This is the first chapter of the sequel to Moving On. Hope you like it.
Chapter 1. We've Only Just Begun
The diners and staff at Mo's Diner were surprised when they saw Cameron and House walk in. Those who'd been at the high school, or heard about their work there, were sure he was long gone.
"Your usual booth is available," Chrissy told them with a big smile.
"I'm surprised you haven't put up a plaque: 'Reserved for crochety old doctors passing through town'." House said and the grin on her face turned into a laugh.
Pete was at his usual booth, too, eating a heaping plate of meatballs and spaghetti. "Hey, docs!" he called as he waved at them.
House had a feeling of deja vu as he slid into the worn leatherette booth. The first time he'd seen the older man, Pete was at that booth, eating the same thing. "Just because we're here, don't feel you have to start choking or have a heart attack or something," he called back.
Pete chuckled, too, but kept right on eating.
House had told himself that he'd come back to Shelby after finally leaving because he was hungry and wanted Mo's stew, or maybe the chicken and dumplings. Now, seeing Pete's spaghetti and meatballs, he changed his mind. Maybe he'd have that.
Cameron sat down opposite him and Chrissy poured them each some coffee, then asked, "What would you like tonight?"
"I'll have the spaghetti and meatballs," he said, surprising Cameron.
"Actually, that sounds good," she said. "Looks good, too," she added, watching how Pete was digging into his.
"That'll be right up," Chrissy said, taking their menus. "What kind of dressing on your salads?"
They each told her and she went to call their orders in to her mother. She returned with their salads and a basket of rolls. "Mom made dinner rolls tonight," she said. "I guess everything's returning to normal around here."
Another diner called her over for more coffee so she left, but it had been obvious she wanted to talk to the two doctors some more.
"She's a good kid," Cameron said.
House just nodded. Chrissy had been a great help with their patients during the hurricane that kept House in town.
"I'm going to do all I can to help her get into medical school," Cameron told him.
He smirked at her. "I'll bet you will!" She was Cameron after all.
"I thought you came back for Mo's stew. How come you ordered the meatballs and spaghetti?" she asked.
"Hey, I can change my mind," he said. "I've eaten the stew, the meatloaf, and the lasagne. Wanted to try something else."
"OK," she said with a smile. He'd changed his mind a few times lately, and sometimes about things that were more important than what he wanted to eat. But he was still the same old House.
Chrissy returned with their food. "Mom gave you an extra meatball," she told House with a smile. "Hope you like them."
"Yum," Cameron said after her first bite.
"Yum? Do people still say that?" House asked. "Although I must say, these are good. Better even than the meatloaf."
They were half-way through with their plates of food when Pete came over. "I see yer stickin' around after all," he told House.
"You owe me a ride on your boat," House replied.
"Ya know she's over to Luther's getting' fixed up," Pete reminded him. His boat had been damaged during the storm.
"So how long will that take?"
"Could be as much as two weeks."
"I can wait," House said.
Pete laughed again and said, "See ya 'round, House."
After dinner, House finally drove Cameron home. She hadn't been there for days, and she knew her landlady, Mrs. McClelland, had been worried about her. She'd just hoped the elderly woman had realized that she was needed at the clinic throughout the storm. And after the storm, when so many more patients could make it to her, they'd had to shift operations to the high school gymnasium to accommodate everyone.
Cameron led House up the three steps to the front porch of the old Victorian house, walking slowly enough that he didn't struggle to keep up with her. Mrs. McClelland opened the front door before they reached it.
"Allison! I'm so glad to see you!" she said. "And you must be the doctor who's been helping her!"
Cameron smiled at her. Jean McClelland was a compact woman with neatly combed short gray hair, a perpetual smile on her lips, and a pleasant word for everyone.
"Mrs. McClelland, this is...a friend of mine, Dr. Gregory House," Cameron told her. "So you heard about all the people who were ill."
"Oh, aye, of course," she replied in a softly accented voice. "After you called to say you had to stay at the clinic, and then you never came home, well, I worried at first. I mean with the storm and the power going out. Marian from next door came by to make sure I was all right, and she told me Herb, her husband, wasn't well."
"Yes, she brought him into the clinic after the storm was over," Cameron said. "Did she tell you we had to move everyone to the high school?"
"Oh, aye, and about the blue-eyed doctor who was helping you." Mrs. McClelland smiled up at House. "She was right."
"Dr. House will be staying in town for a while," Cameron told her.
"Helping you at the clinic?"
"No," House replied for Cameron. "I'm going to check out the hospitals in the area. See if any want to start a diagnostics department."
"Oh, what's that?" Mrs. McClelland asked.
"That's what House did when I worked for him," Cameron replied. "Remember I told you about the team that diagnosed patients that no one else could?"
"Oh, yes!" She turned to House. "Doctor, do you have a place to stay?"
"He's going to stay with me," Cameron said. Then she saw the look on House's face. "You are, aren't you?"
He'd thought about going back to the Mo-Z Inn, but the prospect of another night with Cameron trumped that. "Yes. I guess I am."