Countess Von Fingerbang (madampresident) wrote,
Countess Von Fingerbang
madampresident

Fic: An Evening In (Cuddy/13)

An Evening In
Author: Coco (madampresident)
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: I don't own House and I don't claim to own House. This is just fun.
Spoilers: Up to Lucky Thirteen sort of, but as long as you've seen up to the end of season four it won't really spoil anything.
Summary: A trip to Boston and subsequent breakdown spell trouble for Cuddy and Thirteen. Meanwhile Julie and Bella's relationship blooms beautifully.

Part One: The Morning After
Part Two: An Afternoon in the Garden

Part Three:



An Evening In

“Sweetie, I just don’t think it’s a good idea for me to rent my condo to your mother.”

“You don’t want to rent your condo to my mother. I really don’t understand what the problem is.” Cuddy sighed.

“Being your mother’s landlord? I don’t want to do that…”

“It’s perfect though. She needs a place to stay; you have a place to rent. How is that not kismet to you?”

“Lisa-”

“Remy. Please. She’s really distraught about my father and she’s going through a divorce and she really needs a place.”

“I don’t understand why she can’t just move in with us…”

“Remy!”

“Okay fine! Fine. She can move into my condo but I refuse to charge her rent.”

“Fine.” Cuddy turned to leave.

Thirteen caught her by the arm, “don’t go away mad.” She batted her eyelashes at her and pulled her close. She kissed her and waited for Cuddy to smile, “just go away.” Thirteen teased and Cuddy laughed.

“Are you absolutely sure you’re not upset I’m leaving this soon after the wedding?”

“Lisa, you need to settle things with your father. That is important to you and that is important to me. Don’t worry.”

***

Later that day Cuddy stood in the airport and hugged Thirteen tightly. “I’ll miss you.” She kissed her once.

“When are you coming back?” Thirteen gave her a little squeeze.

“I should be back tomorrow.” Cuddy gave her another kiss and released her. She turned to Bella and hugged her.

“Thanks for doing this for me, baby.”

“It’s not a problem, mom. I really want to talk to dad and you’ve pretty much said everything you had to say to him. I mean, I’m carrying the divorce papers in my carry-on and the list of things you want from the house.”

“True. If I never have to see him again I’ll be happy.”

“I’m sorry things worked out this way.”

“I’m not. Don’t be sorry. If things hadn’t worked out this way we’d both be unhappy.” She smiled reassuringly at her daughter. “I hope this excursion to see your father will accomplish what you want it to.”

“Thanks mom.” She gave her a squeeze. “Oh by the way.” Cuddy let her go and dug into her pocket. She handed Bella her keys, “I give you use of my car until I get back with yours.”

“Thank you, Lise.” Bella smiled. “You’d better go though. You’ll never make it through customs at this rate.”

Cuddy laughed, “okay, I’m going.” She slung her carry-on over her shoulder and kissed Thirteen again before hurrying off.

“So Mrs. Cuddy,” Thirteen smiled. “How about some Chinese take-out tonight?”

“I’m sorry, Remy, I’ve actually made plans. And please, call me Bella. Or really anything other than Mrs. Cuddy at that point.” Bella smiled.

***

“Hey Julie! It’s Remy. Lisa’s gone tonight so I’m free for dinner tonight and-”

“Hold that thought, kiddo.” Whitner interrupted her, “I’m sorry, I have a date tonight.”

“A date? No, don’t be sorry.” Thirteen grinned, “I’m excited for you! Tell me all about her!”

“I don’t want to jinx it, Rem.”

“What do you mean? You always kiss and tell. Now dish!”

“No, no, no.” She laughed, “I’m serious. I’m not going to tell you and that’s it.”

***

Bella smiled at Whitner over her wine glass, “thank you for coming out with me.”

“For the last time,” Whitner grinned, “it’s my pleasure. I was actually stunned that you asked me out. Beautiful women don’t really ask me out.”

“Oh you stop! You’re gorgeous and you are a shameless, shameless flatterer.” Bella laughed.

“I just don’t think that you’ve been properly appreciated in a very long time.” Whitner took Bella’s hand and stroked it gently.

Bella blushed and smiled shyly.

***

Cuddy’s taxi pulled up to the curb in front of the pretty little brownstone in which she spent her childhood. She paid the driver and stared at the house as the cab pulled away and disappeared down the street.

She slung her bag over her shoulder and started walking towards the front door, a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. She equated it to the final walk before an execution.

Cuddy pulled out the key Bella had given to her to give back to Francis. She looked up at the glass pane of the door and hesitated one more time before putting the key in the lock and turning it.

