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Divorce – a judicial declaration dissolving of a marriage in whole or in part, especially that releases the marriage partners from all matrimonial obligations

Infidelity – marital disloyalty; adultery; unfaithfulness

Heartbroken – crushed with sorrow or grief

Beauty queen of only eighteen she
Had some trouble with herself
He was always there to help her, she
Always belonged to someone else

Three things that Serena has experienced in her lifetime – only for it to all happen in one hit. Six months was all it took for her marriage to all come crashing down. She knows she shouldn't be surprised her marriage to Dan blew up in her face. It took her mother almost three decades and numerous husbands for her to finally "settle down" and be happy with William, her biological father.

I drove for miles and miles and wound up
At your door
I've had you so many times but somehow, I want more

She swore to herself that she would not like end up like her mother – divorce, breakdown, pack her bags and run. However, she's already ticked one of the requirements for being a failure. Serena knew what pushed him – her insistent to have a child. She was 28 years old, and wanted to start a family. Dan was never supportive with her choices. Serena became a fashion and lifestyle blogger, but Dan, without realising, tore down her confidence of being able to hold a stable job. He thought being a blogger was a cheap knock-off of being a "real" writer. It was too good to be true. Dan being Gossip Girl should've have been a big enough warning that they were never meant to be together forever. She felt like he was suffocating her, that she couldn't be free to be herself. She should've known that a guy like Dan, would never keep up with her or the lifestyle she lives.

I don't mind spendin' everyday
Out on your corner in the pourin' rain
Look for the girl with the broken smile
Ask her if she wants to stay awhile
And she will be loved, and she will be loved

It's been two weeks since she filed, signed, and finalised the divorce papers. She deserved better than him. She deserved to be loved by someone who loved her for who she is, not the way someone else wants to her to be. In 2013, she bought herself a penthouse apartment on the Upper East Side that only Erik knew about it. It was her safe haven for when things get tough. She promised herself that she would never run away from her problems, but she did – she ran to her quiet, fancy apartment. Erik lived there while he was in New York on break from Yale. He and Serena made a pact to not end like their parents – so Serena ran her blog, and thanks to Chuck, Erik went to Yale to get a business degree. Erik was now living in that apartment while working with Chuck to help run the Bass empire.

Tap on my window, knock on my door, I
Want to make you feel beautiful
I know I tend to get so insecure
It doesn't matter anymore

Her life was a mess. She had no one else to blame but herself. She literally had nobody. Erik was back at Yale; her mother and father couldn't help her – they were the worst examples. Chuck and Blair had their own lives and family, and she couldn't bring herself to ask them for help – they were far too busy to pick up and help clean up her mess again. And Nate. She stopped speaking and seeing him since the wedding, but she was so proud of his achievements with the Spectator and for running for New York City Mayor. She rolled over and pulled out a box from under her bed. She took a swig out of the vodka bottle and lifted the lid – it was her Nate box.

It's not always rainbows and butterflies
It's compromise that moves us along yeah
My heart is full, and my door's always open
You can come anytime you want yeah

Tears welled up in her eyes as she looked through her box. Drops fell as she looked through the memories of Nate. There were photographs, cards, notes, letters and her teddy bear that he gave her on Valentine's Day when she turned 18. There were postcards that he had sent her when he was overseas on trips. She dug to the bottom of the box, where she found her scrapbook. She opened it up and looked at all the photographs that were taken of them with Blair and Chuck. She looked through the years, smiling bitterly at those happy memories.

I don't mind spendin' everyday
Out on your corner in the pourin' rain
Look for the girl with the broken smile
Ask her if she wants to stay awhile
And she will be loved, and she will be loved
And she will be loved, and she will be loved

She reached the pages that she had most recently done – they were all the newspaper clippings and photos of Nate's mayoral campaign. She was so proud of everything he had done, and she was relieved that there was no woman beside his staff, beside him during the campaign. Serena was the queen of mistakes, and if she had one that was biggest, and most regretful mistake – was not choosing to stay with Nate. She broke up with him after kissing Dan before fleeing to Paris. That was what she did best. Even after coming back from Paris, she should've gone straight to him and told him that she had chosen him. Her heart had chosen his heart, but she didn't.

I know where you hide alone in your car
Know all of the things that make you who you are
I know that goodbye means nothing at all
Comes back and makes me catch her every time she
Falls

Yeah, tap on my window, knock on my door, I
Want to make you feel beautiful

"I miss you so much Natie. I – "she couldn't say the 'L' word anymore. She couldn't love anymore. When she loves, it gets thrown back in her face – her mother, her father, and Dan were the main culprits. She traced her finger on the latest magazine clipping – he had done a spread on the GQ magazine and he looked so handsome in his suits as he always did. The teardrops fell on his image, but she hastily wiped her tears away and finished the rest of her bottle of vodka.

She saw the pills on the side of her bed, and swallowed the remaining pills. She took hold of the bear and a photo that she had taken at Lily and William's wedding – it was a photo of her parents, Erik, Blair, Chuck holding Henry and Nate. She cuddled up close and let darkness take over. She had no love, hope or happiness left. She wrote letters to every single people she cared for. She laid on the messy bed, alone, drunk and drugged with her things scattered all over the bed and the finalised divorce papers all over the floor. She never thought that she would end her life this way – the same way she lived her life when she was 15.

I don't mind spendin' everyday
Out on your corner in the pourin' rain oh
Look for the girl with the broken smile
Ask her if she wants to stay awhile
And she will be loved, and she will be loved
And she will be loved, and she will be loved

Please don't try so hard to say good-bye
I don't mind spendin' everyday, out on your corner in the pourin' rain
Please don't try so hard to say good-bye

- She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5


 

 "Come on Serena! Pick up your phone!" Blair muttered, dialling Serena's number for the tenth time in a row. In that moment, Erik stepped into Chuck's office holding some papers.

"Hey Chuck, I got those papers you needed." Chuck looked up to see his step-brother smiling while his wife was muttering and pacing up and down his office.

"Thanks Erik. Honey, I'm sure Serena is fine." Blair came to a halt and glared at her husband.

"She is not fine. I haven't seen or spoken to her in two weeks! She told me that she was going away for a bit, but she texted me every second day telling me that she was fine. Something is very wrong."

"Serena didn't go away. I talked to her two weeks ago and she said she was fine, but she's in town." Chuck looked at the both of them who looked confused.

"There is something definitely wrong."

"Have you tried calling Dan? Her husband?" Chuck asked taking out his phone to text Nate.

"No, I'm not calling him. I only have to associate myself with him when Serena's around, but any other time, I don't talk to him or go near him." Blair looked disgusted at the thought of being with Dan alone. Chuck immediately received a response from Nate, but all it said was a simple 'no'.

"Nate hasn't seen her either."

"Why would he?" Erik asked bitterly. Chuck and Blair looked at him with surprise – Erik loved Nate like an older brother. They were extremely close especially since they were young, aside from Serena, Nate would look after him especially almost every weekend when the Van der Woodsen kids were dumped at the Archibalds by Lily as she ran off.

"He hasn't been in contact or seen Serena since she married Dan. Serena would call him but only got as far as his voicemail. You should've seen her face. She almost looked heartbroken."

