Sessions 73: Christmas Bells
"I can't believe he's not answering his phone, " Cate said defeatedly as she clicked the end button on her blackberry.
House shrugged. "Maybe he's making a deposit at the ol' banco de colon." She looked at him confused not totally paying attention to him. "You know, taking a crap."
Cate rolled her eyes and sighed. She pushed the track ball to light up her phone screen again. It was almost eleven in the morning. "Maybe he's at church?"
"Or there…" House added optimistically. "It is Christmas. I think that's where they get the Chris in Christmas. You know from Christ, son of God, supposed maker of all things wholly and demander of going to church lest yee rot in hell for all eternity…"
"Ok. I get it, " she groused. The glimmer from her ring caught her eye again and she smiled, all frustration of not being able to contact her father slipping away on the breeze. She still couldn't believe it. Gregory House had asked her to marry him. She was flabbergasted, no better yet, astounded. He who hadn't been in a relationship in almost ten years; he who didn't trust anyone enough to let them get close; he who had been a self-proclaimed lone wolf destined to live the rest of his life in bitter solitude had asked her to marry him. Marriage was a bond of commitment that regular, ordinary people partook in, not him. It was conventional, trite. Normal. It was enough to shift the world off its axis because it most certainly had shifted hers.
"It is a diamond, it will last forever, " he teased dryly. It had to be the twentieth time he found her staring at the ring. Truth be told, those were only the times when he caught her, there had to be another fifty times he hadn't. "It is real, it isn't all a dream."
"I know. It's just so pretty." She reached across the small space that separated them and squeezed his hand. They were under a cabana sitting in two large wicker chairs overlooking the ocean on the boardwalk pier that extended past the resort shoreline. He was relaxing lazily with his bare feet up on the ottoman. He looked extremely comfortable in his untucked, white button down and baggy khaki pants, his hair ruffling lightly in the warm breeze. He was completely and utterly relaxed here. The lines of tension that were usually present in his face were gone. She had practically seen them melt away in the hours after they arrived. He needed this vacation so badly. He needed this place to rejuvenate and become whole again. He was decidedly at peace with himself, and that Cate knew was a long time coming.
Earlier that morning after breakfast and some serious lovemaking, they had agreed to meet Wilson and Cuddy out here on the pier so they could tell them their big news. The other couple had gone down to the main dining room for a late breakfast and said they'd be there shortly afterwards. Cate tucked her bare feet under the hem of her long white cotton skirt and picked up her phone to dial her father again. Her hair tickled against her bare shoulders exposed by the matching halter tank top she was wearing. She herself, felt comfortable and relaxed peaceful in the knowledge that she would forver be bound to this man whom she loved so dearly.
"Did you leave him a voice mail, " he asked. "He'll call you back."
"I know, " she said sheepishly. "This is the most important day of my life so far. I just want to tell him about it."
"He'll call you back, " he repeated gently reassuring her.
She rested her chin on her hand and looked out at the clear blue waves. "What do you think Wilson and Cuddy are going to say?"
"I don't know, " he said quietly staring out to sea. "Wilson will be pissed I didn't tell him first."
"I'm sure he'll get over it, " she said with a laugh. "Lisa will think it's great. We've talked a lot the past couple of days. All she ever wants for you is to see you happy."
"Yeah well, now she's going to have to stop trying to get me naked at all those hospital fundraisers she makes me go to, " he said. " My wife won't like it."
A little shiver went down deep into her belly. His wife. Still unbelievable…."No, your wife will be busy getting you naked."
He chuckled and looked at her with a smile. "Sounds weird but nice."
She beamed at him. "It does."
Bad boys, bad boys, whachya gonna do… whachya gonna do when they come for you…
Cate jumped excitedly. "He's calling…"
"Oh, goodie…" he mocked her and she stuck her tongue out at him.
"Hi, Dad, where have you been I've been calling all morning, " she said quickly not even giving him a chance to say hello.
She could hear him laughing on the other end. "Hi sweetheart. Merry Christmas."
"Merry Christmas to you too, " she said contritely. He always had a way of making her feel like a little girl.
"I assume you have some good news, " he surmised which wasn't even a real guess at all considering he knew the punch line already.
"Yes, Dad, oh yes, " she said excitedly. "I can't wait to get back to show you. It's so beautiful."
