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314 - (TGSA)     The Gay-Straight Alliance     03/11/02
Grace pursues her teacher and Jessie develops an attraction for her friend, Katie.

WRITER: Winnie Holzman and Maggie Friedman     DIRECTOR: Eric Stoltz
Go to SPOILERS for this episode
 Brooks-Manning Lily    Grace    Zoe
 Sammler Rick    Eli    Jessie
 Ex's Jake    > Karen
 Other Family Judy   
 Significant Regulars
Mr. Dimitri - Eric Stoltz
Les Cresswell - Paul Dooley
Katie Singer - Mischa Barton
Dr. Rosenfeld - Edward Zwick
Tad Pincus - James Lafferty
Christine Kim - Alexandra Chun
Russell - Chris Babers
Ms. Gonzalez - Deborah Von Valkenburgh

Lily's house
Karen's house
Booklovers Restaurant
Upton Sinclair
Therapist's Office

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen


by John Donne

COME, madam, come, all rest my powers defy ;
Until I labour, I in labour lie.
The foe ofttimes, having the foe in sight,
Is tired with standing, though he never fight.
Off with that girdle, like heaven's zone glittering,
But a far fairer world encompassing.
Unpin that spangled breast-plate, which you wear,
That th' eyes of busy fools may be stopp'd there.
Unlace yourself, for that harmonious chime
Tells me from you that now it is bed-time.
Off with that happy busk, which I envy,
That still can be, and still can stand so nigh.
Your gown going off such beauteous state reveals,
As when from flowery meads th' hill's shadow steals.
Off with your wiry coronet, and show
The hairy diadems which on you do grow.
Off with your hose and shoes ; then softly tread
In this love's hallow'd temple, this soft bed.
In such white robes heaven's angels used to be
Revealed to men ; thou, angel, bring'st with thee
A heaven-like Mahomet's paradise ; and though
Ill spirits walk in white, we easily know
By this these angels from an evil sprite ;
Those set our hairs, but these our flesh upright.
    Licence my roving hands, and let them go
Before, behind, between, above, below.
O, my America, my Newfoundland,
My kingdom, safest when with one man mann'd,
My mine of precious stones, my empery ;
How am I blest in thus discovering thee !
To enter in these bonds, is to be free ;
Then, where my hand is set, my soul shall be.
    Full nakedness !  All joys are due to thee ;
As souls unbodied, bodies unclothed must be
To taste whole joys.   Gems which you women use
Are like Atlanta's ball cast in men's views ;
That, when a fool's eye lighteth on a gem,
His earthly soul might court that, not them.
Like pictures, or like books' gay coverings made
For laymen, are all women thus array'd.
Themselves are only mystic books, which we
—Whom their imputed grace will dignify—
Must see reveal'd.   Then, since that I may know,
As liberally as to thy midwife show
Thyself ; cast all, yea, this white linen hence ;
There is no penance due to innocence :
To teach thee, I am naked first ; why then,
What needst thou have more covering than a man?
W.G. Snuffy Walden Production/incidental music

The Innocence Mission "Today"
played before during and after 'the kiss', I think
A great band who i've loved for a long time but who doesn't get a lot of exposure, i was really happy to hear them on a show I love
- Colleen Hanrahan



Not currently available


The real Sarah Grasso
BAR HARBOR - College of the Atlantic Senior Sarah Grasso, of Stamford, Connecticut was awarded a Certificate of Leadership by the National Youth Advocacy Coalition (NYAC) in Washington, D.C. Grasso was cited "for her commitment, vision and leadership in providing excellent education and a sense of community for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. Sarah serves as a model for youth activism, social justice and for giving volume to the voice of young people."

