For every queen bee 17 or 16 years old, there is the instant when the Prom Court has yet to be announced, and the dress is picked out, the corsages are ready to be worn, there is liquor decanting and awaiting to be drunk, and the great black limo is waiting in the driveway and the night and her date is ready to go and looking up the stairs for her father or mother to give the word that he can walk their daughter out the door. It hasn’t happened yet, it hasn’t even begun yet, but still there is time for a feel up by the stairway, and all know that This Time might be the lucky night for the bachelor prince, with all this much money spent and so much to gain: stolen tequila, groping beneath the stairs, a hotel room, the golden domes themselves to crown with feverish climax the question posed three weeks ago.

So Serena van der Woodsen’s recrudescence was to her previous life, an atavistic reacquaintance at long last after her exile, and so back, back, back now to a dovehouse that had known so many purebred swallows and gilded wingspans since her disembarkment for reasons dark and unknown, realized only by the land, which holds all secrets; a crownless restoration categorized by yearnings and memory tasked by recall to a full becoming: the Constance Billard junior class that had known time’s mark and felt her absence fully, and so she, Serena, came to, cognizant of the reciprocations and thus revisitations to Billard—i must i must yes a bodys got to travel in heat mother idont hate billard idont hate billard idont

—this, as all your Bucks and Nuncles and yielders of great golden harvests knew, was a reversion to past trusts and sundry usufructs held by the old faiths to be in escrow. But now it was pilgrimage of centripetal acceleration back to her roost, but her feathers not unruffled by the winds of life and returning again, a bird of prey that has heeded the falconer’s call and claims its natural prerogatives, a kinship contested now by the passage of time and jealous kinships; this, Blair Waldorf knew.

And this remembered: the Upper East Side, with its stone townhouses and husk dwellings, matched to the apotheosis: Gossip Girl as voice alone now to the Houses of Talk and passing periods as the Internet announces that it is now about to be the great catting time of the day and the wonted welcome will not be expected or exaggerated or even given to Serena; a viral theorem to Nate and Blair, who had sounded brazen chords in the summer days thick with flies darting in pillars of light; there had been invisible music and hearts playing timpani walking in the sun’s afternoon by conspicuous dilations of circumstance not to be sounded out by any schedule book but that now fall like fat vines at mudded crossroads in the hunt because of Nate’s freetelling that he had known carnally Serena. In the collisional de-excitation that blooms in heat.

down to the rivers we go—

So at last they bred the animal to complete the cause at long last. Not just symbolizing for Blair and for the watcher Chuck and also for Dan his classmate but staking the burden of fallen scarlet damned woman on herself, her individual composite 16 years of life in one irrevocable and red act the low and soiled distaff flag of all her gender. This, too, was wondered at in contests of young men, but, in this new age, of women also, the prize sought in a battle of wills for supremacy over the kowtowing crowd, fought not as in the old way over tables of poker and land bought and sold like so much cattle and timber in the manner of the Virginians but text-messagings swelling the invisible aerial lines of communication all over the ancient isle of Manhattan, darting toward some inscrutable magnetic north that knew no tempest but that which was manmade and had seen the first but not the last certainly not the worst crime down through the blood-loamed ages. Who, in their declination, an inverse oath had sworn, to which the old ways were a gnomon of luminosity in a secular age of flux and declination betokened and common only to saints. And Rufus and Lily learned this, and still the island waited for Gossip Girl again to speak in all its incalculable and fecund esteem over the ways forgotten by all but the earth and Vanessa and Miss Jenny, who might have wept at Chuck’s attempted molestation, and Sarah, who was always Georgina.

Rufus?

They endured.