"I'm happy for you Catie girl, " he told her. "I only wish your mother could be here to see it."
Cate's eyes welled up with tears. She swallowed down the pain of losing her mother, knowing how happy she would be for her only daughter getting finally getting married. "Mom would have loved it."
House reached over and squeezed her fingers running his hand comfortingly along her forearm. She took in a shuddering breath to calm herself. God, she was so emotional today.
"Everyone sends their love, " he said joyfully. "They are so happy for you."
"Tell them, thank you and that I miss them, " she said. "We'll see them sometime soon, so Greg can meet everyone." House made a face and mouthed 'Can't wait.' Cate ignored him and continued. "I miss you so much Dad."
"I miss you too Catie girl, " he said replied. His voice was echoing in the phone and Cate made a frustrated sigh. They weren't in the best cell area.
"Dad you're breaking up, " she said.
"Yeah, " she said.
"Maybe I'm getting feedback, " he said his voice really starting to echo. "I wonder if it's because…"
"Dad," she paused and looked at House who had a weird look on his face. It didn't sound like regular cell disturbance. "Dad?"
Cate froze and then swiveled around in her chair. Her father was standing right behind her. On the pier here in Jamaica with is arms outstretched to her. Her heart squeezed. He was with Blythe and Wilson and Cuddy.
She brought her hand to her gaping mouth. "Oh my God!" Lunging out of the chair she rounded it and he caught her in a big bear hug. And she started to cry. Again.
Her father laughed a deep chuckle that reverberated in his barrel chest and ran his hand down the back of her hair soothingly. "Congratulations, sweetheart. I am here to see it." She pulled back from him wiping at her eyes, they were beginning to become tender from all of the tears she'd shed so far today. He took her hand in his to look at her ring. "It's beautiful, honey."
When she stepped away from her father, Blythe approached her with her arms outstretched. "Oh my dear, this is the happiest day of my life."
Cate felt the woman send forth all of her love and affection for her in her warm embrace. His mother whispered in her ear, "I knew you were the one to heal him." Cate smiled at her, holding back more tears. Deep in her heart it made her feel good that that was indeed the truth.
Her father shook House's hand and clapped him on the back. "Well done, son."
House nodded. His mother released Cate and took her son's face between her hands. "You have made me so very happy. I am so proud of you." He shuffled like a little boy under his mother's touch. Cate loved that he, the arrogant, prickly, sarcastic man, could be reduced to a shy little boy by his mother. It made him all the more endearing to her.
Cate looked at Cuddy who had bright tears in her eyes. She went over to her friend and hugged her. "You knew?"
"I only found out last night, " she told her. "I was in charge of keeping the parents occupied."
Wilson shook House's hand firmly. House grinned cheekily at his best friend. "You can hug me if you want, Jimmy. I know you want to."
Lisa laughed covering her face with her hand and Wilson bear hugged House clapping him heartily on the back. "Lucy, you have a lot of 'splainin to do."
"In good time, Ricky, " House said with a chuckle.
Wilson released House and gave Cate a hug. "He doesn't deserve you."
"Yes, he does, " Cate told him and he smiled, knowing it was true. He only said it to keep up appearances.
Just then a tall thin Jamaican woman in a white concierge suit approached them a man in a crisp linen shirt following her. "Is everyone ready?"
"Ready? For what, " Cate asked looking around to see if anyone else knew what the woman was talking about.
"We're all here, " House said to her.
Cate looked at him and then she looked at Cuddy. Only then did she realize that Cuddy was in a brightly printed flowing sundress holding a large bouquet of flowers. Cate turned back to House confused. He couldn't possibly mean…today?!
He nodded at her and her world tilted on its axis for the third time today. "Today?"
"Today, " he stated.
Cate grabbed for the back of the chair for support. Her father stepped close to her and braced her with his strong arm. "I need to sit down, " she said and he guided her back to the seat of the chair.
House kneeled down awkwardly in front of her and took her hands into his. He brought her knuckles to his lips and searched her with his piercing blue eyes. "I wasted so much time. I don't want to waste anymore. I want you to be my wife."
Cate touched her hand to the side of his face and her heart swelled with pure joy. She couldn't believe that she could love him anymore than she already did. He was everything that she could have ever dreamed of or ever hoped for. His love and tenderness was once something that he only showed to her and now he wanted to announce it to the world. She looked around at the people standing near them. Everyone that they cared deeply about was there. Except for the ducklings… "What about Thirteen and Foreman, Kutner, Taub?"