"I'm not surprised." Blair sighed, "the guy has been in love with Serena since we all understood what love is. I understand why she chose Dan over Nate – she's scared of losing him. Losing Dan would be nothing compared to losing Nate." Chuck hung up his phone looking slightly relieved.

"I just got some news from my PI. He looked through everything related to Serena's name. She's still in town."

"Then where the hell would she be if she's in town? She wouldn't be at Lily's and if she isn't at her house, then where the hell is she?" Blair was beyond frustrated. She felt like they were back in their teenage years when Serena would go out on her daily benders and they all had to try and find her around town. When they would find her, she was never good. She couldn't help but feel that something similar may have happened. The room was silent as they all tried to think of places Serena would be.

"I know where she is." Erik said, "Chuck, tell Arthur to bring the limo. I know where to go." Erik fled out of the office. Chuck texted Arthur before leaving his office with a nervous Blair next to him.

"I'm scared Chuck. Something bad is going to happen." Chuck looked at his wife and held her hand.

"Whatever it is, we'll be there for her and make sure she gets help." Chuck kissed his wife's temple then went down to the limo, where Erik was already waiting inside. The limo drove towards the destination that Erik had told Arthur before Chuck and Blair was in the limo.

"Where is she, Erik?"

"Serena bought an apartment a couple years ago. No one knows where it is except me. I stay there during my breaks. She stays there instead of running away from her problems. It was her secret hideout." When they arrived, they followed Erik up to the secret penthouse suite.

"Follow me. Her room is upstairs at the end of the hall." When they reached her room, Erik walked in front in to her room. They were in shock with the sight in front of them. There were empty bottles scattered around the room. Empty bottle pills lying beside the bedside lamp on the table.

"Oh my effing God. It's happening again Chuck." Blair cried out and immediately raced over to Serena's side. She rolled her sister over to try and wake her up.

"Serena! It's Blair. Wake up." Blair shook her, but there was no response. She checked for a pulse, but there was faint one. Serena was either dead asleep or unconscious.

"Erik, call 911 now." Erik whipped out her phone and called for the ambulance. Chuck looked around the room – looking at the pill bottles. They were sleeping pills, and she had been taking them while she drank bottles of vodka and tequila. He saw something that caught his eye on the floor. He bent down and picked it up.

"The paramedics are on the way." Erik walked up to the bed and looked at the things on her bed. He and Blair looked through everything.

"Chuck – look at all this." Blair showed him photographs and letters that Nate had written to Serena from when they were young till now. Chuck looked at what Blair had shown him then showed her what he picked up.

"Serena and Dan are officially divorced as of two weeks ago." Blair and Erik stopped looking through the box and looked at Chuck.

"What? Serena got divorced? I didn't even know she was getting a divorce." Blair was extremely distraught and upset. Blair turned back to Serena and tried to get her to wake up, but only for her to let out some quiet, painful moans. Chuck looked down at the open scrapbook and look through the pages. He was more annoyed with Nate's behaviour towards his sister than he was since Erik told them what's been happening between the two back in their office.

"The paramedics are here. Leave everything here. Let's follow the medics to the hospital." Chuck said, "Erik, you go with your sister. Blair and I will call everyone." Erik nodded. The paramedics entered the room and began working on Serena. Erik and Blair watched on in distress – it was like Serena was fifteen again.

Blair and Chuck sat in the limo with their hands holding into each other tightly while on their phone. Lily and William said they would immediately get on their jet and fly back to New York from Chicago. Serena was immediately admitted into emergency. Blair and Erik sat on the chairs comforting each other while Chuck was on the phone with Nate.

"I told you Chuck, I haven't seen Serena." Nate's voice was as cold as ice.

"She's in hospital. You need come down here now. Erik is about to lose it." Nate was silent, but Chuck was getting impatient, "You need stop wallowing in self-pity, man-up and get down here now. I don't care about what happened with between you and Serena, but we need you here. She needs you here." Chuck said then ended the call without waiting for a response.

Two hours of waiting, people coming in and out. Lily and William arriving and sitting with Erik comforting each other, worrying for their daughter and sister. Chuck and Blair calling Dorota to check on Henry. There was still no sign of Nate. Blair shook her head in disappointment.

"How could Nate be so cold, Chuck? It's Serena and she's the one lying in a hospital bed." Blair cried into Chuck's shoulder. Lily came towards the couple and placed her hand on Blair's shoulder.

"Nate has been love with Serena since they were young. They've broken each other's heart so many times, but Serena marrying Dan was the final straw. It's no surprise to me that he wouldn't show up anymore. We all think this could be like high school all over again." Blair looked at her mother-in-law and nodded in understanding – she knew it too. Blair remembered Serena's letters that were on her pillow addressed to each one of them. She handed out everyone's respected letter, before sitting down to read hers.

Everyone read their letters, but Blair's letter seemed to be the most emotional and revealing than everyone else's. She stood up and was furious.

"That bastard cheated on her!" Blair screamed. Everyone looked at Blair in confusion. She shoved the letter in Chuck's face.

"What are you talking about Blair?" Erik stood up and walked up to her.

"Dan cheated on Serena with Vanessa! She immediately filed for divorce and within two weeks their divorce was finalised. I am going to kill that son of a bitch!"

The doctor came out of Serena's room, "are you all here for Serena Van de Woodsen?"

"Yes, we are. How is my daughter?" William asked and walked up to the doctor holding Lily's hand.

"She's lucky. Her stomach had to be pumped – she had been taking excessive amounts of sleeping pills, and not just one type of sleeping pills but many other. She also had a high level of alcohol in her blood stream. Looking at her file, this isn't the first time this has happened to her. She has been previously admitted to the Ostroff Centre, is that correct?"

"Yes, but that was by mistake. Someone had drugged her and caused her to overdose. She is no kind of addict whatsoever." Lily said firmly.

"What happens now doctor?" Blair asked. Chuck squeezed her hand.

"When she wakes up, we will have to do another check to make sure her blood streams, stomach and liver are normal again. After that, she can go home but she needs to eat all kinds of food for her body to recover quicker, other than that. There is nothing preventing Ms Van der Woodsen from making a full recovery."

"Thank you, Doctor." Lily, William and Erik went into Serena's room first leaving Blair and Chuck out in the hallway together.

"When I see Humphrey, I'm going to make sure he regrets ever coming to the Upper East Side." Blair vowed. Chuck chuckled at his wife words.

"I'm sure you will darling." They heard footsteps approaching them… it was Nate. Blair locked eyes at the blond angrily before walking into Serena's room. Before Nate could say anything, Chuck stopped him.

"Come with me. There's something you need to see." Nate nodded wordlessly and followed Chuck. They left the hospital and went back to Serena's apartment. They walked into Serena's mess of a bedroom.

"Where are we, Chuck?" Nate looked around at all the empty bottles, clothes and papers all over the floors, table and bedside tables.

"This is where we found Serena. She's been hiding here for two weeks without contact." Nate looked at Chuck with confusion.

"Why was she hiding out?" Nate walked towards the bed and looked at the box sitting on the bed. He picked up the bed that was sitting on the bed then looked down at the photographs, letters and cards that were in the box. He was surprised to see that it was everything that he had ever sent or given to Serena.

