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Prince Charming, Witches and Fairy Godmother's
Jenny Humphrey has always had a penchant for fairytales.
Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and the Beast had been her staple movies growing up and she can remember the way Dan had always complained about the fact that he had to watch Cinderella when he preferred something like 'The Lion King'.
From these fairytales Jenny had learnt something important. Handsome princes would always, always come to the rescue whether in disguise or helped by magic, they'd come and they'd always make it better with a kiss and a promise of forever.
She'd also learnt that there were two primary categories of women in the world. The evil witches who wanted nothing more than to capture the prince and push away the princess for their own selfish gain and the princesses who quietly wait for their prince to come around and notice them.
She believes in those two groups wholeheartedly because if there is no handsome prince in someone's life then what is there worth fighting for?
She meets her prince when she's fifteen and a new student at Constance.
He's tall, with sun-streaked brown hair and warm blue eyes that she was sure could make her melt if they looked at her long enough.
As he's helping her gather the books she'd dropped when he ran into her in the courtyard shared by Constance and St. Jude's, he introduces himself as Nate Archibald.
She takes the hand he offers her, dropping the book she's picked up originally and stumbles over her own name.
His grin is instantaneous and appreciative, she's not sure why as she allows her long golden locks hide her face as she picks up the book she dropped when he offered her his hand but later learns it's because she blushed outrageously when he introduced himself.
"Are you sure you're okay to carry all of those?" He asks worriedly when they stand up, the pile of books in her arms coming to her chin and causing her to nod as the stack of books swayed precariously in her arms.
"Yeah. I should be okay to get them to the library."
He hesitates for a moment and for one millisecond she thinks that he's going to offer to carry some of them for her which, she thinks with a twinge of excitement, would be incredibly romantic. He opens his mouth to speak, those warm blue eyes still eyeing the books she's carrying when a new voice interrupts whatever it is he's about to say.
"Nate! Where have you been? I've been at the gate waiting for you."
Jenny turns to examine the new person and remembers vaguely seeing her before, sitting regally on the steps of the Met, as if she was presiding over a roomful of courtiers. Her hair is chestnut brown and the Jenny can tell that the air of perfection around her is carefully crafted, despite having no eye for something like that.
Despite this, Jenny knows, as Nate allows the girl to kiss his cheek, that this girl is a witch. She knows that this girl is one of the witches that pull out all the stops when it comes to getting what they want.
"Uh, J-Jenny," she blinks in surprise when Nate's deep voice reminds her that she probably has to move and she turns to him. "This is Blair Waldorf, my girlfriend."
The girl pursers her lips before smiling and eyeing her carefully, as if discerning whether or not she was a threat to her or not. Jenny smiles back, unsure how to handle being examined so blatantly and knowing that if she tries to hold out her hand then she's going to drop the books all over again.
"It's nice to meet you, Jenny." Blair finally offers and Jenny smiles and nods.
"It's nice to meet you too, Blair."
"Nate," Blair turns to the boy who'd helped her pick up her book and simpers. "We have to meet your family for dinner in a few hours and I need to get ready."
Jenny has no idea what Nate has to do with Blair preparing for dinner but knows that Constance is a totally different school than she's ever been in the vicinity of and decides instead of finding it odd, she should just accept this until she learnt the rules of the school she is attending.
She blinks slightly when Nate nods and smiles a goodbye at her before he dutifully follows Blair out of the courtyard. She stands there and watches them walk away, her brow furrowed.
"Don't worry, you'll get used to it. They've been like that since kindergarten."
Jenny jolts at the new voice and only just manages to catch the books before they fall from her arms again. She turns her attention to the tall blonde she hasn't realized is standing beside her, a bemused smile pulling at her lips.
"What?" She asks and the blonde turns warm brown eyes to her and Jenny instantly casts her as her fairy godmother.
"Nate and Blair. They're the King and Queen of Constance and St. Jude's, well it's more like Blair's the Queen and Nate's her consort 'cause he does whatever she tells him too. I'm Serena, by the way, the court screw-up." She says it all humorously but Jenny can see the sadness behind the last words and smiles.
"I'm Jenny. What does her getting ready have to do with him?"
Serena throws her head back and laughs at the question, as if Jenny's asked something so obvious it's funny.
