“Cold and bloody cold,” said Chase, with an exaggerated “brrrr” for added effect.
“Well, Dr. Chase, if you’d bothered to check out the definition of ‘temperate zone’ before you took the job, you’d be surfing Bondi Beach and I wouldn’t be listening to you whine for the second winter in a row. Were you expecting global warming to kick in by now?” House had stopped at the supermarket on his way to work. He tossed a packet of Cup-A-Soup at Chase. The Aussie caught it and stared in confusion. “Make yourself useful. Add hot water.”
“Feel free to pop down to the kitchen and whip me up some Belgian waffles instead.”
It was easier for House to spray vitriol at Chase than to admit to himself that the third Vicodin hadn’t been such a good idea on an empty stomach in the middle of the night. He busied himself putting C batteries into the Sony boom box that he’d found in his closet. It was in the same carton as the lecture notes from his residency at St. Lukes.
He’d woken up at nearly two in the morning with a vision of maverick geneticist Dr. Vincent Pitney holding forth on an incredibly rare condition which presented with symptoms remarkably like those of his current patient. What the hell was that thing called? Cochran’s disease? Christie’s syndrome? Hence the need to delve into the lower strata of his bedroom closet to find the notes from 1987, which yielded the name as well as the nearly antique tape player.
He had decided it would be most fun to wake up Cameron with the page. Disappointingly she was still at the hospital with the patient. He satisfied himself by barking, “Test her for Shannon’s syndrome” and acting annoyed that Cameron had never heard of it. The pain kicked in shortly thereafter, followed by the third Vicodin.
Chase arrived with the soup in House’s red mug. House took the cup, avoiding whatever Chase might be trying to convey with his pale blue eyes. House had trouble looking at Chase unless they were deep in a differential diagnosis conference and he could bury his feelings in the rough and tumble of his working method and take gratuitous potshots at the slightest weakness or error.
He hit the play button on his new old toy.
Ooh, I’m tired of living in the sand.Chase looked alarmed, annoyed, and disturbed all at once. Maybe he was shocked to see Mr. Hi Tech using the old technology. Would he have the temerity to attack House’s musical taste? The last time Dr. Chase had criticized his boss’s love for what he termed “dinosaur rock”, House had shut him down with two well chosen words: “Kylie Minogue.”
Ooh, I’m searching for a better land.
Heaven must be there.
Well it’s just got to be there.
I’ve never, never seen Eden.
I don’t wanna live in this place. 1
“My mum loved this song.” Chase said softly before leaving House to his dark thoughts.
What am I going to do with you, Chase?
Forgiveness wasn’t Greg House’s strong suit. With his betrayals and screw-ups, Chase had managed to work his way so far into House’s doghouse he might never get out.
I want him to suffer and I suspect he does too. Otherwise he wouldn’t still be here complaining about the weather. And speaking of suffering…
“You were right. It’s Shannon’s. How did you know?”
I tried to make it work,Hearing the lyrics, Cameron looked stricken, clearly remembering their miserable date. He smiled in the face of her pain and rattled off a series of drug treatments to start the patient on.
You in a cocktail skirt
And me in a suit,
Well, it just wasn’t me. 2
Dr. Cameron was clearly exhausted. Her eyes had dark circles under them and tendrils of hair were escaping from her hair band. House hadn’t stopped thinking she was pretty, just because he’d deduced that she was an emotional leech. He let his smile warm up a fraction.
Take your hands off me-eee-eeee.Goodbye, Alison, he mentally bid her retreating form.
I don’t belong to you, you see-ee-eee. 2
House sometimes thought he might still give her a tumble, if only he could trust her to remember that he really was a bastard. Otherwise he’d fall asleep with her loving arm draped over him and wake up in the clutches of the giant squid of neediness. He shook his head and wondered if some joker in the pharmacy had slipped some psychedelics into his prescription. I’d better take another one just to be sure. He checked the time and took a sip of the watery soup. Chase had been right. It was bloody cold and he couldn’t turn up the heat in his office enough to keep it out of his very bones. Cold enhanced pain. Pain meant extra Vicodin and extra Vicodin brought detachment and strange thoughts. Usually about sex.
Sorry, Cameron, no sex with Uncle Greg for you.
