A Plague On Both Your Houses

copyright K Brogan2007

Chapter 1

Nothin' Left to Lose

"Your friend is hammered. Is she going to be okay?" He sounded concerned and a little guilty as the young redheaded woman grabbed her coat to leave.

"Yeah, yeah, she's been getting hammered a lot lately. Besides, your friend is here. He'll make sure she gets home okay, won't he?" she said, finishing her drink.

"I sincerely doubt that. He's not very altruistic. Should we call her a cab before we leave?"

"She'll be okay. She's a big girl. Come on, Jimmy, let's move this party to my place." She grabbed the handsome man with the dark brown hair and dark brown eyes by the collar, kissed him hard on the lips and then dragged him out the door.

Still sitting on the stool at the table, the mousy brown-haired woman in glasses turned to the older, graying man with the unhappy face, "Happy New Year!" She blew the paper roller into his face and shook her plastic pom-pom.

"Yes, that's the fiftieth time you've shoved that thing in my face. One more time and you'll be passing it through your digestive system."

She looked at him. Where is Jimmy? Jimmy has liquidy brown eyes. This is the guy with the cold blue, icy eyes. I don't want him, I want Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy. I want to go home with Jimmy. "Where's Jimmy?" she suddenly asked, seeming almost sober as she waited for his response.

"He went home with your best friend, what's her name."

"Oh." Silence. "She was my ride." She looked around. "Oh, well, Happy New Year!" The paper roll hit the side of his cheek.

He grabbed it and threw it on the ground. "You're drunk."

"So are you."

"Not as drunk as you are."

"I win."

He actually laughed. She's not bad looking if she would just take that stupid gold "Happy New Year" crown off her head. She's a little goofy, silly, has been all night. She's trying a little too hard to have fun. Aren't we all? Hmm, it looks like she's the last single woman left in this bar. I don't know, this seems too easy. She seems too easy. Oh well, that's what condoms are for. "Hey, hey," he had to physically grab her, she was dancing around in circles, "Want to go back to my place for a little horizontal celebration?"

"How romantic, but only if you're nice to Thelma and Louise."

He looked around, wondering who they were. When he could see no one who might be connected with her, he shrugged, "Sure they can come too. I always like a good threesome. Let's go."

I could feel the sunlight getting brighter in the room. Jesus, my head. The whole USC Trojan band must be inside it...ah, that drum, boom, boom, boom...ahhhgg. It hurts so damn much. My eyes wrestled open. Okay, not my ceiling, not my bed. I turned my head on the pillow and there he was, his eyes just starting to open. Try to remember, who is he? Where were you last night? New Year's Eve, the party at the club...the friend, he's the friend of the guy I liked. How did I end up here with the friend? He's got to be close to 50. He's got to be at least ten years older than me. I'm naked. Oh damn, I had sex with him.

"Good Morning," he hesitated and looked directly at my forehead, "Riley."

What is he looking at? I reached up and touched my forehead and found a small 1"x1" post-it on my forehead. I pulled it off. Written in blue marker against the yellow was, "Riley." I was incensed. I furrowed my brow and spoke in accusatory tones, "You put a post-it on my head so you'd remember my name when we woke up?"

He smiled at my indignation, "The post-its were your idea. If you look closely, you'll see that all of them are in your handwriting."

"All of them?" I was curious. "There are more?"

He pointed at my breasts which were just under the sheet, I pulled the sheet up in the air and there were post-its on both breasts, I pulled them off. "Thelma" was on the right breast, "Louise" on the left. They were my pet names for my breasts and it was definitely written in my handwriting. I felt sheepish.

"Why am I the only one with post-its on?"

"You aren't, or weren't."

He raised the sheet and I saw a post-it attached to his pubic hair. He pulled it off with a slight, "Ow." He smiled and handed it to me.

"Your name is Oscar?"

"No, that's my nickname for my dick."

"Then where's the post-it for your forehead...your, your real name?"

He pointed under the sheet at my body. My face froze as I realized where he was pointing. I blushed with embarrassment as I stuck my hand under the sheet and between my legs. I found the post -it on my thigh. I pulled it off and smiled, "I guess this means I must have enjoyed myself," I looked at the post-it, "Greg."

"Well, since you can't remember anything, I should tell you you thought it was the best sex you ever had." he smiled like a naughty boy.

I chuckled. "I'll take your word for it." Sitting up, I hung my legs over the edge of the bed. "Oh God, I'm feeling a little sick."

"Bathroom's right over there." he pointed in the direction of a door.

"Thanks." I grabbed my things and went into the bathroom. A washcloth was hanging on the sink so I used it to clean up. I didn't throw up, but my whole body wanted to. Last night I went out with the intention of getting drunk; I had exceeded my goal.

I had wanted to be so drunk that I wouldn't remember it was the six month anniversary of the great debacle, the night I'd left my boyfriend of two years, the boyfriend who had been treating himself to some head in the bathroom at our friend's house. Obviously, it wasn't me sharing the bathroom with him.

The party had been in full swing and I noticed that Toby was missing. Like the naive idiot I can be, I couldn't figure out where he could have gone. I went gaily through the house looking for him, walking into the master bedroom no one was there. I was almost out the door when I heard a familiar, "Oh, that's it baby, you got it goin'" coming from the master-bathroom. My stomach clenched. That phrase usually meant he was close to Nirvana and didn't want me to stop. I opened the bathroom door and there he was, his hands on her head as she was bent over, giving him the thing he liked best. Marsha, my nemesis, was bringing things to a head. When they saw me he just shrugged his shoulders and pushed her head back down. Rather than stop, he just said, "Might as well finish, I'm already f#cked." With that he turned his attention back to his penis and I ran from the house, driving home faster than I should for a dark, moonless night.

Two years down the toilet in one night. Maybe I could have forgiven him if it had been anyone but Marsha. The little trollop had ruined my first live-in relationship. Once bitten, shame on you, twice bitten, shame on me. The humiliation of losing another boyfriend to her was catastrophic. After crying for two hours on the phone, my roommate from med school suggested I consider moving away, making a fresh start.

"Princeton General is looking for someone to head a new department. Some new specialty and they're looking for someone with impressive Infectious Disease credentionals. Sounds like you're ideal."

"Princeton? I guess that sounds far enough away."

So I submitted my resume to the administrators at Princeton General and they asked me to come back for an interview. I felt relieved to hear that someone wanted to see me.