Francis was expecting her.

“Lisa?” He got up from the chair in the kitchen and came into the foyer.

Cuddy dropped her bag and gave Francis a small unfelt smile. He advanced and gave her a hug which she didn’t return. “Are you hungry? I mean, you know me and cooking, but I could take you out.”

“No, I don’t think so.” Cuddy shook her head.

“Come on, Lise. Can’t you spare an hour or two for your old man?”

“You walked out on my wedding!”

“Which is exactly why we need to talk.” He pleaded, “please.”

She sighed and rubbed her eyes, “fine.”

***

Julie Whitner’s car rolled up to Thirteen’s condo and she pulled into park, the engine idling. “I had a really good time with you, Bella.”

“I had a great time too, Julie.” Bella smiled, her heart pounded in her chest. She leaned over and pressed her lips to Whitner’s. Whitner’s eyes fluttered shut and her breath hitched in her throat.

When Bella pulled away Whitner sighed contentedly and gave Bella a smile.

“Would you like to come in?” Bella asked; she was more nervous than she’d felt in a very long time but felt the wonderful rush of anticipatory adrenaline.

“I wouldn’t want to overstay my welcome.” Whitner smiled graciously.

“Nonsense,” Bella leaned in and kissed her again.

Whitner felt her resistance weakening; she reached up and stroked Bella’s cheek, sending a shiver down her spine. “You don’t think it would be moving too fast?”

“I’m much too old to move too slowly.” Bella grinned and put a hand on Whitner’s hip, leaning towards her. She paused with her mouth millimeters from Whitner’s. “What do you say?”

***

“You and Remy are such pretty girls, you could easily find men.” Francis shook his head.

“We’re not with each other because we couldn’t find men, we don’t want men, we don’t need men. We’re with each other because we love each other.”

He sighed, “it’s just… not natural.”

“Actually, homosexuality occurs in animals and has been around since the earliest known people. The ancient Greeks considered homosexuality to be a form of enlightenment. In fact, it’s only been since the Judeo-Christian came about that homosexuality has been considered unnatural. If homosexuality wasn’t considered so taboo and if more people were really honest with themselves we wouldn’t be a minority.”

“Sweetheart…”

“Look, you don’t have to love it but you should be happy for me that I found someone I love so dearly. Just tell me you’re happy for me.”

“And if I don’t?”

“Then you don’t have a daughter. You don’t have a daughter, you don’t have a wife, you don’t have a family and you’re going to die alone.” Cuddy looked at him, pleadingly. She couldn’t believe that the man that she’d loved and adored since infancy was really as bigoted and terrible as he was claiming to be. “Just tell me you’re happy for me.”

“I…” he sighed and shook his head. “I can’t. I’m sorry.”

She took in a breath slowly, trying to keep her emotions in check. She nodded. “Waiter, bring the check.”

“Lisa, come on.”

“Waiter, check!” Cuddy yelled again.

“Lisa, be quiet, you’re disrupting the whole restaurant.” Francis chided. The waiter appeared and Francis shoved a handful of bills into the waiter’s hand and jumped up to follow Cuddy out of the restaurant.

“Just take me back to the house.”

***

Bella ran her hand over Whitner’s side, starting at her shoulder and down over her hip, “how much can you feel?”

“I still have all the nerve endings, they just don’t work, I can feel everything.” Whitner smiled at her. Bella was so honest and beautiful and pure and Whitner couldn’t remember being this exhilarated in a very long time.

Bella placed kisses along Whitner’s collarbone; she looked up into Whitner’s eyes and smiled.

“You’re so beautiful.” Whitner whispered, stroking Bella’s face and kissing her softly. Bella closed her eyes and smiled with an mmm.

Whitner ran her hand up Bella’s back; she ran her fingertips over the clasp of her bra. “May I?” She whispered.

“Mhmm,”

**

“We’ll sleep now and I’ll help you load the car in the morning.” Francis suggested when they’d gotten back to the house. Cuddy had gathered all the things Bella asked for, which was easy given her compulsive organization.

“Whatever.” Cuddy said, brushing past her father and disappearing into her childhood bedroom.

He sighed and went down the hall to his own room.

Cuddy stripped down to her underwear and climbed into bed. She was caught somewhere between devastation and ferocity. She lay there for a long while in a sort of paralysis. Finally she picked up her cell phone and looked at the time.

She decided she wasn’t going to wait around for morning. It would be more than easy to put the things in the car and get on the road tonight. She’d make it there in about 5 hours.

