Chapters 1-18 by You're out of your vulcan mind
Chapters 19+ by Mara-DragonMaster
Disclaimer: This story does contain some adult themes (kidnapping, abuse, and recovery) and is not suitable for children under the age of 16.
Author's Note: This story was conceived of and begun by You're Out of Your Vulcan Mind, and then adopted by me when Vulcan offered the story to anyone who wanted to finish it. I will be posting it one or two chapters at a time, to give those who wish to refresh their memory an opportunity to do so, and those who are seeing it for the first time a chance to read it as they would any other fanfiction.
I hope that you enjoy this story!
"Where's your name tag?"
House looked up at the figure in the doorway, surprised. "Why?"
"I'm bored, and out of crossword puzzles. I might as well get your clinic hours done." And I want to get the heck away from Cameron, Chase added in his mind.
"You're offering to do my clinic hours?"
"I'm done with mine, and you would have made me do yours anyway. This saves you the trouble of asking– or, ordering me to do them."
"I want to do my own clinic hours."
Chase looked at him with raised eyebrows. "Fine." He went back to the conference room and flopped back into one of the chairs. He did a silent countdown in his head: three… two… one…
The nametag came flying out of the office. Chase, prepared, caught it easily. House looked out and frowned in annoyance; he'd been hoping to surprise the wombat and peg him in the head.
Cameron watched the whole scene play out and rolled her eyes. "Suck up."
Chase shot her a frustrated glare; why did she always feel the need to be unkind to him when they were at work?
"Hello, I'm Dr. House, so–"
"You're not Dr. House. Not that I mind…" The patient trailed off, looking at him admiringly. Chase looked up at her. She was stunning; long shapely legs in low-rise jeans, perfect petite frame, pale flawless skin, hazel eyes and layered brown hair that hung in waves about her shoulders. Suddenly he didn't mind either.
She smiled, her mouth curling girlishly at the corner. "He's making you do his clinic hours for him, isn't he?"
Chase raised his eyebrows in surprise. How did she know?
"House and I go way back. He's 'friends' with my father." She winked. "You know."
Chase found his voice again. "Right, of course. So what seems to be the trouble?"
"There isn't any trouble, actually. I'm here to get a doctor to sign my physical."
Chase nodded and flipped through her file. "You're a doctor?"
"Yeah, work in Princeton General."
"And they didn't have someone who could sign it there?"
"It's… complicated." Her one eye narrowed in a look of concentration, as though she were trying to figure out how to explain. "I just didn't want someone at work doing it. The guy's a jerk. He's my ex, but he doesn't get it yet and… well…"
"I understand perfectly." He smiled at her reassuringly. She returned the smile, apple cheeks rising with the motion. Wow, she is beautiful, Chase thought to himself. He pulled out the forms from her file, forcing his mind back to the task at hand, and was surprised to see that the forms were already filled out. "Umm…"
"I did my own, I just need someone to sign it. House and I kind of had an arrangement– you know, I'll sign yours if you'll sign mine…"
Chase looked uncomfortable. When she realized the burden she was putting on him she straightened nervously; this was completely against protocol. "You know what, I'm so sorry, I… you… I shouldn't have… I'll just call House later." Grabbing her jacket she got up to leave.
"No– no. Its alright." He did a cursory look through the papers and quickly signed them. "There you are." He handed them to her.
She beamed. "Thanks so much." She said, and started to leave. Then she stopped, fiddling with the papers, and she turned around. Sticking out a hand, she shyly cocked her head to one side.
Chase chuckled. "Robert Chase." He shook her hand.
"Are you… This might seem really forward, but are you free tonight?"
He blinked. That was out of nowhere. "Wh-what?"
She blushed deeply, and shook her head. "Never mind. Sorry."
"No, I'm sorry. Yes. Yes, I am free tonight. Why? What do you have in mind?" He asked, leaning back against the exam table.
"There's this– absolutely terrible function I have to go to at work, and I need a date, and– well, I don't really know anyone outside of work. So if you can… I mean if you want to… would you?" Despite her attempt to appear nonchalant her eyes held a nervousness and a hope that made her seem almost childlike. It was endearing.
His mouth pulled sideways into a small smile. "Sure. I'd love to."
She looked relieved. "Thank you so much, you have no idea what this means to me. Oh, here." She took out a piece of paper and wrote down her number and address and handed it to him.
"What time should I be there?"
"It starts at seven, but why don't you stop by my place around six. We can have drinks or something, to steel ourselves for the night ahead." She closed her eyes, making a face. "Oo," she moaned. "I'm making this sound so bad. You won't want to come. It's a formal, black-tie event. I'm so sorry, you must think I'm…"
"I'll be there at six." He smiled again, more and more amused and intrigued by her, and she nodded gratefully. He pulled out a business card and wrote down his number, just in case there was a change of plans, and gave it to her.
With a final shy, grateful smile she took it. "Bye."
The next patient came in and sat down nervously. A 19-year-old male, barely out of puberty, it seemed.
"What seems to be the problem?"
The young man shifted. "I think that, well…"
Chase inwardly groaned, the euphoria from meeting Eloise disappearing. This was going to be a long day.
His heart jumped to his throat when he heard the phone ring. Had she changed her mind? Chase grabbed his cell and relaxed when he saw it was only Cameron. "Hello?"
"Hey. You know, maybe I was a bit too harsh this morning." Her voice was soft. "I know it's not Tuesday, but… you want to come over and I'll tell you I'm sorry?"
"I'm actually getting ready to go to something. Sorry." He was standing in front of the mirror, straightening his tie.
"Oh. You didn't say anything at work today about plans." She sounded surprised and disappointed, and Chase felt a bit of irritation rise. "Well, um… whatever then. See you tomorrow." She hung up, and he hung up and tossed the phone on his bed.