"She is officially divorced from Dan as of two weeks ago. She hid it from everyone including Blair. Dan cheated on her with Vanessa in their own bed. She went back the next day and packed up everything and left silently. Dan without hesitation gave her the divorce." Nate sat on the bed shell-shocked looking through the scrapbook. The last ten pages was everything about his campaign. He saw the stained tear drops on his image from his GQ magazine that he did last month.

"She needs us Nate, but she needs you more. She understands it now. I think she's known since Paris eight years ago. It's up to you now.


 

I gotta take a little time
A little time to think things over
I better read between the lines
In case I need it when I'm older

Her eyes slowly fluttered as she regained consciousness. The bright light came into view and her senses slowly came back to life. She heard voices and shuffling around her.

"She's awake!" Blair cried out and held onto Serena's hand, "it's us, S."

"Water." Serena croaked. Blair immediately poured her water and gave it to Serena who drank it all.

"Where am I?"

"You're in hospital, S. We found you in your room unconscious. You've been in hospital for a week." Serena's eye shot wide open. She sat up quickly and looked at Blair.

"Where are my things?"

"What things?"

"The things I had on the bed. The box. The bear and the photos." In that moment, Blair realised something. The box full of thing related to Nate was her only connection to him, and Serena thinks that Nate cut her out of his life since she had gotten married.

"It's safe. It's at home. Eric and I made sure that it's all back in the box and stored somewhere safe when we cleaned up your room with Dorota. Don't worry, it's safe." Blair reassured her. Erik walked up to the bed and gave her a hug.

"Don't scare me like that again. I can't lose you." Erik whispered into his ear. Serena smiled softly, feeling her heart warm knowing that she did have people caring for her.

"I'm sorry, Erik. I didn't mean to. I just wanted to feel numb after everything." Erik nodded in understanding and kissed his sister's cheek. Blair sat down beside Serena's bed.

"S, why do you have a box dedicated like a shrine for Nate?" Serena immediately teared up hearing Nate's words.

"I have a box for every one of you, but since I got married, I've only ever looked at Nate's box. He cut me out of his life Blair. Every phone call, text or email, he ignored it. It took me one divorce. I became my mother – the one thing I promised myself I would never become, to realise that Nate was my forever. I should've known since the wedding when he was only there for the ceremony then leaving immediately. Nate was everything that Dan wasn't, he was everything that I wanted. Dan didn't love me for me, he loved me for a sensible me." Serena was sobbing at this point. Blair could only hold her hand and listen to her sister cry.

In my life there's been heartache and pain
I don't know if I can face it again
Can't stop now, I've traveled so far
To change this lonely life

"Dan didn't want to start a family. He didn't even think my job as a blogger was worth it. He was suffocating me. I was being the person that he wanted me to be, not the person that I already am. He didn't love me that way Chuck loves you, Blair…but Nate did. He loved every side of me. I don't know whether I'll ever get that. I'm too late." Serena sobbed into her hands.

I wanna know what love is
I want you to show me
I wanna feel what love is
I know you can show me

Blair climbed into bed with Serena and held her as she cried out all her sadness and pain. Serena had never been so clear about her feelings or emotions in her life ever. This was the first time that she could speak about her emotions so clearly to her best friend about it.

"it's going to be alright S. We're all here for you." Blair whispered, caressing Serena's head on her chest.

"It's never going to be alright." She mumbled into Blair's chest. She looked up at her best friend making Blair's heart break seeing at how sad and hopeless Serena looked, "I've lost him. Everything I do or touch, just falls apart. I love, I give and I care but it only gets thrown into my face. I should've left as soon as I understood what Dan was doing to me. He was emotionally and mentally bringing me down."

I'm gonna take a little time
A little time to look around me
I've got nowhere left to hide
It looks like love has finally found me

"What? How did he do that Blair?" Everything related to Dan, was news to Blair and she was so angry with what lonely boy did to her.

"He thought running a fashion blog was some cheap way of being a writer, that I was better off doing what I always did – nothing. I took cooking lessons, but he would never eat it. I remember one night, he came home drunk from some writer party, telling me that he was the only one that would have her – that no one else love me." Serena sobbed.

Blair's blood reached its boiling point. She was going to have it out with him…and not in private but in public. She was going to destroy his life with his family and his career.


 

 "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to mourn the loss of a son, a friend, and an all-round great guy. Nathaniel Fitzwilliam Archibald was a young man who was on the rise to becoming a very successful businessman. His campaign to becoming the mayor of New York City was cut short due to an unfortunate tragedy."

Serena was hiding behind the tree standing several feet away from everyone at Nate's funeral. There were a lot of people at the cemetery – limos were lined up on the streets, the Secret Service standing around to ensure the safety of those around. As she heard words spoken by Blair, Chuck and Erik spoke beautifully about their best friend, she wiped away the tears that relentlessly fell from her eye. When she heard about the accident, she was at home sitting with Dan on the sofa when she got the call from Blair. Without saying anything to her husband, she literally ran to the hospital. She was met with everyone including her parents, Nate's grandfather. She saw Nate's mother in the room with Nate.

"S! Thank God you're here." Serena ran into Blair's open arms panting and scared, "did you run all the way here? Where's Dan?"

"I ran out of the apartment as soon as you told me. I didn't even tell him. What happened?"

"He was out running when he was hit by a drunk driver. The driver ran him over then drove away. Cops caught him half an hour later after witnesses helped them." Chuck said appearing from behind Blair. Serena walked to the door frame and looked through the blinds to see Anne lying on top of Nate's body sobbing her eyes out. Serena immediately felt a sickening feeling at the pit of her stomach.

She was right. They couldn't save him. He was gone. Serena hid out at her parent's place, locking herself away from everyone. She spent night after night crying herself to sleep grieving for the loss of Nate. No one understood Serena's pain, not ever her own husband – she had a huge fight with Dan one night, where she pulled off her rings and threw it at his face before returning to her room and locking herself away.

The funeral finished and she hid herself away from being seen by anyone. When everyone left, she quietly approached his resting place and ran her hand across the engraving on this tombstone. Tears continued to fall.

"Natie, what am I going do without you? You're my best friend, and you took my heart down to the grave with you. It was always you and now I'm too late. You deserved better than this, better than to die like this not knowing how much I love you." Serena slumped onto her knees and cried into her hands.

"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry..." She repeated.

Nate stood at the end of Serena's bed looking at her. She was tossing and turning with tears streaming down her face.

"I'm so sorry Natie. I'm so sorry. Please come back to me." She whimpered. Nate immediately raced over to her bedside and took her into his arms to try and comfort her out of the nightmare. He stroked her long blonde hair and kissed her temple.

"Shh…wake up S, it's just a dream."

"I'm so sorry Natie. It's my fault you're dead. I should've told you. Come back please. I need you." Serena kept whimpering.

In my life there's been heartache and pain
I don't know if I can face it again
I can't stop now, I've travelled so far
To change this lonely life

"I'm right here, baby. Wake up." Nate said into her ear. Serena slowly woke up from the nightmare, and her vision cleared up to see her arms wrapped around someone. She inhaled and immediately recognise the masculine smell – it was Nate.

