a/n: This is a continuation of my previous fic, Take the Ducklings Bowling. That is a very long but very fun and fluffy fic to read, so if you haven't I suggest you take time. However, if you want to read this without going through that exercise, I'll sum up. Chase and Cameron are married, Foreman is married to a very spunky woman named Pamela. Chase is a diagnostic attending at Princeton General, while Cameron and Foreman still work for House. Trust me, the fic is far more fun than that summary.
Okay, two warnings here. This still will be fluff, but I'm going to write about one of the more overused clichés in fandom. Sorry, but I promise this will be different, a very good different, just like with the previous fic. It will be very realistic since it draws from personal experience. It was the natural next step.
Second, halfway down there is a small yet slightly pornographic coffee drinking scene. Nothing too over the top, but very suggestive. If you blush at such things and don't want to subject yourself to that, skip the section as soon as you see "coffee".
Okay then, I welcome you to the next installment, When You Least Expect It (Expect it!).
I'll never make it to work this morning. I look like hell! Cameron was horrified by ghostly reflection in the mirror. Getting up this morning was an intense challenge in itself, how was getting ready going to be any easier?
She was so glad that Robert got called into work early this morning because she wouldn't be successful at hiding this. The opportunity to create suspicion was gone for now. The pretending everything was fine for the last couple of days was hard when she knew everything was not. No matter what though, Robert couldn't know her concerns. Not yet anyway.
He had too much to worry about these days. His new job was resulting in long hours and lots of difficult cases. He was doing good work and developing quite a reputation in such a short time, but it was often grueling and he was just a shell of a man by the time he got home. He couldn't know about her burden.
Maybe she was overreacting. This could be just a temporary spell and not at all what she suspected. Her stress levels were pretty high herself since it was only her and Foreman around to do the work. House wasn't in the mood at all to break in a new fellow and despite Cuddy's pleas hadn't gotten them more help. The work stress was probably just translating to physical exhaustion. Of course being part of a top notch diagnostics program, she knew when she heard a blatant lie.
"So what's wrong?" Foreman only had to look at her. He knew Cameron well enough to know when something wasn't right.
"Nothing, I'm great." She gave him a cheery smile that was so fake that it didn't take expert analysis to certify its falsehood.
"Great huh? Great as in 'good things are going to happen today' or great as 'great, I'm screwed'."
Cameron smiled, trying to make this one seem a little more genuine. "There is nothing wrong Foreman. How's Pamela doing? We haven't done lunch in a while."
"Oh, the fake out! I watch enough football to know the end reverse when I see it. You just handed the ball off to Randy Moss who ran for the end zone. I'll pretend to be wowed now instead of remembering what we were talking about."
Cameron rolled her eyes. "Sports metaphors again. That doesn't work on everyone you know."
"It works enough. Anyway, you're right. You haven't seen Pamela in a while. As a matter of fact, you and Chase haven't been out with us in a while. We're overdue."
"You might have to schedule an appointment through Princeton General in order for that to happen," she mentioned with bitter tone.
"Is that the problem? Chase hasn't been around?"
"No, I'm a doctor too you know. We both are very patient when it comes to our careers." Cameron stopped herself, realizing that Foreman had tricked her into hinting there was a problem. "Anyway, it doesn't matter, because there is nothing wrong."
"Well you have a really crappy way of hiding it." The voice coming through the conference room door said.
"Good morning to you House." She avoided eye contact by keeping her head down in her coffee mug. She was aware of his ability to tell what was wrong by just looking into her eyes.
He walked over her, grabbed her chin and pulled her eyes even with his. He took a long hard gaze allowing an expression of pure evil joy to paint on his face. He broke out in mischievous laughter. "Oh, I see what's wrong. Score one for koala boy!"
Cameron pulled herself away and folded her arms while throwing him an icy stare. "Since I'm not aware of what you are talking about, you will have to fill me in."
"You suspect it, but you don't want to know it. You'll find out soon enough. Boy I can't wait to see the look on Chase's face."
"Consider you don't see Chase anymore, I don't know how such a thing would be possible." She put her hand over her mouth. Damn she had to stop dropping hints.
