Never Been Kissed


Grant_icon.gif Gwen_icon.gif

Summary: Grant and Gwen go on a dinner date.

Date It Happened: December 22, 2001

Never Been Kissed

An Italian Restaurant In LA

Being prompt is one of those things on which Grant prides himself. This time, he's actually early, but that's only because he had to pick up the reservation and secure the table. Wine has been ordered and is chilling in a bucket to the side, and next to the lawyer's chair is a briefcase. The little restaurant is not exactly crowded, but the tables are so well-spaced that, even though most are full, there is still a nice roomy feel. Obviously it caters to those of the upper parts of the income bracket: the menu is pricey, and everyone is dressed formally. Grant is no different; he's wearing a black suit with silver-gray tie. He sits quietly, observing a table near the entrance to the dining area.

Apparently vintage is in, because Gwen shows up in a dress that is reminiscient of Hollywood glam of the 40's. Crimson to match the color of her lips, her hands are covered in black silk gloves up to their elbows. She works the dress like it fits in perfectly, and makes her way to the table. "Evening." she says forthrightly, her distress of the previous evening put aside.

There's something to be said about a beautiful woman in a fine dress. Grant's eyes are immediately drawn to Gwen when she enters and remain there with a slowly growing smile as she approaches. The smile continues to linger after she takes her seat. "Good evening. You look stunning." And then he manages to take his eyes off her to reach for the wine and lift it from the ice. "I took the liberty of ordering some wine." The bottle is displayed for her perusal. Apparently the events of the previous evening haven't left much of a mark on him.

Gwen does sort of stare at him a little bit, before she looks at the wine. "Riesling, huh? Not bad." she compliments grudgingly. "I like my wine dry and sweet." Having taken her seat, she settles in, wrists resting lightly on the table edge, as if she's had deportment lessons. "I hope you've brought what I need."

"Of course. I'm a man of my word." Grant levels out a share of the Riesling in her glass, then his own before placing it back into the bucket. "After dinner." And then he fall silent as the waiter approaches with menus and a list of specials. Grant doesn't even crack the menu; he already knows what's on it and what he wants.

"I'm not accustomed to potential clients wining and dining me first." Gwen says after a moment, and she does crack the menu open, because it's her first time. (Pardon the pun.)

"Then you have clearly been dealing with all the wrong sorts of clients." The waiter disappears again to allow perusal of the menu, and Grant returns to just watching Gwen. "What I can tell you is that the wine in question is a bottle of 1947 Cheval Blanc valued at about $135,000. I have doubts that you will find any difficulty with the security." But he's more than willing to let her judge that for herself.

"I'll be able to tell you that for certain when I see the security data." Gwen says serenely, and after making her mind up, closes the menu. When the server comes, she orders pesto tortellini.

Grant orders veal paillard, and once again the server disappears. "I wouldn't have chosen you for the job if I wasn't sure you could do it." Then with a pleasant smile, he adds, "But that is a matter to be discussed later. I hope you weren't too upset by what happened last night." Or didn't happen, as it were.

"I'm glad you have such confidence in me, but I've told you what my requirements are in order to do a job. If you can't meet them, then I don't want to waste your time." Gwen replies. As to last night, she shrugs. "I got over it." Though she's not sure she likes the idea of such a manipulative bastard being immune to her.

"I'm glad to hear it." Grant's being good, even. There are no attempts at dazzling, however minor, and he's keeping his hands to himself. The same cannot be said for his eyes, though. "I thought it might have been exclusive to your powers for whatever reason, so I acquired a tazer on my way home and tested it on myself to no effect. It's quite a puzzle. I am immune to nothing else, as far as I'm aware."

"Have you thought about researching your family history? Maybe it's common for you know -your background." Gwen supplies, if somewhat awkwardly.

Grant smiles, but it's tight and polite and doesn't reach his eyes: the sort of smile one puts on when a guest has inadvertently made an insult. "It would be difficult to do, in my case." And something he would rather not look into. "I was born without a heartbeat or pulse, so perhaps that has something to do with it, though I have both now. And what of your family history?"

Gwen is not so naive that she doesn't pick up the clues of an unsettling topic. She's willing to put it away for now, since he so graciously handed her that weapon to be used later. "Well," she says, artfully going wide, "I have a mommy and a daddy, and they live in a big big house on top of a big big hill. And that's really all you get to hear about that."

