A/N: Hello all! This was just something stupid that came to me while I was stuck at a really boring CE class and I decided to post it because everything I have been doing lately as been so heavy and angsty. This story will be a quick 2 shot and wasn't even betaed because I wrote it all in one night. Consider it something to keep me occupied while I get my epilogue ready for a beta.
Hope you like it!
Disclaimer: I own nothing but my pets and what little dignity I have left.
Just Like Riding a Bike
Dr. Lisa Cuddy continued to work her legs up and down on the stair climber machine. Her medical mind told her that it was bad for her knees and not the best work out but it had two perks. First it was beside her best friend, Stacy Warner, and second, it afforded the best view in the physical therapy gym. The stair climbers were in the corner behind the last treadmill in the line but that also had its own advantage because from 5:30 to 6:30 five days a week, the last treadmill was occupied with one sweaty, blonde, oblivious Aussie running. His thick blonde hair tied back under a blue bandana, shirt plastered to his back by sweat, and his well toned thigh muscles flexing with each step. It was a freaking work of art.
Cuddy and Stacy leaned in closer to each other to admire the view. There were many nasty looks from other women, who tended to flood the gym at about this time, but being the dean of medicine and the chief council had advantages. "So, I saw Greg stomping out of your office this morning, what did he do?"
"Nothing too bad. He just had Foreman doing his clinic hours for him again. I told him I wouldn't make him redo them if he covered an anatomy class this afternoon."
"Which he did, I'm sure." She quirked an eyebrow, curious to see how House managed to work mischief into something as simple as teaching a class.
"Yes he taught the class then blew up water balloons and attached them to the rib cage of the skeleton and put a sign on it that said 'Dr. Cuddy' but other than that he was good." She looked forward and noticed that Chase had raised the incline on the treadmill which meant his quads and hamstrings would be flexing even more. Both woman sat back and watched contentedly.
Once the intensivist had dropped back down to a walk to cool down, Stacy started the conversation back up. "You know, if you are still interested in doing that charity bike race, you should ask Chase for help. I bet he knows all about that sort of thing."
Cuddy tilted her head thoughtfully. She had considered doing a 100 mile bike race for MS in the spring but she hadn't done anything like it yet. She had read up on training ect but wasn't sure that she had enough time or motivation. "I guess I could. He competes in a lot of endurance races. It says in his contract that he get the weekend of the Iron Man finals off every year so he must know something about cycling."
"Go ask him."
"I don't know." Cuddy tried to weasel out of it. They sounded like two school girls trying to approach a cute boy rather than the two most powerful women in the hospital.
"Go." Stacy commanded, and hit the stop button on Cuddy's stair climber, dropping the younger woman to floor with a thud.
"Fine." She whispered, as she walked uncertainly up to the treadmill beside the Aussie. This was completely out of her comfort zone. If this were about hospital business, she would stride purposefully up to him and command him to do her will. However, this was different; this was a 30 something female talking to a good looking, rich, younger guy, asking for help in a social setting.
She stepped up on the treadmill beside him and tapped his arm for attention. He pulled down his headphones and smiled at her. "Hello, Dr. Cuddy."
'God, he has cute dimples,' she thought as she watched a bead of sweat roll down his nose and dangle on the end. She wanted to lick it off of him and groom him like a cat. "Dr. Chase." She greeted professionally. She was just staring at him not really saying anything.
"Did you need something, Dr. Cuddy?"
"Oh, yes." She snapped back from her fantasy of having him feed her cheesecake while they were both naked in a bathtub. "I," she paused. She couldn't do this with Stacy watching her. "I need to speak to you tomorrow. Meet me for a business lunch at 1pm." There, that sounded good.
"I can't. I have clinic duty all afternoon."
She tilted her head and smiled at him. "I think I can get you out of clinic duty."
"Of course you can. I'll see you tomorrow then." He gave her another smile and headed to stretch.
"So, what did he say?" Stacy came up and asked for gossip.
"We are going to lunch tomorrow to discuss it."
Stacy grabbed both of Cuddy's hands and stomped her feet up and down, squealing like and excited pig. "We need to go out and get you something sexy but professional to wear."
"That would be everything she owns." House mocked from behind them. To their credit, neither woman showed their surprise, House rarely came into the gym. "Why the need to the new wardrobe?" he raised and eyebrow, exactly like Stacy had.
"I have a meeting with some big donors tomorrow, if you must know." All of the friendly kidding forgotten in front of her arch nemesis. "What are you doing down here? Last I checked there isn't a machine here to work your sarcasm muscles."