"Blair co-ordinates everything from the way they dress to dinners to their conversation. Nate has to go with Blair for the briefing of the function they're attending."
"Oh. Doesn't that make him, like, her robot or something?"
Jenny's surprised when Serena laughs again and then drapes her arm around her shoulders in a natural gesture.
"I think I'm going to like you, Jenny. Come on; let's take these books to the library."
Jenny, bemused as the older girl steers her towards the library at the events the day has taken, wonders if it really is possible to meet a prince charming, a witch and a fairy godmother all in the space of a few minutes.
She thinks it's kind of funny the way Serena and Dan fall all over themselves whenever they see each other.
Ever since that day when Serena had steered her towards the library, the older girl had been watching out for her. She remembers the first time Dan came home raving about a blonde goddess and she had blurted out 'You mean Serena?' to him and after that, when Serena had shown up to their Brooklyn apartment with breakfast and an offer of shopping and had practically goggled at a half-dressed Dan.
She sometimes recounts this spectacular meeting when she's with them just to make Serena blush and Dan tell her to shut up, his arm tightening around his girlfriend's shoulders protectively.
She was right, though, when she cast Serena as her fairy godmother. She's not sure why the older girl has taken a shine to her but Jenny's grateful for the guidance through Constance and the advice that the older girl has in spades because, as Serena once claimed famously, she's done it all and survived but that doesn't mean she's going to allow her new friend to do it.
Serena's kind of maternal sometimes, she sometimes gets protective of her and she always listens and Jenny knows that if she ever needs someone Serena will be there. It helps too, that she's become friends with Serena's younger brother, Eric, because between the two Van der Woodsen's she knows that she won't ever need anything else.
Except the handsome prince.
She knows that her daydreams about Nate amuse Serena slightly but she refuses to give up on them, especially when he starts stopping her in the courtyard or out the front of the schools to ask her how she is and what she's been doing.
The real breakthrough, though, comes when she's at Central Park with Serena and Dan.
She's feels like the third wheel with them, even though they invited her deliberately on this park outing. As she walks slowly behind them, watching as they cuddle and whisper sweet nothings in each others ear, she's searching for an escape route.
She's genuinely surprised when it comes in the form of Nate Archibald, who calls out to her as she kicks a stone.
"Jenny! Hi. What are you doing here?" She blinks at him for a moment before glancing at her brother and friend. They've yet to realize she isn't walking behind them.
"Well, I'm here with Serena and Dan 'cept I think my accepting their invitation got lost in translation because they've totally forgotten I'm here." Jenny explains and he grins at her. "And I'm freezing." She adds as an after thought, it is, after all, a cold New York day.
"I have to say, I thought you'd know better than going on an outing with Dan and Serena. You'll always end up as the third wheel." He says teasingly.
She snorts at his words. "Yeah, no kidding." She bites out and then realizes she's snorted in front of Nate Archibald and blushes because you're not meant to snort in front of your prince charming.
Instead of seeming disturbed, Nate laughs and then Jenny looks down and away from him.
"Well, I don't have to do anything today, so if those two want to drop their third wheel, I'm sure we can go find a warm spot and hang out."
She doesn't believe him for a second and then thinks she's misheard what he's said. But he's smiling and sincere and he's her prince charming so she calls out to Serena that she's going to go with Nate. She's not surprised when the blonde simply nods her head and taking out her phone, she texts Serena letting her know what she's doing.
Serena doesn't reply but then she didn't expect her too. Serena seems to become oblivious to a lot of thing when she's surrounded by Dan.
"Okay, let's go."
He grins at her excitedly and Jenny grins back shyly, blushing when he swings an arm around her shoulders and brings her close as they head out of the park.
She spends the rest of the day giggling and laughing as Nate Archibald entertains her with stories of his adventures – as he terms them – with Chuck Bass, his slips when he's with Blair and she kicks him in the ankle and the messes he and Serena sometimes get into that leave them laughing for days.
She's comfortable in his company, especially when he starts encouraging her to tell her own stories. So she tells him about the time she and Dan accidentally painted their grandmothers antique cupboard with a broom and the time her and her father got into a paint fight, only to be reprimanded by her mother for days afterwards.
It's easy talking to Nate, which just makes what she tells him after the funny stories so easy to say. She tells him – over a hot espresso in a cozy café corner – about her mother and her affairs. She tells him about her father's pain and how she couldn't add to it when she accidentally saw her mother with that man.
