"Its all so confusing, this brutal abusing
They blacken your eyes, and then apologize
You're daddy's good girl, and don't tell mommy a thing
Be a good little boy, and you'll get a new toy
Tell grandma you fell off the swing," Pat Benatar.
"You're mean," House spat when he opened the door, and yet allowed me into his apartment all the same. "You know what happened to me, and made me see them anyway—and worse, you left me alone with him."
"You weren't alone; your mom was there too. In a crowded cafeteria, people around—I'm sorry, won't happen again."
"Damn straight! You owe me now. Net time you're gonna be the one to make up my excuse." He walked away from me, no hugging, no fighting, barely even looking at me. It was just like being with Julie, with better TV reception, and that's what we did for two hours, watched that old Hitchcock movie about the guy with the broken leg spying on his neighbors.
"You talked to Cameron," I said, confused. He doesn't want people to know what happened to him, but then he does this. I have to practically beat it out of him, and he spills his guts to Miss. Sweetie pie, princess.
"Barely two sentences, most of which was—well not a lie, just not—not what I told you. Even you don't know everything."
"She wanted me to tell her what you wouldn't." At least this got House to look at me, just not in a good way. "We're even, I made up some B.S. about—I'm not even sure what I told her. Something about you hating them seeing you all depressed and hopeless."
"And she believed it?" His voice didn't crack after this question, but he was clearly concerned. I nodded, which got me one of his, whatever looks. "This movie is stupid. I've screamed a bazillion times. Nobody's ever thought I was dead, or that I killed somebody."
"It's a movie. People are happy in films, great marriages; hot people have mind blowing se every night. Families get along well with each other. Okay, sorry, touchy subject. Let's stick to a safe topic like—returning the bike." Greg leaned back against the sofa cushion, staring up at the ceiling. "You gonna at least wear a helmet and lay off the pills when you ride?" I asked, touching his hair.
"How many times do I have to tell you? I don't want to die. May not be happy. May not act healthy. May not be comfortable, and I defiantly don't have any relationships with anybody but you, but I am not suicidal."
"You could have a relationship with your mother, if you want, phone calls, letters, Hell you two could probably email each other."
"And she'd tell him, and he'd wanna torture me, game over." He didn't move or look at me now, and I knew why. He was ashamed of feeling sad, of feeling anything at all.
"He still tortures you?" I asked, wanting to reach out and stroking his face again, but knowing that I never could—not right then at least—it would have freaked him out too much. "Guess I should have gone to dinner."
"Should have seen the look on his face when my mom gave me a hug. Doesn't touch me anymore, dunno if that's good or…if he just thinks I'll club him to death," House said, a blank expression on his face. "Maybe I should do it. Then she would visit me, in prison, hug me, talk to me, possibly even bake a cake with a file in it."
"He's her husband. Don't they love each other?" Stupid question, now he's gonna switch subjects and we won't get back on track for years, I thought. "My marriage not withstanding, most couples are happy together."
"There's a reason I call him Captain Evil, even if I don't say it in front of people. I wasn't the only one to get pummeled. Cold still be doing it. I know what you're thinking, Jimmy. The answer is that I have no clue. Maybe she's like Cameron too, nice, not…plus the scared out of her mind of conflict thing. My mom just wants to make everyone happy."
"So in your mind, you'd be rescuing her? It's defiantly noble, sort of."
"Since when is killing a person in cold blood noble?"
"You'd probably get away with it. A good lawyer would make the judge, jurors, and the whole country believe that you were in fear for your own safety."
"But I'd know the truth," he said, quietly, pushing away from me a little.
"And you couldn't live with that?" I asked. House nodded, pushing himself further down so that he was now hanging upside-down over the edge of the sofa. "Doesn't that make your head hurt?" This time he didn't answer. "Then tell your mom what your dad did to you when you were a kid. Tell her everything."
"And break up their marriage, and make my mother feel like crap because she let him go on for all those years, taking me on camping trips, coming into my room at night, sticking his…it would kill her."
