Characteres: Greg House, Lisa Cuddy (mention of OFC)
Rating: Slightly adult
Word count: 3758
Summary: When Lisa met Greg.
Warnings: No smut. No spoilers. Lots of alcohol.
A/N-Written for fallen_arazil in gratitude for creating the attached userpic to express my slogan for all fanfic smut: Hot and Well-Written Trumps Everythng. She wanted somethng involving House/Wilson and alcohol with possible Cuddy. I tried. It wasn't happening because of how I'm feeling about the boys right now, so I came up with this instead.
This is the first year I'm celebrating my bday with my LJ friends and this is my gift to ALL OF YOU for all the love and happiness you've given me.
It happened in Monterey, in old Mexico. It happened in Monterey, a long time ago.
It actually happened in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Lisa had to get away, as far from the campus as it was possible to get on a chilly night, in open-toed shoes with less than twenty dollars in her handbag. The last fact only came to her attention when she fished her wallet out to show her ID to the doorman at a bar she’d never been to.
She wondered if she should go inside. The fact that there was a doorman instead of a bouncer meant that drinks would probably cost more than the dollar beers at the Rathskellar. The dude checking out her driver’s license looked askance at her faded jeans and was completely unimpressed by her under-sized t-shirt. For a second, she was actually offended that a man had failed to stare at her chest, despite the amount of time she spent being outraged and annoyed by that very behavior. What kind of man doesn’t look at my…? Only one kind, she thought with a strange sense of relief. Maybe this was the place she needed to be. She’d nurse one drink, maybe two. Just leave enough money for a cab.
Two scotch and sodas later, she was down to a ten dollar bill and the bartender, who'd was calling her “Pumpkin”. He also pointed out that she wouldn’t be able to hustle drinks in this particular neck of the woods, as if that were her usual modus operandi. Lisa was tempted to tell Twinkletoes that she’d wandered here in a daze after catching her girlfriend canoodling with a football player in the student center, but it would take more than two drinks before she was ready to share that information.
You know you’re in trouble when your straight friends tell you a girl is going to break your heart.
Didi was a classic LUG. Lisa took one look at her spiky hair, tight jeans and, oh god, her boots, working the lines on add/drop day like she was Monty Hall, and somehow, “Until graduation” seemed a perfectly reasonable arrangement. She gave up a Tuesday morning Statistics class and her heart, only to find that Didi couldn’t wait until Winter Break, much less graduation.
The little slut hadn’t even bothered to try and explain herself.
Screw the cab. I walked here. I’ll walk back.
Before she could signal Twinkletoes, he walked away from the bar with a shot glass in his hand.
“Hey,” she called out, half-heartedly.
“Back in a second, Pumpkin. The entertainment’s here. Gotta feed the grizzly.”
She turned around on her bar-stool and nearly fell off it when she saw the man seated at the upright piano on the opposite side of the room. “Oh my god,” she mouthed to no one in particular. It couldn’t possibly be him. Clean shaven. Wearing a suit and striped tie. Playing piano. And singing.
It happened in Monterey, in old Mexico. It happened in Monterey, a long time ago. Stars and steel guitars and luscious lips as red as wine. Broke somebody’s heart and I think, pretty baby, it’s mine.
Twinkletoes was back behind the bar eying Lisa’s empty glass, while she nervously fingered her remaining ten dollar bill.
“Oh for Pete’s sake.” He pushed a fresh drink in front of her. “This one’s on the house.” He could afford to be generous. The bar was filling up with men. She watched them jockey for position, playing eye contact games. Some of them were taking an obvious interest in the piano player finishing his first song in a slightly nasal tenor.
My incomplete heart, longs for the sweetheart, I met in Monterey.
She waved her new best friend over for a chat.
“Is that Gregory House?”
“That’s what he told me. You know him?”
“Not really,” she had to admit. She watched him play, long fingers dancing up and down the keyboard, as deftly as his rare smiles played the men dropping money in the tip jar and trying to catch his eye. His nods promised nothing, while his eyes hinted at everything. She’d heard plenty of rumors about Greg House, but not that one.
Her musings were interrupted by a tap on the shoulder.
“Sorry, Pumpkin. Buy a drink or go home. The owner’s watching.”
Twinkletoes looked disappointed, but firm. He had another shot glass ready to go.
“Can I bring him that?”
“We’re not hiring, sweetie.”
“I’m not looking for a job and I’m not going to spill whatever the hell he’s drinking. Let me take it and then I’ll leave. I promise.”
She flashed her best cajoling smile, knowing it was probably futile.
“Here,” he surrendered in exasperation. “Just don’t drop it. Greggy gets surly without his medicine.”
