Author's Note: --ducks and covers—I'm sorry! I've been working like mad and then I had my friend Nina here from BC and haven't barely even touched the computer. Will try and update more often, I promise. This story isn't dead though. It's just… kinda slow in the making… Again, really, really sorry. Thanks to Alicia for BETA.
Disclaimer: If you see them on television, they're not mine :)
"What if I don't want to go to therapy?" Cuddy demanded, following House into the kitchen. It was Monday morning and, as decided on Saturday, she was supposed to be seeing Jenny to talk that afternoon.
"Doesn't matter if you want to or not. You've gotta talk to her Cuddy, otherwise you won't be the only one in shit with the blonde psycho fiend," House replied, glancing back at her as she trailed him back out into the living room, stealing his coffee the second he put it down on the table. "What the hell woman?! We're not married! My coffee is exactly that, mine!"
"My house, my coffee beans - therefore, by default, I can have any coffee I want," Cuddy grinned, sipping away at it. House just glared at her before he rubbed his eyes.
"Well unless you want me to crash your car on our way to Hightstown, I suggest you give me back the caffeine," House retorted, lunging for the mug and successfully wrestling it from Cuddy's grasp without spilling it on the carpet.
"Who said you're driving?" the female shot back, pouting as she crossed her arms over her chest. House sighed, giving her a pained look.
"Lise… we don't know how… you haven't really… if you freak out when we're outside I don't want you getting yourself or the both of us killed," he finally said. Cuddy blushed, looking down at the carpet.
"Oh… right… sorry," she whispered, going into the kitchen. House groaned.
"I didn't mean-" he started.
"No, it's fine. You're right. We don't know how I'm going to act out there. I don't think I'm going to have another attack but… but I'm not sure," she responded, leaning against the counter as she poured herself her own mug of coffee.
"You're going to be okay, you know that, right?" House asked her, putting both cups of coffee down on the counter and turning her face upwards so that he could look into her eyes.
"When, House… when?" she replied.
"Soon." She looked at him for a moment before letting out a sigh and heading back upstairs, her coffee in hand. House frowned, wondering what she was doing, but decided to let it go for a few moments. Cuddy, on the other hand, was standing in the bathroom, pulling out all the makeup she owned while frowning at the dark bruises that still marred her face. She picked up a container of foundation, wincing as she spread it across the bruised area. She hated that she had to do this. Hated that she couldn't even bear the thought of going out into the world looking like she was the victim of abuse. She bit her lip, fighting off tears as her fingers traced the edges of the stitches that were in her cheek, the purple and green bruise barely being disguised behind the layer of makeup she was applying. She dropped the container onto the counter, gripping the edges of the sink while a few tears slipped from her eyes.
"Goddamnit," she whispered.
"Why do you feel the need to hide, Cuddy?" House asked, leaning against the doorframe. She jumped slightly, quickly swiping the tears from her eyes as she glared back at him.
"Do you honestly think I want people to see me like this? I look like one of those women we get in the ER who are victims of domestic violence," she retorted, going back to her makeup, wincing when she pressed too hard against her cheek. House shook his head.
"You should be proud to show those. It shows that you went through hell but you're still alive and fighting," he told her, grabbing the foundation from her hand and holding it above her head. "You're beautiful with or without this crap all over your face. Wear your bruises with pride, woman; just pretend they're like a pair of Prada shoes for your face." And with that he tossed the makeup in the bin, leaving the room. Cuddy watched him go, a small smile playing at her lips.
"You ready for this?" House questioned. Cuddy glanced over at him, taking a deep breath as she nodded. They were sitting in the parking lot of Centra State Medical Centre, House keeping a close eye on Cuddy as he tried to sense if she was going to have a panic attack.
"No, but I'm going to have to do it anyway," Cuddy answered, undoing her seatbelt and opening the door. House got out of the driver's seat, limping around to her side of the car. Cuddy closed her eyes, stepping out of the car and slamming the door shut. She opened her eyes again, looking at the hospital as if it were a demon. "I don't know if I can do this," she whispered, her hands starting to shake.
"Yes you can," House assured her, taking her hand in his and starting to walk towards the hospital. Cuddy pulled back slightly for a moment but gave up when she didn't feel House relenting. Instead she followed him into the building, clinging onto his arm when they had to get into the elevator with two other men and a woman. Cuddy could feel her entire body trembling; her palms sweating as she nervously glanced at the men. "It's okay Lise, they're not a threat to you," House assured her, pulling her closer into his body. He could feel her shaking against him but he knew that she had to do this – had to face her demons. Cuddy sighed in relief when they got off the elevator and walked into the empty hallway. She glanced around, noticing that Jenny's office was only two doors away. As she entered the outer office she exhaled, thanking her lucky stars that Jenny's secretary was a woman.
