Song: In the still of the Night" - Cole Porter
Doctor Gregory House hated to be associated with the uppity, lavish personalities of his class. Those who indulged in fake pleasantries and snide remarks spoken in the hush of a whisper when backs were turned. The bitterness that surrounded the upper-stations annoyed and frustrated him, since he wasn't one to take comfort in insincere sentimentalities. Nor was he one to affect sentimentalities of any sort, really.
Some would define his glib association with sarcasm as callous and contrary to his position, but he rarely cared to understand or analyze such things. He found his time was better spent at these gaudy functions by playing the piano with the finesse and accuracy of a fifty year veteran in the fine arts. Smug with the fact he was not near fifty years old just yet and already quite the maestro.
He found that watching - in comparison to actually interacting with what he would loosely call his 'fellow social elite' - was far more fascinating than actually speaking to a single one of them. He was known generously throughout as a legend in his own right, and while each man and their wife greeted him with the casual pleasantries of an old friend, he bestowed on them no such generosity and continued on playing his tunes, wondering on the odd occasion that, if it weren't for his brilliance of profession and composition, would be even be invited to such events as the opening of the largest teaching hospital Princeton had ever seen? Probably not, but little did that matter, honestly. And little did he care for the answer.
He liked to watch the doctors and donors come and go through the main hall as he lolled his head to the tune of the grand piano, making the crowd who didn't know of him smile at the dulcet tunes - and those that did marveled at the beauty dripping from the fingers of the devil himself.
He recognized many of the initial board, hired to over-see the main decisions of this grand institution; recognized Doctor James Wilson on the arm of his soon-to-be third wife; Doctor Andrew Basinger, drooling with the effects of one too many glasses of champagne and being carted away before the likes of the Dean caught wind of his condition.
Women in their designer gowns fawned over the piano in swoons, their ornate jewelry and atrocious manners a stronger annoyance than their beauty was a damper, prompting him to shoo them away.
All but one.
His fingers never stilled, but as he peered across the darkened hue of the room, through the haze of cigarette smoke and the babble of insincere laughter, he caught the eyes of the most beautiful damsel he'd ever seen. Her eyes caught his, dancing as the ruby of her lips tilted and puckered in the gentlest of smirks. Her gown was of a sleek and black nature, wrapping around the voluptuous parts of her body - to which his cultured sensibilities were not supposed to stray - and her slender, enticing throat adorned with shining white pearls to match the gloves that extended past her elbow. She was exquisite and he found himself uncharacteristically enraptured.
She strolled towards him through the dim light and out onto the glow of his make-shift stage. It was there he noticed her hair, wrapped and turned low at the back of her neck, with loose black curls gathered delicately at the side of her cheeks. Elegant in its simplicity, she had him fascinated.
He watched her every move as she made her way around the piano, running a single gloved hand along its surface, keeping her vibrant blue eyes locked with his as she did.
He wanted desperately to know who she was.
"Do you know me?" she questioned. Though so infatuated was he with the rich lusciousness of ruby lips that he didn't hear.
"Excuse me, sir." She smirked and he blinked a few times, finally losing his beat as his fingers stilled and he looked up at her.
"What?" he demanded, narrowing his eyes as soon as he realized that she had ruined his favourite piece.
"I asked if you knew me?"
"No, I don't. Though, I've known a fair few women in my life. Should I know you?"
She knew to what he was inferring and glared, but let it be. She knew his reputation. "I hear that you, sir, are somewhat of a misanthrope. It seems to be the favourite of all words used to describe the legendary Gregory House."
"Ah, I would have assumed others to be greatly favoured over that one."
"None suitable for the present company." Her lips curved in a wicked smile and she settled on him a sizzling glare that made his heart beat several times faster than the norm.
"Who are you?" he asked, and though intrigued by her forward nature, was annoyed that she had not yet declared even her name to him.
"A friend." She smiled.
"I don't have friends."
"Perhaps, though Doctor Wilson seems to assume otherwise." She turned against the piano, letting her elbow bend across it as she leaned closer to him to speak softly. "If that is the case, I would suggest perhaps ensuring he knows you hold him in such a low regard."
He wanted to growl in annoyance. Who is she? He hissed mentally as she turned to look down at his hands against the keys, tapping the top of one hand lightly with a gloved finger before he began to play again, a song she knew. She listened with her eyes closed for a few moments and he watched her intently, studying her features and the softness of her bare back near the edge of his piano. She caught him entirely off-guard when she started to sing softly.
"In the still of the night, as I gaze from my window, at the moon in its flight, my thoughts all stray to you..." She smiled down at him as she crossed her hands in front of herself and the crowd of people started to take interest in the pair.
"In the still of the night, All the world is in slumber, all the times without number, Darling when I say to you..." He watched his fingers on the keys, confused and irritated that she could match his pace so effortlessly.
"Do you love me, as I love you, Are you my life to be, my dream come true.." Slowly, she turned to him, leaning her elbows on the piano as he looked up at her. She was smiling and strangely he felt she was singing to him.
"Or will this dream of mine fade out of sight, Like the moon growing dim, on the rim of the hill, In the chill, still, of the night..." He noticed out of the corner of his eye, a man emerge from the crowd with a scowl worthy a match to his own at the height of annoyance and he realized that it was a false hope to assume such a creature could be here alone. Created simply to counter him.
She stunned him, as she moved beside him to sit on the very smallest portion of bench he left bare to whisper the last of their gentle duet in his ear - "Like the moon growing dim, on the rim of the hill, In the chill, still, of the night."
The crowd erupted in applause, though she kept her cerulean blues focused on his own. Silent and patient as he inspected her and her intentions; smirking because she knew she had the all-knowing Gregory House at his knees and blind of what to do with her, so seemingly inconsequential as a woman.
She jumped suddenly, turning her eyes from his to meet the man who had taken his place beside them. "Oh! This is Doctor Gre-"
He stopped her short, grabbing her arm and pulling her to her feet. "What are you doing?" He hissed, clearly annoyed and she glared. "I'm enjoying the party. What are you doing? How dare you grab me so inappropriately, sir?" She pulled her arm free harshly and shuffled her flowing gown out of her path as she stepped around the man.
"Good night, Doctor House." She smiled sweetly, almost too sweetly. "It appears your presence, contrary to popular interpretation, has been the highlight of my evening."
Before either man could address her again, she'd stormed through the crowd and haze and left through the balcony doors.
"You have no claim to her." The rude man turned on House and he looked up at him with barely contained disdain.
"By the manner of things, nor do you, apparently." The man's face turned beet red with fury before House stood awkwardly, gathering his cane at his side to step around him. "Sorry," he apologized with as much insincerity as he could muster when he barged ungainly into the man. "I'm rather disabled, as you can see."
Whether it was the cane or his manner, House didn't know. But when the man didn't follow him, instead storming towards the exit, he smiled smugly and decided that it was in his best interest to follow the woman whose eyes danced the same beat as his.
He found her shivering against the moonlight on the balcony, her silhouette illuminated by its silver glow and he found himself smiling pleasantly before clearing his throat, perfecting his scowl and moving to lean against the railing in a stance that matched hers.
"Will you sing for me again?" he enquired quietly, earning a soft smirk and a gentle hand atop his own as she parted her ruby-red lips to begin.