AN: Produced as a writing exercise, using the provided prompt: "Gimme," House said and plucked the meal check from Wilson's hand. "Did the earth just start rotating backward?" Wilson asked.
I also decided to challenge myself by limiting my writing time to 45 minutes, with a max of 30 minutes for re-write and edit, since short and simple is not my typical style.
Wilson was halfway across town, waiting in the left turn lane at Division before he realized what he'd done.
House's place was on the north side of campus. His house -- Julie's house now, he thought -- was south.
He closed his eyes and shook his head, startling back into action only when someone behind him honked his horn. He hit the accelerator and made the turn, but then turned off onto the first side street he saw.
He pulled over to the curb and put the car in park. He'd called the lawyer that afternoon, then pulled up a half-dozen files for review in hopes of distracting himself. It must have worked because by the time he got in his car he had been on autopilot, just pointing the Volvo out the main entrance and along his regular route. Or at least what had been his regular route for more than five years.
He stared down the street, squinting against the sharp rays of the setting sun. The road was lined with trees, but spring hadn't hit with full force yet, and the branches were bare, with no leaves to soften the light.
Wilson wondered if the crocuses were starting to bloom on the south side of the house, or if the first buds were showing on the magnolia. He stared out into the sun, watching as it sank a little lower in the sky, then finally put the car in gear and pulled out onto the roadway again.
He went to the end of the block, took a right, then another right to complete the U-turn onto State Street.
He pulled into the mall parking lot on an impulse.
Wilson was just starting to relax into the familiar dialogue when House came home.
"How many times have you seen this anyway?" House asked as Jimmy Stewart followed Kim Novak through the San Francisco streets.
Wilson just shrugged.
House poked the end of his cane at the blue and yellow plastic bag under the coffee table. "And don't you already own a copy of it?"
"New re-release," Wilson said. "They enhanced the color as part of a box set collection." He realized House was staring at him. "The green is ... greener, I guess. Supposedly you can do a side-by-side comparison in the extras."
"Yeah, because that's what I'm looking for in a classic noir thriller -- the ability to compare skin tones."
Wilson just shrugged again.
House pulled the bag out from under the table and took the box set package out, staring at the Hitchcock profile on the cover, then the list of other movies within the package. He finally pulled the receipt out from the bottom of the bag. "You paid full price?" He shook his head. "You know Hollywood marketing execs have wet dreams just thinking about gullible geeks like you."
"As you so subtly pointed out a few days ago, I can afford it -- at least until the divorce is finalized."
Jimmy and Kim were near the water, the Golden Gate Bridge as a backdrop, when a knock came at the door. House didn't make a move to answer it, so Wilson paused the DVD and got up. A delivery guy stood there holding a large pizza.
"My turn to cook, right?" House said.
"Twenty-five ninety-eight," the delivery guy said, handing him the tag.
Wilson shook his head, then began to reach into his pocket for his wallet.
"Gimme," House said and plucked the meal check from Wilson's hand.
"Did the earth just start rotating backward?" Wilson asked. House handed Wilson the pizza, then handed the guy a couple of bills.
"Yes," he said, closing the door. "Because to save Lois Lane's life, Superman started flying counterclockwise so fast he's going to turn back time and at any point now these past two minutes are going to repeat themselves, but this time I'll let you pay instead. Take advantage of this moment while you can."
Wilson put the pizza on the coffee table while House grabbed a couple of beers from the refrigerator. "You have lousy taste in movies, you know?" Wilson said.
"At least it's more inclusive than the tastes of some movie snobs I know," House handed a beer over to Wilson, then sat back on the pillow. "Hit play already," he said. "I can't imagine what's going to happen next."