She tells him how scary it is that her family's falling apart and she doesn't know what to do about it.
And he listens. She's never had anyone just listen to her ramble about her family. Serena tries, but she's so connected to Dan and Eric wants to understand but he has his own demons and neither of the blonde siblings can understand a family situation when they have had too many stepfathers in their lives.
But Nate listens and he seems to understand and because he listens and understands, he's like Cinderella's Prince Charming who listens as she sings and – if you really consider A Cinderella Story, the Cinderella story – talks about her dreams and wishes.
Jenny likes that he's like Cinderella's Prince Charming.
She's really not sure how she ends up at the party.
It's a wild party where drinks are spiked and teenagers are stumbling to rooms in order to engage in activities she's pretty sure are illegal in some states.
She'd frightened of the atmosphere and the people around her and wishes she never agreed to come to this party with Eric, who has disappeared with some boy even though he promised her he'd stay with her the entire time.
As she pushes through the crowd, searching for a safe corner and a quiet place to call her brother or Serena, she finds a door instead. Despite it being shut, she can't hear any noises coming from the room and, as inconspicuously as she can, she opens it and slips into the darkened room.
As her eyes adjust to the light, she's opening her cell phone and scrolling through her contacts, searching for Serena's name when a muffled moan makes her freeze.
Almost afraid of what she'll see if she raises her eyes, she keeps them trained on her phone until the noise is made again, louder this time with a second voice joining it, murmuring that she has to keep quiet unless she wants Nate to come looking for her.
Upon hearing his name, Jenny looks up and is confronted with the picture of Blair Waldorf with Chuck Bass settled comfortably between her legs, her hands running up his loosened shirt.
Her mouth drops open as Chuck lowers his head and kisses the brunette beneath him and Jenny doesn't know what to do because Blair's cheating on Nate and she knows that Nate doesn't know.
Her mind begins working frantically, warning her that in situations like this its more likely she'll alert the two to her presence than escape the room quietly but she has to try because if she doesn't then she'll say something and she knows enough about Blair to know that if she says something the brunette will destroy her and everything she loves with a single phone call.
So she closes her phone quietly, her hand fumbles behind her, searching for the door knob. When she grasps it, she twists it and falls backward through the door not realizing that Blair has heard the door open and that her eyes have peered over Chuck's shoulder to see Jenny stumbling back through the door.
She shuts the door, hoping that she did it quietly – she can't tell when the music's playing this loudly – and turns around only to be caught by a strong arm and a breath that tastes like alcohol.
"Hey pretty girl, where're you off too?"
She doesn't know the boy holding her waist and she's terrified of the way his hands range lower on her body than any boys ever have.
"N-nowhere. Let go of me, please." She stutters and he grins and she realizes he's from St. Judes and that he plays on their soccer team. The captain of it, she thinks she remembers.
"I don't think so." He leans closer and she arches away from him. "I like pretty girls and look at you, you're so fresh and untouched. Why don't you come upstairs with me and I'll show you what it's like to be touched?"
She knew she was out of her depth when she walked into the party with Eric but as he talks to her and leans towards her, she knows she's so completely out of her depth she's drowning in it.
Being out of her depth terrifies her and she begins to struggle against him, pushing at his chest in a futile attempt to dislodge him from her body. He simply laughs at her.
"I like a girl that thinks she doesn't want it, when she really does." He whispers in her ear and her eyes widen in terror as he leans in to kiss her and she pushes against his chest, harder as his mouth covers hers.
Before she can think about anything more than how this isn't what her first kiss is supposed to be like, he's suddenly dragged away from her by his collar and the fist is a blur as it plows into his face.
She doesn't realize tears are pouring down her face as Nate leans down to speak to the boy crumpled on the floor and she doesn't think she can stand when Nate rights himself and turns to her, concern rapidly replacing anger as he reaches out to her.
"Hey, hey it's okay. He won't do it again." He murmurs into her hair when she all but runs into the safety he's providing for her.
His arms are tight around her as she burrows deep into the warmth, unable to think about anything but the smoothness of his voice as he murmurs into her ear and the lips that brush against her ear every so often as he speaks soothing words to her.
