a/n: First, the disclaimer. I don't own these characters (except Pamela).
Assumptions as you read this: Foreman has a new love in his life, House is still in ICU from the shooting so everyone is a little stressed. Enjoy!
The day proved to be too emotionally exhausting and almost too much to bear. All three ducklings sat in the conference room not saying a word, lost in their own thoughts.
Foreman had enough of all the moping that had been plaguing them lately. If his recent experiences from being near death have taught him anything, it is that life needs to be enjoyed. "We need to go blow off steam for a few hours."
"Drinks and pool?" Chase as usual was pretty low on ideas.
"No, that is pretty old. We should do something really different." Cameron suggested.
"I can bring my girlfriend along. She is coming over tonight."
Cameron got a huge smile on her face over the prospect of finally meeting Foreman's ever elusive significant other. "I'd love to meet her. I vote for something that gives us a chance to get to know her better."
"That rules out a movie or a club." Chase noted.
Foreman flashed a large smile. "Okay, you may think this is a weird idea, but how about bowling?"
Cameron mirrored his smile. Chase looked at him like he was completely insane.
"That's perfect!" Cameron said rather enthusiastically.
"Bowling? Do people actually do that?" Chase was in strange territory here.
"What, you don't like bowling?" Foreman asked.
"It's not that, it's just, uh, I've never been before."
Cameron laughed hard at that revelation. "Don't they have bowling alleys in Australia? Oh wait, everything is in reverse down there. They probably roll down pins to knock out the balls."
"Very funny." Chase was less than amused.
"I'm sure there was no time to go in between the yachting and polo playing." Foreman enjoyed any opportunity to tease as well.
Cameron decided to make the plan official. "Well guess what Chase, you have been overruled. You have been in this country too long to not experience one of its greatest pastimes."
"It sounds like I don't have a choice. Why not? I like combating job stress with potentially humiliating situations. Let's go for it."
"Lighten up wombat." Cameron was unimpressed with Chase's uptight and sarcastic behavior. "Think of it as a team building exercise."
"I'll call my girlfriend to make arrangements." Foreman opened his cell phone and started dialing.
"Pamela, these are my colleagues, Robert Chase and Allison Cameron." Foreman handled the introductions as they all climbed into Pamela's car. She nodded to Chase and Cameron in the back seat. "Pleasure." She then leaned over to the passenger side and gave Foreman a sweet kiss.
"Thanks for driving." Foreman was rather grateful that she offered to be the chauffer for the evening.
Pamela was intrigued by this evening's plan. "Bowling, huh? You didn't tell them how great I was did you? I'm surprised you even want another butt whooping."
"So you guys have been before? I can see why you thought of it then." Cameron said to the two front passengers.
"I took Eric during his recovery. He needed an activity that would help rehab his coordination. It was really funny watching him try at first. It was like teaching a four year old to bowl. He had the hang of it though by the end of the night."
"So you two were together while he was recovering?" Cameron loved learning all these new details.
"I've known Eric since high school in Philadelphia. His dad and my dad still live in the same neighborhood. Actually, his dad called my dad when he was recovering. He knew Eric would be glad to see me."
"That's sweet. Eric never told us any of this." Cameron teased from the back seat.
"Your skills are going to be needed again." Foreman said to Pamela trying to change the subject. "Chase has never been bowling before."
"What, you've been living under a rock your entire life?" Pamela couldn't believe there was a human that never done such a thing.
Chase didn't get a chance to answer as Foreman did. "Worse, Australia."
"Is Australia a third world country? I thought bowling alleys were..."
"That has already been covered. Chase grew up in a wealthy family. He was too busy skiing in the Alps." Foreman goaded.
Chase stayed quiet in the back seat while taking all the abuse. "Come on boy, defend yourself," Pamela told Chase while looking at him through the rear view mirror. "I always let him know that I won't put up with his crap."
"It's been a long day. I'm a little short on witty comebacks." Chase replied in a tired voice.
"Ooh, nice accent. I'm sure you get a lot of ladies with that. Don't worry I'll defend your honor." Pamela clenched her right fist and delivered a sharp blow to Foreman's upper right arm.
Cameron and Chase laughed at her unbelievable spunk and ability to dish out crap to Foreman. He needed a woman like that. As the laughter finally died down, they arrived at the bowling alley.
The stench of the air and general shabbiness of the place made Chase realize why he had never been to such an establishment before. "Average Americans come here for fun? No wonder the rest of the world thinks this country is simple. The prison I had to search smelled better."
Foreman and Pamela lead the charge to the counter. "Two lanes, four rentals." Everyone started reciting their shoe sizes to the clerk. "Is the tradition that we quote Monty Python lines in a bowling alley?" Chase wondered why a perfect stranger would need his shoe size, recalling only ever seeing that done on his favorite TV show.
Cameron laughed at his hopeless naivety. "You need bowling shoes."
"There are special shoes? To throw a ball down a wooden lane?" They all continued to stare patiently, waiting for him to surrender the shoe size. "Fine, size 10."
