Chapter 4

"Dr Wilson?" a voice from the hallway called. Wilson jumped, looking at the doorway before turning back to make sure that he hadn't frightened House. House didn't move. He had a T-shirt over his head, but the sleeves still hung loosely, his arms bare at his sides. Wilson stood from his position next to House on the bed.

'It must be Clarence,' Wilson said to himself.

"I'm sorry, I'm early. I was afraid to knock," Clarence said from right inside the short hall between the front door and living area. Clarence looked around, the medical equipment was a hint to the occupant's condition and he could see that his patient would be in bad shape. The amount of medical equipment made Clarence believe that he had just walked into a storage closet at PPTH rather than a residential home.

"I'm coming," Wilson said from the bedroom.

"I'll be right back with your new friend," Wilson whispered, stepping away from House. House only turned his head slightly, looking out the window to his right. It was an overcast day, ordinary.

Wilson had placed an ad in the hospital's service, looking for a skilled nurse. He had talked to Clarence on the phone, but hadn't been able to meet him. Stepping into the living room, he nearly jumped again. The voice that had called from the hall and the one that he had spoken to on the phone did not prepare him for the man that stood in front of him.

Clarence was easily seven feet tall, built, with muscles that said he didn't mess around. Wilson blinked and Clarence turned. Immediately, Wilson could tell that despite the man's size, he was very gentle. His back strong, but his skin soft.

"Dr. Wilson, I'm sorry for coming in. I was afraid to scare him by knocking and the door was open…"

"That's all right," Wilson said with a smile, wondering silently how the door had become unlocked. "You're early," Wilson said looking at his watch. It was 9:15 and the nurse wasn't scheduled to arrive until 10.

"I know, I know. I just thought I could help with the morning routine… I'm sorry if it caused…"

"Oh, no, no," Wilson said quickly, happy to have a second pair of hands. "Actually, I was just getting him dressed," Wilson said and gestured for Clarence to follow him. Clarence walked behind Wilson, looking around the apartment. Paintings hung on the wall, a mixture of rock and roll and scenic photos of mountains and streams. The walls had not been painted in some time and he could see small dimples of age around the corners.

The first thing that he noticed, as they stepped into the bedroom, was the six foot tall man sitting motionless on the bed. His back was bend and his posture leaning towards the right. His hair was wet and pieces of graying hair fell into his face. Scars covered his biceps and forearms, where the shirt was not yet covering him. His expression was blank, his stare a thousand yards away, but his eyes were blue. That was the first thing Clarence saw when he approached the man. His eyes were a crystal blue, clouded with an expression of fear and shame.

"House, this is Clarence. He's going to be looking after you," Wilson said as he pushed and pulled House's arms until they were in the sleeves of his T-shirt. House didn't respond and Wilson sat down on the bed leaning into House's ear, "Like a body guard," he whispered. House blinked once, twice and then turned and looked at Wilson. Wilson smiled as he and House made eye contact. It was the moment that Wilson had been hopeful for, for weeks now. House rocked for a moment and then stood slow. Wilson, still sitting on the bed, watched as House stood to his full height. Wilson was stunned, unable to move. House stood for moment, trying to balance on his feet, looked down at his toes that were peaking out from under his pants. Finally, he turned his head to the side and poked Clarence in the abdomen before clumsily wandering off.

"What… what does that mean?" Clarence asked, looking as bewildered as Wilson felt. Wilson had to wipe a tear from his eye and smile from his lips. The latter was impossible of course.

"I think…" Wilson said grinning, "I think that means he likes you."

Wilson laughed out loud and walked over to where House had been trying to escape into the living room. "It's a good sign," Wilson said to Clarence as he guided House back to the bed. "Socks first," Wilson said as he and House sat back down. "I think you have the job," Wilson said and Clarence smiled. "Oddest acceptance I've ever gotten, but I'll take it," Clarence said as Wilson held out the socks to House's new nurse.