In an attempt to hide out in the lounge to avoid Cuddy, House had instead apparently attracted her. He was just getting something he found hidden behind all the rest of the crappy soda and water when he heard the clicking of heels and swishing of clothes. He groaned loudly, already knowing she was here to talk. Ever since she knew about him knowing about Cameron's engagement she had been overbearing, almost like she didn't want him out of her sight. He took it lightly, shrugging it off by being able to steer clear of her some of the time, but the other times she found him exactly when he really didn't want her to.
For example, like right now.
"What is this, you're second drink of the day?" She asked, peering over him like a hawk.
House, still buried in the fridge, poked his head up and looked at her. "My first actually, but thanks for playing."
Cuddy rolled her eyes, ignoring his remark. "You don't need a drink right now."
"And you would know this how?"
"You can't drink the pain away anymore House," She began and it was then House knew this wasn't going to be some playful conversation.
"This is none of your business," He said and grabbed the nearest bottle of whatever he could see and stood up, closing the fridge as he did. Cuddy leaned against it, her hands on her hips.
"I'm your friend House, all I want to do is help you. I…care about you."
She said it softly, and it just made House feel that much worse because he didn't feel the same way. He knew of her feelings for a while, but now that she was voicing them, it made it harder to face her.
"Well, like I told Wilson earlier, I don't need anyone's help. I'm doing perfectly fine on my own," He replied and cracked open the bottle, looking at her in disbelief. "Jeez, why does everybody jump a cripple when he decides he wants a drink in the morning?"
He of course decided to skip over her comment and go on right to the sarcasm. Cuddy knew him though, and skipped right over it too.
"Maybe because mixing it before with your Vicodin pills was dangerous, but mixing it now with all the extra alcohol you have been consuming lately it could be lethal."
"Thanks, I went to medical school too."
House walked passed her and set the bottle down on the counter. He began flipping through the cabinets, letting the doors slam shut as he flew by them. It was just enough noise to drown out whatever Cuddy was ready to throw his way and it also just simply annoyed her. Damn it, where were the cups?
"What are you doing?" She asked impatiently, her voice raised because of the noise.
"Looking for cups," He answered, "Apparently the hospital needs to restock on some important necessities."
"House I need to talk to you," She said seriously.
House, being in no mood for such things, finally gave up on searching for the cups and retreated to the water tank in the corner of the room, stealing a paper one from there. Cuddy just waited expectantly, her feet tapping against the marble floor. He had an idea of what Cuddy could possibly want to talk about with him, since there were so many things she could choose from. It was either about the wedding, his lack of working, his overuse of Vicodin, the abuse of alcohol, her feelings, or maybe even about the very expensive bean bag chair he sent to her office just for fun. Either way, he didn't feel like discussing any of it.
"I know you probably don't want to talk about anything…" She began and moved over to the chairs in the room, plopping down in one of them.
"You know me so well," House feigned sensitivity.
"But we need to discuss what's going on with you and why it's going on."
House rolled his eyes but stopped halfway through. If she wanted to know what was going on with him, it would have to do with the alcohol and his work ethic, but since the cause is mentioned with it, it's most likely going to turn into a conversation about Cameron. And House just couldn't go down that road right now.
Unfortunately knowing that no matter what he did she wouldn't leave until she had her answers, House begrudgingly plopped in the chair across from hers. He folded his hands in his lap and waited.
"Obviously, I have a problem with your lack of cases lately, but this isn't just about you. It's about your team too."
Truthfully House hadn't thought of his team in a long time. As far as he knew they were keeping themselves busy with his mail and other random paperwork that came their way. He'd be lying if he said he didn't miss the puzzles, but he knew with the way he was feeling right now he wouldn't be much help anyways. Although, they might get some things off of his mind. That would help a lot.
"They're fine. And as far as my lack of cases, it's not my fault we've hit a dry spell. People are just getting healthier and healthier everyday, it's out of my control." House said.
"People haven't been giving you cases because you can't complete them. This is the problem."
House eyed her skeptically. "But not the only problem."
