The first months she folds in on herself, stays small, and tries to keep up with his long uneven stride. Hiding seems wise. Sometimes being unobtrusive has advantages. She tries for mousy. When she offers a differential, her voice is low, her words the quiet brush strokes of a watercolorist. Does he feel them on his skin? Does she want to know?
For years, she has studied medicine. Now she studies him.
He watches her when he thinks she's not aware. It has been so from the first day. She remembers the weight of his eyes on her shoulder blades - as if she wasn't carrying enough weight, the past a stuffed backpack. You've never been where I am, she presumes.
Chase walks in to her sorting the mail, and slumps into a chair, shaking his head, and opening The New York Times. House stands at the board, staring at the answer she's written, her diagnosis, of the case. He turns to address his slender immunologist. She looks up, her confidence at odds with her quietness. He opens his mouth and closes it, as she slices into an envelope. She stands, shrugs at him, and wanders out, feeling the hollow between her legs, the tightness of her ass as she moves toward the elevator, and clinic duty.
She finishes with her last patient late, walks to the lobby, and stands looking into the night sky. The moon is flush - it's not as dark as she feels. The Fellowship will end: everything casts a shadow in the right light.
Weeks pass. Patients appear. Disappear. Her plant dies. He looks curious when she places a potted jade tree in his office. First he squeezes a cushy leaf, and then he takes a turn around the room and, finally, puts vinyl on the turntable and turns up the volume.
His life force is a bomb blast-he is not to be ignored, though she sits at his desk, signing forms, and idly stroking the slippery silver of his ink pen when she can't help watching him pace the worn carpet or twirl his cane like a baton. She dresses him in period clothes, in Tom Ford tuxedos. She undresses him, slowly, with concentration, forgetting to breathe. She pictures his shirt slipping from his shoulders, and the line of hair sloping from belly to belt buckle.
When he sleeps in his office chair, she writes on the whiteboard, listing symptoms. Increased heart rate. Dilation of the pupils. Swollen earlobes. Taut nipples. A yawning sensation down below. A heaviness in her abdomen. Circulatory issues. Heightened breathing. Standing with marker in hand, she feels her buttocks tighten, and squeezes her pelvic muscles to relieve the ache between her legs. It only makes her more aware.
She dares him to wake up.
Even when he's unconscious he's an invitation to be opened. His shirt is dark blue, cotton, well-fitted to his chest and shoulders. Even slack, his biceps flex. The jeans hold him in, loving his legs. His body pulses, throbs. His heart beats in the hollow of his throat while she watches, leaning against his desk, ankles crossed. Hunger never leaves her. Beneath his earlobe there's the part of his neck where a tendon stands on edge. She licks it, the way she does other things: Internally.
The white paper floor lamp glows, casting an aura. Legs spread, arms behind his head, eyes closed, he sits. Sleeps. She slips out of her heels and pads over to the drawer where she left her handbag. Warmth emanates from his body as her breast brushes his arm. Warmth spreads from her abdomen and down between her legs. She feels him wake, feels his body come alive, expects an exclamation. Instead, a warm hand wraps round her wrist, turning her to face him. He blinks, focusing on her face, meeting her eyes, the depth endless.
There is the invitation, and a tenderness hurts her heart. Unravels everything.