DISCLAIMER: I don't own any of these characters or this song.


"All the single ladies over here!"

With the cake cut, the tipsy toasts concluded, and the bride's and groom's parents done stumbling through their special dances and unabashedly wiping their eyes, it was time for that age-old tradition of ritualized humiliation, the tossing of the bouquet.

Sam exchanged meaningful glances with Cuddy across the table. "I don't know about you, but I've gotten too old for this shit."

"Absolutely," Cuddy agreed, although Wilson could see from his seat at Sam's side that her expression was approximately two parts relieved to one part wistful. House, meanwhile, looked like he was making a Herculean effort not to appear either uncomfortable or bored. Knowing him, it was probably both.

Meanwhile, a horde of young women had descended on the dance floor, jockeying for position behind the bride. "One, two, THREE!" they chorused as she covered her eyes and tossed the bouquet a little too vigorously over her shoulder. It sailed right over the heads of the self-declared single ladies – and into a startled Sam's lap.

Wilson, watching her face, though that he detected a flash of something – was it fear? – but it vanished so quickly that he decided he must have imagined it. In response to the cheers at their table and the complaints from the disappointed crowd, Sam stood up, flourishing the flowers like an Oscar, and bowed with a stunning and slightly self-mocking smile. Beside him, House golf-clapped, opening his mouth to say something, then grimaced in a way that suggested that a deceptively serene Cuddy had probably just stepped hard on his foot.

Hardly believing his good fortune, Wilson fumbled in his coat pocket for the little velvet-covered box that he had brought with him. When Sam sat down again, he rose, clearing his throat. "That was such perfect timing," he said loudly to the assembly at large, "because I came here today intending to ask this beautiful, intelligent, and amazing woman to consent to be my once – and future – wife."

The silence had started on either side of them but spread quickly to fill the room as Wilson got down on one knee beside his ex-wife's chair. He pulled her limp hand from her lap and held up the ring. "Samantha Carr," he said, "will you marry me?"

Sam smiled down at him, and her eyes glistened, but Wilson's heart sank when he saw at once, if no one else did, that it was not with joy but with compassion. "James," she said, and leaned forward to kiss him lightly on the lips. Glasses were raised and clinked, and there was an outpouring of claps and whistles from nearby tables. Alone among their friends and colleagues, House only sat there, twirling his cane between his hands and looking thoughtful.

When the applause had died down at last, Sam squeezed Wilson's hand and said softly, "Could you come with me for a minute?" She picked up her purse and slung it over her shoulder. Filled with dread, he got up off of his knees and followed her into the lobby, where she stopped and turned to face him, arms folded under her breasts.

"James," she said, "I wish you'd warned me."

"Warned you? This wasn't a, an attack. I seem to recall that you like surprises. In fact, I thought that you always considered lack of spontaneity to be one of my major flaws." His tone was bitterer than he wanted it to be, but he couldn't help himself.

"I meant," she sighed, "maybe it would have been better if we'd actually had a chance to, you know, discuss a big decision like this before you put me in such an impossible position in public."

"I don't understand," he said helplessly. "Things have been going so well with us. I thought that you wanted this."

"I did," she said, looking away for a second, then taking a deep breath and squarely meeting his gaze. "But I don't think that this is really what you want."

"How can you say that?" he protested. "I've rearranged my life for you! I even kicked House out of the condo, at your request, so that we could be together."

"House," she repeated, giving him a look that was pitying and amused and rueful all at once. "Yeah, about that."

"What about it? He's my best friend, my only friend, and he needed me, and I shoved him aside for you!"

"James," she said, "I can't believe that someone has to say this to you after all this time, but… House isn't your friend. At least, he isn't just your friend."

By now he was so lost that he didn't even know where he expected to end up, much less which direction to head in. "What are you talking about? Sam?"

She uncrossed her arms, leaned forward, and kissed him on the cheek. "Oh, James," she sighed, rolling her eyes, and turned around, and walked out of the hotel and out of his life.


When neither Sam nor Wilson had returned to the table after a full ten minutes, House hauled himself to his feet, wincing against the twinge in his thigh, and announced, "Gotta pee." He ignored Lisa's inquisitive glance and stumped off towards the lobby, looked around, then moved purposefully on to the men's restroom.

It was completely still and apparently empty except for one shuttered stall. House lifted his cane and banged peremptorily on the door. "Jimmy! Know you're in there. Two proposals rejected in one year, I think that's a record even for you."

The door swung open abruptly to reveal Wilson, red-faced and wild-eyed. "You. I haven't quite figured out how yet, but this is your fault."

House spread his hands and spoke gruffly, even as he appraised Wilson's trembling body from head to toe with an expert eye. "I take it that the artist formerly known as Mrs. Wilson has just left the building."

"I can see that you're devastated," Wilson said sarcastically, and pointed an accusing finger. "You never liked her!"

"Not true," House replied reasonably. "Not at the beginning, sure, but that was probably because she handed you your heart by express mail just before the first major conference talk of your career. Since she came back, she's grown on me." His eyes narrowed. "What exactly did she say to you?"

"She wasn't making any sense," Wilson groaned. "She said that you weren't – that we – "

"Yes?" House asked, trying his damnedest to be supportive and encouraging even though every inch of his skin crawled with the desire to be far, far away from here. Wilson stared back at him, his eyes abruptly widening in despairing disbelief.

Then, to House's horror, Wilson lurched forward, his face suddenly far too close. "W-what are you-" House stuttered, just before his mouth was stopped by a desperate kiss. Drawing away and attempting to protest only allowed Wilson to grab him by the collar and follow, pushing House back uncomfortably into the cold edge of the counter, and sliding his tongue between House's teeth, all warmth and wetness and the tang of expensive champagne.

Despite his astonishment, House reacted instinctively, grabbing Wilson around the waist for support as his leg threatened to buckle under him, and allowing his lips to loosen and his jaw to go slack. Wilson was flushed and shaky, damp and smelling of nervous sweat, but his grip on House's shirt was firm, and his kiss growing ever more insistent as his friend failed to force him away. House felt himself getting hard, a physiological response that his brain noted automatically just before all higher functions shut down. He pulled Wilson more tightly to him, sucking on his tongue and pressing against his lips hard enough to bruise.

The blood was roaring in his ears. House was only dimly aware of Wilson's fingers releasing his collar and starting to fumble with his fly. For his part, he yanked at Wilson's ridiculous bow tie, popping the first two buttons in impatience as he lowered his head to growl and nip against the artery throbbing at the side of his throat. Wilson moaned and clenched his fists, twisting the front of House's slacks so that he hissed in turn as the fabric grazed the tender tip of his erection.

Just then, the restroom door swung open. Dazed, House raised his head and wrenched it around to see Foreman standing there frozen, his heavy-lidded eyes open wide for once. "Busy," he snapped, holding fast to Wilson's incipient love handles.

"Getting busy," Wilson corrected, and then giggle-snorted, looking simultaneously ecstatic and terrified.

Foreman looked from one to the other of them, then rolled his eyes and turned around. As the door shut behind him, House heard him say distinctly, "Taub. You won the bet. Yeah, that one."