"Just the size of your ass in those pants. I was chasing Chase."
"He headed to showers a few minutes ago." Stacy helpfully threw in, trying to get rid of House. She wanted a chance to plan tomorrow. She was married and bored. This was the most exciting that had happened around her in weeks.
"I'll go find him then. I'll make sure to take plenty of pictures for you two." He threw back as he turned to head towards the men's locker room. He didn't have any specific reason for wanting Chase, he just felt like bothering him. He limped off to amuse himself till Wilson was ready to leave for the movies.
Stacy waited till House was well out of earshot. "Ok, let's shower and plan. He seems sort of out doorsy, so he probably doesn't like overly coiffed. You need a relaxed look." She droned on as they headed to their own locker room. She would come over, they would do nails, order Chinese, and polish off a bottle of wine.
The next day, Chase remained in the Diagnostics Department conference room during the lunch hour while the other went out to eat. House looked at him quizzically. "Don't you have clinic duty?"
"No, Dr. Cuddy had someone cover it for me." He said around the pencil stuffed between his teeth. He didn't even look up from his cryptogram. He was normally good at them. They were nothing more than pattern recognition really. Any single letter was either an 'I' or an 'A' and there was a better than average change that any repeating three letter word was either 'and' or 'the.' If you figured out the 'A' and 'the,' you know had three to the most commonly used letters. The problem was this was an American book and the spelling was all weird.
"Dr. Cuddy let you off of clinic duty?" House dropped into a chair, feeling as if he had just entered The Twilight Zone.
"Yeah, she said that she wanted me to go to some business lunch with her today." He answered honestly, thinking nothing of it.
"She did, huh? Were there going to be big donors there?"
"She didn't say." Chase really wished that House would be quiet. He was so close to figuring out his puzzle and seeing what PennyPress had to say about giraffes.
"Have fun." House said as he rose and limped as fast as he could over to Wilson's office. He knocked on the door, completely ignoring the fact Wilson was on the phone.
"Yes, dear." Pause, "I know, sweetheart." Pause and the muffled sounds of yelling from the other end. "Baby, please, listen to me," another pause. Clearly Wilson was talking to his wife and House was not about to be ignored for her.
He took the phone from Wilson's hand. "Sorry, he has to go. Lives to save. Complicated medical things. You wouldn't understand. Go sleep with the pool boy or something." He then hung up the phone.
Wilson leaned back and looked at his friend. "I don't have a pool." He knew he should be angry, but he was about to kiss House for getting him off of the phone.
"Not my problem. You're on the Board, do you know about any big donors coming in?"
"No, but I don't ever pay attention to that stuff, why?" Wilson straightened up his desk and started to walk out. He was hungry and in the mood for greasy, nasty pizza. House followed. As long as Wilson was paying, House would always follow.
"Cuddy got my duckling off of clinic duty to go to lunch with her. She said something about big donors." House sounded completely indignant.
"Maybe they wanted to give money for Rheumatology. His name would go a long way to getting money for it. That was half the reason Cuddy was so insistent that you interview a doctor whose specialty has nothing to do with Diagnostics."
"Maybe. You think Cuddy would parade him out to get money?" House questioned as he got into Wilson's car. The sedan today, Julie must have the SUV.
"I think Cuddy would pimp him out to wealthy dowagers or cut him up and sell the pieces to the highest bidder after you cost her $100 million. Why do you care anyway? Is it just because she got him out of clinic duty?"
"No." House said, trying to look totally affronted. "Of course not. I am deeply worried about the psychological damage this could cause to my fragile little Fellow by comparing him to his famous, over achieving father. You know how deep his daddy issues run."
Wilson coughed and muttered, "Bullshit."
"Ok, I'm just pissed because he got out of clinic duty. Whose dick do you have to suck to get an entire afternoon covered for you?"
"Apparently Cuddy's." Wilson answered philosophically.
An hour later, Chase presented himself to Cuddy for their lunch. He hadn't thought anything of it last night but ever since House was questioning him about it he was a little worried. He hoped he was dressed right. Was he supposed to have some type of research prepared? Was he supposed to be charming and funny to woo money from donors? He was about to run away when Cuddy came out of her office, closing her door behind her.
"Dr. Chase, right on time. Shall we?" She waved him to follow her and he did so, meekly. He was happy to note that she was dressed rather more casually than usual in extremely baggy pants that only reached to her mid calf and wickedly pointed boots. Those boots would look great locked behind his back. "We can take my car, if you don't mind?" She was already heading towards her parking space and her cute little sports car.
