"Do you really hate House that much?" Cuddy crossed her arms over her chest; her lips formed a thin line. The cuffs on her jacket stretched against her arms.
"I don't hate House," Lucas replied. "He's an ass. We both know it. But I don't hate him. That said I don't understand why you get so involved with him sometimes. He's a grown man, Lisa. He can look after himself."
"Oh, no he can't. Lucas, you know what he's like-"
"Yeah, I do."
"So why are you arguing with me?"
"This relationship – you, me – if it's going to go anywhere further, I need to know. Is there anything between you and House?" His back straightened and he seemed to exist only in that moment in order to hear her response.
Cuddy swallowed. "No! Of course not. We're friends and colleagues. We look out for each other. That's all."
Lucas gives her a look.
"I promise there's nothing going on," Cuddy stated. "Cross my heart."
"I hope you're right. I'd hate to lose you." Lucas reached for her and guided her with a hand on her waist to the couch beside him. When she was nearly in his lap, smiling softly, he kissed her.
"This is what I want," she whispered. The words sounded hollow even to her own ears.