“So…?” she asked him, glancing up once again “What’s on your mind?”
Hugh stalled for a moment. Then shook his head, smiling feebly “Nothing….nothing, really…I was just…I…”
“You’ve been pretty pensive all night long you know….” she cut him off, gently “…and I have seen enough of that look on your face to recognize the signs….” she added smiling with her eyes.
Hugh dropped his jaw a little. Then something began to warm him up.
She crossed her arms over her chest, staring up at him sweetly “…will you please let me in?”
A real smile erupted on his face to that and he let himself drop against the wall, face to face with her.
“Do you?” he asked her.
Lisa frowned lightly “What?”
“Know me that well….”
Her lips fairly curled up into a little smile “You like it?”
He prompted her, smiling in turn “Do you?”
She arched her brows at him jokingly quite provokingly too, “Don’t I?”
He took his time, looking down at her. Then he realized he had crossed his arms over his chest too and that his fingers were winding and unwind with hers already without he was even conscious of it.
“What’s on your mind then?” she asked him again.
She was answering his touch though. And then she had her confusing eyes always so-fixed on him, searching deeply into his, and that easy smile of hers still not leaving her lips, constantly lighting her up from within; and then there was that thrilling rush he was already starting to experience to which he’d like to be free to abandon himself completely, forgetting all about the rest.
“I’m sorry I overstressed you today…” he said instead after a moment, furrowing his forehead a bit, without looking at her.
His fingers kept twining with hers. He wondered whether he should worry that someone might barge in and see how they were standing, speculate on what they were doing, wondering for the umpteenth time whether there was more than just a friendship between them, if they were covering something or she was really the reason he had put off his ring at last.
He knew he simply didn’t want to. Not anymore.
These stolen, spare moments behind the scenes had always been the best they can have.
He wanted more.
She went to grab his fingers, cheerfully “Hugh, what’s really….”
“I don’t want to exhaust you…” he interrupted her, as his heart leapt into his throat.
“What…” she smiled “…exaust…”
“I’m sorry if I ever did it…” he kept on, keeping on caressing her hand “Today or…lately or…since forever for that it’s worth”
Lisa’s smiled changed. He wouldn’t took his eyes off their hands “Hugh…”
“I did a mess and I’m sorry…I really, really am…” he added.
She stood quiet for a moment then, just thinking. She didn’t know what was crossing his mind really or why was he been so cryptic about it, ‘cause she was sure he wasn’t telling her half of it. But it felt in that moment like his pain and remorse for whatever he believed he should blame himself for were hers too. And she didn’t want him to feel that way. Not now. She had told him things she didn’t believe. Not thoroughly at least. And she was so sorry about it too. Just so sorry. More than she would ever be able to tell him.
She just wanted to brush that pain away from his eyes.
Her reaction came natural to her: go and rescue him just as had done a million different times before along the years. Only this time she could probably go a little further with it without worrying too much of the consequences of how much out line she might be. And it was strange, though, ‘cause she still felt very much discombobulate and not even remotely close to this controlled, playful, lighthearted person some part of her was pretending to be.
And yet, it was strangely addictive how all of this was making her feel already. Regardless, Karen’s word came back to her mind once more.
They didn’t win her over this time.
She had a quick look around, strained her ears, then stepped closer.
Hugh seemed to be taken aback. He dropped his arms, spreading them open and pushed himself upright, moving stiffly as she nuzzled against his chest. He made a funny face though, looking very much suddenly unsettle.
And that simply fired her.
He felt his heart racing indeed already “What are you…”
She bent her head a little backwards, looking up and found herself standing right under his chin, “Doesn’t forever sound like too much of a word on you?” she murmured as letting her lips brush back and forth across his jaw.
He closed his eyes, forcing himself to remain motionless “You’re not helping me out at all here, Liz…I was being serious…”
Her lips curled into a small, mischievous smile “Me too, don’t be so hard on yourself…” she said, kissing him lightly.
“I’m not being…will you…Liz…” He swallowed.
She pressed herself a little harder against him, “What?”
He moved his face away from her, just an inch “Liz…”
“Yes?” she asked, innocently as kissing him again.
“I’d like to…I mean…shall we talk serious.…”
And then she sneaked her hands under his jacket, smiling flirtatiously...
He writhed instantly to one side, starting “Jesus, you’re as cold as ice...”
She tightened her grip on him and quickly slid her hands around his torso getting to his belly.
He reached up to her hands pushing them down, “No, no, no Liz, Liz, Liz, no please….” but then, when she burst out giggling, he got it and let his jaw hang down open, “You....you little scheming teaser...you did that on purpose, didn’t you?! Come here!!!” he said as he secured both her hands inside his.
She kept on giggling struggling playfully to free herself “I don’t know what you’re talking about....”
He held her tight by her wrists, laughing “Liar...you know I HATE you when do that....ESPECIALLY when I’m driving....”
“You’re not driving....” she laughed.
