Fandom: House MD- Grey Gardens AU
Pairing: Wilson/Wives, House/Stacy
Challenge/Prompt: Haven't decided yet.
Summary: James Wilson in my alternate universe before Grey Gardens ever happened. The story of all those divorces and the infarction and stuff.
Author’s Notes: I really, really like this. I like what my writing style is doing (I wrote the whole thing in notepad; typos etc are a given), and I like that I got to mess around with James, and this was fun. You do not need to have read Grey Gardens to read this; just take it as an AU version of what could have happened to Wilson.
A/N: I get the timeline doesn't match up and nobody spends long enough at medical school. Go with it. I didn't write this for the research.
You are suave thanks to ribbons that opened sesame But in the stars and closer to home in every planet It ain't so hard for me to see that you will believe in love and all that it's supposed to be
James Wilson is in his second year of medical school and he knows damn well that he ought to be paying attention to the lecture. In fact, he's paying attention to the woman sitting on the other side of him, chewing the end of a pen in a way that's practically obscene, a mane of pink hair cascading over her face and hiding her features. She has great legs, absolutely great legs, and is wearing a small denim skirt that accentuates and really shows off their greatness. At the ends of the perfect legs she is wearing a pair of Doc Marten boots decorated with White-Out daisies.
"So," she says thoughtfully when the lecture is over, catching up to him outside, "Mr Wilson."
"Are you stalking me?" he enquires. She smiles and James finally meets a pair of bright, bright green eyes, with very long mascara-coated eyelashes.
"Would you like me to be?" she murmurs, and oh yes, it's flirting. He doesn't know her name and she doesn't know his first name and they've barely spoken and already they're flirting.
"Depends," he smiles. She smiles back, and her hand slips into his. Her fingers are surprisingly cold.
"So," she says, "Where are you taking me to lunch?"
James opens his mouth to tell her that he's not buying her lunch but the words get lost.
"What's your name?" he asks instead. She considers him for a moment.
"Laura Ramsey," she replies.
"James Wilson," he tells her, and moves his hand so their fingers are interlaced. "Shall we go and get lunch then?"
"Love at first sight," House says over his beer. "Riiight, Jimmy."
"It is *not* love at first sight," James insists, "We just met and we apparently like each other. And that's a good thing, in case you were wondering."
House frowns critically. He's thirty-two and currently single and always cynical.
"Sounds suspiciously like your eyes met over a medical text book." He takes another mouthful of his beer and shifts on the barstool. "And she sounds nothing like your type."
"You've never met her."
"You're going to regret this."
The two of them look at each other for a moment.
"You should get going," House adds, "Don't you have a date in about half an hour?"
"Why do you hate her so much?" James asks.
"I hate her on principle," House shrugs. "Go! Date! Go!"
James rolls his eyes but walks out anyway, leaving too much money on the bar behind him.
Laura is teaching James to make profiteroles and simultaneously testing him on anatomy for his exam tomorrow. The two of them have been married for ten months, and Laura dropped out of med school eight months ago. Currently she works in a book store and plays in a band and smokes like her life depends on it because she knows it drives him mad. And today, her hair is blue. Tomorrow, it could be anything.
Currently, they're using too much sticky goopy chocolate stuff to make sauce for the profiteroles. James isn't entirely sure whether they're making these for eating or not, and doesn't really mind.
"*Concentrate*," Laura mutters.
"I'm *trying*," he replies. "But you're not making this easy, and my exam tomorrow is mildly more important than being able to cook fucking choux pastry desserts."
Laura just looks at him for one perfectly silent moment.
"I know," she says, "But the thing is: you know everything you need to know. I know you do. You know you do. So excuse me for trying to take your mind off things."
She looks pissed-off, pouting slightly, and, sucking chocolate off her fingers, walks away.
"Where are you going?" he asks.
"To bed," she replies.
It's three days later; her name is Harmony, she has thick blonde, blonde hair and the bluest eyes James has ever seen. She is in his anatomy class, smiling all the time and flirting with him. Perhaps James should have learnt that flirting while you're married is a bad idea but it's never crossed his mind and up til now he never thought he was doing anything wrong; but right now her fingernails are scraping the scabs off the cuts that Laura's nails always leave on his back, and her legs are wrapped around his waist and she is keening frantically with her blonde hair everywhere.