"Thank you." She whispers when she pulls back slightly to look up at his concerned face, he smiles tightly and she knows he doesn't think she should be thanking him but she can't help it.
"Your welcome. Come on, I'll take you home." He says, raising a hand to brush her burnt honey locks behind her ear and she nods. "Are you okay, Jen?" He asks.
She smiles, "I will be."
He contemplates her answer for a moment before leaning down to press a kiss to her forehead, his lips lingering perhaps a bit too long for a friendly kiss but she doesn't care when he wraps his arm around her shoulders and begins to steer her away from the party.
Neither notice the brunette glaring at them as they leave the party from the doorway Jenny had fallen back from or the way her mouth tightens as she tries to think of a way to keep her boyfriend without the little blonde he's holding tightly.
As Nate leads her out into the crisp New York air, Jenny snuggles closer deciding that if Nate really is her Prince Charming than he's having his Prince Phillip moment right now because Prince Phillip is the rescuer and Nate's performed her rescue admirably.
Serena fusses when she finds out what happened.
Jenny's not too sure if she's deliriously grateful for the other girls maternal instinct as they curl up together to watch 'True Blood' and eat chocolate or if it's deliriously uncomfortable because Serena keeps looking at her like she could break at any minute.
When they're halfway through the first season, Serena pauses the episode and turns to the younger girl.
"Jenny, what did you do to Blair?"
The question stuns the younger blonde as her eyes open wide and her mouth forms an 'o'.
Serena contemplates the honest answer and then sighs. "Because she's been asking me about you. She may be my best friend but I don't want her to pull any of the stunts she seems too always pull when she views someone as a threat."
There's something more to Serena's words and it takes Jenny a second to figure out that Serena's talking about Nate and she frowns at the other girl's assumption that there's something going on between her and Blair's boyfriend.
"Is this about Nate? There's nothing going on with us, we're just friends." She's a horrible liar and she knows it as does Serena, who shakes her head.
"Jenny, I saw the Gossip Girl post about the party, the way he's holding you doesn't indicate friendship or," Serena raises her voice slightly when Jenny goes to interrupt. "Sibling love. What's going on between you two?"
"Nothing. I swear. We're just friends." Jenny insists and Serena sighs. "Seriously Serena, we're just friends."
"Give me your phone."
The request surprises her and she digs into the pocket of her jeans to pull out her phone, hesitantly handing it over.
Serena takes it and opens the phone, scrolling through her messages and frowning more and more severely as she reads some and skips others.
"Jenny, every single one of your messages, with the exception of the from me, Eric and your brother, is from Nate."
Serena snaps her phone shut and hands it back to her. Jenny takes it, biting her lip at the blonde's firm gaze and she sighs.
"So I have a crush on him? So what? I'm not going to act on it, I swear. He's with Blair even though Blair's che - " She snaps her mouth shuts as she realizes what she's about to tell Serena but the older girl's quick and she raises her eyebrows.
"Even though Blair's what, Jenny?"
Feeling like a child whose hand was caught in the cookie jar, Jenny swallows and wonders if she should tell Serena about what she saw before realizing that Serena probably already knows.
"Even though Blair's cheating on him with Chuck." She says quietly and expects a temperamental defense of Blair or a short burst of laughter from Serena followed by a denial of what she's said.
Instead, Serena sighs sadly and nods, as if she's been expecting someone else to find out.
"Yeah. I know. You haven't told Nate?"
Jenny snorts. "How would that look, Rena? Blair obviously knows that I have feelings for Nate and if I tell him about her and Chuck she's just going to tell everyone it's because I want Nate for myself and because she's a witch, everyone's going to believe her."
Serena raises her eyebrow at Jenny's words, as if she knows that Jenny's given it a lot of thought before deciding to let it play out the way Blair wants it too. Draping an arm around the younger girl's shoulders, Serena pulls Jenny close and sighs.
"Maybe we can set Nate up to find them. That way Blair and Chuck get caught by him and you and I aren't left in this rather uncomfortable position?" Serena suggests and Jenny laughs.
"Sure and then we'll all live happily ever after, right?"
"No, but I'm sure Nate wouldn't mind too much to be free of Blair and able to chase the girl he wants." Serena's clipped response makes Jenny tense slightly before she realizes that her fairy godmothers just given her blessing and will help in whatever way she can.
