House was awoken Sunday afternoon by the sound of a door opening and then a gasp. He frowned and opened his eyes groggily to see Sylvia, Cameron's maid, standing in the doorway with her hand over her mouth. He smirked and quirked an eyebrow at her.
"Pardon, Doctor," she said quietly, making her way out of the room.
House snorted in amusement as the door shut quietly, and Cameron stirred beside him. "What's so funny?" she mumbled, cuddling closer to the warmth that his body offered.
"You've appalled your servant," he teased, and Cameron's eyes shot open.
"Shit… Sylvia was in here?" she asked, obviously mortified.
"Only long enough to see you wrapped around me. It's alright; I'm not embarrassed."
She slapped his arm and got out of bed, wrapping the sheet around her body as she did so. "Poor Sylvia… She's got to be shocked by that. I haven't had a man in my room for years. Literally."
"Do you plan on telling her in a sheet that you're sorry for your outlandish behavior?" House mocked, sitting up on his elbows and smirking at her. "Or do you have a pretty Civil War ball gown hiding in your closet for occasions such as these?"
Cameron rolled her eyes and grabbed a thick, warm robe out of her closet. "You're horrible," she said lightly, tying the robe around her waist. She went to the side of the bed that he'd slept on and brushed a lingering kiss over his lips. "You want breakfast?"
He glanced at the clock. "It's more like lunchtime, Princess."
"We can still have breakfast."
"Do I get to eat naked?"
Cameron snorted. "I'll bring your clothes up from the den."
That week, the board of directors decided that House no longer had to function under an advisor. This meant that Cameron and House saw less and less of each other. They still saw each other outside of work… She'd lasted one whole week before she was pounding on his apartment door and cornering him, asking boldly if he'd like to fuck her a bit more.
They'd been having great sex just about every night since.
Richard was still running circles around the divorce, hemming and hawing for ways to delay the settlement. He showed up at the hospital one day, looking for Cameron in House's office since she hadn't been in hers. All he found there was House, tossing a ball in the air and catching it.
House glanced at Richard and sneered. "Hey, Dick."
Richard frowned, not bothering to correct House. Like the man would listen anyway. "Have you seen Allison?"
"Many times and in many ways. You want specifics?"
"Today," Richard drawled condescendingly. "Have you seen my ex-wife in the last hour or so?"
"Nope." He took out his iPod and put the ear buds into his ears.
"Dr. House," the man snapped, causing House to tilt his head to the side and quirk an eyebrow. "I know that you've been … carrying on with her and I wish to know where she is so that I might ask her a few questions concerning this divorce."
House gave Richard a glare and pulled the ear buds out before standing. "Let's get something straight here, Dickey," he spat out. "You've been running in circles with this divorce for months now. Stop being an asshole and let her go, already. She's already gone, anyway."
"You, sir, know nothing about-"
"Save it for someone who wants to hear your bullshit," House cut in angrily. "I'm not one of those people. Now, I don't care why she married you. I don't care why she left you. All I care about is the fact that you're drawing this out in a vain attempt to get her back. But here's the thing: It's not going to happen. Ever. She's done with you and she's moved on to me."
Richard let out a malicious laugh. "You? Can you even walk through the park with her? She loves that, you know."
"She also loves being fucked from behind. Did you know that?"
Richard made a face of disdain. "Do you mean to one-up me with crassness?"
"I don't mean to; it's just a happy coincidence." He glared thoughtfully at the rich man in his office. "Tell you what … I'll make a deal with you. You seem like a deal-making sort of man." He cleared his throat. "You grow up and let Allison move on by being a man and signing those divorce papers, or I go on the record with how you tried to beat the shit out of her."
Richard's eyes widened. "You think you can blackmail me?"
"I know I can. See, Sylvia and her hubby and I are best buds now. And they can both account for the way you treated Allison before she shoved you out on your ass."
"How dare you," Richard glowered, an angry sneer on his face. "How dare you even think to imply that I would-?"
"It's not an implication," House interrupted. "If this divorce isn't finalized by the end of the month, I'm going to spill."
"When Allison finds out about this, she'll never forgive you."
"See, that's what's so sweet about this whole deal… Allison's never going to find out. You're not going to tell her. Because if you do, I'll find a way to dig up more dirt on you than you could ever imagine."
Richard glared at House, but wasn't dumb enough to call the man's bluff. He was insane; it was official. And Allison was insane for wanting him. He turned on his heel and left the office.
Two weeks later, the divorce was finalized. Cameron and House celebrated with a fancy dinner, which Cameron gladly paid for. They had a good time, finally uninterrupted by anything Richard might want to do to hinder things for Cameron. House was surprised at how open she was willing to be now, but he wasn't about to complain. He was solving his puzzle, and that was all that mattered.
"It's time to spill," he told her, pushing his empty plate away and settling his elbows on the table. "Why'd you marry him?"
Cameron sighed and shrugged her shoulders delicately. "He…" She snorted. "He swept me off of my feet," she said flatly. "He was kind and sweet and charming; he was the opposite of you. He reminded me of Lucas."
"The one that died."
"Oh, right." House couldn't help but give a little smirk. "You just work your way through husbands, don't you?"
Cameron snorted. "You know me. I'm a regular black widow. First one dies of cancer, I get as much money as possible out of the second one… Wanna be the third? I could poison you or something."
"Well, you do love the Socratic method…" She laughed and twirled the wine in her glass. "Anyway… Richard reminded me of something that I wanted to be, not who I was. And I guess I was okay with settling for it at the time. But as the years went by … well … I didn't want it anymore. I just wanted to be … me."
"Sylvia told me why you divorced him. Well … the final reason, at least," House informed her nonchalantly. "I figured she would've spilled it to you by now."
