Summary: Eight simple rules for dating Greg House, as compiled over the course of an evening.
Eight Simple Rules for Dating Greg House
She was on the phone when he came in. She watched distractedly as he made his way over to the couch, dividing her attention between him, the person on the other end of the line, and her computer screen.
Covering up the mouthpiece she waved to get his attention, pointed, frowned, and hissed, "Feet!"
Which he completely ignored, leaving them exactly where they were - on top of her coffee table.
She couldn't remonstrate him further just then, however, as she was pulled back into her conversation. "No, Monday's no good for me," she said. "But I could manage Tuesday afternoon... Oh you could? No, that's perfect, I can take a late lunch." She said thank you, and hung up, and looked back at her schedule to make the entry.
"Dentist?" House spoke up and then answered his own question before she had a chance to reply. "You hate the dentist, you wouldn't have sounded so upbeat. Not gyno," he mused, "Branson does your pap smears and you can get her to do you anytime, seeing as she works for you. And since your bikini zone had a run in with the hot wax fairy just last weekend, I'm going to go with... hairdresser."
Rule #1: Learn to live without privacy. He won't let you have any.
"You could have just asked," she pointed out.
"But I get such a sense of accomplishment from figuring things out on my own."
He gave her a pleased little smile. She sighed and went back to rearranging her schedule - the coming Tuesday was light, not empty. She'd still have to push a meeting back an hour, and made a note for her assistant to arrange it.
"Sounded urgent," he said next. "What, did you find a grey hair? It's only Thursday, you know - sure you can last all the way till Tuesday?"
"I don't have any grey hairs," she protested. "Though if I did, every one of them would be your fault."
"It's the dry weather lately - I'm prone to split ends, okay?"
He shrugged. "Okay."
"Anything else you'd like to know?" she wondered dryly, as she closed her schedule and started returning emails instead.
"Do you always skip out in the middle of the day to get your hair done?"
"This place is always booked solid on Saturdays," she said, somewhat defensively. "And what I do on my lunch hour is my business. Besides, your idea of a lunch hour regularly includes the entire afternoon so shut up."
There was a moment's silence and then:
"Just one more," he said. "Then you can go back to planning that labour-intensive beauty regimen of yours."
"Fine," she agreed shortly, if only because he would go ahead and ask no matter what she said.
There was another pause as he fidgeted with his cane. "What are you doing tonight?" he said finally, through a wince.
"Oh," she replied, as she continued to type away, "I'll probably just heat something up for dinner, catch up on some reading... What about you?"
"Well right now I'm trying to ask you out. Since you're not cooperating, later on isn't looking too promising, either."
"Get your feet off the furniture," she suggested with a small smile down at her keyboard, "Then we'll talk."
She had the radio on, humming along as she palmed some product and began applying it to her hair. That was why she didn't hear the bike pull up outside.
She didn't hear the front door open and close, either. His cane and sneakers made almost no sound at all on the carpet, and both her bedroom door and the bathroom door were standing open already. So the first she realised she wasn't alone was when she turned her head to assess the back of her hair in the mirror, only to jump a mile when she caught sight of him lounging there in the doorway.
Rule #2: Move the key.
"God!" She pressed a hand to her chest, her heart racing from the sudden burst of adrenaline. "What the hell are you doing?"
"Scaring the crap out of you, apparently. Sorry," he offered in a not entirely unapologetic tone. "You know, when I said wear something slutty, I had no idea you'd take it to heart like this. Remind me to give you fashion advice more often."
She looked down at the black silk slip she was wearing. "This isn't my dress, this is what goes under it. And that wasn't an answer - what are you doing just letting yourself in? Haven't you ever heard of knocking?"
"What's the point of having a spare key lying around the place if no one ever uses it? Besides," he reasoned, "I got to watch you primping yourself. You'd never spend that much time messing with your hair if you knew I was here. So does it always take that long, or is the extra effort on my account?"
