Greg stayed for a couple of beers. Once he had looked around the house, they chatted for a while over the kitchen table. He was a nice guy to talk to, good company and easy on the eye. Not Sam-Anderson-gorgeous, few men were, but he had thick blonde hair that curled slightly at the ends and big strong hands. He seemed capable and dependable which had always been qualities at the very top of Grace's wishlist. If she was looking for a man, this one would be a good candidate. But she wasn't looking for a man she reminded herself, and yawning loudly told Greg that she had to get up early in the morning. He took the hint, but as he left he quickly pecked her on the cheek. It was sweet, and it made her smile as she went upstairs to bed.
Her dreams were full of dark eyes and dimples and her lips caressing tight abs. She woke feeling turned on, frustrated and furious with herself. Sam Anderson had called her a ball breaker and here she was dreaming about his naked body. First Brandon, now Sam. Had she not learnt her lesson? No, there was only one thing for it, she decided, as she quickly showered, she would call Greg and ask him out on a date.
He took her to an Italian restaurant just out of town. It was a little cheesy, with checkered tablecloths and candles in bottles, but Grace suppressed her critical faculties and for once was determined to go with the flow. Greg looked wholesome in chinos and a freshly ironed shirt. He had obviously shaved very recently; there was a nick in his chin and he smelled of clean laundry and subtle aftershave. Who cared if the food wasn't that great when the man was this fine? His first date manners were impeccable. He asked her where she had grown up, about her family, why she'd gone into teaching. He told her about his sisters and his two nephews, and why he was happy to stay in the town he'd grown up in. They had laughed about Lisa and Dave pretending they weren't that into each other when they clearly were. And towards the end of the evening she had even told him about Brandon and Jessica Rabbit. Greg had thought it was funny that Grace called Brandon's skanky colleague Jessica Rabbit, but had immediately become serious when he'd seen the hurt in her eyes.
He drove her home, and Grace spent the journey watching his big hands on the steering wheel and thinking that she'd finally found herself a good one. She didn't invite him in, it was too early for that but she did lean towards him in the car so that his lips found hers. His fingers softly trailed through her hair as he gently pushed his tongue into her mouth, and groaned. She pulled away, not wanting him to get too carried away and with a smile got out and watched him drive away. It had been a text book perfect first date, but as she unlocked her door she couldn't help feeling that something was missing.
A couple of weeks later, It was JD who was missing again. His chair was empty one morning roll call and by lunchtime he still hadn't appeared. No phone call from his guardian either, which didn't surprise Grace. This was Sam deliberately trying to prove a point. She just knew it. And she wasn't going to make the mistake of talking to him face-to-face. That never seemed to turn out well.
She asked Lisa and Briana what she should do.
"I don't understand why you're getting so wound up," Lisa said, throwing her apple core several meters straight into the trash can. "Give him a break."
"Why the hell should I give Sam Anderson a break?"
"I meant JD," Lisa said with a knowing inflection to her voice.
Damn. Grace couldn't help blushing.
"Is something going on between you and Sam?" Briana asked, not missing the sudden change in mood.
"No!" Grace lied. "I'm just worried about JD. I don't think Sam's coping very well."
"You seem to be getting a little too personally involved," warned Lisa. "How Sam is with JD isn't really your business."
Even though she knew Lisa was right, it still made her mad. Someone had to look out for JD.
"Shouldn't you be thinking about when you're going to get Gorgeous Greg in the sack?" Lisa asked.
Briana laughed at the appalled look on Grace's face.
"Some of us like to get to know each other first," she said through gritted teeth.
Lisa just snorted. "What a crock of shit. Do you actually fancy him?"
"Of course I do!"
"And why hasn't he jumped you yet?" Briana interjected.
"He likes to take things slowly."
Lisa groaned. "Jesus, you're not teenagers. How much necking can grown adults do and stay sane?"
"I am not going to discuss this with you, Lisa," Grace said firmly, on the verge of losing her temper, "Just because you and Dave go at it like rabbits…"
Lisa wasn't going to be provoked into an argument, she just laughed. "You really need to get laid."