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

Fic: Afternoon in the Garden (pt 2 of 3)

Afternoon in the Garden
Author: Coco
Pairing: Cuddy/Thirteen
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: End of Season Four. But nothing after.
Disclaimer: I do not own House nor any of it’s characters and I don’t make any money off of this!
Summary: Cuddy and Thirteen's relationship has endured and progressed and now they're ready to make a lifetime commitment to each other and everything looks like it's going according to plan. But looks can be deceiving. Especially when Cuddy's parents are thrown into the mix.
Part One Here!





Thirteen sat at Cuddy’s kitchen island and sipped a cup of coffee. She tilted the newspaper towards her and read the culture section. An art gallery opening on the 10th… She made a mental note.

Cuddy came into the kitchen toweling off her hair from her shower. She was wearing a baby blue tank top and a pair of jeans. Five months ago Thirteen wouldn’t have believed that Cuddy even owned clothing that casual.

Five months ago things were very different.

Cuddy kissed the top of Thirteen’s head, earning her a soft mm and a smile. “I made coffee.”

Cuddy smiled, “this is why I love you. You think of things like that.”

“Yeah, that’s why you love me, because I feed your caffeine addiction.” Thirteen grinned, “nothing to do with my good looks and charm or the mindblowing orgasms I give you on a regular basis.”

“Nope, nothing at all to do with all that.” Cuddy teased and kissed her.

“I love you too.” Thirteen murmured against her lips. “Get a cup of coffee before it gets cold.”

Cuddy got her coffee and stood on the other side of the island. “I have something for you.” She slid an envelope across the island.

Thirteen set down the paper and picked up the envelope. “You have something for me from Princeton General?” She pulled out the piece of paper, “a job offer? Are you firing me?”

“Nope, but if you take this job- which is a department head position, by the way- you can have something else.”

“Oh yeah, and what’s that?”

Cuddy slid a small blue velvet box across the island. Thirteen stared at it for a long time before looking back up at Cuddy. She picked it up in disbelief. “Is this… this isn’t…”

Cuddy took the box and opened it, revealing a ring with a white gold band that had a ruby in the middle, flanked by two teardrop diamonds.

“Oh my god, Lisa…”

“Remy Hadley will you marry me?”

“Yes! Yes, I will!” Thirteen leaned up and kissed Cuddy. Then grinned playfully, “no bended knee?”

“Way too heterosexual male.” Cuddy laughed, pulling the ring out of the box and sliding it onto Thirteen’s finger.

“You’re amazing…”

“I know.” Cuddy grinned, “when do you think you’d like to get married?”

“How about next Saturday?”

“Next Saturday? Wow, that’s soon.”

“Too soon?” Thirteen bit her lip.

“No, no, I’m just surprised.”

“The job offer says I can start on Wednesday.”

“Not going to give House two weeks notice?” Cuddy laughed.

“Fuck House, I’d rather marry the woman I love than give the bastard who’s been the bane of my existence for the better part of a year the satisfaction of two weeks notice.”

“You want to go celebrate?” Cuddy ran a finger down Thirteen’s chest.

“Yes.” Thirteen grinned.

“Go meet me in the bedroom.” Cuddy purred. She watched Thirteen pad down the hallway. Cuddy reached into the refrigerator and pulled out a bottle of chilled champagne. “You better be naked when I get in there!” She called playfully.

“Way ahead of you.”

Cuddy appeared in the doorway. “I’m never going to get tired of seeing your gorgeous body.” She said, taking in the image of Thirteen’s naked body. Cuddy popped the top off of the champagne bottle. “Lay down, I think you need a champagne bath.”

Thirteen sprawled herself out luxuriously on the sheets. “You’re going to get your sheets all wet.”

“They’ll wash.” Cuddy grinned as she dripped champagne over Thirteen from her collarbone to her belly button. Cuddy handed her the phone. “Why don’t you call House and tell him you quit?”

Thirteen smiled indulgently. Cuddy had delighted in teasing House with her relationship with Thirteen though he’d never actually caught on.

Thirteen dialed House’s home number. He was call screening and she got his abruptly gruff answering machine message. “House,” she started.

Cuddy dipped her tongue into Thirteen’s belly button, lapping at the champagne that pooled there.

Thirteen faltered for a moment, “this is Thirteen.”