Written by Winnie Holzman and Maggie Friedman (not Sue Paige and Daniel Paige, as was stated on ABC's press release for this episode)


In "Gay/Straight Alliance," Mr. Dimitri posts his home address on the bulletin board. Since the murder of New York City teacher Jonathan Levin a few years ago at the hands of one of his students, I would think that teachers would be wary of publicizing their home addresses. -- AdamBomb1701

Cost of Hybrid
Mr. Dimitri is seen driving a hybrid gas/electric Honda. Although environmentally correct, aren't these cars very expensive, especially on a teacher's salary? -- AdamBomb1701

Original episode spoilers

REVIEW: TV Guide Canadar Philadelphia Inquirer Zap2It Chicago Sun Times Detroit Free Press
New York Daily News Again_And_Again The Advocate Soap Opera Weekly Entertainment Weekly Sabrinahagain
TV Guide Wanda Ken Parish ABC Dana Calvo Robert Bianco Wanda Wanda Wanda

From Vicki Reichardt at TV Guide Canada:
By Vickie Reichardt

Once and Again promises controversy and delivers unabashed quality. Freelance writer Vickie Reichardt gives thumbs-up to a thoughtful episode mining the territory of teen relationships, both same-sex and opposite-sex.

On Monday night, March 11, 2002, "Once and Again" aired what was being touted as "one of the most controversial hours on television." The beautifully crafted series has returned from an unfortunate hiatus and is making one final effort to attract new viewers in a bid to nudge its numbers into a comfort zone that might afford it another season. So, in what was possibly an unintended smart move, its parent network (ABC) plugged the episode - called "The Gay/Straight Alliance" - in a manner that would easily pique the curiosity of folks who might not have otherwise tuned in. But what was the fuss all about, and was it, in fact, all that shocking? Here's the lowdown on what turned out to be a richly textured, wonderfully realized and poignantly tender hour:

The Would-Be Scandalous Plotlines: Teenage stepsisters Grace (Julia Whelan) and Jessie (Evan Rachel Wood) each struggle with unexpected and, perhaps, taboo romances - Grace with her English teacher, Mr. Dimitri (Eric Stoltz), and Jessie with her best friend, Katie (Mischa Barton).

What Happened: After months of simmering attraction, Grace revealed her crush to Mr. Dimitri, and Katie poured out her feelings for Jessie in a letter.

The Results: A somewhat ambiguous car ride left the door wide open for the Grace/Dimitri storyline to continue and revived the suspicion that the attraction between the two is actually mutual. And Jessie, although initially confused and upset, found a welcome plateau of peace and happiness with Katie after the two shared a delicate kiss.

Was It Shocking? In a word, no. "Once and Again" isn't that kind of show. Marketing the episode as "controversial" was just a clever way of luring in new viewers and then presenting them with class in lieu of crass.

Was It Good? In a word, absolutely. Both Wood and Whelan turned in brilliantly nuanced performances and, as ever, the writers and producers handled each storyline with the intellect, maturity, sensitivity and gently understated touch that have become the hallmarks of the show.

The likelihood that this episode will be rerun anytime soon is pretty slim, but there are still five new installments of the series left in the season and, while these episodes may not be able to claim controversial content, they will no doubt deliver quality in spades. Watch them while you can.

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From Chicago Sun Times:

"Once and Again" (9 p.m., WLS-Channel 7) Jessie has someone who likes her a little too much for comfort and Grace has someone she likes more than is appropriate in this *** episode of an increasingly wrenching drama that needs to find an audience fast or risk cancellation.

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From Zap2it:

Eric Stoltz returns as Grace's drama teacher, Mr. Dimitri, and he's got a secret.