**

Bella’s breathing evened out slowly, she looked over at Whitner in awe. “I’ve never felt anything like that in my entire life…”

“That’s what I really love about being with a woman. Everything is focused on just the one person. No one finishes too early, everybody comes. I think it’s very telling that the most unselfish sexual act is between two women.”

Bella grinned and kissed Whitner, “you’ve sold me, don’t worry.” She kissed her again, “I want you to feel what you just made me feel.”

“You don’t have to do that.”

“No have to about it, I just want to.” Bella straddled Whitner’s hips, “and I should tell you right now that I always get what I want.”

**

An hour into her drive she made it to Connecticut, where, she discovered, it had rained. In the back of her mind she was surprised that she was seemingly the only driver on the road, but the forefront of her mind was extremely occupied by her anger and frustration.

All of a sudden the wheel locked, panic shot through her, her tire hit water on the road and the car skidded along the road. She screamed and tried to slam her foot on the brake to no avail and suddenly the car stopped moving as it slid off the pavement into a ditch on the side of the road.

She breathed heavily as she tried to regain her composure. Once she stopped shaking she put the car in reverse and put her foot to the gas but to her horror the wheels only spun in mud.

“No…” she pressed harder, with no results. “No, god fucking damnit, don’t do this!” She slammed her fists into the steering wheel, her tears falling freely. She got out of the car to look at the tires which only made her cry harder and kick the tires in futility.

Cuddy’s heart wrenched in panic.

She was alone. On the interstate. In Connecticut.

She wanted to scream and kick things but instead she tried valiantly to pull herself together. She retrieved her cell phone from her jacket pocket and flipped through her contacts.

**

I kissed a girl by Katy Perry rang out in House’s living room as he sat bolt upright, having fallen asleep in front of the television. He picked up his cell phone in annoyance, his leg throbbing at the sudden movement.

The ringtone gave away the caller. “This better be good Cuddles.” He barked into the phone, reaching for his vicodin.

“You have to come get me. I’m in a ditch on the I-84.”

“Fuck me! What are you doing on the I-84?”

“I’m coming back from Boston. I’m in Connecticut. Come get me.” She insisted.

“Don’t you have triple A?” He griped.

“For my car, not for my mother’s! Just come get me, damnit!” Cuddy screamed into the phone. “I’m cold and I’m tired and I’m in a ditch and I’m asking you to come get me, don’t piss and moan, just do it!”

He was taken aback by her insistence. He popped three vicodin and sighed, “fine. I’ll be there.”

**

Cuddy tried to doze in the front seat of the car but found it impossible to relax or be comfortable enough to even hope to nap.

Luckily for her House was well versed in speeding and combined with the late hour he was able to take the four hour trek in closer to 2 and a half. He pulled up in front of her and got out of the car.

“Here.” He held up a hook. “Borrowed this from Wilson the other day.” He handed it to Cuddy, “attach this to the cars, you drive mine and I’ll push yours.”

She followed his instructions wordlessly, too tired and distraught to argue.

House popped a few more vicodin and positioned himself behind the car. “Okay, drive!”

Cuddy put her foot to the pedal and House grunted and groaned behind Mrs. Cuddy’s dark blue Toyota. House’s car wheels strained, the engine whirred and sputtered, but it finally lurched forward. House shoved the car’s trunk and kept pushing it until it went up over the ditch and onto the road.

Cuddy cut the engine and leapt out. “Oh thank god.”

House clutched his leg as he pulled himself out onto the road. “There. It’s out.”

“Thank you.”

Cuddy looked at her cell phone again, “well, time to hit the road.” She stumbled when she turned towards the car, not realizing exactly how shaken she’d been. Now that the adrenaline rush had ended her body felt like it was turning to mush.

“Yeah right,” House muttered, “you’re in no condition to drive right now. You’re tired as hell and your knees are shaking.”

She looked down at her knocking knees and looked back at him.

“Can you even feel that?”

“Well what am I supposed to do?” She demanded, her fatigue making her more than a little bit cranky.

“Don’t snap at me! I’m in Connecticut!” House growled, “I drove two and a half hours to get your ass out of a muddy ditch in the middle of the night. We’re both tired, we’re both cranky. I saw a sign for a motel just down the road.”

**

Bella’s warm chest and stomach pressed tightly against Whitner’s back, her arms wrapped around her. Whitner’s fingers threaded through Bella’s, being lulled to sleep by the sound of Bella’s soft breathing.

**

House slammed his cane into the caretaker’s door, “hey!” He called.

The door opened and a plump woman stared up at him in slight confusion, “quit yelling, you’re going to wake the entire state. What do you want?”