She thought about that for a moment. The first option was just opening the door for more comments about her vanity. The second option, however, was even less appealing.
"It didn't take that long at all," she said, neatly sidestepping the question altogether, and turned back to her reflection. "Now go away, I'm not ready yet." She wasn't particularly surprised when he didn't move. "I haven't even started my make-up yet," she warned. "Why don't you go and watch some TV?"
He just folded his arms across his chest, his whole posture screaming 'not going anywhere and you can't make me'.
She shrugged. "Fine. But you standing there watching me is really off-putting, so don't blame me if my eyes come out wonky and I have to start over. We could be here all night," she said, reaching for a jar of moisturiser.
When she glanced back over at the doorway two seconds later, he was gone.
She turned around from locking the front door to see him moving towards the curb where his bike was parked.
"No," she said, shaking her head in firm denial.
"Come on," he said, "It'll be fun."
"No it won't - look at what I'm wearing!"
"I'll give you my jacket."
She looked down at her bare legs and strappy high heels and said, "Going to give me your pants, too?"
"We're not going far, you'll be fine. Just tuck your skirt between your legs."
"I don't think so."
He made a frustrated noise. "You've never been on the bike -"
"I know, and I'm not planning on it any time soon."
"Give me one good reason why not."
"I can give you several."
Rule #3: Always have a Plan B.
Helmet hair, not having a death wish, nor any particular desire to be his 'bitch', were all very good reasons not to ride the bike, as far as she was concerned. Of course, he didn't agree.
Usually, she got out of it by always having several non-bike-friendly things with her at all times - briefcase, laptop, overnight bag - things it was difficult to stuff in a backpack or clip handily away like his cane.
At times like this, however, that strategy didn't work, and she had to resort to other means. Like bribery.
"I'll pay for dinner."
He scoffed. "I was going to make you do that anyway. You don't pay me enough to afford where we're going."
She doubted that was true - they didn't go out very often, but when they did she'd found him to be a bit of a traditionalist. He usually did pay, as well as doing other uncharacteristic things like holding doors and pulling out her chair.
But this was different - this was a negotiation. And just like when they were lazing around at her place and the pizza delivery guy came to the door, all bets were off.
Knowing this, she'd already expected he wouldn't accept her first offer. "I'll pay for dinner, and I'll throw in a back rub."
"Three full-body massages," he countered, "To be administered at the time and place of my choosing."
"Two. And the time and place can't be during or at work."
He thought about it for around half a second.
"Okay," he said, turning on his heel and heading for the carport.
She followed with a sigh.
Thinking of what a ride on the back of his motorcycle would have been like in her flimsy little dress, while he took what was sure to be the scenic route to the restaurant, making sure to break a few speed rules along the way, she decided this was really the lesser of two evils.
And she hadn't even had to resort to sexual favours this time.
"Stop eyeing my rack!" He paused. "Why do I feel weird saying that?"
"Because it's usually my line?"
"Stop lusting over my lamb, then. It's indecent, and you're making the risotto jealous."
"I'm not lusting over anything. My risotto's really good, actually, want to try it?" she offered.
"Yeah, and then I've got to give you some of mine in return. Nice try."
She rolled her eyes. "Obligation free, I promise."
Reaching across the table with his fork, he scooped up a small mound of rice.
"Not bad," he said. "Mine's better."
Shaking her head she reached for her wine glass.
"It's your own fault," he went on. "You could have ordered something sensible, instead of subjecting yourself to mushrooms and spinach and peas."
"I like mushrooms and spinach and peas."
"Oh my," he quipped. "No good pretending you're not a carnivore, not when I've got bite marks that say otherwise."
"Too much meat isn't good for you."
"Neither is denying yourself something you want. In the end, it always catches up with you."
She smirked. "A regular Nancy Reagan, aren't you."
"Just say yes," he returned mockingly, as he cut another piece of lamb. This time, though, instead of bringing it to his mouth he reached back across the table, offering it to her.