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From Rob Watson at the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Once and Again (10-11 p.m., Ch. 6) - Everyone is being bitten by the love bug, willingly or not. Grace (Julia Whelan) has a thing for her teacher and seems to have no problem getting him to notice. Jessie (Evan Rachel Wood) is trying to sort out her attraction to her friend Katie. ABC

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From Again_And_Again at the ABC Message Board:

Mr. Dimitri announces in class that he's been asked to be the staff facilitator for the revived "gay/straight alliance" at the school. Grace, of course, immediately signs on to help and suggests that he hold the inaugural meeting at his house (!). once there, she finds a book of poems he published when he was younger...and she swipes it to read on her own. we never see what the poems say, but whatever dimitri wrote in his twenties resonates bigtime with grace, who somehow interprets his past writings as some kind of green light for her present feelings. so, grace drops by his house and finds him there with a woman whom she assumes is his girlfriend. unfortunately, she launches into her "i felt something yesterday, and now i know i'm not alone..." speech before she sees the other woman, and gets out enough of her feelings that it's clear to dimitri what she's trying to say. she leaves, fully mortified. their relationship becomes tense (no kidding) after that, but a rather curious ride home at the end of the episode makes it clear that this storyline is not over, and that grace may not be as off-base as she (or we) thought.

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From David Bianculli at the New York Daily News:

10:00 (ABC) "Once and Again." Eric Stoltz returns as Grace's drama teacher, in an episode that has a lot to do with sexual chemistry, on several different fronts.

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From Mike Duffy at the Detroit Free Press:

"Once and Again" (10 p.m., WXYZ-TV, Channel 7, ABC). Love hurts. Stepsisters Jessie (Evan Rachel Wood) and Grace (Julia Whelan) take a ride on the emotional roller coaster of teen romance. Grace has a crush on her English teacher (Eric Stoltz), while Jessie is attracted to her friend Katie (Mischa Barton). As always, "O&A" offers an exquisite portrait of honest emotions and real feelings. Just another routinely brilliant episode of TV's finest family drama.

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"Once and Again"

On Monday's episode of the ABC's critically acclaimed drama "Once and Again," same-sex attraction and schoolgirl crushes are explored in an episode entitled "Gay/Straight Alliance." Jessie (Evan Rachel Wood) meets a new girl at school, Katie (Misha Barton) whom she finds herself growing attracted to. The attraction is mutual and the two share an onscreen kiss. But, an article in "TV Guide," ABC indicated that they won't be revealing where Jessie's exploration will lead, but Wood hopes that the story will "open people's eyes a bit."

Meanwhile, in an apparently deliberately ambiguous write-up of another storyline, Grace (Julia Whelan) pursues Dr. Dimitri (Eric Stoltz), her drama teacher, who has a dark secret of his own.

"Once and Again" airs on ABC on Monday at 10 p.m.

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From Michelle Kort at The Advocate, March 19 2002:
Teen angst: Evan Rachel Wood as TV's youngest bisexual
Age of Innocence

How does Once and Again's Evan Rachel Wood describe her on-screen romance with another girl? "Beautiful".

It's one thing for a mature actor to play gay in TV or film; it's another for an adolescent thespian, still growing into her womanhood, to handle a same-sex screen romance. But for 14-year-old Evan Rachel Wood -- who portrays Jessie Sammler on ABC's drama Once and Again -- it was no big deal.

"It wasn't hard, and it wasn't weird," insists the girlish-voiced Wood, who's been acting since she was 4. "I was always raised to just accept people for who they are, and it wasn't any different than if I was playing a story line with a boy. It was just fine."

In the upcoming plot twist, set to air in March after the three-year-old series takes a forced hiatus, Jessie finds herself dealing with confused feelings about her best friend, Katie, played by Mischa Barton (the wide-eyed roommate of the lovers in the 2001 girls-school film Lost and Delirious).

"Both of these girls are just, I don't know, growing up and starting to question their sexuality," explains Wood. "They're both a little confused, and they aren't necessarily gay or straight -- all they know is that they love who the other person is, and they just sort of fall in love with each other that way."

After rumors fly around school that Katie is gay, Jessie distances herself from her friend, even as she questions her own sexuality. "But then finally they have a scene inow the story line will proceed from there, and the fate of the series itself currently remains up in the air.