Cuddy’s tongue rolled up her abdomen to between her breasts.

“I quit! Find someone else to treat like crap.” Thirteen yelped in surprise as Cuddy nipped at her side and then giggled before hanging up. “Now you, my darling, are wearing far too much clothing.”

“Well what are you going to do about it?” Cuddy baited, her eyebrow cocking coyly.

Thirteen sat up and took the champagne from her. She took a swig of it before pouring some of it over Cuddy’s head. She let out a surprised giggle. Thirteen set the champagne down and kissed Cuddy, pulling her shirt up until it was around her neck. She pulled her back on top of her and pushed her jeans down to her knees.

The phone rang.

Cuddy grinned, “that’s probably House star six nining you.” She picked up the phone, “You’ll never guess what I’m doing.” She purred. She stopped and the color drained from her face. “Mom!”

Thirteen bit her lip on a giggle, running her fingers along Cuddy’s abdomen.

“Yeah… yeah, she said yes.” Cuddy listened to the other end, “next Saturday… just a little thing in the backyard… why don’t you and Dad come down and stay through the week? …yes, I did open a bottle of champagne… yeah, you’re right, I’d better go drink it before it gets stale.” She winked at Thirteen.

Thirteen smiled and toyed with the elastic of Cuddy’s little blue thong.

“Yup, I love you too, mom, see you tomorrow… bye.” Cuddy hung up the phone and tossed it on the floor, leaning in and capturing Thirteen’s lips, holding her close.

“Francis, we’re going to New Jersey to see Lisa.” Bella announced, walking into the room to see her husband reading a book in the den.

“Oh that’s nice, when?”

“As soon as I pack our bags.”

“Why?” He looked up at her finally.

“She’s getting married…” Bella said softly as she left the room.

“Wait, what?” Francis leapt up from his chair, pausing for a moment to let his joints readjust to the movement. “Bella, wait! She’s getting married? Lisa is getting married? I didn’t even know she was dating anyone.”

“Francis, would you just pick out enough clothing for a week and a nice outfit or two, we’re going to take Lisa and her fiancée out to dinner tonight.”

“Bella…”

Thanks to Annabelle Cuddy’s obsessively organized drawers and bureaus they were on the road within a half an hour. Bella had also managed to avoid telling Francis anything more about Cuddy’s fiancée.

They crossed the border of Massachusetts and Francis finally demanded that his wife level with him about more of the details.

“Okay… Lisa’s been seeing someone for the last six months and she’s in love and she told me she was going to pop the question…”

“Why is she popping the question? You know, I always said she acted way too much like a boy the way she was always so independent and she asked boys out and she even paid on dates. I’m surprised she found a man who is comfortable with her popping the question.”

“Francis, is it physically possible for you to not put your foot in your mouth for two whole minutes?” Bella sighed with exasperation.

“Jesus, Bella, could you not nag me for one whole minute?”

She rolled her eyes, “do you want answers to your questions or not?”

“Fine, go on.” He paused, “so how long has Lisa been going with this guy?”

“Six months and actually-”

“Six months? That’s it?”

“Lisa is confident that she wants to spend the rest of her life with her.”

“Him.”

“Nope, her.”

“No, Bella, you mean Lisa wants to spend the rest of her life with him.”

“No, Francis, don’t condescend to me.Lisa wants to spend the rest of her life with Remy Hadley, who is a woman.”

What?!” Francis slammed on the brakes, several cars honked and swerved; narrowly avoided being rear-ended by several cars.

Bella clutched her heart, “holy shit, Francis, you could have killed us! What were you thinking?!”

“You knew she was dating a woman and you didn’t tell me?”

“That’s exactly right because I knew that you’d react this way, would you drive the damn car?”

He sighed but took his foot off the brake and allowed the car to accelerate again. “Oh my god, my little Lise and… another woman… I don’t know how you’re being so calm about this. That woman has obviously poisoned Lisa’s mind.”

“Oh Francis. This isn’t the first woman she’s been with.”

His mouth fell open, “you’re kidding…”

“You know that boy Aaron that she went out with in college?” Francis nodded, “she was actually a girl named Erin.”

“I just… I can’t believe this… this is an outrage. Why didn’t you ever tell me any of this?” He was stunned.

“Because you’re a nasty old bigot.”