“We need two rooms.” Cuddy said, using her best sweet, sad, don’t-you-want-to-help-me face, “we wouldn’t be here at this late hour except I slid into a ditch and he came to get me but it’s too late to drive all the way back.”

“Where are you from?”

House and Cuddy could tell that she was considering very strongly turning them away.

“Jersey.”

She sighed and groaned softly. “Fine. But there’s only one room available. You’ll have to share a room.”

“You really don’t have two?” Cuddy pouted.

“I really don’t, darling, it’s the middle of the night and you’re damn lucky I have the one.” She held out the key to Cuddy. “Number 13.”

House and Cuddy trudged to their room and when Cuddy unlocked the door and stepped in, followed by House, he laughed.

“What?”

“You’re in 13. You like being in 13 don’t you?” He leered.

“I prefer not being in 13 with you.”

“Oh I don’t know. You two are both bisexual and I think I have a lot to offer in a threesome. You’ve seen me; I’m big, big enough for two.” He took off his leather jacket. “Which side of the bed do you want?”

Cuddy’s body was heavy; she pulled off her blouse and skirt, suddenly irrationally concerned with wrinkling her clothing. She wordlessly crawled into the bed and under the covers. Warm, merciful covers. She shut her eyes.

“I see that it’s not open for discussion.” He stripped to his boxers. He didn’t pause to realize that Cuddy was the only person who didn’t make him anxious about his thigh. He shut out the light and climbed into the bed beside her and shut his eyes.

When he was about to fall asleep he felt her turn over towards him and moments later heard her speak, “House?”

“Yeah?” He answered sleepily.

“Thank you.” She whispered.

“Whatever.” He mumbled, attempting to ignore her and just go to sleep. His eyes however shot open when he felt Cuddy’s lips brush against his. He cupped the back of her head and pressed his lips to hers, immediately deepening the kiss. Her fingernails raked down his back as she kissed him.

After a while of kissing her, and realizing that he could get carried away very quickly, he pulled back, “I don’t make out with married people.”

“You made out with Wilson.”

“Fine, I don’t make out with married women.”

“Bullshit!” She cried, “Stacy?!”

“Okay, I don’t really discriminate. But the difference was I didn’t respect their marriages. Wilson got married because he wanted to fix everyone and Stacy got married to try to find meaning in her life.”

“What did I get married for?” Cuddy asked softly.

“Love?”

“You really think that I had the purest of intentions?”

“What do you want me to say, Cuddy? Do you want me to be like your father and tell you that your marriage was a mistake? Because that way you can feel like less of a shit for feeling unsure right now?”

She stared at him.

“I’m not playing your mind games.” House sat up, prepared to talk Cuddy through a crisis. This is why I don’t have friends. They make you drive to Connecticut, and then you have to pretend you wouldn’t give your other leg for a chance to fuck them again, they keep you awake and make you help them through crises. His brain griped at him, though by some miracle he didn’t mind. “Why did you call me?”

She hesitated, “because your car was the best one to get me out of the ditch.”

“Bullshit.”

“Because I knew you’d come.”

“Bullshit.” House insisted, “almost anyone else would be more likely to come. Thirteen for one! She’s your wife, she’d gladly come pick you up. But you called me.”

“How do you know I didn’t call her and couldn’t get through?”

“You didn’t call Thirteen. You called me. You didn’t call Wilson either. Hell, the only reason I had the chain was because I took it from Wilson. I was the stupidest choice. I’m also the least able-bodied of all the people you could have called.”

“Because you already think less of me.” Cuddy’s bottom lip trembled despite her best efforts. “Okay? Because I drove myself into a fucking ditch because I was throwing a tantrum and was being really irresponsible trying to take a five hour drive in the middle of the night not having slept in almost two days.”

“Anybody could hydroplane, Cuddy.” He felt sympathetic.

Cuddy held her face in her hands and could no longer restrain her urge to cry.

“You didn’t call Thirteen.”

Cuddy wiped at her eyes. “I’m supposed to be the strong one. When she starts degenerating I have to make her comfortable and comfort her. I can’t fall apart; I’m not allowed to fall apart. How the hell would she feel if she saw me being a ridiculous irrational mess?”

“I hate to break it to you, Cuddles, but she knows you’re human.” House drew Cuddy in for a hug.

**

Thirteen drove to the condo in the morning. She’d looked up numbers of animal shelters and left them at the condo without thinking. She knocked on the door. It didn’t even cross her mind that Julie’s car was in the driveway instead of Cuddy’s.

