Authors note:

This is a one shot that has been haunting me for a while now. It is set during the last scene of episode 308 "tough love" – you can find it on youtube ;and essentially this is what I imagine August, Grace and Eli were thinking.

Disclaimer:

I wish I owned them, but I don't otherwise this show would have been on till this day.

Wondering how he got there? How did his life reach a point where he was standing in some strangers' kitchen, stealing wine and thinking of her? He couldn't grasp yet what has just transpired this evening at the play. She was utterly breathtaking. She was everything he was not. He knew that he had been damn hard on her; but it was justified. For what he saw tonight wasn't some lame acting of a high school student, it was the real deal. It made him feel so fake and so small. How on earth did he, August Dimitri the aspiring poet, end up envying a seventeen-year-old student on her talent? No, he wasn't envious; he was rather spellbound, mystified, bewildered, enthralled…. Oh shit! He was he was a freaking English teacher for god's sake and he couldn't find a word in his vast vocabulary to simply relay what it felt watching her today. The pain she conveyed was so real and raw that for the life of him he couldn't figure how this innocent teenager could have expressed it so vividly. It was the kind of pain the bores into the soul and totally encompasses oneself. He remembers the angst and melodrama of his teen years clearly but never was it this deep or intense. She was simply an old soul; just like him. But where the hell was she now?

August was pouring some more wine from the fridge, when Grace entered from outside, windblown, breathless and soaking wet startling him.

Dimitri whipped around and gasped aloud which surprised them both.

Grace: "Hi"

Dimitri looked intensely at her as if drinking in her sight in and said hi back

She hastily answered the unexpressed question: "I got caught up in the rain" . She seemed nervous; hanging her coat, she turned away from him. She couldn't let him see through her misery. He just read her so well and he would know and she simply couldn't bear the pity especially not from him.

MR. DIMITRI: ''can you keep a secret? "; He asked with a mischievous grin

GRACE: "Yes." She replied a bit taken aback then hesitantly continued while she whipped some of the rain off her brow with the back of her hand ,"Well... it depends."

"I helped myself to some of your parents' wine. "

"Oh."

"Don't tell anyone." He looks around whispers in conspiratorial tone.

"I don't think they'd really –"

Dimitri approaches her slowly till they are almost 6 inches apart. He starts speaking slowly and softly, caressing every word, stressing every syllable, as if he was reciting some kind of holy chant "You-'re -incredible."

She stares back, brought up short, her eyes shining with a mixture of shock and thrill.

"You-'re -an -incredibly –talented- person." He continued

GRACE could't help but question it "I am?" It was very strange to hear him praising her with such sincerity that she began to doubt he was making fun of her as usual. But no, there wasn't an ounce of sarcasm in his voice. If anything, it sounded totally heartfelt.

"I myself am a fraud, but you are- not. You're the real deal." He paused a little

"And maybe I've been harsh on you, but that's only because the world is harsh, Grace. And I want you - to be ready for it. "

GRACE was speechless. He seemed so different. He wasn't the arrogant guy who tortured her just for the fun of it. He seemed beaten and tired. The way he looked at her made her apprehensive. She couldn't recognize what it meant because simply no one has ever looked at her that way before. It was if he was searching her face for something so sacred. The way you would look at a magnificent painting you are seeing for the first time in your life trying to find what really makes it unique.

Grace: "You're not a fraud." she retorted back a bit too anxious.

August shook his head and smirked while sipping from his glass.

"Tonight you let everything inside of you actually show", he carried on as if speaking to himself while walking over to a chair by the kitchen table. "Which- I believe- is the only thing in the world worth doing, I –, on the other hand, was never willing to do it…"

He turned his head to look back at her snapping from his brief trance "So, how did you do it? " he asked as if she was his teacher not the other way around, "Do you even know? I mean, what made tonight - so different?"

Grace was so captivated by his little speech that the question caught her off-guard. What could she say? 'well you see ,Mr. Dimitri, when your step brother -whom you had a huge crush on since well , forever, -fails to show up for the play you are staring in ,yet again ,after promising you repeatedly that he will and after asking you to do it just for him ,it kind of becomes much easier to weep. Especially when you discover that he probably missed it to screw some whore who wears a pretty little barrette .It is really a piece of cake to act as if you are heart broken when in fact it has just been shattered to a million pieces.'

But no she wouldn't tell anyone .He will not ruin this for her. This never ending crush on Eli has come to an end. She put up with a lot from him. She saw him date one girl after another in front of her even to the extent of making out and fucking her best friend while she was in the next room; all the while knowing that she had feelings for him. She believed in him, though no one -including his own parents- did. Yet like the bard said it rather perfectly 'there is no truth in him.'

She looked back at the man standing before him. This great man whose respect and admiration she relentlessly sought. He was so different than everybody. He saw her in a way nobody did. But now was different. He looked as if he needed her validation now not the other way round and it just felt so natural to give it to him

"It was you. You made it different. What you said."

He looks at her as if it wasn't the answer he waited for, and then when she smiled at him he chuckled hoarsely and sipped from his drink again.

" It doesn't have to be a secret." She said softly with a sweet smile

He looked at her, as if not getting what she meant: "huh?"

"I mean, I don't think they'd mind about the wine." She answered nodding towards the drink in his hand.

Dimitri gazed at her and said with a sly smile "Maybe not." the words were simple but she felt in them some hidden meaning that she couldn't grasp.

