Wilson walked down the hall holding two cups of coffee, one for himself, the other, a peace offering for his best friend. He knew what House's reaction would be, the same it always was… but somehow this time seemed different… or maybe it was simply the fact that he wanted it to be different… he wanted House to be different…
He stopped outside of House's office and took a deep breath to steel his nerves. He could see House sitting at his desk using his cane like a lacrosse stick to catch his red and gray ball. Wilson took one more deep breath and then receded to push open the door "New case?"
"Just came in this morning… but right now I'm much more interested in what big thing you clearly feel you need to tell me and why it required you to take your own sweet time outside my door"
Wilson set down House's coffee.
"Must be big…"
"I'm…" He sighed "I'm not renewing the lease on Amber's apartment at the end of the month…"
House raised his eyebrows.
"Marla asked me to move in with her and the kids."
"Not the first time you moved in with a girlfriend"
"She's the first one that has had kids…"
"So you're worried about how I'm going to react to you moving in with a woman with three kids?"
House shrugged and took a sip of his coffee "You practically live there now; it was just a matter of time."
"And here we go! This is what I was afraid of!"
"You negate everything House! Don't narrow it down to 'It was just a matter of time' or tell me how predictable I am in my relationships… I like her House, I really like her… and I know I've said it before but I want this… I… I think we really could make it work…"
Wilson stared blankly at his friend, 'Ok' is that all he had to say? "You're not going to lecture me on my past three failed marriages… or tell me how a fourth can't possibly end well… especially with kids involved…"
"No, I think you just about covered it. Actually I'm finding it more amusing that you're coming to me for relationship advice and to answer your question marriages never end well… you either split up or one of you dies… you just happened to opt for the divorce option three times in a row"
Wilson cracked a half smile "Yeah… sure shows how screwed up I am, right?"
"So… in about three breaths you went from 'moving in' to 'don't lecture me on pinning yet another poor woman with the title 'Mrs. Wilson'… you haven't talked to her about the second bit have you?"
"No… I'm not sure if she's ready… hell, I'm not sure if I'm ready… that's part of the reason I thought moving in was a good idea… I don't know House… I thought maybe if it went well then I would bring it up…"
"And if it doesn't work?"
"This could be my last chance, House… I know you have heard me say it a few times but… I love her, House… she's different than the others…"
"She's still a blond"
"I like blonds"
"And you see how that's turned out for you"
"You're trying to tell me that my marriages have failed because I like blonds?"
"No that would be ridiculous… no that has been a combination of neglect, petty arguments, your need to fix women and infidelity…"
Wilson looked up meting House in the eye "I love her House"
"Ohh shit, I know what look"
"That one" he gestured toward his friend's face "The love sick puppy look"
"Believe it or not you weren't much better with Cuddy"
"Don't remind me…"
"Hey, it's your life, your already practically living there, if you want to move in that's your thing… and if you want to ask her to marry you… well… "
"I can't do it… I… not yet anyway…" he took a deep breath "I'll move in and see how it goes… after a few months we'll talk… and then maybe…"
"Dah da dah! 'Rationalization Man' to the rescue!"
"Knock it off House, I'm serious"
"So am I, you've rationalized this thing to a pulp"
"But what about the kids?"
"You like them right?"
"What's the problem?"
"What if I screw them up?"
"You're asking me?"
"Right, forgot who I was talking to, your kids are screwed"
The rest of the week proved to be extremely busy and stressful for everyone. It seemed that every time they had off for a holiday the following week was insane. Cuddy had returned to a large pile of paperwork and a meeting to reschedule not to mention all the meetings that were already on her schedule. House had a new case that his team had attempted to take on without him, almost killing the guy in the process leaving House to clean up the mess. Wilson, Wilson had his own more personal issues…
After coming clean to House about his plans to move in with Marla he got some rather disturbing news concerning a patient. Mary was her name, she was an older woman in her mid 80's and the end was near for her, which Wilson was having difficulty coming to terms with.
As an oncologist he was used to watching his patients die but the problem was that he had become attached to Mary. She was a kind hearted woman that reminded him of his Great Aunt Aggie who used to make him cookies and take him on little day trips as a kid. Now loosing Mary was like lossing Aunt Aggie all over again and he was glad he had someone to go home to.
Friday was Lily's birthday and the hospital's Day Care was throwing a little birthday celebration for her as they did for every child on their birthday. Cuddy had gone out the night before and got some mini cupcakes for her to take in as a treat, but her actual party wasn't scheduled until Saturday. Cuddy had sent out invitations to some of the kids from the Day Care and of course Marla's kids.
