All right here are pages 11-20. Obviously this is a long prologue and as you have probably guessed a long story. This is where we get to the main plot. Please comment. Thank you. =).
“I was actually wondering if you would reconsider my offer for dinner.”
“No,” Cuddy replied still retaining her gentle tone.
She turned on her heel and returned to the table where House, Wilson, and Sarah were still seated. All three of them watched her sit back down curiously.
“Well,” Sarah prompted when Cuddy didn’t say anything.
“He bitched at me about my testimony and asked me if I would reconsider going out with him,” Cuddy explained.
“You’re not going out with him,” House said forcefully.
“Uh, is that a question or an order cause first of all I would never go out with him and second you have no control over my social life.”
“Didn’t you turn him down a like three weeks or so ago,” Sarah asked breaking off a piece of a new double chocolate muffin.
“Yes, if you keep eating like that you’re going to have a myocardial infarction by the time you’re thirty.”
“I haven’t had a double chocolate muffin in a week.”
“Wow, a whole week. You are the image of self-restraint.”
“God he’s such a pain in the ass,” Cuddy said, annoyed.
“He’s a man who wants to screw you like several other men.”
“What do you mean several?”
“Shall I run down the list.”
Cuddy narrowed her eyes.
Fifteen minutes later they were all back in the courthouse counting down the minutes until the arraignment was over. House was playing with the same rubberband he had been playing with before lunch. Sarah was looking through a case file thinking of possible diagnoses. Wilson was dosing off. He had been on call the previous night and had not gotten any sleep. Cuddy was sorting the contents of her purse. The trial dragged on and on, the witnesses droned on and on until three fifty p.m. At that point Meredith Slater cut off the testimony sounding as bored and annoyed as House, Cuddy, Sarah, and Wilson felt.
“Considering that all of the evidence presented so far is circumstantial and complete bull shit, I am not going to allow this case to go on to trial. Case dismissed,” she proclaimed with a bang of her gavel.
“Thank you God,” Sarah exclaimed as she stood up.
“Wilson,” Cuddy called.
Wilson remained asleep.
“Wilson.” Louder this time.
“Here,” Sarah interrupted, “this is more effective.”
Without hesitation she slapped Wilson upside the head startling him awake.
“What the hell,” he exclaimed glaring at her.
Sarah pointed at Cuddy.
“I had nothing to do with this,” Cuddy said walking away.
Wilson continued glaring at Sarah.
“Would you rather I have let you sleep in the courthouse,” Sarah said as she walked away.
As Cuddy was walking out to her car she had a strange feeling that she was being followed. She looked behind her for the fifth time in the past five minutes and for the fifth time saw nothing. Maybe she had forgotten to take her Anafranil that morning. No, that wasn’t possible. She never forgot anything. She arrived at her black, ancient Honda Accord and was about to get in when something caught her eye on the windshield. It was a red envelope with her name written on the front in black ink. She lifted the windshield wiper and retrieved it. Under her name in the same black ink were the words “From Detective Tritter.”
Cuddy rolled her eyes and pried it open. Inside was a card. On the cover of the card was a basket of red, orange, yellow, and pink flowers. Inside the card was more black ink in the hand writing as that on the front of the envelope. Basically it was an entire essay about how much he loved her and wanted them to be together. Creepy. How the hell do you love someone after knowing them for only three weeks? They were only acquaintances for God’s sake. She shook her head and tossed the card in the trash. Why couldn’t he understand that she was not attracted to him? What was so incomprehensible about the word ‘no’? Oh well, the case had been dismissed. She would never have to see him again.
“You should report this to the police,” Sarah said after Cuddy had told her about the card. They were sitting in the living room of Cuddy’s new house that she bought with her incredibly large paycheck. It was a nice, spacious house, definitely an improvement from her disparaging apartment.
“Just because he asked me out twice and gave me a card,” Cuddy said incredulously.
“He’s a stalker.”
“He’s annoying, but he’s not a stalker.”
“He tried to follow you home from work.”
“As I was following you here I noticed him following behind us.”
In astonishment, Cuddy walked to the window and peered through the blinds.
“Relax,” Sarah said, “I got rid of him.”
“What do you mean you got rid of him?”
“I garroted him and stashed him in my trunk.”