"Charming." Grant's smile is a little more sincere this time. "I find it amusing that you have found someone you can touch and yet have become more hostile. What is it that you're afraid of?" Food arrives, and he gives the server a grateful nod.
"Perhaps I'm not partial to constant psychoanalysis." She too thanks the server, and picks up her fork. "You're not interested in me, you're interested in what makes me tick. Like I said, you're a player. Games are your thing. The fact that I can touch you just makes you more dangerous."

Grant's smile turns into a grin as he sets about eating his dinner. "Like it or not, everyone is constantly under psychoanalysis by everyone else. It's human nature to try and discover what makes our fellows tick. I'm just more inclined to it because I do it better than most." And he's modest to boot. "I hope you'll forgive me if I find you more interesting than others. How does my immunity make me more dangerous?"

"There's a difference between wanting to understand others and trying to figure out what makes them tick for the purpose of manipulating the for one's own amusement." Gwen says plainly. "And if you can't figure out how your immunity makes you dangerous, I'm sure not going to enlighten you. I'm not in the habit of giving people weapons that they can use to stab me with later."

"I can manipulate someone regardless of whether or not I know what makes them tick," Grant points out with a chuckle. "I have control of the basest human instinct. That in and of itself is dangerous, I suppose, but since I can touch you without consequence, that makes me even more dangerous, mm?" He takes hold of his wineglass, but hesitates to drink. "Shall we make a pact, then? Since your powers can't affect me, I won't use mine on you unless you ask?"

"Deals with demons," Gwen smiles. "You must think I'm really stupid. You'd manipulate someone for the sheer pleasure of it without using your powers, simply because you can because that's how you choose to use what you learn as a student of human nature."

One of Grant's eyebrows goes up, lending his smile a bemused sort of air. "I think you're trying too hard to villainize me," he remarks. "I'm not sure whether to be flattered or insulted. But you are mistaken in thinking that I'm a demon." Because he's not, technically.

"Well you can't deny being bi-racial, can you?" Gwen counters, and pauses for thought. "Or would that be bi-species. At any rate, you like making people dance to your tune. The safest thing to do is not play."

"Everyone likes it when things go the way they want. I'm certainly no different — but if that makes me a demon, then the entire human race would be considered demonic as well." Grant tilts his head slightly to one side curiously. "Just what is it that you think I'm trying to get from you?" There might be a list. A very long list. His personal list is rather short.

"I have no idea. But everyone wants something." Gwen nibbles on her tortellini. She likes them because they look like little belly buttons. "So let me ask you, what is it that you want from me?"

"Of course they do, but as I've said before, not every 'something' is malicious. Outside of your work on this little project— " Grant indicates the briefcase beside his chair with a wave of one hand "— I want good company and conversation from you." He smirks a little before adding, "And perhaps a dance."

Gwen looks a little exasperated. "I don't know how to dance. Conversation I can offer, work, provided you brought what I need, potentially doable."

Grant shrugs a little, unruffled. "I would be more than willing to teach you. I was taught how to dance while growing up, and I dance well." It's not even bragging; he states it as a simple fact. Then, after another bite or so, he sets aside his silverware, finished.

"I'm not interested in embarrassing myself." she replies, taking time to attend to her meal as well.

"Embarrassed?" chuckles Grant, grinning. "There's no embarrassment in learning. I don't offer to teach you just so I can laugh at you." He's not that cruel. Really. He reaches down to take up the briefcase by the handle, but he merely rests it in his lap for now, waiting for the server to clear the plates.

"I don't think it would be a good idea." Gwen says, as mildly as she can. "So," she adds brightly, "Business over dessert?"

"You are welcome to dessert if you like." Grant doesn't do dessert, usually. "Why wouldn't it be a good idea?" Almost right on cue, the server swings by with a tray to clear the table.

Gwen opts for the cream brulee. "I don't think you're a particularly nice man." Gwen volleys. "I think you'd be more than happy to take advantage of the fact that you are thus far, the sole man on the planet that I can touch without killing. You'll use that to try and exert power over me. So it's best not to invite it. Especially if you listen to the Baptists." she adds kiddingly. Because they know all about what dancing can lead to!