“Bella?” Thirteen opened the door and peeked in. “Bella? It’s Remy. I’m really sorry to disturb you and I swear this is the only time I’d just come in. I forgot something and I just need to grab it really quickly.”

“Remy?” A voice came from the other room.

“Bella?” Thirteen stopped where she was and decided not to advance anymore.

Whitner pulled on her shirt and a pair of underwear, which was relatively difficult for her to do in a hurry. She lifted herself up off the bed and settled into her wheelchair and wheeled out into the living room.

Thirteen’s jaw dropped when she saw her. “…Julie?” She looked around, “am I in the wrong house… somehow?”

“Remy,”

“Julie, tell me I’m in the wrong house. Tell me you didn’t sleep with Cuddy’s mother last night.”

“Well…”

“I don’t want to know!” Thirteen put her hands over her ears, “I just have to grab a piece of paper out of the office and then I’m gone.”

“Bella just went out to grab a few things if you want to wait for her.”

“No, no. I plan to be gone before she gets back.” Thirteen emerged from the room sporting the piece of paper. “There. All done. See you soon… like, when you have pants on.”

“Remy, hold up.”

“Julie, this is so weird, you’ve had a crush on Lisa for forever and now you’re sleeping with her mother?” Thirteen demanded.

“I have learned the error of my ways.” Whitner grinned, “version 2.0 is fine but when you have the original… wow.”

“No, no, no. Stop right there. If you say anything about last night, I might throw up. That’s my mother-in-law, basically a parent!” Thirteen headed for the door.

“Don’t tell Cuddy, okay?”

“Oh hon, I plan on going home and drinking until all these images go away.”

**

Bella poured coffee. “May I ask what happened to your legs?”

“Of course.” Whitner set down her coffee, “it was a brain injury actually. There’s nothing physically wrong with my legs apart from being atrophied from lack of use. I was in a car accident and a chunk of glass from the windshield got lodged. It would be stupidly dangerous to try to take it out but it presses on the part of my brain that enables me to move my legs.”

“Wow. How old were you when it happened?”

“It was only 5 years ago actually.” Whitner sipped her coffee, “I wasn’t a runner or anything, so while it was inconvenient it didn’t disrupt my life as badly as it could have.” She shrugged, “how old were you when you got married?”

“I was 17. I was just out of high school and I was dating this very smooth talking Irish boy from downstairs. I say boy but he was 26 and then… I got pregnant.”

“With Cuddy, er, Lisa?”

“Mmhm.”

“And you still went to college?”

“My mother was amazing, she babysat Lisa every day while I was in college getting a degree, in English education of all things. How old were you when you got married?”

“I was 22. I wasn’t that in to any men so I figured if I just married one I wouldn’t have to deal with dating.”

“How old were you when you first slept with a woman?” Bella asked, almost shyly.

“33. I’ll never forget her. I was working at a research facility and this 22 year old was working there as a summer job before med school. She was very outgoing and was talking constantly and when she said she was a lesbian I was shocked. She was so pretty and feminine and I had this misconceived notion that lesbians were butch and basically looked like men, you know?” She laughed, “even though I slept with her I was still basically in the closet for another 2 years.”

“When Lisa was little she had the biggest crush on her first grade teacher.” Bella smiled, fondly remembering. “It was so cute… and so pure and sweet. I’d never thought about ‘if my daughter likes women…’ but I couldn’t imagine anything about it being bad. I always encouraged her to follow her heart no matter what.”

“If only all mothers were as perfect as you.” Whitner smiled, wondering to herself if Bella had any flaws at all.

“Perfect… no, I’m not perfect. But I’m glad that Lisa always knew that it was okay to be whatever she wanted to be. And I guess if all mothers were like me maybe people wouldn’t be coming out of the closet at 58.”

“Do you think you’re coming out of the closet?” Whitner asked gently.

“I don’t know.” Bella shrugged, “but I do know that last night felt more right than anything’s felt in a very long time.”

**

House woke up first when his leg throbbed. His faithful, incessant alarm clock. He groaned and stretched, Cuddy grumbled against his chest, where her head had come to rest.

He skillfully extricated himself from under her without waking her. He wiped her drool from his chest and shot the sleeping form a look of annoyance. He picked up his pants and grabbed three vicodin from the pocket and swallowed them before climbing back into bed, this time with his back to Cuddy. Cuddy immediately sidled up to him, arms around his waist, cheek pressed against his shoulder blade.

He sighed.

**

Thirteen went to the third animal shelter, starting to think that there was no dog that suited her and Lisa, but nevertheless entered the establishment. The floor was linoleum and the walls were cold concrete and it smelled like dog.

