Oliveras handed over the bottle to the woman on the other side of the
feeling nervous but covering it well. It had been close, but
off, as usual, and Doctor Tompkins was still clueless, like he
extra undone button on her perky dental hygienist’s smock
Yeah, it was easy to keep the old boss distracted and away from the
cabinet. He hardly ever went into it these days anyway, so it was easy
extra bottles of pills in the back. Cassie had brought back a few
her last trip to Montreal to see Mom, and now had almost enough
specials to make a quick couple of hundred on the side.
Cleaning teeth might be legit, but the pay sucked, and any
was cool with Cassie, oh yeah. She smiled at the patient,
happy as she
handed the prescription to her.
“These should help, especially since you passed on the
Novocain this time,
“Yeah,” came the mumble. Lisa Cuddy popped open the
little brown bottle and
dropped on in her hand, then shook it again so another pill joined the
“All I needed was to be numb and drooling during my
of a time for a filling to fall out, huh?”
“These things happen,” Cassie commiserated, already
thinking about her
and how much she could get for it if she hooked up with Ted . . .
“Got any water?” Cuddy broke into the
girl’s reverie; starting, Cassie drew a
cupful from the water cooler behind the appointment desk, handing it to
with an apologetic smile.
“Sorry. Anyway, the filling’s as good as new, and
we’ll see you on your six
month check up next time, ‘kay?”
“Thanks.” Cuddy nodded, popping the pills down and
chugging the paper cup.
winced a bit, dropped the cup into the garbage and headed out to her
to be outside again, and away from the unpleasantness of the last hour.
Tompkins had managed to fit her in when he’d heard about her
filling; for that
she was grateful, but now it was time to get to work and forget about
in her upper jaw.
She slipped behind the wheel, did up her seatbelt and took a breath,
compose herself for facing Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital.
Gregory House slouched behind his desk, musing over the merits of lunch
cafeteria or out along the walkway to the clinic. Both had appeal, and
Either way House knew he could con Wilson
into coming along; that part was
easy. If they stayed in the cafeteria, they
could play a few rounds of Dish the
Dirt, with particular emphasis on who was
fooling around, who was having
trouble getting it up, who was being audited by
the IRS and who had a new
tattoo and where. Gossip mongering could be
interesting, especially since
House had a nice bit of info on one of his
Fellows he wanted to share.
On the other hand, lunch along the walkway had a particular appeal
he nor Wilson could resist. It was cold most of the time and
to wear their coats, but ah the benefits . . .
House made his decision and flipped out his cell phone, hitting speed
until the third ring, which meant he’d been
That and his
exasperated tone confirmed it. “Yes?”
“Thinking of catching lunch outside today.”
“How hard is the wind blowing?” came the instantly
interested reply. House
smirked, peeking out the window behind him.
“A sweetly gusty breeze. Enough to send kites dancing and
“I’ll be there. And bring your own lunch,
House—I’m not paying for yours
House made a face as he snapped the phone shut and rose to his
Foreman were busy with the latest patient’s MRI and
was on clinic duty,
so for the moment his world was fine. Carefully he made
his way out, shooting
one curious glance down the hall towards Cuddy’s
office before heading the
dubious delights of the cafeteria.
Twenty minutes later, he was parked on the Howard X. Murgatroyd
under the cement walkway to the hospital lecture halls. The seat
cold most of the time, but House didn’t mind it too much as
chewed on his
sandwich. He looked up along the walkway, pleased that it
was made of iron
grille, and that the mini skirt had made a fashion comeback
among the students.
up, sliding onto the area next to him with a wince. “Thanks
for warming it up,”
he groused. House spared him a lofty glance, and turned
back to the
entertainment above them.
“You and your petty demands—you want warmth, look
upwards my son, to
spectacle of long legs and the occasional flash of panty.
“Too true,” Wilson
agreed with a sheepish expression. He pulled out a
Styrofoam box and undid the
lid to reveal a beautiful little antipasto. House
stared, then looked at his
own sandwich of wilted lettuce and cold bologna. He pursed his mouth,
shook his head
firmly. “No. No trade, especially
since you’ve already taken a bite of yours.”
“Fine,” came the sulky response. “Like I
even CARE about your stupid salad.”
“It’s not salad, it’s
antipasto,” Wilson corrected, carefully pulling out a
from his lab coat pocket, “With Sicilian olives and fresh
him off with a cane jab to his foot and Wilson started to glare when
motioned up with his chin. Following him, Wilson
glanced up in time to catch
a flash of thighs under a fluttering lab coat and
skirt. Both men gave collective
little sighs of appreciation and Wilson
waited until the
student had moved
away before finishing, “—one and salami.”
“You’re not even Italian.”
“And you’re full of bologna,” Wilson
shot back, “in more ways than one.”
“Oh ha-ha, you really should take your act to the
Catskills,” House sighed.
“Such cutting wit, such withering—“
The sudden clack of high heels cut short his retort; both he and Wilson
up at the walkway to see Cuddy standing there, her gloved hands on the
she leaned over to glare at them.
“My God, it’s only eleven-fifteen—taking
lunch a little EARLY, aren’t you?”
came her grieved tone. Wilson
hunched his shoulders guiltily, but House
threw his head back and smirked up at
“It’s not lunch, it’s nutrition break.
Wilson and I like to follow the FDA
recommendations—set an example.”