Now Foreman joined House in diabolical amusement. Cameron was spared further harassment by the sound of all their pagers going off. "Damn, fun time over. Better go do the doctor thing." House said rolling his eyes.
"Saved by the bell," Cameron told Foreman with her own satisfied little smile as they headed out the door.
"I've got a blood test that needs to be processed." Cameron handed off the sample to Nurse Brenda.
"You took blood? I thought she only had a sore throat."
"Nope, there is another private matter. We are checking just to be sure."
"Okay, you should have this in an hour." Brenda witnessed the patient walking out the clinic doors. "Doesn't she want to know the results?"
"She needs to be somewhere. I'll call her with the results. Thanks Brenda."
Clinic duty was actually a nice distraction today. Cameron could just let her preoccupations go and worry about other people for a change. Sure, the ailments and stories were sometimes painful, disturbing actually if one tried to ponder the stupidity the human race was capable of, but she genuinely found herself caring today.
It was just last night that Robert wanted to hear about the clinic cases that she had earlier in the week. He recalled with fondness the routine nature and break from the norm that the clinic used to provide.
"You always hated clinic duty. In the last year you almost tried to avoid it as much as House."
"You don't know what you've got until it's gone." Chase replied.
"I hope these were the results you were looking for." Those words from Brenda snapped her out of her reminisce. "Sorry, what was that?"
"The lab results. You might want to call your patient pretty quickly. She's pregnant." Brenda handed her the file.
Cameron did everything on the outside to hide her surprise, but on the inside a wave of shock felt like it was tearing her organs all apart. "Uh, no, she wasn't hoping for this. I'll need a little time to talk to her. She will be very upset."
"You'll need some privacy then. Use exam room 3."
Cameron calmly went into exam room 3 and closed the door. She opened the file in her hand and studied the lab results with intense disbelief. After a few stunned minutes she crumpled the page with the results into a ball and threw it in her pocket. She then fell backward on the exam table and stared motionless at the ceiling. How did this happen? She knew exactly how it happened which is why she felt so stupid. She's a doctor. She knew that backup protection was important. All it took was one time.
Great, now I'm sounding like an after school special, she scolded to herself. It's not like she was some teenager or unwed mother. She was a married woman with a man that she loved dearly. This was just happening way sooner than they planned. They could adjust.
Except they weren't ever planning this. So then, if she could adjust so much, why were tears streaming down her face?
Chase had just about enough of his day. It was late, he was tired, all he wanted was to go home and curl up with his wife. Hopefully she was there after not having the same long day he had. He knew she had a case, so there was always the risk she would have to stay late, but he was hoping that if that was the case Foreman had it covered this time.
He let out a sigh of relief to find Allison stretched on the couch sound asleep. She looked pretty peaked, so he assumed she had a rough day after all. He leaned over and gave her a soft kiss on her forehead. She stirred to find those gorgeous blue-green eyes staring at her lovingly. "Hey, you're home." She struggled to give him even a faint smile because she was too wiped.
"You look like you've had a bad day. I might have enough energy for one more act of healing today."
Cameron wasn't about to let that happen tonight, although they certainly wouldn't have to be overly concerned about protection for a while. Still, she wasn't ready to tell him. "Thanks, but save your strength. Just hold me and promise never to let go."
Chase at first smiled at the notion, but it quickly dropped as he could tell through her eyes that she was holding something back. "Is something wrong?" he asked stroking her fly-away hair away from her face.
"No, nothing is wrong. I'm just very tired." Of course she had been saying that to Foreman, House and herself all day. They didn't buy it, so how would Robert?
"I have a feeling you have been saying that all day. Did something happen that you don't want to talk about? I'm always here for you, even if I'm overworked and tired too."
"I know that. No, I'm just very, very tired and my job has just been crazy lately. Just hold me. Let's curl up in our bed together and pretend that we are the only two people on earth."
With a sweet smile he swept her up off the couch into his arms. He did love how her light weight allowed him to do that when she needed it. She more than looked like she needed it this evening. "I've always loved your ideas. Come on, there is a bed waiting for us."