She should have sex with someone though. She deserved it just for surviving a diagnosis as brutal as any he’d ever leveled at a patient and still coming back to do her job. Hot sex with someone who could give her what she really needed, rather than what she thought she wanted. Chase? God no! The two of them could open a high-end luggage store with their respective baggage. Foreman? (Where was Foreman anyway? House hadn’t seen him yet.) Interesting from an aesthetic point of view, but he didn’t think “Dr. Love” would be good for “St. Cam”. The chemistry among the three little fishies was precarious enough without adding sex and regret to the equation. Wilson? House picked up the yo-yo.
Oh, mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head.Speak of the devil in a blue tie.
And as I climb into an empty bed. Oh well, enough said. 3
I know it’s over, still I cling.“The Smiths? Are you opening a Prozac concession to make Christmas money?”
I don’t know where else I can go. 3
“You know this stuff?”
“Do the math, House. Mid ‘80s. Girls in dorms with Morrissey posters. “
“Dirty old man.”
“I was a callow youth. I married my first wife—”
“—Cindy, to get her away from the dorm and the roommate and the poster. She ended up with the condo and I’ve still got her copy of “Meat Is Murder”. Funny how that worked out.”
House looked out his window at the freezing rain while Wilson stood there with his hands in the pockets of his lab coat. He obviously had something that he needed to say. House wasn’t in the mood to make it any easier for him.
“Greg, I know I’m asking for trouble, and you’ll make me pay in spades, but I need a favor.”
“Not that much fun. Can you come over tomorrow? It’s the first night of Chanukah.”
“Didn’t we have this conversation last year?”
“Julie wants you to come.”
“No, Julie wants to make sure you don’t ditch her to be with me like you did last year.
It’s over, it’s over, it’s over, I know it’s over. 3“Besides, I thought you and Julie had both come to your senses and realized it was time to stop making each other miserable.”
“That’s on hold. We’re going to at least try and keep it together through the end of the year and then we’re going to counseling.”
House nearly laughed out loud. “Who came up with that idiotic idea? Julie, I’m sure.”
“Actually it was Margo.”
“Margo in accounting who you’re schtupping?”
“Why did I ever agree to teach you any Yiddish? Not that it matters, but Marcie’s in accounting and we have coffee together sometimes. Margo is my niece. She really loves Julie.”
“Even if you don’t.”
“I love my wife.”
“That’s a bit harsh. She’s only eleven.”
“I meant Julie. Cozying up to an eleven-year-old just to keep you in her clutches.”
“Because you would never do anything underhanded to hang on to someone you love?” House didn’t bother responding. “Will you come to dinner?”
“I was planning on going to midnight Mass with Chase and then buggering him in a confessional.”
“Well, midnight Mass won’t start until, what…midnight, and you’ll both need some energy, so bring Chase along too. The more the merrier. Dinner’s at eight. Julie’s making latkes.”
“Cooking and conniving. This oughta be fun.”
“Don’t flake on me, Greg.”
“Who, me? Wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
House spent the rest of the morning contemplating the gloom outside his window and the lewd ideas in his brain to the accompaniment of the tape. As it played over and over, he remembered some things and tried not to remember others.
Every time you have to whisper goodbye,For all the hooker/stripper talk, House was alone mostly. The leg, the pills, the pain. The fact that humanity was overrated. He had Wilson, as much as anyone could be said to have James Wilson. As Julie and many others had learned, that wasn’t saying much. It was better than nothing. Everybody should have a Wilson, just not necessarily his Wilson.
Well, I cry just a little bit.
I know it’s crazy and I don’t know why,
But I die just a little bit. 4
I’d say love was a magical thing.It hadn’t been a dorm and he didn’t think it was a Morrissey poster on the wall. Who was that guy with the black lipstick and the messed up hair? The poster had been on the wall of an apartment in the Chelsea district of Manhattan, shared by a revolving cast of young nurses and orderlies.
I’d say love could keep us from pain,
Had I been there. Had I been there. 5
The year was 1988 and Dr. Gregory House was free at last, free at last. Done with premed, med, the sleep-deprivation torture that was residency, internship and all that jazz. He just had no idea what he wanted to do next. His erstwhile inmates were rushing headlong toward fellowships and practices and first marriages and first mortgages. House felt no urge to join them. Offers filled his mailbox and piled up on his kitchen table.
House had always loved the puzzle aspect of medicine but his long march toward the MD after his name had left him with grave doubts about the actual practice. He considered chucking the whole thing and following his occasional dream of becoming a lounge pianist.