I look good on paper. I have my certification in Infectious Diseases by doing my residency at the CDC. I also have a certification in Emergency Medicine, having done my residency at UCLA. After my last residency, I did a three year stint with the World Health Organization (WHO). I had just completed my two year contract with Cedars Sinai and was now escaping to Princeton General. I had been published numerous times. In fact, my articles, by R. B. O'Sullivan, M.D., had been combined into a booklet and sold by the CDC to medical schools as supplemental texts for infectious disease classes.

The problem is that I have a temper and a mouth. I tend to engage my mouth before thinking. I was almost killed in Africa because of it. I was saved by a well-respected diplomat, but after that, the CDC insisted I take anger-management courses. Despite my quick temper, I don't stay angry for long. It's a flash, I say something stupid and then I calm down and apologize.

Most people would think of Princeton General as a huge step down for me. Maybe I would have thought the same thing if I had taken time to think. But I just wanted out of California and away from Marsha. Princeton General wanted to make me the department head of a new department they called, "Diagnostics."

"Isn't all of medicine diagnostics?" I asked in my interview.

David Norris, the paunchy medical director, said, "It's a new field. You'd be handling patients that need more of a gestalt approach to determining their illness. Rather than sending the patient to different specialists, you would run the tests and bring the specialists to the patient. Have you ever heard of Gregory House?"

"By reputation. I've never met the man."

The five men and women smiled at each other. David sat back in his chair, "He practices at Princeton-Plainsboro and over the last five years he's been slowly generating a lot of buzz on the east coast as the Go-To man. We're steadily losing more and more of the private paying patients to his department and Princeton-Plainsboro. We don't want to give the high rollers an excuse to leave. Plus, we think that if you can do what he does and be nice, you'd be pulling the patients over away from him.

"Be nice? I don't understand?"

"Dr. House has patient issues. He's not well liked...by anyone. Especially not by the patients. He's a bitter, misanthrope. If you're nice, people will choose you over him any day." He looked around the table, "You'll get the full backing of our P.R. department and a nice budget."

"I see, well I guess I could take a look at the model and try to put something together. Is it just me or do I get some assistants?"

"You get a resident to start. When can you start?"

"My contract ends September 1st."

"October 1st?"

"Deal." We all shook hands and I felt strangely worried.

"Good. We'll let you get settled and then at the beginning of the year we'll start a full on campaign for your department. You can work with P.R. If you want to meet your resident, he's already here at the hospital. He was a Fellow under House for three years. His name is Robert Chase. He's an Intensivist from Australia."

"Fine, I'd like to meet him."

I received a call on my cell phone an hour later. "Hello?"

"Dr. O'Sullivan?"


"I'm Dr. Chase, your resident. I thought maybe we could meet up this evening for dinner."

"Oh, yes! That would be great. I don't know Princeton, so you name the place."

"How about Tortuga's Mexican Village?"

"Great. Where is it?"

"Where are you staying?"

"The Hyatt."

"I'll pick you up outside at 6:00 pm, okay?"

"Thanks, I'll be out front."

After filling out all the paperwork and providing my certifications, I went back to the hotel. I took a shower and when I went to put on my pants I realized that the zipper wasn't cooperating. I'd gained five pounds, okay, more like seven pounds, since buying them. Obviously, I was going to have to wear the elastic waist skirt I had brought to wear home. I put on the outfit and put my hair into a pony tail in the back. I wore my flip-flops because I had been hot all day. I looked like a poor man's hippie. I didn't have anything else to wear unless I wanted to get back into my suit and that was the last thing I wanted to do.

I waited outside and at 6:30 a nice looking blonde walked up to the front of the hotel and started to look around. He looked too nice to be a doctor. He didn't approach me so I wasn't sure if I should approach him. Finally I shrugged and went over.

"Are you Dr. Chase?"

You couldn't feign the absolute look of shock on his face. He gave me a quick look up and down and said tentatively, "Dr. O'Sullivan?"

"Call me Riley."

"Riley. I'm Robert. Glad to meet you. I saw your resume, wow!"

"You have me at a disadvantage. I haven't seen anything about you."

"Let's get going and we can talk on the way."

We got into his newer model, flashy looking, semi-sporty, silver and black leather car. As we started driving he took another quick look at me like I was a puzzle instead of a person. I was beginning to become self-conscious.

"Where are you from?"

"Originally I'm from Washington, around Long Beach. But I've just come from Los Angeles, Cedars Sinai. I take it you're from Australia?"

He nodded and smiled, "Sidney. Well, are you excited about starting a Diagnostics Department?"

"Robert, I haven't got a clue what it is. I take it that you do. How long did you work for Gregory House?"

"Three years."

"Wow. You must have a tough hide. I heard he's abrasive."

He started chuckling as if I had no clue what it was like. "It was an experience. But, he's more bluster than anything else. I actually ended up liking the SOB. But of course, he sees my defection to Princeton General as a slap in his face. But he'll get over it."

"Can you tell me in a nutshell what he does?"

"Miracles. He takes all the information, pools it and then makes these incredible leaps of logic to come up with the answer. Towards the end I was starting to get the hang of what he was doing, but I was nowhere in his league."

"Crap, how am I suppose to do this then?"

"Hey, I've heard good things about you too. In fact, House used to read your articles first in the journals. He said you were one of the few regular contributors that he could tolerate. That was a real compliment coming from him."

"How did the department function?"

"Doctors, only desperate doctors, and sometimes the emergency room, would refer patients that no one else could diagnose. We'd sometimes break into their homes or search their employment for clues about them and possibly their illness. We always had a staff oncologist that we could consult with and one of the Fellows on his team was a neurologist. You need to get together a team of on staff doctors that you can consult with when you need it."

"I think I'm beginning to get it. Actually, we did a lot of that in Africa. We were the only ones around and so diagnosing the patient was in our laps.Why did you leave?"

"I fell in love with one of the Fellows, she didn't feel the same. It was too hard to be around her."

"Wow, that's an honest answer. I like that."

We spent the next two hours talking about the new department and I gave Robert his marching orders so that he could get the department up and running by the time I got there. Over the next seven weeks we talked on a daily basis and I have to admit, I had a little crush on Robert. Nothing I would act on, but he was so sweet, kind, funny and intelligent, that you couldn't help but smile when you talked to him.

Chapter 2

Old Enemies, New Friends

I spent the last weeks at Cedar Sinai finishing up a few articles and assigning patients to new doctors. I was given a going away party at the local hang out by the CEO and staff doctors. Marsha and Toby both came even though Toby works at UCSD. Marsha is also a neurologist at Cedars Sinai. I couldn't look at the two of them.