She raised an eyebrow. "I have my own fork," she told him, giving it a little wave.
"It's sexier if I feed you."
Propping an arm on the table she leaned forward, touching his wrist lightly as he guided the fork to her lips, which closed slowly and deliberately over the tender morsel on offer. Then she drew back slightly, allowing the tines to slide from her mouth.
She watched him with a satisfied smile as she chewed and swallowed.
"Hm?" he answered distractedly.
"Stop looking at my rack."
"Say it again."
"But I wasn't listening," she protested laughingly.
"Yes you were - I saw your little eyes light up. You only get one compliment a day. Any more and you'll start taking me for granted."
She smiled sweetly. "I don't see that happening any time soon."
"And I'm going to take that as a compliment, not the veiled insult it so clearly was."
"I just meant that you're special. Very special." Still grinning, she reached over to pat his hand.
"Hey, hey," he protested, shaking off the touch. "No PDAs. Someone might think we're together."
She looked around, and then back at their table pointedly. "We are."
"We're sitting together. If anyone asks, this is just a pity date, since you can't beg, bribe, or con anyone else into having dinner with you."
Rule #4: No matter what he says, or how he behaves, he's dating you, and can therefore no longer deny that he likes you.
Remind him, and yourself, of this fact as often as necessary.
For a moment she just considered him, calmly taking a sip of wine and setting the glass back in its place.
Then, rising up a little in her chair she risked overturning that same glass, as well as trailing her dress in the remains of her dessert, as she leaned across the table, took hold of his shirt collar and pulled him into a firm, unhurried kiss. For a few seconds she held him there, feeling his surprise ebb away to be replaced with warmth. And then she released him.
"Go ahead," she said, as she settled back in her chair, unmindful of the looks they were receiving from other diners, "Feel free to pretend you didn't enjoy that."
A valiant effort to muster up some ire failed utterly, and he wound up looking more amused than anything. "What would you have done if I'd said 'no crawling under the table and saying hello to Mr Happy'?"
"I'd say you missed your chance to find out when you called this a pity date."
"You need to be over a lane."
"I'm not turning."
"Yes you are."
"You are if we're going back to my place."
"Oh." She glanced over at him quickly before looking back at the road. "Why do you want to go to your place?"
"Why do you not want to go to my place?"
"Uh, because your bike is at my house and I'm anticipating the amount of bitching and moaning that will ensue when you have to leave with me at the crack of dawn because I have to go to work and you have no ride?"
"You missed the turn. Gonna have to go around the block, now."
Teeth clenching, grip tightening on the steering wheel, she indicated, checked her mirrors, and smoothly changed lanes.
Rule #5: Always assume he's up to something. Because he usually is.
"There must be some reason."
"What have you got against my apartment?"
"Nothing! It's just that we usually go -"
"We always go to your place."
She sighed. "Well all my stuff is there," she pointed out. "And you like eating my food, going through my things and throwing all my pillows on the floor. It works out for both of us, doesn't it?"
"You take me to dinner in your fancy car, pick up the bill, and then whisk me back to your place where you'll proceed to use me for your own gratification - you've made me your boy toy," he announced. "I'm nothing to you but a devilishly attractive accessory adorning your high-powered life."
She was laughing incredulously by this time. "First of all, I'd gladly let you drive - if only your vehicle wasn't death on two wheels - and I only paid tonight for that same reason. Not to mention, last I checked you like it when I use you for my own gratification."
"We're still going to my place. Stop emasculating me and drive."
"All right," she said, rounding on him as he closed the door behind them. "So why did you really want me over here?"
He shrugged out of his suit jacket, throwing it at a side table as he moved past her into the room. "Told you that already. What something to drink? I have red bull, and beer. Maybe milk. I'm having beer."
She shrugged. If he did have an ulterior motive, he wasn't just going to tell her. That's not how he worked. "Sure, I'll have one."
