Dance Lessons


Grant_icon.gif Gwen_icon.gif

Summary: Grant gives Gwen a dance lesson. The usual cat and mouse ensues.

Date It Happened: January 2, 2002

Dance Lessons

Galton Mansion - Entertaining Room

Snow is unheard of in LA during the winter, but rain isn't. This particular evening, the skies are drizzling lightly, which makes things wet but not exactly miserable. It also makes one a little more appreciative of being indoors — especially when those indoors happen to be the warmth and comfort of the entertaining room. Though that would probably depend on whether or not one is Grant; this is his favorite room in the house, after all. And it's where he brings Gwen for drinks after the conclusion of dinner. It would be cruel to send her out in the weather without a little alcohol to warm the cockles. Despite that dinner having been at his place, Grant dressed up in a dark gray suit, though it lacks a tie. Not entirely formal, but nice. After leading Gwen into the room and gesturing invitingly to the numerous seats, he heads for the bar to start mixing a Redcoat. "Some music?" he asks over his shoulder.

Gwen is actually dressed frumpy - or Gwen's idea of frumpy - for this little dinner date. Crushed velvet navy shirt - long sleeved, with matching wrist gloves that clings to her figure, and a pencil skirt with a slit up the side to go with expensive leather boots with insane spike heels, hair pulled back in a low ponytail at the nape of her neck. "If you like." she says, trying not to sound indifferent. This whole thing makes her nervous. Grant makes her nervous.

For his part, Grant is very relaxed — but then it's his house, and it's not like the man is ever really nervous. It might be physically impossible. He's fully aware that Gwen isn't totally at ease, however, which might also have to do with his rather laissez-faire approach to things this evening. God forbid he say or do something to spook her. After pouring the appropriate amounts of everything into the shaker, he smirks and replaces the lid. "If you like, actually. There's a stereo system and some CDs in the cabinet." Shakeshakeshakehsake.

Gwen seems ill inclined to touch his music. Or anything in his house. Except maybe the silver, which she could probably pawn at a decent rate, but even that is off limits tonight. "I'm fine." she says from her seat on the couch, watching him. Then awkwardly, "Dinner was very nice."

A liberal amount of Redcoat is leveled out into a glass, then a swizzle stick is added. As per usual, Grant's own drink is simple orange soda in a tumbler with ice. He returns to Gwen with both and the former is offered to her with a smile. "Thank you. I'm only an amateur when it comes to cooking." Then, as he settles himself into a nearby chair, his raises one eyebrow with a cant of his head. "You've been very quiet. Is something wrong?" He thinks he knows what's wrong.

Gwen shakes her head. "Not at all." she says. Of course there is. She's convinced he's up to something. And isn't he? "We should do this again." Ha ha, not.

Of course not. This is just dinner and drinks. Grant lets out a wry and quiet little snort and takes a sip from his glass. "You really shouldn't say things you don't mean, especially when you obviously don't mean them," he remarks as he lowers the glass to rest between both hands. "Insincerity is a very distasteful thing." He glances at her sidelong and quirks an eyebrow once again. "Why did you agree to come here if you didn't want to?"

Gwen studies him with a little frown. "You invited me. It would have been rude not to, and you seem relatively on the level."

"Relatively" — something about that word amuses Grant. He grins. "I could invite you to do many things that you would refuse." But he won't. He's being good tonight. "Do you play cards?"

Gwen lifts a brow. "Like what?" And then, "I'm not one for gambling. It seems pretty foolish to put your money on a chance when a sure bet is much wiser."

"Like a dance." Among other things. Grant really is trying to be good. Really. The last elicits another smile. "I never gamble with money. There are other things I can spend it on that would be of more use. I wager other things that are less trivial."

Gwen is unable to keep from rolling her eyes. "If I dance with you, will you let go of it?" she asks.

Grant's grin returns. "I suppose that would depend on you and whether or not I feel you could use some practice." In other words: probably not, but it couldn't hurt to try. "If it turns out to be such a horrific experience that you could not bear it again, I won't mention it again."

"Fine." Gwen gets up onto her feet. "Let's dance. You pick the music."

That could be asking for trouble. Not only a dance, but also allowing Grant to pick the music. But as mentioned, he is being good tonight, and thus when he rises and moves to the cabinet to look through his rather extensive CD collection, he doesn't choose his personal favorite: a tango. Instead, because Gwen is a beginner, he selects a simple waltz, inserts the disc, then picks up the stereo's remote and proceeds to clear a little more space on the floor by shoving a couple pieces of furniture to one side. Pressing play on the remote, he tosses it onto a nearby chair and then bows to Gwen, offering one hand out to her. "Shall we?" Grant takes his dancing as seriously as one can actually take dancing.