"Nate?" She whispered hesitantly, "Natie?" Nate couldn't leave her anymore…Chuck was right. Serena needed him and he needed her. He had been miserable for years without having Serena by his side, but even worse when we coldly turned away from her at every turn since she married Dan.

"I'm here, S. I never should've cut you out of my life. It was just easier."

"You're here now." She simply said before falling back asleep. Nate kissed her forehead and lowered her back onto the bed and sat beside her bed, holding her hand.

The next afternoon Serena was released from hospital and moving back to her apartment that everyone now knew about. Despite resenting her parents, she let them coddle her. She was too emotionally drained and exhausted to argue back.

Blair came and visited every day with Henry – Serena seemed to be doing better than she was since she had been married to Dan. Blair put Henry for a nap after lunch then went into Serena's room who was on her laptop replying to emails.

"Hey S, do you need anything?" Serena looked up from her screen and smiled at her best friend.

"I'm fine thanks."

"So, are we going to talk about you and Nate?"

"There's nothing to talk about." Serena snapped and shut her laptop screen down abruptly.

"Your lying S! What happened?" Blair rolled her eyes and asked her best friend again. Serena stood up and walked over to the window and stood there silently with her arms wrapped around her chest.

"Nothing happened."

"Did you two talk?" Serena sighed and shook her head.

"You need to tell him S. You said that dream was so real. Doesn't that tell you something?"

"I can't."

"Why can't you Serena? Nothing is stopping you!" Blair pushed.

I wanna know what love is
I want you to show me
I wanna feel what love is
I know you can show me, show me

"I'm stopping me!" Serena shouted with tears forming in her eyes, "I'm scared! I'm so scared. I'm broken. Dan tore me to shreds – I've lost all sense of love and hope. I don't know what love is anymore? I have no more heart. I can't do it anymore." Something inside Serena snapped – she knew what she needed to do. She raced over to her closet and started packing her bags.

"What are you doing Serena!?" Blair shouted, walking over to her and held her hands to stop her from doing anything else.

"I need to go. I can't be here anymore," she choked on a sob at the back of her throat, "I need to do what I do best. I need to run."

"You are not running. Stop!" Serena spun around and looked at Blair with puffy red eyes, "we're not kids anymore. You're a 28-year-old divorced woman who is free to do anything she wanted and be with the one person who has loved you forever. Don't let Dan ruin your life. Nate has been waiting for you his whole life and you both need each other." The door swung open and the two women looked at the intruder – it was Nate.

(I wanna know what) I wanna know what love is
I want you to show me (and I feeling so much love)
AI want to feel what love is
I know you can show me

"Blair's right, Serena. Dan is just one guy. You're nothing like your mother. Don't run. Stay here and show everyone how proud and strong you are. We're all here. I'm here for you, whenever you need me…I'll be there." Nate said firmly.

I wanna know what love is
Let's talk about love
I want you to show me


 

Much to Serena's dismay, Lily hosted a dinner party with their friends and family coming, including the damn Humphries. Blair and Nate were right – a week at home as left her contemplating on what she was going to do with her life. She resumed her job as a fashion blogger – she was far more successful than Dan had thought as she had over a million of global subscribers and has been featured in numerous articles and been recognised as one of the must-read/must-follow blogs of the year. She was getting lots of designers, PR people contacting her to do collaborations with. She managed to fill up her schedule for the next several months going into the new year. She decided that she was not going to work with any of her clients over the summer, but she was still indecisive about what she wanted to do. Summer was always her time of year, hers and Nate's.

Being fall, the weather was much cooler than it was, but her mother lit up the fireplace adding warmth in the house. She picked out her Balmain Paisley-intarsia stretch-knit mini dress and wore it with a pair of Giuseppe Zanotti embellished suede and patent-leather sandals. Nate knocked on the door.

"Come in!" Serena called out. She looked at the mirror and fluffed her hair and applied a little lip gloss. She spun around and flashed her infamous bright smile.

"Wow, you look beautiful S." Nate's breath was taken away at the sight of the blonde woman. She looked so much better than she did when he first saw her sleeping in that hospital bed.

"Thank you Natie." Almost hitting thirty years of age, Serena still blushed whenever Nate would complement her on her beauty.

"Are you ready for tonight?" Serena walked out of her bedroom with Nate following behind and closed the door behind her shut.

"Not really, I don't know what to expect tonight."

"Whatever happens, I'm here for you." Nate and Serena walked out and sat at the table where everyone was already seated for the feast that Lily and William had organised.

"Serena!" Rufus said in surprise, "You're back!"

"Yes, I am…" Serena said slowly. She was slightly confused with Rufus's reaction to her presence.

"Dan told me you were on holiday in Greece. I didn't know you were back." The foursome glared at Dan angrily – he hadn't told anyone about their divorce. This was Blair's time to ruin his life.

"Rufus, I don't know what Dan has been telling you, but Dan and Serena are divorced. They finalised it three weeks ago." Rufus, Allison and Jenny looked at Dan in surprise.

"Divorce? What is Blair talking about Dan?" Jenny asked.

"I can answer that for you," Blair quickly answered, "Brooklyn here was caught doing the nasty with Vanessa in Serena's own bed. Caught her riding him – so Serena got up and served him the divorce papers a day later. Dan signed the papers the next day without hesitation." All the adults gasped – Lily and William didn't exactly know the full details of Serena's divorce, but nonetheless, despised Dan's actions.

"Dan! How could you do that to Serena?" Allison looked extremely disappointed with her son. Everyone began chattering over the table throwing questions up in the air and yelling at Dan for his actions, and questions were asked to Serena if she would consider working things out with Dan or taking him back. Serena pulled the napkin off her lap and slammed it the table causing everyone to stop.

"How you and Allison could even have the audacity to take Dan back after he cheated on me with Vanessa in our own bed. He tore me down mentally and emotionally. He was a horrible husband. I don't even know how we made it through six months of marriage. Your son is an absolute arsehole. I'm leaving. Sorry mom and dad. I can't be here anymore. I'm going to the Empire." Serena stormed picked up her phone off the table and stormed out of her parent's apartment. She hailed a cab to the Empire – some peace and quiet.

She was reeling at the thought of ever getting back to Dan…the thought of it made her want to shoot herself. She would rather live in prison than live with a cheating, lying and manipulative asshole.

I know he hurt you
Made you scared of love, too scared to love
He didn't deserve you
'Cause your precious heart is a precious heart
He didn't know what he had and I thank God, oh, oh, oh

Nate looked at Chuck and Blair who nodded at him, allowing him to follow Serena immediately. He exited the elevator at the Empire and saw her standing at the window with her back facing him. She looked beautiful – her dress accentuated her best features. Her long legs were always one of his favourite features. That messy long hair that he loved to run his fingers through. He walked up behind her and wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her back into his chest, causing her to squeak in surprise.

"Nate! You scared me to death!" She scolded, but she did not pull out of embrace. It had been too long since they have been this close. Serena spun around and looked him – those beautiful ocean blue eyes that she loved looking at; the eyes that she had dreamt of waking up to and saying to goodnight too every day.