"It'll be more fun to mess with their heads when we get back, " he said eliciting a groan from Wilson.
Cate nodded with a smile. Who was she to deprive him of his prankish antics at work?
"Everyone we need is right here, " he said.
"I love you so much, " she told him.
He smiled at her and she could see the rest of her life in the depths of his crystal blue eyes.
Rising from the chair, she swiped at her eyes once again and pushed her hair back out of her face. "Alright. Let's do this."
House rose from the boardwalk and limped without his cane over to where the preacher stood by the railing overlooking the serene ocean. It was a picturesque as any wedding scene. Wilson took his place by House's side as his best friend and best man. The two friends looked at each other and shared a smiled between them knowing that this was about as momentous at it came.
Cuddy helped Cate fix her hair and dabbed at her eyes with a tissue that had miraculously appeared. Once she was satisfied that Cate was as beautiful as ever, she handed her the bouquet of white sweet peas and calla lilies. She hugged her briefly and then stood by her side as her maid of honor.
Mom and Dad linked arms leaning on each other for shared support each with a tear in their eye as they watched their grown, fiercely independent children get married. It was a joyous moment that made their hearts swell with undying pride. It had finally happened. Dr. Gregory House and Dr. Cate Milton were hitched.
House shaped his mouth into an O and blew puffs of smoke out over his head into the air. The rich heady aroma of the cigar swirled around him and mixed with the sweet smell Jamaican rum in his glass. Wilson and Don sat across the table from him equally as content with their cigars and their liquor.
"Cubans, you just can't get them as good as this, " Don said from behind a cloud of smoke.
"I've got a two cases in my suitcase, " Wilson said. "Cuddy's upset because her shoes won't fit. I told her I'd buy her a new pair."
House shook his head. He had three cases stashed in his suitcase himself. He would have preferred the good Jamaican pot, but he was done with drugs and getting high. For the most part…. A little Vicodin now and then was still a necessity. He looked over to the women. They were standing by the table that held their small wedding cake. Cuddy and Cate were laughing about something as his mother cut another piece. They looked radiant and voluptuous and so incredibly beautiful. Both of them.
He let out another puff of smoke. "We're in a lot of trouble, Jimmy boy."
Wilson drew his eyebrows together and looked at him. "Why?"
"Because in about seven months, you and I are going to have to buy a bigger house, " he said.
"What are you talking about, " Wilson stared at him. Don raised an eyebrow confused as well.
"Look at them, glowing skin, extra large hips, heaving swelling bosoms, " he listed. "Headaches, tiredness." He leveled his stare at Wilson. "They're pregnant."
Wilson laughed. "You can't possibly tell that from here."
"Do you know me, " House said offended. He of all people should revere his mad diagnostic skills. "I can smell it on a woman a mile away. Although it took me while to figure it out with Cate. Cuddy I knew a week before we left."
"They're both pregnant?" Don was flabbergasted.
"A week ago? And you didn't think to tell me, " Wilson said incredulously.
"I wasn't sure until I felt her ass, " he said puffing on his cigar.
"You felt her ass!" Wilson sat forward.
"Purely diagnostic, " he claimed with a grin. "Baby got bigger back." He wiggled his eyebrows at him and flashed him a lecherous grin.
"She's really pregnant, " Wilson repeated wistfully as he turned to look at Cuddy over his shoulder.
"Well I wouldn't totally believe me, you have to do a blood test, duh, " he said. "Did you get your med degree out of a Cracker Jack box?" Wilson completely ignored him and continued to stare dumbfound at the future mother of his child.
"I'm going to be a grandfather, " Don said getting choked up.
"Most likely, " House nodded.
"But you said Cate was on the pill, " Wilson said turning back to him.
House shrugged. "Stomach flu before Thanksgiving. She must have either thrown it up or forgot to take it."
"Wow, " Wilson muttered.
House nodded. "Wow is right."
"You are going to need a bigger house, " Don said with a chuckle.
House frowned and was resigned to the fact that yes, indeed, his life would have to change a little bit more in the coming months. He had a wife now. And possibly a baby on the way. But that was an entirely new story to be told…