"If she loves you, it won't. She's a good mother, a wonderful woman, and you're her baby. She'd be strong, because you're her only child and you need her."
"That's gotta be the stupidest thing I have ever heard," House moaned, bolting up and staring at me coldly, popping a pill and taking it with a glass of water, mainly because he knows how much I hate when he chews them. "From what you've told me…he probably would have ended up with custody if she tried to leave, might have even killed her."
"That's why I never said a word. It's too late to do anything now. I'm all grown up. Don't need protecting anymore. Stop pushing. I'm fine. She's happy, and I'm—as good as I'm gonna get…I don't need someone to keep him from hurting me, 'cuz he's not hurting me anymore."
"But you do need to be loved," I said stupidly. It was the only thing I could think of. "Look if I thought I could be enough to make you happy then I'd drop it, but you need your mother, and she's in town right now! She's only going to be here a few more hours."
"Can't I wait until they come back? She wants to go. She's excited. This trip will make her feel good. She'll be happy, which is especially good since I'm gonna break my mother's heart." House scooted closer to me, running a hand through his hair, nervously. I knew I'd get him to listen to me soon. "Can you do that thing, you know, with the—with your arms and stuff?" I hugged him tightly to my chest, arms around his waist, kissing the top of his head. "I hate you," he whispered, at someone and while I couldn't tell whether or not he was saying the words to his father, I didn't push the poor guy. I'd done enough of that for one day. Hell, sometimes I felt like I'd done enough pushing for a lifetime. After about two hours, I couldn't stop myself.
"Call your mother. Tell her—I don't know what I should tell you to tell her. The truth would probably be best, but…"
"So I call her up in the middle of the night, the day before she's supposed to leave on the trip of a lifetime and say, 'hi Mommy, I just wanted to tell you that forty years ago Daddy did a bad, bad thing to me, and I know this is a horrible time and all, but—he molested me, and I really, really needed to tell you about it, ruin your life.' Even if this weren't—I can't do this to her." There were tiny wet spots on his cheeks and it was one of maybe half a dozen times I'd ever seen him cry.
"So this is how you're gonna do things? You avoid one of the few people who cares about you at all, just so you can avoid dealing with someone who ahs no right to be in your life anyway?" I asked, coldly. It came out more mean spirited than I'd intended but it needed to be said. I wanted him to see that there was another way to deal with his pain—several of them in fact. Most people live their lives knowing that they can't always be happy.
Life is a balancing act, and for every good moment (a day a week, month, year, etc) there's going to be just as bad. They know they can't change this, and even though it's sometimes gets crazy most of them try and focus on the other stuff, the good things. Unfortunately, in House's mind, only the second category existed. Happiness is an illusion fostered by stupid people who try to make themselves forget that at any moment, a giant atom bomb could get dropped on your head. "And you're what, going to pretend like everything was prefect for—however long you two have left together?"
"Don't be stupid. I have a plan. I'm gonna tell her. My dad's almost 70. He drinks, smokes, and thinks he can handle any sort of a problem by yelling at it enough. Prime candidate for a heart attack or something. Hopefully he'll be conscious and too stubborn to let his doctor give him anything to make the pain go away—if he makes it to the ER…after the funeral she and I can spend more time together, talk more openly—and when I think she can handle hearing it. I'll tell her everything. I dunno what happens next; don't think it really matters much."
"Well, I can see you've put a lot of thought into this plan," I said, quietly. I think we both knew what I was going to say next. His eyes were hue and round, begging me not to do it, but as much as it broke my heart (and his) to do say what I said next, I thought Greg needed to make the call. He head to do it, and in order to get there, House needed to see that this really was his only option. "But what do you do if she dies first?"
"That won't happy. She's nice, healthy, in good shape. It wouldn't be—but she can't. I hate you," he shouted, but once again the anger wasn't really directed towards me. I was just closer and less likely to beat him up. "What if she doesn't believe what I say?"