“Now you’re just blowing air up my
skirt,” Cuddy growled; immediately an
obedient gust obliged, whipping her hemline high, and billowing the
a floral flounce around her hips. Stunned, both doctors stared up, Wilson
looking like a
bunny in the headlights; House looking like Christmas had just
Cuddy let go of the railing to sweep her hands over the flutter of her
her gestures both feminine and forceful. “Damn it, so
THAT’S your little
Tom game. Greeeeeeeeat. Hope you got an eyeful.”
Ever tactful, Wilson
said nothing, but the pink flush over his cheeks betrayed
him. House blinked,
savoring the moment, then cocked his head. “Could
do that again? I’m not
sure I had time to really appreciate the erotic irony of
Cuddy’s hand gesture was both elegant and crude; she could
only spare one
upthrust middle finger since her other hand was anchoring her hem
another breeze. “I’m having that damned bench
“You can’t do that, it’s a
memorial!” House protested. “Howard X.
willed this bench to be right here.”
“Just because he was a philanthropist who willed thousands of
dollars to the
Gynecology department does not mean . . .” Cuddy trailed off
struck her. “Oh God. That old PERVERT!” She
exploded. Cuddy spun,
across the walkway, heels loud and menacing.
House watched her go, then turned to look at Wilson, who was digging
antipasto with renewed intensity. “Did you see
“In the words of Sergeant Shultz, I saw nothing,” Wilson
House managed a
half-grin and settled back on the bench, sandwich
“Of course not. You never saw the sinfully wicked sight of
sleek, tennis-toned thighs encased in mauve stockings held up by a
garter belt with matching panties. TINY matching panties.“
a little, shooting House a familiar ‘I-hate-you’
look. “I hate
“What? I’m not the one in denial, nooo, not me. I
relish the memory of my
boss’s delicate lingerie displayed for me by a roguishly
convenient gust of
“What’s the point? She’s going to
castrate us,” Wilson
pointed out glumly.
“And she’ll get
the bench removed too.”
“Never fear—balls and bench will remain where they
are. I’m a little more
interested in why Cuddy was staggering.”
“She was staggering?” Wilson
looked up at House, who nodded.
“Slightly. And that was before she started yelling at us.
“But it’s not even eleven-thirty in the morning.
And Cuddy doesn’t drink—at
least not on the job,” Wilson
murmured, staring at his antipasto and
deliberately picking out the provolone
first. House rose up and tucked his half-
eaten sandwich into his pocket. He
tamped his cane on the ground and
pursed his mouth for a long moment.
“Both true. I’ll leave you to keep an eye on things
here while I indulge in a
little cautious surveillance.”
“What, you’re going to go STALK her now?
Cuddy’s already on the warpath,
House—aggravating her further at the moment is a BAD
House ignored him and began to lumber off purposefully, heading
Cuddy felt . . . relaxed. Oh sure, she was still angry about House and
out on the stupid bench peeking under skirts like a pair of high school
And she needed to talk to Plant Facilities about moving the damned
well . . .
She absently rubbed her cheek as she looked over her schedule, noting a
walk-through on Doctor Peranja’s first-year lab, a visit to
the cancer ward and
a policy committee meeting. All boring—well maybe not the
kids, but the rest
the day certainly wasn’t a thrill a minute. Cuddy sighed, and
flexed her long
fingers, taking a mental inventory.
Her bra was too tight, she decided.
Well, there was an easy fix for that—moving deftly, she
reached behind her
unhooked it through the sleeveless dress, then carefully slithered
off, finally pulling the purple lace bra out from her cleavage.
“Ta dah!” she chirped to her office, amused at her
own skill. Carefully she
folded it and looked around. Her purse was too small to hold it, so
carefully dropped her bra into the drawer of her desk, feeling much
Not as . . . constrained.
She picked up the phone, dialing Plant Facilities. As it rang, Cuddy
to see House barge into her office; imperiously she held up a hand to
as she spoke.
“This is the Dean calling to speak to Mr. Cosnofski, please.
House looked at the palm facing him; the long spread fingers and
nails. With a growl he dropped himself into the chair in front of the
scowled at her. Cuddy looked smug, then spoke again. “Mr.
to move the Howard X. Murgatroyd bench away from the lecture
the hospital. I saw two BOYS playing around on it.”
House pulled an affronted face; Cuddy looked daggers at him and
the phone. “Yes, I know it’s a memorial bench. I
wasn’t aware that it
over six hundred pounds but this is a safety issue. Mr.
have wanted anyone to . . . mis-USE his legacy I’m
When she’d received grumbling assurances from the Plant
Cuddy hung up and looked at House with annoyance. He glared
right back at her.
“Thanks a lot. You ruined a perfectly good lunch spot for no
complained. Cuddy rose and leaned over her desk, snarling a little.
“I have plenty of reasons starting with public decency and
House. Find another way to play your little upskirt games without
students and patients into it, hmmm?”
House rose up and leaned in himself, about to make a withering reply
single glance downward threw him off track. He blinked, but Cuddy
drawing back and checking her watch. “Damn, already
House, get to
work—“ And with that she sauntered around him and
out of her
office, her hips
rolling a bit more than usual, her stride a little looser than
turned his head to watch her go, his frown deepening.
Carefully he straightened up and walked around to sit at her desk, deep
He glanced over her blotter, noting her daily schedule. He
around in her
trash can. He opened her desk drawer. He blinked again, and
slowly drew out the
purple lace bra, letting it dangle from his fingers like a
scarf before bringing it to his nose and inhaling.
Still slightly warm and deliciously Cuddy-scented.
With a little whine of frustration, House debated not returning the bra
drawer, but finally did, reluctantly. He spoke to himself in a low
back for YOU later—first, I need to find out what’s
going on with your
residents and their manager.“