She couldn’t tell if he was deliberately imitating Paul Lynde or if it just came out that way. It was hard to imagine anyone calling Gregory House “Greggy”. On the other hand, she was letting him get away with the whole “Pumpkin” thing.
Lisa made her way through a cluster of men, knowing that for a change no one was staring at her breasts. She plunked the shot down on the top of the piano, and herself on the bench next to House. He finished a song she didn’t recognize, picked up his drink and downed it emphatically. Then he shook his head and did an exaggerated double-take.
“Brian, you’ve changed.”
Who the hell was Brian? Through her growing tipsiness, she figured it must be the bartender who he’d been expecting to bring the drink.
“You’re Greg House,” she said, still stunned by the fact.
“And you’re…” he closed his eyes, apparently trying to pull a name from the recesses of his mind. “…the major league yabbos in my genetic disorders seminar.”
“Lisa Cuddy. What are you doing here?”
“Picking up babes, so I’d appreciate you moving your shapely tuchus. You're cramping my style.” House loosened his tie and made a “shoo” motion before playing a few bars of “Hit the Road Jack”. She didn’t move. He produced an exaggerated expression of surprise that she was still sitting there. “Shall I act like I’m interested in what you’re doing here?”
Let’s take a boat to Bermuda. Let’s take a plane to St. Paul. Let’s take a kayak to Quincy or Nyack. Let’s get away from it all.
During his extended piano part on the bridge, she blurted out her dilemma.
“I ran out without enough money and if I don’t by a drink soon, your friend Brian is going to throw me out of here.”
Nothing. The son of a bitch closed his eyes, as if playing that stupid piano was more important than her continued drinking. Extreme measures were called for.
“If you don’t help me out, I’m going to kiss you and tell all these guys that I’m your girlfriend.”
Let’s leave our hut dear, get out of our rut dear. Let’s get away from it all.
He managed to end the song, reach into his jacket pocket for a twenty, hand it to her, and start “Come Fly With Me,” without missing a beat.
Lisa found her barstool now occupied by a man who in daylight might have been the head of the University’s psychology department. She got Brian’s attention by waving Andrew Jackson around. He raised his eyebrows, but took the bill and produced a drink.
“Keep ‘em coming until that runs out,” she instructed, taking her glass to a table where she could get drunk and feel sorry for herself. The drunk was proceeding nicely but it was hard to maintain the proper level of self-pity to a sound-track of up-tempo songs. Doesn’t he know any ballads?
The culprit himself was approaching her table carrying his own shot glass. He sat down and picked up their previous conversation.
“Of course, the question is how you managed to do something as stupid as leaving campus without cash. Despite your prominent assets, you’re not a bimbo, so you must have been upset. By the state of inebriation you’re attempting to achieve, I’m thinking…fight with the boyfriend? Don’t worry. He’s probably a jerk.” Lisa closed her eyes, making the world spin inside her head.
She hadn’t tried to hide who she was since she fell in love with her best friend when they were both eight, but House barely remembered her from the one class they had together. There was no reason to think he knew anything about her beyond being a fellow medical student.
Lisa tilted her head noncommittally.
“Or maybe she’s a jerk.”
“What are you doing here?” she asked, He started to open his mouth with another snotty reply. “Not here, but here. Michigan.”
“I came to Michigan for the waters.”
“You were at Hopkins. A pain in the ass, but brilliant.”
“I’ll have to give my press agent a raise.”
“And now you’re here. What the hell happened?”
“Don’t tell me, you’re really the roving reporter from The Michigan Daily and you’re here undercover.”
“Could you play “One For My Baby?”
“Whoever you are, that twenty isn’t going to last long if you keep guzzling like that. Not to mention your head tomorrow.”
“I don’t care,” she announced petulantly.
“Here. Smoke a cigarette. It’ll make the booze last longer.”
“I’m going to be doctor.”
“So am I. What a coincidence. Right now I have to work, and baby-sitting is not part of the job.”
“How about that song from Casablanca?” She started to sing…”You must remember this…”
House interrupted her.
He left her alone with her drink and his Marlboro lights. Brian swung by to assess her readiness for a refill.
“Is he always such a prick?”
“Actually, he’s been a pretty good boy tonight. I think he likes you.”
“He won’t play ‘As Time Goes By’ for me, she pouted.
“Closing time’s at one. Ballads start at midnight.”
She blinked a few times, liking the way each blink make the room spin, until her stomach told her she didn’t like it anymore. Lisa had fulfilled her mission to get drunk, but it wasn’t helping.
“How’s that twenty doing?”
“Don’t worry about it. You’re covered.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means knock yourself out.”