House always had pain in the morning. Today wasn't any better or worse than normal, but his mood was ten times crankier. He must have done everything wrong to be this way. He got up on the wrong side of the bed, was having a bad hair day, forgot to report to Houston that he had a problem and whatever other overused idioms described that his life today was hell.
The office was strangely empty when he arrived. Cameron and Foreman must have been occupied with that…that…what was it that they were supposed to focus on? Oh yeah, they had a patient. Better them than he. He headed straight for the one thing that could only make this morning right.
He was living purely for this experience this morning. A great cup of coffee on a bad morning like this was no different than having hot sex with a knock 'em dead gorgeous woman. It looked inviting, smelled great and he was eager to wrap his lips around something warm and wet. He poured the liquid with frenetic anticipation; foreplay had now begun as he caressed the mug in his hand. The aroma when he lifted the mug up to his nose made him tingle with excitement, the steam rising hit him in the face like a heavy breath of someone whispering his name in total yearning. The smell was different this time, but that was no different then entangling himself with a hot babe for the first time. It was attractive, it was sexy, it was animalistic, and it was about to rock his world.
He took a sip, but its bitter flavor ripped his pleasure to shreds as if he had discovered that the sultry woman who was fondling him was really a man. His faced turned sour and he spit out the coffee, droplets flying in the air everywhere.
Cameron and Foreman arrived just in time to witness House's run in with the morning coffee. He glared at them both, positively stunned by what he just experienced. "Who the hell made decaf???!" He shouted at them furiously.
"Uh, I stopped at Starbucks this morning," Foreman confessed.
"I made the coffee," Cameron said sheepishly. "I thought we should be cutting back on caffeine."
"You thought WE should???!" House was at a total loss for words as the rage overtook him. He grabbed his cane and lunged forward in attack. Foreman held him back just in time to prevent him from making contact with Cameron. "Whoa, there, I'll go to the cafeteria right now and get you a coffee with a double shot of espresso. We'll get you straightened up." He looked House straight in those blue but rather blood shot eyes. "Promise me you won't kill Cameron."
House nodded in between the deep calming breaths as he sat down at the conference room table. "Good, I'll be back in five minutes. All I have to say is House and I'll get special treatment."
Cameron frowned as House stared at her with incredulity that she tried to harm him like this. "This is your revenge for me teasing you yesterday, isn't it?"
"It wasn't revenge." She replied with teeth clenched. There was no way she could explain this. Damn him for knowing the difference between decaf and regular.
"So there might actually be something to my wild guess from yesterday?"
"No." She denied adamantly. She walked over to the coffee machine and poured herself a cup. "This is a rather good blend."
"No caffeine, right?"
"Then it sucks! Nuff said. Something is up with you and you know I'm going to find out. You might as well fess up now."
She thought about actually telling him, but as she opened her mouth Foreman showed up with the coffee. "How did you get this so fast?"
"I ran into Wilson. He had his own fresh cup and recognized the serious nature of the emergency. He knew two more minutes and Cameron would be dead."
"Great, Cameron was just about to confess something. Now she can share with both of us."
The two men looked at Cameron like she was a scared animal who had just been backed into a corner. All of a sudden she didn't feel so good. "Uh, gotta go." She bolted out of the room leaving the two men shocked that she actually got away.
House rose from his chair. "Okay, this morning just can't get any weirder. I'm going to my office now with my coffee and pretend that I didn't get out of bed."
"We let this go too long." Pamela told Cameron as they met at a local café for lunch.
"Yeah, you know, life." Cameron knew that was a poor excuse, but that was the usual reason for not keeping touch.
"So, Eric said that you have been acting strange lately."
"Gee, no 'how is life going?' first? Go straight for the hearsay."
Pamela looked at her watch. "I only have an hour for lunch. Can't waste time."
"I'm not acting strange. Foreman and House are just picking on me."
"Right, because we all know you always pick at your sandwich because you are repulsed by its look and you always drink caffeine free soda. That nice shade of green on your face is lovely too and your eyelids are drooping."