Jessie, the character Wood started playing in the show's pilot at age 11, has already gone through the trauma of her parents' divorce, a bout with anorexia, and the uncomfortable formation of a stepfamily. Wood could relate to the divorce, since her own parents -- who ran a theater company in Raleigh, N.C. -- split when she was 9 (which was followed by a move with her mom and older brother to Los Angeles). For experiences she hasn't had, she relies on her actor's training and a well-honed sense of empathy.

"Everybody has some kind of pain in their lives, and if you're an actor, you do have to sometimes go to places that make you sad," says Wood, who has an upcoming role as Al Pacino's daughter in the film Simone. "Sometimes you get so into the scene that it almost becomes real -- your mind almost makes it real."

Wood is pretty sure that she's straight -- she giggles shyly when asked whether she's dating -- but she's a strong champion of everyone's right to love whom they choose. "It's something I'm very passionate about," she says. "It's really unfair to judge somebody by something that they never really asked for -- [being gay] is who you are. Even people who say, 'It's in the Bible' or 'It's a sin' -- I thought those [biblical] teachings were about accepting all mankind and treating people equally."

Wood expects that Jessie Sammler's explorations, sweet and adolescent as they are, will nonetheless cause a stir. "I'm sure it will shock some people," says Wood. "I'm sure others will see it for what it is, which is very innocent. It's very beautiful. Just two people who care about each other, just two people in love with each other's personalities, with who they are. Which is really how it should be."

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From Soap Opera Weekly:

Teetering on the verge of cancellation has freed O&A to take compelling chances, and viewers are the beneficiaries. On March 11, "Gay Straight Alliance" sample two kinds of forbidden fruit: Grace begins to give in to her feelings for Mr Dimitri, and Jessie realizes just how deep her affection for Katie runs.

On her radio show, Lily advocates accepting kids for who they are, but when she misinterprets Grace's reasons for joining the school's Gay-Straight Alliance (she actually wants to be close to her teacher), Lily finds herself confronting her inner bigot. In a parallel plot, Jessie is repelled, then intrigued, to think her close friend Katie is a lesbian. Meanwhile grace tries to rationalize her attraction to a grown man.

The standout performer is Evan Rachel Wood, who has crafted a Jessie as beautiful and delicate as a glass sculpture; her character's vulnerability pays off in her intensely emotional confrontation with Katie. Julia Whelan's Grace also effectively conveys her pain.

As usual O&A mines the human feelings at the core of an "issue" and uses them to illuminate character. It's easy for parents to pay lip service to the idea of girls kissing, but quite another to have the strength to practice what you preach...

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From Entertainment Weekly:

Who's gone gay? That's the question on everyone's mind-especially Jessie's-when the closet door swings wide open....

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From Sabrinahagain at Television Without Pity:

i've now seen "the gay/straight alliance." it's a wonderful showcase for the talents of ERW and, more importantly, julia whelan...who's positively amazing here. so real, so honest, so sad, so beautifully naive and surprisingly mature at the same time. A+.

to be brief...and vague enough not to totally ruin the episode for people... ;-)

the grace and mr. dimitri storyline is not as painful as i thought it would be to watch. yes, it's horribly awkward at times, and kind of comes to a curious resolution, but i didn't have to leave the room out of sheer embarrassment for grace at any point. almost. but not quite.

the jessie/katie storyline moves forward in a significant way. pretty much everything that's been posted about how their relationship progresses has been correct (the note, etc.). and yes, there is a kiss in this episode.

and as gut-wrenching as some parts of the episode are, that mood is wonderfully tempered with -- in my opinion, anyway -- an adorably funny secondary story about lily thinking grace is gay.

as i said, it's a fantastic episode and once again reminds me how brilliantly H&Z et al. create their teenage characters.

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From TV Guide:

Kiss and Tell

Ileane Rudolph
TV Guide (March 9-15. 2002)

She has dealt with anorexia, divorce, step-sibling rivalry and her mother's near-fatal accident. Now Once and Again's Jessie Sammler (Evan Rachel Wood) is joining a handful of teenage girls on television who have fallen in love with other girls.