“I slowed down to a crawl until you turned right on Partridge Lane then he started following me so I drove down several alleys.”
“Damn it,” Cuddy muttered.
Later that day…
“What’s he doing here,” Cuddy whispered to House pointing at Tritter. They were playing poker at a hospital charity party, a hospital charity party that would mark the end of Cuddys’ life as she knew it. Had she known that her life would go straight to hell she would’ve ended it right then and there. Had she known that as Tritter walked towards her his footsteps ticked the minutes of the clock counting down the last few moments of peace Cuddy would ever have she would’ve downed the bottle of copier toner sitting on her desk idle. But alas she didn’t know and contrary to the popular cliché what you don’t know can hurt you. No one knows when there’s a person with a knife and murderous intent in their closet. The people in Columbine didn’t know that two psychopaths would walk in and shoot up the place. The people in the twin towers on September eleventh didn’t know a plane was going to fly into the buildings. If any of these people had known about these things perhaps they wouldn’t have been hurt. But they didn’t know and neither did Cuddy who naively obliged to speak to Tritter alone in her office inadvertently marching to her own demise.
“What do you need,” she asked closing her office door behind her and sitting down behind her desk.
“How many pills would you say Dr. House takes in a day,” Tritter asked sitting in one of the chairs in front of the desk.
“The case was dismissed,” Cuddy said flatly.
“I’m appealing to the federal court. I can’t stand to see criminals let off.”
“House is not a criminal.”
“It would be wise for you to answer the question.”
“About five maybe. I don’t see him that often.”
“Are you seeing him?”
“Seeing him like,” she stopped mid-sentence when he noticed that he was looking down her shirt. She buttoned it and continued, “Seeing him like how?”
“Then why would you hire him?”
“He’s a good doctor who couldn’t get himself hired at a blood bank so I didn’t have to pay him that much.”
“So you’re not going out with him.”
“That’s what I just said. Does this have anything to do with your fictional drug-trafficking case?”
“I’m not going out with you. I do not like you,” Cuddy replied maintaining the gentle, kind tone of voice she always used.
She could be calling you an idiot and she would still have the same tone of voice.
“When did I ever give you the impression that I care what you want?”
Cuddy furrowed her eyebrows. That was an unexpected statement.
“Stand up,” he ordered.
“Stand. Up,” he demanded his tone of voice much sharper now.
Then Cuddy found herself staring down the barrel of a twenty-two caliber. Thinking it would be best for her to comply she stood up slowly. Cuddy had not yet learned that some things in life are worse than death and what was about to happen to her was one of them. With the gun still aimed at her forehead Tritter locked the door. Cuddy stood frozen where she was beside the desk as he walked towards her. This was bad, very bad. Maybe she should’ve told the police about Tritters’ stalking behavior. She did not want to die. Her whole life was ahead of her. As he got closer to her she began to back away until she hit the wall. She was about to duck away from him when he grabbed her shoulders and held her there. Frantically she tried to break free, she kicked and scratched and squirmed, but she was no match for him. He slammed her back against the wall and forced the gun into her mouth.
“Do you want to die Lisa,” he hissed.
Tears welled up in Cuddys’ eyes. Her life was finally going her way and now this had to happen. This is how I’m going to die, she thought, and in a way she was right.
“She’s been gone a while,” House mused as he put two twenties in the middle of the poker table.
“You think she’s ratting you out,” Wilson asked also putting down two twenties.
“She’s not going to rat you out,” Sarah said putting down a hundred, “The bastards obviously persistent. He’s probably going all Spanish Inquisition on her ass.”
“Cuddy loves me; she wouldn’t stab me in the back like that,” House said, “The women’s rich. She needs to get out here and share the wealth. I fold.”
If Sarah had put down a hundred that meant she probably had a better hand than a pair of jacks. Sarah was extremely cautious with her money.
“So you’re only asking why it’s taking so long because you want her money,” Wilson said disgustedly, “You aren’t at all concerned that he’s arresting her or threatening her career? I fold too.”
“Who wouldn’t want her money,” Sarah said as she laid out her hand.
“You conniving bitch,” House exclaimed.
“What? A two, five, seven, nine, and ten are a fabulous hand.”
She picked up the stack of twenties, fifties, and hundreds and shoved it in her bra.
“Be a good sport Gregory.”