Friday when House picked Lily up from day care she was bouncing off the walls, she was on a sugar high from the cupcakes and excited about her birthday parties. Lily skipped joyfully by House's side as he limped towards Cuddy's office carrying Rachel.
House flung open the door to Cuddy's office "Your kid is wired"
"Hi Mommy!" Lily practically screamed as she rushed into her mother's office, running towards her and jumping into her lap. Cuddy looked up at her head nurse who was still sitting in front of her. Cuddy pulled Lily up further on her lap and turned to her nurse, "Just a moment Sherry" she turned her attention back to House "Why is it that when she acts up she is my kid?"
"Because you have yet to give Marla the adoption papers I signed… hence, not my kid… yet"
"I faxed them to her yesterday, Daddy" she winked.
"Alright, alright, not in front of the help"
Cuddy smiled and turned back to Sherry "Was there anything else?"
"No, not unless you had something for me"
"Nope, I think were done here, I'd say have a good weekend but I see you're on the schedule for the weekend"
Sherry stood up, "I think your forgetting that I'm going on vacation in two weeks, see you on Monday, Happy Birthday Lily have a good weekend Dr.'s House" she said exiting Cuddy's office.
"Is she always that cheerful about working weekends?"
"No, not usually, but I did just give her permission to extend her vacation"
"Ahh, yeah, that would do it. So are you ready to go?"
"Yeah I want to get a few things ready for Lily's party tomorrow"
"Ohh just a few decorations and I have to finish putting the party favors together"
"I suppose you think you're going to get me to help with that don't you?"
Meanwhile in the Oncology ward Wilson sat by his dying patient. She didn't have any family with her. She had out lived all of her friends and her children, grand children and great-grand-children were clear on the other side of the country. Wilson had got a call from one of her daughters that lived a little closer… a four hour plane ride away. She said that she had got his message and she was on her way but her plane got delayed. She wanted reassurance she would make it in time… Wilson couldn't give it to her. Mary was fading fast, she hadn't eaten for a week now and other than her IV she hadn't consumed any liquids either. Her body was shutting down and all Wilson could do was sit and watch and try to make her comfortable.
"James?" Yes, he had allowed her to call him by his first name.
"I'm here Mary, I'm here"
"Oh… alright then dear… is Eliza here yet?"
"She called, her flight was delayed, she should be her in about two or three hours, depending on traffic"
"Thank you… James… you're a… sweet boy" she said through labored breathing.
Mary's eyes slowly moved around the room taking in all of the cards, pictures and gifts from her family and members of her community. She wasn't alone because she was unloved… she was alone because of distance, circumstance, "busy schedules" and sheer etiquette that told people that only family and close friends are welcome at the death bed, but Wilson didn't count. He was her doctor, and her friend, and in a way he had become something like family. He had been in close contact with Mary's daughter, keeping her abreast of her mother's condition but it didn't seem like enough, it never seemed like enough.
Wilson sat back in his chair watching as the frail old woman drifted off to sleep; those few labored sentences she had uttered had been enough to exhaust her. After almost an hour Wilson hit the 'Nurse' call button. Seconds later a young nurse was at the door, "Is there a problem Dr. Wilson?"
"No, Wendy, I'm sorry to ask you this, but if I give you some money would you mind getting me a coffee, I just don't want to leave her before her daughter get's here"
Wendy looked at him for a moment taking in his careworn countenance "Sure Dr. Wilson" she said with a sad but polite nod.
Cuddy sat on the couch with the coffee table pulled close to her. She had just finished filling up ten little brightly colored canvas bags with a wand, two butterfly shaped suckers, a bubble necklace and a little teddy bear that was dressed up as a fairy complete with wings. The two babies, Rachel and Nora, would just be getting a bear and a wand in their bags.
Cuddy had used a paint pen to write each of the girl's names on their bag as their party favor. The idea was to have the girls dress up as little fairies for the 'Fairy Tea Party' she had planned for Lily's birthday. Cuddy had gotten plain white 'decorate-your-own' fairy wings for the girls to decorate and had a whole assortment of kid's dress up jewelry to use as prizes for games.
House walked out of the library into the living room "Holy hell!"
"What?" she asked distractedly as she put together Lily's special birthday costume.
"It looks like 'Pixie Hallow' exploded in here"
Cuddy looked around the living room to find herself sitting in the middle of what looked like a sea of flower, and butterfly party decorations that still had to be assembled and put up.
"What's with all the piles?"