Cameron threw down her sandwich knowing that she couldn't hide this from everyone. She trusted Pamela would be discrete. "Fine, you've caught me."
Excitement fell over Pamela's face. She was fishing, but didn't think Allison would admit it without a fight. "No, really??? How exciting! How far along?"
"Five weeks. It isn't exciting. I haven't told Robert. This wasn't supposed to happen yet."
Pamela's excitement changed to perplexed confusion. "Uh, why don't you want Robert to know? I would think he would be thrilled."
"He would be more than thrilled. This just isn't a convenient time for either of us. There is too much stress right now. A baby just complicates things."
"Life complicates things. Besides, he's a doctor and highly trained to look at warning signs in people. You won't be able to fool him for long."
"I'm not planning on hiding this for months. Just a few days, or maybe a couple of weeks. I'm just not ready. I have to get used to the idea myself."
"Girlfriend, you are asking for trouble. Eric and that miserable bastard you work for already suspect something. They will figure it out sooner than later. If House knows before you tell Robert, he will either use it against you or come up with a grand scheme to drop hints to Robert until he figures it out."
"You worry too much. I've got my guard up."
"Wow, I didn't know that delusional behavior was a symptom of pregnancy. They certainly don't report that in 'Woman's Day'."
Cameron accepted that she deserved this from Pamela, but she had her reasons. "We haven't talked about having a family. This is something you usually plan for, especially given the amount of hours each week that goes to our careers."
"Surprise!" Pamela replied rather cheekily to her excuse.
"Fine, for what its worth I can't hide it much longer. I'm already getting sick. I was so hoping that I would last a few more weeks before that happened. My mother was sick as a dog for most of both her pregnancies. Lord knows she pointed that out to me enough times. I'm not even that bad yet and I already hate it."
Pamela chuckled at the young doctor's despair. "Kind of true, physicians make the worst patients. I don't envy your OBGYN. You told her yet?"
"No. I ran a blood test myself to confirm. Usually you can't go in for the first visit until you are 8 to 10 weeks along."
"I'd do everything I could to avoid House in the meantime."
"Trust me, it's a done deal."
On top of all her strangeness, now Cameron was avoiding him like the plague. Suspicious behavior warranted, well, suspicious behavior. House waited patiently outside the locker room for Cameron to leave. She had been taking an extraordinarily long time to get changed this morning. Far longer than usual. He tried to remember the reason why he staked out Cameron's locker the last time. He couldn't think of it, so he probably did it for fun.
Eventually she did come out, wiping her mouth with a tissue and looking white as a ghost. House stayed ducked around the corner as her cell phone rang.
"Hello?...No, I haven't told him yet..." Cameron disappeared down the hallway, still arguing with the person on the other end. No doubt it's that devil woman wife of his other fellow. House thought.
He looked all ways to make sure no one was coming and entered the locker room. Breaking into Cameron's locker was so easy. He didn't have to even try since he knew the combination. She really shouldn't use her husband's birthday. He laughed to himself over the notion that Cameron still believed he didn't know when Chase's birthday was. He knew long before she did.
A few turns left, right, left again and he was in. A typical women's locker; lots of items designed to make her look and feel pretty. Nothing out of the ordinary at first glance. He checked the pockets of her extra lab coats. Wait a second, what do we have here? He pulled out a balled up sheet of paper. Why, it's lab results.
He carefully unfolded the paper and read the contents. The vicious smile on his face was unavoidable as he crumpled the paper again and placed it back in the lab coat. He closed the door, put back the lock, and then hurried out of the room undetected.
House saved the outburst of evil laughter until he cleared the locker room area by a safe distance. Once he let loose, it made his sides hurt. He had to find Wilson now. Before he did that though, he had one item of unfinished business. He pulled out his cell phone and thumbed down the contacts list until he got to 'Chase'. He hit the send button and patiently waited for the voice on the other end, but got the voice mail instead. No matter, a message would suffice.
As the voice on the other end instructed to wait for the tone, House prepared his best taunting and demoralizing tone. "I know something that you don't."