Along Came a Spider
House glanced at his watch. He'd be meeting Wilson for dinner in half an hour. Of course, Wilson didn't know it yet. He ran his fingers over the keys of the organ as he passed through the living room. His organ. A gift from Wilson when he furnished their new loft. Their loft. Wilson's and his.
House knew what was his.
His organ. His loft. His Wilson. It was quite simple, actually.
If only it was.
He never answered the question. He'd never gotten the chance. He kept the ring in a small box in his nightstand. His ring. Sometimes he wore it at night, slipping it off his finger and secreting it away again before he made his gimpy way to the kitchen in the mornings for his breath of life . . . and macadamia nut pancakes on a good day. Lately he'd been wearing it every night. And now, now he'd started kissing it before he sealed it away in its little tomb. Kissing it! God he was an idiot. Wilson had never even mentioned the ring again after cock-blocking House's 'date' with Nora (which had been House's cock-block of Wilson's budding interest in her) with that mock proposal. That image was burned into House's memory: Wilson holding out the ring . . . his ring . . . and saying the words . . .
He would take a date. Wilson might not give a fuck, but it would make for a better show. Not one of his regular hookers. Wilson had encountered all of them leaving House's apartment at one point or another over the years. And he always nodded politely to them before turning slightly disapproving eyes upon House. It had been difficult managing to schedule all those 'accidental' run-ins, but there was never much of a pay-off (other than the sustenance sex from the hookers themselves). Wilson never took the bait. Time to up the stakes a bit.
House drove slowly down the narrow street. This was different. No call to the agency this time. House had his regular hookers on speed-dial. This was so much more . . . pathetic. Desperate. Hell, he was pathetic and desperate. But he knew what was his.
Even if Wilson didn't.
House parked the car on the curb, grabbed his cane, opened the car door, and got out. He'd seen her from the street. This time there would be no mistaking it on Wilson's part. If he had to smack him upside the head with it, House was okay with that. He limped straight up into her personal space and held out two hundred dollar bills.
"My name is House. You're my date for the next couple of hours. Less if we chase away the soul-stealing Harpy my . . . best friend . . . is trying to sacrifice himself to at the moment. You get a meal out of the deal. A nice one. He carries lots of credit cards. Don't abuse it. I'll have you back here in two hours tops. Think of it as a dinner break. You interested?"
She was bigger than he'd thought. In heels she had an inch and a half on him. And chocolate brown eyes. House shivered slightly in spite of himself when he looked . . . up . . . into those strange, yet oddly familiar eyes.
"You have the bluest eyes I've ever seen." She was a baritone. Perfect.
"Save it. Just a business proposition. Yes or no?"
"Shut up and get in the car."
" . . . and he's a moron. That ship sailed nearly two decades ago. He never learns. I'm not gonna watch it happen again. Okay we're here. Um …. you and I have a history. Go along with whatever I say. If you think of anything good, throw it in. But don't be an idiot! This is . . . important to me."
"You're the boss."
"Don't forget that."
"One wonders why you don't just conk him on the head and carry him back to your cave."
"Not paying you to wonder about anything. Just go along … Sweetie!"
Wilson took another sip of wine and glanced casually across the table, over Sam's shoulder. Then he choked. As he struggled to regain his breath, House sidled up to the table with the biggest, strongest looking drag queen Wilson had ever seen. Not that he'd actually seen that many . . . God, he couldn't breathe . . .
"This is . . . Mandy."
"Nice," House's date muttered under his breath.
"Sorry we're late!"
"Horse has told me all-"
"House has told me all about you!"
"Greg! This is a surprise . . ."
"HOUSE . . . (cough) . . . what are you doing here-"
"I'm sorry, Jimmy. I know you said 8:00 o'clock, but we were . . . detained."
"James didn't mention that you would be joining us . . ."
"Oh he's one for surprises, aren't you Jimmy?"
"(cough) It seems that I'm not the only . . ."
"Here Mandy, let me get your chair."
"Thank you, Horsie."
". . ."
"Oh come on, Greg, don't be embarrassed! We're all friends here aren't we? Surely Jimmy doesn't mind me knowing your pet name. Horse talks about you all the time. I feel like I know you already, Jimmy. So you're Sam? Greg never mentioned before that Jimmy had been . . . married."
"Yes . . . I . . . we . . ."