Lisa could barely keep her head up. She reached for House’s cigarettes, thinking a dose of nicotine might keep her awake. That didn’t make sense. Cigarettes killed you and weren’t generally known as a stimulant. She wanted one anyway, wanted to look like a cool girl who smoked, not a grind who’d just been humiliated by her girlfriend, excuse me, ex-girlfriend.
You must remember this. A kiss is still a kiss. A sigh is just a sigh.
She took the song as an invitation to drag herself back to House and make herself comfortable on the piano bench, facing away from the piano. Lisa watched the bar denizens do the dance of desperation and sank deeper into her own gloom, abetted by Greg House and his selection of tunes to mope by.
Angel Eyes, that old devil sent. They glow unbearably bright. Need I say, my love’s been misspent. Misspent with Angel Eyes tonight.
The lower notes were a strain on his voice. It sounded painful, but beautiful at the same time.
Tears formed in her eyes, but they didn’t feel heavy enough to fall. The bar went soft and blurry around her. She heard House’s voice, cool and speculative through the haze.
“You’re already shit-faced, and yet you’re still here. You can’t leave, because you’ve got no place to go. Which means whoever’s a jerk isn’t just a jerk, but also a roommate. I thought you were smarter than that.”
“So did I,” she sniffled, feeling every minute of this horrible evening and wondering what she was going to do now.
I make a date for golf and you can bet your life it rains. Try to give a party and the guy upstairs complains. Guess I’ll go through life just catching colds and missing trains. Everything happens to me.
The tears started falling and wouldn’t stop. House continued playing. Around the bar, connections were made, dreams shattered and chairs stacked.
The lights had come up and she was sitting alone.
“Little boy’s room. He’s like a camel. Manages to wait till after closing. I always tell him it’s perfectly safe in there, more's the pity.”
“Thanks for everything, Brian.”
She reached into her bag, finding two crumpled dollar bills to press into Brian’s hands.
“Story of my life,” he said leaving her with a rueful smile.
House returned, jacket over one arm, tie hanging loose around his neck. Lisa could already see dark stubble. The scruffy look set Greg House apart from the herd of Young Dr. Kildares she usually attended classes with.
“Are you ready for the next scene of your soap opera?”
“Usually getting pregnant by your best friend’s husband.”
“You got anything else?”
“Are you ready to deal with whoever…?”
“Anywhere else to go?”
House sighed as musically as he played and sang. Lisa shrugged. He’d made sure she could get fucked up, now it was his responsibility to take care of her.
“Come on,” he grumbled.
“To your dorm?”
“Dorms are for children. I’ve got an apartment.” Lisa looked at House apprehensively. “With a couch,” he added with an air of resignation.
He even had a car, or rather a garbage dump on wheels. In response to her raised eyebrows, he pointed out that it wasn’t really his car, but Crandall’s, whoever that was. She tossed empty coke cans and Hostess Cupcake wrappers into the back to make room for herself on the passenger seat.
“So,” he started after a few attempts to coax the pernickety engine to turn over. ”Is she really worth all this?”
Lisa was tempted to snap “none of your business,” but she owed House and this was the beginning of payback. He wanted details, she’d tell the bastard everything; starting with how Didi’s tank top clung to her beautiful, small, perfectly shaped breasts. She told him exactly how she’d first pushed Didi up against the wall the of the shower and quickly found Didi sliding down her body, doing things with her mouth that Lisa had only dreamt about.
Maybe House didn’t want to hear about huddling for warmth and giggling under the blankets on December nights or how many times Lisa had nearly been late for class because Didi had given her that look, but Lisa needed to say it.
It was hard to tell if House was even paying attention until a red light suddenly appeared and he slammed on the brakes, hard. Lisa would have been wearing a seat belt if she could have found one amid the clutter. She threw her hands up to keep herself from being thrown forward and hit the glove compartment, which opened up and hurled its contents into her lap.
“Sure I can’t interest you in that unwanted pregnancy?”
She ignored his crudeness and concentrated on returning the map and flashlight and chewing gum and pens and pencils and a pack of condoms and some pixie sticks and lip balm and somebody’s bra to the space in front of her and shutting it tightly. She found one more item between her legs on the car seat. A slender orange cardboard box with an open lid and thin papers inside. It had been a long time since she seen a package of Zig- Zags. She stared down at the guy with beard. Come on, Mr. Zig-Zag. Tell me what to do now?
They’d pulled into a parking space behind a garden apartment…somewhere.” Lisa had no idea if they were still in Ann Arbor or an adjacent suburb.
“You’re not my husband. Or my best friend.”
“You’re too drunk to notice.”
“Not that drunk.”
She followed him into an apartment that had been decorated by the same creative team responsible for the car. There was couch, as advertised. There was also a slug with a guitar residing on it, strumming along to a Van Halen video on MTV.