"No," Cuddy was trying to choose her words carefully, "There's also the issue of what caused this sudden carelessness. I know you're lazy House, but not this lazy."
House glared at her, his big blue eyes focused on her face only. He could see she was squirming under his gaze, something Cameron used to do but instead now she matched it. Though when their conversations got too personal he would catch her blushing and it made him feel better knowing she still was affected by him.
"What are you saying?"
"I'm saying—or well asking really…"
House knew what was coming, and Cuddy's stumbling over her words made the whole situation more irritating.
"Yes Dr. Cuddy?" He snapped.
Cuddy straightened herself. "Do you have feelings for Dr. Cameron?"
House was prepared for the question but not the answer. It was a lose/lose situation. It didn't matter what he said. If he said no, Cuddy would accuse him of lying and then be fully convinced he was in love with Cameron, but if he said yes Cuddy would feel bad and then it could spread around the hospital, making his life that much more difficult.
"I don't know," Was the best he could do.
Cuddy looked at him for a moment, and he could see her quietly contemplating whether to tell him to go for Cameron or to forget all about her. He knew Cuddy had feelings for him, strong ones, but he also knew she figured he didn't have them back. Cuddy was his friend, and now that the possibility of something more came around, he didn't feel like talking to her about this.
"The drinking needs to stop House." She said.
House softened up a little. "Might as well get started on all the partying I'm going to do at the wedding, right?" He said lightly.
"People don't drink unless something's bothering them. You think you're covering this up but in turn you're making everyone realize this is effecting you a lot more than you let on."
He looked down at the floor, bouncing his cane up and down, making that thumping noise that everyone hated so much. He realized she was right, he was revealing more about himself by doing all of this. But he didn't care who saw him like this, who figured out that he was hurting even more so than usual. He only wanted one person to notice, and so far she hadn't.
He nodded softly and she got up and rubbed his arm reassuringly.
"I'm here if you need me," She whispered before she left the room.
House bounced his cane up and down again, unable to think of anything else but how he got himself into this mess. Everything was slipping away, changing and evolving for the worse. For once he wished he could go back and have his old team of Cameron, Chase and Forman when there were no relationships and they all just worked hard, more concerned about the cases than their feelings. Cuddy was still his friend and he could still do his job. But it wasn't like before anymore, and House sadly thought about how it would never be that like that again.
Cameron waited until her shift was over to go up and see House. She didn't even know if he was still here. She had been shaking the whole night out of nervousness, and still wasn't sure if she was going to be able to go through with it.
She knew she shouldn't be anxious about seeing him, because she's seen him over a hundred times ever since they started working together, but the ring on her finger made her feel otherwise. It was different now, she was different now. That ring made everything have more meaning, more boundaries. Cameron even considered taking it off and putting it on a chain, feeling ten times better just thinking about it, but didn't dare because of Chase. It was always because of Chase.
She took the elevator up to his floor, remembering how she and House were in one together the morning after she and Chase slept together. She had looked and felt terrible, and she knew the whole time they were in the elevator together he was wondering what the hell had happened to her. Later on though, once he found out what happened, he had gone back to his stoic ways and left her alone, only bothering her when she got her test results back.
The doors pinged and she took a few steps out, just enough to be out of the elevator, and stopped. There was absolutely no one on this floor, and even though it was early into the next day Cameron figured at least some people would still be around. Walking towards his office, she found someone who was.
She looked through the glass, seeing him leaning back in his chair, his feet up on his desk, head back and eyes closed. He looked at peace, but Cameron knew he only was when he was sleeping. She slowly made her way down the corridor, taking a deep breath before going in.
The doors swished like they always did, and Cameron gave a small smile at the familiar feeling.
Cameron saw his eyes snap open once he heard the noise and his blue eyes quickly landed on her. Cameron, trying not to feel so intimidated, walked right up to the front of his desk and sat in one of the chairs. He stared at her for a moment, his eyes full of questions but his mouth not able to voice any of them. She didn't know how she was going to start all of this, or really what she was even doing here, but she knew soon enough one of them would start talking.