Not because she wants to see her best friend hurt, of course, but because she doesn't think its right for Blair and Chuck to be doing what they're doing to Nate.
Nate catches them of his own accord, without any help from Serena or Jenny, a few weeks later.
Jenny's sick that day, so she only hears about how Nate threw Chuck into his limousine and how Blair screamed at him to stop before crying and apologizing over and over again for what they'd done.
Gossip Girl has a field day with the news and the taunting message she leaves about Nate being seen crossing the bridge to Brooklyn apparently sends Blair over the edge.
Jenny's in the kitchen, home alone, when there's a bang on their apartment door and she jumps. Setting down the plate she'd been drying, she cautiously approaches the door.
"Who's out there?"
"It's Nate." His voice is slurred and she knows without opening the door that he's been drinking since that morning.
For a moment she contemplates simply telling him to go home and then nearly curses the thought that he had rescued her before maybe now it was her turn to rescue him, like Belle and the Beast.
Because she likes the thought even though she curses it, she opens their door and nearly collapses as he stumbles through the doorway and falls into her.
"Hi." She whispers, wrapping an arm tightly around his waist and holding him steady as he buries his face in her neck and breathes loudly.
"She cheated on me. With my best friend." He replies.
"Oh Nate." She says sympathetically. "Come on, you're probably better off sitting down." She says as his arms tighten around her.
At his sad assent, she leads him over to their couch and settles him down on it, promising that she'll come back with some water – she can smell the alcohol on his breath – after she's shut the door to the apartment.
"How could she do this to me? I mean, I know that she thinks every girl who I look at I'm interested in but that doesn't mean she has to go and screw my best friend for weeks does it?" He asks her as she returns with a glass of water and a sympathetic ear.
"No. No, it doesn't." She replies handing him the water as he leans his head against her shoulder.
"You know what the worst part is?" He asks once she's managed to coax him into taking a few sips.
"What's the worst part?"
"I don't think I'm even really mad at her. I mean, I know I didn't love her; I was with her out of convenience I think. But did she have to go and screw my best friend? I hate her for ruining my friendship with Chuck more than I'm mad at her about being a hypocritical cheater."
Jenny carefully places the water on the table in front of them and wonders how to broach him about sleeping or even ask if he's eaten anything that day when his arm wraps around her.
She turns to find him watching her through surprisingly clear eyes and wonders what's going through his head as she raises a hand to brush some hair from his eyes.
"You need some sleep." She murmurs when he only continues to look at her and he shakes his head.
"No. I need to tell you something." The alcohol on his breath makes her wary of the determination in his eyes, she knows drunken people do stupid things but she's never seen Nate drunk so she doesn't know whether whatever he's about to do is a product of the alcohol he's inhaled.
"What do you need to tell me?"
"It's a secret so you can't tell anyone." He says in answer to her question and she decides that maybe she isn't right to be wary of whatever it is he's going to say. After all, the way he lowers his voice to tell her it's a secret is kind of amusing.
"Alright. I promise I won't tell anyone."
"No-one." He insists and she nods, with a small laugh at his face. "I was going to break-up with Blair, anyway." He whispers and Jenny jerks back at his words.
"Yeah, I was going to break-up with her." He nods emphatically and then smiles. "Wanna know why?"
She wasn't sure she wants to hear the rest of it but the way he's looking at her gives her the impression that he's going to tell her whether she wants to hear it or not.
"I was going to break-up with Blair because I like you."
She's imagined him telling her all of this in so many different ways and at so many different times and she knows she never imagined him confessing that he likes her while they're in her apartment and he's drunk because of a break-up that occurred only that morning.
Even though she wants to accept his words with open arms and she wants to believe her fairytale has come true, she doesn't.
Instead, she forces herself to laugh and kisses him on the cheek.
"Come on, I think you should get some sleep."
She doesn't see the hurt flash through his eyes or know that he makes a resolution to tell her that it's all true as she brushes off his declaration. Instead, she laughs again, this time more genuinely, as he falls back onto his back on their couch, tugging her with him, she ends up with her ear pressed to his heart and a sense of rightness settling over them, if only for a moment.
"'kay. Stay with me, please." He whispers when she begins to struggle out of his grip so she can set him up more comfortably so he won't regret falling asleep in that position in the morning.
She stills at his words before sighing.