Everyone got their shoes and proceeded to the assigned lanes. Chase examined his borrowed footwear with disgust and turned to Cameron. "You're an immunologist. You can't see all the diseases in this shoe?"
"Trust me, its perfectly safe. You see any bowling shoe infections in the clinic? Of course not, because then you would have known there were bowling shoes." Cameron was having a great time watching him struggle with such a simple concept. "Come on Chase, I'll help you pick out a ball." Cameron led the still perplexed Aussie over to the ball rack.
"I'll take care of the refreshments." Pamela went over to the bar and came back with two fresh pitchers of beer. She looked intently at Cameron and Chase together as she delivered the beverages. "So, are those two...?" Pamela asked Foreman under her breath with a suspicious guise.
"No, although rumor has it they did it once. It was a one night thing."
"No rumor there baby, they totally did it. The body language says it all. Too bad, they are so pretty together. Anyway, get up, we need balls too." They went to retrieve their needed equipment.
After a few minutes all were ready to take a warm-up frame. "Beginners first." Pamela grabbed Chase, who was rolling his eyes in utter disbelief that he was actually doing this. "See that line? Your foot can never cross that line or it is a foul. Start with the ball up here." She raised her ball to the chest to demonstrate.
"While taking about 3 or 4 steps, pull the ball back behind you and then move it forward. Keep your arm straight at all times." Pamela slowly showed the proper motion while Chase observed. "I'll take my shot first so you can watch." With three even paced steps and a perfectly timed release she rolled her ball squarely down the middle. All the pins fell down with a thunderous crash. "Okay, you try."
Chase stood straight, pulled the ball up to his chest and tried to focus on the pins at the end of the alley. All he was thinking though was how ridiculous this was. He took a step forward and in completely uncoordinated fashion pulled the ball down too quickly. He let it only go slightly behind him and once he realized he couldn't take any more steps forward or risk a foul, he just stopped, threw the ball forward and let go. The ball flew in the air for two seconds, made an awful thud as it hit the lane and spiraled into the gutter.
Cameron and Foreman started laughing hysterically. Pamela did her best to hold back her laughter, but the attempt was weak. "That's called a gutter ball." Pamela said. "I'm sure you'll be getting a lot of those tonight."
"We should have gotten him the bumper lane." Foreman pointed to the bumper lane where some young toddlers were rolling their balls.
"Good first try. You are definitely going to need some of that." Pamela pointed to the pitchers of beer on the table. "A general rule is the drunker you are the better bowler you are. It will loosen you up fast."
Foreman went next and due to a slightly off balanced throw ended with a 7/10 split. "Aw, rough break." Pamela sported a superior grin.
Cameron got up ready to show people how it was done. She positioned herself on the lane and in a fluid motion of amazing beauty delivered a powerful and deadly accurate shot that sent all the pins scattering. She glared at her fellow players with a determined 'take that' stance. Foreman and Chase were completely thrown back. Pamela smiled rather pleased to have a worthy competitor. "Bring it on honey," she told Cameron in a true competitive spirit.
The first game mirrored the practice round exactly. Chase couldn't get a ball halfway down the lane without it going into the gutter for all ten frames. Foreman had a respectable score, but nothing worthy of bragging. Cameron and Pamela countered each other with one strike and spare after another. Their score was dead even until the final frame. Pamela went first and delivered two quick and flawless strikes. On her final turn, Pamela fired yet another quick and accurate blow, only to see nine pins fall instead of the usual ten.
Cameron smirked at Pamela on the way up for her try. Three strikes and she would win. She lined up, blew her hair out of her eyes and threw a flawless pitch down the center. All the pins fell like leaves off a tree. She then delivered the exact same pitch with the exact same confidence two more times. She got the exact same result. Three strikes. Victory was hers.
"Time for the rematch baby." Pamela told Cameron who took a brief moment to savor her victory.
The second game proved to not be much different. In the fourth frame though, after having a few beers, Chase was feeling lucky. He lined up the shot, moved forward in his now standard choppy motion, released to soon as usual, but this time there was a different spin on the ball as it went thud. It rolled to the left, then hooked right, and then continued to weakly down the lane until it took a sharp right turn at the very end. Just before the ball fell into the gutter, it clipped the last pin. It wobbled a bit with uncertainty and then finally decided in complete mercy to fall. Chase held up his arms in complete triumph. "I got one." The others stood on their feet in supportive applause.
Cameron and Pamela again stood neck in neck until the last frame. This time, Cameron was the one to falter. She went first and only got a spare in the 10th frame. Pamela delivered three quick strikes. Now the sweet taste of victory belonged to her.
"Okay, game three settles the score." Pamela said with complete determination. She was now on a roll.
"The last game belongs to the experts." Foreman elected himself to be the spokesman for the men. "We are sitting this one out."
"Wimps." Pamela shouted to them as they took their refuge with two fresh pitchers of beer.
As Pamela and Cameron prepared for the next game, Foreman had a proposal. "Chase, we need to make a game of our own here. For each point Cameron scores, you take a sip of beer. I'll take one for each point Pamela scores."
