...With Benefits


Grant_icon.gif Gwen_icon.gif

Summary: Gwen turns the plant over to her principle, who assures he just wants to be friends.

Date It Happened: December 29, 2001

…With Benefits

Santa Monica Pier

The drive to Santa Monica is somewhat tense, on account of the itching that makes Gwen pull over twice to scratch her arms and back of her neck, and wriggle frantically in the seat. Finally though, she gets to the pier, and does her very level best to lean against the car she's using and not use it like a bear with its back to a tree. But it's super uncomfortable.

And as always, Grant is prompt. Barely has the clock touched on the appointed time when a forest-green Jaguar pulls up alongside Gwen's car. The engine shuts off and out steps Grant, dressed in a light jacket and all-black, leather gloves included. He offers the thief a smile, but notes there is definitely some discomfort as soon as he lays eyes on her.

"Impressive, as always. Are you all right?" The plant stopped purring as soon as Gwen took it out of sight of the shop and now sits quietly in its box.

"No, I am not alright." Gwen snarls. "I've never been alergic to anything in my life and that thing is making me feel like there's things crawling under my skin, which is not only annoying, it's damn creepy!"

Allergic? Grant raises an eyebrow, and then the smile disappears. Oh. Drat. He was hoping this wouldn't have happened. Reaching into the pocket of his coat, he utters, "You're not allergic." He withdraws a slip of paper and reaches out to place his opposite hand on Gwen's head — unless she pulls away. If not, he begins to mutter something, reading off the paper. The creepy-crawly feeling will soon begin to dissipate.

And as soon as it does, Gwen frowns, and looks to the container, and then at Grant. "You come prepared," she observes, and then her eyes widen. "You knew that would happen! I should get a bonus, damnit. That felt gross."

The paper is folded up and stuffed back into his pocket. "I was hoping it wouldn't happen. Apparently my precautions weren't sufficient." Grant turns around and opens the back door of the Jaguar, extracting a briefcase from it and balancing it on one arm. With the other, he opens the lid to display the neat bundles of cash inside. "One hundred thousand, as per the agreement— " he closes the lid and reaches into his pocket again, withdrawing two more bundles "— and an extra twenty for your trouble." The smirk returns briefly. "Or you can take the necklace."

"The extra twenty will do me just fine, thank you." Gwen says, removing each of the bundles and storing them carefully in her duffle. "Thanks for the business." She starts to walk away, skirting around the hood of her loaner (err, stealer?) to head for its driver seat.

Grant's smirk turns wry, though he wasn't expecting her to accept the necklace either — which is why he didn't actually bring it. As she moves around to the driver seat, he opens the opposite door to retrieve the plant box. The smell from within elicits a quiet clearing of the throat from him and the faintest of grimaces. "Such coldness. Why is it that you dislike me so?"

He wants to play this game. Alright. Gwen can indulge in a few turns. "Would you call anyone who works for Wolfram and Hart nice, or at least not-evil?"

Grant turns away to transfer the box to the backseat of his own car. He should have brought a tarp or something to contain the smell better, too. Then he turns back to Gwen's car and leans within the door. "Have I not been kind? I could have let you keep that curse, you know. You would have been itching for a week."

"It has nothing to do with kind." Gwen replies patiently. "It has to do with convenience and expece. It costs you nothing to cure me and ingratiates me to you. In theory. Everything about you screams that you play with people like toys. And you think you hide it, but you don't. Standing outside of life means I have a pretty damn good perspective of others."

"And you think I'm playing with you." It's not a question. Grant smiles. "You are very observant and very keen, but you still have some things to learn. What is it you think I stand to gain from you that my kindness would come with ulterior motives?"

"A pet thief? A weapon? Your daily dose of amusement? Don't talk to me like I'm your padawan, Grant. I'm pretty goddamn savvy, and you're not Qui-Gon Jinn. You're not even Darth Maul." Gwen shakes her head. "Your friendship would come with a pricetag that I'm pretty sure I don't want to pay."

Pet thief. That's a good one. "Funny, it would appear I've been the only one paying anything in this 'friendship'," Grant remarks wryly. "I pay you for your services just as any other client would, and I have no intention of changing that. I have no need for a weapon, as I've already established that you don't enjoy killing. As for amusement, yes, I won't deny that you interest me. Aren't friends meant to amuse each other?"

"I'm not exactly an expert in the whole friends department, but I think the amusement's supposed to be mutual, not yhr moustache twirling 'dance puppet dance' vibe that you've got going." Gwen says. "Especially since you've got something on me."

"It's not my fault if you're too untrusting to let go," returns Grant neutrally. "I'm not out to get you or control you or use anything against you. If I wanted any of that, I would have done it already. I'm only trying to be your friend. It's really as simple as that."

"Exactly what am I supposed to let go of?" Gwen counters. "Where does surrender come into it?"

"Your distrust and paranoia," is Grant's simple response. "You act like I am Mephisto attempting to lure you into a pact for your soul. But I'm not."

"So what are you doing?" Gwen asks wearily. "Do you deny being a manipulative bastard? Because you kind of are."

Grant pauses a moment, hesitates, then snorts quietly. "No, I don't deny that I can be. But it's not true in your case. As I've said, I only want to be your friend." With benefits, but hey.

Gwen crosses her arms over her chest. "Why?" is her simple counter.

That just gets raised eyebrows from Grant — the sort of expression one gives when he's been asked an obvious question. "Why do I want to be your friend?" he utters flatly. "For the same reason anyone wants to be someone's friend: you're interesting."

Gwen looks at him sidelong. "And that's all you want from me." she echoes uncertainly. "To be my friend."

"That's right." With benefits. But, hey. Grant smiles, then glances over his shoulder at the car and the stinking plant in it. Urgh. Looking back to Gwen, he adds, "May I take you to dinner sometime?"

Gwen grimaces. "I'll think about it." She's not altogether unsavvy to that plan, either. You don't offer women that kind of jewelry if you didn't have a motive.

Even if it's a relatively harmless motive! Grant smiles again and withdraws from the car door. "You know where to find me. I'd better be getting on before that smell permeates the entire car. Have a good evening, Gwen." And with that, he closes the door and turns to his own car.

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