The phone rang.
Wilson reached into his pocket and withdrew his cell phone. Julie rolled her eyes. Wilson smiled graciously at his guests. It was rather impolite to have his phone on in such a fine establishment. A passing waiter gave him a dirty look. He smiled charmingly, allowing on gossip to get around that the rude man with the cell phone was actually Dr. James Wilson, yes, the oncologist.
"Excuse me." He said, turning from the table. He flipped up the phone, ignoring the caller id. "Hello."
"Hey." The voice was rough and breathy. Wilson felt a jolt of fear go through his stomach.
Julie rolled her eyes so hard Wilson was amazed nobody notices. She started a conversation concerning his job, how important he is, how well paid. Wilson figured he had approximately three minutes at the table, maybe ten if he left to the coatroom, and only that if he pretended this was work related.
The way House said that one word let Wilson know it isn't.
"Hey, what are you doing?"
"I'm at dinner."
"Yes. Make this quick."
There was something going on.
"How can I help you?"
"You could run out on dinner, come over, strip off all your clothes and climb into bed with me."
"What does he do?" Wilson heard the other woman ask.
Julie's voice had no hint of pride. "He's an oncologist. He works with cancer patients."
"Oh, that's so noble."
Wilson took a sip of wine and twisted his body as far from the table as humanly possible.
"I'm already in bed you know…waiting. Are you at a nice place?"
"What are you wearing? Are you wearing a tux?"
"A nice suit then. You look so sexy in a nice suit. I always want to rip you out of them."
"What's the diagnosis?" He said.
"You're pretending it's a business call? That's not right. That's down right bad. You should be punished for that." And what is it about the way House said punished that made all the hairs on his arms stand up?
"And the symptoms?"
"I'm lying on my bed, clothes in a heap on the floor. I'm running my hand down my chest, over my stomach…oh…" House groaned.
Wilson rubbed the back of his neck. "Any swelling?" He couldn't quite believe he was playing this game.
"Oh yeah, I'm swollen. Hard. Aching."
"So there's pain?"
"Yeah." House gasped. Wilson could faintly hear the rhythmic sounds of House taking himself in hand. "Yeah. I'm so hard it hurts. So hard for you. Thinking about you."
"A temperature spike?"
"Yes. Yes. I'm hot. My skin is all hot. If you were here you could feel it."
Wilson tried to say something, but his mind was quickly failing him. House laughed, hard and guttural. "Say 'elevated pulse.'"
"Elevated pulse." Wilson repeated.
"I can feel my heartbeat in my temples and I can hear it in my ears. Oh Christ."
"And…the…" Wilson grabbed his wine glass and took a much larger gulp. "Patient's current condition?"
"Can't you tell? I'm jerking off. I'm laying on my bed jerking off and thinking about you. I miss you. I want you here, so bad. I love you, Wilson."
Wilson nearly dropped the phone. "Drug interaction?" He asked. "Neurological condition?"
"Don't make jokes. It's true. I love you, Wilson."
"I…agree. That's what's going on. That makes sense."
"Oh god. I love you. I'm so close. You don't have to be clever. Just talk. I love to hear your voice. Just talk to me."
"I definitely think you should continue the current course of treatment."
"Try and stop me."
"Yes, continue the current course of treatment, maybe on an even more aggressive schedule."
"Go harder? I can go harder." Wilson could hear the tension rising in House's voice.
"Definitely give it all yo…we got." Wilson glanced at his dining companions. The woman was chatting cheerfully with Julie. The man was staring into the bottom of his martini. "We certainly don't want this condition to deteriorate. This isn't a time for wait and see, this is time for action."
"Can I call you Jimmy? Just this once? When nobody can hear us?"
"I…" Wilson set the now empty glass on the table. "Yes." He glanced at Julie. "God yes." He said in a low voice, then cleared his throat. "Yes, that's a good idea. You finish this treatment and I'll be over as soon as possible to lend a hand."
"Or a…" House grunted. "Or a mouth, right Jimmy…" The voice trailed off and the panting grew louder.
"Or that. I think we're in for a long, hard night, Doctor. I'm thinking multiple treatments, one right after another. As much as the patient can take. Don't you think?"
House's breath came out in a long low moan that sounded almost, to Wilson, like his name. Wilson let his eyes fall closed. He could see House in his bedroom, a drink at his elbow, his body arching as far as it could and shaking, shaking hard with rough relief.
The phone disconnected.
Wilson said goodbye, business like, to the dial tone and then hung up himself.
He reached into his wallet and removed his gold card, handing it Julie. "Allow me to pay for dinner. I'm so sorry everyone. I have to go. It's an emergency." He kissed Julie on the cheek. "Can you get home, darling?"
She nodded, avoiding his gaze.
As the valet arrived with his car and he climbed inside he withdrew the cell phone again and hit redial. The numbers that appeared on his led screen were familiar, though not the ones he expected. He pulled viciously out of the lot and turned as quickly as possible in the direction of House.
"Princeton Plainsboro." A clip efficient female voice answered.
Wilson's felt suddenly quite cold.
"What?" He squeaked.
"Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. Administrative Switchboard. How may I direct you're call?"
"Diagnostics." Wilson managed.
"I'll connect you to Dr. House's office right away." The voice said and some terrible waiting music came on.
"Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. Bringing excellence to the future through your excellent care."
Wilson executed a swift and illegal u-turn. He made a mental note to inform Cuddy that the hospital's motto made absolutely no sense. He then barreled down an alley and into a residential neighborhood, all before the phone rang twice. He didn't believe House was really there, but he'd still turned toward the hospital.
He answered. He really answered.
"You said you were at home."
"You said I was a cancer patient."
"No, I said you were a patient of mine. You are a patient of mine."
"You said I had a neurological condition."
"You better havea neurological condition. From your office. You called from your office. You did that in your office." The second half of that statement didn't quite come out the way he meant. He felt his fear ebb, his stomach started to ache again in that wonderful way.
"What if somebody caught you?"
"That's sort of the point."
"Not always." He hit the brakes, stopping outside a row of dim houses. This neighborhood was almost exactly like his own, yet he felt absolutely alien here. "I'm going to your apartment." He decided, his voice deepening. He u-turned again, narrowly missing some trashcans. "I'm almost there now. I'll be in your bedroom in ten minutes."
"In the suit." It was a realization, not a question.
"In the suit. You can either come home…" Wilson smiled mischievously. "Or you can call. Up to you."