Toby finally cornered me alone, "Hey, good luck at Princeton. I'm sorry it ended like it did."

"Well, things sure came to a head, didn't it?"

" I don't understand you; you're always making jokes. That's not attractive.Why don't you do something with yourself, your appearance? You know, you could really look good if you wanted. You've got a great body or at least you did. Have you put on weight? If you'd just take a little pride in the way you look, stop dying your hair that mousy brown, put some makeup on and wear a skirt that didn't go down to your ankles, you'd be much more attractive."

"The great thing about breaking up with you Toby is that I don't have to listen to that song over and over. You've got your trophy girl. Marsha looks good on your arm, so go play with Barbie. I think the two of you make a great couple. The vacuous Marsha with the full of sh!t Toby. The yin and yang. Now, if you don't mind, I have to go take an enema to get rid of the last remaining vestige of our time together."

I went home to the almost empty apartment. Most of my things were being trucked by Mayflower to a Princeton storage facility. I sat on the sofa that I had decided was too big to move. I promised it to a shelter when I moved. They were picking it up tomorrow. Staring out the window, I gazed at the Los Angeles skyline. There were no arms around me, no lips on my neck, no heartbeat to listen to, there was just me. Just me, it always came back to just me. I lay back and wiped a tear away. I didn't love Toby that much, but why did I miss him so much? I felt the lack of sound in the condo like a wave in the ocean, sweeping down and pushing me deeper and deeper into the dark. I fell asleep.

The homes in Princeton were so different than on the west coast. They were typically brick or sideboard. Some were stucco, but not that many. I decided to buy a townhouse near the University. It was three stories. Downstairs was a bedroom, bathroom and large laundry room. On the entry level, you walked in and you could see directly into the eat-in kitchen. At the top of the landing from the basement, to the right, was a double sliding door made of a beautiful Mahogany leading to the dining room and living room. The entire west and south side of the room had library shelves built in and a gorgeous fireplace. There was a small bathroom on this floor. Upstairs was a large master bedroom and bathroom. The bathroom and walk-in closet had once been another bedroom but had been converted by the previous owner, making the entire upstairs one large master bedroom suite.

I was putting my books on the shelves when there was a knock on the door. I went down and answered it. It was Robert.

"Robert, come in! It's good to see you." He handed me a lovely vase of gladiolas. They were a beautiful mixture of red, pink and a purple. "Oh, thank you so much. That was very kind of you. Would you like a drink?"

"That would be great. I came over to see if you needed any heavy lifting?"

"How kind. I'm lining the shelves of the dining area right now. Let me give you the cook's tour."

I showed him around and took a much desired break. I gave him a coke. "I don't drink beer or wine, I'm one of those hard-liquor women. Give me a foo-foo drink, a margarita, a chi-chi, or a Mojito."

"You're an expensive date."

"Not really, I'm usually tipsy after one drink." We chuckled and he sipped his coke.

We talked for hours, ordered a pizza and got a little unpacking done. I begged him to tell me some House stories. He had me entranced. I couldn't figure out how House managed to come up with his theories. He was so brilliant. I was worried that I was going to have to find a way to pull a rabbit out of a hat or an excuse out of my ass.

"He sounds formidable. What does he look like?"

"A lot of women fall for him. He's 48 and shows his age. His blue eyes are his hallmark. His hair is going gray and he wears a three day beard. He's tall, average build and dresses like a homeless person, except for the designer trainers. He had an infarction in his right leg about six years ago, they almost amputated. Instead they took out the dead muscle, didn't leave him with much and he's in constant pain. He eats Vicodin like they're jelly beans."

"That's a shame. I saw a lot of muscle injuries in Africa and a lot of them committed suicide because of the neuralgia. You said trainers?"

"Running shoes. Sneakers."

"Oh. He sounds odd. But then, most people say I'm weird when they get to know me."

"Really? You seem fairly sane to me."

"That's because you just did a three year stint with Attila the Hun." We both laughed. I liked Robert, he was easy going and it was clear that he had a lot of respect for House.

"You like him though, don't you?"

"I respect him, I admire his skills and there are days that I like him. Most of the time he's too preoccupied with his own hedonistic desires to like him for long."

"I'd like to meet him."

"Nah, I don't think so. Once he finds out that you're going to be his rival, he's going to come gunning for you. He's extremely competitive and he loves a challenge."

"What if I don't compete?"

"Believe me, he'll put you in a position where you'll have to get in the game."

"We'll see."

I spent all of December getting the department going. Robert brought me all of the articles that House's team had written while he was with him. We went over them and he gave me more of the ins and outs of what they did to reach the conclusions that they did. I have to say I was in awe of what House could do. I was pretty sure I would have come to the same diagnosis, but probably not as soon as House did. Robert assured me that after awhile you start to think intuitively, like him. I wasn't sure.

The Princeton General Christmas Party was being held at the home of the CEO of Princeton General, Duke Callahan. It was cocktail dress and just for doctors. It would be my first staff party and I was petrified. I still hadn't lost the seven pounds I had put on. In fact, I had added three just to make it an even ten that I had put on in six months. I put my weight on around my middle and so my zippers were giving me trouble. I had to go out and buy something to wear, something I admit, I'm not good at.

My personal life is my Achilles Heel. I tend to be strong, dynamic and effective at work, but when it comes to being a woman, I'm crap. I listen and I take to heart every criticism ever made about my looks. My first boyfriend in med school told me that no one would take me seriously as a blonde. I believed him. So I dyed my hair a light brown and bought glasses to give me that studious appearance. I can drive without glasses but they do help at night, so it wasn't as if they were a complete waste.

I have a ton of makeup but didn't know the first thing about how to apply it. I'd go into a department store, sit in the chair and let the girl spend an hour applying makeup. Looking great, I'd spend the 100 and buy whatever sheput on me. I'd get home, not be able to copy what she did, and end up throwing the makeup in a drawer with all my other purchases. At work I might wear mascara, if I remembered it. When I go out, it's eyeliner and mascara. I've never been able to remember lipstick until my lips are so chapped I have to use something with medication in it.

Toby complained that I didn't have a sexy bone in my body. I once tried to wear garters and hose and ran the right one so badly that I didn't even try to put on the left. He was always embarrassed when we went out.

