Joan walks into school with Adam, her arms wrapped around his. Grace is behind them. Joan wonders what's for lunch; Grace volunteers that it's creamed chicken. Joan complains, "Can't the cafeteria make anything else?" Adam: "Chah, it's Tuesday. Tuesday, the chicken gets creamed." Joan giggles. It's nice to see her so happy. Then they run into Iris, who says, "Hey," kind of stiffly. Joan drops Adam's arm as Iris walks alongside, telling them, "This bowl of fruit I drew totally blows. I'll be lucky to get an F." Adam: "Your shading is totally brutal, yo." I must be getting old, because at first I can't actually tell if he's using "brutal" as a negative or positive. I know "brutal" is usually bad, but it seems highly unlike Adam to be so blunt. But it's accompanied by a quick, dismissive nod, and he immediately turns his attention back to Joan. Iris agrees: "Total brutality!" Adam makes sure to include Joan in the conversation as soon as possible: "Your mom's teaching us so many techniques, like hatching and cross-hatching " Iris: "Stippling, scaling " Joan makes an effort to look politely interested; Grace can't be arsed. In unison, Adam and Iris say, "Stippling is so cool." Then there's a teensy little awkward pause while everyone briefly ponders the uncomfortable implications of the simultaneous declaration. Joan: "Sounds cool." Grace: "I fell asleep when she started talking about fruit." Ha! I love Grace. I think Grace needs her own entire show. Maybe they could call it Grace of Leave Me the Hell Alone.
Grace wanders off, as Iris looks slightly bummed but not surprised, and backs away slightly toward the classroom to give Adam a little space while he asks Joan to meet him on the roof after class: "I gotta do this life sketch and I was hoping I could use you." Iris permits herself a mild snipe: "Very Titanic." But her voice wavers just a bit, and it comes off more like brokenhearted envy than Grace-like sarcasm. Iris takes off as Adam watches her with slight dismay and Joan shakes her head to herself. Adam tells Joan, "She's really okay with us." Yeah, you think? Joan: "Happy stippling." They part, and Joan moves to her locker, where Grace is waiting, bored and impatient. She informs Joan, "Look, now that you and Rove are tickling molars, we need to lay down some new ground rules." Joan: "What do you mean? Nothing's different." She tries to smile innocently and totally fails. Grace: "Yeah, it is. You're totally into that whole whisper-giggle thing." Joan doesn't know what Grace means, so Grace explains, "You know, you get some lame little secret, and you whisper it to each other, and then you push your heads together, and you do that moron giggle thing." Yeah, she pretty much nailed it. Joan giggles to herself, already fond of the whisper-giggle thing: "No, we don't." Grace: "Trust me, dude. Today, in chemistry! I mean, sitting behind Friedman is enough to make me want to hurl. I don't need the extra help." Joan denies this and offers to tell her what it was about, but Grace interjects: "No, no! God, no. I'm just saying, if it happens again, there'll be physical pain." Joan complains that it's hard for her to find things she has in common with Adam: "I should at least be able to enjoy them." Grace: "Tongue wrestling getting old already?" Joan says that's not it: "Adam's an artist, and Iris is, too. I'm, like, nothing. How can I compete?" I love the "Go Away" sticker on Grace's locker. Joan continues, "Hey, I can colour in Ronald McDonald and not go outside the lines. Which, by the way, is a lie."