When he gets home Laura is cross-legged on the living room floor sorting through her vinyl collection, which fills most of their living room and is encroaching into the hallway, and he's insisted she get rid of some or at least find a better way to store them so that he can put his medical textbooks somewhere. The cardboard jackets are building up into two very distinct piles. Laura herself isn't facing him, her blue hair wound up in a bun with two eyeliner pencils stuck through it to keep it in place, dressed in a vest and cut-off shorts because it's unseasonably hot.
"These can go," she says tightly, pushing a pile of records towards him with accusation and misery in her green eyes, and James realises then, wanting to laugh, that if Laura knew, she would actually be more pissed off at the loss of her beloved music than the fact he's spent the afternoon fucking a woman who isn't her.
"And you can't go home because...?" House asks.
"Laura's taking the last few boxes of her stuff out of the apartment and she told me she'd light me on fire if I was around," James explains. Lisa Cuddy snorts into her drink, and then tries to look serious.
"But the divorce was months ago," she says. "I remember it being months ago."
"Yeah," he sighs, "But neither of us are particularly organised and we still can't work out whose boxer shorts are whose."
"Meanwhile you and that Harmony woman have broken up and that woman you picked after her is gone, and you've been single... for three weeks now," House smirks. "Personal record?"
"Shut up," James mutters, focusing on the olive at the bottom of his martini glass and trying to work out whether he wants to eat it. He doesn't really like olives very much. "It's your fault I'm divorced."
"So I screwed your wife. Once. Get over it," House returns. "Like I was the only one."
"Boys," Cuddy sighs, reaching over and eating James' olive for him, "Let's not go through this *again*. If I hear one more remix of the " 'you screwed my wife' 'so did everyone else' 'you suck' 'kinda like Laura did' testosterone testosterone blah blah" variety I will *scream*."
James sighs and studies the clear liquid in his glass for a while. Next year he starts his surgical internship, and not having a wife for that is probably going to work out as a blessing. His finger feels naked where the ring ought to be, and he and Laura are on a strange kind of truce- both hating each other and yet getting on fairly well. She dyed her hair black to commemorate the death of their marriage, and it suits her. James knows that on one level he'll always be in love with her. And that's fine.
He comes back into himself to find House poking him.
"If you are going to be all sad and drippy we will have to get you a girlfriend," he says bluntly.
"Who says I want one?"
"You were desperate enough to want one when you were still married- you telling me that's changed over a few months?"
"Ouch," James says appreciatively, accompanied by a whistling sound as Cuddy sucks air in through her teeth.
"Will you two stop it for five damn minutes?" she asks, glaring at them both. "We are here for a drink because James can't go home because his ex-wife threatened to incinerate him if he was there. To be fair, I believe that, it strikes me as the sort of thing Laura would do. But if you are going to bicker the entire time then I will quite happily burn you myself. Ok?"
"I love it when you take charge," House says, winking at her. Cuddy sighs and drains her glass, turning around to ask the waiter for another.
When James gets back to his empty, empty apartment, he finds that Laura has left him a large Tupperware box of her macadamia nut pancakes (pieces of heaven, and although he can make them himself, he can't make them nearly as well as she can), a black sweater of his he thought he'd lost months ago, messy lipstick kisses on the mirror that will be a bitch to remove, and a meatball recipe that sounds gorgeous. He sighs, dumping his keys on the side table, picks up a couple of medical textbooks and makes his way to bed to read them. James is, admittedly, slightly drunk, but he's got nothing better to do this evening than study and eat pancakes and reflect that he's probably screwed up pretty badly regarding his personal life.
Rose sips at a latte, dark hair falling over her face, a smile twisting around her lips. James is exhausted and drinking down Americanos like there won't be a tomorrow (actually, there certainly won't be if he doesn't get some caffeine into his system). He likes Rose. They've been together for about three months, and he's starting to feel about her like he hasn't felt about anyone since... actually, that's a lie. He never felt that he ought to propose to Laura; they got married two months after they met after getting very, very drunk in Vegas. But he is starting to wonder what it would be like if he spent the rest of his life with this woman.
His surgical internship is very, very exhausting, and he seems to spend most of his life running around in scrubs mentally begging patients not to die, or up to his elbows in blood and intestines. He doesn't eat, doesn't sleep, doesn't go home very often. It's a miracle that he and Rose have even managed to build some kind of a relationship. But James still thinks that the whole thing is worth it; he's always wanted to be a doctor, and he's made it. Mostly. And perhaps, because he's completed that part of his life, he can think about the other important parts of it. Like personal relationships.
"I never know what you're thinking," Rose says, tucking her dark hair behind her ear and giving him a good view of her blue eyes. She has beautiful eyes, with the darkest eyelashes. They were the first thing about her that caught his attention.
