AN: So here's the collegefic I promised myself I'd never write. Then I heard Bon Iver's Michicant and broke down. If you've never listened to this song, you must. Not only is it perfect for these two, but it is gorgeous. And, on an unrelated note, I'm looking for a beta, so if you're interested, send me a PM. Enjoy!
"I was unafraid, I was a boy, I was a tender age
melic in the naked, knew a lake and drew the lofts for page
hurdle all the waitings up, know it wasn't wedded love
4 long minutes end and it was over it'd all be back"
Bon Iver – Michicant
She is 18, full of ambition, driven, and always in control.
He is 23, wise beyond his years, a cynical asshole yet, even now obsessed with the latest puzzle; and she is it.
He first saw her in the bookstore, just another studious undergrad who liked to cut loose once in a while, and he dismissed her. He had her all figured out. But then she is at a graduate-level class on endocrinology (and, he can only assume, auditing, because there is no way she got the dean's permission to enroll in that course), sitting next to him in the back of the lecture hall (an uncharacteristic spot for such a clearly perfection-oriented student) and leaning over a little too far to retrieve a dropped pencil (those tops she wears heart-attack inducing). And then he sees her again, at a party hosted by med students, drunk as hell and winning over half the room with her larger than life smile. He knows that she knows he's there, and now feels like the perfect time to confirm her suspicions; before the for-show flirting gets too serious. He heads over to where Lisa Cuddy is sitting, and aims at her his trademark smirk. She glances up at him, looking triumphant; she did know he was going to come over here.
"And who might you be?" she asks, flashing that smile that seems to take over not just her face but her whole being.
"Greg House. I think we've met before."
She appraises him slowly, letting her eyes devour him before she speaks, "Lisa Cuddy. And I don't think so."
"Really? Because I seem to remember someone with the last name Cuddy walking into the bookstore at the beginning of the semester. You have a class with Professor Lamb?"
"Yes I do, House. And I'm taking it because of that giant chip on my shoulder, right? Now I remember you. You were that ass who tried to psychoanalyze me in the bookstore," she says as her eyes flash a challenge.
"That would be me."
"Well, I appreciate the hello, but I'm not sure why you remember me, specifically. You must get hundreds of students coming up to you every day, no?" she asks, and he knows she's baiting him – and has been the whole time – but decides to play along.
"Give or take," he shrugs.
She makes eye contact with him and suddenly, they are the only two people in the room. She is having a hard time remembering how to breathe.
"I remember all the pretty girls, though."
She tilts her head and gives another smile, smaller this time, less sure of herself. "Are you flirting with me, Greg House?"
He gives another shrug, its nonchalance hiding the weight of his emotions. "Why don't you come outside and find out?"
She gives him another appraisal; she is weighing him up and down, making sure she still has the upper hand in this exchange before giving a short nod and saying, "okay."
He helps her up off the couch, much to the chagrin of the two first-year med students who are flanking her. But he is the infamous Greg House, and they know better than to get in the way of him and a potential hook-up. He leads her outside, her tiny hand hot in his. She is sensual and eager and he feels as though he would do anything for her (more than he has felt about any girl in a long time).
When they get to the garage she drags him into the corner beside the refrigerator, practically pinning him against a wall. He is bigger and stronger and could easily move around her if he wants to. But she has taken charge of the entire situation and his feet are rooted to the ground in front of her. He doesn't think he could move even if he wanted to.
She tilts her head to the side and looks him in the eyes again (god those eyes, they throw her off guard and she loves and hates it at the same time). Then she starts talking again, "Greg House. I know who you are, but who doesn't? I went up to you in the bookstore on purpose. I had heard from a few people that you would... analyze... kids based on their schedules, and I also knew that you could be kind of an ass about it, but I was curious. Then I saw you in my endocrinology lecture, and I wanted a chance to analyze you. So I sat next to you, and just... observed."
"And what did you see?" he asks.
"An arrogant genius who acts like an ass because, being smarter than ninety-nine percent of the population, he can be," she says. "But I think he has a touch of ADD, he seems easily distracted by the breasts of the undergrad who always sits next to him. Am I right?"
The truth is, she's bluffing. She doesn't know if Greg House has noticed her in his endocrinology lecture, or even knows she exists. She has followed him to this party; without his guaranteed presence, frankly, she would have declined the invitation of the over-enthusiastic med student who clearly wanted to sleep with her. She is taking a risk – a rare occurrence for her – but oddly, she hardly thinks about it. Perhaps it's because she's drunk, or because she's been stressed about exams, but she has a feeling these aren't the real reasons. Somehow she knows that it is Greg House who is doing this to her.
He swallows. She is smart, sexy, and, it would seem, a total control freak. He turns the tables and grabs her arm, practically dragging her to his car. Once there he pushes her up against the door, and gives her a searing kiss; delicate and powerful all at once.
