Disclaimer: Written out of fan-appreciation I do neither own House m.d. nor any other characters that appear on that show, I just borrowed them to play around with, so don't sue, please? Oh, and I kind of snatched parts of the dialogue between House and Amber from the bus scene in Wilson's Heart...
UN-BETAFIED! Yap, it's all my fault.
"Did you sleep with him?" Since Chase had asked the question, it seemed to echo in her head constantly. Of course, she hadn't. After all she was smart enough to know that it would eventually end in tears. Hell, it would have been a disaster of apocalyptic dimensions. Yes, maybe that was her drama queen side talking there, but honestly, if you thought about it, what would have been the consequences? Well, first and foremost of all, she could have probably waved her job bye-bye, besides House would have constantly rubbed it in her face. He would have done something mature like telling everyone how she looked naked. No, wait a minute! Maybe he would have even taken photos to show them around like trophies afterwards.
So if she rationally knew that it wouldn't have been a good idea, why wasn't she able to let it go? Maybe it was because Chase wasn't able to either. Earlier she had refused to answer his question in front of the others. You simply didn't ask your girlfriend in front of a group of half-strangers, plus Foreman, whether she slept with her ex-boss and has given you a STD. You simply didn't! It had been completely uncalled for. Besides what would they be thinking of her now? That she was sleeping around the hospital? That she was a thirty year old adult lusting after House like some smitten teenage girl?
Why hadn't Chase stopped to think before he had opened his mouth? She had worked long and hard to get over House and to grow into an independent, more confident version of herself. She didn't need her boyfriend to question that of all people. House was Chase's Achilles Heel. The brief mention of his name usually got him sulking. Sometimes it even provoked an argument. Yet again he had been bowling with him last weekend. The ghost of House seemed to be forever hovering over their relationship.
The trouble was that her feelings for House were still there, which was admittedly pathetic, but she just couldn't help it. Whatever the reasons were, there was always that old residue of feelings in the background of every conversation she shared with House, each moment they spent together. It wasn't obtrusive. It wasn't like she spent every waking moment thinking 'Gosh, you're in love with that man!' The feeling was just there. It had faded, but it never went away entirely.
She had moved on. Moved on to a relationship that was real and not only taking place in her head and she had become a stronger better person thanks to it. Because even she had to admit to herself that it was not exactly a bright idea to keep hoping that eventually House would come around and notice that she loved him. Still, he was her weak spot.
Even though she was working in the ER now and there were actually a couple of floors separating them, she occasionally felt the urge to go and see him. These days she didn't even try to make excuses for it. When she felt like meeting up with him in the cafeteria or dropping by to talk with him over coffee, she did. What amazed her though, was the fact that he took it in stride without making any comments about her showing up unexpectedly. Astonishingly her camaraderie was easy, maybe three years of working together were to thank for that. She knew which topics to stay clear of and he refrained from pushing her buttons constantly. Or maybe she was imagining that because by now she had gotten used to the fact that every conversation with House was a test.
With those thoughts inside her head she sat inside the deserted cafeteria, stirring listlessly inside a cup of coffee that had long gone cold. She could see her reflection in the window and she kept staring at herself with a vacant expression on her face, just because there was nothing else to look at. The world outside the window was a homogenous mass of bluish black mass, thanks to the rain and the darkness. The glass pane was like a mirror or better yet, her own private gigantic review mirror.
Before she saw him approaching, she heard his trademark gait. Cane, screech of rubber soles on linoleum floor as he briskly rounded a corner, cane again, step, cane, step. As he drew back the chair, it emitted a long drawn squeaking noise as if it wanted to protest. He sat down opposite of her, stretching out his long legs, which forced her to withdraw her own legs and acknowledge his presence in some way or another. She decided on watching him with a quirked eyebrow as he wordlessly opened the crinkly wrapper of a chocolate bar.
"I can already see your mouth watering, Cameron. No chocolate for you. I wouldn't want to ruin your diet. Fat women are unattractive anyways." He took a huge bite of the chocolate bar, devouring have of it in the process. "See, I'm actually doing you a favour," he added talking around the food in his mouth.
"According to Chase, we slept together." She didn't know what possessed her to blurt it out like that, but her motives were her smallest worry at that time. The things that were first and foremost on her mind were House sitting there, staring at her, frozen mid-chew and the fact that she had never felt more embarrassed in her life.
Of course, House recovered quickly from the initial shock. He flashed her a broad chocolaty grin. "Sorry, that must have slipped my mind. A pity. Was it any good?"
"Well, you can ask your interns about that." She leaned forward, the cup of cold coffee enclosed in her hands. She was thankful it was there for her to hold on to. "I'm sure their already concocting the wildest theories about when, where and how."
"How about we add some fuel to the fire? Mess with their little heads for a while? You in?" he grinned evilly, clearly amused by the idea.
"I think I might have to pass," she answered, looking past him, instead of straight at him.
"Oh, don't be such a spoilsport, Cameron!" Out of the corners of her eyes she saw his expression fall. The mock enthusiasm disappeared and was replaced by ill-concealed curiosity. "Are you afraid Chase is going to sit down in a corner and cry his heart out?"
"No, I'd just rather you let it go without making a fuss about it."
"And why's that?" he enquired. "Besides I think I won't. Miss out on all the fun? Never."
"House, please!" This time she looked directly at him. She could see that her vehemence surprised him. There were several different emotions playing over his face – surprise, shock, realization. All in a matter of seconds, then his face was unreadable again.
His reaction made her uncomfortable. It had been a while since something significant or meaningful had happened between the two them. Their brief meetings hardly inspired anything other than small talk. But now they were scratching the surface again. The surface of something deeper, more dangerous.
"Promise me you won't make this into some kind of joke. Just let it go for once." Her voice was not pleading. Its tone was determined, sincere.
"Alright," he said slowly, regarding her with a pensive expression on his face.
She gave him a brief nod as she got up from her chair. For some reason she felt the need to get away from him, preferably now. Once again she was skidding dangerously close to the edge. Past and present were threatening to blur, old feelings were stirring. She had to get away from him, so she could return to that peaceful, collected state of mind were her crush on him was reduced to mere white noise in the background of her existence.
While she walked away, she felt his eyes on her back. She wondered what he was thinking now.
House was sitting inside the empty cafeteria. The crumbled up wrapper of a chocolate bar in his hand, he stared at the window pane opposite of him. Its reflection showed a lot of empty tables and a middle-aged doctor that was looking somewhat pensive. Cameron's words were echoing in his head. "According to Chase, we slept together." He leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms behind his head, wondering how it might feel.