"Tell the truth. You're mom's a human polygraph, right?" I already knew the answer, and—anticipating his need, picked up the receiver, and handing it to him. Greg nodded, staring at the device as though it were alien technology. "Then she won't have any choice." He nodded, taking the phone, turning it on, starting to dial, and hanging up abruptly.
"What if I tell her, but that only makes things worse? You don't think it'd make ether get mad at me do you? Because I don't think I can handle that right now."
"I'm so sure that's impossible that I'm promising you right now, if your mother gets mad, or for some reason doesn't believe you, I'll write you a prescription for fentanyl patches, go out and get it right now, tonight, and get you so wasted you'll forget that that any of this ever happened. Then, I swear I won't ever make you talk about your personal problems again." House picked up the phone again.
"Hi mom?" he said, quietly, moving closer to me, pulling my arm around his body. "You're still up? Is everything okay? You guys had a fight? Is it—was it because of—I uh—I'm sorry….You don't gotta—no it's not an emergency. I just wanted to talk to you…So you're, you don't have to cancel your trip…No, I'm not—Mom, something happened to me, no not tonight. It was…yea…when I was little…How did you know?...That too, but uh—actually, Dad's not standing right there, is he?...what—why would you get your own room?...how much did he tell you? He um, he did a lot more than that…the camping trips, and…Goddamn it, you knew, didn't you?...sorry, I didn't mean to tell you like that…I don't know why I never said anything…I don't, honestly…Yeah, I'll be okay for tomorrow…You're not gonna go on the…but you always wanted to—I'll be okay. Wilson's here. You should go…or not….okay, okay….Mom, I—I dunno…I think I should tell you…No, it didn't…I just, I'm sorry…No, should be sorry. You were happy. You were going to Europe. I don't wanna be responsible for…But it wasn't I didn't mean to…Alright, whatever….No, I'm not being…Mom, I'm alright. I'm listening….I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be rude…yeah. Okay, tomorrow would be nice…of course I mean it. How could I not? Okay…No, I would. I like you. I love you….yes….it was him. I hated that I couldn't even call you without having to hear his voice…He was scary…yeah, I am still scared, a little, but I think we can do this…would it be okay if Wilson comes too?...No, it's just that he and I…he's my best friend. I like spending…that would be good. Me too…of course I mean that….I'll see you tomorrow, then…And mom….Thanks, that—it means a lot to hear you—to know that you—thanks…bye…I love you, Mom…I—thanks."
"So?" I asked when House hung up the phone. He didn't actually say anything, just moved in closer to me, closed his eyes and yawned. "I was right, wasn't I? She believed you, and things are gonna get better?"
"I dunno about that," he said, "but yeah, she believed me. Mom wanted to come over here, right now. She thought I was—really bad off, or something. I told her you were taking care of me, so she. We're having breakfast tomorrow; you, her, and me, and then we'll see where things go after that. Maybe, you aren't a complete idiot. Maybe things might start to suck less, and…I'm not gonna be like Cameron, you know."
"Good, I wouldn't want you to be," I said, as naturally as I could. The two of us stayed up all night, watching crap on TV, curled up together on the sofa, even though I was exhausted. House was still a little scared that this was all a dream, and as such he was afraid that if he went to sleep it would all be over.
The next morning, we got up, showered together, got dressed, and got ready to go meet Blythe at the café in her hotel. "It's going to be okay," I promised as we were heading inside. Greg looked away, squeezing my hand like a scared child. "Everything is gonna be okay, but if you're not ready, we can wait a while before going in. You can talk to me or—we can go home and call her again, or just forget about this. But whatever you want, just tell me, and I'll help you; I'll do it."
"I wanna go inside," he explained, quietly, and then took a deep breath. "Okay, I'm—I'm not ready, but…don't think that's going to change. I figure I better just do this, and get it over with. If stuff goes really bad, we should have a codeword or something so you can take me back to the apartment."
"Just say, iced tea, and we'll leave," I promised, hugging him again. Greg nodded, and then the two of us walked inside, hand in hand, heading for the restaurant.