Author's Note: So, where were the boys during the time the women were busy being all angsty and emo? Why, attempting to play poker of course! (Let the sarcasm run wild…both the author's and the guys'.) Oh, I'm not trying to insult anyone. It's all in good fun (and I think everyone gets picked on equally.)
Angels never come for free
If you know what I know you know what I mean
You can love 'em now - you can love 'em later
Girlfriends never fall for fun
They can tie you up make you come undone
You can learn to fly - But you can't create her
--Five for Fighting, "Angels and Girlfriends"
The room should be dark. Logic tells one that if Lisa Cuddy is on vacation in Long Beach Island then her office should be dark. Especially at 12 a.m. in the morning (night, midnight, whatever). But it's not. It's actually quite bright. Lots of lights and such. Oh, and there is one Dr. House sitting smugly behind his boss' desk (oh, and there's Dr. Foreman sitting on the couch—but no one ever cares about Dr. Foreman. He's kind of like the invisible man. Or that guy who always dies in Galaxy Quest. Sort of nonessential to the story). Good thing Cuddy'll be on vacation for a week.
House sits quietly. He seems to be waiting for someone. Something. (Hookers, prostitutes, dinner…who knows? Who cares?) He's got this shit-eating grin on his face. Cuddy would have slapped it off, Stacy would have rolled her eyes, and Cameron would have kissed him. But, they're not here. They're all miserable. So, it's no surprise when there's a crisp knock on the door. Three raps.
"Password," House barks.
"Vasculitis," the blonde-haired man tells him.
"Enter," House replies from behind steepled fingers.
"God, couldn't we have had a more interesting password?" Chase inquires.
"No. We're doctors. We're intentionally boring."
Chase rolls his eyes.
"What'd you bring?" Foreman questions from his corner.
"I didn't think you were invited," Chase says as he throws a look in Foreman's direction.
"We have equal-opportunity poker playing here, Dr. Chase. Do not tease Eric," House instructs.
"Well, I brought the beer," Chase tells the assembled as he holds up two six-packs of Budweiser, King of Beers and man's best friend (dogs are second—never separate a man from his beer.)
"You brought two six-packs. Six plus six equals twelve. They'll be four of us. We only get three beers a piece," Foreman points out (well, one of them probably has to be a designated driver, so it'll be four for three of them. Oh, never mind. They don't seem to mind spending ALL THEIR FREE TIME in the hospital. Sleeping there's not a biggie.)
"Yeah, so?" Chase asks.
"Foreman's just trying to point out that three beers is not a whole heck of a lot. But that's Foreman. I'm okay with three beers. I know where Cuddy keeps the good stuff," House raises his eyebrows.
(Please note: If House had done his homework and knew about Chase's mother's drinking problem, he would have known that Chase shies away from getting near alcohol. Thus, he would have assigned Foreman to get the beer. Well, maybe not.)
"How good of stuff?" Foreman asks.
"Like '95 Dom Perignon."
"She keeps champagne in her office!" Chase and Foreman exclaim together (aw, they're so cute when they do stuff in unison. Almost like a bad '90s boy-band that embraces diversity. Almost.)
"Yeah, sure. She likes to celebrate stuff. Like when I get my ass out of a lawsuit."
"Frankly, I'm surprised we don't get more of those around her," Foreman points out.
"Well, I think my charm, your good hands, and Chase's good looks are enough to keep us out of the courthouse. Although, I wouldn't mind being represented more often by our lovely counsel," House licks his lips (which is actually not as sexy a gesture as one might think. It's kind of just him having chapped lips and needing Chapstick. But, c'mon. Do real men actually use Chapstick?)
Before any of them can make some remark about Stacy (see chapter four), three knocks sound on the door (three knocks because the number three's pretty. Really cute and fuzzy.)
"Password," all of them bark (aw, they're almost as cute as the Beach Boys when they revolutionized harmonization. Almost.)
"Vasculitis," a voice comes through the door.
"Enter," House tells it.
Wilson comes in and he's only accompanied by a plastic bag that reads "Wal-Mart" (He shops! Oh em gee! He shops!)
House turns a withering eye on the bag.
"Jimmy, you're only job was to bring the hookers. God, was it that hard?"
Wilson smiles back at him.
"No. I just charged them to your credit card. But they got lost when I told them you were a cripple, I was married, and these two—" he points to Chase and Foreman, "were pretty and an ex-con. They bailed on me."
"I'm not an ex-con!" Foreman mutters in indignation.
"Well, you were the only one charged with anything bad. You give us our gangster-by-association cred," House informs him.
"And pretty? I am not pretty!" Chase whines with his lovely Australian accent.
"You are pretty. I am smoldering. Wilson is nice. Foreman is bad. End of story," House looks at the beer. "Hand me one of those."
"Considering you just insulted all of us, I'm not really sure any of us are gonna let you drink the beer," Foreman tells him (see, that sneaky Dr. Foreman, trying to weasel his way into more beer.)
"You are here on the good graces of my lock-picking skills, 'kay? So let's not argue with the cripple," House replies petulantly and grabs himself a beer.
"Excuse me, but I got us in here. Chase brought the beer. Wilson got—wait, what'd you get?"
"Porn," he holds up the indiscreet bag (oh, so he doesn't shop. Damn it…he was almost the perfect man).
"Okay, he got porn. House, what did you bring?"
House purses his lips and rolls his eyes.