"That's fine." He tried not to squeak and let on how nervous he was. He was horrible at these types of things. He didn't have his father's charisma or charm, at least he didn't think he did. But the fact that he didn't realize how cute and charming he really was just made him even more cute and charming.
Once they were settled in the car, she expertly pulled into traffic. "Thank you for joining me Dr. Chase. You really are the best person for this job and I was so worried you would say no."
"Ma'am, you haven't told me what it is you want me to do." He pointed out as he tried not to stomp on the imaginary break as she cut in between two cars, crossing three lanes of traffic.
"Oh, how silly of me." She smiled at him. She was terrible at flirting, she always had been. She should have just married Edgar Weiz when she was 18 and been a fat happy wife rather than trying to get help from a really hot, young foreigner. He looked as uncomfortable as she felt. This was a disaster. "I need you to help me train." She told him.
"Train for what?" He did actually squeak, closing his eyes, as she crossed four lanes of traffic and pulled into a parking space in front of a Jewish Deli. It was worse than driving with House; his car couldn't go as fast.
"A bicycle race for the Muscular Dystrophy Association." She paused to click her keys, making her car bleep loudly. Chase jumped. "I figured, since you like to do things like that you could give me a few pointers." Her contrived confidence was slowly fading. How was it that she could face down a multi millionaire, risking her job in the process and not flinch, but a three times underling was making her jumpier than a rabbit in the middle of a dog park? It was the eyes she realized. She had always had a weakness for men with striking eyes. Chase's were an unimaginably pretty mixture of blue and green. The eyes and dimples were going to be her undoing.
"Oh, sure." He smiled, looking much more relaxed. "What is this place?" He asked, looking around, again seeming a little unsure as he noticed all the Yamaka covered heads.
Cuddy almost kicked herself. She shouldn't have listened to Stacy. Chase came from a very wealthy family. She should have taken him someplace nice like that great little Italian place down the street, not to a run of the mill comfort food deli. "It's a deli. You have been here for over a year, you must have been to one before."
"No." He confessed, he didn't really eat out that much unless he was with the other ducklings and they wouldn't come to a place like this.
"Well, then you are in for a surprise." She handed him a menu, pointing out things he might like. She smelled wonderful, like Autumn and money. She would taste like ice cream to him, he was sure. Each woman tasted different and he made a game of guessing what it would be. Cameron was straight up peaches, sweet and juicy but cloying after awhile. But Cuddy would be like wonderful, sugary ice cream, maybe coffee ice cream. He willed himself to think about old nuns and House taking a shower.
"Wait, I know what most of this stuff is. We just call it by different names." Chase pointed to the description for a pierogi and said, "we call them kolacky. My dad used to make them."
"That's right, I forgot, your father is Czechoslovakian isn't he?" It was tough to think ethnically Eastern European, when you looked at stereotypically Teutonic looking Chase.
"Czech, actually, he doesn't like it if you call him a Slovak." He smiled at her again. God, those dimples!
"Come on, let's order." She ushered him to the counter and ordered for him like he was a little kid. It didn't bother him, though; he was used to being ignored.
Soon they were settled outside under the sun eating extremely caloric, starchy food that tasted like heaven. "So what convinced you to enter an endurance bike race?" The Aussie asked. He had agreed to sit outside but it was cold and windy. He hunched more into his coat, trying to fend off the chill and not feel like a wuss because it didn't seem to bother Cuddy in the least. This may have been considered a lovely Autumn day for New Jersey but it was down right frigid for back home in Sydney or Melbourne.
"I always wanted to do something like running a marathon but was never in good enough shape. So I thought maybe a bike ride would be easier."
"I don't know, marathon' aren't that hard. But you're right, bike races are easier. When is it?"
"Five months from now." She answered, trying not to watch the way his hair blew across his face. She wanted to throw him down and make blue eyed babies, with really thick hair and big noses. Before she knew it she had trailed off again.
"Dr. Cuddy, is any wrong?" He asked. She kept staring at him like he had grown a second head or she was having absent seizures.
"No, nothing." She stammered. "I'm just a little stressed about the upcoming review for Dr. Burlman's research." She offered, hoping he bought it.
"Really, why? I thought that he all but had FDA approval." He questioned. Before he knew it, Cuddy was spilling her guts to him about dealing with pompous research doctors, and government officials that looked down on her because she was a woman. He sighed and listened dutifully like he always did when someone chose to open up to him about something he didn't really want to know. House had once said that he should have become a psychiatrist because people liked talking to him. It wasn't hard to get people to open up. Most of the time all you had to do was sit quietly and listen. A very important lesson that Dr. Cameron should learn. He wondered if she was wearing the pinkish red thong they had found.
