Life as a House:
Meet the Parents
A/N: I heard that there was some way you could see all the stats on your story, like how many people have favorited it and such. Could someone teach me how to find that? Thanks!
Unnecessary disclaimer: None of the characters appearing in the TV show "House, M. D." belong to me.
Abstract: The moment has come that Gregory House has dreaded since the moment he said those fateful words, "Will you marry me?" The time has come to meet the parents.
"Mom?" Cameron said on the phone. "Greg and I are engaged!"
She paused a moment while the voice on the other line spoke.
Cameron responded. "Well I guess we can make a trip up there sometime but it might be hard to get off work."
She paused again.
"Thanksgiving? I guess we can manage that." Cameron's face looked concerned. "Okay, talk to you soon. Love you, mom. Bye"
Allison Cameron dropped her head into her hands. House was not going to be pleased with her.
"Greg?" Cameron called to her fiancé who was in the living room watching TV. "I think I did something bad."
"Shh. TV," House said, making Cameron roll her eyes.
When the commercial came, he looked at her. "What did you do?"
She sighed. "I may have accidentally gotten us invited to Thanksgiving back at home with my parents."
He looked at her in horror. "You didn't."
She nodded. "I did. I'm sorry, Greg, but you had to meet them sometime."
"But I've been trying so hard not to," he whined.
"It'll just be my mom, step-dad, my brother Matt, who you've met, and his girlfriend Rachel."
House sighed. "Do you want to go, Allie?" he asked.
Cameron smiled. "I do miss my mom."
House sighed again, very dramatically. "I guess we can go, then. But you owe me one," he warned.
"Duly noted," Cameron said with a smile.
Allison Cameron lay awake in bed that night. There was a problem she hadn't foreseen. It would be easy for her to ask not to be on call; it wasn't that strange for her to be visiting home. But House, on the other hand, rarely left town. How were they going to manage this?
She turned and looked at the sleeping man beside her and smiled. He'd have an idea.
She curled up against him and willed herself to sleep, hoping to discuss it with him the next day.
They discussed it several times throughout the next few days and came up with very few decent ideas. The best they had come up with was Greg finally bowing to his mother's wishes and going to spend Thanksgiving with her.
House breathed nervously as he headed towards Cuddy's office to give her the news.
He enjoyed thinking of creative ways to annoy Cuddy. Today it was very sunny and he had a mirror. He figured he could manage to flash her in the eyes to get her attention.
When he succeeded in his task, she glared up at him and stomped out of her office.
"What the hell, House?" she asked angrily.
"I need to discuss something with you," he said, infuriating Cuddy even more.
"Whatever it is, the answer is no," she fumed, heading back inside her office.
He followed her. "But you'll like this one!" he whined.
"What?" she spat out, impatiently listening.
"Jeez, someone's PMSing…" House muttered.
"House!" she yelled.
"Fine. I need to not be on call over Thanksgiving," he said.
She snorted. "And why would I do that for you?"
"Cause I have a very good reason," he answered smugly.
Cuddy put her hands on her hips and looked up at House expectantly. "And what reason is that?"
"I'm doing something you would be proud of. I'm actually visiting my mom," he said.
Cuddy looked at his in disbelief. "Lying about visiting your mom is low even for you. I want proof."
"This is a hospital, not grade school!" House said in offense.
"Then act like it, House," Cuddy said as she walked off.
House was left in her office alone. How the hell was he going to manage this?
"Mom, will you please call Dr. Cuddy and tell her that I'm coming for Thanksgiving?" House begged his mother over the phone after having told her the story.
"Only if I can come for Christmas," Blythe House answered.
House sighed. His mother drove a hard bargain, but he really had no other choice. "Okay, Mom."
He could practically hear her smile over the phone. "Does this mean I finally get to meet your Allison?" she asked.
He smiled a bit at hearing 'your Allison'. "You've met her before, Mom. When she worked for me."
"Oh, of course, dear. I remember. Very pretty. Very young."
House cringed a tiny bit at the part about her being young. He always worried about people's perceptions of a pretty young woman like her being with an aging cripple like himself.
After a pause, she spoke again. "Well, I can't wait to meet her again, Greg. You've seemed happier lately."
"I am, Mom. I've got to go. Don't forget to call Dr. Cuddy."
"I will, Greg. I love you dear."
"You too, Mom," he said as he hung up the phone.
Yeah…Cameron totally owed him.
It was finally the night before their flight, Tuesday evening of Thanksgiving week. Cameron was massaging House's shoulders as they sat in bed.
"Thanks for this," she said softly in his ear.
"For what? You're massaging me," House said, knowing exactly what she meant.
"For going with me tomorrow," she answered.
He leaned back slightly and turned his head to kiss her. "Yeah, you totally owe me."
She rolled her eyes. "I know, Greg."
"So…." House said, "How about we move this massage south?" House turned and wiggled his eyebrows at his fiancée suggestively.
Cameron raised an eyebrow. "That was smooth," she said dryly, not missing a beat.
"Aww, come on," he begged, "I know I'm not going to get any in a creaky farmhouse with your parents in the next room!"
