Disclaimer:
If I owned Gossip Girl, Jenny wouldn't have to try so hard to be with Nate.


sort-of-disclaimer:
This is a Nate and Jenny fic, just giving Nate some competition is all. Or I should've kept that to myself and kept you at the edge of your seats? Lol. I wish.

-

3:19 P.M. Columbia University. Library.

Nate Archibald probably shouldn't have sat at that certain spot in the Library. For one thing, he could see everyone's business from the window. It can be really hard to concentrate on studying when he finds himself looking outside the window for about every five minutes that he stares at his book. He had to remind himself that for the past hour, he's been able to finish about six pages out of a hundred something book about the different kinds of democracies. Significant progress. At the back of his head, he silently wondered if he could get someone to write his paper for him. Too lazy to even think of doing his school work, right now—Nate had thought of about a hundred ways to justify getting paying someone to do his work. There are tons of ghostwriters who would write speeches for the most renowned speakers. His grandfather has one on payroll even. And it'd cost him just about a few what—hundred dollars? Not to mention, morally speaking, he was Chuck Bass's best friend. But suddenly, he had pictured Serena and her oh-so judging eyes. It killed each justification as it entered its head.

Just as he found his conviction to get back to studying, he found himself staring blankly outside the window yet again. Nate knew that, at best, he was just probably wasting his time. He should have probably just agreed when Hamilton asked him to help out with the seminar a few hours ago. At least he might have done something actually productive.

Another thing that he absolutely hates about this area in the library? It is too cold for anyone to get anything done. Nate Archibald had just frozen up.

'Holy shit.'

As if on speed, Nate rapidly rummaged through his stuff to get his cellphone. He felt like banging his head onto a wall.

13 Missed Calls. 4 Voicemails.


Nate! I'm here at the Steps. Are you near?

Hey, where are you? Am I at the right place?

Nate, it's Jenny. You promised to meet up with me today. You still coming? I've been waiting for half an hour already.

Nate! Ugh…nevermind.

It had totally slipped his mind. He was supposed to meet Jenny a few hours ago to show her around campus. Jenny is gonna be pissed. Not even bothering to waste time fixing his stuff, Nate ran outside—despite the clear rules against it inside the library.

He reached the Low Steps. Panting. Nate looked around. He couldn't find her.

Well of course, he couldn't. She probably wandered off somewhere after she thought that he'd bailed.

Nate checked his watch. It was almost three thirty. The Columbia Orientation Seminar would finish around four. Maybe he could catch her there.

And why was he feeling so guilty anyway? It was Jenny's whole idea to meet up, and not his. Why does she even need him to show him around campus? There are more than enough volunteers to show her every nook and cranny Columbia has to offer. It's not like she's coming to study here next fall, anyway. And Jenny didn't even give him the chance to say no on the phone. Not that he would have.

He had forced himself to breathe slowly. It is not Jenny's fault.

Okay, so he's at the Davis Auditorium. It looks like everyone is just starting to come out. Awesome. Nate stretched up his neck trying to look for Jenny. Where the hell was she? He dialled her number and pressed his phone against his ear.

In the first place, why was he so insistent on finding her?

Well, it's only polite, of course. It's always better late than never. And he didn't want her to think that he ditched her. He just…well, forgot.

And damn it, Jenny. Answer your phone.

Already getting impatient that he couldn't seem to find her, he went inside to try his luck.

"Hey, hey, dude." Nate called, seeing a familiar face. "Um. I'm looking for someone from Constance. Tall? Blonde? Really skinny?"

The other guy shook his head. "Sorry man. I was handling St. Judes."

On his periphery, he could hear a bunch of girls giggling. Ah. How nostalgic. Constance-Billard and their Nate Archibald. And then, it occurred to him.

"Hi," He began, approaching some students from Constance. What was he thinking asking the volunteers? Of course he could just ask people who actually know Jenny. "You guys are from Constance, right?"

The girls stared at him for awhile, a bit starstruck that Nathaniel Archibald is actually talking to them. For real.

"Um. Excuse me?" Nate said, trying to mask his growing impatience. The more he dilly-dallies after all, the more he could miss Jenny.

"Oh!" One of the girls said, snapping out of her awe. "Uh. Yeah, sure."

"I'm looking for Jenny Humphrey," He said, not even bothering to ask if they actually know a Jenny Humphrey. It's already probably a given after all. "Has any of you seen her?"