"It's a little scary for her," says 14-year-old Wood. "Jessie is starting to question her sexuality. [She met] this girl at school, Katie [Mischa Barton, top right, with Wood], and they just feel this connection." This week (ABC, March 11, 10 P.M. E/T) that connection leads to a kiss. "Half the people I told that I have an on-screen kiss with a girl asked, 'Was it weird, really different?'" says Wood. "The only difference was we were both wearing lip gloss. I think most teenage boys tune in to see two girls kissing," she says, giggling. "But it's just really beautiful and innocent. If people don't see it that way, that's their problem."

. . . ABC won't reveal where Jessie's exploration will end, but Wood hopes the story will "open people's eyes a bit," she says. "I don't understand why there has to be so much hate about things we don't understand."

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From Wanda at E! Online:

Jesse puckers up on Once and Again.

From lana: What's going to happen next week on Once and Again?

It's the Jesse-Katie storyline I told you about before. Katie is a lesbian and has feelings for Jesse, and although Jesse freaks out a bit at first, they do share a full-on kiss. It's left open-ended: We're not sure whether Jesse is experimenting or if it's more than that.

From connie: Anything else?

Mr. Dimitri finds out about Grace's feelings for him and tells her they can only be friends. It destroys her at first, but when she realizes there is a spark between them even if it cannot be explored, she starts to feel better about herself. Also, Lily starts thinking that Grace is gay because she's really involved in this gay-straight alliance club. Really, Grace is involved because Mr. Dimitri is the sponsor, but Lily misunderstands. Of course, the irony is that Jesse is the one who might be gay...

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From Amy Amatangelo at

The March 11 episode is even more uncomfortable to watch. The episode explores Grace's growing infatuation with her teacher, Mr. Dimitri (on a purely superficial note, I would like to note that Eric Stoltz is looking way too disheveled for my taste). Julie Whelan has created a brilliantly multifaceted character in Grace. She's so fabulous in this role that I found myself turning away from the TV because I was so excruciatingly embarrassed for her.

What might have been a tantalizing sex scandal on any other show (listen up Creekers, I'm talking to you) turns out to be a crushing examination on the isolation that comes with being a teenager and the search to find anyone who understands you. And with "Once and Again," nothing is ever resolved easily or quickly. By the end of next week, you will probably still feel unsettled.

This episode will also begin to explore Jesse's burgeoning friendship with Katie. Again something that might have been treated cheaply on any other show is treated with dignity, grace, and understanding. I can't wait to see how all the parents react to Jesse's new romance. On "Once and Again," the teenagers aren't used for comic relief (as they often are on "Ed" ) or perfect (I love Rory Gilmore, but I think everyone agrees that she's not an accurate portrayal of today's adolescents). The quartet on "Once and Again" are the best young actors on any show. Someone should walk onto the set and just hand Evan Rachel Wood (Jesse) an Emmy.

"Once and Again" is in imminent danger of cancellation and many people believe that ABC has already given up on the show. This wonderful show needs your support. Tune in this week. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

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From Ken Parish Perkins at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

Next week's pivotal episode is startling, and, without giving too much away, involves Jessie and an emerging sexuality that has been ever-so-slightly hinted at in previous episodes.

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From ABC:

"Gay/Straight Alliance" - Grace pursues her teacher and Jessie develops an attraction for her friend, Katie, on "Once and Again," MONDAY, MARCH 11 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

"Once and Again" stars Sela Ward as Lily Sammler, Billy Campbell as Rick Sammler, Julia Whelan as Grace Manning, Shane West as Eli Sammler, Meredith Deane as Zoe Manning, Evan Rachel Wood as Jessie Sammler, Susanna Thompson as Karen Sammler, Jeffrey Nordling as Jake Manning, Marin Hinkle as Judy Brooks, Steven Weber as Samuel Blue and Ever Carradine as Tiffany Porter.

