But it's Better if You Do
Because even I'm not sure which girl I'm rooting for anymore.
And also because . . . the pilot was just. that. good.
"He asked me for drinks." Cameron leaned heavily against Wilson's door, her breathing quick and fingernails drumming against the cold wood. "He asked me for drinks. And then he yelled at me." She paused for a moment. "I'm used to him yelling at me, that's okay. That was almost a relief, because at least then I know that the world is still spinning and hell is still hot, but he asked me for drinks."
He blinked at her. "What did you say?"
She cast a look in his direction, and shook her head, pacing from opposite corners of his room. "No, of course," she said, the words all tangled together and her breathing rushed. "He was only asking me to see if I would, not because he wanted me to." She stopped walking. "Right? I mean, didn't he?"
Wilson said nothing, just rested his chin on his hand and waited.
"You're right," she agreed, nodding to herself. "That's what it was. He's just being a jerk because he can. If he really wants to ask me out because he - well - likes me - " she blushed, choking on the word. "Not that he does, but I'm just saying, that if that's the case then he can ask again. Right? That's smart, isn't it?"
He nodded. "Very mature way of looking at things, Cameron. You've been chasing him for almost a year. It's only fair that he should have to chase you a little bit, too." He paused, and then allowed himself a little grin. "Now that he's up to chasing anyone."
She smiled, and he was reminded why House hired her in the first place. She really was perfect, for someone who wasn't perfect at all.
"He asked Cameron for drinks." Cuddy glanced up from her desk, the pen hovering over a small x in the left-hand corner.
"Okay," she said slowly. "That's . . . unexpected. And probably not entirely ethical, but - well, who are we kidding. This is House." She arched a soft eyebrow over her eye, spinning the blue Uni-Ball between her thumb and forefinger. "So why are you telling me?" Wilson didn't answer, just looked at her for a long moment. She met his gaze.
He smiled, letting her win. Sometimes that was best. "Yes, why am I telling you?" He returned rhetorically, turning towards the door. "I'm sorry. It won't happen again."
His hand turned the handle. He could see her reflection in the glass, her mouth half-open, poised to ask him to turn around and give her what she really wanted - did she say yes? - but then shutting them with determination and pressing the pen - with more force than was probably necessary - onto the paper. He smiled again, and shut the door behind him. The only way to recover from an addiction was to deny oneself the drug.
"He asked her for drinks?" Chase drummed his fingers against the table. "What does that mean, do you think?"
Foreman's eyebrows rose on his forehead as he hefted himself onto the counter. "That Cameron's the best looking girl around here, and she's obsessed with him, and now that he can actually do things with her, he's decided to use that to his advantage."
"She's not some sort of toy," he snapped, before looking embarrassed. "What I mean is - "
"What you mean is that ever since you traveled to Happy Land with Cameron she's suddenly worth protecting." Foreman laughed, shaking his head. "There's no shame in it. You got the hooch and now you want the pooch."
Chase blinked. "When you say things like that, it makes me glad that I wasn't born in America." He shuddered, and then looked down at his hands. "And you're wrong. I wanted the pooch before I ever got the . . ." his voice was weak and repulsed as he muttered to the table, ". . . hooch."
"When you say things like that," Foreman said, reaching for the coffee cup, "It makes me glad that I was born in America."
"I asked her for drinks."
Wilson blinked innocently as the older man settled down into the chair across from his desk. "Who?" He asked, leaning in as though readying for some sort of secret.
"Cameron, who else?" He snapped. "Don't even try to pretend like you haven't heard it by now. That fat nurse - Janice - heard the whole thing. If the maintenance men on the fourth floor aren't talking about it right now then I'm a cripple."
Both men allowed a moment for the smug, uncontrollable relief the words brought. Then Wilson coughed. "Well, Janice doesn't make stops around here - where I've been stuck all day, since I'm a big fan of actually working - so I'm a little out of the gossip loop. My normal outlet - Karen from Pediatrics - is still on vacation."
House frowned. "Karen from Pediatrics? She still works here? I thought she quit months ago."
"She went on Sabbatical to Kenya, where she was bitten by a citi fly and died two years ago." He shrugged. "I've been out of the gossip loop for a long time."
"Get a new outlet. You're missing all the fun."
"I have one. You."
House grinned, and then tapped his foot idly on the ground. "Anyway, back to the important thing here. Me. It was strangely entertaining, you know. To ask her. You should have seen her face - it went totally white, like I'd just told her that I was really her father and her love for me was incestuous."
Wilson frowned. "You shouldn't play with her emotions like that," he reprimanded, knowing full well how little impact it would actually have. "Cameron's probably the prettiest woman that ever - "
"Looked at me, yeah, yeah, shut up. What makes you think I'm playing with her emotions? Maybe I'm still reeling from her rejection and need to find the humor in the situation to ease my broken heart."
"Or maybe you asked her out to see if you were right, and she really was only attracted to you because you couldn't beat a two-legged tortoise in a fair race."
House shrugged, tucking his hands behind his head and leaning back against the wall. "Well, I'm a fan of continually being correct, Wilson. Which, by the way, I was."
Wilson rolled his eyes. "If that's what you'd like to believe."
"Before you even say anything, Wilson, I do not care that House asked Cameron for drinks, so you can stop bothering me when I'm trying to get some work done!"
"Ouch. And here I was, thinking that you were secretly jealous." Cuddy froze for a moment before glancing up to see the irritating doctor loitering in her doorway. He was smiling that little half-smile of his, and she shut her eyes for a full ten seconds before opening them. "Still here," he told her cheerfully.
She placed her pen carefully on the paper she was about to sign - how many x's can one desk hold? - and sighed. "Very funny, House. What can I do you for?"
"The going rate is about fifty, but I'd be willing to give you a discount. I'm flexible."
Cuddy rolled her eyes tiredly. "Did you take lessons from Yoga Girl?" She asked, playing his game while reconnecting her brainwaves and recovering from her earlier embarrassment. "Now, really. What do you want?"
"To tell you that I asked Cameron for drinks, just to see the ache of love in your eyes."
"I don't have time for this, House. Get on with it or get out."
"Touchy, touchy." He looked at her for a moment before giving in. "All right. Fine. I want . . . no clinic duty. Just for today. I've been thinking, and you're right. My leg, it's killing me. I did too much too soon. I should probably just . . . rest up a bit."
Cuddy picked up her pen. "No."
"But - "
"From a medical standpoint - "
"No." She looked up, signing her name without even bothering to glance at the paper. "Is that all?"
"This is a country of democracy! I could just not go to clinic duty."
"This hospital is not a democracy. It's a dictatorship, so that means . . . I win. All the time. Which means . . . you have clinic duty. You can take Cameron out afterwards."
House sighed dramatically, shuffling towards the door. "No, I can't," he said, his tone mockingly despairing. "She doesn't love me anymore!" He perked suddenly. "Maybe, to take my mind off of the pain, you could let me leave a little early and handle the clinic all by yourself."
Cuddy suppressed a smile. "And let you wallow alone in your apartment? What sort of a friend would I be then? No, I think it would be best if I kept you around, to keep an eye on you."
He narrowed his eyes. "Touché. But this is not over, Lisa Cuddy."
"I'd be disappointed if it was, Gregory House."