Warning: sad. Plus, I like Bonnie. Spoilers for Season 7 and 8.1.
Word Count: ~500.
lj-cut text="At least now I'm no longer afraid he's dead."
James signed everywhere the clerk indicated. She collected his copy of all the papers tidily in a folder, which he slid in his workbag. He left the keys on the table and they walked out together.
Five minutes later they were sitting across each other, two steaming mugs and the memory of their broken marriage between them. Plus everything she had heard, in the news and through gossip; she had a couple of friends still among doctor's wives.
"Thank you, Bonnie, for allowing me to reschedule my part of the closure."
She just nodded; she understood too well his unwillingness to interact directly with the buyers, a freshly married couple with twins on the way.
"Call me when you want to buy again," she looked at him, and decided to risk an indirect question, "though I've heard you may want to move away from New Jersey."
"That's what everyone says I should do. Move. Or maybe move on."
He sipped his coffee briefly, his hair limp on his forehead, then he absent-mindedly rubbed his right wrist, still paler and stiffer than the other, looking through her rather than at her. She knew him enough to realize he was struggling to find words for his thoughts. Or, more precisely, to say one name.
"I heard about House. How is he?"
He made a strange movement, not so much like a shiver, rather as if an electric current had gone through him for an instant.
"I haven't been in touch with him since the accident; Cuddy let me know he was in jail. He refuses all visitors and didn't make an exception for me."
She looked directly in his face. James had always claimed she was the one person he couldn't lie to.
"You miss him."
He nodded. There was a tinge of relief shining through the guilt in his eyes.
"At least I'm no longer afraid he's dead."
He grabbed his nose between the eyebrows, and she could have sworn she saw his thumb and forefinger briefly swipe the corners of his eyes. When his phone beeped he pulled it out, looked at it, emptied his cup, sat up straight and looked at her.
"I have to go, sorry. That was a reminder about my next appointment."
She let him pay the bill and help her into her coat; he walked her to her car, as he used to do when they dated. Except then he looked so much younger than he was, and now the opposite was true.
"James, if you feel lonely, call."
His faint smile was the first of the day, and there was so much pain in it that she fervidly hoped she would never see a similar one on James's face again.
"I'm not lonely. I've got a diabetic cat to care for, and until the end of November I am the one organizing birthday parties for the oncology nurses." He paused while she sat down behind the wheel. "I might call anyway."
He closed her car door, and she watched as he slowly walked away to his own car, his shoulders bent, bareheaded under the drizzling rain.