"Great, they're in the fridge," he said as he moved around the sofa, grabbing the remote before flopping down.
Resignedly, she made her way into the kitchen, where she had little trouble locating the beer - there being little else occupying the refrigerator.
Grabbing two, she shut the door and then looking around, called out, "Where's your bottle opener?"
"Women," he scoffed. "Just bring them here."
Back out in the living room she moved around behind the sofa so she could sit on his left. Taking her place beside him, she handed him the bottles and watched him pop the caps off on the edge of the coffee table, passing one to her before opening his own.
"Cheers," he said, clinking the bottom of her beer with his before sitting back and reclaiming the remote.
Rule #6: Learn to go with the flow. He's never going to be normal, or predictable, but at least things won't get boring.
"There's nothing on," he declared after a few minutes of frenzied channel surfing. "Oh great and wonderful TV, why hast thou forsaken me?"
"Yes, God forbid we don't sit and watch TV all night."
"TV forbid," he corrected. "And what else is there to do?"
"You can't think of a single thing, huh?"
He regarded her thoughtfully for a moment. "Wanna play a game?"
"A game?" She grinned, shifting closer to rest her chin on his shoulder and slide a hand across his middle. "Now that's more like it..."
He gave her an arch look. "Is that all you ever think about? I was talking about a board game."
She sat back, chagrined. "Let me guess - twister."
"Ouch. Words can hurt, you know," he told her seriously. "And now I'm not going to let you choose what we play."
She shrugged. "I'm surprised you own a board game, let along a selection. Unless they're the dirty kind you get at adult stores."
"Roll a six, perform the following lewd act on your partner? I bet you're good at those games."
"Is that what we're talking about doing? Because I haven't had nearly enough of those," she indicated her half-empty beer bottle sitting on the coffee table.
"Actually, I have something even better in mind."
Rule #7: Never play Trivial Pursuit with him. He never forgets anything, is extremely competitive, and enjoys seeing other people lose as much as he likes to win.
This goes double for strip Trivial Pursuit.
"I'm cold," she said.
"I can see that," he replied, eyeing her with a smirk.
She looked down, rolled her eyes, and reached for another question card, reading aloud. "Which of the original thirteen colonies was first known as 'New Sweden'?"
"Delaware," he replied without appearing to think on it at all, and picked up the dice and shook it.
"Come on, lucky three," he said.
Rolling a three, she saw, would land him on the square for the blue wedge. He rolled a two, and she smiled.
Every time someone won one of the little coloured wedges, the other person had to remove an item of clothing. He was missing one shoe. She had lost both shoes and her dress.
It wasn't that she was getting the answers wrong, it was that she never got a turn at all. He just kept making his way around the board, getting question after question without missing a beat.
"I should have known you'd be good at this game," she muttered, grabbing yet another card. "Your whole life is one big trivial pursuit."
"Nice to see you're being a good sport about it, though. Next question," he said as he moved his marker over a square. "Blue."
She looked down at the board to see where he'd landed. She sighed.
"What was the stage name of the Hungarian-born Erich Weiss?"
He tapped his chin thoughtfully. "Tricky."
"No it's not. Just answer the question."
"Well if you know it, must be an easy one. Harry Houdini."
He sat back and waited.
She sighed again. She still had her underwear and slip at this point, and chose to reach behind her, undo her bra, and pull it out from under the slip.
He grinned as he watched her, amused. "I've got two wedges to go - that's that pretty black number and whatever tasty little garment you've got on under it. Which is it going to be next?" he wondered as he sat forward again to retrieve his blue wedge and add it to his wheel-shaped token.
"What exactly is supposed to be fun about this?" she countered as he picked up the dice to roll yet again. "Showing me how smart you are? A thrilling display of the vast amounts of generally useless knowledge you possess? I already think you're smart. This is just making me cold and irritated."
"And the longer you complain about it, the longer it will take me to, I think the correct term is 'beat the pants off you'. Next question."
