Chapter 1 The Invitation
Dr. Lisa Cuddy looked at her desk with a sigh. How this much work could accumulate over one afternoon never ceased to amaze her. As she started to rummage through the stack of mail on her desk, something caught her eye. A gold embossed envelope, plainly addressed to her in a perfect handwriting. "What is this," she thought as she carefully removed it from its envelope.
You and a guest are cordially invited
To the annual Charity Banquet
Hosted by Princeton
Date: February 14, 2005
Location: Marriott Hotel
Time: 8:00pm – 1:00am
Dinner is provided
Followed by a Silent Auction
And Live Music
"Great, that's just what I need," she said to herself after reading the invitation. As if Valentine's Day wasn't bad enough, now she had to go to a charity banquet for the hospital, but not only that, she had to find a dress and a date. Sometimes she really regretted taking the job as hospital administrator. Back when she was just a doctor she never had to go to any of these luncheons, dinners, fundraisers, charity auctions. But now it was part of her job. She picked up her date book and looked at her schedule and decided that tomorrow afternoon would be the best time for her to go shopping for a new dress. She already had quite a few but it never hurt to go shopping for something new. Every woman knew that. Then of course she'd have to get shoes to match. The prospect of going shopping put a little smile on her face. She buzzed her secretary, Mattie, and told her not to schedule anything for tomorrow afternoon; she was taking it off. She then made a few phone calls and cleared her schedule.
Now that that was out of the way she had to decide on whom she was going to ask to be her date. She couldn't go stag, or she'd be like a piece of meat on the chopping block for all the men who didn't show up with their wives. She learned that the hard way when she first became administrator. She hadn't been dating anyone currently. Sure, she had been on a few dates but nothing serious. Plus they weren't the kind of people she could take to this kind of event nor the type she would be comfortable spending this type of evening with. She also couldn't ask just anyone at the hospital. She wanted to be able to hold a conversation with them and semi-enjoy the evening at the same time. With this last thought she dropped the invitation on her desk with the rest of the mess and let out a sigh. Putting her head in her hand she continued to explore her options. She could ask Dr. Wilson. It was true that he was married but it's just one night and it's not like she's going to seduce him. It's work related. But she doubts that he'll go; he has too guilty a conscience for that. So who can she ask?
She sat there for about a half hour racking her brain trying to decide who she could ask that would be an enjoyable date, a good conversationalist, enjoy themselves, and most importantly, not embarrass her.That's when it came to her. The name she had been purposely avoiding in all of her deliberation. The one who would never let her live it down if she asked him. But on the other hand he's intelligent, can make some connections in the medical community, and she would at least be comfortable through the evening. True they are at each other's throats 99 of the time but they respect each other as doctors. There was a time when they didn't throw jabs at each other every chance every chance they got and maybe if she made a deal with him and let him out of clinic duty, they could put all of that aside for one night. It would just take her swallowing her pride so she could ask him.
After about fifteen more minutes of going back and forth in her head, she finally decided. If he says no, he says no, but they are both adults, co-workers, and it's nothing more than a dinner.
With that she stood up, straightened her suit, smoothed her hair, and headed to the diagnostic medicine department. As she heads for the elevator, she asks herself again if she really wants to do this. How much shit is she going to have to take from him for asking. The elevator doors open and she steps in, knots growing in her stomach like a girl on prom night. "You're 34 years old, Lisa, grow up" she says to herself.
Lost in her thoughts she doesn't realize that the elevator has stopped on her floor. She straightened her suit one more time and headed down the hall towards the glass offices. There he sat, at his desk as usual, feet on the desk, cane at his side, watching the closing credits of General Hospital. "Here goes nothing" she thinks, and opens the door.
"Dr. Cuddy" he says sarcastically"to what do I owe this pleasure."
"Hello Dr. House, I was never good at beating around the bush or making small talk so I'm just going to cut to the chase. I have a favor to ask of you."