“What about that boy Greg she dated? Don’t tell me he was a girl named Grace!”

“No, he was a boy and she liked him very much.”

“Now I’m confused.”

“She’s bisexual.”

“Oh jeez, Bella, don’t talk about our daughter that way…”

“Let’s just not talk.” Bella said with exasperation.

“Fine by me.” Francis scowled as Bella put on her headphones and turned on her Sansa mp3 player.

Thirteen and Cuddy rolled out of bed around 1:30 and were dressed by 2:00.

“I have to run some errands,” Thirteen kissed her, “want to come with me?”

“Not really,” Cuddy grinned, kissing Thirteen, “I just want to stay in today. Want to come back later for dinner?”

“Uh-huh.” Thirteen nipped at Cuddy’s lip. “I’ll see you in a couple of hours.”

“Love you.” Cuddy smiled.

Thirteen smiled lovingly back at her, “love you too, gorgeous.”

Thirteen swung by the hospital before continuing on her errands. She skirted around the diagnostics office- though she doubted House was in this afternoon- and slipped into the research office.

Whitner smiled up at her, “hi kiddo.” She took her glasses off, “have you had lunch yet? I was just going to eat- wait, isn’t this your day off?”

Big news, Julie.” Thirteen could hardly keep the grin off her face.

“Well spit it out before you implode.” Whitner teased good-naturedly.

“I totally don’t work here anymore. I got a department head position at Princeton General!”

“Remy, congratulations!”

“It gets so much better!” Thirteen was buzzing with excitement to be telling her news. Whitner had become like an older sister to her since her family members had died or been estranged. She held out her hand and wiggled her fingers at Whitner.

“Is that an engagement ring? Cuddy proposed!” Whitner gaped at it, “it’s gorgeous Remy!”

“The wedding is next Saturday.”

“You aren’t wasting any time, huh?” Whitners eyes widened in surprise.

“I don’t exactly have a lot of time to waste, Julie.”

“Oh Remy, you don’t have to be so melodramatic.” Whitner sighed, “how about that lunch then?”

Cuddy’s doorbell rang at 4. “Back already? I wasn’t planning on eating until 6.” Cuddy made her way from the back room towards the front door. “I’m sure we can find something to do until then.” She grinned and opened the door.

She screamed when she saw Bella and Francis Cuddy standing on her doorstep.

“Hi pumpkin.” Bella smiled.

Cuddy screamed again.

Bella laughed, “don’t be dramatic,” she leaned up and kissed Lisa’s cheek. “I see that our surprise worked.”

“Mom!” Cuddy hugged her, trying to push past her shock. “It’s so nice to see you!”

“Is your fiancée here, darling? I can’t wait to meet the woman who made such an impression on my fickle little girl. Brings to mind that Shakespeare play.”

“Not Romeo and Juliet I hope,” Cuddy smiled.

“I think she’s talking about Taming of the Shrew.” Francis declared. Cuddy smiled and hugged her father who hugged her back. He’d been given a very stern talking to by Bella that he was to, at least, pretend to be happy for Cuddy or she’d make his life hell. “Congratulations, Lisa.”

“Thanks, I can’t wait for you to meet her, she’s coming back later for dinner.”

“Your father and I are taking you two out to dinner and I won’t take no for an answer,” Bella smiled.

“I’ll give Remy a call.” better warn her my parents are here… “Let her know we’ll be going out tonight.”

Cuddy picked up her phone and hit the speed dial button assigned to Thirteen and waited.

“Is that your phone?” Whitner nodded towards Thirteen’s purse.

Thirteen shook her head, “no, I don’t think so.” She pulled a lacy lingerie piece off the rack, “how about this?”

“For your honeymoon?”

“For tonight. I’m not quite through celebrating.” Thirteen grinned, “can you just imagine the look on Lisa’s face tonight when she’s undressing me and finds this?”

“Unfortunately all I have is imagination when it comes to Cuddy stripping clothes from a body.” Whitner laughed.

“I’m going to pick up a bottle of vodka before I go over tonight. Make screwdrivers… I wonder if she has enough orange juice. Oh, so I decided instead of selling my condo I’d rent it out. What do you think?”

“Oh I don’t know. Do you have it in you to be a landlord? You’ll have to make sure to get a tennant who doesn’t make a huge fuss. You don’t have the patience.”