He stayed on at St. Lukes out of inertia and learned to hate clinic work while honing his BS detector into a lethal weapon. He also realized that he was no longer Mr. Nerdy who couldn’t get any in high school. This realization coincided with spending time at that apartment in Chelsea. He could put up with the kids. He tolerated their music. He indulged in a certain amount of their drugs and he fell right in with their slothful immorality. He’d missed out on being that kind of a kid and felt like making up for it. Better late than never.
It was a kind of so-so loveWith a certain sickening inevitability, someone fell in love with House that year. Because God is an iron, it turned out to be a young orderly with long hair, silver fingernails and a mouth that in retrospect resembled Chase’s. Greg House circa 1988 wasn’t ready to acknowledge, much less embrace, the more unconventional aspects of his sexuality. Instead he ended up sleeping with Tommy’s best friend, Kathy, a nurse at St. Lukes. It happened on election night. Kathy was already crying her eyes out and it seemed like the sporting thing to do.
And I’m going to make sure it never happens again. 6
Afterwards he told her that he’d accepted a position at Princeton Plainsboro and to say goodbye to Tommy and the gang for him. In return she handed House a cassette labeled “House Mix”, covered with sketches of teardrops and bleeding hearts.
“Tommy wants you to have this,” she said, leaving him to wonder who had seduced whom.
I put up with all the scenes and this is one sceneNoon had come and gone without a hint of sunshine. House didn’t have clinic duty scheduled today so there was no reason to leave his office and try to avoid it. Instead he decided to lie on the floor with his feet on the chair, trying to alleviate the lower back pain that seemed to flit just past the reach of the Vicodin.
That’s going to be played my way. 6
Even with his eyes closed he could sense her standing there, looking down on him.
“Enter Stacy, Queen of Head Games!” He declaimed in a campy, pseudo-Shakespearian style from his position on the floor.
“If head games were an Olympic sport, you’d be Mark Spitz.”
“Can’t I be Bruce Jenner?”
“I don’t think so.”
Oof. Stacy and Cuddy must have been closeted together in Cuddy’s office working on House putdowns. Stacy and Cuddy closeted? Nah. There can only be one. He’d hate to see the carnage left behind if those two ever turned on each other.
We’re strangers meeting for the first time,“You came to wake me up for General Hospital? That was sweet.”
you hear? 6
“You’re being sued.”
“Again? Which one is it this time?”
“The Chen-Lupino couple. Dead baby.”
“Is this going to be a another dead baby chicken joke?”
House got up painfully and stiffly, using a bad attempt at a Joanne Worley imitation to cover up just how painfully.
“Look at the file, Greg. Depositions are going to be after the first of the year.”
Stacy left only a trace of her perfume to pollute his office and a dull ache somewhere between his heart and his head. He owed her, of course. Not that “Oh, she saved your life” bullshit that the unknowing and gullible were still trying to foist on him. He’d never believe that. Never.
He did owe her for giving him the freedom to acknowledge and theoretically embrace his attraction to men.
Greg and Stacy had been combustible from day one, going at it whenever, wherever possible. They had the biggest fights and the best make-up sex. House, the loner, had actually come to see himself as part of a couple. With Stacy, he believed that love was possible.
Sometime in the first year of living together, a time when some couples run the risk of constantly available sex becoming monotonous sex, she found his porn stash and something remarkable happened. Stacy told him it was fine to have Jock and Honcho in with the Penthouse and Playboy. All his fantasies and longings were acceptable. He could think about anyone he wanted while he was in bed with her. He could even tell her about it. Stacy encouraged full disclosure at all times.
One rule: If he ever touched another person of any gender, she’d be gone. At the time, Greg thought he’d found sexual Nirvana. Now he saw her so-called openness for what it was: a way to control him, heart and dick.
And if I only could, I’d made a deal with GodChase again. This time with a file. The fishies were trying to tempt him into engagement with the world. They were like a family trying to get a dying relative to eat. Maybe they were afraid of what the evil genius might be contemplating. If only they knew.
And I’d get him to swap our places.
Keep running up that road,
Keep running up that hill. 7
House dismissed Chase’s offering, but forced himself to gaze at the young man directly, taking in today’s ensemble of yellow shirt, brown pants and unbelievably enough, a paisley tie. He took extra notice of the full lips, which made Chase look as if he had been most brutally kissed. I’m sorry, Tommy, House thought sending an apology backward in time.
We are, we are, we are but your children,“Where’s Foreman?”