"Farmhouse, hmm?" Cameron said as she began to kiss his neck. "Lucky guess."
They landed Indiana at Richmond Municipal Airport around lunchtime. Cameron called her parents as they were getting the rental car.
"They're going to hold lunch for us," she said.
As they drove out of the airport, House spoke. "This place doesn't look so small…"
Cameron hid a smile. "My parents don't live in Richmond. We have about a twenty minute drive ahead of us."
"Then where do they live?" House asked, confused.
"Not technically in any town. We just say Wayne County, Indiana."
House just stared at her. He had expected a small town, but this was beyond comprehension.
She smiled. "Closest town is Jacksonburg."
"And how many people live there?" House asked, still in disbelief about all of this.
"Not many," Cameron said with a smile.
House shook his head. "What about all those activities you said you did as a kid? How did you manage that when your high school probably had about five people?"
"We were in Richmond a lot. I went to school there. Growing up, Richmond was a big city to us," she said, reflecting. "Going to Chicago with my father was a whole new world."
They sat in silence for a few minutes before Cameron turned on the radio. They spent the rest of the ride jamming to oldies hits.
Soon they pulled up to a large white farmhouse with a wrap-around porch. They had just begun to unload the car when a petite older woman in a plaid shirt and what could only be termed as 'mom jeans' opened the front door. "Allison!" she called.
Cameron turned and went running. "Mom!" she cried as she was pulled into the warmest hug House had ever seen.
He limped his way up the front steps to greet the woman. He stuck out his hand to shake. "Greg House," he stated.
She ignored the hand and pulled him into a tight hug. "Greg, I've been waiting to meet you for so long!" she said warmly. "Let's get you two inside and get you some lunch, now."
They went back to the car to grab their suitcases and followed her inside. Once inside they were accosted a second time. Cameron was enveloped by a tall lanky man with a white beard who she called Dad.
"Joe Step," the man introduced himself, shaking House's hand and slapping him on the back heartily. House was going to have a headache trying to keep up with all the last names in this family.
There were other people there too, Mark, whom he had met, and Rachel, his girlfriend, a friendly woman with dark hair. He shook hands with them both, and they were instructed to leave their luggage in the entry while they all sat down to lunch.
"Lunch is soup and sandwiches today," Cameron's mother, Mrs. Step, said to her daughter apologetically. "I didn't know you two would be in time for lunch."
"Oh, Mom, you don't have to cook a big meal every time I'm here," Cameron chided.
"Well, maybe I like cooking for my daughter," Mrs. Step said with a smile.
House raised an eyebrow as the parents bowed their heads before the meal and Joe led a short prayer. He had known Cameron was atheist… this made that tiny fact all the more interesting.
Lunch was very good, but soon over. Joe excused himself to get some farm work done, and Matt went with him. Rachel and Mrs. Step, Elizabeth, as she told House to call her, helped the couple settle in.
Cameron looked at House apologetically as they were led up the creaky stairs of the farmhouse. House nodded to his fiancée reassuringly that he could handle the stairs for a couple of days.
To House's surprise, they were led into a guest room rather than Cameron's childhood bedroom. Once introduced to their living space for the next few days, Elizabeth and Rachel left the two of them to settle in upstairs.
House dropped onto the bed as Cameron began to unpack.
"Going to leave everything in the suitcase?" she asked her fiancé with a smile.
"You owe me, remember?" he said with a false sweetness and an innocent smile.
Cameron rolled her eyes, but went ahead and unpacked for him quickly.
"Show me around?" House asked as she finally sat down.
"You couldn't have asked while I was still standing?" she complained good-naturedly.
He stood and offered a hand to her, which she turned down as she got up.
"I'm crippled, not useless," he said.
"And I'm neither," she responded with a grin. "Come on, I'll show you my bedroom."
Her roam boasted twin beds on either side of the room, and it was decorated in pale pink, yellow, and white. Light, airy, and sunny. It practically had Cameron written all over it. "You shared a room?" House asked upon seeing the two beds.
"Yeah, Kate and I shared, and so did Matt and Mark," she responded. They took a quick peek into the master bedroom, and the boys room. There was one great thing about the farmhouse; every bedroom had it's own bathroom. After exploring these rooms, they went downstairs and took a quick tour around the living, dining, and kitchen, much of which they had already seen.
After this, they ventured outside, as it was an unseasonably warm day for November. Cameron showed House the stable and barn and then they situated themselves in a swing on the porch. Elizabeth brought them some hot apple cider.
They finally had a chance to talk and relax after a long day. Cameron and House were sitting snuggled together on the porch swing. "This is pretty cliché," House said, gesturing towards the farmhouse and back towards the fields.
Cameron smiled down at her mug of cider. "It wasn't always," she confessed. "You can thank Dad—Joe," she clarified, "for that."
House raised an inquisitive eyebrow.
"My father is a lawyer," she said. "Back when my parents were together he worked in Richmond. This house was left to my mother, but father rented out the fields to the neighbors. Mom never really wanted anything but to be a farm wife," she said with a small sad smile. "Dad gave her the life she should have had all along."
"So your father never worked the farm?" House asked.