She reached for a card, and stopped. Because with his smug expression, and the knowledge that this was no doubt exactly why he'd wanted her to come to his place tonight instead of hers - basically to torment and humiliate her - not to mention the fact that she really hated losing...
Planting her hands on the table, she got to her feet.
"The thing about games is, they won't work if no one will play with you," she said, and then reached a thumb up under her slip, hooked the waist of her panties and dragged them down and off her legs. And then tossed them to him.
"There. Now when you're ready to do something we'll both enjoy, come and find me."
As she passed by on her way to the bedroom, he was simply staring, eyebrows raised, down at the thong that had hit his chest and then fallen into his lap. She was only halfway down the hall when she heard movement behind her.
"Spoilsport," he said, as he trailed after her. "It's no fun if you go and change the rules."
Coming from him, it was one of the more ridiculous things she'd ever head, her incredulous laughter only somewhat muffled as she drew her remaining item of clothing up and off over her head in one go, dropping it as she crossed the threshold into his room.
The laugh subsided into a pleased smile as he caught up with her, his hands moving around her waist.
"Glad you could join me," she said, leaning back against his chest.
"Like I'm supposed to resist such a poor loser," he mumbled, lips lowered to her shoulder. "You're all huffy and demanding - complete turn on."
One of his hand smoothed across her stomach to grasp her hip, the other sliding upwards over her ribs. Turning around in his arms she pressed her nose against his throat, her body against his.
"Mmm," she murmured, "You're nice and warm."
His hold on her tightened, arms wrapping more securely around her. She could feel him breathing in her hair and she brought her hands between them to his waistband where they nimbly unfastened his button and fly.
And as she drew him over to the bed she smiled to herself, knowing just exactly who had beaten the pants off of whom.
"See?" she said, lying back against the pillow with a sigh, "Wasn't that more fun than your little trivia-inspired power trip?"
He folded his arms behind his head, sighing contentedly. "Sex edges out power trip by a narrow margin. Might have been narrower if not for that move there at the end. My compliments to your yoga instructor, by the way."
She grinned. "I'll be sure and tell Gordon he has a fan."
"Gordon? That's disappointing. Here I was picturing some nubile young thing, helping you with those extra-tricky poses..."
"'Nubile young thing' describes him pretty well actually."
He turned his head to regard her for a moment, before returning to his contemplation of the ceiling. "Bet he's gay," he said.
She shrugged. "Maybe. Don't care. I just like looking at him."
"Some granola-eating, slacker, college drop-out..." he mused.
Propping her head up on one hand she stared at him. "Are you jealous?" she said, laughing.
"Of the gay hippie? Yes. It's eating away at me inside."
She rolled her eyes. "House, just because you look down on someone's lifestyle doesn't mean -"
"House," he echoed, speaking over the top of her and effectively drowning out her rebuke. "Are you ever going to call me Greg?"
"Greg, huh?" she drawled slowly as she caught up with the abrupt change in topic. "Gee, I don't know. We've only known each other twenty years - it's a bit soon for first names, isn't it?"
"I'll admit I could get used to the 'oh God, oh God's from a few minutes ago, but it might be a bit formal for everyday use. And what to call you? There's a Virgin Mary joke to be made here, but it would be way too easy..."
"You're the one obsessed with using people's surnames, like you're at some snooty English boarding school. Call me whatever you want."
She winced as soon as she said it, knowing exactly what was coming.
"Sure thing, Cuddlemuffin."
"Would you prefer Pookie? Snugglebunz? Busty McHotpants?" She gave him a look, trying not to laugh. "You're right, that just screams 'stripper', doesn't it? When really we should be aiming more for 'hooker'."
"A highly paid hooker," he stressed, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. "I mean, clearly, with your skill set -"
"Oh, bite me," she grumbled, and turned her back on him.
Rule #8: 'Bite me' is not a suitable response to anything he says, no matter how irritating or offensive.
He'll merely take it as an invitation.