Finding a way around indecision. 8
“Come on, Chase. You used to be a better liar than that.”
“We don’t have a case right now.”
“That doesn’t mean you three aren’t at my beck and call. Did he take a sick day and just forget to call in? Shacked up with a drug rep?”
“He’s here. You can page him.”
“But making you tell me is much more fun.”
The lips got even poutier as Chase consulted both ceiling and floor before making a decision.
“He twisted his ankle.”
“Right. Finding out he’s a klutz, aside from being a halfway decent neurologist, would definitely make me want to avoid him. What’s going on, Chase?” House put an extra threat into his voice just for the thrill of watching the dingo squirm.
“He was running.”
“From the police?”
“No. For exercise.”
“Running? Outside? In this weather? Is he nuts?”
“Yeah, maybe. Said he needed to lose some weight, toughen up, blow off steam. He’s been doing it for about three months. Two miles on the grounds, every morning. Today he slipped on some ice.”
Greg shook his head sadly, tempting Chase to believe he was going to sympathize with Foreman’s unfortunate accident.
“Is there anyone you won’t betray?” Chase might have thought he had something to say but House kept going relentlessly, his voice getting louder. “So, none of you wanted to mention this to me because you all think I’m so pathetic that the very idea of someone running on two good limbs would bother me? Well, it doesn’t.” Louder yet. “Why should I care if Foreman wants to risk pneumonia and humiliation when there’s a perfectly good treadmill up in PT!”
We are, we are, we are ever helplessChase looked helpless in the face of House’s bellowing.
Take us forever a whisper to a scream. 8
A whisper to a scream. 8That’s it. Greg thought with grim satisfaction. He wished he knew the name of the band so he could send them a thank-you note if they still happened to be around. He wanted an ever-helpless Chase at his disposal so he could take him from a whisper to a scream. House closed his eyes and smiled. It was an image he could keep and embellish. Maybe he’d share it with Wilson. Maybe he’d find a way to make it real. And maybe, just maybe, then he’d be able to forgive Chase.
When he opened his eyes, Chase was gone, driven away by a fantasy he didn’t even know about. Stacy had run from the ones she had heard.
You had to give the gal props for cojones. She’d stood there and looked him in the eye and told him what she’d done. As it became clear that the impairment and the pain were permanent, she didn’t flinch from his rage. He told her he hated the sight of her and still she stayed because she was convinced she’d done the right thing.
Then his libido came back. Nothing happened physically, but the little devil in his brain was alive and kicking. Up from the depths came violent rape and torture fantasies, all aimed at one person. All of a sudden, Ms. You Can Tell Me Anything wasn’t so sanguine. Her brass balls failed as well. She didn’t even say goodbye and left her friend Cuddy to face the music, as if Cuddy wasn’t carrying around her own load of guilt.
It was a memorable day for all concerned. House woke up in the hospital, as usual. He was in pain, as usual. However, he immediately sensed the welcome presence of the first erection he could remember since the onset of the pain. He thought this would be jolly news to share with the woman he loved, even though he had recently told her that he fantasized about seeing her gang-banged and left bleeding in an alley.
Stacy was nowhere in sight. Instead there was Lisa Cuddy in one of her administrative tease outfits. Things were definitely looking and feeling up. So why did Cuddy look so upset?
“I’m sorry, Greg…”
He wouldn’t let her get away with the softly trailing off. He made her say it out loud.
“She’s gone. She’s not coming back. She doesn’t want to see you. I’m sorry.”
House had already processed all that with the first “I’m sorry”. He kept staring at the rise and fall of Cuddy’s breasts under her suit jacket until he found himself trying to pull her down for a kiss while placing her hand on top of his not-so-little friend. It was ludicrous. He was still weak and his co-ordination was shot. Cuddy disentangled herself quite easily and shook her head. Then she slapped him. Hard. Harder than necessary, but she made her point.
“You owe me,” he growled.
House was still grateful for that slap. It mean that he and Cuddy could work together or fight tooth and nail or insult each other or play idiotic games about procedure and clinic duty, but they would always respect each other. He wondered what else she’d done for him that he didn’t know about.
