"You heading home?" House asked Cuddy as he stood in front her desk.
Cuddy sat at her chair. She had a lot of paperwork in front of her yet to be done.
"I should do this paperwork before I go. Why?"
"I was gonna get some dinner at Thai One On..."
Cuddy rubbed her tired eyes. In the past, she would have asked him what he was up to. She would have pushed him to admit he was in fact asking her out. But over the last four months of this infuriating cat and mouse game between them, she had learned that being direct with him in terms of his feelings was always a dicey matter. She decided to act natural.
"I am hungry." She said with a smile.
House held his cane a little tighter.
"I'll meet you in the lobby in ten minutes." He said.
Cuddy nodded in return and watched him limp out of her office.
"This place is really nice...for such moderate prices." Cuddy said as she scanned the menu.
"Yeah, from the outside it looks like a hole in the wall, but the inside is a real sight to behold."
Cuddy looked at him. His eyes looked softer than usual.
"What do you recommend?"
"Shrimp with basil leaves in spicy chili sauce always does the trick." He replied as he stacked the pepper shaker on top of the salt shaker.
"I'll get that then and some red wine." She said as she folded the menu and placed it on the table.
House motioned for the waiter to come over and they placed their orders.
Once the waiter had left Cuddy pulled out her cell and set it to vibrate.
"So, when is the fundraiser?" House blurted out nervously.
Cuddy looked up from her phone. She smiled fondly at him.
"I wasn't getting bored, House. I was just setting my phone to vibrate so we wouldn't be interrupted. No need to make small talk about things I know you have very little interest in."
House grinned at her correct assessment of him.
"Okay...Let's get right into what your favorite sex act is and work from there."
Cuddy laughed at his comment and lightly hit his arm.
"You are too much."
"But you wouldn't want me any other way." He replied.
She could tell he was waiting for an honest answer to that statement.
"No, I wouldn't." She replied.
He nodded slowly and looked down at the table top before bringing is eyes back to hers.
"Good." He said.
"House, this is..."
"Hot food! Hot food!" The waiter yelled suddenly as he came to their table and placed their meals down.
Cuddy had followed House in her car on the way to the restaurant, but now that it was getting late, and she had drank three glasses of wine, she knew it was better to let him take the wheel.
House took her keys, and the two got into her silver Prius. As he started the ignition Cuddy turned the radio station until it hit the jazz channel. Madeleine Peyroux's voice flowed through the speakers and filled the small car.
"I love her voice. Have you listened to Madeleine Peyroux before?" She asked as she looked out the window.
"I have a few of her songs on my ipod." He said as he put on his signal.
"This one is one of my favorites. J'ai deux amours." Cuddy said wistfully.
"I have two loves." House translated.
"So, you know French too?"
"My dad was stationed in Bourdeaux for a year. We had to come along." He said as he took the exit to the highway.
Cuddy turned her gaze from the window and looked at him.
"I'm tipsy." She said.
House smirked but continued to watch the road.
"Yeah, I know."
"You didn't even drink a beer tonight."
"Once you ordered that wine I knew it was out of the question."
"You still could have drank. We could have called a cab or something."
"I got buzzed off the Pepsi." He said deadpanned.
Cuddy laughed a little and then turned her gaze back out the window.
"Thank you for dinner. I really was hungry...It was nice not to eat alone."
"...You have Rachel."
"She's a baby...By the time you drop me off she'll already be asleep."
"But you'll watch her sleep." He said as he suddenly pulled up to a curb and put the car in park.
"Wow. I didn't realize we were here already." She said as she turned back to him.
House studied her face for a long time before replying.
"Do you need help to the door?"
"No. I'm fine just tipsy." She said softly as she stared back at him.
"Goodnight, House." She replied as she opened the car door and walked up her porch steps.
House watched her until she opened the front door and headed inside.
Two Days Later: Lunch Time
"Did you already eat lunch?" Cuddy asked House over the phone. It was a Saturday and she was off for the day, but she knew he was still at work mulling over a case.