"Why Nate?" She whispered. It was now or never, they needed to talk about what has happened between the last six months.

"Why what S?" Nate looked at her in confusion. Serena was frustrated and pulled herself out of his hold.

"Why did you cut me out Nate?! Six months! Since the wedding, you went completely MIA on me and only me! I needed you but you wouldn't come near me." Serena cried out as tear spilt out from her eyes. Nate looked at her blankly. He didn't need to be reminded of that awful time – he was glad that his campaign occupied most of his time. Serena took a few steps back and looked at him.

And it's gonna take just a little time
But you're gonna see that I was born to love you

"Answer me Nate! Why!?"

"Because I loved you!" He shouted. Serena's eyes widened and gasped in surprise.

"Y-you loved me?" She stuttered..." How long Nate?" He didn't respond.

"How long!?" She demanded.

"Since we were young! I loved you when were we little. I loved you when we were 15. I loved you when we were 18 and I still love you ten years later!" He blurted everything out, not realising that he admitted his love to her. His timing was never right but he decided that it was up to Serena now. He offered up his heart and soul to her to love but also hers to destroy.

What if I fall (I won't let you fall)
What if I cry (I'll never make you cry)
And if I get scared (I'll hold you tighter)
When they're tryna get to you baby I'll be the fighter

What if I fall (I won't let you fall)
What if I cry I promise I'll never make you cry
And if I get scared (I'll hold you tighter)
When they're tryna get to you baby I'll be the fighter

"Why!? Why didn't you tell me Nate?" Serena's mind was going at a million miles an hour. Did Nate not know that everything Nate says, she would listen to him? Maybe she would've never remembered

"Would it have made a difference?" Yes. "You still married him!"

"It took me six months of not having you in my life to realise that I've always loved you. I will always love you! You're everything that Dan is not! You take care of me, you love all of me. If you loved me, then why didn't you tell me? You could've told me before I got engaged, before I got married!"

"Well if you loved me, you should've never gotten back together with Dan after he revealed himself as Gossip Girl! You would've never gotten engaged with him and you certainly would never have married him." Serena knew that Nate was right – she would never have forgiven let alone got back together with Dan after he revealed himself as Gossip Girl, but Nate also knew that Serena needed someone to tell her after living her whole life without real love or care for her besides from him, Blair and Chuck.

Look in the mirror
You're beautiful, so beautiful
I'm here to remind you
You're my only one, let me be the one
To heal all the pain that he put you through
It's a love like you never knew
Just let me show you

Nate sighed and ran his hand through his hair in frustration. It was now or never.

"Serena, I meant it when I said I still love you," He pulled her close to him and cradled her face into his hands, "You are an amazing, free and spirited person. You're right. I should've told you. I should've fought for you! You are nothing like your mother. I want you Serena. No, I need you Serena." He pressed his forehead against her. He was in so much pain after years of loving Serena, it came with lots of heartache. Serena saw him shed a tear.

"I'm broken Natie." She whimpered, "I'm so scared. Everything I touch, breaks in front of me. Everyone I've ever loved or cared for ends up hurting me. Dan took the last of me – I have no more feeling. I'm so numb Nate." She cried. Nate wiped away her tears.

I wanna believe that you got me baby
I swear I do from now until the next life
I wanna love, wanna give you all my heart

"Baby, you're not broken. I'll heal you. You touch Blair, you touch Chuck, Erik and me but we don't love you or care for you any less. You are not the cause of everything bad in your life. You are so much stronger than you give yourself credit. Let me help you S, let me save you from your fall from heaven." Nate kissed her forehead chastely, allowing his lips to linger.

What if I fall (I won't let you fall)
What if I cry (I'll never make you cry)
And if I get scared (I'll hold you tighter)
When they're tryna get to you baby I'll be the fighter
What if I fall (I won't let you fall)
What if I cry I promise I'll never make you cry
And if I get scared (I'll hold you tighter)
When they're tryna get to you baby I'll be the fighter

"How can you save me when I have already fallen? I don't know if I can do it before. Blair, Chuck and Erik should've left me to die in my room!" She cried out, "I can't be saved Nate. Just leave me alone. I'll only hurt you." Nate hated it when Serena would talk about herself like this – it was scary that she didn't value her life. He leant forward and brushed his lips against Serena. She stiffened before allowing herself to be consumed by Nate's kiss. He weaved his hand through her hair and pulled her close to him, deepening the kiss. Serena could feel tears falling from her eyes.

What if I fall
What if I cry
And if I get scared (I'll hold you tighter)
When they're tryna get to you baby I'll be the fighter

She pulled away from him and shook her head, "I can't Nate. I'm so afraid of hurting you and then being broken hearted all over again. I can't imagine what I'll do to you if I lose my way again. You have to let me go Nate." She choked on a sob and felt her heart crack as she said those words, "You need move on from me. I'll only bring you down and ruin you. I can't do that you. I can't be what you want me to be, but I can be there for you as your best friend." Nate allowed another tear to shed. If that was what she wanted, he had to do it. He would do anything for her and if that means her breaking his heart, and letting someone else pick up the pieces, then so be it.

"If that's what you want, then I will do it. I would do anything for you S, you know that. I will always love you."

"I will always love you too Natie, you were my first love. I can't ask you to wait for me. I will kill the both of us. If we're really meant to be, then fate will do its work, but for now, I can't be selfish and have you wait for me till I find my way again." Nate sighed and pulled her closer.

"Tell you me you don't love me and I will leave you alone." Serena looked up to meet his eyes full of pain and sadness.

"I don't love you…" She said defeated. Liar.

"The moment I leave you, you won't be hearing from me again. If I need to move on, then I need to stay away from you and the campaign will be occupying most of my time."

"You can't cut me out of your life again! We finally started talking again!"

"I can't be your friend Serena! Goodbye S." He walked to the elevator and as the doors shut, he saw Serena collapse to the ground painfully sobbing in her hands. It was over.


 

For the next four months, Serena poured herself into works – photo shoots, magazine articles, event appearances, fashion show appearances, and actively blogging. She took up more cooking lessons to improve on her newly discovered skills. She was learning to be independent and it seemed to be working out well. True to his words, Nate and Serena never did see each other or talk to each other again. However, Serena kept her scrapbook of Nate's achievements up to date, and she had to get Blair to find out when his college alumni lacrosse games were. She would wear a disguise and sit on the benches at the far back to watch him play. He never noticed her in the stands, but Serena didn't let that bother her.

Nate on the other had was extremely dedicated to his campaign and he was polling very well. He tried to keep Serena out of his mind but he couldn't. She invaded her mind like a plague and no matter how many women he spent time with, Serena was always in his mind. His grandfather tried to set him up with socialites or respectable women but William knew that no one could replace Serena. All he wanted was his grandson's happiness.

It turned out four months wasn't long enough. It was already summer again and they've been going on for ten months without talking. She spent the New Year quietly by herself in a small cottage in Upstate New York where she found peace and serenity. He tried to avoid her at all costs, and it seemed to be working. Nate had two more months before the election and his polls are doing very well.