They all nodded furiously, too eager to please Nate.

"She just left," one of the girls said quickly.

Not to be outdone, another one added quickly, "We're not sure we're she is. But you can try asking Sawyer and the girls."

Before he could ask who Sawyer was, they pointed to another group of girls—somehow, dressed like Jenny. Nate quickly understood. They were probably Jenny's version of Penolope and Iz.

With a thank you before excusing himself, the girls were satisfied.

But not Nate. Even in the midst of the Jenny-look-alikes, she couldn't be found. He was already starting to get frustrated. Nate sighed. He really shouldn't have forgotten about Jenny.

"Damn it." Nate punched his keypad again. If nobody answers this call, he's just gonna have to text message an apology to Jenny. She can't say he didn't try, after all.

"Hello? Nate?" Awesome. Somebody picked up.

"Hey Eric," If Jenny wasn't with her posse, she's most probably with Eric. Ever since he came back, the two were practically inseparable. "I'm trying to look for Jenny. Are you with her?"

"No, sorry." Nate fought the extreme urge to groan in frustration. Of course, she's not with him. His luck with finding Jenny probably already ran dry when he got her out of that skeazy club. "Why?"

"No reason. Thanks, man." He was about to hang up but he heard Eric say something. "What was that?"

"I said, Jenny asked me to meet up with her at this Carleton Café place around here," Eric repeated. "Did you want to tell her something."

And without even so much as a how-do-you-do, Nate hung up.

Before heading all the way to Mudd Building, Nate decided to pick up his stuff from the library. After all, it's on the way and Jenny's probably going to stay put there for a long while. At least, long enough for a snack. While walking, Nate chuckled to himself. Jenny is one heck of a troublesome girl. He really should stop running around after her, and Serena is really starting to get jealous. And weirdly paranoid. Of course, Jenny is just a little sister to him. After all, she's his future sister-in-law, right? It's just normal that he makes an effort to look after her as much as he can, right? Right?

As made his way to his cursed spot in the library, he caught a glimpse of Hamilton outside the window. With a girl. In Constance uniform.

Good job, dude. Nate thought, mentally applauding Hamilton. His lips formed into a small smirk. He had to give it to the guy, two hours and he'd already found his latest squeeze. And it seems like Alex Hamilton landed himself a blonde bombshell, no less. Then, suddenly, it slowly dawned on Nate.

He froze up at the thought that Hamilton's new conquest actually looks like Jenny.

No, it's not bothering him.

That's what he had always hated about this area in the library, is all. It's just so freaking cold.

-
4:06 P.M. Columbia University. Café Carleton, Mudd Building.

Some people, in the face of an extremely uncomfortable silence, would fiddle with their phones—pretending to text, just to look busy. Jenny Humphrey? Well, she's a tad more obvious. She keeps looking at her watch to check the time. And as noticeable that behavior itself is already, it would do her some good if she actually had a watch. Slowly, she tried to take a look at her companion.

Who was staring at her the whole time. Smiling. God, does this guy ever stop smiling? Alex gave out a chuckle. Jenny just cocked her eyebrows at him in response. But really, she was kind of panicking. Kind of.

"What's so funny?" Jenny dared to ask, hoping that she hasn't weirded him out yet.

"Nothing." He said, still keeping that smile, if not growing bigger. As if he's somewhat amused at something she did. Which only made Jenny more uncomfortable than she already is. Alex winked at her, standing up. "As much fun it is to show off this boring ole' cafe to a prospective student, I think I should get ma petit some bon apetit. Be right back, cher."

Jenny just nodded at her seat. As she watched his retreating figure, she half-breathed a sigh of relief to have been temporarily free of that situation. And the other half? She had mentally berated herself for being such acting like such a virgin. Which she technically was. But that wasn't the point. She's better than that. This is so high school. Jenny had to roll her eyes. Although technically, yes, she still is in highschool. She's not some lovesick character in some teeny bopper. But yet again, that wasn't the point. She's Jenny Humphrey, Queen of the Upper East Side. She shouldn't be nervous at all. It's just a boy.

You've dated Nate Archibald. You've dated Damien Daalgard. This is just another pretty boy, okay?

Well, in her defense, she is out with a college guy after all. And Alex? He's not so bad. There's something quite refreshing about him—liberating, even. Although not necessarily an inbred, he's not the typical UES boy with a stick in his ass all the time. He's actually someone Jenny could see herself hanging out with even if not necessarily being with. But then again, it might just be because she has developed a weakness for European guys. She had to remind herself that she could be wrong about him still. After all, she's known him for what, two—three hours?