She sat back and pointed "Well, that pile is for the dining room where the girls will eat and have their little tea party, and that one is for the living room, I think I'm going to have her open her presents in there… and that one is for the family room, where they will be playing games and… ohh shit, I have to call Marla… she's supposed to bring a big folding table and chairs for the girls to do their craft on…"
"When the hell did you have time to do all of this?"
"Ha that, well most of this I did on-line"
"So that's what you do all day?… Here I was under the impression you ran a hospital"
"I do Greg... I just… had some fun in my down time"
"Fun?" he said raising an eyebrow.
"If one or both of the Spawn is a boy then maybe one day you'll understand"
His gaze softened slightly, yeah… maybe… but it wouldn't be long before they could find out the sex of their babies. "So… I suppose you want me to string up streamers or some crap"
"Well if you're volunteering…"
Cuddy eyed him knowingly "So when the kids in the Children's Oncology Ward ask for "Uncle House" I suppose they are talking about some other grumpy doctor with a cane"
"They do not call me 'Uncle House'"
Cuddy smiled, "Maybe the kids don't…" She gave him a sly glare as she opened up one of the tissue-paper flowers she had gotten to suspend from the ceiling. Before House could answer her phone rang and Cuddy scrambled to answer it "Hey Mar, I was just going to call you what's up?"
"Did James mention anything to you about staying late tonight?"
"Not to me, I'll ask Greg" she covered the phone with her hand "Do you know if Wilson was staying late?"
"He didn't say anything… come to think of it I didn't really see much of him at all today"
"Sorry Mar, he doesn't know anything either. You mean he hasn't called?"
"No, and usually if he stays late he calls… and his phone is going straight to voice mail…"
"I'll call into the hospital, they'll get him for me. I'll call you back Mar" she flipped her phone shut hastily. "Greg…"
"Already on it. Here boss" he said thrusting his cell phone at her. She held it up and let it ring, Sherry answered, House had dialed directly to the main nurse's station "Sherry, could you please find out if Dr. Wilson is still in the hospital"
"No need, I already know he is, Wendy just came through with a cup of coffee for him and going on about what a sweet man he is for staying with that old woman…"
"Sherry, could you hold on a moment" she covered he phone again "Greg…"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, give me your phone… geese…" she tossed him her phone and he dialed Wilson's pager number.
Wilson looked down at his pager, Cuddy… ohh shit… Marla.
He exited Mary's room and closed the door behind him taking up a place just outside her room where he could still watch her, and took out his phone turning the sound back on… he had three missed calls and five texts… shit… well, let's see what the boss wanted first… "You paged"
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"What's going on, Marla's freaking out…"
"I know, I know I should have called her… I have a patient dying…"
"You're an Oncologist you always have patients dying"
"I'm just staying until her family gets here, she shouldn't be left alone…"
"Do what you think is best but make sure you call Marla"
"I'll do that now"
"Alright, and don't forget about tomorrow, I need you to help Greg set up"
"Set up what?" he asked confused.
"Lily's party…" she reminded him harshly.
"Ohh right, I'm sorry I completely forgot, yeah, I'll help the gimp"
"Yeah, I know you will" she hissed.
"Calling Marla now…"
Wilson hit the end call button and pressed the speed-dial "Hey"
"Don't 'hey' me! Where the hell are you?"
"I'm sorry I didn't call… I'm still at the hospital, Mary's dying…" he had told Marla all about Mary… well not all about her he was a professional after all. But in the confines of their relationship he did tell her how the kind old woman reminded him of his Aunt Aggie and how up until two weeks ago she had still been putting together lap-blankets for some of the other residences in the hospital. Despite what he told her and what he didn't tell her Marla knew how attached he was getting.
"How much longer?"
"Not long" he looked at his watch "Her daughter should be here in about an hour… I hope…"
"Will you stay?" she asked, already knowing the answer.
"As long as her daughter doesn't mind…"
"I hope she gets there in time."
Wilson finally crawled in bed at 3:00 am. He pulled Marla close to him, "I take it her daughter let you stay"
"Yeah, I think she was grateful for the company"
"I take it you stayed to help get things squared away?"
"Some… I mostly just talked to her daughter. Mary didn't last long after she got there…"
"Was she in a lot of pain?"
"She went in her sleep… She thanked me for being there and told her daughter she loved her and the rest of the family and then she just fell asleep and didn't wake up…"
"It sounds like she went peacefully…"
Marla patted his arm "Try to get some sleep James"
Wilson buried his face in Marla's hair breathing in her apple shampoo until he drifted off to sleep. It had been a long and emotional night and tomorrow he was expected to be "Happy Uncle Jimmy".