Serena sat at the back of the bench watching Nate play against some other Ivy League college alumni team. Chuck saw Serena sitting on the bench and chuckled to himself – this time she wasn't wearing a wig, a pair of Saint Laurent high-rise denim shorts with a Michael Kors knotted broderie cotton top with sunglasses and a sand-coloured wide brimmed hat.

"Ditching one of your disguises sis?" Serena looked at Chuck who was holding Henry's hand as he approached them. Serena flashed her one of her perfect smiles.

"I couldn't be bothered. Hi Henry, you want to sit on my lap?" Henry nodded eagerly and climbed onto Serena's lap.

"What are you two doing here?" Serena pulled out a lollypop from her small handbag.

"Nathaniel asked us to come watch his championship game and Blair wanted us out of her hair while she's busy finishing off her fall line. And you?"

"Doing what I've been doing every week…watching Nate play."

"Why is that? You have no reason too. After all, you told Nathaniel that you didn't love him anymore." Serena winced at those words…she knows Chuck doesn't meant to hurt her, but he was just saying it as it is.

"I was protecting him Chuck. I don't know how many times I must tell you and Blair. I pushed him away because I'll only hurt him. I've done it time and time again, and I couldn't bear to hurt him."

"Don't you think by not being with him hurts him? You two are pretending that everything is alright, but it's not S. You need him."

"I know." She whispered. The two of them made idle talk with Henry while they watched the remainder of the game. Nate scored the winning goal in the last thirty seconds of the game. The stands all jumped up and cheered. Serena was so happy for him, obviously he didn't notice her presence, but she was cheering the loudest with Henry. Chuck laughed at his eccentric sister and son cheering and jumping up and down. The crowd slowly left the stands leaving just a small number of people were left on the stand. Serena was carrying Henry on her waist while talking with Chuck about Lily's charity ball happening on the weekend. At this point, the sun was burning so she took off her hat and placed it on top of Henry's head.

Nate finished talking to the coach when he turned his head and saw Chuck standing at the benches and so was Serena with Henry. He took a couple steps forward to try and get a closer look but he was stopped when a woman pulled him in for a kiss. Nate quickly pulled her off him.

"Danielle, what are you doing?"

"Natie, don't be like that…we had a good time last week. Serena lifted her sunglasses off her eyes and placed them on top of her head. From the corner of her eye, she saw Nate talking to someone quite intimately.

"What's wrong sis? Feeling a little jealous?" Chuck smirked. Serena scoffed in response.

"Nate can be with whoever he wants. I've got to go. I'll see you at the Hamptons in a couple hours. Don't be late, mom won't be happy." The Van der Woodsen family were having a family gathering at the beach house that consisted of the Basses and the Archibald/van der Bilts family. It has been an annual summer event for the past three years, and it seems to be a great success. They would all go to the Lily's beach house at the Hamptons, spend time at the beach and have a great dinner that night, then a big breakfast and luncheon before returning to the Upper East Side.

"Don't call me that. We had a couple drinks and that's it. Now, kindly go away." Nate spat and walked away from the woman. Nate went back to his apartment to shower remembering that today was the first weekend of summer meaning that everyone was getting together at the Hamptons including Serena. Maybe he was being a coward if he avoided her anymore. He had a shower and packed his bags for the Hamptons, before deciding to take a nap. By the time he woke up, he was already two hours late. By the time he arrived at the Hamptons, the sun was beginning to set. He dropped his bag in the lounge room before walking out onto the porch where he was met with his mother.

"Oh Nate! You're finally here. We were worried you weren't going to show up." Anna gave her son a hug.

"Sorry, I fell asleep." Anne looked at her son with uncertainty. She may not have been the best mother, but she knew her son well enough to notice something wrong.

"Is something wrong, son? Something to do with Serena." She asked gently.

"What? No." He said defensively.

"You're lying." Nate sighed, but did not respond. "Nate, you and Serena have been best friends since you both were three. Whatever happened between you two is worthless compared to years of friendship and your love for each other.

"She doesn't want me. She told me she doesn't love me." Nate said frustratingly.

"Everyone knows that she does want you and that she does love you. Make her listen Nate. Fight for her or tell her to fight for you. Tell her what she wants to hear." Anne smiled softly. There was no denying that Serena loved Nate. It may have taken them eighteen years for them to get to this stage, but if they were true love, then fate would bring them together. Nate thought about his mother's word – she was right. He was done chasing after her… it was now her turn to chase after him.

"Give her a reason to be with you…if you need a hand, I have something that might help you out." She walked into the house then walked out a minute later.

"It's time to pass this onto you." Anne showed Nate the box. He took it out of her hand and opened the box.

"Mom, this is the van der Bilt ring…" He said shocked. He and Serena weren't together, let alone anywhere near marriage.

"I know. This might be the push you two need." Anne pat his cheek and returned to the beach.

At the beach, Serena was sitting beside Blair helping Henry and Erik build a sandcastle.

"So, what are you going to do about Nate, S?" Blair asked casually.

"What are you talking about?" Blair narrowed her eyes at the blonde. She was at wits end with her two best friends – they were incredibly stubborn and stupid with their feelings for each other.

"Don't act stupid with me Serena!" Serena sighed.

"He is with someone else. He has moved on." Blair shook her head…Serena was always so clueless when it came to men.

"Oh please. You really think Nate could move on from you?" Blair gestured up and down Serena's body, "Show him what he is missing! Get him back. Serena, for goodness sakes, you can manipulate men at a drop of the hat, what makes Nate any different?" Serena saw Nate coming from the corner of her eye and took off her black swim-wear cover up. Serena was wearing her Agent Provocateur red one-piece swimsuit. It had lots of cut outs and really emphasised her cleavage and accentuated her behind and long legs.

"You know what B? You're right. I'm going for a swim. Come on Henry." Henry jumped up and followed Serena running into the water with Eric following behind closing. She dunked her head in the cool, refreshing water. She stood up and combed her hair back out of her face.

Nate walked towards the beach and stopped halfway when he saw her. She looked sexy in the risqué swimsuit. She looked happy and full of joy playing in the water with Erik and Henry.

"I was wondering if you were ever going to show up." Nate turned his head to see a dressed down Chuck walking towards him.

"We all know if any of us didn't come, all the old people would chew our ears."

"You are right about that Nathaniel."

"I saw you at the game. What was Serena doing there?"

"Well, Mayor… Serena has been going to all your games since you guys last spoke." Nate looked at him with surprise. Chuck smirked.

"Seems my sister likes to dress up and hide with the other people at the game."

"Did she say why she was coming to my games?"

"She said it was the only way to see you." Both men looked at Blair who was approaching them with a towel wrapped around Henry. She handed her son of to Chuck who helped dry him up.

"What do you mean?" Blair rolled her eyes…Nate was just as clueless as Serena.

"It was the only way to see you since you were always so busy with everything and you weren't answering her calls and texts."

"So that's why you were asking me every week when my lacrosse games."

"That is correct. Now, can the both of you pull your heads together and sort things out between the two of you already?" Nate groaned and walked away from the Basses. Blair and Chuck looked at each other.

"Do you think he'll ask her?" Blair leaned into her husband's side.

"Not yet. There's still water to go under the bridge between the two."