"Your dresses are either "Pollyanna all grown up and still virginal" or "Old Crazy Lady on the Town." he frowned.

"Why do you stay with me?"

"Because I love that mind of yours. It's forever thinking, analyzing, putting two plus two together. You're brilliant and it's an aphrodisiac."

He also said that I needed some work in the bedroom. "It would be nice if you could do a little more than just moan or give me head."

But sex was boring. At least sex with Toby was. He tended to be one sided. I came maybe a dozen times in the two years we were together and that was only because he was drunk and feeling generous. But, I felt lucky to have Toby as my boyfriend. He was the head Neurosurgeon at UCLA and very handsome. We met when we were both on a panel dealing with infectious diseases of the brain. Two weeks later we were living together. Two years later it was over.

"Robert, where can I go shopping for a dress to wear to the Christmas party?"

Robert looked at me in shock, "You've been here almost two months and you haven't found the shopping center?"

"I'm here or at home. That's my life. Please take pity on me."

"The mall is just a mile from here going east on Nassau."

"Are you taking anyone to the party?"

"Why, are you asking me out?"

I almost choked, "Oh God! No! I was just curious."

"Gee thanks, you make it sound like a death sentence to go with me."

"I just don't think it's a good idea for department heads to date their staff."

"Tell Greg House."

"He dates his staff?"

"The woman I was interested in, one of my fellow Fellows, finally got him to date her. They've been seeing each other off and on for a few months. I heard it was falling apart though. She thinks she can change a leopard's spots. She doesn't realize that you lie down with spots you get up with spots."

I shook my head. Greg House was someone I was going to avoid at all cost.

I bought my new 200 dress and went alone. The house was one of those large phoney Colonial monstrosities all lit up with Christmas Decorations. I immediately thought of the Oswalds. I knocked on the door and the woman who answered was gorgeous. She was red haired with hazel eyes. Her figure was petite everywhere but up top. She had two D sized knockers that were spilling out of her dress.

"The catering staff is expected to go around to the side." She said, almost slamming the door in my face.

I put my hand out to keep the door from slamming shut, "I'm Dr. O'Sullivan. I'm here for the party."

She opened the door again. "Thee Dr. O'Sullivan? The CDC O'Sullivan?"

"That would be me."

"Oh, I am so sorry. It's just that you look like you're wearing similar attire as the..." She stopped, realizing the next words would be insulting. "Please come in, I've heard a lot about you! I'm Danielle Washington, Dr. Callahan's niece. He keeps talking about you, how brilliant you are." She was talking quickly in a higher pitched voice.

Robert showed up with a beautiful brunette, a nurse named Caitlin. He looked at me and gave me a strange up and down. "Riley? Is that your new dress?"

"You don't like it do you?"

"You know I think highly of you, but that dress is something my grandmother would wear. What's going on? Were you going for a look?" He said it with genuine curiosity. I must have looked devastated because he immediately put his arm around my shoulders, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry. You look fine. You're a lovely person and that shines through. Really."

I nodded, my throat was shut down tight, my eyes were a little watery, but I looked away before anything could happen or anyone could see. I gave a little, ha, ha and patted him on the back as I walked to the food table.

Danielle came over to me. "You look like your dog died. Here girlfriend, let me hook you up with a drink. What's your poison?"


"Mojito it is." She left and returned with a Mojito. "Look, how about you and I go out tomorrow and get to know each other?"

"Uh...yeah. That would be nice."

"Ditch the granny garb, just wear some jeans and a cute T-shirt, okay?"

I looked down at the dress, my shoulders fell and I nodded. I found several more Mojitos and luckily for me, Robert and his nurse were kind enough to make sure I found my front door. That's about all I found. I woke up half way up the stairs to my bedroom.

I spent most of the day sleeping and then around 4:00pm I got a phone call, it was Danielle. I wasn't sure if my body could handle another night out, but I really needed a friend and Danielle was my first life-line. I dragged my sorry ss into the shower and pulled out my fat jeans. I put on a t-shirt that said, "You're just jealous because the voices speak to me." I only put a little bit of mascara on and sprayed some Aqua G and waited. At 8:00pm Danielle hit the doorbell and we were off.

We ended up in a bar with a pool table. I'm not a pool player but Danielle is. She took on a few guys and we had a good laugh at them trying to catch up to her. I had a really fun night. I got a little too drunk again and had to be escorted up the stairs by Danielle and one of the guys. They put me to bed and then went out and drank my booze.

I picked up the phone as I looked at the clock, the digital face told me it was noon. "Hello?"

"Hey girl, you need to slow down on your drinking. Three drinks you're wasted." Danielle said.

"I know. Was I obnoxious?"

"No," she started laughing, "you're a really fun drunk, but you just get falling down drunk too fast. What are you trying to forget?"

"What aren't I trying to forget? I'm sorry if I ruined your night."

"Oh, you didn't ruin anything. It was just a shame that you passed out so soon. Next time, hang around. There's a New Year's Eve party at the Triumph. A lot of doctors go there. You up for it?"

"What's the attire?"

Danielle shook her head, "Oh hell, you're going shopping with me. I'm not letting you out alone after the Christmas party. We're going shopping for some clothes. You need someone to babysit you during the process."

I spent Christmas by myself watching a DVD and eating Kentucky Fried Chicken. Pulling out my violin, I tuned it,then rummaged through my sheet music. I found Silent Night and White Christmas, played them a few times and then put it away. I had some eggnog and turned the television back on. Christmas dragged on forever.

"The gold one is sexier." Danielle said.

"Yeah, but it's expensive. I'll go with the red one, okay?"

"Sure, but the gold one is sexier. The red one doesn't do anything for your figure."

"But it's not 445! Come on Danielle, at least the red one doesn't look like a grandma's dress, right?"

"That's true, but you could do so much better. And get rid of the glasses."

When Danielle came to pick me up for the party she gasped, "What the hell are those?

"Black pumps."

"Don't you have any fuck me shoes?"


"Strappy things that show off your feet."

"It's 34 degrees outside. My feet will freeze."

"Let me see your shoes."

Like a sulking child who was just scolded by the principal, I took her up to my closet. She looked through my shoes and sighed. "Here, wear these. At least these are open toed pumps. Christ, I thought girls from California knew how to get jiggy with it."

"I'm from Washington, we get jiggy with bears and elk."

"Let's go."