“Can I help you?” A short man with glasses smiled at her from behind a desk.

“Yes, I’m looking for a dog for my wife and me. We have a big yard and a big house, so the size of the dog shouldn’t be an issue, but we work late on a regular basis so we’d like to have a dog that can be alone for a while. I don’t want a puppy but I’d like a dog that was on the younger side”

“Uh-huh.” The man nodded, “let’s go look at the dogs, shall we?” He smiled pleasantly and led the way down the hallway lined with dog crates.

Most of the dogs leapt to their feet and wagged their tales or barked in excitement. Thirteen looked at each furry face she passed and smiled at them, hoping that every single one of them would get adopted.

“Most of the dogs here sound like they’d fit your situation. We have one who’s a nervous peer, so she’s probably out. A couple of dogs with separation anxiety, also not for you. But you can ask me about any of the dogs in here and I can tell you about them.”

Thirteen perused the selection of possible furry friends and her eye was caught by a Jack Russell staring up from the corner who immediately averted her eyes when Thirteen looked at her.

“That’s Gabby. She doesn’t get noticed by many, she’s very shy and doesn’t act very personable but she’s very sweet and friendly once she gets to know someone. Would you like to go out with her to the dog yard and get a little bit better acquainted?”

**

Cuddy and House were on the road by 11 and Cuddy was grateful for the silence in the car, she had a lot to process. She wanted to kick herself for ever even considering that her marriage to Thirteen was anything short of the best decision she’d ever made.

She pulled the Toyota up to the condo next to her own car. Bella waved at her from the window and went to greet her. “Thanks again for doing this for me, kiddo.” She smiled and hugged her tightly.

“No problem, mom.” She held her tightly, wanting comfort from her mother.

“Talking with your dad went that well, huh?” She asked knowingly. “What happened?”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

**

Cuddy was grateful to be home. “Remy?” She called.

Thirteen came out of the bedroom. “Hey beautiful.”

Cuddy smiled, remembering just how much she loved Thirteen. Cuddy walked up to her and pulled her into a kiss.

“I missed you too.” She grinned. “I have a surprise for you.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah, it’s in the bedroom.”

“Yeah?” Cuddy grinned devilishly.

“It’s not dirty.”

“Now my curiosity’s really piqued.” Cuddy smiled, “I can’t even imagine.”

Thirteen opened the door to the bedroom and Gabby looked up from her fluffy new dog bed and then back down to her rawhide bone.

“I can’t give you a baby so I got you a puppy.” Thirteen smiled sweetly at her.

“You are the sweetest ever.” Cuddy hugged her and gave her a kiss. “I love it.”

“Her name is Gabby. She’s a little shy at first but she warms up really quickly.”

Cuddy got down on the floor with Gabby and held out a hand. Gabby sniffed it and wagged her stub tail and nuzzled Cuddy’s hand, encouraging her to pet her and Cuddy smiled, happily obliging.

“Anything interesting happen on your trip? Tell me about it.”

“Well, I’m never talking to my father again. That’s about the only noteworthy thing that happened.”

**

The phone at Cuddy’s house rang. Thirteen answered it. “Oh hey Wilson, what can I do for you?”

“Is Cuddy there?”

“She’s in the shower. Can I take a message?”

“Well, I just would like my hook back. I leant it to House.”

“…so why would Lisa have it?”

“Because House got her out of the ditch last night.”

“…right.”

“If he left it at that motel I’ll kill him. Well, if you could ask Cuddy if she knows what became of it that would be great.”

“Yeah, sure.” They said goodbye and hung up. Thirteen looked at the bathroom door, hearing the water running and feeling angry. She took a deep breath, grabbed her keys and got into her car.

Her fist slammed into 221B, “open up you son of a bitch!” She screamed at the door.

“Jesus Christ,” House opened the door, “what do you want?”

“You’re just waiting for me to die so you can have Lisa, aren’t you?”

“Well, it would be pretty tacky of me to take her while you’re alive, wouldn’t it?”

Thirteen drew her fist back and punched him in the jaw. “You son of a bitch!”

“Calm down.” He held his jaw, “I was just making a joke.”

“Well it isn’t funny at all seeing as you slept with Lisa last night!”

“It’s not like we planned it.”

“How could you do that? We’ve only been married for three days and already you’ve tried to destroy it! You fucked my wife!”

“Whoa, whoa. We shared a bed because the motel only had one room and we went to sleep, I didn’t have sex with her.”

“You didn’t?”

“No.”

Thirteen felt really foolish. “Well what were you doing there that lead to the necessity of a motel?”