“Come on, you make me sound like a jerk.”

“I’m just saying that renting can be kind of a sticky situation.”

Thirteen shrugged, “I’ll figure it out.” She pulled something sheer and skimpy from the rack, “this is the one!”

“This is a cute little player mom.” Cuddy examined the sansa and handed Bella her shuffle, “I just have this little shuffle for when I work out.”

“I like the sansa because you can record with this button,” Bella turned it over and pressed the button, “it’s really sensitive, if you press it it’ll record even if it’s off.”

“Hmm, that feature might be cool for meetings.”

Francis remained quiet. He had nothing to add to this conversation. Or to any other conversation this week, he reasoned.

The front door opened, “hey Lisa,” Thirteen called, “I hope you have orange juice otherwise we’re doing straight vodka shots.”

“Remy, we’re in the living room.”

“We?” Thirteen appeared in the doorway. Her eyes widened. The woman she saw on the couch next to Cuddy needed no introduction, it was obvious to anyone with half a brain that Cuddy got half of her genes from this woman. “You must be Cuddy’s mother.” She put the bottle of vodka down and extended a hand towards Bella.

“Anabelle Cuddy,” Bella smiled, “you must be Remy, I’ve heard so many wonderful things about you. We’re both very pleased to meet you, aren’t we Francis?”

Francis looked up at his wife, “yes.” He smiled but his thoughts were on the bottle of vodka.

Cuddy drove to the restaurant, Thirteen sat in the back with Bella. Bella chatted happily with Thirteen. Thirteen had only had the occasion to meet parents a handful of other times and she was happy that Bella seemed to like her because mothers tended to dislike her.

Dinner even went rather well. Thirteen was very pleased with herself and followed the Cuddys back into the house when they got back.

“How about a nightcap?” Cuddy asked, heading towards her liquor cabinet.

“I wouldn’t mind a glass of that vodka on the rocks.” Francis nodded, sitting in the chair.

“None for me, darling.” Bella smiled graciously at Cuddy, “I think I’m going to have a shower and go to bed, think you can show me where everything is and such?”

“Of course. Rem, can you fix my dad his drink?”

“Sure.” Thirteen smiled. Cuddy leaned in and kissed her on the cheek before leading Bella down the hallway. Thirteen turned to Francis. “Vodka rocks, you said, right?”

“Look here.” Francis growled.

Thirteen was taken aback to the point of knocking the coffee table, emptying it’s contents onto the floor. She picked the things up, including a couple of books and Bella’s sansa, and put them back on the coffee table.

“As you can imagine Bella and I are none too happy that our little princess is getting…. married to a woman or whatever it is you’re calling this travesty. If you have any idea what’s good for you you will not go through with it.”

Thirteen stared at Francis, her eyes wide with anxiety.

“Did you get your drink, dad?” Cuddy asked coming back into the living room.

“Actually, I changed my mind, I’m just going to turn in. Goodnight, Lisa.” He kissed her forehead and disappeared down the hall.

Thirteen tried to reel in her shock.

“My parents really like you.” Cuddy grinned from ear to ear, taking Thirteen in her arms. “Remy, what’s wrong?” She furrowed her brow in concern.

“Nothing, I’m just kind of tired.” She managed a weak smile.

“Want to stay over tonight?” Cuddy tucked a lock of Thirteen’s hair behind her ear.

“Um… no, I think I’m going to go back to my place.”

“Is it because of my parents? Because, trust me, they do not think I’m a virgin.” Cuddy laughed.

“No, it’s just, well, I’m only going to be there for another week, so I figured I’d spend some time there… while it’s still mine… fix it up a little more so I can rent it…”

Cuddy studied her face, not sure she completely believed Thirteen’s explanation, but nodded. “Alright sweetheart.”

“What do you mean he threatened you?” Whitner stared at her.

“What do you mean what do I mean? He threatened me, what about that isn’t clear to you?”

Whitner rolled her eyes, “I mean, what did he threaten you with. Don’t be such a smart ass.”

“I don’t know. He just said I’d be ‘sorry if I married Lisa, or whatever it is we’re calling this travesty.’”

“Ooh. Ouch.” Whitner gave Thirteen all her attention with a sympathetic brow furrow. “You’re not going to let him put you off marrying Cuddy are you?”