Since time isn’t a fixed construct, especially when pain and painkillers are involved, House still wasn’t sure if it had been minutes, hours or days later that James Wilson showed up. Wilson had been the closest thing the notoriously prickly Dr. House had to a buddy at PPTH. After the infarction, he’d given a wide berth to House’s pain and anger. Yet shortly after the slap heard round the ward, by coincidence or Cuddy, he showed up with a bag of contraband Doritos and sat down to watch General Hospital as if he actually cared about it. If nothing else, he certainly liked Brenda. Afterwards he closed the blinds and helped House find out that things definitely worked.
House wasn’t one to turn down a sexual favor. And he was now certainly free to touch whomever he chose, although at that point it was mostly Wilson touching him.
“Does this mean anything?” he asked.
Over the years, things had grown considerably more intimate, but never more definitive.
Yet there’s still this appealCameron won the “get Dr. House out of his office” sweepstakes with a contestant she found in the clinic. He wasn’t all that interested in Cameron’s case but he was still feeling friendly toward her and he certainly couldn’t let Chase or Foreman win.
That we’ve kept through our lives 9
“Chills and fever?”
“She’s running 104 and she’s shivering. They’ve got the heat way up in there. It’s like a sauna.”
“That’s why you want me to take this case. You want to see me sweat?”
“It’s kind of chilly in here. I know that’s not as comfortable for you.”
“You could just take me to schvitz on the lower East Side.” She stared at him in wide-eyed WASP confusion. “What else?”
“Funny haha or funny strange?”
“Haha. Chase and Foreman are down there. Laughing.”
“So this patient is delirious from fever and shivering from chills but she’s got my team in stitches. This I’ve got to see. Let’s go. Don’t just stand there.” He strode out ahead of her. “Grab the sounds.”
And love, love will tear us apart again. 9At the song’s words, Cameron looked stricken. Clearly more of a “love will keep us together” kind of girl even though she should know better by now.
Why is the bedroom so cold?It was certainly toasty in Funny Girl’s room. He found Chase with his jacket off and tie loosened, standing by her bed and pretending to take her pulse or something equally obvious. Foreman wasn’t taking the heat as well, but he still had a smile on his face, which irritated House.
Turned away on your side. 9
The woman was apparently a freelance music journalist and was telling scandalous stories about a boy-band she’d tried to interview. House had put his staff under so much pressure that they were easily amused. Personally, he had no use for brave patients, whether they were terminal cancer kids or some blonde who was bundled under a stack of blankets but still shivering. The shivering didn’t seem to be enough to get her to shut up. He pretended to observe the patient, but he was really just luxuriating in the heat. Cameron might be a wimp, but she came up with a good idea every now and again. House still hadn’t decided whom Cameron would have reward sex with and now he had to pay a bit of attention to Chills and Fever lady.
House looked at her chart. If she told the truth, she was 39. She looked good for 39, but not good enough for the hair color she was sporting.
House decided that Chase needed to be banished from the sauna because he was having too much fun flirting with the shivering blonde. House shooed out the team out, saving a special sneer for Foreman’s crutches. “E.R. insisted,” Foreman muttered grumpily on the way out.
“That’s very original, Dr. Gimp.”
“Right back at you.”
Cause I’ve never come close in all of these yearsBlondie started singing along, which was actually funny because she was still shivering. House found her vibrating vibrato more amusing than her tales of which pretty boy singer was doing what to whom. He watched her sweat and sing and then he noticed something coming out of her eyes.
You are the only one to stop my tears. 5
“Please tell me you’re not crying.”
“Lots of sad songs. Do you cry over all of them? You’re too old for that.”
“Well, it’s the back story. I always heard it as George saying ‘goodbye’ to Andy. It’s on the last album, which is practically all George anyway. so it’s clear he’s going solo, and if we didn’t know about George then, we always figured there was something going on, so it’s like a great gay goodbye love song, don’t you think?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about. I do know what’s making you sick. And we need to treat it before you die.”
“You’re not funny.”
“I’m usually better, but my writers are striking for more money.”
“So what is it?”
“Do you dye your own hair or does someone do it for you?”
“I’m a natural. Do you see any roots?”
“No, but that just means you spend a lot of time and effort to keep it up. Let me guess. I’ll bet your hairdresser is your best friend in the whole wide world. You go shopping and talk about great gay love songs.”
He thought she would crack, but she just burrowed deeper into her pile of blankets. The sweat was pouring out of her forehead. Neither of them had time for this. Despite his bleak view of the human race, House could still be shocked by the things people would lie about at risk to their health and lives.
What have I, What have I,What indeed?
