks. Well, I got your back, L. I was at the party, and I thought she looked fab.

And L wasn't the only one who had fun with New York's newest most eligible bachelors. Bing couldn't take his eyes off her sister, J. To the envy of the rest of us, B danced with J most of the night and stared at her for the rest of it. If she wasn't so damn nice, we'd all have to hate her for it.

Sightings:

C and L taking the party to the Palace Hotel. Guess they needed some shots to dull the drama of the evening. Bing putting J's number into his iphone. Lucky girl. W and Ca making their way out to the limo. She was bitching about the party the whole time. Cheer up, darling. You haven't even seen our best yet. L and K making asses out of themselves. But what's new? You can't expect much out of freshmen.

You know you love me,

Gossip Girl