We arrived at the Triumph around 9:00 pm. Danielle had spent an hour doing my hair and makeup. I actually thought I looked decent. She arranged my hair up on my head and I had on makeup with eyeliner, eyeshadow and a deep brownish-red lipstick. But I kept my glasses on as a safety net.

Danielle introduced me to some of the doctors she knew. I had a Margarita and made my way back to the table. The music was really loud. Danielle was talking to a table of mostly men, "Riley, that's Mick, Jim, Greg, Randy and Michelle. They all work at other hospitals in the area. This is Riley."

"Who?" yelled Michelle. She was having a hard time hearing over the music and the chatter.

"Where's the waitress?" Danielle was bored with introductions, she wanted more liquor.

I kept looking at Jim, he was really good looking, about 5'11", brown hair, brown eyes, almost a pretty face and a kind smile. His friend didn't smile, he scowled at the music, the noise, the decorations, the people. He was really good at scowling too.

I had come to the conclusion that I needed to be more adventurous in my sex life, start enjoying myself. As part of my New Year's resolution, I decided that I would try to get Jim to take me home to celebrate the New Year's. I was on my second Mojito in less than an hour and was having trouble getting over to his side of the table. Randy and Mick kept trying to talk to me. They were both nice, but not my type. Randy was good looking, but too good looking and he knew it. Mick was kind of pudgy and milk toast. I can handle pudgy, I can't handle milk toast.

"You need to slow down, one more and you're going to be comatose." Danielle said, referring to my drink.

"You're right, okay."

The second drink went down so quickly that I didn't realize it had been removed and another put in its place. I drank the third one down after I returned from dancing with Randy. Several other women joined the table and I ended up dancing with Mick. I was fairly shocked by the fact that Mick was a good dancer although he wouldn't look at me. We spent quite awhile on the dance floor and when the clock struck twelve I found myself being kissed on the dance floor by several men. It was kind of fun. I went back to the table half an hour later to find most of the people had cleared out. It was just Jimmy, Danielle and Jimmy's friend. I started on the fourth drink and the rest is history.

Chapter 3

Chivalry is Dead

She came out of the bathroom, standing sheepishly at the end of the bed looking at him. He was still laying flat on his back, following her with those two ice cubes he called eyes. "I better get home. Uh, do you think you could give me a ride back to my place?" Riley asked.

Her host grabbed his wallet and pulled out a twenty. "Call a cab on me."

She looked at the twenty and then at him. She couldn't believe anyone could be that callous, "Keep the twenty." Putting it on his night stand, he turned to leave. House didn't bother to get up. She laughed to herself, shook her head and went out to the living room. Riley looked around and found her purse and coat hung over the back of a chair. She noticed that in the corner was a baby grand piano and wondered if he was good at playing it. The door slammed behindher and Riley found herself out in a blustery winter morning. It was cold, very cold, and worse, she had no clue where she was.

The street was unfamiliar. It was early on New Year's Day and the streets were deserted. There wasn't even someone she could ask for directions. She started "the walk of shame" up the street in her evening clothes and black 2 inch toeless pumps. Her toes and face were freezing. She heard a voice, stopped and turned to see the Friend standing on the stoop in his robe and boxers shivering.

"Hey! Hey uh..." he put his hand up to his head to try and remember her name but it wasn't coming, "Hey, come back and I'll give you a ride. Come on, you'll freeze, come on." He waved for her to come back.

She wasn't going to go back, but God it was cold and she didn't want to be wandering aimlessly. As soon as he saw her coming back he stepped inside his apartment and rubbed his hands over the warmth of the radiator. Riley went through the partially opened front door and stood in the living room while she heard drawers open and close in his bedroom. She heard water running in the bathroom sink and then he appeared in some street clothes. He wasn't happy.

"Christ, couldn't you have slept in another hour?" He shook his head and grabbed his keys. They went out and he opened the door to an older boat-like car.

"I thought you were a doctor?" She said looking at what appeared to be a crappy excuse for a car.

"I am. What? Don't you recognize a classic car?"

"Sorry, no, I recognize a hoopty. I live at 433 Whitehall by the University."

They said nothing on the way home. When Riley got out, he didn't offer to call or tell her that he had a good time. He just pulled up and dumped her on the sidewalk like a newspaper, yesterday's newspaper. He was done with her. As soon as the door closed, the wheels pealed out and he was on his way home.

"Christ, I know how to pick them." she said to no one.

That afternoon Wilson knocked on House's door carrying a brown bag full of chips, dips and beer. House opened the door and then went back to the couch. Wilson got some bowls from the kitchen and put the chips and dip in them,; then he popped a can of beer and sat down on the couch to watch the football game with House.

"Well? Did you give her friend a lift home?"

"Yeah, home to my place."

Wilson was a little shocked, "You got laid?"


"What is that suppose to mean?"

"We get here, she's drunk but lucid. I get her in bed and we're having some fun with post-its. She named her breasts Thelma and Louise, so we put post-its on them so I could tell them apart. She even put one on her forehead so I'd remember her name in the morning...it was all funny. Actually, the post-it with her name worked out really well in the morning. You should try it. Anyway, I go down on her..."

Wilson held up a hand, "Whoa...too much info. Skip the cunninglus and move along. Continue."

"Well, I get done and it's my turn and I'm half way through and she falls asleep, passes out. I finished but obviously, it was the worst sex I've had in my life."

"You finished?"

"Hell, once I discovered she was asleep it was too late, Oscar was in over drive."

"I take it Oscar is your penis?"


Wilson shrugged, "At least Danielle stayed awake. She was actually good in bed. She's 30, that's not too young is it? Her uncle is the CEO of Princeton General."

"You're lucky, I've had better sex in the shower, by myself."

"You win some, you lose some and then some are a draw." Wilson sat down.

"You know the Japanese believe that whatever you do on the first day of the New Year dictates what you'll do for the rest of the year. They spend the last day of the year preparing food, cleaning house and making sure things are in order so that they can sit around and do nothing on New Year's Day. I had lousy sex. I just keep thinking I'll have lousy sex for the rest of the year."

"Wilson chuckled, "Hell, that beats no sex."

"Oh, you're so funny."

They sat for the rest of the day watching television and eating junk food. House said goodbye to his friend and then went over to his piano and played a couple of songs before he started reading his medical journals. He looked through the new ones and didn't see any articles he wanted to read. He wondered what happened to R. B. O'Sullivan? He hadn't seen any articles by him in several months. He usually wrote several each quarter. House was ready to go back to work, he was getting bored just watching television and playing piano.