"I'm not thinking about anything," he replies, their knees brushing under the table.
"Nothing at all?"
"Well, I was thinking about you," he breathes, and House always goes on about how genuine he is, how he seduces everyone by honestly believing every line he spouts, but that has been a constant point of argument between them. Rose giggles and leans over to kiss him. She tastes like coffee.
Cuddy is falling asleep on James' couch.
"Where's House tonight?" James asks, looking up from where he's reading up on a liver transplant he's hoping to help out with tomorrow.
"Something about a date," Cuddy mutters. "Where's Rose then? I want to meet her."
"She's out with her friends tonight," James explains. "We're not one of those couples who spend every waking minute around each other."
"You couldn't," Cuddy points out. "What with you giving every waking minute to your job."
"Like you don't."
Cuddy has been working at Princeton General for the last two years. She's in Oncology, a section of medicine that strikes James as very, very soul-destroying, not that he'd ever say it to her. But Lisa has an edge of gentleness that makes him think that if he were dying, he'd like her to be the one to tell him. It's probably just as well that House is in diagnostics. His lack of interaction with patients is a godsend.
"So, when are you proposing?" Cuddy enquires, sitting up and looking around for her shoes, like she knows that she'll have to go home before she passes out on James' couch and sleeps for two days.
"Erm, Lisa, I'm flattered, but-"
"House and I have a bet on. When is Rose becoming Mrs Jimmy Wilson?"
"What makes you think she is?" James asks, laughing to hide the fact that he's actually coming around to the idea. Cuddy just gives him a look that tells him he isn't fooling anyone.
The alarm clock goes off and James swiftly sits up and slaps it off before it wakes up Rose. The sun is just starting to rise and the last thing he wants is to wake up his wife at this ungodly time of the morning. He presses a swift kiss to Rose's bare shoulder before stumbling off towards the shower. He's in his second year of surgical rotation and as such still has to get to work really, really, unreasonably early.
The house is full of pretty things, of Rose's things, all his medical books and journals placed onto very nice flatpack bookshelves painted pastel colours to match the magnolia paint in their living room, his very existence forced into that of a clean and tidy husband. James suspects that Rose's idea of marriage has come mainly from romance novels written many years ago, and that he will never live up to her expectations in a husband. As it is, he hasn't got around to telling her that he's already been married once before; it just seems like a pointless exercise and one that will result in questions he can't- and doesn't want to- answer.
James showers and then walks downstairs to the kitchen to make himself some coffee. Even the mugs have mysteriously become cream-coloured with tan vines curling across them. He really has no idea where all the chipped ones of an indeterminate colour have gone. The fact that he hasn't been around much has left Rose to her own devices. And apparently her own devices are all soft furnishings and prints of flowers and thick carpets in very impractical colours. It's like living in a pastel-coloured catalogue. Or a marshmallow. It's rather depressing actually.
"I was thinking about having a dinner party," Rose says late that evening when James has come home, very very tired, and is almost passed out on the sofa, head on her lap. He's tired and he does know he ought to say something other than:
Rose pouts at him and James feels mildly guilty, especially because he gets the feeling Rose wants a dinner party so she can be all wife-like in a nice black dress. He vaguely imagines how much fun House would be at a dinner party- stealing everyone else's food, telling filthy and embarrassing anecdotes, cheerfully insulting everyone there and picking arguments while waiting for dessert- and then imagines how pissed off House would be if he wasn't invited. Really, the whole thing is an emotional minefield James doesn't want to get involved in.
"You know," he yawns, "Perhaps we could just have your parents over for dinner."
"But James-" she begins, and James feels his heart sink because she really does want to do the married thing properly (which makes a nice change, admittedly, from Laura and her "if you want people to come over and you want them to eat then I suggest you let me be on top next time we have sex and *you* can buy all the ingredients and even then I might not make any food" attitude), but the fact is that he just doesn't know enough people who would be willing to behave long enough to carry Rose's dream through.
"Tell you what," he says, "I'll think about it next time I have the weekend off."
Rose's face breaks into a smile and James feels guilty, because they really haven't been married all that long and half their wedding presents are still in their original wrappings (after the fifth gravy boat they were rather losing interest in tearing off wrapping paper) and already he's lying to his wife and feeling mildly guilty that he's not actually what she wants in a husband, and although he knows that, he doubts Rose does.
"You are not a good person, Wilson," House informs him. James thinks about this statement for a while, then realises that House is at least twice as drunk as he is right now, so therefore whatever he says should be taken with a handful of salt.