But from what she's learned, Jenny could honestly say: so far, so good. Because Alex is more of a musician, as opposed to an athlete. He plays basketball, not soccer—or football as he would call it. He cuts his hair short. Jenny's mouth curved into a soft smile. Short—a bit tousled, a bit edgy; not all smooth and polished: no man bangs, no slick backs. His built is just right. Toned, albeit a bit lanky; as opposed to being quite bulky. Most importantly, something about Alex Hamilton seems human. There's this atmosphere around him that's, how should Jenny say it, approachable. He doesn't look like the type whose out to prove his picture-perfect image, or someone who's out to uphold his family name. And for once, this guy doesn't seem to have daddy-issues. For all intents and purposes, he's different.

Different from who?

As she saw Alex carrying a tray of sandwiches and fries, Jenny shrugged off all thoughts. About what or whom, she would rather not admit. After all, she's done. That's what she said during his birthday. And today, she was only reminded that that's how it's supposed to be.

"Here you go, Jenny," Alex said, handing her a sandwich. Or a hundred. At Jenny's confused look, he grinned. "Desole, beb. I forgot to ask what you wanted so I just bought one of each."

Before she knew it, Jenny caught herself smiling at him. He's a bit of a show-off, isn't he? "Okay? So I'm going to have to eat everything because you were too lazy to ask?"

"Non!" Jenny was right. This boy does not know how to not smile. But she had to admit, it's quite charming. "…unless, of course, you want to."

"You're trying to fatten me up, aren't you?" She said, half-joking. Blair had told her once that she was lucky, she could eat anything she wants and not gain weight. It was true. But she couldn't possibly eat this much.

"Oui, I'll throw you in an oven after." He said, chuckling in response. "But no pressure, cher. Just finish what you want."

Jenny began to eat, the air of awkwardness seeming to have returned after the dead end in their conversation. Silently, she wondered where Eric was. She smiled wryly, he's probably texting with his new boyfriend anyway. Yet another guy who had forgotten her.

"So," Alex began, attempting to strike a conversation. At least this one is still making an effort, Jenny had mused lightly.

"So…"

And utterly failing in his attempt.

"So," He repeated. This boy does not give up, doesn't he? "What were you doing at the steps when I found you?"

Her smile quickly faded. Of all the icebreakers Alex could have used, he just had to use that one. "Oh. Nothing really."

For the first time in the two to three hours they knew each other, Alex Hamilton deliberately kept quiet. For some reason, Jenny felt bad. While it was good that he knew when not to tread on something, she hadn't wanted to dim their conversation either. She sighed. At any case, it's fine. The whole thing shouldn't have bothered her at all, anyway. "I was waiting for a friend. He's a student here."

"Oh. What's his name?" He said, sounding quite interested. "May be I know the hombre."

And for some reason as well, it didn't sting Jenny on the chest as hard as she thought it would've. "Nate Archibald."

"Mais ouias!" Alex exclaimed. To be honest, Jenny was a bit surprised. Is there no end to the Nate Archibald popularity? He really does know everyone. Or rather, everyone really knows him. "I was just talking to him this morning,"

"Oh," was all Jenny could say. What else could she say?

After a few healthy seconds of self pity, Jenny noticed that his face fell. Apparently, Alex has the capacity to not smile—even just for a little while. And then it was back again, although not as seemingly natural as before. Jenny could tell that he was probably feeling a bit disappointed. "So what's a smart pup like him doing leaving his petite amie all alone like that?"

This was one of the few times that Jenny regretted skipping her classes so much—especially French. "Petite amie?"

"Well, aren't you his beau?" Alex asked, not that it would matter.

Realization dawned on Jenny. She swiftly shook her head. I wish I was. "Oh my God, no!"

"Ah, bon?" Alex replied, a little too happy. "But weren't you the one on the phone with him this morning?"

"Earlier?" Jenny said, confused. Well, she did call Nate after his PoliSci class.

"Laisse beton. I was going to ask monseiur Archibald to help out with the seminar, but I wasn't able to since his belle called." He explained. Jenny fought the urge to bite back at Alex, she merely stopped herself in the nick of time.

If he couldn't show student around, what more if it's the whole senior batch?