“No, of course not, I love her and I want to marry her… I just don’t know what do about that. Lisa thinks her parents like me. Her mother kind of seems to, I guess. But… should I tell her what her father said?”

“I’m not so sure that’s a good idea, Remy.”

Thirteen’s cell phone went off and she looked at the caller id. “It’s Lisa.” She told Whitner. She flipped it open and put it to her ear. “Hi sweetheart. Are you at the hospital?”

“No, I’m not going in until 1. I wasn’t going to bother coming in at all except I have a meeting. I was going to ask if you could entertain my parents after lunch?”

“Um… yeah, of course.” Thirteen made a face at Whitner.

“Thank you so much.”

“No problem, I love you, I’ll see you later.” She closed her phone. “I have to entertain the Cuddys this afternoon.”

“Try not to play it up like you’re dreading it, if you try to pretend you’re looking forward to it… you might not feel like killing yourself.”

Thirteen laughed, “think Lisa’d be mad if I took her parents to a bar?”

“You’ll be alright. You only have one more day after this before the wedding and then they’ll go back to Boston.”

“Yeah, you’re right.” Thirteen nodded, “hey, while I have some time would you like to go out with me to pick out what I’m wearing at the ceremony.”

“Oh definitely. Maybe I’ll pick up a new outfit, too.”

Cuddy got out of her meeting and decided to drop off a few invitations. She walked into House’s office to see him at his desk, feet up on a stack of papers and sound asleep. She looked at the invitation in her hand and at the man asleep who was drooling on his collar.

She stepped forward quietly and laid the invitation on his chest. She turned and crept toward the door.

There was a grunt behind her and a shifting of the chair as he sat up, “Cuddy?” The invitation fell to the floor.

She turned around to face him as he picked the little envelope up from the floor. He opened it, his curiousity unbridled. Cuddy watched him and waited for him to finish reading.

“A wedding invitation? I didn’t know you were seeing anyone… I must be slipping.”

“I was really careful with this one.”

“Remy? Who’s Remy Hadley? Why does that sound so familiar? Oh my god! It’s Thirteen! That’s why she quit, isn’t it?” House stared at her, “you’re marrying Thirteen?! What the hell Cuddy? Is this why you wanted me to hire her?”

“No, I wanted you to hire her because you need a woman on your team to balance out all the pissing contests that go on in your department. You need that influence.”

He rolled his eyes.

“Anyway, the wedding’s on Saturday.”

“Wilson invited?”

“Of course. I’m going to give him his invitation now.”

“Not if I get there first.” House grinned.

“I’m faster than you!” She giggled.

“But I have a shortcut and your handicap is heels.”

They watched each other for another moment before they each took off in opposite directions but both heading for Wilson’s office.

House pushed himself off with his cane and hobbled quickly through the backdoor and heading for the divider between his and Wilson’s balcony. He pulled himself up and over it, tearing a hole in his jeans and scratching his calf in the process.

Cuddy skidded on her heels as she slid out the door of the office and pushed off hard on the ball of her foot and two feet from the door she fell on her knees with a hard smack on the linoleum.

“I… really don’t know what to do with you two sometimes.” Wilson shook his head as he dabbed disinfectant on House’s calf wound. In the past six months since Amber’s death and House’s head injury House and Cuddy got close and friendly and, at times, almost playful. House and Wilson’s relationship suffered for the first few months but they’d eventually made up. But since that Wilson has had to deal with Cuddy and House being completely ridiculous.

House reached over and pushed Cuddy suggestively, “don’t you have something for Wilson?”

Cuddy shot House a look before handing over the envelope.

Wilson raised his eyebrows at the two of them and opened the envelope. He read the words once and paused, then read them again. He looked up at Cuddy then over at House and laughed.

“Good one.” He chuckled.

Cuddy shook her head. “Seriously.”

“No way.” He looked at House, unable to keep from grinning.

“Yeah way.” House nodded.

“No,” Wilson folded his arms across his chest, “seriously.”

“Seriously!”

“…oh my god.” Wilson stared at her for a few long moments. “I can’t believe you didn’t tell me…”

“You’re on the board, I didn’t want to put you in that position.” She smiled apologetically. “Do you forgive me?”

“Of course I do,” Wilson leaned forward and drew her into a hug, “I’m so happy for you!”