The following day was bright, crisp and cold. House rolled into work around 9:40 am and found Foreman and Cameron going through the stacks of resumes. The budget to hire a new Fellow was scheduled to be approved at the end of March, so the interview process would take place after that. They would send out invitations to interview and give the applicants plenty of time to make arrangements to fly back to Princeton. He'd let Cameron and Foreman sort through the resumes and narrow down the choices and then he'd pick the ones he wanted to interview.

He looked at Cameron through the glass, she looked as if she was recovering from their break-up. Her eyes weren't red and swollen anymore. The last time they had been together on a date she had screamed at him, telling him to grow up and lamenting the day that she had convinced herself that she was in love with him.

House had refused to go home with Cameron to her parents home at Thanksgiving. When she returned she pouted and it drove him nuts. He had loved the sex. but he found that she annoyed him. He called her an emotional vampire. She wanted to suck the life out of him; be together 24/7 and he just couldn't handle that. At least with Stacey she went to work at a law firm and he didn't see her all day. Stacy also had friends that she'd run off and do things with. Cameron had House and work and nothing else-no friends, no life outside of work. Even worse, when they were working together, she expected him to back her and treat her like his girlfriend rather than his former employee. That just wasn't House. Cameron had finally been hurt once too often and told him a week before Christmas that it was over. House had been relieved.

House knew he had made a huge mistake by dating Cameron. The worst part was that he had lost Chase because of his side trip into the land of Cameron. It turned out that of the three, Chase had the best record of diagnosing patients. Who would have known that under that head of hair was the guy most like House when it came to medicine? I should have made Chase a resident or asked for Cameron to be transferred when we started to date. What a mess.

He had heard that Chase was setting up a Diagnostics department at Princeton General and that they were bringing in some hot-shot to head it. House couldn't conceive of anyone who could do what he did, except maybe Chase, but only after several more years of working with House.

The following day was bright, crisp and cold. House rolled into work around 9:40 am and found Foreman and Cameron going through the stacks of resumes. The budget to hire a new Fellow was scheduled to be approved at the end of March, so the interview process would take place after that. They would send out invitations to interview and give the applicants plenty of time to make arrangements to fly back to Princeton. He'd let Cameron and Foreman sort through the resumes and narrow down the choices and then he'd pick the ones he wanted to interview.

He looked at Cameron through the glass, she looked as if she was recovering from their break-up. Her eyes weren't read and swollen anymore. The last time they had been together on a date she had screamed at him, telling him to grow up and lamenting the day that she had convinced herself that she was in love with him.

House had refused to go home with Cameron to her parents home at Thanksgiving. When she returned she pouted and it drove him nuts. He had loved the sex. but he found that she annoyed him. He called her an emotional vampire. She wanted to suck the life out of him; be together 24/7 and he just couldn't handle that. At least with Stacey she went to work at a law firm and he didn't see her all day. She also had friends that she'd run off and do things with. Cameron had House and work and nothing else-no friends, no life outside of work. Even worse, when they were working together, she expected him to back her and treat her like his girlfriend rather than his employee. That just wasn't House. Cameron had finally been hurt once too often and told him a week before Christmas that it was over. House had been relieved.

House knew he had made a huge mistake by dating Cameron. The worst part was that he had lost Chase because of his side trip into the land of Cameron. It turned out that of the three, Chase had the best record of diagnosing patients. Who would have known that under that head of hair was the guy most like House when it came to medicine? I should have made Chase a resident or asked for Cameron to be transferred when we started to date. What a mess.

He had heard that Chase was setting up a Diagnostics department at Princeton General and that they were bringing in some hot-shot to head it. House couldn't conceive of anyone who could do what he did, except maybe Chase, but only after several more years of working with House.

Robert Chase was happily working on diagnosing a new patient. It was the beloved wife of a high roller, Sam Farmington. Both Chase and Riley knew this would be the first test of the new department. He and Riley had reviewed the file of the patient and examined her. Chase laughed when Riley was the first to examine the patient and to take a history. House wouldn't have stepped in the same room with the patient unless absolutely necessary.

Chase and Riley went back to their "war room" as they referred to it. It was a small, windowless room next to their office lined with bookcases and a large white board attached to the wall. There was a table, four chairs and a computer on a small computer stand. Chase started to write on their white board, something he insisted they do with each patient.

"Okay, we have a 45-year-old woman who presented to her local hospital with a 2-year history of migratory joint pain involving the left knee, ankles, elbows, and fingers. She also had morning stiffness, increasing fatigue, nonpruritic rash after sun exposure, and a 3-month history of chest pain that was relieved when she was in an upright position. No fevers, dry eyes or mouth, oral ulcers, or eye irritation or pain. The chest pain suggested pericarditis. They diagnosed her with lupus two years ago and prescribed anti-malarials for the lupus.

It seemed to have worked; there were no visits in the last two years. Now we have a 4-month history of fever, abdominal pain, bloating, nonbloody diarrhea, and a decreased appetite leading to a 14 pound weight loss. She continued to receive the anti-malarial, hydroxychloroquine."

Riley had to admit that the white board did help her focus on the symptoms, "The broad differential diagnosis includes rheumatoid arthritis and seronegative polyarthritis. Seronegative polyarthritis would account for an absence of rheumatoid factor. But the doctors diagnosed her pretty quickly with lupus, why?"

"Apparent pericarditis, arthralgia, rash, fatigue but no ANA." Chase answered.

"It's rare but lupus can present without a positive ANA. Sometimes it takes years for it to show up. " Riley continued to examine the chart.

"Her blood pressure was 150/84. Heart rate was 100 and regular. There was no malar rash, mucous membrane ulceration, or cervical, supraclavicular, axillary, or inguinal adenopathy. Cardiovascular and chest examinations were normal. Both wrists and the left knee were tender; the left knee had a palpable swelling." Chase said. "Her heart and chest were normal, and the liver wasn't swollen."

"Let's get a test for rheumatoid factor and antinuclear antibodies and radiographs of the affected joints to look for destructive changes, let's make sure the underlying disease is lupus." Riley went with Chase to conduct the tests. Chase found this amusing, House would never run routine tests himself unless everyone around him had refused.

The tests for rheumatoid factor and antinuclear antibodies were negative and this had both Chase and Riley stumped. "Why would they diagnose lupus so quickly? There's something else going on here. Let's do a full blood and urine analysis, including the entire lupus panel and we'll get a fresh start in the morning." Riley suggested.