“You’re evil. You’re taking money from the poor.”
“If you’re poor then you shouldn’t be pissing away your money on poker. Thus, you are either really stupid or you’re trying to guilt me into giving you your money back. Since you’re not stupid I’m going to say it’s the later. Nice try, however, it’s not going to work.”
“You have no soul.”
“Who needs a soul when you have seven hundred and forty dollars shoved in your bra?”
Their conversation was cut off when Cuddy trudged up to the table and distractedly jammed her winnings into her purse. All three of them watched her with great interest as her hands shook while she scrounged up her cash.
“What’d Tritter want,” House asked.
Cuddy looked at him startled, like she had just noticed that he was there. Her eyes were red and although it was barely noticeable, House could tell that she had wiped off her make-up.
“Huh? Tritter? Oh! Nothing just to…uh…ask me how many pills you take daily,” she replied distractedly as she peered over her shoulder.
House waited for her to elaborate, but instead she said nothing. She was too busy scanning the area with the deliberation of a paranoid schizophrenic. Abruptly she turned on her heels and began to walk out. And that was when House noticed something else: a white tag sticking out of the exposed hem of her sweater on the right side.
“Why the hell is your shirt inside out,” he asked bluntly.
Her back stiffened as she stopped in her tracks. Damn it, she had been so careful in erasing the evidence. How could she have been so stupid? The dialogue that kept running through her mind answered her:
“……you’re nothing but a stupid whore.”
“Did you sleep with him,” House asked disgustedly.
“Shut. The hell. Up,” Sarah commanded sharply.
“Your life is no longer in your control…”
Apparently not. In the matter of an hour everything had managed to spiral out of control. The fragile perfection that she had worked so hard to build was now crumbling around her. It was just a fluke, she reiterated over and over in her mind, I’m still perfect, it was just a fluke. She was so focused on that mantra and blocking out what happened that she couldn’t even think of some reply that would diffuse the upcoming situation. Now it was too late.
“You’re mother was right. You are a whore,” House continued.
“What about the phrase ‘shut the hell up’ is hard to understand,” Cuddy heard Sarah say as she began her journey to the parking lot. Cuddy managed to get to her car before she broke down completely. Even though she was practically sobbing she then managed to drive to her new house. She had just finished moving in there the previous day. Life had seemed so promising then. Back then her rather large condominium had made her happy. Now she felt imprisoned and lonely. What had happened to her put a chasm between her and the rest of the world, between her and who she was yesterday. She longed for yesterday again when her future had looked bright. No, she must not do this to herself. Her life was still perfect, she was still perfect. This didn’t have to break her. At least that is what she was trying to make herself believe. Denial was her main defense mechanism. Despite her personal mantras she felt indescribably dirty. Maybe a shower would calm her down. She walked into her lavender bathroom and turned on the water. For a while she just stood there watching the water run down the drain in rivulets, much like her life. Except her life was not trickling down the drain in rivulets it was rushing down the drain in a large torrent. She took a prescription pill bottle out of her purse and took two. Technically she had taken her dose of Anafranil for the day, but at this point she didn’t care. Perhaps it would make her feel better.
“You brought this upon yourself…,” she could hear Tritter saying.
The words kept echoing through her mind. Tears welled up in her eyes again and she sank to her knees on the bathroom floor, her head resting on the edge of the bathtub.
“You brought this upon yourself…”
Well you did, that little voice that’s in everyones’ head reinforced.
“You’re life’s no longer in your control…”
When has it been?
My life is still perfect. I am still perfect.
“How long can perfect, always in control Lisa Cuddy last?”
Apparently not even an hour.
My life is still perfect. I am still perfect.
“One way or another you will marry me.”
What the hell did you get yourself into this time?
My life is still perfect. I am still perfect.
Her mantras were getting harder and harder to believe.
“Everything that happens from here on is your fault.”
My life is still perfect. I am still perfect.
“Your mother was right. You are a whore,” this time it was Houses’ voice that was taunting her.
This proves them right.
My life is still perfect. I am still perfect. That woman is not my mother.
She’s still right.
How the hell was she supposed to refute the statement that she was whore when she felt like one, dirty and loose? This question brought her back to her original reason for entering the bathroom: To take a shower. There was one problem with this solution: That would involve taking off her clothes. She didn’t know if she could do that.