Thirteen and the elder Cuddys took in the art show that Thirteen had noted the other morning. Bella raved about style and color and admitted that she was an art minor in college. Thirteen confided that she’d always had an interest in art, but alas, had never had the talent for it. Frances hung back and mumbled to himself for most of the evening.

Wilson and House took Cuddy out for a drink. Which turned into several drinks and a night of pool (during which Cuddy hustled the boys out of nearly $1,000). They were luckily in walking distance of the hospital and they all made their way back with pronounced staggering.

She kicked off her heels and threw herself onto her couch and closed her eyes with a groan. House watched her for a moment before taking a quiet step forward and leaned down to kiss her.

“Do it and die.” She warned, not opening her eyes, “totally not drunk enough.”

“Can’t blame a guy for trying. Besides which have a little sympathy. I’ve been pining for you for years and now you’re marrying a woman.”

“You’re the only man for me, House.” She murmured, sleepily.

“Shouldn’t you call your woman?”

Cuddy didn’t answer. “Cuddles?”

She was out cold. He sighed and kissed her forehead.

Thirteen finally went to bed when Bella insisted that she rest up for her big day and that even though they hadn’t heard from Lisa she was sure she was okay. Bella revealed that more than once in her youth she’d stayed out and neglected to call and that she was sure there was a good reason for her absense.

Bella picked up her sansa from the night table, “it’s the darnedest thing, I charged it at home but it was completely dead this morning when I picked it up.”

Frances sat on the edge of the bed. “Are you going to listen to that thing now?”

“I want to do my meditation.” She put the earbuds in her ears and turned it on. The “save recording?” dialog popped up and she furrowed her brow. Yes. She told it. She couldn’t remember recording anything, but maybe she had. She listened to the first minute of the recording before getting completely disgusted with Frances.

The sansa had recorded the conversation between Frances and Thirteen.

“I cannot believe you.”

Frances looked stunned. “What?”

“My sansa recorded you threatening Remy. You… I knew that you weren’t pleased about hearing about Lisa’s sexuality but I figured you could be happy for your daughter… I… I can’t take this anymore, Frances. I want a divorce.”

“What? Bellie, you can’t be serious.”

“I was going to just grin and bear it because we’ve been together for forty years but I don’t love you anymore. And I thought that was okay after have been with you for so long but it’s finally clear to me that I don’t even like you anymore. We’re going to play happy couple until after the wedding, you should at least give your only child that courtesy.”

“Bellie-”

“And I hate that nickname. If I never hear it again in my life I will die happy.”

“This is really what you want?”

“More than anything else in the world.”

Cuddy’s eyes fluttered open just after midnight. She pushed herself up, her whole body felt heavy. She rubbed her eyes, popped two aspirin and searched for her keys.

She eventually found her keys shoved into her coat pocket and raced to her car. The ride home seemed to take forever despite the fact that the whole drive was never less than 10mph over the speed limit. She flung open the door and kicked off her shoes and tossed her coat at the coat rack.

Cuddy padded down the hallway towards her bedroom and opened the door slowly.

Thirteen was on her side facing away from the door. Cuddy crept in, closing the door softly. “Thanks for calling.” Thirteen whispered with annoyance.

“Remy, I’m really sorry. I would have called except I expected to beat you home. I’m really sorry…”

“Well, you’ve never done this before… and I trust you… and I love you and it’s the night before our wedding… I can forgive you.” Thirteen turned over and Cuddy stripped down to her underwear and climbed into bed with her. “I wasn’t completely honest either, I was mostly upset because your father makes me really nervous and I really really wanted you with me.”

“Sweetie,” Cuddy wrapped her arms around her, “I’m sorry, I’m going to be here with you. I won’t leave you with my dad anymore.”

Thirteen gave Cuddy a little squeeze. “Thanks.” She whispered.

***

Bella walked into the guestroom, which she was sharing with Frances and looked at his suitcases on the bed.

“Bella, I’m leaving in a few minutes. Want to say goodbye?”

Bella stared at him, “you can’t leave. Your daughter is in the other room expecting her father to be there to celebrate her love and God help me you will be there, Frances.”

“Bella-”

“No Frances. There is absolutely no excuse for missing this ceremony.”

Wilson knocked on the door, “hi, Lisa asked me to come find you, they’re going to start the ceremony in a few minutes.”