"Works for me."

In the morning their patient had a new symptom, night sweats. The lupus panel tests for anticardiolipin antibodies, lupus anticoagulant, and cryoglobulin were negative. An echocardiogram revealed normal left ventricular function and a small pericardial effusion.

"She doesn't have lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. But for the last few years her symptoms have been responding to the anti-malarials, why?" Chase asked. He was talking more to himself than to Riley.

"The anti-malarial she is on, Hydroxychloroquine, isn't highly immunosuppressive and shouldn't give her a predisposition to unusual infections. Chronic infection with HIV can first present as a rheumatic syndrome. Hydroxychloroquine has a well-documented direct effect against HIV type 1 and might improve rheumatic symptoms related to this infection. Let's test for HIV!" Riley announced rather pleased with herself. Robet nodded with approval.

They did, but the tests came back negative. Riley was beginning to think she was in over her head. Chase didn't appear to be fazed. "Robert, how can you be so calm? We're batting zero here!"

"You're new to this game, batting zero isn't unusual. House bats zero several times before hitting the home run. Don't worry, we'll figure it out. We just have to keep going at it from different angles."

Riley was somewhat relieved to know that this happened to the great Gregory House. "Well what if the current symptoms are unrelated to her initial presentation? Other possibilities, given her recent symptoms, are lymphoma, infections like tuberculosis, and inflammatory bowel disease -which may be manifested as arthritis before gastrointestinal symptoms develop."

"Let's test for them and keep brainstorming. We need to have a back-up plan." Chase suggested.

They ordered the tests and then went back to the white board, assuming that the patient didn't have the other diseases. They went home, tired of a day of research and tests.

The next morning Chase threw the inconclusive test results at Riley, "She's becoming more anemic every day. Inflammatory bowel disease could explain the chronic diarrhea and anemia. Let's get a CT of her abdomen to look for adenopathy."

"Endoscopic evaluation of her bowel and iron studies are also warranted. Get a bone marrow sample and check for iron stores."

The tests took up most of the day. Riley could see that Chase was starting to become frustrated and that made her nervous. He thinks we should have had a result by now. Crap, I'm no good at this...what was I thinking? I'm no House.

"The CT scan of the abdomen only showed multiple subcentimeter lymph nodes around the root of the mesentery and cecum, but there was no evidence of colitis or terminal ileitis. The liver, spleen, pancreas, and adrenal glands appeared normal. A colonoscopy, with biopsy, was normal. Endoscopic examination of the stomach and duodenum showed no abnormalities. Biopsies were negative for celiac disease. An upper gastrointestinal series with small-bowel follow-through was normal. Examination of a bone marrow–biopsy specimen revealed normal iron stores and cellularity. Nothing to write home about. We're still in the dark."

"Okay, let's take a step back." Riley went up to the white board and started underlining the important symptoms, "Recurrent fevers, night sweats, abdominal pain, nonbloody diarrhea, and weight loss in the presence of mesenteric and axillary adenopathy,without liver or spleen enlargement, are consistent with a diagnosis of lymphoma, sarcoidosis, or infection such as tuberculosis or fungal infection. We've ruled out lymphoma, tuberculosis and sarcoidosis. It just leaves an infectious disease. We're looking for an infectious disease. Christ, I should have seen that earlier."

Chase nodded, "We'll need tissue samples to look for one, the axillary node would be most accessible. I'll go get a sample."

Chase came back completely overwhelmed, "The sample showed a nonspecific lymphadenitis without evidence of lymphoma. Stains for fungus and acid-fast bacilli were negative."

"Crap. But that doesn't mean it isn't there. It's an infectious disease, I know it."

The next morning they had a visit from a distraught David. "Look, she's been here for four days and you guys haven't come up with anything. I'm beginning to think this department was a mistake."

"Mistake? You must be joking. No one could be doing a better job than we are, believe me. We've discovered that she was misdiagnosed at Princeton Plainsboro two years ago and we've eliminated several of the heavy-hitters. We've narrowed it down to an infectious disease, but her symptoms fit several of them. We just need a little more time. Now why don't you go back upstairs, assure your deep wallet that his wife is getting the best care, and let us do our job." Riley put her hands on her hips.

David blinked. He wasn't used to being addressed so forcefully by a doctor. He turned around and left without saying a word. Chase laughed and patted her on the back.

"I didn't know you were so fierce." He looked at the chart, "I stopped by the patient's room this morning, we have a new symptom, she's having trouble breathing. I put her on supplemental oxygen to bring her OSATs up to 97 percent. The family says she's not herself, she's a little forgetful and angry."

Riley's eyes grew wide and excited, "Few infections persist for 5 years without declaring themselves. There's only one chronic infection I can think of which manifests as polyarthritis, weight loss, night sweats, and abdominal pain. It's Whipple's disease. The personality change and memory loss are also compatible with Whipples. We need a complete neurologic examination and further cardiac investigations are needed."

Chase nodded, "I'll ask Dr. Jamison in neurology and Danks in cardiology for a consult."

Around two in the afternoon Chase came back and collapsed in the chair across from Riley's desk. "Mental impairment but nothing else neurologically. But an echocardiogram identified left ventricular dysfunction with severe mitral regurgitation and moderate tricuspid regurgitation; there was no pericardial effusion. I put her on diuretics and restricted her fluids for now."

Riley was grinning and doing a little dance at her desk. Chase gave her a funny look. She chuckled, "The slowly progressing malabsorption syndrome with central nervous system, joint, and cardiac involvement strongly suggests Whipple's disease. We've got to go back and do another esophagogastroduodenoscopy and small-bowel biopsy. But this time we look specifically for Whipple's disease."

Chase and Riley went into the patient's room together and told the family. Riley could tell they were frustrated and angry. "This is not an easy diagnosis to put together. Don't forget that you've had ten doctors over a period of five years dealing with this and they never got as close as we are right now. At least give us a few more days. We think another small-bowel biopsy will give us the information we need."

Sam Farmington's shoulders collapsed, "I guess you're right. We've been in and out of doctors for five years and at least you two have been doing tests. The others would do one test and then diagnose something, send her home and she'd get worst. Okay, where do I sign?"

Examination of the small-bowel–biopsy specimens revealed normal villi with diffuse infiltration by PAS-positive, foamy macrophages. When it came up on the screen, Chase and Riley couldn't resist a high five. Stains of biopsy specimens for acid-fast bacilli and fungi were negative. The cerebrospinal fluid PCR assay for T. whipplei was positive.

