So it's behind the cut.
Posted only to Housefic for a change.
Rating: PG13 (barely)
Summary: "She's been having an affair."
Notes: Instant fiction based on a remark in an email from Beta-Goddess Carol.
However this has not been Beta-ed or formatted. The errors and lack of polish are all mine. It just wrote itself and demanded to be prematurely posted.
Warning: Obvious spoiler for "Sex Kills"
House left Wilson ensconced on the couch, drinking a beer and pretending to pay attention to a shout-fest on CNN. He said he was going to get some groceries. The cupboard was too bare to keep a fresser like Wilson in munchies for very long.
After driving a block, he pulled out his cell-phone and hit number 23 on his speed dial.
“We need to talk. Meet me in the parking lot.” He said brusquely leaving no room for discussion.
It took him 15 minutes to get to Pathmark and park in one the designated spaces that were a “perk” of his status as a cripple. He popped two Vicodin as he spotted her coming out of the store with a bag, wearing her faux fur and gloves against the biting March winds.
She got in the car and sat facing straight ahead with the bag on her lap.
“You idiot,” he started for the second time that evening, “You told him.”
It made sense to meet at the super-market. That’s where it had started. Circumstance had put them in the same store on a night in May. Once they recovered from the initial awkwardness of recognition, they reached an immediate tacit agreement to roll their carts together instead of a trying to avoid each other.
In the produce aisle they made small talk about Julie’s work as a children’s librarian and the gruesome state of New Jersey politics. By the time they were comparing prices on cereal, House had started to remember that he once liked Julie. She was a petite brunette with a quick wit and a lot of moxie from growing up in Bayonne. She’d managed to shake up his conviction that all librarians were hatchet-faced crones named Miss Bun. It was only after the marriage and the infarction that things had gotten unpleasant. In the meat section, the old grievances had started coming up again. House wanted a full-time on-call buddy. Julie wanted a husband who made her his priority. House offered his favorite line from the philosopher Jagger. They came through the check out line tossing epithets that had the baggers shaking their heads in confusion.
“You’re a pathetic self-loathing, misanthrope.”
“Which is preferable to being a possessive harridan.”
“With a wedding ring and half a mortgage,”
“Didn’t help your predecessors.”
This exchange was so invigorating that House actually followed Julie to her car to keep it up and see how long they could go before stooping to pure obscenity.
“You are so bitter you can’t stand to see anyone else be happy,” she snapped as she started to load her groceries into the Ford Explorer.
“If you and James are what happiness looks like, I’ll skip the view.”
Julie closed the rear door and turned around. She glared at him with a wholesome burning hatred that made her skin flush.
“You goddamned bast…”
And before he could lose respect for her vocabulary, House found himself grabbing her with the hand that wasn’t holding the cane. Her mouth opened in surprise and suddenly, impossibly, they were kissing with her tongue chasing his, her hands grabbing at his shirt, his hand cupping her ass through the soft material of her pink track suit, his body responding and the store security guard suggesting they get a hotel room, which seemed an eminently sensible suggestion.
They went in his car leaving her ice cream to melt in the parking lot and found a motel off the turnpike with the inviting sign “It’s Better In The Bahamas But It’s Cheaper Here.”
It was everything an illicit encounter in a cheap hotel with a tacky sign should be. Julie was a desperate combination of neediness and need to please which meshed well House’s willingness to use people and take what they would give him.
They had only met a few times since them. House could count the times on four and ½ fingers of scotch. Once had been right after the date with Cameron when he’d been especially filled with self-loathing. The most recent had been a few days after his distraction with Paula, which had been satisfactory but not particularly satisfying. The sex was always great, but the fighting usually started as Julie was heading to the shower.
He’d known things couldn’t continue indefinitely, but had no idea what had pushed Julie to indulge in honesty at this late date.
“Why now? He’s devastated.”
“Come on Greg. He’s not the martyr here.”
“You’ve been building your cross for years. You’ve had time to get used to. You nailed him up with no warning.”
“Yes. We all know what an unholy bitch I am. Don’t worry, I didn’t say anything that will ruin your frat party with my husband.”
“You told him you were having an affair.” House pointed out.
“I told him I was in love with somebody else. He heard affair. He’s the one with the record. I’m just the one who doesn't want to get the chocolates and live the lie anymore.”
House was about to say something especially nasty that might have involved the word “slut” when Julie clutched her stomach and managed to get the car door open in just time to vomit without messing up the car. He tried to ignore his medical training and lifelong soap habit enough to believe Julie’s claim that she’d been suffering from the flu for a few days.
“Take care of him, Greg. I got some of the things he likes. Smooth peanut butter. Chocolate Chip Mint ice cream. Pringles. He eats like a teenager.”
“And who’s going to take care of you?” he asked, wondering why he cared.
“I’ll take care of myself. The way I always have.”
House found himself taking a leap.
“You wouldn’t be planning a move to Massachusetts, would you? I hear P-town’s lovely this time of year.”
“Victoria, BC’s even nicer,” she said without missing a beat.”
“What about us?” he asked, still wondering who was writing the bad dialogue.
“Us?” she said incredulously. “There is no us. There’s one bitch and one bastard and we’ve done enough damage between us. New Jersey’s no fault and I’m not asking for anything. James will mope a bit and then he’ll start shopping for the next lucky girl. Why don't you help him pick her out this time. Maybe you can find something closer to your specifications for who James should be married to."
“You should see a Doctor about that flu.”
“Don’t worry. I will.”
Julie got out of the Corvette leaving the comfort food on the front seat and a great sense of discomfort in House as he drove home to take care of his friend.
She seemed to have been honest and it looked like she was walking away very easily, but House knew better.
Everybody lies and nothing is ever easy.
Edited a little and caught a few typos.