He had his feet propped on top of his desk as he held the receiver to his ear.
"I ate with Wislon, but I'll never be one to turn down a free lunch." He replied into the phone.
"Who said anything about free?" She said with a grin.
"I paid for you."
"That you did. I was surprised actually."
"Why? I can be a gentleman."
"Sometimes." She teased.
House rolled his eyes and fingered the phone cord before answering.
"Alright. I'll pay. But this time you are playing the chauffer." He said before hanging up.
"How's the blt?" She asked from across the table.
"It's good...How's your turkey club?"
"The turkey is a little dry." She replied.
"My bacon is burnt." He confessed.
"The food is usually better." She said apologetically.
House nodded and then gulped down some of his lemonade.
Cuddy was about to drink some of her soda when a thought suddenly hit her.
"You pretended you liked your food."
"I told you it was burnt." He said as he wiped his mouth with a napkin.
"Not at first." She said as a wicked smiled formed on her face.
He raised an eyebrow.
"I don't know what you're getting at."
"Of course you don't." She said with a huge smile.
House looked away and grinned.
"That's good...right there." House moaned as Cuddy massaged his leg. They were sitting on her sofa. Two empty glasses of wine were on the coffee table along with open containers of Indian food.
"It's really knotted up." She said as she applied more pressure.
House threw his head back against the pillow and sighed.
She smiled happily at his reaction.
"You haven't let me do this in years." She said as she stroked the underside of his thigh slowly.
"I know...I hate showing it...the scar." He barely managed to say.
Cuddy lightened her pressure on his leg.
"I've seen it before...You know it doesn't matter to me." She said in a whisper.
House's eyes opened. He looked across at her. She was intently focused on his leg. He sat up and rested a hand against her shoulder. She stilled her hands and looked up at him.
"I know..." He said as he held her gaze. A wealth of information was in his stare. She smiled warmly at him. Her eyes started to get watery, but she refused to let the tears fall. Instead she pushed herself closer to him on the sofa.
"Do you want anymore food?" She asked in a quiet voice.
"No." He said as he took his free hand and ran it through her hair. She sighed at his touch.
She placed her hand on his waist. He looked down at her hand and then back at her. He swallowed.
"Do you want anymore wine?" She asked as she inched her face closer to his.
"No." He answered as he pressed his forehead against hers. House then slowly closed the remaining distance between them by pulling her lips into his.
Cuddy sat up at one end of the bed while House lay at the other. The two were facing each other.
Cuddy held the blanket to her, now bare chest, and couldn't help but to giggle at the current turn of events. She also couldn't resist laughing at the completely serene look that House wore as he lay his head back against the head board and watched her. His hand went under the blanket and stroked her foot.
"House! Stop! That tickles."
He laughed at her high-pitched girlish laughing and finally stilled his hand. She put her hand under the cover and stroked his foot hoping he would be just as ticklish. She frowned when she found he wasn't.
"No fair." She said with a smirk.
"Completely fair after the sexual torture you just put me through."
"Torture? You yelled 'Don't stop!' a few times" She said as she nudged his waist with her toe.
"You liked to bring me to the brink a few times, but being the little tease that you are, you would draw it out." He stated as he traced her calf with his finger.
"But that's what one would call delicious torture." She said in a seductive tone.
House gave her a wolfish smile. He began to massage her calf.
"Well, maybe it's time for me to give you a little torture of my own." He said as he pulled her legs down until she was resting on top of his own legs.
"I dare you." She said as she threw her arms around his neck and kissed him.
House lay on his side as Cuddy spooned him from behind.
"I'm glad you asked me out on Wednesday for dinner." She said as she kissed his shoulder.
"Me too." He said before yawning.
"It's almost two...I have to get up for work in four hours." She said as she yawned as well.
"Play hookey today."
"Two meetings today and a brunch..."
"Well, go in a little later."
She kissed his shoulder once more.
"Yeah. That sounds nice." She said as she held him close. He relaxed his back against her breasts.
"Goodnight, Cuddles." He said with a smile.
Cuddy playfully nudged his arm.