“I hate you when you do that...” he repeated, pulling her at him.
“Do you?” she asked provokingly, bending her arms against him, “And what else do you hate about me?”
They found themselves standing inches away from each other.
And he could not remember why he was there anymore once again....
They ended up kissing.
And she didn’t know herself how she had been holding up for so long or lived without it truth to be told while Hugh simply couldn’t understand how she had managed to have him forgotten in one, single finger-snap all about he had wanted to tell her just a minute earlier. Whatever was between them, it was just mind-blowing to him.
A quiet humming of voices began to get closer.
“Alright guys…you ready?”
David barged in without anything as much as any warning. Lisa was still standing up by the wall, arms crossed behind her back. She turned ahead when he saw them all coming back, smiling a bit.
Hugh was leaning against the opposite wall now. And he was weeping with his fingers at one of the corners of his mouth when David looked at him.
He heaved a silent sigh “Alright then…” he cleared his throat, “everybody to their places then please…”
Greg shot himself past him, dashing to his chair. He adjusted his monitor “Alright, ready here…”
Lisa straightened up a bit then, getting ready to start. Hugh pushed himself upright right after, watching her.
Katie showed up at David’s side, “How did you think that go?”
David turned to her. She was chewing a heart-shaped lollipop. He frowned “Where did you get that?!”
She arched her brows, giving it a long lick “Bought it for the occasion after your latest brilliant idea….”
David remained watching her for a second.
She hold his gaze, with lively eyes “What?”
He stifled a chuckle, turning ahead “Nothing, nothing…”
She shrugged and went back darting her eyes towards them, “So….how did that go?” she asked again.
David crossed his arms over his chest, spreading his legs apart “Do they look like two people who have talked something out to you?”
Katie stared at them.
Hugh was just going to place himself right in front of her once again.
“You planning on keeping on doing this to me for long?” he asked in a undertone. His lips were twitching at the corners though.
She smiled a crooked teasing smile at him.
“Where’s Steve?!” shouted Greg.
Lisa flattened her gown down against her breast with nonchalance, “Doing what anyway?”
Hugh licked his lips, “I would highly appreciate if you just stopped it really…”
She stared up, choking a laugh “You’ve something on your cheek…come here…” she said and she stretched her hand out gently wiping his face with her thumb.
“Some dust out of place, I guess…” he said, allusively.
She smiled again, radiant “Yeah…”
“So?” asked David.
Katie made a face. She sucked the lollipop in her mouth, “…more like having made out their way out of it, I would say….”
“I’m here, I’m here!!” Steve shouted. He dashed his way through the setting. He still had a steaming cup of coffee in his hands.
“Alright…” said Greg “…let’s get this over with…oh wait” he added, jumping off his feet once again.
He gestured for David to let him have another look through the camera eye “Hugh, another inch a little bit forward please.…”
Hugh took another step.
“Ok…perfect….” said Greg, motioning David to hold the camera like that.
He was back towering over her now, so close he could feel her breath on his neck. She noticed. “Now…Stuart…” he added “…some more to the right….yes like that please….”
She playfully blew lightly over him the moment the light was glaring at everyone.
He stuck his tongue to one side inside his mouth, staring down at her, “I’m telling you….” he whispered.
“Greg I think it might really be better if that one dangle to the right instead….” said Katie, pointing to one of the living room ones.
“You think?” asked David, going on checking for it.
He bent down over her ever so unnoticeably “…I’m telling you, I won’t be held responsible for my actions if you keep on doing this to me…you’ve been advised…” he told her, menacingly.
She scoffed “Look who’s talking…” she said in an undertone “I’m not the one who started brushing one’s lips across the other’s just to drive that other insane….”
He dropped his jaw unable to keep himself from smiling amused “I didn’t…”
“Hugh stay still please, we are trying to catch the right light on your faces….”
She pressed herself against the wall some more, “Yes Hugh, stay still…” she admonished him, good-humoredly “…that’s highly unprofessional of you…”
He sighed, holding himself back very hard “Yes, sorry Greg….” his eyes flashed at her “I’ll behave…”
They stood quiet for a moment.
“It was a fine touch though. I must admit…” she whispered, staring ahead now.
She rubbed her lips, pretending impassiveness, but the lively smile in her eyes hadn’t faded “…far better fitting to the moment than the last one…” She casted him a quick, skittish smile, “...very much unforgettable…”
Hugh couldn’t help himself from smirking again, “You’re evil…”
She fought back a giggle, her lips barely twitching at the corners.
“But I can assure you the last one had its upsides too, believe me….” he added.
She pointed her grey, wide eyes up at him then, without thinking it twice, “Which one? Ours or theirs…?”
And he could barely breathe.
They were surrounded by at least a dozen eyes, they were in the middle of a shooting session, of the most delicate season finale, with David clearly not so much enjoying himself at shooting in the middle of the night and quite frankly very much almost over the edge already, God know for what reason, and he could barely breathe.
