When Jenny was five, she would curl up with Rufus, her short locks of blonde hair splayed across her father's chest. He would pick up a storybook and kiss her forehead as he read her tales of knights in shining armor, princesses in distress, and fairy godmothers. She believed every word and took in the stories with wide, shining green eyes and an exuberant, toothy smile.
When Jenny was eight, Allison and Rufus calmly explained to her the nonexistence of Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny. She had cried profusely, wet tears streaming down her pale, chubby cheeks, and accused her parents of being liars. Her dreams seemed to break apart around her at that tiny little confession.
But when Jenny was nine, she realized that those wonderful fairytales were silly, too. Allison and Rufus began to fight more, and while Jenny could blink and bat her eyes, pretending nothing was amiss, an ache filled her chest when someone would smile and say, "Oh, you all are such a perfect family."
At age ten, Jenny wrote an essay in fourth grade about her least favorite word. She wrote about perfect, and though she couldn't spell and the teacher had to squint to make out her sloppy scrawl, it held emotion. "Nothing's perfect," she wrote bitterly, the pencil digging into the notebook paper. "It's all just a big fat lie."
Jenny was eleven when Dan first told her of love. He spoke so poetically about it, the words streaming and spilling easily from his articulate tongue, that she whispered, awe-struck, "Have you ever loved before?" Dan had frowned down at her; instead of answering, he reached down to tousle her feathery blonde hair, smiling with a placating expression in his dark eyes, and calmly closed the door to his room. Jenny decided then that love was a very rare thing, for not even her important older brother to have experienced it.
The summer Jenny turned thirteen, their mother left. What could have been seen as perfect was now lost, and though she tried hard to capture it, the very idea of a fairytale slipped out of Jenny's grasps. There was no such thing as a loving family, she decided.
Jenny first loved at fourteen, she thought. She adored Asher with all her heart; he established her popularity and supported her indefinitely. But when she realized exactly who he was, her heart shattered - and "love is another big, fat lie," she decided bitterly.
(Love is real!) It was real! There was love, Jenny realized at fifteen, because it existed in Nate Archibald's warm blue eyes and firm, comforting embrace. There was love (a great love)! There was suddenly perfection, and it was the way he looked at her, the way his hair felt on her palm, the way he scented like the best, most expensive cologne. Suddenly there were fairytales because he was a fairytale and she loved him, so, so much.
That same year, Jenny gave up, because "no," she realized, with tears streaming down her cheeks and eyeliner running astray, "there is no such thing as love," because he hated her and he was with Vanessa, and he didn't care about her anymore - "Love does not exist."
She wonders why Dan still talks about love, like it exists. Because if Serena loves Dan - why aren't they perfect anymore?
Perfection and love exists only in fairytales, Jenny decides with a certain finality. And fairytales don't ever come true.
A/N: Somebody - COUGHBecksRylynnCOUGH - wanted more N/J angst from me. And hey, I'm a giver.