“She got stuck in a ditch in the middle of the night and she called me because I had Wilson’s cable and she didn’t want to wake you.”

“The middle of the night?”

“Go home and talk to Cuddy and leave me alone.”

Thirteen was so confused, she let House nudge her back away from the door enough to close it and not hit her in the face with it. The drive back to the house was surreal and when she got in Cuddy was out of the shower and toweling off her hair.

“Hey, where’d you go?” Cuddy smiled at her, pulling her tightly against her. “Why don’t we celebrate my return?” Cuddy nipped at Thirteen’s neck. “I’m feeling very frisky.”

“Yeah, I bet you are.”

Cuddy pulled back, confused. “What’s wrong?”

“You spent the night with House and you lied about it. I asked you about your trip and you didn’t mention slipping into a ditch and calling an ex to get you out and then spending the night in a motel. You weren’t planning on telling me any of this? House told me everything.”

“Remy, it was just one kiss, it didn’t mean anything.”

Thirteen stared at her.

“He didn’t tell you I kissed him, did he?” Cuddy bit her lip.

“No…”

“I… I can’t even handle this.” Thirteen shook her head and headed for the door again.

“Remy, no, please. Let me explain.” Cuddy ran to the door and blocked Thirteen from leaving. Thirteen glared at her devoid of amusement.

“We haven’t even been married for a week, Lisa…”

“I know that it was really stupid but I wasn’t really at my best last night. I left in the middle of the night because I was really upset at my father, he said he wouldn’t tell me he was happy for me and… well, I was very distraught and hadn’t slept much, as you know, and I hydroplaned in Connecticut and went into a ditch and I didn’t want you to see me breaking down because I… I want to always be able to be strong for you and… I didn’t want you to think I was weak.”

Thirteen sighed and frowned, “Jesus Lisa…”

“And I kissed House, but it was just one kiss and it won’t ever happen again, ever.” Cuddy searched her eyes. “Remy?”

“I need a little time, you should go talk to your mother.”

“What? Why?”

“Just… I’m going to let her tell you. Ask her what she did last night. If what she tells you doesn’t make your jaw drop she’s lying.”

**

Cuddy’s jaw fell so far open she thought it may have actually reached the floor. “You… you and Julie Whitner?”

“It all feels so serendipitous.” Bella smiled enthusiastically. “If you hadn’t married Remy not only would I still be married to your father but I never would have met Julie. Everything in life happens for a reason.”

“So… you’re a lesbian now?” Cuddy stared at her, raising a skeptical eyebrow.

“Maybe, who cares what label I use? I want to be with Julie and if at some point I want to be with a man again then I shouldn’t feel bound by an arbitrary label.”

Cuddy stared at her.

“Baby, close your mouth,” Bella laughed, “you’re going to catch flies.” She motioned towards the dining room, “why don’t we sit down? I’ll make us some tea?”

“Mom, you can’t be a lesbian. This is ridiculous.” Cuddy shook her head.

“Yes, I can!” Bella scowled, “how dare you? Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you can treat me like a child. Your entire childhood I never judged you, I never told you you were going through a phase. How are you not extending me the same courtesy?”

Cuddy rubbed her eyes, “you’re right mom, I’m sorry. Of course I’m happy that you’re happy. But I just don’t understand… is this is a sudden realization?”

“Well, sweetheart, I was married to your father, I didn’t think of anyone else really. I suppose if I thought about it maybe there were hints that I didn’t pick up on. But Julie… I’m just so smitten with her. She takes my breath away.”

“I just kind of wish you’d been smitten with someone who wasn’t my employee.” Cuddy bit on her thumbnail, “this puts me in kind of a weird position.”

Bella looked concerned, “I didn’t compromise her job, did I?”

“No, no… but for all intents and purposes, I’m going to pretend I don’t know.” Cuddy took a deep breath, she felt mentally exhausted.

Bella watched her daughter carefully, “sweetheart, you don’t look well.” She guided her over to the couch, “sit down. Is this about your father?”

“Well, want to hear about my serendipity?” Cuddy asked and Bella nodded, “because of your divorce I ended up in bed with an ex.”

It was Bella’s turn to experience an inescapable jaw drop. “Oh sweetie!”

“I’m not having a very good couple of days…” Cuddy leaned over until her head laid in her mother’s lap and she curled up close to her.

**

Thirteen was curled up on the bed with Gabby, who was sleeping obliviously well beside her troubled new owner. Thirteen was rousted from her thoughts by a knock on the door. Gabby looked up sleepily but quickly fell back asleep.

Thirteen walked to the front door and looked through the peephole to see Bella. She sighed and opened the door.