Gwen presses her insanely red lips together thinly, and walks over to Grant. Studying his posture, and hey - she's seen a few movies, she lifts one hand to place in his, and puts the other around his neck. "Alright." she says. "So how does this bitch work?"

And of course, Grant's free hand is placed at Gwen's lower back — a gentle touch, but firm. The same could be said for the hand that grips her own. "How it works depends on the dancers," he responds flatly. "What it is, however, is known as the 'box step'. Very simple, really. Think of it as stepping onto the corners of a box. Just remember to mirror my steps — step backward when I step forward, and step forward when I step backward. We start with my left foot and your right— " and he demonstrates by moving said leg forward smoothly "— then step with the opposite foot and slide the other foot over to meet it. Then you step forward with your left, I step backward with my right, and we step with the opposite foot and slide it over to meet the other." Even in demonstrating, his movements are fluid and practiced.

Gwen is a bit awkward at first, but she's very limber, and so the basics come to her very easy. The contact of his hand on her back makes her twitch momentarily, her eyes darting downward. She's really not used to being touched, and it's the majority of what makes her skittish. Granted, after a few minutes, they're moving smoothly.

It's a little surprising how quickly Gwen picks it up, but once it's obvious that she's got the hang of it, Grant smirks. "Not as difficult as one would think, hmm?" He's quite aware of the twitch and tension, so he doesn't try to press the nearness. He does, however, begin to lightly stroke his thumb at her spine — and it happens to be in time to the music. It might just be a reflex. "Shall we try a spin?"

Gwen doesn't notice. No really, she doesn't. "Uhh. Sure." she says, trying to stay intent on this whole box thing. She'll wait for him to initiate it though, because she's not sure where she's going.

And so Grant does, albeit slowly so as to make it easier to pick up on what is happening. He murmurs the instructions aloud, but it almost seems as though he's speaking to himself rather than Gwen, like someone quietly quoting a movie he's seen many times. "Spin out, then in again— "

Gwen can't help herself, there's a little laugh that erupts when she's doing the turn - and once again, her capacity for picking up physical skills is pretty quick.

That only brings a grin to Grant's face, and it's not even of the devilish variety. It's genuinely pleased, as is the quiet chuckle that accompanies it. "You see? You're a natural," he intones as he moves smoothly back into the box step. "I could teach you just about every dance in the book tonight, at this rate." And she was so hesitant to try dancing. Bah.

"I'm good, but I'm not that good." Gwen replies. "It's fun…but I'm still not all that good about people touching me. Even if you're the exception rather than the rule."

"Mm, I imagine growing accustomed to touch after learning to fear it takes practice," replies Grant conversationally. "Much like dancing, actually. One does not acquire it overnight." The corners of his lips turn upward. "Though the analogy doesn't quite stick in your case, since you are, in fact, picking up dancing in one night." He moves to spin her out and back in once again, a tempo this time.

"Dancing generally doesn't have lethal repurcussions." Gwen points out. "I've been discouraged from touching people since I was a little girl. My parents would only ever hold my hands if I was in an insulation suit, and my teachers never did."

He frowns at that, sympathetic and slightly perturbed. "How dreadful." And quite the opposite of Grant's upbringing. "Hardly a touch or embrace growing up. It's no wonder you're such a twitchy little thing." And as the song winds down, he moves to dip her without warning, perhaps forgetting for a moment that she's still a beginner.

"I'm not a twitchy little thi - " she cuts off as he dips her quite unexpectedly, and lets out a yelp. She teeters abruptly in his arms, her balance thrown off as the change in her center of balance just about lands her on her side on his floor.

Whups. The shift in balance in turn has an effect on Grant, who wasn't quite expecting it. While he manages not to drop Gwen, the resulting lurch is far from graceful and brings him down to one knee. His arms instinctively tighten and cling to ensure she doesn't fall, but it takes some considerable effort not to crash himself. What results is a half-save: he's partially kneeling and she's half on the floor. Once he's assured himself that he's got things balanced (if not awkwardly), Grant puffs out a quiet and rather embarrassed chuckle. "I'm sorry. I … I seem to have forgotten that you're not used to this."
"Are you all right?"

He is disturbingly close, and unexpectly, she can feel the electricity warming up her hands, wanting to crackle and spark, but shorted from doing so by the insulating satin of her gloves. "I'm fine." she says. She'll have to wait for him to either let her go or pull her up in order to recover her feet.