Nate walked down the beach as Serena was slowly emerging from the beach water. People on the turned their attention to the blonde who hid no shame with her swimwear. Nate silently held out a towel to her. She smiled and took it out and dried herself up.

"So, how are you?" Nate broke the silence.

"I'm good. Been keeping very busy. I don't think I've ever felt so grounded in my life till now." Serena wrapped the towel around her body and stood in front of him

"That's good to hear." Nate smiled softly.

"How are you, Nate? Your campaign seems to be doing well considering the polls."

"It is. Grandfather is very happy about it. He thinks I'm going to make a great Mayor. Thinks I make a better politician than Trip ever was." Serena giggled. Her hand reached out and squeezed Nate's bicep.

"He is right Nate. You are going to make a great mayor because you care about the people and you listen and you are compassionate. I think you are going to be great at it."

"Thanks S. I saw you at my lacrosse game today."

"Oh." Serena's smile dropped. She wasn't sure if Nate knowing that she was there would be a good thing.

"Did you enjoy the game?" Nate quickly asked after seeing Serena's face drop.

"Yes! I did. You still play as well as you did in college."

"I don't know about that. I'm not as quick as I once was." Nate chuckled.

"Mom told me you were playing in the summer polo match against England."

"Yes. I am and I'm excited about it. By the way, would you like to attend the match?" Serena was surprised. She thought their relationship was on hold after everything that has happened.

"I'm already attending the event."

"No, I mean with me." Nate clarified. Serena's face immediately lit up and nodded.

"I would love to. I thought with everything that happened between us, you wouldn't want to be near me anymore." Nate reached out and interlaced his fingers with hers.

"Serena, I think we've been apart long enough. I've been miserable without you in my life – not being able to talk to you, text you or see you. I missed you S."

"Oh Natie, I missed you too." Serena pulled him into a hug and refused to let him go. He wrapped his arm around her waist and returned her hug. She leaned her head on his shoulder and breathed in his musky scent.

"I feel the same. I can't go on anymore without you in my life anymore Nate. Promise me, we won't be apart again. Throughout my life, being away from you was always one of the worst feelings I have ever felt."

"I promise." Nate whispered, "but it still doesn't change the way I feel about you Serena."

"Nate…" Serena whimpered and pulled out of the embrace. Nate's thumb caressed her cheekbone.

"I'm tired S. I can't do this anymore. Whatever is between us, is up to you now. I've chased you for as long as I can remember. I meant it when I said I love you and I always will. I thought I could move on from you, but I can't and I will wait for you. I've fought for you my whole life with Dan, Tripp, Carter, and Dan again. I can't keep going on like this anymore." Nate kissed her forehead allowing his lips to linger on her skin, before walking back to the beach.

Nate smiled for the first time in a long time.

Serena let tears fall from her eyes for the first time in a long time.


 

 The time of year has come – Lily's Charity Gala. It was the hottest V.I.P event of the year. No doubt that Upper East Siders were in attendance but also people with prestige. Again, it was also another event where all the families would attend.

Serena was currently at a photography studio, doing a shoot and an interview for her feature cover on Vogue. She was very proud of her latest achievement because her cover wasn't about her modelling, or being a socialite of the Upper East Side, but for her achievements as a blogger and philanthropy work with disadvantaged communities. She was also now going around schools mentoring young girls on how to survive the "real world". She turned her life around since the end of Gossip Girl, but still she felt like she was missing something. Nate.

"S! Are you nearly finished? Lily has been ringing my phone and texting me non-stop about your whereabouts." Blair walked in a tray of coffee in one hand and her phone in the other. The photographer nodded, finishing the shoot.

"Serena, I'll see you in an hour to do your hair and make up for tonight." Serena's had her own hairstylist and make-up artist whenever she had special events or photo shoots to do, who was paid handsomely.

"Is that coffee?" Serena grabbed the take-away coffee then went to get changed into her normal clothes, and out of her outfits she wore for the shoot.

"Your dress arrived and is waiting for you at your apartment."

"Thanks B, not a Waldorf Original this time?"

"No, you can wear them when you do your next post on my new line. Anyways, have you decided what you are going to do about Nate?" Serena walked out of the change screen and tied her hair up in a ponytail.

"I think so. I just don't know if it will be enough." Serena gathered her things, said goodbye to everyone then left with B back to the Empire.

"S, you don't need to even do anything. Just tell him how you feel." Serena sighed. Blair and Serena went had some frozen yoghurt before going their separate ways to get ready for the gala tonight. Serena arrived at her apartment to see Erik watching a movie with Elliot.

"Hey, you two." She greeted.

"Hey Serena. You excited for tonight?" Elliot and Erik had been on and off for a few years, before deciding to give their relationship another proper go, and six months later they were still going strong.

"Yes, I am. If you would excuse me, I need a good shower." Serena walked to her bathroom and stripped off all her clothes and hopped into the shower. She finished her shower and walked over to her dressing table wearing a robe and her hair wrapped in a towel. She lathered her skin with Chanel No.5 body lotion and did her usual skin care.

Her hair stylist Rod and her make-up artist Kristofer arrived and helped her get ready – her hair was wavy curls, all done up in a loose crown braid around her head, and her make-up was a pretty bronzy smoky eye with glowing, illuminating skin. She walked over to her walk-in wardrobe where she saw her dress in the bag hanging in front of her coats section. The unzipped the bag and gasped at the sight of her dress. It was an Oscar De La Renta dress – embellished satin-trimmed fil coupe-organza gown. She immediately slipped off her bathrobe and put her dress on and thanks to her long arms, she zipped it up.

She stood in front of the mirror admiring how well her dress fit her body. It was a strapless gown – the bodice was pink at the front and black at the back, and the skirt was a red-orange colours reflecting the colour of fall leaves. She walked over to her shoes section and picked out a pair of black Giuseppe Zanotti patent-leather sandal stilettos. The straps were embellished with geometric Swarovski crystals. She knew that she was going to get a lot of attention tonight, but all she wanted was his.

"Serena! The car's here." Erik yelled from downstairs. Serena looked at herself in mirror, picked up her black classic Saint Laurent clutch and began walking downstairs. As she slowly descended down the stairs, she saw Nate standing there in a spiffy tuxedo waiting for at the bottom of the stairs. Eric and Elliot saw the two look at each other intently, and quickly walked out of the department down to the limo, giving them some privacy.

"Serena, you look so beautiful." Nate breathed out a breath he had not realised he had been holding. Serena blushed. Nate seemed to be the only person that could make her blush.

"Thank you. You look so handsome." She smiled as she took a step forward and ran her hand down the lapel his tuxedo jacket.

"I feel like James Bond wearing this suit." Serena giggled. Nate held out a long blue Tiffany's box.

"What's this?" Serena looked down and took the box in her hands and lifted the lid. It was a stunning diamond encrusted key with a touch of rose gold diamonds. Nate took the necklace in his hand and spun his finger for Serena to turn around.

"This is a gift for you – it might be a little cheesy, but S…this is a reminder that you are the only once with the key to my heart." He explained as he put on the necklace for Serena.

"Oh Natie, I – "Nate put his finger on Serena's lips to silence her.