"Are you crazy? These women are bowling in the 230's." Foreman flashed Chase a 'chicken' look. He relented. "Okay, you're on."
They sat with their beers watching the ladies throw one superb roll after another. They found it difficult to keep it up but not impossible.
For whatever reason, game 3 wasn't anywhere near as close. Pamela ran out of steam and often seemed to be distracted. Her once great concentration was blown. Cameron on the other hand, was on fire and better than ever. By the end, Pamela lost to Cameron by almost 50 pins. The two ladies commended each other on a well fought match and headed back to the table.
"What happened to all the beer?" Cameron noticed the intoxicated state of her co-workers, but Chase was easily the more smashed of the two.
"He had to take a drink for each point you scored, while I had to drink each point Pamela scored."
Cameron looked into the glazed stare coming from Chase's blue-green eyes and the inebriated smile on his face. "What were you thinking? I bowled a 260."
Pamela and Foreman started chuckling. Cameron saw the writing on the wall. "I see you two were in cahoots to get him drunk. You backed off for a reason. Why aren't you more drunk? You should have drank 211 times."
"I'm still having trouble counting to 211. Chase though, nothing is wrong with his brain. He can count to 260 rather well, even while getting plastered." Foreman looked at Pamela and they busted into full fledged laughter.
Cameron started laughing along too. "Oh Chase, you are such an easy target." Chase was too drunk to notice or care.
"I didn't throw the game," Pamela told Cameron. "I just knew what was happening and thought it was so funny I blew my concentration. You are the earnest champion."
Foreman was ready to move things along. "I've had enough bowling, and it looks like Chase here had certainly had enough. What say we retreat to the lounge? We need a refill."
Before they could continue with the latest plan, Cameron had to help Chase change his shoes and hold him while he staggered his way around. "You better hope for his sake that he doesn't get paged." Cameron told Foreman as she assisted a barely functioning Chase. They got a large booth which gave Chase the opportunity to pass out for a bit while the others drank and talked.
"So Pamela, what do you do?" Cameron asked.
"I work for a Marketing firm in Cherry Hill. It isn't as glamorous as a Neurologist, but it keeps me busy."
"Cherry Hill isn't too bad. You two are only 45 minutes apart."
"It's still too long. We are in the process of looking for something else. We are moving in together." Foreman squeezed Pamela's hand in nervous anticipation as he made the announcement.
"Wow, I had no idea it was that serious."
"I'm finding it impossible to spend any day without her. I am a man deeply in love." Foreman gazed into Pamela's eyes lovingly as he made his bold declaration. She gave him a big smile then a big kiss. "I love you too baby."
"We are hoping to find something 20 minutes away from the hospital toward Cherry Hill. That way she won't have to travel too far to work."
"Yes, the 45 minutes to an hour that I do now a few times a week is getting old."
"I'm so happy for you both. Congratulations." Cameron offered her sentiments with a sincere smile. She normally didn't care for open and loving behavior, but she found it so refreshing to see it on Foreman. She also really liked Pamela.
Cameron looked over at the sleeping Chase and got a devilish look on her face. "You know, I have always wanted to do this." She started running her fingers through Chase's messy blond hair. "It's so soft. It's like petting a freshly groomed dog." They all started laughing at Cameron's mischievous behavior.
An hour later it was time to pack up for the evening. "Give sleeping beauty a nudge." Foreman instructed Cameron.
"Chase, wakey, wakey." She started shaking him a few times.
He groaned and tried to ignore her. Foreman took a glass of ice cold water and poured it on his head. He shot up, and then looked very queasy. "The room is spinning." His speech was drastically slurred.
"Time to go Chase. Can you get up?"
Chase was unresponsive and his eyes fluttered a bit.
"Come on Cam, I'll get one side and you get the other."
Pamela pulled up to Cameron's car in the hospital parking lot. "You sure you don't need any help?" Foreman asked.
"You are pretty drunk yourself and you two deserve some private time. I can handle him. I'll take him home." Cameron started helping Chase out of Pamela's car so he could get into her own. "Thanks for the lift." Chase told Pamela in an incoherent voice.
"I don't envy your headache in the morning. Nice meeting you."
Cameron loaded up her drunken co-worker and started driving. She quickly realized she had no idea where she was going. "Chase, you're going to my place tonight."
"Why?" he said in his half-awake voice.
"For one, I have no idea where you live. Second, you don't have a way to get to work tomorrow. Third, someone is going to have to hold your head while you vomit."
Chase was too out of it to argue or respond.
"Okay, it's a done deal then. You can sleep it off on my couch."
Luckily getting Chase to her apartment wasn't as difficult as she thought. He was able to walk a little better, but by the time she got to her unit and tried to open the door he was hanging onto her for dear life. She turned on the light as soon as they entered and he let out a huge groan in utter agony. "Sorry."
She laid him down on the couch, turned off the light and turned on a softer one in the other room. "Better?"
"Yes. I like you outside of work, Cam. You're far more fun." Chase quickly drifted off to sleep.
Cameron smiled. "Same with you Chase. Sleep well."