Before either of them knew it, their lunch hour was up and they were back in her little, red car, speeding down the highway. "So you will help me?" She questioned just to make sure. She was feeling very good for some reason.
"Of course. Do you have a bike yet?" He wanted to talk now, because if he was talking, he wasn't thinking about how close she was getting to the truck in front of her before downshifting.
"No. I read that you really should have one custom built for you."
"Yeah, you should if you plan to do more than one race. There is a pretty good bike shop in Newark that has a good selection. I'd get a used one for now and see if you like it before you spend the money on a custom one. Besides, the training bike should be a little heavier and slower than the racing bike."
"Perfect. We can go on Friday." She told him before it even occurred to her that he might have a date or something. She just assumed that because she didn't have a social life neither did he.
"Friday after work is fine but we'll have to take my car." The two walked into the building and were met by Drs Wilson and House taking candy out of the free Halloween bowl on the reception desk.
"I'll see you on Friday night then, Dr. Chase." She smiled and walked past the other doctors, "Dr. Wilson, Dr. House," before heading to her office to fill Stacy in on what had happened at lunch and maybe get some work done.
"So, what happened?" House asked his youngest duckling, even before Cuddy was out of earshot.
"Nothing happened. I have to go do rounds." He walked off, House and Wilson followed.
"So big donors?" House questioned.
"I'm late." The Aussie walked faster. Nothing happened so he didn't why he didn't just tell House what was going on. He just decided it was more fun to make House squirm trying to figure it out.
"Where are you going Friday?" Wilson asked, joining in the game of 'hound the Aussie.'
"I'll see you later." Chase bound up the stairs to the second floor, effectively getting away from House. Wilson remained with his friend.
"That was odd." Wilson commented.
"Yes, why is he being so secretive, even for him?"
"No, I meant it was odd that Cuddy is shagging a gentile. Isn't that the reason she gave, when she turned you down?" Wilson teased his friend and headed back to his office.
"Stupid little wombat! You think you are smarter than me, but you're not."
House left Chase alone for the rest of the week. When Friday rolled around he decided to try and garner information from the blonde in front of the other ducklings. Chase always tended to get more flustered when he was ganged up on. "So, junior, what do you have on tap for tonight, a big date?"
"None of your business, Dr. House." Foreman and Cameron seemed mildly interested in the banter, but Cameron was still reading her computer screen and Foreman was still leafing through his copy of the Economist.
"Oh somebody is being grumpy. Did you have a fight with your boy friend?"
"Yes, Wilson wouldn't quit complaining about you, when we were in bed. It just ruined the mood." The other two ducklings giggled but did little else.
House switched tactics. "Still going on your mystery date with Cuddy?" That got the other's attention and a quite cute blush from Chase.
"Still none of your business."
"I take that as a 'yes'. So tell me is she a leather or lace gal?"
"Don't act like you don't already know." Chase shot back, annoyed.
"You are going out with Cuddy?" Foreman asked, shocked.
"Weren't you the one who told me not to go out with House because he was 'too old'?" Cameron questioned.
"I'm not going out with her." Chase almost came clean, but then he noticed the triumph in House's eyes and held his tongue. "I am leaving because my personal life is none of your business!" He rose and left.
"Guess homeboy is still worried about his job." Foreman commented before he turned back to his magazine. Man, he was going to bust Chase's balls about this on Monday.
As promised, Chase met Cuddy in front of her office after work. She had changed into jeans like he had told her to and they fit her in all the right places. 'Why couldn't she wear baggie jeans?' He wondered to himself as he led the way to his own car. It was a much longer walk than to hers but then again, he was just a lowly Fellow.
When they reached his rather unremarkable Subaru, she was pleased to note that he opened the door up for her – very gentlemanly. Once they were on the road he told her what he had done. "Dr. Cuddy, House heard you say we were doing something together tonight and he had been grilling me about it. I didn't answer because I wanted to watch him squirm. I think he now believes that we are dating. I'll tell him the truth on Monday. I'm sorry." He said, realizing that she might not take joy in people believing she was sleeping with an employee.
"You will do no such thing. I don't really want to hear months of him commenting on me riding this or that. Not to mention, he had no right to know what either of us do when we aren't at work." She turned and smiled evilly at him. "And besides, I want to see the bastard squirm too."
"Ducky." Chase answered with a somewhat malevolent grin of his own.