She grinned. "Sylvia can't hide anything from me. After you went home the day after the benefit, she cornered me and spilled her guts. I forgave her; she was looking out for me. It's what she does."
"She thinks you're her daughter."
"Hmm… In a way, I am. She never had kids and she likes taking care of people. She hated that I was with Richard and told me so on a regular basis." She finished off her wine and set the glass down delicately. "She's been like a mother to me. My parents were ecstatic when I married Richard and they didn't believe that he'd ever do wrong. I suppose it was a part of him being rich… Who knows? They weren't happy when I grabbed up a divorce."
House frowned, sitting back in his chair. "And do you still love him?"
"God, no," Cameron said instantly. "I can't love a man who thinks it's okay to raise a hand to me. Ordering me around in the bedroom is one thing," she told him with a wink. "Attempting to abuse me is quite another."
He smirked. "I'll be sure to keep that in mind." After a short pause, during which he studied her carefully, he took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. "So why did you get so much money from him? You didn't need it…"
"I wanted to make him hurt any way that I could," Cameron answered hesitantly. "I don't think he ever really felt anything for me, and I can live with that now. I can live with the mistake that I made. But I wanted him to feel it, if only a little bit. So … I took everything that I could get. Hell, House. I claimed emotional damages. I had a psychiatrist convinced that I was suffering from borderline post-traumatic stress because of the fact that he'd tried to hit me. I screwed with him just as much as he'd screwed with me."
She sounded so bitter. So angry. Was it wrong of House to feel … almost proud? "Feel good to get him where it hurt?" he asked blandly.
Cameron, to House's surprise, smirked. "I'm just like you," she said with a quirked eyebrow, raising her water to him in a toast before taking a sip.
Once all of the money that she'd won in the settlement had been transferred to her account, Cameron wrote a large check to the hospital to do with as it pleased. This hardly surprised House, as Cameron hadn't changed when it came to giving to the needy. She gave her time, her health, her heart, and her money. That was just who she was.
What surprised him was when she showed up at his apartment a week or so after their dinner with a neatly wrapped box in her hands. "I know it's not your birthday," she explained excitedly. "And I know that you hate getting gifts, but I saw this and I had to pick it up for you." She shoved the box into his hands and entered the apartment, shutting the door behind her.
"Oh, just open it!" she exclaimed. "Come on."
He was uncomfortable with the idea, but he sat down on the couch and opened the gift as Cameron sat by his side. When he saw what was in the box, he tried to shove it back at her. "No way," he protested. "Forget it, Princess. I don't want your rich girl gifts…"
"I want you to have it," she said with a pout, shoving the box back toward him. "I saw it and it reminded me of you. Don't think about what it could have cost… Just … take it. Please?"
"For what?" he asked coolly. "A token of your appreciation? You paying me for the hot sex now? What?"
"House," she scolded. "You know that's not… Look, I just wanted to do something nice for you. I thought you'd like it…"
"I'm not saying that I don't," he protested. "But buying me an antique grandfather clock for my mantle that had to cost upwards of one thousand dollars isn't 'something nice.' It's crazy."
"It's not…" She sighed and slouched her shoulders. "I wish you'd keep it."
"I have nothing to give you in return. This is why I hate gifts…"
"You've given me plenty!" she exclaimed. "You stepped in and acted the part of the new lover when I needed someone to throw Richard off of my scent. And then you showed…" She blushed and stood, pacing behind the couch. "You made me feel … good again. So, sure. See it as me paying you for sex. I don't care. Just keep it because I want you to have it."
House frowned and set the box on the coffee table. "Fine," he said flatly.
"Fine," she snapped back.
"I'll keep it."
They looked at each other, Cameron biting her bottom lip and House quirking his eyebrow. After a few moments, Cameron gave a small smile. House rolled his eyes and stood, going to her. He brushed a kiss over her lips, pulling her close. "I appreciate your show of affection," he said snootily.
Cameron laughed and smacked his arm. "Shut up."
"I'll bet he sounded like that," House mocked with a smirk. "Allison, darling," he continued, mocking Richard's voice and upper-crust accent. "You simply must buy yourself a miniature poodle for your birthday. I simply don't have the time to go get one for you."
"Stop it!" she exclaimed, face scrunched with laughter.
"But darling!" he went on, starting to laugh, himself. "The drapes are perfect for the dining area!"
"Oh, God, House… Stop it. Right now." Her face was buried in his chest as she tried to suppress her giggles.
"What do you mean you're having illicit relations with that older doctor? It's horrendous and scandalous!"
"You sound like Scarlett O'Hara, not Richard."
House and Cameron settled into a pattern: snark at work, snark at home, have great sex, repeat. Neither of them minded, especially since the sex seemed to be a little different each time. Which, in Cameron's eyes, was practically Heaven on earth.
When she invited him over for dinner one night, she was pleasantly surprised to see him come in and sit at the piano, pushing out a beautiful tune while they waited for dinner to finish.
"That's gorgeous," she said softly. "Who wrote it?"
"Me," he admitted a bit awkwardly as he continued to play. "You bought me this huge, expensive gift and I could've bought you something like a necklace or a ring or something. A tennis bracelet."
Cameron made a face and House laughed.
"But that was something Dickey would do," he said, looking at the keys of the piano. "And I couldn't follow in that idiot's footsteps. So I did something that took no money at all."
It dawned on Cameron what he'd done and tears sprang to her eyes. "You didn't…" She swallowed. "You didn't write this for me, did you?"
"It's mostly improv, so no. I didn't write it for you."
"Don't cry," he warned, stopping his playing and spinning to face her. "It's supposed to make you smile or something."
She laughed with tears in her eyes.
"I'll live with that," he replied in a murmur, giving her a small smirk.