One hour later…
The doorbell rang muffled by the sound of the running water. It’s probably Sarah, Cuddy thought, damn it. Sure Sarah was her best friend and Cuddy would’ve liked to tell her what had happened, but she couldn’t and she couldn’t have Sarah figuring it out either. Cuddy hoped it was Wilson, it would be easier to hide something like this from him. She considered not answering it, but if it was House or Sarah they would just barge in if she didn’t. What choice did she have? None, just like she had had no choice in what had happened earlier. The doorbell rang three times in succession. Out of ideas, Cuddy climbed out of the shower, her sopping wet clothing clinging to her. Pathetic, she knew, but she had been unable to take them off. Now she would have to change them. Even Wilson would be suspicious if she answered the door like this. If there was anything she would overcome her fear for it was her pride, her image. No one could know of this. She would take it to the grave. Hurriedly she went to her bedroom and changed into the first pair of pants and shirt she found. The doorbell rang five times in succession. It was either Sarah or House. Wilson would’ve given up after three. If Cuddy didn’t answer the door in a minute they would break down the freaking door. She practically ran to the entry-way and opened it.
“You know, most people leave when someone doesn’t answer the door,” she said trying unsuccessfully to maintain her usual soft tone.
“Yes, but you aren’t best friends with ‘most people’,” Sarah replied in her usual caustic tone.
“Why are you here Sarah?”
“Is that anyway to talk to your best-friend?”
Cuddy stared at her wearily.
“I’m not here to interrogate you about what may or may not have happened with Tritter,” Sarah explained, “We had plans for this evening, remember?”
“Apparently you don’t. Today is ninety-nine cent cappuccino day at the bookstore slash café in the center of town. We go there every week on this day and drink coffee and buy books.”
“Right. Let’s go,” Cuddy replied taking her carkeys of their hook.
“Aren’t you going to change,” Sarah asked gesturing towards Cuddy’s black sweat pants and light blue short sleeve shirt, “Those are your jogging clothes. Won’t you flip out if you where them for anything else?”
“No, I think my Anafranil is finally working,” Cuddy replied too quickly.
“You’ve been on the highest dose for a year chere and you still only wore your jogging clothes for jogging. That is how OCD is.”
“I’m trying to overcome my OCD.”
“By wearing jogging clothes to the bookstore,” Sarah asked incredulously.
“Have you never heard of taking things one step at a time?”
“People have to have a reason to decide to change. They don’t just wake up one day and say oh what the hell I’m going to change my demeanor today.”
“How about that I’m tired of being obsessive compulsive?”
“You have been obsessive compulsive all of your life. You have no idea what life is like without it and you enjoy your life. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”
“Some would think that being obsessive compulsive would make my life ‘broken’. Actually, everyone but you would.”
“Broken is in the eye of the beholder. If you enjoy your life, OCD and all, then there is no reason to change it. The only reason you would suddenly decide to change, if that even is why you are ignoring your impulses, is if you stopped enjoying life in the past four hours.”
“A good friend would support me instead of trying to dissect my reasoning,” Cuddy said softly hoping in vain to guilt Sarah into shutting up.
As she expected it didn’t work.
“You don’t need to tear yourself apart for sleeping with Tritter. We all do stupid things. C’est la vie chere. C’est la vie.”
“I’ve never done anything stupid. I could never afford to.”
“There’s a first time for everything Cuddy. Don’t be so hard on yourself.”
“It vindicates Sharon.”
“You’re only a whore if you have several one night stands and if you are actually attracted to him then it does not make you a whore it makes you a woman with bad taste in men.”
“Where I come from it makes me a whore.”
With that Cuddy turned away, unable to hold back her tears any longer.
“Oh dear God Cuddy, don’t cry over spilt milk. What’s done is done. Learn from it and move on.”