Grant opts for a sip from his wine in lieu of dessert, and the glass leaves behind a smirk on his lips. "Exert power over you? Really? Why would I need to do that? I'm not looking for minions. Just because I find you attractive and appealing doesn't mean that I want to control you." He shakes his head as though at a ridiculous joke and pops open the briefcase, withdrawing a manila folder. This is laid out on the table in the empty space left by the plates. "Here is the information you asked for."

Inside are copies of floorplans, an address, and a list of the elements of a security system. As is expected, most of the latter are electricity-based. The only one that doesn't rely on electricity is a security guard who makes periodic rounds of the house.

"I'm sure you can have any woman you want." she says, and lets her eyes lower to inspect the security information. Noting the location of the wine, the security plans, and all the other sundry privy information, she looks back at him. "One hundred thousand." she says. "That's my price." She's fleecing him. Maybe she expects him to negotiate.

"I could have any man I wanted too, but that doesn't mean I want to have them." He's very particular, as it's not the sex that he's after. The quoted price brings another grin to his face. "Really, why should I pay you more than half what the item is worth? $75,000 is more than adequate." Grant likes negotiating.

An eyebrow arches. "And you want to have me?" she asks skeptically. "I'm the one doing all the work. "Ninety thousand, and you're breaking my back."

"Eighty-five." The grin grows. "Perhaps. I said you were attractive and appealing."

"So are you." she replies. "Only I'm mindful that many attractive and appealing creatures are poisonous." Then, "Eight-five thousand is an acceptable amount. "I'll give you my transfer account number after I secure the bottle." She's not dumb. She won't give him her primary account number.

"Excellent." Grant would have it no other way. She isn't an idiot, and that's why he hired her. "Are you poisonous? I thought we had established that you do no harm to me." Now he's just being cheeky. Creme brulee arrives in a timely fashion.

"You might be. You're certainly trouble." The cream brulee has an egg nog base and cinnamon on top in celebration of the season. Daintily Gwen taps the back of her spoon against the fire-glazed crust on top to mash it in with the cream below. Then she takes a bite, unable to resist her expression transforming into one of blissful pleasure at the taste.

Which only serves to feed the smile on Grant's face. Pleasure — even innocent pleasure — is just one of those things he enjoys seeing in others. It's better than fine wine. "I think your years of isolation have made you paranoid. I am not venomous. I've already shown you the extent of my powers." And he's fighting to keep them in check right now.

"Metaphorical venom." she tells him. "Lure me in with your wiles," she waves her spoon for emphasis, and then jutts it out sharply, "And then, bam! Go for the kill."

He knew what she meant. He's just being coy now. Perhaps Gwen's caution is another source of amusement to him. "I don't want to kill you. I don't want to harm you in any way, really. Once again, your isolation has made you far too jaded." Grant's assurances are light and passive, lacking in defensiveness. It's like trying to reassure someone that there are no monsters under the bed.

"Again, metaphorical kill. Metaphorical death." A pause. "Well, never mind about that." Because if he's ever had a lit class, he knows what death can be a metaphor for. She resumes her pleasured consumption of the cream brulee.

Oh, he does, he does, and the correction just causes him to grin. He rests an elbow on the arm of his chair and cups one side of his jaw in his hand, watching Gwen intently. "Are you afraid of a little metaphorical death?" he asks, totally and completely enjoying this.

Gwen finishes her last scoop of the cream brulee. "It's never been within my scope of viable experiences." she says a bit tightly.

"Until now," is Grant's casual retort. He raises his opposite hand, fingers spread, and lifts his shoulders in an offhanded gesture. "But you seem to be too afraid that there are strings attached. A pity, really, when one tries so hard to see danger in a situation to justify their fear of it."

"There are always," Gwen says quietly as she lays down her spoon, "Strings attached."

"I've already told you the strings," says Grant patiently. "I get to enjoy your company. I should be more worried about what strings you might bring." The bill arrives and he proceeds to fill in a little extra tip, then slips his card into the booklet and passes it back to the server. "I'm not looking for a commitment, if that's what concerns you."

Gwen blinks a little, straightening. "What do you think it is that I want from you?"

Grant's eyebrows drop and his lips pout outward to issue a few disapproving clicks of his tongue. "You're so quick to take insult. I don't know what it is you could want from me. Perhaps that's why I should be worried." But he's not. It's just another poke.

