Author: Sinister Scribe PM
Author's write to change things. An old friend of Cuddy's brings about some change. Complex and huddy. Marked as Complete coz i don't think i'm ever gonna finish it.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Drama - G. House & L. Cuddy - Chapters: 7 - Words: 26,851 - Reviews: 132 - Favs: 55 - Follows: 59 - Updated: 12-01-07 - Published: 04-29-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3513783
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Okay, I deleted 'Random' having discovered that I don't like writing in the first person. But I reread it and discovered that I actually like some of the scenes in it. So this is sort of a re-write with a healthy helping of decent plot shoved into it and mixed all together.
Again, I own nothing of House MD, though Nadia Darrow, Darren and a few other characters do belong to me.
Nadia is played by Emma Thompson.
The inspiration for this came from 'The grapevine' for the starting chapters and 'The Dating Contract' for other bits. I mean no disrespect to the authors of both pieces and hope they don't mind me going my own way for this particular story.
Read and review.
Cuddy strode into her office and slipped her coat from her shoulders with a casual shrug. Flipping it over the hook, she rifled through the papers she'd just been handed and dumped her purse neatly behind her desk. Sinking into the chair behind her massive desk she reached out with a blind finger and flipped the monitor of her computer on. Arching a brow at the latest thing from legal about House's budget she didn't even notice the package under her usual pile of mail until her hand knocked it on the way to her coffee and sent it clattering to the floor.
The thunk of the weight hitting the floor dragged her attention away from her spreadsheets and memos long enough to arch a brow down at the offending parcel. Cuddy set aside her papers and stooped to pick up the parcel. It was wrapped in bland brown paper tied with white twine instead of taped shut. Only her name was written on the front, not her address and not the hospital's either. Cuddy frowned and set the package on her lap, pulling at the knot on the string and listening to the crinkle of the paper unfolding as it was loosed. Tissue paper rustled as she swept it aside, her frown moving to more curious lines as she bit her lip and found a hardback book nestled within the wrappings.
It was a book. Who would send her a book?
A donor perhaps…Cuddy's expression changed to one of shock as she flipped the book over and caught sight of the front cover. The Inspirationals by Nadia Darrow. All the breath rushed from Cuddy's lungs as she stared at the book. She had never believed…my god. Cuddy opened the book with a creak from its too fresh bindings and flipped the first few pages open. A message was scrawled in writing that she had last seen a lifetime ago, with the tell tale curled edges of a dip-pen used instead of a biro. Cuddy's vision momentarily wavered as her head spun in shock. She swallowed convulsively and forced herself to read the message.
I finally did it. I finally finished the story. I know you never put much stock in me or my methods. I know this was probably the worst time in your young life, but we did sign a contract and I've finally come through on my end.
This is the first thing I've written since the accident. It seemed a fitting tribute to him, to write about something that he always believed in, especially about you. You know how he loved you as much as I do and he just wanted you to be happy, I'd like to think that some of the memories in here will help you remember what happy is.
I write to change things, I always have. I hope this finds you and I hope that it changes something that matters.
Our love to you, Lisa, please read it. They tell me the ending's a kicker.
Cuddy slapped the book closed and swallowed again. She turned her face into the sun shining through the blinds in her office window. The heat of the waning autumn sun dripped weakly over her face and highlighted the single tear that fell from her eye, falling in a droplet of gold and leaving a burnt trail of mascara behind it in a track of black down the curve of her face. Her lower lip trembled and she bit it hard between her teeth in order to make it stop. She stood suddenly, the book slipping from her numb fingers and clattering to the floor. She stalked to the window and watched the weather change. The entire room dimmed as the sun slid behind a cloud. The world became capped in a steel plate and suddenly seemed to press down on her shoulders. The first droplets of rain began to fall as she began to cry in earnest.
She snatched a tissue from the box kept on her desk to placate stricken family members when she had to comfort them. She pressed it to her eyes and tried to dab away the tears so her make up wasn't completely ruined by her outbreak of emotions. Fat droplets of water spattered like a dropped box of nails hammering against the window and the first sob was ripped from her throat like she'd been punched in the stomach. Her finger tips whitened on the edge of her desk as she clutched it and sank to her knees. She dropped to the floor and folded in on herself, her entire body shaking with grief, raw and uncontrollable as it flowed like a river from deep within her chest.
She stayed like that for a long time. One arm twisted up and holding onto the edge of her desk, the other pressed hard against the carpet with the useless crumpled tissue in her shaking fingers. Her shoulders shook with every gasping wrench of her sobs. Her forehead nearly touched the floor and her hair fell like a dark curtain around her face, effectively locking her into her own head.
The book lay innocently by her knee. Splayed, its covers both facing up towards the ceiling like broken wings. The title was a scrolling script of curling metallic gold and it helped to frame the scene of the cover. It was a wash of slate greys, as if they had run in the rain after the artist had painted it, leaving only the barest impression of two people standing in a downpour, a man and a woman, that much was clear. They were holding onto each other and at first, it looked like they were trying to push each other away and then…then you realised that they might just be trying to haul each other desperately closer.