Abruptly Cuddy walked down the hall to her room locking the door behind her. Sarah shook her head and exited Cuddys’ house. Apparently Cuddy needed some alone time to get over her one night stand. Perfectionists needed time to get over certain things. They hate to stray from the thin lines they walk and while most of them do walk thin lines Cuddys’ was ten times thinner, single-hair thin, so thin that it was impossible to walk, so thin it would be the death of her. So what if she had had a one night stand, Sarah thought. It was never something she would do, but one one night stand does not make someone a whore, especially in todays’ society. Cuddy had been forced to grow up at the ripe old age of twelve. The worst thing she had done was pulled some pranks in college with Sarah. Then again, they hadn’t been pulling pranks just for the hell of it, there was a point to it. Everyone has to screw up at some point, Sarah thought to herself, there’s no sense in trying to be perfect. Look what it was doing to Cuddy, but whatever, it was her life. Sarah had warned her that perfectionism was basically a form of suicide, but Cuddy had not listened. As Sarah was walking down the path to her car, absorbed in her musings, she ran into Wilson.
“Son of a biscuit eating bulldog,” she exclaimed starting.
“You should really pay more attention to your surroundings,” Wilson admonished.
“Thanks mommy dearest.”
“Why are you here?”
“I want to talk to Cuddy.”
“Good luck with that.”
“I tried to console her. She locked herself in her room.”
“What did you say?”
“I said that everyone does stupid things and that she’s not a whore.”
‘I don’t think she slept with him.”
“Her sweater was on inside out after she came out of her office you idiot. That means that it was off of her at one point, which means she slept with him or he raped her. The latter is unlikely because there is a security camera and security guard that would have
seen it. Ergo, she slept with him. Probably put said sweater over said camera.”
“Have you no faith in your best friend?”
“She never denied that she slept with him. She neither confirmed nor denied our suspicions.”
“I would hope that you would give her the benefit of the doubt.”
“Again she never denied that she slept with him ergo there’s no benefit of the doubt to give her.”
“I can’t believe you would do something like this to your best friend.”
“I’m not doing anything to her. I’m not insulting her or judging her. I don’t really care if she has one night stands I just find it interesting.”
“And you don’t care about her psychological health?”
“Her psychological health is beyond the point of no return. I can not invest myself in a lost cause. Survival of the fittest, she needs to adapt to the fact that she will screw up or she will not make it.”
“You’re a bitch.”
“Whatever you say.”
With that she turned on her heel and walked in her usual brisk pace to her car. While Sarah went to the bookstore alone, assuming Cuddy was just overreacting and Wilson stood on Cuddys doorstep knocking politely, Cuddy sat in her new bedroom, on her new bed, still trying to convince herself that she was still perfect. Her room was not overly large; it was about medium sized. The bed she was currently occupying was in the center of the room, the exact center. She had measured. For another hour she sat there crying and trying to block certain thoughts and memories. She just sat there, sobbing and shaking. The back of her throat began to burn and she began to feel nauseous. Great, now she had made herself physically ill. That was when she decided that she should clean her house, not that it wasn’t already clean, but cleaning normally calmed her down. First she dusted down all of her shelves and dressers. Then she alphabetized her sock drawer by color and further sorted them by style. She sorted the rest of her clothes the same way. By five in the morning she had scrubbed every surface and sorted everything that she could possibly sort, but she was still just as upset as she had been. Every time she would manage to stop crying she would relive that one event and be back to sobbing. In a half an hour she was supposed to wake up and go to work and she had not slept at all. Now she felt cheap, guilty, distraught, and exhausted. But she was not going to be able to sleep. If she wanted to actually be functional at work she would need at least some sleep. To sleep she would probably need sleeping pills. How was she supposed to show up at work in an hour and a half after taking sleeping pills? She would most likely sleep through the alarm. If by some miracle she actually did wake up she would be catatonic. If she was catatonic people would notice something was wrong. Cuddy could not have people knowing about this. It would destroy her carefully constructed image of perfection. Screw it, she might as well stay up. She could skip work, but that would definitely tell people that something was wrong. For another half an hour she sat on the floor in the kitchen next to the sponge she had been using to scrub it and did what she had been trying to do all night, defend herself from what had happened. Then she got too tired to deny the truth anymore. It was all her fault, she was no longer perfect, and she was a whore. With those affirmations she drifted off into a tortured sleep, reliving what had happened without inhibition.
