Summary: (I stink at these!): There are things that get our juices flowing... "It wasn't that he knew his way around a razor blade. No, that was the illusion he wanted to give. The lie he was hiding behind."
Note: I am posting this with great fear! "House" encouraged me to start writing again for the first time in over 6 years. Right now, this is practice, so to speak. Please forgive me as I hate proper punctuation, and I'm terrible with grammar. I have been slowly working on another House story, when this idea popped in my head and I sat down and wrote it the other night. If I keep looking at it and tweaking it, I know I'll just screw it up. It's definitely a work in progress. And a one-shot deal. It's far from perfect, but here it is...
On with my little story!
It wasn't that he knew his way around a razor blade. No, that was the illusion he wanted to give. The lie he was hiding behind. The memories that were loving and painful and that he secretly missed. It was that he was good with a knife.
He could mince garlic like no other. Chop an onion so quickly, the light flashing off the knife blade would flicker so quickly in your eyes blinding you momentarily. Shallots and leeks could be chopped so fine they were almost puree. Vegetables julienned ever so quickly and to perfection. It was a talent he kept hidden away. Lessons he had learned from his mother and later his own out of desire. Perhaps if he ever lost his medical license - oh, and could stand on his feet for hours - he would make an excellent chef.
Wilson was never observant to the fact that his kitchen was stocked with high quality gadgets - All-Clad pots, Wüsthof knives, fine Riedel stemware, small delicacies in the fridge, his cabinet a treasure of truffle oil and fresh saffron. No, Wilson never knew the difference between a homemade dijon mustard and a bottle of French's Yellow mustard as he would reach for a Budlight in the back of the fridge (though, he did like to watch his carb calories). He would never know the difference between french toast from the local diner and Grand Marnier French Toast stuffed with sweet cream and currants. Wilson thinks he knows the fineries in life, but he couldn't tell the difference between a Louis Vuitton bag original and a knockoff, though House was sure Julie Wilson had a closet stocked full of the pricey purses.
No, there was no reason to cook for one. No reason to simmer soup from homemade stock all day. No reason to run across town to the good Italian deli for fresh panchetta. No reason to go to the fish market for whole red snapper to make a lavish and delightful dinner. There were no reasons. Not anymore.
Once upon a time, there were early morning weekend drives into Hunterdon County for fresh Jersey corn for corn chowder. Fresh pumpkins for pumpkin soup, and homemade pumpkin stuffed ravioli made with the most delicate balsamic sauce. There were satchels of apples for baked apples full of raisins and brown sugar, apples for stuffing pork loin and baking fresh pies. Berries - all kinds of berries - blueberries, strawberries, cranberries - wonderful brunch items and for deserts and jams - bought lush and fresh from crowded farm markets. Wonderful Jersey tomatoes for fresh pasta sauce, and beautiful purple eggplant grilled and brushed with olive oil. Jersey was full of fresh produce. House hated to admit that it had made him domesticated - at least for a while. He missed the way his home smelled while cooking - wafts of simmering roasts breezing through his living space. Apple pie baking while the afternoon sun filled the house and made it aglow. Homemade frittatas with sausage and aged cheddar for morning brunch, when the house still smelled like sex.
Yes, it was about sex. When he was having sex, he cooked. He knew, in his screwed up mind, it was his act of love. Yes, he admitted it to himself (barely) many years later when he realized that he stopped cooking and found himself hungry. Recently, his palette was craving much more than the bland routine of takeout and cafeteria food that he was living with. Sex begot brunch. Intimacy. Yes, he shunned from it. The natural acts of sex got his cooking juices rolling. He wanted to cook for his woman. Give her mouth and stomach a delightful morning brunch. Satisfy her other hunger . . . take care of her. It was when he took the time out of work to live, to savor, to love, to talk, to be . . . and this was never easy for him, and had gotten more difficult over the years. So he stopped. And he stopped cooking.
Besides, it was no fun cooking for one. He found himself staring absently at his open cabinet full of pots that he hadn't touched in years. He would spend time leaning against the counter looking at his spice rack and the emptiness of his fridge. He was tormented by memories of feeding Stacey baked french toast with dollops of whip cream, leaning over to lick away a bit of cream left on the edge of her mouth and how she laughed. Morning breakfasts were always special, well, until they weren't. But that intimacy . . . it was gone, long ago. Now his table was empty.
The cooking slowly stopped before the infarction. Nights when she would work later than him, and gingerly prepared tenderloin flanked by two candles would grow cold on the dining room table. Those late working nights grew more frequent. In revenge, when he knew she was coming home early, he would work late. Then he stopped cooking dinner totally. Of course, the weekend brunches began to disappear due to "social obligations" (whatever), demands at the office or medical emergencies. But the underlying war growing between the two of them (even way before the infarction; the realization of this was just another fact he was still trying to come to terms with) was more evident. Breakfast became frozen bagels and coffee brewed by a timer. There were no longer talks at the Sunday breakfast table that led them toe to toe on the couch sharing the New York Times. Play fighting over the magazine section that led to tender lovemaking on a Sunday afternoon, cool coffee mugs still sitting on the side tables and Van Morrison playing in the background, disappeared. She just left for the office on Sunday and took the sections she wanted with her.