"What makes you say that?" he enquires.
"Because it's Thursday night and if you were any sort of man you'd be at home with your pretty wife doing nasty things to each other, and instead you're drinking on the floor of the locker room with me and your pretty wife thinks that you're in theatre because you're fucking the receptionist so she'll be happy to cover for you whenever Mrs Wilson calls up," House tells him, finishing the sentence by taking another mouthful of tequila. Neither of them should be drinking right now even though James isn't on call and House has no intention of doing any more work tonight (it turns out Princeton General is rather nice when it comes to policies involving brilliant but misanthropic mildly famous diagnosticians), and James is already guiltily making lists of things he can say to his wife in his head tomorrow morning when he comes home, trying to choose words that won't make him sound like he has a hangover.
"I'm not a bad person," he says instead.
"I didn't *say* you were a bad person Jimmy, I said that you were not a good one, which is *different*," House replies, rolling his eyes. The very motion makes James feel sick, so he looks away to study the label on the alcohol bottle they're sharing between them. "Should call Cuddy," House says thoughtfully. "I'm sure she'd enjoy this."
"Isn't Lisa actually working and being productive?" James asks. "She must have better things to do with her time than sit around on the floor getting drunk with us." He pauses. "Why don't *we* have better things to do?"
"You have plenty of better things to do," House shrugs, "But because your wife makes you feel all guilty and she keeps insisting on cooking meatloaf and you don't even like meatloaf and you want to be the husband she needs and you're not and it's all horrible at home, you want to hang around like a loser with me."
"I should go home," James mutters, trying to ignore how perceptive House is even when very drunk, "And you should hire a hooker, or call Cuddy and tell her to dump her latest boyfriend, and we should both get laid and stop doing this."
Neither of them actually move though.
"What is it that you *want* from me?" Rose asks. Her blue eyes are full of tears and she's sitting curled up in a small ball on the sofa. James wants to reach out and touch her, but he doesn't. He knows that she won't appreciate it.
"I... don't know," he says softly, biting his lip. These arguments hurt him more every time. With most of his previous girlfriends (and wife) they had shouting matches, screamed until they were both hoarse and crying a little. But not with Rose. Rose doesn't shout. Rose doesn't raise her voice. Rose stays quiet and acts like every word he says makes her bleed a little more and she's not soft and bubbly like she was when they first got married- she's hard and cold now and distant and doesn't deign to scream at him. It physically hurts James to see what he's done to her, how his arrogance and infidelity and the fact he shouldn't have married her in the first place have destroyed her. He knew that he couldn't give her what she wanted and he didn't let her go. He's entirely to blame. The beige-painted house is beginning to feel a little like a tomb to what will be yet another divorce. "I don't know what I want from you."
"Then please, figure it out," Rose whispers, leaving out because you're killing me but James hears it clearly anyway. "Because if you don't want to do this then let me go now, and stop making me stay here waiting on you if you know damn well I won't get anything."
"Of course I want to do this," James says, risking a step closer to the couch. Rose looks at him as her face crumples and then she presses her hands against her eyes. He can hear her starting to stop and is paralysed for one critical moment, a moment when he should step closer to her and hold her. But he can't and he doesn't and Rose raises her head with tears streaming down her cheeks.
"I want a divorce," she murmurs. And for once in his life, James doesn't fight it.
"Ok," he replies. "Ok."
Cuddy twines a lock of hair around her finger, biting her lower lip like she's making the effort to stay silent and any moment she'll lose. House will not take this route and James patiently taps his fingers on the tabletop while waiting for the explosion.
"I've heard of rebound relationships Jimmy, but this is fucking ridiculous."
And now the storm breaks. James bows his head and bites his lower lip, rubbing at the back of his neck like he always does when he's anxious.
"Is the divorce even finalised yet?" asks Cuddy, obviously unable to keep her mouth shut any longer. "The ink's still wet on the papers and you're-"
"I love her," James says hopefully.
"No, you don't," House shrugs. "You have absolutely nothing better to do and you've forgotten how to have a relationship that doesn't involve marriage. This *isn't* healthy."
"Just because you and Stacy-"
"Leave Stacy out of this. It's not her fault you can't go four months without proposing."
House and Stacy have been together for three months. Stacy Kelley, a dark-haired woman with a wicked smile and a degree in law who looks suspiciously like the only woman who'll ever be able to keep House in line. The two of them met her in a strip club a while ago (a story House never, never tires of re-telling; even Cuddy and James are sick of it by now) and hit it off immediately; James can privately see wedding bells on the horizon for the two of them, but he never mentions it because he suspects that if he did House would go on about obsessions and fixations and send him off to a psychiatrist.