"Horsie I'd love a glass of wine, could you try to get our waiter's attention? I'm not really very hungry, but you know how Greg is. He's always starving after a . . . nap you know! I don't know how you manage to keep him so fit and trim, Jimmy. He always raves about your cooking. Especially your breakfasts. I never have enough energy left to microwave a waffle for him, but he says that you're absolutely tireless-"
"Oh my. James, I think I'd better . . ."
"Sam, I swear-"
"Oh, I'm sorry! Am I embarrassing you? It's just that Horse likes to talk about you so much, and when he said you were going to bring Sam tonight . . . I just assumed that you both were totally cool with . . . Greg!! You always said it was an open relationship! I get the feeling Jimmy didn't even know I existed!"
~~~My God, this bitch is good! Best $200 I ever spent. Wilson is going down in flames and I've barely even opened my mouth.~~~
"James I'm going to go. You and Greg need to talk about this. I can't believe you didn't tell me about your relationship . . . and why am I here? What are you doing? You haven't changed at all!"
"Sam . . ."
"Sam . . . it's not . . . I don't . . . we've never . . . "
"Don't call me."
"HOUSE. YOU . . . YOU . . . "
"Ten minutes. Damn. That was awesome! Of course he'll probably never speak to me again and my life is essentially over now . . . but that was awesome. Where did you pull all that out of?"
"You learn to act. It was fun. And I'm a good liar."
"Yeah. So you've still got an hour and a half. What now?"
"Nah. I'm really not. I wouldn't refuse another glass of wine or two though. Do you think he caught up to her?"
"I have no idea. I don't even know if I'll ever find out."
"You love him."
"I . . ."
"I . . . can't. He doesn't want me. I may have just made sure of that."
"You barely said a word. If it goes bad - blame it on me. Tell him I'm a delusional crack-hoe and you were afraid to try to shut me up. Hey, don't look at me like that . . . I can bench 350."
". . ."
"Just trying to help."
"Because you really do have the bluest eyes I've ever seen."
"And you're a good liar."
"I'm also a good listener. You've got over an hour left and we'll never see each other again. What have you got to lose?"
"Probably nothing, now."
"So talk to me, Blue Eyes."
"This is my street. Well, good luck."
". . . Tell him."
"WHAT THE FUCK, HOUSE? WHAT. THE. FUCK. WAS. THAT?"
"She's not right for you. She hurt you twenty years ago and she'd do it again."
"It's my business!"
"You're an idiot."
"Why, House? Why do you have to destroy every relationship I ever dare to attempt? I can't even have friends! Why, House?"
"You let people use you. You never learn from your mistakes."
"Oh that's great coming from you! What better authority on using me than yourself?"
"Somebody has too look out for you, Moron. You can't seem to do it yourself."
"And what gives you the right? . . . what makes you think that you-"
"Because I've been here! All along. Always! Every time. I pick up the pieces. I . . ."
"You sabotage every relationship I ever -"
"Oh stop it! How many times have I thrown rice at your sorry ass? How many nurses do I know way too much about without ever having even met them? How many nights have you spent on my couch crying in your beer? I'm HERE damn it! Why can't you see me?"
"Yeah, you're here. You parade around naked and commandeer my bathtub and jerk off on my sofa and rent porn on my cable account and buy hookers right in front of me, but you never even touch . . ."
". . ."
"Wilson . . ."
". . ."
"Wilson . . . ?"
"I . . . I asked you to live with me! I bought this loft, for you! I bought you that organ just so you'd know I want you here. I offered you a ring!! I asked you to MARRY me!! But you never let me in! You never let ANYONE in . . . but I thought . . . I hoped . . . but you don't want me to care about you. You won't let me. And I'm lonely, House. You don't need anyone. You don't care about anything. But I need something House! I can't live without it . . . and every time I try to . . . every time I get so desperate that I go to someone else . . . just to feel like I'm still alive . . . just to feel like somebody wants me . . . you swoop down and make a mockery of it and destroy everything and leave me alone again! I can't be alone forever, House. I can't live like this. You don't want me, you just want to control my life so that no one else can have me either. I need to be loved, House!!"
"Wilson you're an idiot."
"You Moron. Why do you think I do all those things? Why do you think I'm so obsessed with you? I know which tie you wear on which day of the week. I know how many pairs of underwear you have! I know how many times you chew your food! I know how many sips it takes you to finish your morning coffee! I wear that ring EVERY NIGHT!! And I lie alone in that spare bedroom and think about you talking to a dead woman who never loved you one tenth as much as I've loved you for YEARS . . ."
"You . . . wear the ring?"
"You know you've never answered my question."
"You idiot. I just DID."
(Comments are loved)