When Wilson left his office he fiddled with the razor. Continued chopping - memories of his kitchen and that part of his life coming back to him. The memories of a knife in his hand, the handle wet, his fingers working fast, chopping vegetables on the counter. Thoughts of the aromas of cooking overcoming his mind; memories of smell such a powerful thing. He was hungry.
He said goodbye to Andie that day. Took a ride he didn't think he would ever take again. Stopped and bought some fresh apples and eggplant before he returned the bike.
Late the next afternoon, he sat at his desk, the fall afternoon fading away. He held the razor blade in his hand. Twisting and turning it between his fingers, trying to see his reflection in the metals, twisted and distorted. In the corner of his eyes, he saw a figure hurry by, the conference room door open. Cameron. He knew it was her without having to look - just the feel of the air changed whenever she was near.
Cameron. He thought more of her than he was willing to admit to himself. He began to realize, in ways, she took care of him. Deep down, he liked it. Secretly, he treasured it. She asked for nothing in return, at least not anymore. This trusting soul, who was too good to others, why? Why him? He constantly tried to brush her out of his mind. She demanded something from him, ever just her mere presence, which he had trouble ignoring. The heat that rose from within him whenever she was near was hard enough to deal with on a day to day basis. Sometimes, (okay, almost daily), he really wanted to pin her up against his desk and kiss her fiercely. But no, no, he couldn't. Could he?
Acceptance. He thought about it. He knew he was hard on her. He was hard on himself. Hell, he was hard on everyone. He did worry about her. He felt he was finally approaching some sort of acceptance, in ways. He was unsure if he would ever truly get there. Had she in her own life?
His back stiffened, he felt her approach his office. She quietly opened the glass door and walked in. "You okay?" she eyed him with the razor blade.
"Yeah, why?" he didn't look up. (Brain not functioning so good, why?)
"Just checking," she hesitated and approached his desk. She sat across from him. "You haven't moved from your desk in two hours. The thing is, you missed your soap, you're not playing your gameboy, and you've been twirling a razor blade in your fingers. See any reason I might be a tad concerned?"
(Why do I not feel like snarking?)
("Am I brave? I am brave?" he thought. He questioned himself. "There was a dying nine year old who lives life better than me, or so says Wilson. I can be brave. I can be brave. Repeat that mantra. If I share with her, as she has with me, she'll keep it between us, won't she?")
"Can you keep a secret?" ("Did I just say that aloud? Who am I?")
Cameron's head jolted up suddenly in surprise. "Really?" ("Is he going to share?") He looked at her, tilting his head. His eyes told her he was dead serious. "Yes."
"I am an excellent cook."
She smiled, tried not to laugh, "Ok . . . "
"Really." He paused. "No one really knows that. Not even Wilson. Honestly, gourmet."
"Really?" she said very calmly, waiting for the punch line.
He held his breath, he gathered his strength and courage and stood (he needed to stand for this). He looked at her beautiful and honest face, "And I would really like to cook you dinner Saturday night."
She was blown away, but she didn't want him to know that. Her constant game with him of trying to keep her emotions in check, she usually lost. Something told her he actually wasn't playing a game here. There was a seriousness in his eye, a calmness and straightness in his tone. She looked at him, narrowed her eyes into his blue gaze. She resisted licking her lips. "Okay."
"Good." He picked up his bag, slinging it over his shoulder. "Be at my house at seven tomorrow."
She turned in the chair as he walked toward the door to go home. "Oh, and wear pants that you're going to be comfortable in - you know, maybe with an elastic waistband or something. I would hate to see you need to unbutton your pants at the table."
She smiled that evil grin of hers. "Okay," she nodded.
He opened the door and turned back, "You're not a fussy eater or allergic to anything, are you?"
"Oh no!" she began, "I'll eat pretty much anything, well at least I'll try anything!" Suddenly she felt a blush to start to cover her face? (God what did she just say? Foot in mouth, foot in mouth, water please!).
"Excellent," he said with a nod and the slightest smile. "Goodnight. See you tomorrow."
Cameron turned away with a large smile and blush covering her face. Her thoughts and feelings running amuck. She sighed to herself, not a chance she was getting much sleep tonight.
House walked to the elevator, to his car, to the market, and to his home taller and straighter than he felt he had in a long time. Now that he made this choice, he was looking forward to quelling the desires of his palette.
"Eat, drink, man, woman. Food and sex. Basic human desires. Can't avoid them." - Master Chef Chu, from the film "Eat, Drink, Man, Woman"