"It's a question, not an insult. I'm sure you know what it is you want me to want from you." There's a lot of wants in that.

"And you don't want it?" The skepticism in that question is very evident. Grant has his doubts. They're very big doubts. Clearly if Gwen's response is a 'yes', she's a liar.

"I don't want it to make me vulnerable to someone who wants to hurt me." Gwen replies quite frankly.

Grant just smiles. This is entertaining him a great deal, like watching a kitten hiss at its own reflection. "I've already said that I don't want to hurt you. Really, Gwen." Tsk, tsk. When the finalized bill arrives with his card, Grant thanks the server again with a smile, tucks away his wallet, and rises to his feet, bringing the briefcase with him. He also moves around the back of Gwen's chair to draw it out for her in a gentlemanly gesture. And it doesn't hurt that it brings him closer to her either. "Can I drive you anywhere?"

She too, rises. "No thank you." she says with perhaps a suprising dignity. "I'll find my own way home. You'll have your bottle of wine by the morning of Christmas Eve, if not sooner."

"Excellent." Grant offers his arm anyway. He can at least escort her to the door, even if he's not driving her anywhere. "You know, I never did get my final two questions."

Gwen sighs a little. "Alright. Go ahead." She pauses a moment, and then takes his arm gingerly.

Fortunately, he had the foresight to leave all electronics in the briefcase, which is not a very good conductor of electricity. Thus the touch has no ill effect. Grant gives a smile and nod to the maitre d' as they pass out of the little restaurant. "Have you ever been kissed?" Oh, it's obvious.

"Of course not." Gwen says. She doesn't even bother getting expasperated, since the question didn't surprise her in the slightest.

And neither will the next one, no doubt. He's not even trying to be secretive. Grant passes off his valet ticket, then turns his attention back to Gwen with a faint smile. "Then may I have the honor?"

Gwen really wants to say no. She thinks Grant's a manipulative sonuvabitch. But she's never had the experience, and he could provide it. What harm would a kiss be? Absently it occurs to her that she doesn't really know how to kiss, at least not beyond what she's seen in films and on television. And maybe he'll just give her a quick peck. She can handle that. Bracing as if she's expecting to be knocked over by a linebacker, she replies, "Sure."

Grant is a manipulative sonuvabitch, but only when it suits. And a quick peck also wouldn't suit either, though there is the temptation to give just that for all the silly suspicions Gwen has been throwing at him. But Grant isn't petty either. So at the agreement, he smiles again and cups Gwen's cheek in one hand, letting the opposite rest on her waist to help guide her closer. He lowers his head to lightly brush the side of his nose against hers, but his lips only hover over their intended target and he chuckles quietly. "Relax. You act like I'm going to hit you."

Every ingrained part of Gwen's being has been trained to equate such closeness to others as dangerous. She tries to relax her muscles and succeeds partially, and she's like nothing else than a skittish filly. "I'm trying." she says, trying to force the muscles to relax further. At least she's not braced anymore.

And for his part, Grant is trying not to encourage tenseness, stroking his thumb gently over her cheek reassuringly. He's in no hurry, and so he's more than willing to hold back until he deems that Gwen is as relaxed as she's going to get. Then he bridges the small gap between his lips and hers in a gentle, solid, and undemanding kiss. And even though Gwen's electricity isn't jolting his brain out of his skull, he does add his own little spark to the gesture. Not exactly relaxing in the strictest sense, but perhaps helpful.

And so Gwen has her first kiss. It's…not unpleasant, and she relaxes a bit more, but she doesn't quite know what to do with her mouth after a moment, and she starts to pull away.

Which Grant doesn't try to stop, but he doesn't move away himself. He simply remains where he is and smiles just a little. "That wasn't so bad, was it?" he murmurs, brushing the backs of his fingers along Gwen's cheek.

"It wasn't bad." Gwen agrees, a bit stiffly. "Thank you for dinner." Oh god, awkward! With that, she turns around and manages to keep herself from actually running away.

On the upside? Grant totally has lipstick smear all over his mouth. Priceless.

"It gets better with repetition." Grant inclines his head slightly in farewell and steps back and away. "Thank you for the company." And once Gwen is gone, he reaches into his pocket to withdraw a handkerchief and wipe away the lipstick smear that is surely on his mouth now. He would have to be an idiot not to expect it. Not with lips that red.

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