It's been a day.

One long day since the family dinner to which she'd invited Nate. Twenty-four hours since he'd seen the way the golden boy kept staring at her over the top of his risotto. One thousand four hundred and forty minutes since he'd rounded the corner after the last course and caught them kissing in the hallway and Nathaniel had given him that grin. That same show of teeth he'd flashed the night of Blair's debutant ball. The one that said "I'm about to get laid."

Only he hadn't gotten laid. He'd only gotten an interrupted grope-fest because Chuck knew that smile, knew his friend, and knew that before things progressed any further between the randy pair, he needed to have a serious chat with a certain Archibald.

So he'd made himself a pest, had badgered the couple into playing Goddamned Monopoly with him and Eric and Jonathan and Humphrey, had been an overly attentive shadow at Jenny's side until Nate had finally gone home for the evening. Then he'd promptly called Blair to enlist her help in keeping her successor as Queen of Constance occupied with shopping the next morning so that he could formulate a strategy for dealing with Little J's significant other without having to worry about them getting it on while he did so.

And now with Jenny still being kept busy with his better half, and the rest of the van der Woodsen and Humphrey clans conveniently seeing a musical he'd surprised them with tickets for, and Nate coming over for drinks on his firm insistence, Chuck is ready.

"Nathaniel," he begins nonchalantly as he pours them both highballs of scotch and extends one to the golden boy. "I wanted to talk to you about Jenny."

Taking the proffered glass, the blonde raises his brows in curiosity. "Oh?"

"Yeah," Chuck nods. "I haven't always treated her well, and I feel really bad about that."

"And what does that have to do with me?" Nate inquires, sipping his scotch as if nothing is the matter.

"You've been my best friend forever Nathaniel," Chuck replies, a note of disapproval edging into his voice. "So I think it's safe to say I know you very well."

"And?" Nate prompts, gaze suddenly wary.

Chuck's lips twist into a semblance of pleasantry, although his words are anything but. "And you're usually a love 'em and leave 'em guy, and that's not okay."

The boy who'd been labeled the class whore's response is immediate. "Excuse me?" he snorts in derision. "How many girls have you fucked and totally ignored afterwards? Hundreds? Thousands? I hardly think you're in any position to judge me!"

"Understand this, Nathaniel," Chuck deadpans. "The girls I slept with knew what they were getting into. I was very clear about my intentions and never led them to believe otherwise." Voice dropping into an unconscious imitation of his father's, he continues, "You, on the other hand, are not so forthcoming with that information and Jenny is not a use 'em and lose 'em girl."

"I already know what kind of a girl Jenny is," Nate scowls, temper flaring.

"Good, just keep that fact in mind and we won't ever have a problem," Chuck states, downing his heretofore untouched scotch in one long swallow. Then he narrows his eyes at Nathaniel, a predatory smirk twisting his features. "But if you forget, and start pulling any of the shit you pulled on Blair with her, you and I are going to have a serious problem."

"Hey, I don't think you're exactly qualified to lecture me on how to treat my girlfriend," Nate spits. "You hurt Blair too, remember?"

"Yes," Chuck acquiesces, his expression dangerous. "But we weren't dating, and I never cheated on her, and really what happens between Blair and I is none of your business."

"And what happens between Jenny and I is none of yours!" Nathaniel exclaims.

"But that's where you're wrong, Nathaniel," Chuck counters, setting down his empty highball so it makes an audible click on the table. "Jenny is my business. She's my sister, and family watches out for family. So if you hurt her, I'm going to be forced to set our friendship aside and break your face."

"You'll what?" Nate sputters, incredulous.

"You heard me," Chuck grinds out slowly. Then he claps Nate upon the shoulder as if everything is copasetic and he hadn't just been threatening him with bodily harm. "Now, Blair's dining at Butter with Jenny," he announces, all traces of anger gone. "How about we go join our girls for dessert and show them a good time, hmm?"

Feeling like he has somehow stepped into an episode of the Twilight Zone as he's propelled towards the exit, Nathaniel laughs nervously, partly in fear and partly in confusion. "Who are you and what have you done with Chuck Bass?"

Sighing as he opens the door, Chuck grumbles, "...Blair's ruined me."