This wasn't her fairytale ending, she thinks as she hears his first snore but at least her prince is free and she's proven – like Belle and the Beast – that she can look after him when it's needed.
She doesn't tell anyone what Nate drunkenly confesses to her that night, though she does give Serena a brief sketch of the night and of what Nate was like.
The blonde laughs at her description of her dad's reaction to finding a teenage boy sleeping on his couch, a teenage boy who isn't friends with his son but is close with his daughter. But when Serena asks about what Nate says to her, she falls uncharacteristically silent and Serena wonders, briefly, if there was more to the story than an outburst about her friend being a hypocrite.
"Are you sure he didn't say anything else? Nate's pretty truthful when he's drunk."
Jenny gets the feeling that Serena's fishing, looking for something she knows Jenny hasn't told her and instead she smiles and takes a sip of her cappuccino.
"No, he didn't say anything else. Just fell asleep."
She doesn't quite understand why she doesn't tell Serena what he said to her before he fell asleep, but if Serena knows him well enough to know that he's truthful when he's drunk than Jenny then Jenny knows that she knows him well enough to interpret what he says and tear away the little glow his words left in her stomach that she refuses to allow to be destroy.
Serena quirks an eyebrow and Jenny offers her a smile that doesn't quite mask the fact that she's leaving something out. "I've got to go, uh; I'm meeting Nate at the library. To study."
Serena purses her lips and nods, deciding to not comment on the bashful way Jenny pins 'studying' to her sentence in order to make it seem innocent. Despite this, she calls the younger girl back because she knows what the Upper East Side is like and she understands Blair Waldorf better than most people give her credit for.
"Jenny. Blair won't just let you and Nate study whenever you want, you know that right? Sooner or later she's going to interrupt with cheats."
Jenny bites her lip as she recognizes the warning in Serena's words and knows that while it would be foolish to ignore the witch already planning her revenge, she just wants a little more time with her prince before it all comes tumbling down around her.
"I know, Rena."
She escapes her friend before Serena can say anything more on the subject and tries not to think about the fact that her fairy godmother is worried about her fairy tale ending with her prince charming.
Except its getting harder and harder to not think about especially because it's been nearly a week and Blair has yet to make a move. She thinks that it might be because Blair's been wounded where it hurts most, her image. The image of Blair Waldorf is so tied up with Nate Archibald as her escort and the future of the Archibald-Waldorf families that it's hard to imagine Blair without Nate.
She wonders, briefly, why Blair will even want revenge on her and then decides it doesn't really matter because really, why do the evil witches in the fairytales hate the princesses? There's no reason behind it really and if Blair wants revenge the only reason she could think of was that if she couldn't have Nate than nobody could and Jenny had to think, how stupid was that?
"Little J, what a nice surprise."
It startles her slightly to be met with the object of her thoughts outside the library and she blinks in surprise at the brunette standing before her, in a Burberry coat and not a wisp of hair out of place.
"Uh, okay?" She doesn't know what to say and really, what could she say? She has a feeling that Blair's simply going to talk and she's going to have to listen and she knows it's not going to be pretty.
"Okay? No, it really isn't. See, there were only four people who knew about Chuck and me and they were I, Chuck, you and Serena. Chuck understood the terms of our arrangement, as did Serena, though she did not agree with them. You, however, were unaware of the agreement and had a crush on Nathanial that was transparently obvious to everyone around." Blair smiles as she speaks a cold ruthless smile that reminds Jenny of Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty.
"Oh, um –"
"I'm not finished." Jenny snaps her mouth shut at Blair's cold command, similar to Cinderella's stepmother. "But whatever scheme you came up with in order for Nate to find out about the insignificant fling between myself and Chuck in order for you to be with him, won't work." Blair's eyes sharpen as she glances behind Jenny, who doesn't know what to say. "Who knew that Little J was a conniving, scheming manipulator who would set up someone she called a friend, just for the entertainment of seeing their girlfriend fall."
Jenny recoils slightly at her words as Blair shoots her a satisfied smirk before turning around and delicately walking down the steps. Reaching the last step, Blair turns and waves flirtatiously at someone behind Jenny.
It's the sinking feeling in her stomach that warns her who could be behind her and she feels his eyes on her even as she turns around. His eyes burn when she meets them. She feels her breath hitch at the disappointment in them, the disbelief that's quickly turning to anger as she looks up at him with pleading eyes.