"Mrs. Chase," He began, his voice once again mocking, "This is certainly a surprise."
"Will you please stop calling me that?" She asked. "I'm not married yet."
"No, but with the way you and Chase are acting it seems as if you already are," House bit back, revealing his notice of Cameron's extra sweetness towards Chase. Cameron now regretted it.
"I didn't come here to talk about Chase or the wedding; I came here to talk about you."
House smirked and leaned back in his chair, weighing the pros and cons of this situation. True, he did want her to notice his new habits, but he also didn't want a pity visit.
"What is there to talk about?" He asked while getting up. He headed over to his secret stash and pulled out some scotch. He then grabbed one of his trusty glasses that he always had lying around somewhere and put it right in front of her, pouring the poison liquid into the glass and watching her reaction to it.
Cameron gave him a look. She knew what he was doing. It was what he always did when serious situations came about, he acted like a child. He needed attention, and Cameron was starting to believe that the whole drinking thing was just a ploy to get hers. Either way it did, and the fact that it affected her so deeply made Cameron's head spin. Him and his damn games.
"House," She said seriously, "You need to stop this."
The last part came out softly, and House immediately went back to when she was kneeling in front of him while bandaging up his cut from his reckless method of pain release. She was so gentle and so caring with him back then that House couldn't see how things got this bad. He felt like before was so much easier, he was her boss and she was his employee. They had some special moments, lots of tension, and infinite possibilities. He liked that system, liked that constant feeling he got everyday when he walked into work. It was a comfort, and it was a routine. Then suddenly she threw him for a loop by quitting and his life just kept on changing from there. He never had that comfortable routine again.
He eyed the drink again, getting the urge to take the cold glass into his hands and throw it back. He could already feel the burning liquid down his throat. He looked up at her instead and focused on her face.
"Why do you keep on doing this?" She asked.
"Life's a bitch," He replied simply.
"Everyone's is. Everyone has good days and bad days, hell even good years and bad years. The difference is we all handle it differently. I didn't turn to drinking when my husband died and you don't have to turn to drinking just because you have a disability."
House suddenly sat up straight, his blue eyes now icy and staring right into her. Cameron hadn't seen a look like this from him in a long time. Now was one of the few times she really didn't know what was going to come out of his mouth. She could feel herself faltering, and tried to hold herself together.
"Do you really think I just had this bright idea to drink for three straight weeks, drop work, and be miserable so soon after our conversation for it all to be about my leg?"
"If you do, you're not as smart as I thought you were."
Swallowing, Cameron slowly got up from her seat and paced around the room. This wasn't going the way she planned at all. Honestly though, what did she expect? She had been in denial for so many weeks, convincing herself that all of this was about his leg and that his pain was just getting worse. House was right, she really was stupid. Her heart began racing, and her head began pounding. Hearing him almost say it made the situation more real to her. She had two guys who were admitting to loving her, being in love with her. Well one said it, but the other one alluded to it more than once. And that's what he was doing now wasn't it? Alluding to it a second time?
She sighed loudly, her frustration coming out clear for House to see. He was watching her intently, trying to guess what she was going to do next. Her posture was stiff, her hands first on her hips and then in her hair. She was falling apart right in front of him it seemed, and it shouldn't make House feel good, but it did. He was getting to her and for the first time in three weeks House didn't feel like drinking.
Suddenly she stormed out of his office, the swishing sound of the doors being the only sound between him and Cameron. He could see her walking down the hallway; shaking her head and running her hands over face, almost as if to wash away their entire conversation. It didn't matter to House though, because he knew no matter how hard she rubbed her face, his words wouldn't leave her mind.
He turned towards the now warm glass of Scotch sitting on his desk and threw it in the sink. He didn't need it anymore; he was getting through to her, slowly making himself more known in her mind. Besides, drinking is bad for you anyways, especially when you're a Vicodin addict.
A/N: I just wanted to thank you all for your reviews! They really inspired me to update more. The next one should be coming some time next week!