Disclaimer: Don't own the characters or anything else to do with the show. Just having my wicked way with them.
Chapter 23 Don't You Remember
And there she was, leaning on the same wall several feet away in a slinky black dress and another man's tux jacket. Yet she wore bright red lipstick.
She smiled nervously, tugging the jacket tighter around her shoulders.
He had a thousand snarky comments, even a few cutting ones that would let her know exactly how he felt. Instead, he just stood there.
"How have you been," she asked, taking a few steps closer.
"Fine," he said. "No hookers and no smack. A ringing endorsement for the 12-Step Program."
His hands itched for the small bottle of pills in his pocket. He crossed his arms instead.
"How's California with TB Boy Wonder?" he asked.
Her eyes widened. Then she laughed softly to herself. "Your P.I. is good," she said. "And California is fine."
"And TB Boy?"
"As far as I know, he's fine. I don't make a habit of dating my bosses."
Something in him loosened and House's shoulders sagged. She stepped closer until he could smell her perfume. He noted the precision of her makeup, the goose bumps along her neck, but he avoided looking in her eyes.
"House," she amended, "How have you been?" she paused. "Really?"
How do you think? he wanted to say but he couldn't seem to get his mouth to form the words. How had he been? Obsessing about her, missing her, and now having her in front of him and unable to broach what needed to crossed.
"You look beautiful," he said, and hesitantly reached out and smoothed a strand behind her ear. She leaned into his palm but he pulled away and stuck his hand into his pocket.
"Thank you," she said.
She sighed suddenly and turned towards the courtyard, leaning her forearms on the stone edge. Lights twinkled around the city, shapes moved across windows as they blocked the light and Cameron watched them as House watched Cameron.
"Is this it?" she asked.
He scooted next to her until their sides were barely touching, and mimicked her posture.
"I don't know," he said. It was the closest to honesty that he could manage.
"Is it really that hard to tell me that you're sorry?"
Can't you tell?
He clasped his hands, suddenly fascinated with his palms. Her hand covered his.
"I'm sorry," she said. "For lying about Chase, for—"she sighed, "all of it. I'm sorry for all of it."
He paused, his chest tight and slowly, so slowly, he opened his hands and took hers between his.
"I'm not sorry," he said, not daring to look up as he spoke. "I'm not sorry for all of it."
Her hand clenched.
"My life is in…well all over the place now," she said quietly. "And your life is here."
The wind picked up a little and blew her hair back. She turned to him, her hip against the cold stone and with her freed hand, threaded her fingers through his long stubble and into his hair. Then, suddenly, she dropped her hand.
He nodded, looking away. "This is it, then." But whether he meant it as a statement or a question, not even House could confirm. Cameron nodded.
House stepped closer, moving Cameron to face him and leaned down. She put a hand on his chest and closed her eyes tight.
"Don't," she said. "You—"she broke off and picked at some stray lint on his lapel. He didn't release her, his hands tight around her waist. "Will never change," she continued. "And I can't stop myself from," she looked up, into his eyes, "wanting more from you."
For once, House made himself keep meeting her eyes.
"Ok," he said.
"Yeah, ok," he said again. And he kissed her before she could say anything else.
He knew she meant to shove him away. But the moment his tongue swiped over hers, she was lost, clutching his lapels and dragging him closer. This kiss wasn't about sex. This kiss was about need, about connection and House asserting the fact that it was never going to go away. It would always be this way between them, no matter where they were.
He pulled away suddenly, gasping faint clouds in the chilly air.
"That's the best I can do," he said, and he looked down slightly ashamed. "I can't promise," he paused, "any more than that."
She bit her lip still tasting whatever fizzy drink he was drinking besides the champagne. And she closed her eyes, flattening her hands on his chest.
She stepped back, out of his arms. "You have to meet me halfway."
She turned and power-walked to the rooftop door and left him standing there, his arms holding nothing but air.
Get out of here. Move. Now. She chanted the words over and over to herself as she handed Sebastian back his jacket, as she made her goodbyes to Cuddy and Wilson, as she power-walked out into the night, her heels slightly throwing off her balance. She broke out into the night, realizing she forgot her jacket but too scared to turn around.
She almost did it. She almost caved. Cameron mentally slapped herself for coming so close.
And she knew she should hail a cab before it was too late but she just stood there, breathing thick puffs into the air. She hugged herself when her phone buzzed in her clutch.
Turn around. –H
No, she thought. No more.
Her phone buzzed again. Turn around and look up. –H
She craned her head upward and something dark was floating down. His jacket. She caught it and put it around her shoulders, smiling to herself.
Her phone buzzed. Wait –H.
A cab rolled by and slowed down. She held up her hand but hesitated. She could wait and she could leave, go, and find another place and another man that isn't so complicated.
She waved the cab on, smiling in apology. He honked but she stood there, her back to the hospital and stared at the street lamps twinkling all over the city.
And she waited.
The shades were shut but lamplight pushed through the edges. On the bed, slashes of light fell on the blue comforter. She turned and Cameron came face to face with House's chest. She threaded her fingers through his chest. He groaned in his sleep.
It must be late still.
House's arm tightened around her waist and she let it, sinking deeper into the covers. She didn't feel like she had made a mistake. A little unsure but she was calm for the first time.
When she walked into his apartment and mentioned the distance between their jobs again, House tossed her his phone and told her to book a flight.
"What about Cuddy?" she had asked.
He'd shrugged. "She could use the break and so could I."
What would he do?
He shrugged again, pulling off his clothes and dropping them wear he stood. He didn't shout for her to follow. But she did.
Yet when she reached the doorway, he had pulled the sheets back on her side of the bed. Staggering slightly, he opened a couple drawers and began transferring some of his things as if it was routine, something they had already talked about and agreed on.
"This is halfway?" she asked.
He grunted as he stood and nodded. "This is halfway."
"I'm not moving back," she said and crossed her arms.
"I'm not moving—wherever the hell you're living these days."
"Pretty boy city, whatever."
He grabbed his cane off of the mirror and limped over to the bed. He plopped down, taking off his watch and setting his alarm. She followed and began stripping off her clothes. First, her earrings, then her watch, and finally everything else. It felt normal and odd and comfortable and surreal, but this was halfway. Here, in House's bed watching occasionally car lights drift past before she has to get a plane, here is halfway.
"Go to sleep," he grumbled.
"I can sleep on the plane," she said.
He leaned down, putting his lips next to her cheek instead of her ear.
"Go to sleep," he muttered and tightened his arms.
But Cameron's eyes were still open, still looking over his shoulder waiting for the sunrise.
Author's Note: Thank you all for sticking with this story and those that are new, thank you for reading as well. I'd been warned about WIPs and I definitely learned my lesson. In future, only finished stories posted in a weekly fashion. I'm thinking of moving away from onto to other sites. When the epilogue is posted, there'll be links to the new sites. Thanks again for your support, your reviews, and your time. ^_^