This whole exchange was intriguing and suddenly Eli was completely out of her mind. Walking in the rain for the past two hours, she exhausted all her power being angry at him. She wasn't angry anymore. What she felt right now was a sort of content mixed with excitement that she couldn't understand the source of.

She slowly but surely moved closer to his chair feeling a new air of confidence soaring through her. "Can I taste it?" she asked with a sort of challenge in her voice that belied her nervousness about the request.

August rose so slowly like a tiger rising from long slumber and for a minute she could not help but feel at awe by how tall he was. He was not always this tall, was he? There was some raw aura of power surrounding him that overwhelmed her. Something that seemed very masculine yet so tender. She felt so helplessly small and vulnerable.

She reached for the cup, holding his gaze as if her life depended on it. Their fingers brushed so lightly but it was enough for the hair on the back of her neck to stand on end. It was electrifying and she could feel her heart beating so fast that she could almost hear it. His face was so close to hers that she could feel his breath on her own skin. She wondered if she was flushing for suddenly her cheeks and ears were burning with such intensity that startled her.

August was looking at her in a totally new light. She was so striking. Her face so fresh and innocent he couldn't help but remember how young and naïve she was. But her eyes told a different story. Those wide brown saucer eyes, were so complex. They were filled with curiosity, passion yet felt so lonely and even old. They totally contrasted the green nature of their owner. He couldn't stop the surge of feeling that swept through him right now. His gaze shifted down till his eyes caught the sight of her cherry lips which were now ever so slightly parted .They looked so soft and….

Suddenly Lily entered carrying an empty pizza carton. Grace and Dimitri instantly and instinctively moved further apart as if struck by lightning.

LILY (to Dimitri) "Oh good, you're still here!"

MR. DIMITRI:"Yes, I helped myself to some- –"

LILY (overlapped)" I never had a chance to tell you what a wonderful, wonderful job you did. "

MR. DIMITRI "Well, it was my pleasure." Bowing lightly

Lily took a sheet cake out of the fridge...

LILY (to Grace)" Sweetie where were you, everyone was looking for you—"

Grace opened her mouth but no words come out and Lily interrupted again before she could answer, touching Grace's face with the back of her hand "You're all flushed – hah!"

As Grace flushed more, Lily gathered paper plates, plastic forks, and then turned again to Dimitri.

"Wasn't Grace just - just so real tonight?"; Lily asked proudly

MR. DIMITRI" She was. Incredibly real." he conquered looking at Grace with a knowing smile.

LILY (to Grace)" I got so caught up - I completely forgot who you were! "

GRACE: mutters in a low voice avoiding his eyes "Me too."

Eli entered. Grace, seeing him, instantly turned away looking down contemplating what to do while her anger mounted again. Dimitri took in the seen playing in front of , half intrigued.

Lily turned on Eli—"And you! Where were you, we saved you a seat! "

ELI stammered "Oh,- yeah …. Sorry..." , he casually places his arm around Grace and she stayed frozen for a while.

LILY answered scolding him "You should be. You missed an amazing performance."

Lily picks up the cake, other stuff, exits as ... Grace, desperate for an escape, noticed –

"Mom, wait, you forgot the forks -! "Grace grabbed them, started after her mother...

ELI said gently "Grace -!"

She stopped, and turned back to him with a questioning glare.

"You want some help? "; he continued sheepishly.

She pauses for a second as if thinking of an answer while glaring at him and finally replied with a dry smile on her face, "No, I can handle it." The meaning didn't escape him.

She exited hastily leaving Eli and Dimitri horribly alone. Dimitri took another swallow of wine. Eli noticed a program from the play lying on the kitchen counter, picked it up flipping through it absently.

He started trying to make some small take in a try to break the awkward silence," I'm really sorry I missed it. I mean, I heard a lot about it…..So are you Mr. Dimitri?"

"Hem.." Dimitri mumbled suddenly so interested in his cup.

"I'm her step-brother."; Eli stated

Dimitri looked up finally figuring it out completely, "Oh, yes, she's mentioned you." He replies in a slightly condescending tone.

"She's mentioned you too." chuckling dryly

"You're a musician, aren't you?" he asked rather disinterested.

ELI was startled by the question looking like a deer caught up in a headlight, he started spluttering, struggling for an answer to what should have been a very simple question

"No…No.. Not really" He looked up and saw Dimitri walking away towards the living room and he was left alone in a kitchen "I'm not really anything." He said it with such finality and resolve as if he was stating that the sun rises from the east. He said it to himself really and it suddenly sank in. He is her step-brother who is simply nothing.

Eli looks over to the living room and saw Grace, Jessie, Katie, Rick, Lily, and what he guessed was the rest of the cast. They were all enjoying the cake merrily surrounding her. His heart skipped a beat when it struck him, that just like he was NOTHING, she was EVERYTHING. She is the star and somehow she had let him outshine her for so long. He didn't deserve her and he probably never will.

Before you kill me for trashing Eli, let me say am a huge EG fan but seriously at this point I can't help but hate him. Also for some perverse reason I found this scene incredibly moving. Apologies for anyone who finds it creepy; but really who didn't have a crush on their creative writing teacher? , I know I had. This actually was my first try at fanfiction and English is not my first language thus I know it is flooded with grammar mistakes. So feel completely free to tell me I suck and that you hate me for ruining this great scene. But in case you like it kindly let me know too