She knows, as he takes a step towards her, that he's only heard the last of what Blair has said and he's taking it seriously.
Her mind working frantically, she runs up the stairs towards him, a jumbled explanation falling from her mouth. "Nate, it's not true, I didn't know she was there and I wouldn't do that to you. I'm –"
"Did you know?" The coldness of his voice stops her mid-ramble and she bits her lip. She knows what he's asking and she wishes that she could lie.
"Did I know what?"
"Did you know about Blair and Chuck?" His eyes have gone cold and she feels tears sting at his words. "Don't lie to me, Jenny." He warns and she knows she has to tell him the truth.
"Yes." She whispers and then anticipates him. "Since the party when you rescued me. I…walked in on them I guess and I swear to you Nate I would have told you if I thought it was something you wanted to hear. But I didn't know if you would believe me and I just – I'm sorry." She finishes lamely and he's looking at her like he doesn't know her.
She wills herself not to cry when he doesn't say anything, just brushes past her and walks even when she turns to call his name. To apologize and tell him she didn't mean not to tell him.
When the first tear falls, she runs to the only person she can think who'll understand.
Serena doesn't ask questions when she opens the door. Instead, she wraps and arm around her and lets her cry because she knows when Jenny utters the word Blair that her warning hasn't been taken seriously and that Jenny's lost out to Blair before the game has even started.
As Jenny curls up on Serena's couch, tearstains on her cheeks as she remembers the way Nate's eyes went so cold when she'd tried to dodge the question. She thinks she understands why it hurts the princesses so much when the witch ruins their chance at everything they ever wanted.
She finally goes home to Brooklyn when Serena runs out of excuses with her mother and her father threatens to ground her for the rest of her life.
She hasn't heard from Nate and she's been watching her phone religiously ever since he left her alone on the steps of the library, waiting to see if he'll call and yell at her or something because not hearing from Nate over the course of three days has allowed hope to start dying because if he doesn't want to hear a less panicked version of her events then he doesn't want to hear anything she has to say and that hurts.
It hurts for a lot of reasons and it really hurts because she knows that it's only going to stop hurting when he comes along and makes it better. Like a rescuer, someone who comes along and makes it stop hurting.
She doesn't really notice that she can't hear her father rattling around in the kitchen or that Dan's music isn't playing as she shuts the door to their apartment.
She finally notices when she turns around and is confronted by a pair of apologetic blue eyes.
"Nate." She stares dumbly at him as he hesitantly smiles at her from next to their dinner table.
"Hi. Jenny, listen, I'm sorry I reacted to Blair's words the way I did." He says quietly and Jenny bites her lip as she feels the headache she's been fighting since she cried herself dry on Serena's shoulder, throb as she looks at him.
"Let me get this straight, you're apologizing for listening to Blair but not for not speaking to me for three days straight?" She asks incredulously and she sees his eyes widen slightly at her angry tone.
"What did you expect me to do, Jenny? If I'd spoken to you before I was ready, I would have hurt you because I would have said something stupid!" Nate exclaims and she shakes her head.
"And that excuses not hearing from you for three days? Damn it, Nate, I thought you'd done something bad, especially seeing as Serena couldn't get a hold of you and we both know if you're not going to speak to me you're going to speak to Serena!"
He raises a hand to rub it over his face, in a move she recognizes is borne from frustration.
"Nothing happened! I was at home. I needed time to figure out how to react to this, okay? I thought you were one of my closest friends and here you were keeping the knowledge that my girlfriend was cheating on me with my best friend!"
"I'm sorry I kept it from you! I am, Nate, but seriously, if I'd told you, would you have believed me? Would you?" Jenny demanded as his eyes go cold again and she remembers the way they went that ice blue on the steps and how much it had hurt her, as the hurt wells all over again.
There's silence as he stares at her and she bites her lip, wanting him to utter a 'no' so she can push him out the door and try and forget all about even the idea of prince charming, witches and fairy godmothers.
He breaks the silence with one word and she stares at him as if he's grown a second head.
"Yes, I would have believed you. Even though you didn't believe me that night."
Jenny takes a step back when he takes a step forward and though she knows that he's talking about the confession he made to her when he was drunk and she was sure he was making it up, she pretends not to.