What have I done to deserve this? 10
Since you went away, I’ve been hanging around“OK, have it your way.”
I’ve been wondering why, I’m feeling down
House ostentatiously opened his pill bottle and dry-swallowed one.
“You’re a pill head?”
“Yeah, but at least I don’t dye my hair.”
“Neither do I.”
“Let’s prove it. Drop your drawers.”
“I’m pretty sure the cuffs do not match that collar.”
“I can have Dr. Cameron come in and look. I think she’s jealous because Chase was holding your hand. On the other hand, maybe she’s a closet lesbo. Either way, I think she can…”
And now Blondie was really crying.
“OK, you win. Fine! I love being a blonde. I was just a really boring brunette, you know? And then I met Tommy and he knew I was supposed to be a blonde. It changed my life.”
It would be Tommy.
He opened the door to find the three little fishies gaping nearby.
“Hey kids, glad you could drop by. Seems our vibrating bed is being poisoned by her hair dye. Cameron, get a sample and find out exactly what kind of killer chemicals have been getting in there. Foreman, get the address of Mr. Tommy, the artiste, and check his place out. See if there are any other clients we’re going to need to check on. Chase, go in there and get my tape player and bring it back to my office.”
Chase did the “what have I done to deserve this” eye roll, although he clearly knew what he’d done. “Sure. Great.”
“What are you doing tomorrow night?”
“And coincidentally, the first night of Chanukah, festival of lights.”
“We’re two lucky goys. The Wilsons, Dr. and Mrs., have requested our presence. I believe latkes are involved.”
He relished the confusion on the young man’s face. First a thorough course of “House treats dingo like crap” followed an invitation to dinner at someone else’s house. That’s how you keep Judas off balance. A whisper to a scream, he reminded himself on the way back to the office.
Chase was still looking puzzled when he arrived at the office a few minutes later with the ghetto blaster.
“What are latkes?”
“You’ll find out at eight o’clock tomorrow. I’ll pick you up at seven thirty.”
Blonde problem solved. Leg getting cranky again. He thought about Rosa the masseuse. He thought about Rosie the hooker. He thought about Rosetta the Stoned, a drug dealer in Chelsea. So much pain. So many ways to relieve it. None of them permanent except death.
He pressed play again and winced at the next line.
And if I only could, I’d make a deal with GodStacy. Stacy ran. Sometimes he’d wake up on Saturday mornings to find her gone on a long run. It irritated him that she wasn’t there, but he had to admit she was very sexy when she came back all sweaty.
And I’d get him to swap our places. 7
Keep running up that road,Although twisting your ankle would definitely be a problem.
Keep running up that hill.
With no problems. 7
Stacy and Foreman? Not that he gave a rat’s ass who or what his ex screwed. But if they did it, he could just see Foreman doing the deed and dumping her. Maybe he could inflict some emotional damage while he was at it. Furthermore, Mark was sure to find out what Ms. You Can Look, But You Can’t Touch had been up to. House would email the pictures himself if he had to. Mark might try to forgive, but what self-respecting, white, goody-two-shoes, high-school guidance counselor would want his wife back after she’d been spreading her legs for Dr. Foreman and his big once-you-go-black-you-can-never-go-back…
There was a hissing sound on the tape. Tommy had been recording off genuine vinyl.
Loud, loutish lover treat her kindlyAt least I don’t want her chopped up in little pieces anymore. Devastated will do nicely, thank you.
Though she needs you more than she loves you. 3
House sat with his feet on the desk, twirling his cane in something like contentment. He’d done a good day’s work and managed to annoy everyone he came into contact with. Red-letter day for Dr. House. Still need a hook-up for my gal Cameron.
It’s over, it’s over, it’s over. 3But there was still an opportunity to joust with the hospital administrator.
“Dr. Cuddy. How kind of you to visit my humble abode. To what do I owe the… pleasure?”
Cuddy was obviously on her way to a holiday function. Her dress was very black, slightly sparkly and extremely tight, with a bodice that just screamed…what was that he heard?
Tell her I’ll be waitingWho was Cuddy waiting for?
In the usual place
With the tired and weary
And there’s no escape. 11
To need a womanMistress Lisa in her office, in those impossibly high-heeled boots. Alison Cameron in…think, House… all he could come up with was a black negligee. On her knees. That was what Dr. Cameron needed, even if she didn’t know it. And it would make Cuddy happy too. Happy Chanukah, Lisa. And you say I never give you anything.