"This whole thing was my idea."
"Glad to know I can tell Cuddy that when she finds her office trashed," Wilson smirks.
"Cuddy's in Long Beach Island. She's—I don't want to know what she's doing. Mind your own woman. Where's she?" House inquires. Wilson squirms.
"I don't know—home?" He shrugs.
"Yeah, and speaking of women, where's Cameron?" Foreman frowns.
"Mourning over the sun setting. Who cares?" Chase snaps.
"Aw, Chasey's got a crush on our darling Cameron," House sneers.
"How's Stacy? Still married?" Chase retorts.
"Last time I checked."
"Can we stop discussing women? I thought we were playing poker," Wilson mutters.
"You're not playing for the other team are you, Jimmy? All those sly looks in my direction—I know I'm irresistible to women, but you too?"
Chase snorts, Wilson sighs, and Foreman rolls his eyes.
"Why do women want to lay him?" Chase asks.
"Who wouldn't want to lay a man who compares himself to Mick Jagger?" Foreman laughs.
"And the cane! Oh, they love the things he does with his cane," Wilson chuckles.
"No, you boys have it wrong," House smirks and applies a little trick he calls self-deprecation to deflect all the attempts at humiliation.
"They want to sleep with me because I have the drugs," he wiggles his eyebrows and shakes his Vicodin bottle.
They all laugh (or do their best impersonations), but somber quickly, because, as doctors, they are accustomed to celebrations not lasting long. (Alright, two poetic paragraphs—back to the snarking.)
"So, who brought the cards?" Wilson's voice asks through the laughter.
They all look pointedly at House. He throws up his hands.
"Not me. I only got rid of the women."
"Someone, check the dumpster. Maybe Cuddy's not in LBI," Wilson suggests.
"Do you really think he'd go through all that trouble? I'd say check the freezer," Chase drawls.
"Hello? It's Dr. House. I'm in the room," he reminds them like a child. Foreman raises his eyebrows.
"You forgot the cards. Anybody else have any on them?"
"Yeah, I carry them in my purse. No, I don't have any on me," Wilson replies.
"Don't look here," Chase throws up his hands.
But they don't look at Chase. They all look at House.
"Fine, I forgot to tell Cameron to get me a pack. My fault," he holds up his hands in a peace offering (it'd be really cool if House procured a pipe from his pocket, smoked it and called it a "peace" pipe, just so they could piss off another ethnic group. Really, they haven't gotten to Native Americans yet? How can you put in a dominatrix before you put in the Native Americans!)
"Your fault? Did you just admit that you made a mistake?" Wilson smiles and points at House (he doesn't know why he's pointing to House, it just makes it seem cool, like, "gotcha!" wasn't available.)
"You make a mistake. Then it haunts you forever. What are we going to do without cards?" House whines (because he whines so sexily. Actually him breathing is sexy at this point.)
"Yeah, and only three beers a pop," Foreman also whines (because he also has a sexy whine, even if he is bent on ignoring the fact that one of them needs to be a designated driver. God, don't they read the little warnings at the bottom of the beer ads?)
"That was not my fault. I couldn't carry more than that!" Chase whines (because we're all for equal-opportunity whining!)
Silence drapes the room like some old lady's really ugly slipcover. House tinkers with the paraphernalia on Cuddy's desk. Wilson ties his shoes. Chase opens a beer (hey, at this point, someone should be drinking.) Foreman folds his arms (and wonders why the party circuit out in LA is much better than this.)
"Would somebody come up with something interesting to talk about, please?" House asks (should be begs, but House so doesn't beg.)
"It's been so hot this summer," Wilson mutters (he read it once in a book on how to get friends that the best topic of conversation is the weather. Everyone has an opinion on the weather. Usually that opinion is that the weather sucks. Because the weather usually sucks. And because humans are never happy with what they have.)
"Yeah, it'd be winter in Australia by now," Chase muses.
"Huh," Foreman agrees (to what? No one knows. But no one understands what these people talk about half of the time anyway—sort of like the early days of The West Wing when Aaron Sorkin was still writing. Oh, Aaron Sorkin, Aaron Sorkin…)
"I like hot weather. Makes people stay indoors. With air-conditioning. Means most of our cases are environmental and airborne. Ah, summertime," House reclines in Cuddy's chair.
"We should prank-call Cuddy," House says before Wilson can open his mouth and make a comment on summer (he started the conversation and still doesn't get to put his two-cents in!).
"No," Wilson vetoes the idea.
"I know I have her number somewhere," House puts down his feet and starts rummaging in Cuddy's top desk drawer (Cuddy isn't as paranoid as House, so she doesn't find a reason to lock any of the drawers other then The Very Important Top Secret One that everyone has in their desk.)
"Leave her alone. Don't you think she deals with you enough?" Wilson argues (Foreman and Chase are oddly silent—but then again, we don't really see them interact much with Cuddy, so they don't really care. Plus, there's beer!)
"How can anyone ever tire of me?" House bats his eyelashes in an attempt to look innocent.
Foreman, Chase, and Wilson just stare at him.
"What?" House feels around on his face to make sure he doesn't have a major zit somewhere (because he's vain. Really vain.)
They continue to stare. Foreman takes a swig of beer. (So we've narrowed down our designated driver to Dr. Wilson.)
"Alright, fine," he grabs his Vicodin and swallows about three.
"So, who's up for a game of spin the cane?"