She calmed down a bit, once she was safe at home. Her stomach hurt, a twisting vortex, a Charybdis of half a glass of wine, half a vodka tonic, and one of her pills mixed with countless cups of black coffee from earlier in the day. There was probably some food in there too. She couldn't remember. It scared her that she couldn't remember. She barely remembered paying the taxi driver. Did she set her alarm? Did she put her pocket book back in her purse? Was she really a monster? Was she really someone who preyed on the infirm, a ghoul who tried to remake people?
She practically ripped open her purse, almost forgetting to undo the stylish patent leather strap and gilded buckle. It was imitation leather, from TJ Maxx, but no sense breaking pocket book was sitting right there, in the proper place. Still, she quickly rifled through it and then went back to fix everything, return everything to it's proper place. Her twenty dollars and her debit card were still there.
Her mind was working too fast, dulled a little by the pill, frantically trying to get ahead of her overwhelming feeling of dread mixed with sadness. Was it sadness? Was it pain and anger? It had been a long time since memories of her husband's death had crushed her like that. What really affected her was the loneliness, the guilt over some perceived slight or a situation that she, in her grief and confusion, had handled the wrong way. She couldn't fix the situation, it was over, and she still had days where she wanted to talk to him, to tell him how much she loved him, how much he meant to her. What House had said made her feel horrifically guilty.
It wasn't true. It was more complicated than that, more complicated from both angles. Failure was hanging over her like a cloud. She tried to ignore it, she needed to wash her face, slip into some comfortable clothes, to just forget about it. She realized that she was wheezing and she laid down on her caramel colored sofa, closing her eyes.
It was going to be a long day tomorrow. Everything was imperfect, everything was flawed. There was a film of dust on her television, she needed to clean the bathroom sink, she needed to scrub the foundation off of her face and get at least seven hours of sleep. She had to see House tomorrow, there was no way of getting around it. Her stomach almost rebelled at the thought of seeing him, the embarrassment. She had opened too much and House definitely didn't like what he saw. She should have known better, he was always prodding, prying, finding the most tender areas of peoples' lives. It was her fault really, she didn't want to be a liability, she didn't want to have problems.
Her floors actually looked alright. Freshly cleaned, they gleamed up at her in the moonlight. Minus some stray dust and some dried toothpaste, her apartment was immaculate. She stood and made her way into her bedroom.
She stripped off her dress and put with the rest of her dry cleaning. She made sure to unpin the corsage and, while contemplating simply throwing it away, she tucked it into one of her desk drawers. It was another thing to worry about later. She was in her pajamas, washing her face, when the knock came.
She had been moving around gracefully in the half-light of her apartment but when she heard the labored knocking, she knew immediately who it was and she stubbed her toe moving toward her front door. She didn't want to do this. She felt sweat beading on her brow. Her toe hurt, she groaned and looked down, hoping she didn't crack the toenail. House kept knocking.
She contemplated not answering. She sat down on her sofa, planning to wait him out. He kept knocking.
He was in pain. She could tell by the way his face was drawn, by the way his eyes were set, by the way he clung to his cane. She realized she probably looked like a meek child, and she hated herself for that. She couldn't meet his eyes.
What seemed like a thousand years later, they were in bed together. He hadn't apologized. They hadn't had some meaningful discussion about who they were, what they meant to each other. His eyes were closed and he seemed less ravaged by the pain, slack in relaxation.
"House," she whispered.
His eyes slid open. He wasn't smiling.
"I don't know if this was a good idea. I don't know if I can come back now."
"Just forget about it tonight. I'm high, you're high…"
She realized that maybe it didn't mean anything. Maybe it was just an accident. They had a couple glasses of wine. They didn't talk. They ended up in bed together. She closed her eyes.