"Can you-" Cuddy started. House nodded, helping her sit down before going over to the desk.
"Yeah, hi, we're here to see Dr. Chapman," House told the younger girl. The female looked up, grinning at him.
"Hey Uncle Greg; my mum will be right with you," Milana answered. House smiled at her.
"She better be Lana, I'm bored here already," he replied. Milana rolled her eyes, pressing the intercom button.
"Mum, Uncle Greg and Dr. Cuddy are here," she said into the phone. The office door instantly burst open, Jenny standing there with a smile on her face
"Greg, Lisa, it's great to see you. How're you doing?" Jenny asked. House raised an eyebrow at her. "Right, well. Um, Lana, why don't you take a break for a couple minutes? Go get yourself something from the cafeteria," Jenny rambled, grabbing some money from her pocket and throwing it to her daughter. The younger blonde nodded, getting up and leaving the office. "Lisa, I know this is going to be a little bit scary, but I'd like to talk to you alone today. Greg can stay here in the outer office, but I want it to just be you and me in the office. Is that okay?" Cuddy frantically looked up at House. He had a small frown on his face but he wasn't jumping in to object. The endocrinologist sighed.
"I suppose that's okay," she muttered, standing up. Jenny grinned at her.
"Great. Greg, sit down, grab a magazine or something. When Lana gets back you can entertain yourself with harassing her if you wish." And with that the two women disappeared into the office, the door shutting behind them. House sat down in the chair, scrubbing his hands over his face. He couldn't help but feel helpless with that door between himself and Cuddy.
"So, Lisa, how are you feeling today?" Jenny asked once they were settled in the office. Cuddy fidgeted slightly, adjusting the hem of her shirt as she looked down at her knees.
"I… I'm coping as best I can," the dark haired woman finally said. Jenny nodded.
"Coping is good. It's going to take time to get back to who you were before. You may never be that exact same way again, but you are going to get better," Jenny replied. "Now, Lisa, do you want to tell me why you're so nervous about being in here and talking to me, or do you want me to guess?" The blonde woman's eyes were dancing slightly, making Cuddy laugh softly. She looked to content in her job, not intimidating at all really.
"I… I haven't really been without House since the whole thing happened… I guess… I guess I'm just nervous about not having him here with me…" Cuddy whispered. Jenny nodded, leaning casually back in her chair.
"Mm, he really has become your knight in shining armour lately, hasn't he? Are you frightened of being without him? Without having someone to protect you? I'm the last person you need to be afraid of Lisa; I'm almost certain you could easily take me in a fight," the blonde was saying. Cuddy shrugged, swallowing. "You don't like me talking about you being in a weakened state, do you?" Blue eyes met green for a moment before Cuddy looked back down at her hands. "Just because something horrible happened does not mean that you're a weak person, Lisa. Horrible things happen, people are victimized, but that doesn't mean you're weak because of it." Cuddy growled slightly, her calm and nervous demeanour shifting to one of anger almost instantly.
"Yes it does! I'm the goddamn dean of medicine! I was so scared of one of my oncologists that I could barely function! I can't go outside, I can't talk to anyone, I can't even be in a fucking elevator without thinking that the next man who comes near me is going to throw me down and fuck me like a whore!" Cuddy yelled, slamming her hands down on the desk and standing up. Jenny just watched her calmly. "I can't fucking believe that the only way I can function now is with House standing next to me every second of every day! I don't want to have to depend on him! I hate it!" Cuddy screamed before crumpling into the chair, hiding her face in her hands as she sobbed. Jenny sighed, closing her eyes slightly before pushing herself up and out of her chair, going to kneel next to the other woman.
"I want you to listen to me, okay Lisa?" the blonde asked. Cuddy sniffed loudly, rubbing her nose on the sleeve of her sweater before nodding. "Things are going to be hard. You're going to find yourself wanting to hide in the closet, or to run and cling onto Greg whenever something scares you, but you will get better. This is not going to happen overnight. You're going to have to take things one day at a time. Some days you'll be able to go to work, do your dean of medicine shindig, and go home without anything going wrong. Others, you're going to find yourself in your office huddled on the couch crying, but that is all part of the healing process. The first thing you needed to do was to admit that things are not okay, and you've done that. You've admitted that you're scared of being raped or attacked again, and you've admitted that Greg is the one you hide behind. From here, we can start to make things better," Jenny smiled. Cuddy looked at her through watery eyes.