"His girlfriend called?" Jenny asked, trying to clarify. So that's it. He was busy with Serena, that's why he ditched. She knew she shouldn't feel disappointed—Serena is his girlfriend after all. But come on, Nate should've at least called to cancel.

"So," He began once more. "How are you likin' your sandwich, beb?"

"You mean, sandwiches." Jenny appreciated the fact that Alex had somehow sensed that she didn't want an answer. And that he tried to change the topic. But being called 'babe'—no matter what language—not so much. "They're all fine. Thanks."

At the corner of her eye, she saw someone familiar enter the café, looking a little lost. Well, it's about time. "Although, it's kind of a bit to much for me to finish by myself. I asked a friend to come, do you mind?"

"Sure. Why not?" And again with that charming smile. "As long as it's not a homme."

Jenny forced a short chuckle. This boy is trying to flirt with her? Oh, two can play at that game. "You're a big boy. You can share."

Eric approached their table a little cautiously. He was eyeing her, as if trying to communicate: Who is that?

She merely glanced at him, barely meeting his eyes. Although they were just merely stepbrother-stepsister kind of siblings, Eric and Jenny had the whole twin telepathy down the dot. It was like, they were meant to be siblings. So when Jenny gave him that split-second-doe-eyed look, the message was well received. Jenny was gloating about the cute date she scored.

"Alex, this is my friend, Eric." Jenny grinned as she gestured towards her stepbrother and then proceeding to reverse the motion. "Eric, this is Alex."

"Hi." Eric smiled at him, quickly giving Jenny an approving glance. "Nice to meet you."

Alex stood up to shake his hand, as if not standing up meant that he was backing down as a guy. Jenny merely smiled haughtily at Eric when she caught Alex trying to size up the young Van der Woodsen. "Pleasure's mine."

'Ow' he mouthed to Jenny. Apparently, the Saxophone is good for finger exercises. Probably the reason why he had accidentally shook Eric's hand a tad too tightly.

Jenny couldn't help but feel flattered—although she knew it was most probably eighty percent male ego.

Eric, rather than get intimidated at being stared down by this very tall man, just laughed him off. "I'm her brother."

With that, Jenny noticed that Alex had seemed to relax. Guys are too predictable. "Mais ouais! Nice to meet you, petit frere!"

Only, if Nate wasn't. She already knew that Nate probably really didn't want to show her around. She already knew that even if she kissed him, he would pull away. She already knew that even if she tried, and no matter how much she tried: Nate would always choose Serena. But she clung to that maybe. That tiny, miniscule, one-in-a-million maybe. That maybe, he could return even just a small portion of her affections.

"Jenny?" She heard Eric call him, snapping her out of her reverie. It seems that she got lost in her thoughts. Again. It's a habit that she should really stop. Not only is it rude, it's driving her absolutely crazy.

"Yeah?"

"I said," Eric sighed at having to repeat himself. "I asked you why I couldn't reach your cell, earlier. I got lost."

"Oh." She smiled sheepishly, instinctively getting her phone from her bag. "Holy shit."

"Something the matter, beb?"

Jenny didn't answer. Nate had left her four voice messages.

Hey, it's Nate. You're at Carleton right? Stay put. I'm coming to get you.

-

In stories and fairytales, princesses patiently wait centuries in order for their knights to arrive. But what happens when she's rescued by the wrong knight? Shouldn't have taken your sweet time, N. It looks like first come first serve when it comes to our Queen J. And as much as I'd hate to go Mother Goose on you, Little J, but didn't anyone tell you? Never run away with strangers. You never know when your Knight in Shining Armor you've come to love turns into a lowly Fool in A Tin Can.

Xoxo,

Gossip Girl

-

Author's Note: I'm going to be a really bad writer here, I'm publishing without proofreading. I'm kinda too lazy—and a tad scared—to read it again. So yeah. I'm gonna look for a Beta-reader who's unlike me. Yay. And I really don't know what Columbia University looks like. I tried Googling the locations as best as I can. So yeah.

To all who reviewed: Thank you so muuuch. And yes, we do need a distraction from what they're doing to NJ. :'c

In other news, FromSpoiler TV: CASTING CALL-

[CAMERON] Early 20s.. male. Open ethnicity, upscale, attractive. A cute, unpretentious student at Columbia University. Two scenes, nine lines. Possible Recurring. /endquote

Imma go out here and pretend that my little Alex is turning canon. XD