You’ve got to know
How the strong get rich
And the weak get poor
Slave to love. 11
We’re too young to reason“House!”
Too grown up to dream. 11
“Sorry. Did you say something?”
“I said, what the hell are you grinning about?”
“I think the technical term is leering. Or was it more of an ogle? Here comes Dr. Wilson. I believe he’s an expert in this field. Shall we ask for a consult?”
He watched Mistress Lisa turn gracefully and exchange pleasantries with Wilson in the polite, superficial way that came so naturally to the rest of the world. Wilson said something that caused Cuddy to smile and touch one of her long, black earrings.
Cameron, you are one lucky girl. You’re going to owe me big time for this. A year of clinic duty.
He had no doubt that Mistress Lisa knew her way around both the pain and pleasure spectrum.
House wondered if he’d get as much pleasure out of whatever, however, whenever he was going to do to Chase. Or vice versa.
Is it something so good.Wilson looked tired, but he managed one of his warmer smiles for House.
Just can’t function no more? 9
“Between the rampaging seasonal affective disorder and the romantic nihilism, I’m thinking of starting a razor blade concession.”
“Trying to cut in on my Prozac action? This means war.”
And love, love will tear us apart again. 9The smile faded slightly.
“I think that guy ended up killing himself.”
“Odd. He seemed like such a cheery fellow. What do you think of Cameron and Cuddy?”
“As what, a vaudeville act? Can Cuddy juggle those things?”
“In Cuddy’s office. Alone. Handcuffs. Spankings. Hot girl-on-girl action.”
“Is Cuddy wearing…?”
“I don’t know. Not much.”
It was hard to say which was more gratifying to House, his original inspiration or the effect the idea was having on James. Greg took wicked glee in the slight change to Wilson’s stance which suggested it was a good thing he was already wearing an overcoat, as well as the flush on his cheeks that meant it might be too warm for same. Chills and fever, as it were. Best of all was the adolescent break that turned the word “House” into a two-syllable plea for relief.
Their eyes met, Wilson telegraphing a message that House smugly interpreted as “Can we do something here, now, please!” Greg got up from the desk and limped over to Wilson, who was still a few inches from the door. He draped the cane over Wilson’s arm while he pulled him in for a rough kiss, not bothering to check for passing gawkers. He made sure he scraped Wilson’s soft skin with his scruff, knowing he was inflaming what he’d already started. And then he stopped and pulled away, taking his cane with him.
He’d been thinking about sex all day, but he didn’t really feel like doing anything. Besides he had a date at home with a fifth of Scotch and the image of a helpless, whispering, screaming Chase.
Wilson would be with him soon enough, running away from his marriage or himself or whatever it was he escaped in Greg’s bed.
“Take it home to Julie. Tell her it’s an early Chanukah present. Chag Sameach.”
Wilson took a deep breath. House wondered if Wilson would call him a bastard or tell him to go to hell. Either would be an appropriate response.
“Can I just tell her you’ll be there tomorrow night?”
“With a pretty Aussie in tow. Drs. Chase and House will be there with bells on. I’m not telling where on Chase I’m putting the bells.”
“Thanks. I really appreciate it.”
“Yeah, you need me there. I get it. You’re really going to subject yourself to the pit of despair otherwise known as couples counseling?”
“That’s the plan.”
“Are you going to tell the truth?”
Nobody’s permanent.“Enough already.” Wilson reached over and turned off the player. He picked it up and started to leave the office. House didn’t bother protesting. He’d had enough fun. Let Wilson take the tape home and pretend he was back in a dorm room with a Morrissey poster instead of a two-story house with a dying marriage.
Everything’s on loan here.
Even your wife and kids
Will be gone next year. 12
“Hey, Boy Scout!”
Wilson turned around.
“Public service on behalf of your staff and patients.”
“Not that. And please spare me the sob story about your niece. General Hospital has better plots.”
“Maybe I really like Julie’s latkes.”
“Are you saying I can’t cook?”
“I’m saying you can’t cook latkes.”
House watched Wilson walk away. He stifled a yawn that might also have been a sigh and started amassing the energy it would take to get up and go home. He could have pushed the button on his neglected iPod and blasted something more “Houselike” but he found himself singing softly instead and thinking that the poisoned blonde may have been smarter and funnier than he thought.
“And if all that there is is this fear of being used, I should go back to being lonely and confused. If I could, I would, I swear.”