"Shh…we'll talk later," Nate smiled, "we better head down to the limo. Erik and Eliot are probably having sex at the back." Serena made a disgusted face then they both laughed as they entered their elevator. Thankfully Erik and Elliot were just talking while they waited. They arrived at the Plaza, where the Gala was being held. There were photographers everywhere. A red carpet was laid out in the centre of the hallway. The car pulled up at the side of the curb, Serena not realising but she was holding onto Nate's hand tightly. Erik and Elliot left the car, and Nate was about to follow but Serena pulled him back and kissed him. He was surprised by the kiss, then quickly responded to the kiss. Serena pulled away and kept her forehead pressed against his, both with big smiles on their faces.

"I know I haven't talked about my feelings, but tonight we are officially boyfriend and girlfriend. I can't do it without you anymore. I want to be with you Nate."

"I want that too S." Nate did not release her hand and walked out of the limo holding Serena's hand. The door shut and he pulled her into another deep kiss and the cameras went crazy. They were on the red carpet for half an hour as there were photographers taking photos and journalists interviewing them.

The couple stood by some of the journalist where Nate would talk about his mayoral campaign with the occasional Serena looked around and saw Blair trying to get their attention. Serena and Nate wrapped up their interview with Renee then went to take more photos with Chuck and Blair.

"So, S, you've finally stopped being stubborn and got your act together." Blair smirked as they stood by the bar waiting for their drinks. Serena laughed.

"Yes B, you were right. I was just being stubborn and scared." The bartender gave them their drinks then went over to their seats and sat down waiting for dinner to be served. She ran her hand across Nate's shoulder as she sat down and handed him his beer.

"Thanks baby." He whispered and pecked her lips, surprising everyone their table as they had not seen them cause a meltdown on the red carpet earlier.

"Serena! Are you and Nathaniel a couple now?" Lily asked with a hint of surprise in her voice.

"Yes, we are."

"Good." Lily said. The gala officially began, and Serena was starving. The night went quite smoothly – dinner was fantastic, and the auction was going extremely well. If Serena had to guess, they probably raised about a million dollars from the auctions and personal donations themselves.

Nate and Chuck stood by the bar drinking while waiting for their women to come out of the restroom.

"You look happy Nathaniel." Chuck grinned as he drank his scotch.

"I am. Serena is finally there…I think." Nate smiled. The lights suddenly dimmed and the song playing slowed down.

"Natie! Let's dance." Serena said as she approached the two men – then pulled Nate onto the dancefloor. Serena wrapped her arms around his neck and his hands rested on her hips.

(Ooh, ooh, sweet love, yeah)

I didn't mean it
When I said I didn't love you, so
I should have held on tight
I never shoulda let you go
I didn't know nothing
I was stupid, I was foolish
I was lying to myself
I could not fathom that I would ever
Be without your love
Never imagined I'd be
Sitting here beside myself
'Cause I didn't know you
'Cause I didn't know me
But I thought I knew everything
I never felt

"Natie…" Serena whispered. Nate looked at her intensely. She gulped and took a deep breath.

"Listen to the words in the song, Nate." She said quietly.

The feeling that I'm feeling
Now that I don't hear your voice
Or have your touch and kiss your lips
'Cause I don't have a choice
Oh, what I wouldn't give
To have you lying by my side
Right here, cause baby
(We belong together)

When you left I lost a part of me
It's still so hard to believe
Come back baby, please
'Cause we belong together

"I've never been good with words Nate. I'm so sorry for hurting you time after time again." Nate opened his mouth to say something but Serena shushed him.

"I need to say this Nate. I've known you for my whole life, and I finally realised that I had been taking you for granted for our whole lives. You have always been there for me through thick and thin and I never really appreciated you. Saying thank you was never enough for what you have done for and for that I am forever grateful."

Who else am I gon' lean on
When times get rough
Who's gonna talk to me on the phone
Till the sun comes up
Who's gonna take your place
There ain't nobody better
Oh, baby baby, we belong together

"All the guys I've been with – Dan, Carter, Aaron, Gabriel and Dan time and time again, never lived up to your standards. You worshiped me Nate." Serena choked on a sob.

I can't sleep at night
When you are on my mind
Bobby Womack's on the radio
Saying to me
"If you think you're lonely now"
Wait a minute
This is too deep (too deep)
I gotta change the station
So I turn the dial
Trying to catch a break
And then I hear Babyface
I only think of you
And it's breaking my heart
I'm trying to keep it together
But I'm falling apart

"Don't cry baby." Nate wiped away her tear that slid down her cheek.

"Sorry." Serena sniffed. Serena pulled Nate in closer and leaned her head on his shoulder.

"You mean the world to me Serena. I need you by my side more than ever. I don't think I could cope being Mayor without you by my side." Nate whispered in her ear, "I've always imagined coming home to see your beautiful smiling face waiting for me."

"Me too…" Serena sighed.

I'm feeling all out of my element
I'm throwing things, crying
Trying to figure out
Where the hell I went wrong
The pain reflected in this song
It ain't even half of what
I'm feeling inside
I need you
Need you back in my life, baby

"When you left me to go away with Tripp, I was shattered. The love of my life ran away to be with my married cousin." Serena looked at him with a grimace on her face.

"How about we never mention that 'affair' again? And I'll never bring up your relationships with Catherine and Sage."

"Deal." Nate grinned.

When you left I lost a part of me
It's still so hard to believe
Come back baby, please
'Cause we belong together

"I've been so scared of giving you my full self. So many people have hurt me and Dan has done it repeatedly. I didn't want it to get broken again." Serena said in a small voice, worried about how Nate was going to react to the thought that Nate could ever hurt her.

Who else am I gon' lean on
When times get rough
Who's gonna talk to me on the phone
Till the sun comes up
Who's gonna take your place
There ain't nobody better
Oh, baby baby, we belong together, baby

Nate captured her face in between his hands and brushed his lips against hers. "Don't you know by now Serena? I would never do anything to hurt you. I love you." Nate whispered against her lips.

When you left I lost a part of me
It's still so hard to believe
Come back baby, please
'Cause we belong together

"Oh Natie… I love you too. I love you so much that my heart hurts every time I think about you being with another woman. I love you, my love." Serena finally confessed her love and Nate's inside was bursting with joy and happiness. Nate remembered that he had something to do tonight. Nate pulled out the black square box from his pocket and bent down in one knee.

"Baby, you always talked about how you have never felt like you belong in the Upper East Side, and that you never knew where your home is, but when we're together, we belong together and we have a home together. I've been miserable for months without you and it felt like we were teenagers again when you were back at boarding school. I loved and needed you then and I still love and need you now. I always will. You've always needed a reason to stay whenever you ran away, now I'm giving you one to stay with me forever. Serena van der Woodsen, would you do me the honour of becoming my wife?"

Who am I gonna lean on
When times get rough
Who's gonna talk to me
Till the sun comes up
Who's gonna take your place
There ain't nobody better
Oh baby, baby
We belong together

"Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!" Serena squealed. Nate slide the ring onto her left ring and picked her up and spun her around. The crowd clapped and cheered for the newly engaged couple. Serena held his face and kissed his lips hard.

All Serena ever wanted in life was to be loved and happy. Her broken heart was finally healed by the one man that she has loved forever.