A short one tonight, wrapping up the hospital visit and the evening after.
Thanks for all the great comments. Keep 'em coming. You know we writers love them even more than chocolate.
Chapter 105. A PERFECT ENDING TO A NOT-SO-PERFECT DAY
The children and their chaperones went back to the lobby with Cuddy to wait for their school bus.
"Dr. Cuddy, thank you so much for making this day possible," Mrs.
Bean said, in all sincerity. "Despite everything, I think the
children had a great time and learned a lot." She looked around at the many smiling faces.
"I know it wasn't all perfect, but I agree. They did enjoy it," Cuddy
said. "I'm especially grateful to you and Mrs. Swenson and Mrs.
Chung for remaining calm through everything."
"To tell you the truth, I found it fascinating myself," Mrs. Chung
"Well, although Tommy won't be in my class next year," Mrs. Bean said "I
hope that I can bring my next class to the hospital for a visit."
"Of course," Cuddy agreed. "We can make it a yearly thing."
In a corner near the door, Gretchen asked Audra, "Do you still hate hospitals?"
The shorter girl studied her. "I guess I always will."
"But why?" Gretchen had grown up around hospitals and really couldn't
"You're comfortable here because your parents are doctors," Audra
began. "But...but every time I've ever been in a hospital something
disastrous happened. Even today. I just hope Elizabeth isn't going
to die like my mother did." Audra was practically in tears.
Her grandmother came over to her and put a comforting arm around her
Gretchen looked at her friend's face and felt the need to reassure
her. "Oh, Audra, my mom and dad are wonderful doctors. They'll find
out what's wrong with Elizabeth and she'll be just fine. I...I didn't
know about your mother."
Mrs. Swenson looked at Gretchen's caring eyes and told her, "Audra's
mother was very sick for a long time. I wanted to be with her on
this trip because I was afraid that being in a hospital would upset
her." She turned to her granddaughter. "Audra, you've done very well
today. And I hope you'll learn that hospitals really aren't scary or
bad places. Just as Gretchen says, the doctors do all they can to
Audra nodded but didn't seem convinced.
"Jahzara!" they suddenly heard Tommy cry out. Gretchen looked up and
saw the bronze-skinned teenager entering the hospital, wearing a
candy-stripers outfit and accompanied by a tall, slender brunette.
"Hi, Tommy" Jahzara said. "What are you doing here?"
"We had a class trip to tour the hospital," he responded.
Gretchen walked over to them. "Hi Jahzara," she said, smiling. "I
didn't know you volunteered here."
"Yes, I just started a few weeks ago. And this is a friend of mine,
Maria Hays. She's starting today." Jahzara told her. "I knew you'd
moved here. Uncle Eric told me. But I didn't know you were in Tommy's
"Yes, isn't that outrageous?" Gretchen asked.
"Well, we'd better go, but I hope we see you soon. Bye." And the two
teens headed to the elevators.
"What else did Dr. House say before he left?" Cameron asked
"He asked how long we'd lived here," Lydia answered for her daughter.
"How long?" Cameron wanted to know too.
"We moved here at the end of August, just before school started,"
Lydia told her. "My husband is here for a two-year visiting
professorship at the University."
"And before that you lived in England."
"That's right," Lydia confirmed.
"Mom, Dr. House left just after you told him about Aunt Lucinda,"
"Aunt Lucinda?" Cameron asked.
"We spent two weeks with my sister in Costa Rica before we came
"Oh!" Now Cameron knew where House was and what he was probably
doing. "Elizabeth, did you feel sick at all when you first arrived
in New Jersey?"
"No," the girl said shaking her head, but there was a lack of
conviction. "Well, you know, I guess I had the sniffles then, but
Mom said it was because of the change of climate or something."
"The climate in New Jersey isn't that different than that in England
and the vegetation isn't too different either. You may have picked
up an infection of some kind in Costa Rica. We just have to find out
which one." Cameron turned to Sullivan. "We should probably start
her on a broad spectrum antibiotic until we know what it is."
Sully nodded and went to order what they needed.
Before she returned, House entered the room, a slight smile on his
"I just checked the CDC reports. There's an epidemic of strep in
Costa Rica," he reported. "Do a throat culture and start her on IVIG."
Cameron breathed a sigh of relief. If that's what it was, it was
easily treatable. The girl hadn't developed Scarlet Fever so it was
likely she had a mild case.
Chapter 106. WE BELONG TO A MUTUAL ADMIRATION SOCIETY
"Will Elizabeth be OK?" Gretchen asked her parents that evening.
"You know we can't talk about a patient's diagnosis," Cameron began.
"She'll be OK," House finished.
"The other kids in the class were worried about her," Gretchen said.
They'd asked Cuddy several times whether she was really sick.
"But I think they liked the hospital trip today. Well, all except
Audra. She still hates hospitals."
"Blondie? Yeah, what's up with her?" House asked out of curiosity.
He remembered how Gretchen had approved his selection of Audra to
push the wheelchair.
"Her Mom was very sick and in a hospital for a long time before she
died. I guess hospitals remind her of that time," Gretchen explained.
"She lives with her grandparents," Cameron told him. "Her grandmother,
Mrs. Swenson, says she's really sad a lot. She's happy Audra has
Gretchen for a friend."
Gretchen looked at her parents but thought about Audra's situation.
"I know how I'd feel if I ever lost either one of you. I am sooo
lucky to have such great parents."
"Oh, Sweetie. We both love you very much," her mother said. "You're
everything anyone would ever want in a child."
Gretchen smiled, but she knew that was how her mother felt about
her. Then her father surprised her by adding. "You are one terrific
kid, you know. Every day you do something else that makes me proud
to be your dad."
She hugged him tightly, then hugged her mother just as tightly.
"I guess that wasn't a complete disaster," Cuddy told her husband as
they cleared the table after dinner. Tommy had eaten and then
disappeared into his room to finish his homework so he could watch
his favorite TV show later.
"Actually, I think it went very well," Wilson said, carrying the
plates to the dishwasher. Lisa was too hard on herself, he thought.
"Do you think that Davidson was right? Jim, do I allow my 'friends'
to get away with things?" She didn't wait for him to answer these
questions. "I know people have been saying for years that I'm way
too easy on House."
"Lisa, don't listen to Davidson. It's just...sour grapes. He had
Taylor convinced that he walked on water and you pulled that out
from under him by asking Taylor to hire Cameron. Now she's running
rings around him, showing what a really excellent doctor can do."
"Do you really think that's all it is?" Cuddy was willing to be
He put everything down and put his hands on her shoulders. "You have
run that hospital for over fifteen years. You've made it a successful
and respected teaching hospital. You. No one else. Whatever you did.
However you did it. It worked." He looked at her anxious face. "And
that jerk Davidson has no right, no cause to question you or any of
"Oh, Jimmy, I love you." She threw her arms around his neck and
kissed him passionately. "Let's just leave all this for later and
let me show you how much."