Author's Note: Just a cute little Grason one shot, because I've really taken to shipping them lately. I hope you like it.
Disclaimer: Definitely don't own How to Rock.
Grace is not one for subtlety. She is not one for hints. She is one for saying, straight forward and simply, exactly what she is thinking. She is one to only be able to think about a few things at once.
Grace is more than she appears. She is one for trees and beads and pennies. She is one for simplicity, but not stupidity. She is one for appreciation of the overlooked. She is, perhaps, a bit different. They see her as stupid, but that is only because they do not see past what she shows them.
Nelson thinks he sees something more in her, the way he notices when she looks into his eyes that there is something deeper and more beautiful there, something unseen.
So when she is walking home from school a bit late, for reasons Nelson can't place, he decides to follow her at a distance, partly because he is too scared to go directly up to her, and partly because he is genuinely curious about what she does with her time after school when she misses the bus and has to walk home. He quietly walks a good distance behind her, carefully making sure he remains unseen, and finds himself following her all the way to the local science museum. To his utmost surprise, she enters, buys herself a ticket, and walks into the exhibitions. He waits outside for a few moments before following her and doing the same, figuring the five dollars it costs to get in will be well worth figuring out what Grace is doing here.
It turns out, she is doing exactly what anyone does at a science museum. She is looking at an exhibit featured near the front of the museum about genetic engineering. On her face is a look Nelson has never seen before, a look of genuine curiosity and understanding, a look of interest and intellect. Nelson frowns, cocks his head, studying her, trying to decide if that is really Grace he is looking at, because while her physical appearance and clothes are that of the girl he saw earlier that day standing next to Molly, the look on her face tells a different story, and yet he cannot quite be sure...
There is no reason not to find out, he figures, except for the fact that he has never been very good at talking to Grace. Tentatively, he steps towards her, smiling weakly as he approaches the display adorned with petri dishes of mutated cells enlarged by microscopes and shown on screens, and pictures of genetically modified animals and foods and their processes, and a few placards with captions of information. Grace appears to be reading one of them as he comes to a stop next to her, fiddling his hands at his sides.
"Hi, Grace," he manages, already feeling the breath catch in his throat in her presence, the way it always does.
Grace glances up at him, her eyes still trained on the exhibit. "Oh, hi Nelson. Did you come to see the new exhibit, too?"
"I... um, what? New exhibit?"
"Yeah, this one's new. Didn't you see the sign on the door?" Grace looks up at him completely now, and Nelson feels his heart skip a beat and speed up when she makes full-on eye contact with him.
"Uh, yeah, I just... um..."
Oblivious to his stuttering, Grace poses a question with an air of innocence and genuine confusion in her voice. "Nelson, why do people think I'm stupid?"
"People don't think you're stupid, Grace," Nelson argues gently, though he knows this is a lie; everyone thinks Grace is stupid. Everyone except him.
"Yes, they do. Everyone does. Even Molly thinks I'm stupid, and she's my best friend," Grace insists. And Nelson knows she is right.
"Well... do you think you're stupid?"
Grace blinks. "Sometimes, yeah."
"Well, you came to the science museum. You can't be all that stupid."
"They got a new exhibit today," Grace reminds him.
"I know. And you came to see it on opening day. Why?"
"Because... I love science. Even if it is for smart people," Grace admits, almost guiltily.
"I think you're smart, Grace. You just have a different way of expressing yourself."
Grace shrugs. "Maybe." Nelson is struck by surprise when Grace takes his hand, dragging him to the next exhibit. "Come on. Since we're here, we might as well look at the museum together!"
Nelson didn't even have time to process the fear that he would say something stupid if he was alone with Grace for any longer than a split second before they are looking at exhibit after exhibit, taking turns looking into microscopes and building towers of magnetic blocks and making electrical circuits work to light up a tiny light bulb. Nelson has never had this much fun before, and Grace surprises him at every exhibit with her knowledge about each scientific detail. He wonders what her grade in science class at school is, wonders why everyone thinks she is stupid when she knows more about science than he had ever known about anything. That is when he realizes that Grace is just like everyone else, caught up in the pressures of society and allowing them to dictate who she is, keeping her from doing what she loved for fear that it might make her less perfect. Grace is unique, and he vaguely tells her this, complimenting her intelligence in a simple statement:
"You're different from anyone I've ever met, Grace. You're so smart, yet you don't seem to want anyone to know you're smart."
"It's because they don't expect me to be smart. Because I'm a Perf."
"But doesn't being smart make you even more perfect than you already are?" Nelson countered.
"Molly doesn't think so. She says smart people are nerds and losers. But I guess you're right."
"Try not to worry about what Molly thinks. You're better than that."
They go on experimenting and visiting exhibits, and as they do, Grace goes on to tell him about her family, her little sister and her divorced parents and her cousin that is like a brother to her. Nelson is quick to tell her how lucky her family is to have someone as sweet as her to love them.
Grace blushes. "You think I'm sweet?"
"Sweeter than anything, Grace," Nelson assures her.
"Thank you, Nelson."
"For believing in me."