The gun was cold and metallic tasting in her mouth. It was forced so far down her throat that she could not stop gagging. Between the gags she drew shallow raspy breaths, but they were not enough. She could feel herself suffocating, her blood become saturated with Carbon dioxide and depleted of Oxygen, her lungs struggling for air, her brain shutting down. White bursts of light flashed across her vision and then black swirls began to replace the sight of her office. Just when she reached the brink of death fresh air rushed into her lungs no longer obstructed by the gun. For several seconds she coughed violently, hunched over, leaning on her desk for support. The blackened abyss that had replaced her office swirled around her and then began to clear. A wood colored blur appeared in front of her visual field and slowly formed into her desk. Her breathing steadied and she took deep, gasping breaths to make up for her severely depleted oxygen saturation. She had barely recaptured her breath when she felt the familiar cold gun pressed against her temple.
“Do you want to die Lisa,” she heard him snarl.
She remained silent, her eyes squeezed shut, her breathing shallow.
He yanked on her hair so hard that she nearly lost her balance.
“No,” she pleaded losing control of her emotions and starting to cry, “Please I don’t want to die!”
“I didn’t think so.”
He shoved her away from him so hard that she stumbled and twisted her ankle. Never wear stilettos when you’re getting attacked. She turned around to make a run for the door, but he had already locked it and was still aiming the gun at her head. If only she had let him shoot her.
“There’s a surveillance camera in here,” Cuddy said intending to sound threatening. Instead she sounded afraid.
“If they were on someone would be here already wouldn’t you say,” he replied coldly.
“If your intent is to kill me get it over with!”
“If you play your cards right I am not going to kill you. Eventually you will kill you.”
“I’m not suicidal.”
“What the hell are you going to do to me?”
Something collided with the wall behind her, an inch above her head. She threw her hands over her head protectively. A cloud of plaster dust filled the air and small pieces of the wall hit her hands. He had shot at her! Why the hell hadn’t she heard it? There was a silencer on the gun. No one would see him holding her hostage in her own office and no one would hear him shooting at her. If she tried to call anyone he would shoot her. If she tried to climb out the window he would shoot her. The door was locked. There was nothing she could do.
“Sit on the couch,” he ordered.
“Why,” Cuddy asked anxiously.
She wasn’t being a pain in the ass, she just wanted to know.
“Please don’t do this. Whatever you’re going to do to me don’t,” she pleaded.
Another bullet whizzed past her left ear causing her to scream.
“Sit down or I will kill you.”
Seeing no other option Cuddy walked over to the couch and sat down as far away from him as possible. She didn’t want to die. Christ, she didn’t have a will. Where would her hospital go? The government would repossess it. They would turn it into a halfway-house for rich people. Why the hell did figures of authority always want her dead? People liked her. She didn’t do anything to piss off the powers that be. Okay, maybe she had back in Iraq, but she had done the right thing. Sometimes you couldn’t blindly follow orders. Sometimes you had to defy them in order to do what was morally right. This, however, she had no idea what she had done to deserve this. Before she knew it he was sitting right next to her and the gun was once again pressed to her temple. She squeezed her eyes shut waiting to die, waiting for that bullet to penetrate her temple and scramble her brains. But it didn’t, instead she felt him pin her down forcefully. Then she heard a door slam in the distance and disjointed voices.
A car started and Cuddy opened her eyes and found herself in her kitchen. The bucket and sponge she had been using to scour the floor sat next to her feet. The sunlight filtered in through the windows, a sign that she had overslept. Birds twitters and a schoolbus clattered down the street. If it was a high school bus she had only overslept an hour and a half. However, if it was an elementary school bus then she had overslept by two and a half hours. Her exhausted muscles protested as she pushed herself up. Never in her life had she felt so fatigued, not even during medical school. The sleep had not relaxed her for it had not offered any escape. Instead she just felt worse. Part of her wanted to curl up in her nice warm bed and a much bigger part was afraid to fall asleep for one minute. Perhaps she would have to make a run to the pharmacy after work. With surprising speed she got dressed, put on her make up, and managed to look like she did every other day, days that she hadn’t fallen asleep on the kitchen floor. She performed her usual door and window locking ritual in her usual order. She could not leave without doing so. Literally. Within the half hour she was walking through the doors of Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital still feeling like she could break down at any second. It was going to be a rough day.
“What’s wrong with Cuddy,” Sarah asked walking into House’s office and sitting on his desk.
“She’s a slut,” House replied throwing a few files in his small black trash can next to his desk.
“Doesn’t she need those?”