Guest starring are Eric Stoltz as Mr. Dimitri, Paul Dooley as Les Cresswell, Mischa Barton as Katie Singer, Edward Zwick as Dr. Rosenfeld, James Lafferty as Tad Pincus, Alexandra Chun as Christine Kim, Chris Babers as Russell and Deborah Von Valkenburgh as Ms. Gonzalez.

"Gay/Straight Alliance" was written by Sue Paige and Daniel Paige and directed by Eric Stoltz


"Once and Again" is broadcast in 720 Progressive (720P), ABC's selected HDTV format, with 5.1-channel surround sound.

Due to adult subject matter, parental discretion is advised. A TV parental guideline will be posted closer to airdate.

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From Dana Calvo at the LA Times:,1419,L-LATimes-TV-X!ArticleDetail-52501,00.html

The show also continues to deal with challenging dramatic issues. The March 11 episode, for example, will feature a lesbian theme with two teenage girls kissing.

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The Gay-Straight Alliance

Grace is attracted to her teacher, while Jessie develops feelings for a female friend.

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From Robert Bianco:

nyc, nyc : "Once & Again" is returning on Monday March 4th any storyline hints you can give to your readers. Things that long lost viewers or new viewers can look forward to seeing that may bring them to the show?

Robert Bianco: Here's a hint: The relationship between Jesse and her best friend is likely to take the turn many of you suspected it was going to take. Whether that or anything else can bring new viewers to the show, I don't know. We old viewers may just have to be happy with it ourselves.

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From Wanda:

From cici12: What happens between Grace and her teacher?

She shows up at his house and finds another woman there. Turns out the "mutual" crush was all in her noggin.

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From - Star Stuff - TV Scoop & Spoilers:

From shane4545: "Hey, I just want to know what is going on 'Once and Again'? I still love the show, but it seems like they're making Jessie a lesbian with that girl at school and Grace fall in love with her creepy teacher! Is this really what's going to happen?"

Uh, well, shane4545, in a word, yes. That vibe you're getting about Jessie and her friend Katie . . . well, let's just say that Jessie is the only one who ISN'T picking up on that vibe. It turns out that everyone else at school is well aware of Katie's sexual preference, except for Jessie. That all changes, I hear, when Katie slips Jessie a note, proclaiming her feelings for her, which are definitely more than friendly. The producers are keeping mum on what happens after that and about how far they will take the storyline, but I do hear that Jessie is not unhappy about the note. Hmmmm . . .

As for Grace, things are going to get even weirder with Mr. Dimitri. Grace shows up at his house, thinking that he's crushin' on her as much as she's crushin' on him, only to find out that he has a live-in girlfriend! So what's the deal? Well, Grace isn't just imagining things . . . Mr. Dimitri HAS been acting like more than a teacher to our Grace. It seems that the drama dude likes to create drama in real life, and gets his jollies out of messing with the minds of impressionable young people. Twisted, right? Let's just hope Grace gets back on track soon, which, I also hear, may lead to more flirting with Eli whom Grace turns to when the Dimitri sitch blows up! Anyhoo, it's obviously going to be an eventful rest of the season on "O&A," so stay tuned, and shane4545, thanks for writin

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From Wanda:

From black_cat: Are they doing the lesbian storyline on Once and Again, with Katie and Jessie, because that would be so cool.

Yes. Jessie seems to be the only one in school who doesn't know Katie is a lesbian (and a member of the school's gay-straight alliance), and when she finds out, she freaks out. Katie writes her a letter, which we presume is a love letter, and when she asks for it back, Jessie refuses, saying she wants to keep it. And at the end of the episode, they end up kissing.

From zoielh: What's the story with Grace going to Creepy Teacher's house?

In episode 16, Grace goes to Mr. Dimitri's house and is shocked and upset when his girlfriend, Christine, walks in. Obviously, her crush is unrequited.

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From Wanda:

Once and Again: Grace goes over to her flirty teacher's house and is shocked and upset when his girlfriend, Christine, walks in.

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