And they were flirting. And damn it he hadn’t told her half of what he wanted to.
He had let himself get sucked down by it all over again. By how much impossibly appealing all of this felt and by how all of this foreplay-stuff and her digs at him it made him feel, by how that familiar light in her eyes fired him and then the heat rising up between them even when they were barely touching; by how just desiring her made him feel.
Just desiring her so much to ache.
And he was back wondering now whether any of this would ever be enough to keep her with him. Close to him. His...
He had barely being able to tell her half of what he wanted to. And not even that.
And now they were back flirting.
His eyes slipped down to her lips for a second, then back to her eyes, “Now YOU tell me how’s something like this is supposed to be in any way conducive to help ANY OF US cooling off and staying still?” he asked, as blood thud restlessly through his veins.
Lisa swallowed, her heart suddenly pounding louder than she would ever expect it to.
She moistened her lips with the tip of her tongue…
“Ok, ready…” Greg yelled again, “Let’s start over from right after the first kiss guys, let’s move on to the part it get a little more intense and then you move away and…yada, yada, yada, alright?”
“Alright…” Hugh said, without keeping his eyes off her.
“Got it” she said.
“Ok. Microphone up…lights…clapperboard ready…”
“Scene 35, B, take 3”
“Here we go, action!”
Lisa’s face changed one more time. Like it had done one thousands time before since he knew her. Cuddy and her. They were two people and yet the same one at times, ‘cause there was just something about one another that kept shifting over the other half no matter how hard she tried not to.
He had been witnessing it.
He had been loving it.
He had been loving both of them.
It happened to her just as it happened to him.
And maybe she was right, perhaps actors really ended up relating to their characters like the twin brother they shared heart and soul with but they had ever had when doing the same job for so long. And possibly over the years he had even changed and he had turned into House than he would have ever believed it possible. And perhaps even House was slowly undergoing some changes now, had been to somehow and was becoming more like him then he wished he would ever allow him to; laying his very soul out there…out bare.
So her face changed.
But her features didn’t harden this time. Just like Cuddy’s on the contrary her eyes softened, and she seemed to be waiting just for him to take the final step, as if she was willing to leave it him; however he decided to play this one. As if, one more time, she was willing to play into his hands and by his rules. However he decided to go through it this time.
Her eyes started to close as he bent down over her, a sweet smile creeping on her lips almost in anticipation. And he liked to believe that was sweetness for him too.
As he kissed her this time, though, he felt no haste; no flame wearing out too quickly inside him leaving him no time to enjoy it for real.
This time was different. And yet so much better, somehow; so much more intense.
He slowly leaned in to her and there was no haste in his actions, but a quiet, craving desire for her; a need to feel her closer, to vanish inside that kiss, hide himself behind it and at the same find his way back home though it. Lisa followed his league, her tongue dancing with his, kissing him unhurriedly and languorously just like he was asking her to. Caressing him, as if she knew that, despite of how much incapable they both were to be any different from the way they always had been - just so contagious for each other that they couldn’t hold themselves back anymore when some lines got crossed - despite of how much fun he had with her, how much he loved his playmate, more than everything, she also knew how much he still needed to feel it, to be reassured about it and for her to let it drift over him right now: how special they were, how much they would always be, no matter the arrangements, no matter what.
No matter what life would bring them….
He allowed himself to savor every second of that kiss. Taste it to the last bit.
Saying goodbye felt like torture.
“…how do I know I’m not hallucinating… ”
Lisa let a second pass “Did you take the vicodin?”
He stared down to his hand, “Nope…” he said smacking his lips.
She tipping her head to one side, “Then I think we are ok…” and then she casted him one of the most radiant smile he had ever seen on her face.
And once again he liked to believe that very smile was also for him. The smile of someone who had already chosen.
Billions of flashes from their past overlaid before his eyes, tasting like the movements of a sonata. Like they were just meant to go through it all over again.
And maybe it would be different, or perhaps they would just repeat the very same mistakes, or possibly they would hurt each other with new ones. They might conquer it all after all. Or rather more likely end up ruining everything.
No one knew.
But they would do it together. And they would have a try at it. Have the courage to.
“Yeah…” he whispered.
The last notes sounded wonderfully melancholic to him. A true swan song.
And maybe it was just House and Cuddy and the way this scene had been written, but he was would make himself sure their lifetime together, however short or long it was meant to be, wouldn’t be a silent song he hadn’t been the courage to play.
His hand reached down instinctively to hold hers. To secure it inside his one more time.
They twined fingers.
David and Katie traded a look at that. It wasn’t scripted. They hadn’t thought about it. But they would use it. It made it just perfect.
“Ok, let’s do it again. Camera C. Just another take. One last time…” Greg shouted, having one last glance at the monitor as they pull apart “…and David would you mind taking a close up to that thing they do with their hands with the B as someone holds the C please?”
Hugh and Lisa stared to one another.
It was 4.30 am.
She would take off by ten.
...and now you wait and suffer :P