House: Bentley by DD Agent
Thank you to everyone who reviewed chapter two last week, you made a bad day at work fantastic. I hope you enjoy chapter three as much as you have the previous chapters. The flashbacks in this chapter are set between 3.02 and 3.03, leaning towards the latter somewhat on the time scale.
Every time I type 'Foreman' into my word doc, the helpful grammar checker asks if I meant 'Supervisor'.
R and R at your pleasure, DD xx
Gwen awoke to the sound of the standard hustle and bustle of the hospital. However, she wasn't her normal lucid self, instead she felt extremely groggy. Groaning, she sat up and felt her head spin. A pair of warm hands pressed her down to the bed, fixing her gently in place so she could rest her head. Opening her eyes, Gwen recognised her helper.
"Don't look at me like that Jimmy."
The hands were removed instantly, as if her skin could burn him. Instead it was just her words, the harsh tone they carried, and the memory of their last conversation. Looking over, Gwen saw that Wilson had moved over to the window, and that his hands were clenching the windowsill brutally. There was an empty feeling in her stomach: it had been pumped.
He hadn't said a word to her since she had arrived, unless the generic comment earlier counted. A voice in her head told her 'why should he?' and Gwen knew that it was true. Their last meeting had been vicious, painful and riding on emotion that she knew should have been directed in some other means.
Like telling him that she was in love with him.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Gwen had the sinking feeling that his words were not about her feelings. That was when she noticed her water bottle on the table next to her. A sense of dread started to spread from her stomach to the rest of her body.
"I had that bottle tested, and thankfully the nurses saw fit to clear your stomach before the results came back. There was over 7500 mg of Vicodin in there. House may be able to carry that much off, but only because he has got a tolerance to it. You? I don't understand Gwen, why do you have about 10 pills of Vicodin diluted in your drinking water?"
It could be a symptom of the amount of acetaminophen she had taken, but Gwen knew that her dry mouth was because she was going to have to own up to something that she didn't want to.
House had gotten out of bed to treat Gwen, and had stayed out of it. Cuddy had reluctantly let him go, but had followed him up to his office. The issue with Gwen and her Vicodin spiked water was worrying her, and the results back from the ducklings had proven so. House usually had 4000 mg a day; maybe just over if the pain was particularly bad. But never near the level that Gwen had ingested through her water.
Foreman, Chase and Cameron were intrigued too, so they had brought chairs into House's office so he could continue the story that he had started earlier with Cuddy. All of them turned to him to begin, and House realised he had no choice but to tell it.
"Well, after we came to our deal, Gwen started sleeping on my couch. She didn't mind, she just needed a place to stay."
House had been lagging behind most of the run, but the last rush to his place had given him some adrenalin he had used to his advantage. Speeding up, he raced ahead of Gwen until just as he reached the doorstep, he stumbled, and an immense shooting pain went up his leg. She raced over to him as he keeled over, and rubbed his back gently.
"I'm not a baby."
"Funny, I would have said you were six when you raced past me just now. Keep it steady, that was what we agreed. If you want to keep using your leg without your cane you're going to have to take it slow," Gwen reprimanded, sitting next to him on the stoop. She took out her bottle of water and took a long gulp. House raised one eyebrow and tried to snatch it, but Gwen passed him his own.
"We share a bathroom, but not a water bottle?"
"Get inside and have a shower, we have to be at work soon."
House looked strangely as Gwen jogged inside. She was very protective over her bottle, and she seemed to carry it everywhere with her. Going in himself, House took off his trainers and rubbed his leg. Sometimes he could walk all day without having to even hold himself up. Other days he had to sit most of the time and ignore the aching in his limb. Gwen's help was working, but not enough.
The water bottle was on the bookcase near the bathroom. Gwen was the perfect female housemate: she was pretty, had a good sense of humour, liked sport, and took a maximum of twenty minutes in the bathroom. Knowing he only had a few minutes before she would emerge in a towel, House took the bottle and chugged a bit. There was a familiar tang to the water, the bitter flavour that came with Vicodin. The mystery of Gwen Bentley just got better.
"I still don't understand, why does Doctor Bentley need to drink water with Vicodin mixed in it?" Cameron asked, and Chase nodded in agreement. Foreman was still in shock that House would ask for help with his leg, help from a perfect stranger to boot.
"I think I know why."
Everyone turned to Cuddy; who, through House's monologue had started staring out of one of the large glass windows that made up his office.