Cuddy sniffed and managed to straighten enough to catch sight of the black and white photograph of the author on the back of the book. She swallowed and wiped at her eyes, reaching out reverently with shaking fingers and carefully folding the book back into its natural position. She pulled it closer, touching in sparingly with no more than two fingers at a time, like it might bite her if she weren't careful. She edged it closer and gradually her sobs reduced to hiccoughs and then slowly shaking breaths. Her tears slowed and finally stopped falling. A calm stole over her as she looked down at the face of the woman that had been the girl she had known.
Nadia Darrow was beautiful. Not in an entirely obvious way, but there it was. She was wearing a beatific smile in the black and white photograph. Her hair, which in reality was every shade of blonde and caramel and chocolate was twisted back from her face to reveal clean cut classical looks. Her eyes would be a sort of stormy grey-blue that could change from the lazy haze of a summer afternoon to the storming thunderhead steel of an impending storm. She had aged, in the last twenty years. There were lines at her eyes, but otherwise she retained her old English charm that she had always been so quick to use to every advantage.
Cuddy's head tilted as she tried to fathom the level of grief that Nadia would have suffered through. Darren had been Cuddy's friend, but he had been Nadia's lover. She must have been absolutely devastated. Cuddy knew that Nadia had written nothing in the years since Darren had died…and now she finally had. Cuddy wondered briefly why and then straightened herself with a long sorrowful sigh. She rose to her feet, straightened her skirt and set the book carefully on the edge of her desk. She swallowed another lump in her throat as she smoothed her hand over the blurred couple on the front. She traced her tongue over her lips and tasted salt there. She blinked rapidly, coming fully back to herself and realising exactly where she was. She strode to the small, hole in the wall bathroom in her office and straightened herself in the small square mirror in there, lit by the staccato fluttering of the fluorescent light over it that needed replacing. It took mere seconds, but she looked a world apart from where she had been moments before.
Cuddy strode to her office door and threw it open. Her assistant jumped and looked up. Cuddy ignored the way the woman tried desperately to please her with a kind of cool detachment. The assistant would be gone by the time she got back anyway. "What's your name?" Cuddy's face may have recovered from her breakdown but her voice was like she'd just gargled with a mixture of bleach and broken glass.
"Angela." Came the timid reply. Cuddy folded her hands in front of her and lifted them to point at the appointments book unfolded over the assistant's desk.
"Three months from now, there's an appointment with a doctor Deacon Fraust. I want you to bring it forward to this afternoon."
"What if he can't make it?" Angela asked as Cuddy turned away. The younger woman quailed slightly when the Dean turned to her and fixed her with a level and frighteningly empty stare.
"Get him here." Was all she said but Angela was left in no doubt that her job depended on getting Dr Fraust here before day's end.
"House, this was delivered with the rest of your mail." Cameron said as she handed a small brown paper parcel to her boss over the glass table.
House took it on an arched brow. "So, why didn't you open it?"
"It came by courier and it only has your name on it. I thought it might be private." Cameron defended herself and took a seat between Foreman and Chase.
House stared down at the package and fidgeted with the white twine holding it together. He held it up to his ear and shook it. "No, ticking, I don't think it's a bomb." He confided in his team with a malicious grin. Foreman shook his head and dropped his gaze to his chart. Chase smirked and chewed on the end of his pen and Cameron glared at House.
House ignored them all as he ripped the paper open and threw aside the crumpled tissue paper under that. He went completely still as he found his eyes landing on the photograph of an all too familiar face. He flipped it over and trailed his fingers over the gold writing of the title. He swallowed hard and stared down at the book. He opened it with the smallest of creaks from the bindings and found himself staring at the scrawling handwritten message inside without seeing. It took him a moment to realise that someone was speaking to him. He looked up and his eyes fell on Cameron.
"Are you okay?"
He scowled at her. "I'm fine." He dismissed it and tossed the book onto the glass table with a thunderclap like thud. He turned and leant against the whiteboard. Scrawling the nickname of the patient at the top (Itchy Guy) he turned back to the team to ask for a differential. He yelled without thought.
"Leave it!" His voice echoed through the office and Cameron froze. Her fingers an inch away from the book. House limped over and snatched it up, tucking it in the crook of his arm. There was no way she was getting to read what Nadia had written to him. She'd get all…Cameron.
"Is it private?" Cameron prodded and house held the book closer, hiding behind his sarcasm.
"It's mine." He pouted and then straightened, but still held onto the book. "Come on, kids, differential." He ordered and turned back to the board. Cameron kept watching the book in House's hand. She wondered what it might be about. Making a mental note to buy a copy and read it herself, Cameron pushed any more thoughts aside while she momentarily focused on the patient. She could try and figure out House later, it was a favoured past time of hers, but the patient couldn't wait.
House tightened his fingers on the slick cover of the book. It had been years since he'd even thought about…he sighed and shoved that thought away as he focused on spelling one of the symptoms right.
He'd have time to brood later.