She looked up at Bella with wet eyes, her expression sad and hurt. She really didn’t want company right now. But she stepped out of the way for Bella to enter. Part of her wanted to hug Bella and let her support her right now, she was so motherly and Thirteen needed someone.

“Lisa told me what happened.” Bella said, regarding Thirteen with sympathy. “And I want you to know that I know there’s no excuse for what she did. But I do know that she is feeling very badly right now. She loves you and she’s sorry. And I know it’s no excuse, but she’s taking her father’s dismissal very hard, they were very close when she was young, she adored him. Haven’t you ever received upsetting news and done something uncharacteristic that you later regretted?”

Thirteen sighed heavily. She had to say exactly those words, hadn’t she? She looked at Bella and imagined that she was somehow a mind reader, that she could look at her and know everything that had happened.

The answer was of course, yes.

“I… I’m dying.” Thirteen said at long last.

“Excuse me?” Bella raised concerned eyebrows, hoping Thirteen was speaking dramatically.

“I have a genetic disease called Huntington’s, there’s no cure or even treatment. When I got my diagnosis I… went a little overboard.”

“Oh Remy…” Bella didn’t know what to say or what to do, other than knowing she wanted to do something to comfort her, though it all seemed trite.

“Where’s Lisa?”

“She’s at my place, I made her lay down, she doesn’t know I’m here.”

“I’m going to go see her.”

Bella nodded and bit back a small smile, glad to know that the lines of communication were open.

**

Thirteen walked into the bedroom of the condo and sat down on the bed next to the sleeping form of Lisa Cuddy. She looked down at the beautiful face and pushed a lock of her hair behind her ear and smiled a little, despite herself.

Cuddy stretched and yawned and opened her eyes, “Remy!” she exclaimed and sat up, “I-”

“No, me first.” Thirteen cut her off.

Cuddy nodded, “of course.”

Thirteen took in a deep breath for courage and let it out slowly. She took Cuddy’s hand and put something in it, folding her fingers over it and holding it shut. “I needed to tell you this in person. I… I don’t have a lot of time.”

“Remy-”

“Lisa, stop.” Thirteen shook her head, “I don’t have a lot of time left and I don’t want to spend it with someone violated my trust. We can’t get that back Lisa.”

“It was just one kiss! It meant nothing!” Cuddy cried.

“It wasn’t that you kissed him, Lisa!” Thirteen yelled in frustration, “it’s that you lied about it! You looked me in the face and lied! We wouldn’t be sitting here having this conversation if you’d just told me what happened. You were distraught, I understand that. You did something irrational, I understand that. But then you made the conscious decision to lie about it and I can’t forgive that. I can’t live our lives together wondering what else you’ve lied to me about because you didn’t think it was meaningful enough to mention.”

“Remy, please.” Cuddy’s eyes welled with tears.

“You made your own bed, Lisa.”

“Remy…”

“I want a divorce, Lisa.”

Cuddy opened her hand and looked down at the engagement ring and wedding ring, previously worn by Thirteen, laying in her palm.

**

Wilson stood in front of House’s couch with his hands on his hips. House watched him without amusement as he waited for the lecture to continue.

“That was really irresponsible of you to be in a motel room with Cuddy.” Wilson shook his head, “you could’ve slept in your car. What if something had happened?”

“Something did happen, we kissed.”

“Which could’ve lead to something else.”

“I know, and it almost did except I stopped it.”

“Are you trying to tell me that Cuddy was all over you and you were just an innocent bystander?” Wilson rolled his eyes.

“Look, whether you believe me or not, yeah. I had to stop her. I didn’t want her to do something she’d regret.”

“You didn’t?”

“No. I want her to be happy.”

“You just want her to be happy?”

“Of course I do.” He bit his lip and sighed, then added softly, “I’m in love with her.”

**

Cuddy parked her car and got out, wiping at her wet eyes, trying to get a hold of herself when her cell phone rang. She sniffed and pulled in just enough muster to tell whomever was on the phone to bugger off.

“Hello?”

“Are you Lisa Cuddy?”

“Yes.”

“And your father is Francis Cuddy?”

“This is a really bad time.” Cuddy could feel her lip starting to tremble again.

“I’m sorry to have to add to it then, ma’am, we found your father’s body this morning.”

Her heart leapt up into her throat and she froze. After stuttering and searching for words for a few moments managed to squeak out, “what?”

“It was an apparent suicide. I’m sorry.”

>>Fin<<


Look out for the fourth part!

Not considered part of the trilogy for all the obvious reasons :)

♥♥♥
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