"When Doctor Bentley was fifteen, she was involved in an accident. She had been climbing a tree with one of her brothers when she fell and scraped against some of the branches. She tore several ligaments in her shoulder, brutally tore the skin. Gwen lost motor function in the arm; she was in hospital for months, physio for about three years. I removed it from her file at her request; she didn't want people to know about her accident. I knew she was taking pain relief for it, but I didn't know in what form," Cuddy explained, and House nodded his acceptance of the story. When he had confronted Gwen when she came out of the shower, she told him the truth. She swore that she only stuck two pills in there and it lasted the entire day. Obviously her dose had increased since he last saw her.
"That morning when me and Gwen got into work, you gave me a new case. The doc was a little pissed about my detective skills, and asked me not to tell anyone about it. Which, I might add, I didn't until Cuddy mentioned it. But things were going to get a lot more complicated for her that day; the new case we were dealing with was her sisters."
Lisa Cuddy was walking along with a case file destined for House. He had just arrived in his office, and was currently flicking through Gwen's file when Cuddy came in. Things had been bitter between the two of them since she had lied about the patient that he had cured. Stuffing Gwen's file under the desk, next to his building block tower, he placed an innocent expression on his face.
"You haven't been to Clinic," was her greeting.
"I did. I just…didn't stay. I got bored," House retorted, rubbing his leg gently under his desk.
"I have a case for you," Cuddy announced, throwing him the file. House caught it easily, and started to flick through. It was reports and charts of a sixteen-year-old girl who had been diagnosed with cancer six months ago.
"Cancer? That's the big mystery? Give it to Wilson; he'll cure her with the power of positive thinking and chicken soup. Unless you're lying about this patient too, and she has some troublesome boo boo that you want me to put right," House smirked, placing the file on top of the rickety tower of building blocks.
"She has cancerous tumours all over her body. She's not responding to typical treatment and Dr. Wilson has no idea what's behind it. There is a history of cancer, but her mother and her brother had nothing like this," Cuddy replied, ignoring the reminder of her deception.
House wasn't intrigued. Cancer was Wilson's game; he liked mysteries with a bit more depth. While an incurable illness did sound out of the norm, it wasn't like he didn't get that everyday. It wasn't until he saw the name of the patient that his curiosity began to grow.
"Mary Bentley? Does she have family?"
"Yes. Two of her sisters work at the hospital. Caitlin Bentley is a gynaecologist and Gwen is the new head of physiotherapy. She doubles as an oncologist too because of Dr. Hamilton's departure."
"You mean his firing after he was caught sexually harassing patients in the clinic?"
"And since you drove the last head of physiotherapy out of this hospital, we are down two doctors. Gwen Bentley was a god send," Cuddy explained, but House wasn't interested in Cuddy's hiring skills. He was interested, however, in Gwen's family. Another piece to an even more curious puzzle, House thought.
He nodded and accepted the case as he grabbed the file. House went into the adjacent room, where Cameron and Chase were playing chess and Foreman was reading a medical journal.
"Ducklings, we have a new case." They sat up quickly, eager to hear about the new patient. "Biggles, get a new board out," House asked, before exclaiming 'Chase!' at the blank looks he received.
"Patient's name is Mary Bentley. She came in with all the typical symptoms of Cancer, and her family has a history. But, and here's the kicker, she isn't responding to any treatment whatsoever when everything says that she should be. There could be something serious at work here, so we need our full attention on this," House ordered, wishing he had his cane so he could hook the journal out of Foreman's hands with eloquence. All three doctors looked to him to give him directions, which he promptly gave.
"Do the basic treatments. Get a more detailed patient history. Cameron, get a copy of Teen magazine and begin to bond."
"And what are you going to do?" asked Cuddy from behind him.
"I'm going to see the sisters."
Wilson didn't know where to look. Gwen had just explained why she was required to take the Vicodin, and he didn't know whether to stare at her with the pity he felt or to continue to look out of the window. He had this amazing urge to help her, like he did with every woman he met. When he first met Gwen no feelings like that emerged. But it turned out she was broken, broken as every other woman he fell for.
"Please look at me Jimmy."
He couldn't. He just couldn't look at her. Wilson glanced over, trying to move past his feelings. Gwen, noting how he barely took notice of her, started unbuttoning her shirt. Wilson finally took notice of that and gave her a questioning look. Moving the material over her shoulders, she revealed the scar that had haunted her life since she was fifteen. It stretched from the top of her shoulder blade to her back, about three inches below where her arm met her torso. It was a congealed mess of scar tissue, and Gwen often thought it gave her skin a Frankenstein's Monster appearance.