He was getting tired of this. They had a no-strings-attached relationship, but he felt she was abusing it. She had this idea that he was there whenever she wanted him, like he didn't have a life outside of her and work. At work she treated him like he didn't mean anything to her, and then every Tuesday she would make it up to him, only to kick him out of her house in the early hours of the morning to start the cycle all over again.
He guessed that Eloise was using him as well, but at least he didn't love Eloise.
Chase checked his watch. Quarter-to-six. He grabbed his coat and hurried out.
In the dark He watched Robert walk quickly out to his car, pulling his keys out of his pocket. He smiled; He loved to see Robert look so eager. Just like a boy should on a date. Just as long as Robert followed His rules– He didn't want his son to go with just any girl, after all. Robert's relationship with that woman Cameron had been worrisome, but she was no real threat. Too manipulative for His liking, but it was just a passing crush. No strings attached. This new woman though– He shook his head. She could be trouble. He started the car and followed Robert's.
Robert better not forget his father's rules.
"Just a second! I'm still a mess!" Eloise shouted. She ran to the door in her bare feet, paused, pulled her hair behind her ears and opened the door.
"Sorry if I'm…" Chase trailed off at the vision before him. She was wearing a strapless dress, a deep black-purple that shimmered in the light, embellished with black embroidered flowers. They sparkled with sequins, winding around her thin frame, accentuating her pale complexion. Her nails and lips were colored a matching black-purple, and her eyes were darkly lined, so her hazel eyes glowed out yellow. She looked stunning, dark, wild, ethereal.
She blushed under his gaze, and gestured to herself. "I'm a complete mess– I'm nowhere near ready."
"I think you look beautiful."
Blushing again, she tucked a loose lock of hair behind her ear. "Thank you. You don't look so bad yourself." There was a pause while they looked at each other, then she shook her head. "Oh, come on in." She pushed the door wider and stepped aside to let him in. "Make yourself at home; I just need to finish my hair. Help yourself to anything in the kitchen."
She hurried off. Chase looked about the apartment. It was done in an entirely retro style. Bright cheery colors, interestingly shaped fixtures– the kitchen was straight out of the sixties. Eloise was definitely different. Speaking of which…
She came back out, her hair pulled into a twist and held by black and purple silk flowers. She looked like some sort of dark sprite or pixie. "Drinks?"
"What would you like?" She padded into the kitchen, opening the fridge and peering inside.
"Um…" he leaned against her kitchen counter. "Whatever you have is fine."
She pulled out two beers. "This okay?"
They went back to the living room and sat down on the couch. There were a few plates set out with nuts and pretzels on the coffee table.
"So…" She leaned back into the rich red cushions.
"So…" He drawled.
"How long have you been working for House?"
"About three years." Chase said. "How long have you known him?"
"All my life. He and my dad did residency together. They were friends– at least, until the infarction. He was like my second dad." She smiled. "He was the one who would tell funny stories, do magic tricks–get you the things that a real dad would get you– I haven't seen him for a while. I just moved back here a year ago." She paused. "He doesn't know yet."
"Oh," Chase fought down a feeling of slight irritation that all the women he went out with seemed to have a fixation with House. Time to change the subject. "So, where were you living?"
They engaged in the idle chitchat for a while, neither wanting to give away too much or say something that might offend the other. As time went on they grew more comfortable and started to open up a bit more, relaxing and enjoying the other's company.
"So, do you like her?"
Chase blinked and looked at her. "Huh?"
"Dr. Cameron, you keep bringing her up. Do you?" Eloise watched him curiously.
"Would that be a problem?"
"You going out?"
"Would that be a problem?"
"If I was stealing someone's boyfriend, then yes, it would."
"I'm not… we're not…"
"I know we're not actually 'going out.' I just don't want an angry scorned girlfriend to come after me."
Chase looked at her, then shook his head. "No. She's not my girlfriend."
"Would you like her to be?"
His mouth opened to reply, but nothing came out except for a slightly disbelieving chuckle. How did she manage to catch him off guard like that?
"I'm sorry. I guess I never grew out of middle school. Sorry." She looked embarrassed.
"No– it's okay." Chase shook his head, waving it off. "What about you? Any hidden boyfriends I might make jealous?"
"To be honest? Yes. He's not– a boyfriend, he's my ex–" she shifted nervously. "I really should have told you about this before but– this was such an impulse thing, you know?"
"It's alright, sure. Tell me about it."
"He works in the ER with me." She explained. "I moved here with him from Denver. We never were really close, but my dad liked him so we stayed together; but he was always kind of a jerk." Eyes darkening slightly Eloise glanced to one side. "Things got bad, really bad. The final straw was when he started cheating. It's been a year, but he still doesn't get that we're not a thing. He might be at this party. I'm sorry, I should have told you before. If you decide you'd rather not go now…"
"No, no. I mean, if you're going to be there it can't be that bad." He gave her his winning smile, hoping to reassure her, and she beamed back, relief shining in her eyes.
"That really means a lot to me. Oh shoot!" She glanced at the clock. "We need to go soon, or we'll be late. Shoot. Maybe we'll be able to sneak out early or something." Clambering from the couch she slid on a pair of black high-heels.
Chase stood up. "Alright. We can take my car."
He watched them come out. He'd gotten nervous when He couldn't find a good place to watch them in the apartment, and they were in there so long. He frowned at her dress– all dark, like a temptress. Still, they seemed nervous with each other right now, and they weren't touching. So far so good.
Wait… Chase reached out to take her hand, and she accepted, smiling shyly. They walked to Chase's car hand in hand, like two teenagers on their first date. She was reeling him in…
He narrowed his eyes.