“Thank you, we’ll be right there.” Bella said.

Wilson looked between the Cuddys, taking note of their defensive body language and the suitcase on the bed, furrowed his brow in concern but eventually decided it wasn’t actually any of his business and went on his way.

“Come on, Frances.” Bella said definitively.

Frances hesitated for a moment, but finally followed her out to the backyard and took a seat next to his soon-to-be ex-wife.

The altar was a made up of a large, elaborate flower arrangement. The Justice of the peace stood in the middle and Cuddy and Thirteen entered from opposite sides and faced each other as the Justice of the peace started the ceremony.

After a few minutes had passed Frances sighed and turned to Bella, “I’m sorry, Bella.” He whispered, “I can’t. And if that makes me a bad person, so be it.”

“Frances, don’t.” She whispered, her nostrils flaring in frustration and anger. “Don’t you walk out of this ceremony.”

Without another word Frances stood up quietly from his seat and went into the house to retrieve his suitcase.

After the ceremony ended Bella was quick to appear at Cuddy’s side to give her a big hug, “sweetheart, I’m so happy for you.” She turned and smiled at Thirteen, “and for you, I couldn’t have even imagined a better match for my Lisa than you, Remy.”

Cuddy looked around, “mom, where’s dad?”

“I think he went to the bathroom. Oh, sweetie, it looks like the photographer wants to take your pictures now. Better go do that.”

“Good idea.” Cuddy nodded, though she knew something was wrong. Bella Cuddy was not easily flustered, and she was never rushed.

After the photoshoot, which Cuddy and Thirteen dragged Wilson, House and Whitner into after more than enough pictures of just the two of them had been taken, Cuddy was so wrapped up in Remy and the rest of the guests and the dinner that she forewent asking her mother what was wrong and had even forgotten that she hadn’t actually seen Frances all day.

Bella couldn’t believe Frances’s actions and separated herself from the other guests by walking to the far end of the backyard. Julie Whitner watched her for a moment, noting her distress before approaching.

“I’m sorry to intrude but you look like you could use someone to talk to.” Whitner smiled warmly.

Bella looked at her before letting a small smile tug at the corners of her lips.

“I just can’t believe I’m getting a divorce this late in my life.” Bella confessed, sitting down with Whitner and pushing her food around on her plate.

“It’s never too late to make a change. Familiarity and normality are not good reasons to stay in a situation that doesn’t make you happy.”

“You sound like you’re speaking from experience.”

Whitner nodded, “I was married before. Almost 15 years.”

“What happened?”

“I just realized, a gradual realization, of course, that I’d been lying to myself. I wasn’t really in love with him, I did love him but it wasn’t romantic. I couldn’t lie to myself anymore about being a lesbian. The only person I was hurting was myself and I deserved to be happy.”

“That’s inspiring, Julie.”

“It’s really no more inspiring that what you did. You stood up for yourself and that’s a beautiful thing, it’s very courageous.”

Bella smiled shyly at Whitner.

“Can I get you a glass of champagne?” Whitner asked, smiling back.

“How about you get me one over dinner tomorrow night?” Bella bit her lip shyly, watching Whitner to see if she’d crossed the line.

“Are… are you sure?” Whitner smiled skeptically, “are you… asking me out?” She felt stupid for the question, but even stupider for thinking Bella might be asking her out.

“Yes. If you’re free…”

Whitner nodded, “I’m free.” She smiled hugely.

Cuddy held Thirteen close as the swayed to the soft music. “I love you.” Cuddy whispered, “thank you so much for being with me.”

“I love you too. My heart still skips a beat every time you say that.” Thirteen smiled, resting her head on Cuddy’s shoulder and swaying with her.

Cuddy could see the street from her position and had been looking at the empty parking spot. She hadn’t been able to put her finger on why it bothered her for several minutes before realizing that it was her parents’ car that was missing.

“Lisa? You’re tense, are you alright?” Thirteen asked with concern.

“Yeah, hold on, I’ll be right back.” She kissed her quickly and ran into the house. She noticed that two of the suitcases were gone. She raced back outside.

Bella looked up at her, jumping up, ready to go to Cuddy.

“Mom…” Cuddy’s bottom lip quivered once and her brow furrowed in sadness, “why did Dad leave?”


♥ Part three coming to you soon!
Tags: fic
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