Oh, he's thinking about it. Because he is disturbingly close — it wouldn't take much effort to maneuver in for a kiss. It takes a bit of effort to fight against that urge, and thus it's a few ponderous moments before Grant recovers and glances around to assess the situation. "Ah. Let's see if we can— " he murmurs, trailing off as, with a quiet grunt of effort, he eases both himself and Gwen back into a standing and closed position. Once there, he grins. "There, that was an adventure," he chuckles. "Another?"

"That depends," says Gwen archly. "Are you going to do that thing again?"

"Most likely." He can't lie (well … he can actually, and very well too, but chooses not to do so in this case). "But you'll be warned in advance so we don't wind up in a heap on the floor again." Though Grant wouldn't mind that so much, he's rather certain Gwen wouldn't appreciate it.

"So how would we slow dance if we were in a club?" Gwen asks. "I mean, the waltzing is nice, but it's not exactly like you can walk into a club and find people doing this. Though it is," she searches for a word, "Charming."

That gets another smirk from Grant. "A slow dance doesn't take much effort to learn at all, really," he utters. "It's not so much about technique as nearness and connection. We can try it if you like." Lord knows he wouldn't mind.

Gwen lifts her brows. "What we were doing was pretty slow." she points out. "But if it's that easy, maybe I don't need the lesson." she can't help suggesting with a bit of a smirk.

"I would think that you most of all could use one," is Grant's unhesitant response, "since it does involve a great deal of touching. I did say growing accustomed to touch takes practice. One can't be nervous and jittery when slow-dancing; it spoils the effect entirely." He quirks one eyebrow, then starts to pull back to reach for the stereo remote and switch to a song more appropriate for a so-called slow dance.

Gwen's nose twitches briefly, and she stands still, watching Grant carefully to see how he wants this to go. She'll follow his instructions, but the actual body to body contact is awkward. She's stilted, to ingrained in the idea of not touching someone to actually relax against him, at least at first.

There is indeed much more contact involved, though the actual closed position is not much different than the previous waltz. There's merely less space between the pair — a lot less space. Grant is fully aware of the tension on Gwen's part, but as he said, it takes practice. And he's all about encouraging practice. He'd also said that nervousness spoils the effect, which is also true; after a short while of dancing with a tense partner, he lowers his head to place his lips just over her ear. "You're doing well," he murmurs sotto voce. "Don't focus so much on the touching, just feel it. There's no harm being done."
It's hard to force one's self to relax when 'force' is the exact opposite of the intended result. And it's hard for her not
to twitch when his lips come so close to her ear, causing her spine to straighten in reaction. But Gwen tries. On a certain level, it would be easy. She can't hurt Grant. The thing is, he can hurt her, and she knows it. Her body comes into further contact with his, but it's still stiff.

It might not help that Grant doesn't move his face from that spot either. There's obvious improvement, he can tell, but there's still a ways to go. He's in no rush. Once again, the thumb at the small of Gwen's back starts to lightly stroke over her spine, and he begins to softly hum along with the music, even going so far as to add in his own improvised melodies and harmonies when it suits. His voice is low and soothing — almost pitched to a lullaby.

Her face is locked into something of a grimace which slowly eases, but the stiffness of her body just doesn't seem to be something that will go away in this first foray into bodily contact. Over two decades of not being permitted such contact is difficult to override overnight.

Which Grant doesn't mind. It's progress that he's after, and seems to be making. He stops humming just before the song peters to an end, just as the dance does. However, he doesn't draw away immediately after it's ended. He'll let Gwen make the judgment call on that one. Smiling, he utters, lips still near her ear, "And that is a slow-dance."

Once more there's that subtle shift of her back muscles as she straightens her spine. She steps away from him. "Interesting." she says, trying not to look like she got the shivers. She actually looks a bit like she doesn't know what to do with herself.

As if Grant needs visual cues to find out if he's given someone the shivers — at least the good kind of shivers. He smiles wider and chuckles, "Very interesting." Then he reaches for the remote again and shuts off the stereo. "That's enough dancing for one night, I think. We still have drinks to finish — or if it's getting too late for you, I can walk you to your car." It's still drizzling out there.

"I'm a big grownup girl. I can vote and drink and tie my own shoelaces." Turning and walking to the couch gives Gwen time to recover, and she resumes her lounging as if nothing has happened.

"I don't doubt it. It's merely a polite gesture." Grant also returns to his chair and picks up his soda, which is now slightly watered down due to the melting ice. "You could probably protect me far more effectively than I could protect you." Because for all his smoothness and knowledge of the arts, Grant is really only good at dodging and escaping without a sword in-hand. Self-defense isn't something he's ever been particularly inclined to learn.

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