It makes butterflies go off in her stomach, and once he pulls away, she smiles. She feels so alive she could burst. "So I'm guessing that's a yes?" she asks.
He can't believe he is admitting this (and to someone who may as well be a perfect stranger) but he does anyway. "I knew you would be here. That's why I came. I got that idiot who follows you around like a kicked puppy to ask you and to make sure you knew that I would be stopping by. I wanted to test a theory."
She cocks her head again, and he adds it to the rapidly growing list of little things she does that he loves. "What theory?" she asks, biting her lip.
He traces circles on her wrist with his thumb. "The theory that you've noticed me, and want to sleep with me as badly as I want to sleep with you."
She laughs, and it is full and throaty and makes him grin like an idiot. "Oh, House, you definitely know how to seduce a woman."
He kisses her again in response. Immediately, he can tell that she has given in. Any resistance or doubts she may have held in regards to coming here (and to be frank, there weren't many) melt away when House puts his hands around Cuddy's face and kisses her like she's the only girl he has ever wanted. Between kisses, he murmurs, "get in the car."
She complies immediately, and they drive off, leaving behind the lights and noise of the party.
They stumble through the door – hands roaming, clothes being shed – and across his tiny apartment to his room. When they get to the bed he pauses, and she can feel him drinking her in.
"You are so sexy," he says, and it sounds almost clinical. Cuddy would be insulted, but the way he's looking at her is telling her everything she needs to know about how he feels.
She smiles up at him, giddy with lust and alcohol. "Don't talk," she says, silencing him with a kiss.
She wakes up around 3 to the sounds of a guitar coming from the living room.
He is on the couch, playing something she's never heard before, melancholy and achingly beautiful. He looks up at her, wrapped in one of his lacrosse sweatshirts, her knees up to her chest, sitting across from him on his couch, and he smiles. She is small and vulnerable, her brash confidence stripped away, and he dares to think he might love her for it. He plays the last few chords and sets his guitar down.
"So," she says, breaking the silence. "What now?"
"Well, I have the apartment to myself, so we could go back to my room, stay out here, head to the kitchen, maybe even-"
"No, I mean, what about... this?" she asks, careful to avoid using the word "us," since he's practically a stranger and she doesn't really know him, and she's not even sure if he wants there to be an "us," even though being with him feels practiced already.
"Us?" he asks, picking up on her hesitation.
He is sliding rapidly into territory in which he has no control, but with her, he doesn't really mind. The only thing that could possibly reverse his course right now would be Lisa Cuddy revealing some horrific set of psychopathic tendencies. And even that, he can't be sure about.
"Well, we'll get up in the morning, I'll make breakfast. You'll leave, I'll call you, ask you out. You'll realize you made a mistake, turn me down about five times, and then hope I take the hint when you drop off my freshly laundered sweatshirt at a time you know I have class. Then I'll try and get over you, my friends will make fun of me for getting attached to a one-night stand, and I'll eventually move on.
"Or, you could say yes when I ask you out and we could go out to dinner tomorrow night."
Lisa Cuddy always had everything under control. Decisions were carefully considered, long-term goals always in sight. But with Greg House, things feel different. He's steamrollered her, making her realize that the control she thinks she has is just an illusion. With him she is impulsive, maybe even a little reckless, and unconcerned about what she "should" be doing. It scares the hell out of her, but she has a feeling that maybe, just maybe, he's worth the risk. So she says yes and lets him carry her back to bed.
"Blueberry waffles?" he asks.
The morning light from the window shines on her face, making her squint. She looks sweet and soft, still vaguely drunk from the night before. He wonders how she's managing to look so good right now.
"I borrowed your toothbrush. Hope you don't mind," she says, as she sits down at the breakfast nook, which House has thrown a tablecloth over. She strokes the petals of the sunflowers he has put in the center and smiles. She wonders, briefly, where he got them, and if he'll always manage to amaze her like this. "Are we still on for tonight?" she asks, trying not to sound too hopeful – she doesn't want him to know how much this means to her. She needs to hold onto every scrap of power she has now, because he is far too good at taking it away from her.
"Of course. I'll pick you up at seven," he says, as he hands her a plate of waffles, piled high with whipped cream.
She gives him that smile again before putting a dab of it on his nose.
He knows there's no turning back now, but decides to worry about it later.
She has called him once in the past 2 hours. She is desperate not to seem desperate, and she knows she's driving her roommate crazy with the incessant pacing and monopolizing of the phone, but she doesn't want to fuck this up by being clingy and needy. If there are two things Lisa Cuddy will never be, it is clingy and needy.
At 10, she opens a bottle of wine. By 11, she has drained it. At midnight, her roommate forces her to go to bed. Finally, at 1, she stops crying and falls asleep. In the morning, her roommate mercifully pretends she hadn't heard anything. And the next time Cuddy says Greg House's name, she is calling it out into a crowded clinic waiting room.
AN2: Thanks so much for reading! Reviews are always appreciated, and I love constructive criticism.