Wilson noticed how shallow Gwen's breathing had become. She was scared of him seeing her this way, and he felt a rush of love and sympathy for Gwen at the same time. Moving over and leaning down, he placed two arms around her waist and drew her into her chest. She gave a small sigh as he comforted her and Gwen felt safe in his arms. Gently, Wilson placed a feather light kiss on her scar, drawing a breathy moan from her lips.
"Are we interrupting a personal moment? Shall I film this and stick it on the amateur adult channel?"
The mood was broken, and Wilson and Gwen moved apart at lightening speed. Her shirt was done up in a matter of seconds as House, with cane, Cuddy, and ducklings in tow, came into the room.
Mary Bentley was listening to an old Pink Floyd CD when Cameron came in. The teenager had dark brown hair that hang in a thick curtain in front of her face, but had bright blue eyes that sparkled like the sea. She beamed when the doctor came in and gestured for her to sit down.
"Hi. You must be Dr. Cameron. It's a pleasure to meet you," Mary replied, her British accent leaking out gently into her speech.
"Yeah I'm am. You must be Mary. I brought you a magazine," Cameron said, handing over a copy of Teen magazine. Politely, Mary smiled and thanked her. Secretly, she moved the magazine into the bin. She read Classic Rock, not Teen Magazine.
"Do your family visit often?" Cameron asked in a nonchalant tone, trying to sound casual.
"Well, I live in the hospital now, so I don't see my family as much as I did when I lived with my sister. My brother John is a solicitor and he lives back in England. My other brother David owns a bar here in New Jersey. My eldest sister Caitlin lives with her husband and their two children here too, and she's a gynaecologist. My sister Gwen is loads of things."
"And your parents?"
"Are none of your concern Dr. Cameron," came the voice of James Wilson by the door. Mary let out a larger smile at the sight of her doctor. He was shortly joined by Gwen at the door, her hair tied back in a ponytail. Giving an extremely pleasant smile to Wilson, she moved over and joined her sister by the bed. Cameron left Mary's side and went over to the head of Oncology by the door.
"House is taking over Mary's case."
"Mary has Cancer, she is my patient. I won't let House get anywhere near her, no matter what Cuddy says."
Cameron sighed and nodded, and moved out of the hospital room. Wilson walked into the room and checked Mary's chart. The teenager gave him a wide smile, which he returned. However, it wasn't soon before his eyes were moving to the lean physiotherapist by the bed, whose hair was trailing over Mary's pillow.
"Hey Doctor Wilson, you okay?"
"Hey yourself Mary. I'm fine, you okay?" Wilson asked, and the teenager nodded. Suddenly, the clattering outside the door of the room drew all three people's attention. The door swung open, but not by a hand. A cane forced the door open, and both doctors gave an inward sigh as House barrelled through into the room.
"I'm sorry, am I interrupting family time? I wanted to see my new patient." Gwen realised that at that moment there was a whole different side to Gregory House, a side that she didn't and hadn't seen before. The 'complete ass' side.
"Doctor Bentley, we need to talk about your Vicodin overdose," Cuddy got straight to the point, ignoring the obvious private moment between the two Oncologists. However, instead of the desperate and tearful look that Cuddy expected from failed suicides that she expected from Gwen, all she got was a very confused doctor.
"There was 7500 mg of Vicodin in your water bottle. Even for this hospital who deals with Doctor House on a daily basis, that is an extreme dose."
"This morning when I made my drink, I only put two pills in there. I never go above that. I lived with House for gods' sake; I know the effects that Vicodin can have on the human body."
Now everyone was sporting confused looks. The ducklings and House and Cuddy were wondering how Gwen's drink had ended up so highly concentrated in acetaminophen.Wilson was still on the whole 'Gwen lived with House thing', as he hadn't been as caught up on the situation as the others had.
"Why would anyone want to spike your drink?" House asked, and Cuddy nodded at the statement. Gwen Bentley, apart from her lack of taste in roommates, was smart and kind. She was friendly and when she was here had never ticked anyone off that Cuddy was aware of. She looked to House for a moment, but his eyes were turned towards Gwen. Her face had paled, more than it had after her stomach had been pumped earlier.
"I can think of a few people. My father, for one."