Title: Once Upon a Time
Series: Straw Into Gold
Part: 6 of 9
Word Count: 1,078
Summary: Maybe it wasn’t meant to be after all.
When did the sun stop shining?
When did we turn into two divided?
I guess we will never, really know why.
But I remember, once upon a time.
She knows she shouldn’t be driving because she can barely see the road through her tears. She’s furious with him for being so insistent about keeping their relationship a secret at work and she’s furious with herself for thinking that Dr. Gregory House could ever be anything but a bitter misanthrope.
She manages to find a parking spot right outside the front door of her apartment building which is something of a miracle. Once she’s inside, she makes a pot of tea and sits on her sofa sobbing. She knows she needs to get it all out of her system now because tomorrow she has to go to work and be a professional and not let anyone see how upset she is.
The worst part is that she knows Greg loves her. She has tried to be patient and understanding about everything he went through with Stacy. But patience has its limits and she finally reached her breaking point.
In her mind, its not a big deal if their co-workers learn about their relationship. Like she told him, people have suspected there was more between them for a long time, even before there was more between them. Hospitals are hotbeds of gossip and what is considered breaking news right now will be forgotten in a matter of days.
Allison sleeps fitfully that night. She’s grown used to having someone next to her and it feels odd to have an entire bed to herself. She’s lonely when she wakes up; she has to make her own coffee.
She arrives at work late on purpose. By the time she enters the lab, Chase and Foreman are wearing concerned looks and she notices that House looks just as unrested and unhappy as she feels. He hands her a folder containing information on their latest case and briefs her on what he expects each member of his team to do. She nods, afraid that if she tries to speak, she’ll say things she’ll regret.
Chase and Foreman bolt out of the lab. She tries to gather the supplies she needs to perform her duties but he steps in front of her, looking at her, through her, with his sad eyes.
“Allison, look,” he begins.
“No,” she cuts him off. “Whatever you’re going to say, I’m not interested in hearing.”
“But Allison,” he tries again.
“No,” she says again, her voice raising slightly. “Even if I were willing to have this conversation, it wouldn’t be here. Now please leave me alone so I can do my job. I don’t need to lose my boyfriend and my job the same week.”
He sighs and she swears if she didn’t know any better, she’d think she saw a single tear roll down his cheek. It’s almost enough to make her turn around and stop him as he limps out of the lab, but she forces herself to concentrate on work.
The day goes by in a blur. They save the patient and she surprises Chase and Foreman by asking where they’re going for a celebratory drink. She hasn’t gone out with them in three months, since the first night she’d gone out with Greg… House. She has to remind herself that their only relationship is a professional one now.
She downs three gin and tonics in the first hour she’s at the bar with Chase and Foreman. They keep giving her concerned looks and she can see they’re having a silent conversation about her but she is determined not to mention her failed relationship with their boss.
Foreman finally breaks down when Chase goes up to the bar for another round.
“Cameron, what happened?”
She looks at him as if completely confused. “What are you talking about?”
He gives her his no nonsense look. She knows she’s stronger than that. “You and House. I’m not stupid. I’m a doctor, a trained observer. I’ve noticed that things have been different between you two for the last few months. And today, you were both acting strange and now you’re here tonight with us, getting plastered. What happened?”
She doesn’t realize she’s crying until he slides into the chair next to her and puts a comforting hand on her shoulder. She doesn’t notice Chase return to the table, quietly sit the drinks down, and pull a chair up next to her on the opposite side. She only becomes aware of his presence when he gently pats her knee. Neither of her colleagues say anything, but she feels comforted.
When her tears finally subside, she gives them an embarrassed look. “I’m sorry, guys,” she starts to apologize.
They shake their heads. “Don’t apologize, Cameron. Just tell us what happened. Maybe we can help,” Foreman says.
She sighs. She didn’t want to drag them into this, but she needs someone to talk to and at least they both know him.
“We’ve been dating for the last three months,” she begins. “I thought he loved me.”
“So what changed?” Chase asks, always one to cut to the, well, chase.
“Wilson went to see him yesterday and told him that people in the hospital are talking about us and about his attitude adjustment.”
“They have been,” Foreman says, obviously confused.
“I know,” she says. “But he freaked out, saying that we agreed to keep it away from the hospital and that I should have told him as soon as I heard anything. I tried to tell him that people have been saying things since before we even got together, but he wouldn’t listen.”
“I’ve heard people speculate that he has something going on with Wilson,” Chase says.
“I told him that, too. He just, I don’t know, went crazy. And I couldn’t take it, so I walked out.”
“But you still love him,” Foreman says quietly. She attempts to glare at him, but her face falls and she begins to sob again. All she can manage is a nod.
“It’s okay, Cameron. It will work out,” he reassures her.
“I don’t know, but it will.”
She looks at Chase and he nods his agreement. “Every relationship hits stumbling blocks. The trick is to find your way around them.”
She gives her colleagues a shaky smile. “Thanks guys,” she says. “Your support means a lot.”
They smile back. “And hey, if all else fails, we can steal his cane,” Chase says with an impish grin.
All three begin laughing and Allison realizes that life will move on for better or for worse.