"What didn't I believe?" She asks as he takes another step forward.
"You didn't believe me when I told you I was going to break-up with Blair anyway. For you. I wasn't nearly as drunk as you thought I was that night, Jenny, just hurt because of what Chuck did."
She's struck dumb for a moment. He's staring at her with earnest eyes that are almost daring her to contradict what he's just said and she can only think to process that he deceived her that night if he's telling the truth.
"So you weren't that drunk? You just pretended to be?" She asks woodenly and his eyebrows rise slightly at her question and she really doesn't know where she's going with this but its too hard to process that maybe he was telling the truth after she's spent three days crying over not telling him about Chuck and Blair.
"Look, Jen, is that really important?" He asks, dodging her question and making her frown.
"Yes!" She exclaims and when he sends her a disbelieving look that sends her stuttering. "No! I don't know! God, Nate, I know you're sorry but I just spent three days upset because I didn't know if you were going to forgive me about not telling you about Chuck and Blair and – and I don't want to be your rebound!"
It all falls from her mouth so quickly that she's surprised that he even attempts to try and get a word in.
"This isn't how it works, Nate, you're not meant to show up and apologize and then dive into a declaration of – of love! God, this isn't Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty or even Snow White! It doesn't work out like that! Ever!" She insists as he steps towards her, his eyes sobering as he realizes that she's serious.
There's silence heavy with anticipation when she draws a breath and she wonders what he's going to do or say as his eyes darken to a thoughtful hue and she bites her lip.
It's a wonderfully unexpected shock when instead of stumbling through a convincing speech about his true intentions, Nate grasps her upper arms and lays his lips on hers in a move that says so much more than the awkward stumbling speech she'd been preparing to punch holes into.
It says so much more and means so much more and she knows that no matter what argument she comes up with next, the kiss proves everything to her every argument.
Jenny thinks, dazedly as his lips move against hers and he demands more, that maybe the reason the Princes always kiss the Princesses at the end of the fairytales is to show them that they mean it…and to make sure the Princesses don't reprimand them for stupid actions taken through the course of their story.
It only takes a few weeks before everyone knows that Nate Archibald is not hurting from the break-up of his relationship with Blair – a point Gossip Girl makes cattily by pushing the hand holding between Jenny, who she has dubbed the Princess, and Nate with Blair's questionable appearance whenever she steps from Chuck's limousine – but diving head first into a brand new one with Jenny Humphrey.
Jenny tries not to be amused by the whispers that follow her in the hall and she simply ignores the looks some of the girls give her because she's had enough of witches though it helps that her Prince Charming is no longer under the spell of a witch.
Serena catches up with her as she's hurrying out to the courtyard to meet Nate, Jenny catches the blonde's grin and slows her pace as she waits for Serena to speak.
"You know what I just heard in the corridor?" She asks, linking her arm with Jenny's who gives her a puzzled look as she shakes her head lightly.
"Apparently – and this is second hand information – there's a story going around about a blonde princess who wants the gorgeous prince charming and gets him just weeks after the prince charming breaks up with the evil witch. Oh and there was something about a fairy godmother who stopped the princess from doing stupid things." Serena smirks and Jenny knows why she finds the story amusing and she bursts into giggles as Serena smirks.
"Really? And where would they get an idea like that?" Jenny asks as she catches a glimpse of her Prince Charming and her grin softens into a smile as he raises a hand in greeting.
"Who knows? Just thought I'd better give you a heads up." Serena says, sliding her arm from Jenny's before giving the other girl a pat on the shoulder. "I'll talk to you later."
Jenny nods as she weaves her way through the crowd towards Nate, who stretches out a hand for her to grasp as she approaches him. Their relationship isn't perfect – despite being in the early stages – and though they do fight and sometimes the fairytale ending seems a very long way away, especially when they've been mad at each other for days the kiss that says everything he can't seem to makes up for it.
Nate's her Prince Phillip, Prince Charming, Beast and every other prince rolled into one and she thinks she's pretty lucky that he chose her to be her princess.
"What were you and Serena talking about?" He asks when she reaches out to grasp his offered hand.
Rising onto her toes, Jenny finds herself pressing a kiss to his lips before giving him a secret smile.
"Oh this story about Prince Charming, Witches and Fairy Godmothers."