Riley went into the patient's room and smiled at the distraught husband, "Your wife has Whipples disease. We've put her on high-dose intravenous ceftriaxone which we'll follow by trimethoprim–sulfamethoxazole. She should be just fine after a month."

Within a month, Mrs. Farmington was remarkably healthier. On her follow up visit, her husband came with her. He put a hand on both Chase and Riley's shoulders, "We wanted to thank you personally for the hard work you put in. We're really sorry that we ever doubted you. Your department saved her life. I'm going to endow your department with a fellowship and a grant of 3.0 million dollars."

Riley's mouth dropped and Chase grinned. Riley couldn't say anything, her head was spinning. Chase shook Farmington's hand and said, "Thank you. We can't tell you how much this means to the hospital and staff."

Farmington also owned one of the local networks so the donation and story made the front page of the local newspapers and was on the local newscasts. House walked in to Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital (PPTH) and was immediately accosted by Lisa Cuddy, Dean of Medicine and James Wilson, the Friend.

"Did you see this?" Cuddy slammed a copy of the newspaper into House's chest.

House said nothing but took the newspaper. The article read:

The Samuel Farmington Foundation announced today the award of a 3.0 million dollar grant to Princeton General, specifically designated for their new Diagnostics Department, headed by Dr. R.B. O'Sullivan. O'Sullivan and Dr. Robert Chase were able to diagnose and successfully treat Terry Farmington after several doctors at both Princeton Plainsboro and Trenton-Mercy had misdiagnosed her. The grant also comes with a fully funded Fellowship.

"Terry would be dead if it weren't for the tenacity of these two doctors. We owe them everything. We're proud to make this donation, especially to benefit the work done by these two gifted physicians."

House looked at Cuddy who was shaking with anger. "I've been wining and dining Farmington and his wife for months, hoping to get a donation for the Neurology Department. What is this new department and who is R.B. O'Sullivan? And how did we lose Chase to Princeton General, I thought he was going to go back to Australia?"

House rolled his very blue eyes. He put his face in Cuddy's and with a nasty tone said, "I was never contacted regarding Farmington's wife and I told you that Chase had ended up at Princeton General but you weren't listening." He stood up and took a more serious tone, "And as far as R.B. O'Sullivan is concerned, I didn't know he was coming to Princeton. He was at Cedars Sinai the last time I read one of his articles."

"Article? He writes articles?"

This was a bone of contention between Cuddy and House. Cuddy wanted House to be more active in promoting the Diagnostics Department at PPTH by lecturing or writing articles, but he either refused or made sure the articles or lectures were so boring that they didn't get published or attended. House had an incredible reputation for being brilliant at diagnosing patients, but he was not known for his bedside manner. If there was someone in town who was half as good as House and willing to promote their department, it could be trouble for PPTH.

"That 3.0 million should have been ours House. You're going to have to start getting serious about promoting your department. There's a new game in town."

House looked from Cuddy to Wilson and back to the article in the newspaper. He pushed the article back into Cuddy's arms and walked away. His mind was racing. R.B. O'Sullivan and Chase could be a formidable team. Cuddy's going to want articles, lectures, interviews...damn. Maybe I could get Chase to come back. Offer him residency. Crap, just what I need, competition. The department just made it out of the red last year. Damn.

Wilson caught up to House, "What are you going to do?"

"Nothing for now. I do my job, I do it well. It's up to her to promote the department."

"House, it's part of your contract to help promote the hospital and your department. Cuddy's just expecting you to do what you were contracted to do."

House entered his office only to find Cameron and Foreman huddled around the television. "What are you idiots doing around the television? Don't you have clinic?"

"They're going to interview Chase after the commercial."

House stopped, put his things down and then watched.

"We're back with Dr. Robert Chase, a member of the new Diagnostics Department at Princeton General. Dr. Chase, what is diagnostics?"

"It's a relatively new specialty. We're the last resort for doctors. When doctors can't figure out what's wrong with their patients, they send them to us and we solve the puzzle. Usually a patient can be diagnosed and treated by their family doctor or by a specialist. But when all else fails, they send them to us."

"We understand that you diagnosed and successfully treated Mrs. Farmington after both Trenton General and Princeton Plainsboro spent 22,000 and five years trying to figure it out."

"Dr. O'Sullivan, one of the world's leading Infectious Disease Specialists and head of our department, was extremely instrumental in the diagnosis. Working together we were able to eliminate several diseases within the first forty-eight hours which narrowed it down to just a few. From there it was just a matter of elimination. We're very pleased with the outcome."

"Well, Dr. Chase, it sounds like Princeton General has a lot to be proud of and we're glad to have this department in our town. Well there you have it, Dr. Chase of Princeton General, a Sherlock Holmes of medicine. Back to you Gary."

House slammed the button turning the television off. He gave a little snort. Princeton General had managed to advertise itself as the only game in town and once Cuddy saw that interview, his goose was cooked. It looked as if he was going to have to do a few dog and pony shows to drum up business.

It took Cuddy five minutes to get to his office. "Chase was just on television."

"It's the hair. Everyone wants the hair."

"Not funny House. You've been invited to speak at the Infectious Disease Medical Conference put on by UCLA in Santa Monica. They want you to give a presentation on Diagnostics. You're going and you're going to do more than a three minute speech, do you understand? They're paying for the flight and hotel and I'm going to give you 100 a day for food and expenses. You get cash, no credit. Once you're out of cash, you're on your own money." She turned on her heels and was gone.

The corners of House's mouth turned down and he clenched and unclenched his fist. He nodded affirmatively. The conference was at the end of March, he had just received the invitation to speak. They needed his response so they could print the applications and brochures.

Cuddy called and confirmed with UCLA that House and Wilson would both speak at the conference. She couldn't make the conference herself and so she was sending Wilson to insure that House behaved.

House called Cameron into his office, "What's going on with Chase? Does he like it over there?"

"How would I know, I don't talk to him or see him. Wilson has lunch with him on occasion. Foreman had lunch with him the other day. Ask them."

"I just thought you might go running back to him."

"No, you pretty much sealed that door for me." She turned and walked out.

House was angry with himself. His dalliance with Cameron not only ended badly, but it fractured the old team. Chase had left when House and Cameron started dating. Cameron was barely talking to House. Now he faced another demon, R.B.O'Sullivan. His leg started throbbing. He took two Vicodin and leaned back in his chair to try and forget the pain.