"Well, first off, we need to talk about your options in a situation like this. The first thing you could do is to do nothing. You don't have to come to counselling, you don't have to take medication, you just go off and work on getting your life back on track without any outside help. But I have to warn you, I do not recommend this. Many people who I see in the ER who decide not to seek treatment end up back here for counselling or even psychiatric stays," Jenny explained. "Secondly, you could choose to have counselling. You can come see me, or another doctor at your own hospital, once a week, or as many times as you'd like, to discuss what is going on in your life, and to help you find a way to balance things and restore your lifestyle to what it was before the attack."
"That… that doesn't sound too horrible," Cuddy said. She still didn't exactly like the idea of being forced to talk to someone, but at the same time she knew that there was a strong possibility of her needing to at a later date if she didn't start right away.
"The last thing I need to talk to you about in this regard is whether or not you'd like to be put on medication. As I'm sure you know, there are a million anti-anxiety medications on the market today. There are tranquilizers if you're unable to sleep, anti-depressants if you feel unable to function, you know the drill," the psychiatrist explained. Cuddy nodded for a moment. "Did you want me to prescribe you something?"
"No," Cuddy answered quickly. "I don't want to go on medications unless it's absolutely necessary. I'd rather come speak with you once or twice a week. I don't think I would feel comfortable speaking to someone who works for me about nearly being raped in a club…"
"That's perfectly understandable. Now, I just want to talk to you about one more thing and then you're free to run as far away from me as you can get for another couple days," Jenny grinned, going back to her chair and sitting down, grabbing her notepad and a pen as she went. "Can you tell me why you were scared of James, Lisa?" Cuddy's eyes widened as she looked at the slightly older woman. She could feel her pulse quicken a bit, her hands clenching into fists as her palms began to sweat.
"I… I thought… I thought he was Josh," Cuddy let out in a rush.
"But he told you he wasn't. He even knew Greg. Josh didn't ever meet Greg," Jenny pressed.
"I know… I just… I wasn't able to think properly. It was like… like all men were suddenly turning into him. I felt like I couldn't trust anyone, because he might have been pretending to be them or something…"
"But you trust Greg."
"House is different he… he… he saved me," Cuddy whispered. Jenny nodded, scribbling notes down.
"You feel comfortable around him because he saved you. To you, he's the only safe man around now, isn't he?" Jenny watched as the other woman's face contorted slightly, a frown forming on her face.
"I wish that I could say no, but you're right… House, the most abrasive man I know is now the only person I feel comfortable being around… the only one I feel isn't a threat to me…"
"Mm, I see. Alright Lisa, that's all we need to talk about today. I'm going to give you a little bit of homework though, okay? It's nothing hard, and there's no writing involved, I promise," Jenny smiled. Cuddy looked at her apprehensively.
"First off, I'd like you to come see me again on Friday, alright? Now, before Friday, I want you to go on a walk around your neighbourhood. You can take Greg with you, but I want you to go outside and be around other people. Does that sound reasonable?" Jenny asked.
"I suppose so…" Cuddy answered, standing up.
"Awesome. Alright Lisa, that's all for today." The minute the words left Jenny's mouth Cuddy was at the door, pulling it open and rushing back into the outer office. House was on his feet in an instant, pulling the dark haired woman into a hug. After a moment, Milana stood up from her place at the desk.
"Sorry to bother you Dr. Cuddy, but can you please sign these?" the girl asked. Cuddy reluctantly let go of House, moving to the desk to sign the papers the girl was talking about.
"How'd she do?" House asked Jenny, noticing how his friend was watching Cuddy interact with Milana.
"She did well. Her homework this week is to go on a walk around the neighbourhood with you," Jenny explained, her attention not wavering.
"Go on a walk? Jen, are you losing your mind? I've got a bum leg," House protested quietly.
"I'm perfectly lucid thank you very much, if anyone is losing their mind it's you Greg. You don't even have a cane with you."
A/N: I'm annoying, I know. Leave me alone. Haha. And if any of you were wondering if counsellors give you homework, the answer is yes. The one I had to see would always give me stupid tasks to complete for the next session… they helped though, oddly enough.
Please review? Please?