"No, he never worked a day of physical labor in his life," she answered. "Joe really got the farm going once he married Mom. It was a dream come true for both of them. They're very happy here."
"Were you happy here, Allison?" House asked suddenly.
"Oh, yes," Cameron said passionately. "It was a wonderful place to grow up. But it wasn't what I wanted for my life."
She sighed. "Mom never quite understood why I wasn't content with just this."
"But isn't she proud of you?" House asked, defensive on Cameron's behalf.
"She's very proud of everything I've accomplished, but she doesn't understand why I wanted it. All she ever wanted for me was a husband and children. She's probably happier about this," she said, gesturing to her engagement ring, "than she was about me graduating med school."
House shook his head. "That's terrible."
"Oh, it's not that she doesn't love me," Cameron explained. "She just doesn't understand."
The family had just sat down to dinner, a full home-cooked meal, courtesy of Elizabeth Step. They said the prayer, and then began to dig in.
House took a bite. "Oh… my… God," he stated, the bite still in his mouth. Everyone looked up.
Cameron's head snapped around to look at him. He had been good so far, was he going to ruin things now?
The entire table looked at him expectantly. "This…is amazing!" he said, gesturing to the food. "This is the best meal I've ever had."
Elizabeth looked quite proud. "Well, thank you, Greg! I'm so glad you like it!"
Cameron let out a breath. That was a relief.
The rest of the meal and evening went uneventfully. After dinner, there was music. Cameron's mother played an old upright piano in the corner of the living room, Cameron and Mark sang, and Joe played the fiddle. House thought he had accidentally walked into a time machine. "Is this Little House on the Prairie?" he wondered to himself.
As the evening was wearing down, Cameron turned her big doe eyes towards him and asked him to play something. He gave in, grumblingly, and was rewarded with a kiss, and the praises of the entire assembled group. Soon, Mark and Rachel were saying their goodbyes, heading back to their home in Richmond, and Joe and Elizabeth were heading up to bed. House and Cameron followed, but lounged around the room with the TV on for a while.
"So how does a person brought up in a Christian home in the middle of nowhere end up an atheist?" House mused, half to himself.
"I guess that's one of the few things I have my father to thank for," Cameron answered him with an ironic tone. "He was never much of a believer, and when he destroyed our family, that sort of clinched it for most of us," she said, referring to the siblings.
"Not nearly as exciting a story as I was hoping," House pouted.
His fiancée laughed. "Sorry to disappoint."
The next morning, they were awakened by the smell of coffee and bacon.
"She even cooks breakfast…" House said sleepily.
Cameron giggled. "Morning," she said, giving House a kiss on the cheek.
"Morning Allie," he responded, still in a sleepy daze.
Only minutes later they heard a knock on the door, Cameron's mother with coffee. "Maybe I want to marry her instead of you," House joked after she had gone.
After consuming the coffee, they showered quickly and headed downstairs to a large breakfast of pancakes, scrambled eggs, and bacon. House consumed an inordinate amount, claiming that he would never get a breakfast so good again. Cameron pointed out that they would be there for two more breakfasts, but that didn't stop him.
Afterwards, they gathered in the living room to watch the Macy's parade. Elizabeth bustled around the kitchen most of the morning with a flowered dress and apron on, looking the part of the farm wife.
Mark and Rachel arrived as it was nearing noon. Cameron and Rachel both went to help Mrs. Step in the kitchen, bringing out snacks to tide them over until the Thanksgiving meal.
If House had thought that the other meals were good, this one was heavenly. He had never eaten like this before.
The rest of Thanksgiving Day passed lazily with football, music, and board games.
Friday passed uneventfully as well. House, Cameron, and her parents went to Richmond to catch a movie. The rest of the day was spent around the farm, in a quiet relaxation. Mark and Rachel came for the evening meal, and to say goodbye to House and Cameron who were leaving in the morning.
They were awakened on Saturday the same way as the previous day. House groaned. "Why can't I wake up like this at home?"
"Because your fiancée has a job other than housewife," Cameron reminded him.
"Willing to reconsider?" House asked hopefully.
"Kidding," he quickly qualified, as he received a scathing look.
Breakfast was consumed quickly, and everything was packed.
Cameron and her mother said a tearful goodbye on the doorstep. Even Joe had tears in his eyes as he said goodbye to the woman he considered a daughter. "Come back and visit us soon," he said.
House got a warm hug and a heartfelt handshake from the two of them, and soon they were off back to the Richmond airport. Cameron was quiet throughout the car ride.
"Whatcha thinking about?" House asked her.
"That I miss this place," she said.
"Oh," House responded, unable to think of more to say.
Cameron continued, "But also that I'm glad to be going home with you."
House smiled to himself a bit. "So New Jersey is home?"
Cameron smiled as well. "Home is with you, Greg."
They were silent for a bit before House broke it again. "The food was amazing, but I'm glad that's over. It's hard to try not to be sarcastic for three whole days!"
Cameron grinned. "We still have Christmas with your mother, too, dear," she said teasingly.
"Thanks for the reminder," House grumbled.
"I'm looking forward to it," Cameron countered.
"That makes one of us."