The satin white dress spilled across the floor as she arched her back...
Cuddy was fast asleep in her master bedroom, in her house, in Hartford, Connecticut. She was not wearing a satin white dress, but a long, loose shirt that used to belong to a certain special doctor...
Cuddy threw her body upwards dramatically, the motion causing her to rise to her knees. Suddenly, the only light in the dimly lit room was blocked, and she peered up at the source.
The clock rang out 1a.m.
Blue eyes and a devilish grin met her gaze, and she couldn't help but blush a little and smile back. The man was wearing a comical suit, complete with a red bowtie and top hat. He extended a candy cane cane towards her, and she latched on.
In bed, Cuddy trembled slightly. The wind blew gently outside.
The man started to pull her across the floor, and Cuddy laughed, whispers of "Get happy" and "Get ready" ringing in her ears.
She flipped onto her other side.
It was all good fun, until her arm started to ache from the strain, and her dress started to feel uncomfortable...
Cuddy broke out into a sweat.
She yelled at the man to stop, but he continued to run, his back turned to her. Her dress felt too tight and she became super claustrophobic in it – she couldn't breathe.
The streets were quiet and empty outside.
She was screaming hysterically now, feeling her chest tighten. The man only ran faster. Suddenly, the dress burst into flames, and she was truly suffocating in the smoke. Her cries were soundless, and utter hopelessness engulfed her, accompanied by the sound of his laughter –
The telephone rang out into the night, and Cuddy shot upright, breathing heavily. Her clothes stuck to her wet, clammy skin, and she gasped for air. Her eyes adjusted, and she realized she was safely at home, not on fire, in her bed. She started to sob - not sure if it was out of happiness or horror – and she clutched her knees to her stomach.
The phone continued to ring.
Cuddy stumbled out of bed and made her way downstairs, stopping every so often to support herself on something and overcome her nausea. She finally made it to the kitchen and checked the clock: 1:30 a.m. She reached for phone.
"Hello?" She tried to steady her wavering voice, expecting it to be the hospital calling.
"Hello?" She repeated when there was no reply. She grew frustrated as she listened to silence.
"Is anyone there?!"
Finally, it wasn't just silence. Cuddy could decipher steady breathing. It sounded labored and deep.
"Are you alright? Hello!?"
The breathing hesitated. "I –" The voice sounded broken and sick. Though she couldn't understand much else, she knew it was male.
"Sir, do you need a doctor?" She asked rather impatiently, another wave of nausea hitting her.
The breathing continued, and then there was a dial tone. Confused and irritated, Cuddy put her phone back down on the receiver. That was an unnecessary, pointless phone call. Probably a prank. Still, Cuddy shivered. She rechecked her locks and security system – all was good. Rachel was sound asleep. She was fine. She crawled into bed and fell asleep again, more exhausted than creeped out.
She could feel his presence right in front of her, but her vision wasn't clear, and she could only partly see. He was very close, and Cuddy had two hands on his chest. All she could see was a tuxedo, and a white rose pinned to it.
The night rolled on.
She was now aware of a veil draped over the back of her head and neck, and as she looked down, she recognized the white dress. Panic rose.
Rachel shifted in her sleep, but besides that, the house was quiet and peaceful.
She could hear his breathing, very close to her ear, and when she tried to look at his face, all she glimpsed was graying stubble.
The predawn hours approached, and the neighbourhood was caught up in a deep, comfortable slumber.
She was frozen with fear and went still as all her senses dulled. Her body tensed and suddenly there was a burst of sound, light, and smell. She heard a huge crash and the smell of burning rubber, but as the flash faded, her vision reduced back to what it was. She saw rubble at her feet. She whipped around, only to hear Rachel's terrified scream –
Cuddy woke up again and immediately ran to her daughter's room. Rachel was exactly how she had left her, and was complacently sucking her thumb. Cuddy leaned on the doorframe, completely soaked in sweat, and steadied her breathing. Once composed, she wrapped herself up in a house coat and made her way downstairs.
It was only 4:30, but Cuddy knew she wouldn't fall back asleep now. She poured herself a glass of water and leaned against her counter in the dark kitchen, sipping periodically.
Abrupt knocking started at the door. Cuddy's head whipped around and she froze, the glass halfway to her lips.
The knocking persisted for a little and then paused. Then it started again, softer but still urgent. Cuddy took a few hesitant steps towards the door. She flicked on the hall light and froze. The knocking also stopped, but only for a second.
For some insane reason, Cuddy thought it sounded desperate and not at all threatening. She must be out of her mind, she thought, it could be a lunatic serial killer behind that door!
She didn't know why, and she still doesn't, but she opened the door anyway, and couldn't believe her eyes. Her jaw dropped.
Startling, uncertain blue eyes met hers, and she immediately recognized them. He looked so different from what she'd remembered. His hair was messy and greasy, his clothes filthy and stained. He was hunched over, as if in great pain, and his face had new wrinkles. He was tanned from days in the sun, and he looked much older. There was something about him though – he was pale and sweaty, and seemed almost haunted. He gave one paranoid look up and down the street and stumbled into her house.
Cuddy was too stunned to formulate a thought and simply stood aside as he brushed past her. She closed the door on instinct and turned to a bloody, vigorously panting Gregory House.
They stared at each other down for what seemed like centuries – he was barely conscious. She eventually managed to speak. "But- I- You- They- H-Ga-Wha- How is this possible?" She stuttered, tripping over her own words. "I- You- They said- It's not! You're – You're – " Her eyes widened. "You're dead!"
House winced. "So I guess that means you won't call the cops?"
Cuddy didn't have the chance to answer before he collapsed onto her floor.