“Oh shit,” Greg muttered. “What are you doing here? I thought you were with Judy till Monday.”
“Change of plans.” The slug took a drink from a can of beer. “Hello pretty lady. Do I know you? If not, why not?”
“Ignore Mr. Smooth,” House interrupted. “Come on.”
“Wait a minute,” she said, trying to fight back a panic that was fighting to rise against the sea of liquor she’d consumed, as she entered a room with a bed, a Kerouac poster and books on every available surface including most of the floor.
“I’d ask him to share the bed, but he’s in love with me and I don’t want to encourage him. Don’t worry. Nothing’s gonna happen as long as you keep your hands to yourself. If you wake up sick, the bathroom’s that way.”
Lisa woke up sick.
And naked down to her panties,under a blanket, thank god . Her hands clung to one of Greg House’s arms, coarse hair under her fingers, so different from Didi’s soft skin.
“Shit,” she managed to say through a mouth full of cotton. “How…what…shit.”
A black-out would have been welcome, but her brain managed to feed Lisa enough information to know what she’d done and why. She closed her eyes, letting the full awfulness of her hangover make itself known. When she opened them again, she was faced with House’s smug grin and obscenely bright blue eyes.
“Did anything…did we..?” She winced at having to ask.
“Nope.” He announced smiling just a little to happily for that to be the case. “Of course I was pretty snockered myself, so…”
“Shut up and help me find my clothes.”
“After all we’ve been to each other,” he sounded shocked.
“Get me a shirt before I puke on your bed.”
That got the smirk off his face long enough to produce an Aerosmith t-shirt. It took a prolonged glare, but he finally turned around while she put it on.
Lisa staggered out to the bathroom, passing the unnamed stoner, still picking out chords as if no time had passed at all. The bathroom was better than she would have expected and felt like a safe place to linger. She hadn’t actually thrown up. The worst effects of her bender were a pounding headache and the doubts about what might have happened with House.
Her body said one thing; his grin said something else. None of the gossip that had filtered to Michigan from Hopkins said anything about girls and how he acted with them. Apparently he’d been too busy pissing off professors and fellow students to do much dating.
There was a knock on the bathroom door followed by the appearance of her clothes. She put on her jeans, but perversely decided to hang on to the t-shirt. Dream on. Dream until your dreams come true.
House didn’t mention the shirt or anything else on the ride back to her dorm.
“How much do I owe you for last night?”
“I told you. Nothing happened. No charge.”
She looked at him through narrowed eyes, trying to tell him he wasn’t half as funny as he thought he was. She reached into her front pocket and found the cardboard package of Zig-Zags. She wrapped her fingers around it, keeping her hand where it was.
I meant for the drinks. I must have run up quite a tab.”
“I can take it out in trade.”
“I’ll have my people call your people.”
“I’ve got money in the bank. I can write you a check or…”
“She did you a favor.”
“You found out. You got hurt. Now you can go do whatever it is you’re going to do with your life. Something about being a doctor, I understand.”
“Yeah. It’s my lucky day.”
She gripped the rolling papers more tightly..
They’d arrived at Mason Hall.
“You want me to come in and beat her up?”
“Thanks, but no thanks.” She started getting out of the car. A can fell out into the street. “Thanks, House. Greg. I really…thanks. If you decide you want your money, you know where to find me on Thursday afternoons.”
She got a wave in return and watched the junk mobile drive out of sight, absent-mindedly bending down to pick up the empty can and chuck it into a trash can before going upstairs for the big confrontation.
No Didi. No sign of Didi ever having been there, except for the spaces on the shelves that had held Didi’s clothing, the holes from the thumb tacks that had held up her Duran Duran and Adam Ant posters, and of course the pain that Lisa couldn’t avoid anymore. Impressive. While she’d been trying to drink Didi out of her mind, Didi had been erasing herself from Lisa’s life. The two beds that had been pushed together had been separated back into a standard dorm room arrangement and Didi’s bed was stripped, including the down comforter underneath which all that winter huddling and cuddling had taken place.
Lisa lay down on her bed, pulling her knees up against her chest, trying to comfort herself since there was no one else around to do it. She closed her eyes to avoid seeing the place on the floor that used to be Didi’s boombox and her stack of cassettes. At least she’d never have to listen to “Thriller” again. Except that Didi did the cutest dance to “Billie Jean” and now she was doing it for some dumb jock with a…
This time she did throw up, getting some of it on the shirt she was wearing. She smiled through her nausea and pain. Puking on Greg House’s t-shirt. Pretty funny.
She wondered if House would ever come asking for his money or his shirt. He could have the money. The shirt she was keeping.