"That's not fair."
"Boys." Cuddy looks from one to the other and James pities her a little because she's the one who has to play mediator to this friendship that destroys House and destroys James and destroys her but none of them are going to back down. "Both of you. Calm down. If James wants to propose to Julie then let him. There's nothing we can do about it, House."
They sit in silence in James' kitchen, staring at the empty plates that had a very delicious cous cous salad on them up until about twenty minutes ago.
"I'm not writing another best man speech," House mutters eventually.
"The last one wasn't any good anyway," James replies. "I'll write you one."
Cuddy looks from one to the other like she's worried they'll start fighting again, and then when they don't she smiles quietly to herself like she's won something.
Julie is... an interior designer. Yes. She must be. That's what he's been told and that's what he will believe. She has an apartment full of fabric swatches and flashcards full of paint colours all with stupid names like Caramel HoneyDream (which James always thought was a kind of ice cream). It makes a change knowing what his girlfriend does for a living- he never normally does (and he has no idea if Laura even had a job; he should get House to ask her some time).
She has lots of brown curling hair, normally worn up in a chic bun that Rose always wanted her hair to achieve and never managed, and she's the same age as James (which he has decided is the best thing overall- he's had enough of wives who are younger than him anyway) and she has really nice eyes and wears black square reading-glasses when she's working. Julie is beautiful but not in a way that scares him. And she's strong enough not to break if James takes it into his head to try to hurt her.
Which, according to House (and maybe Cuddy, although she has the decency not to say it aloud), is inevitable. James isn't sure how he feels about it; he just knows that he's not good at forever, and he's prone to making mistakes. But there's that third time lucky thing going and he doesn't listen to House very often (and the reason his first marriage broke up was because House was fucking his wife- oh, sorry, he's not supposed to mention that one again, but perhaps it does prove that Greg is far from infallible). It could work. There are a million reasons why it won't and it shouldn't, but there are also lots of reasons why it could.
"Julie," he says softly, and Julie turns to him with her brown eyes wide and curious. He doesn't say "Will you marry me?" (didn't manage it with Laura- a Las Vegas wedding chapel and two bottles of tequila was all it took, and they woke up in bed with House and there were two wedding rings and neither of them is quite sure what happened- at least Laura always claims she had no idea. And Rose- he got down on one knee and her eyes filled with tears as she said she would, and, well, that worked out well, didn't it?). Instead, all he does is push a ring across the dining table between them. Julie looks at it and then at him.
"Yes," she says quietly. "Yes."
"And... that's divorce number three out of the way," House says contentedly. "Halfway to being Henry VIII."
A shot glass shatters on the wall beside his head. He pretends not to notice.
"You're clearing that up," Cuddy says reprovingly. Stacy is laughing. She was the divorce lawyer after all, and considering the marriage only lasted three months, it's surprising how much monetary shit there was to work through. James is slumped miserably on one of Cuddy's artistic (and therefore uncomfortable) dining chairs, and lost count of how many vodka shots he drank a while ago. Someone (House, probably) keeps pouring them and he obediently keeps drinking them. It's been one of those years. At work, it's been great (as it turns out, he really isn't a bad surgeon) but outside his life has been falling to pieces.
"I told you so," House adds, a sadistic smirk quirking his lips as another shot glass hits the nice paintwork, splashing vodka on the wall and taking a few chips of paint with it. Cuddy makes a quiet growling sound through her teeth and they both make like they can't hear it.
"Tomorrow," James begins in a tone that implies tomorrow, when I am less drunk, actually, fuck that, the day after tomorrow when I am also not hung over, I will beat you to a pulp, but Cuddy slaps a hand across his mouth.
"I think, James, that you could do with some sleep," she suggests. "You can take my bed, I'm quite happy on the couch."
James considers this. It's an endless cycle; getting married, getting divorced, getting married again, all wound up with getting drunk with House and Cuddy (and now, apparently, Stacy, who as House's official girlfriend thing gets to spend time around them. James doesn't mind- he genuinely likes her and at least Cuddy gets someone female to help her break up the fights House and James get into over everything. It's a thing). It's not the best of cycles but it's not the worst either. And so he obediently follows Cuddy to her bedroom, trying not to lean on her because she is quite tiny and he's quite drunk, and curls himself up on her bed while she pulls the blanket over him and her lips brush against his forehead, dry and ghostly.
"G'night, Lisa," he mumbles, and feels silently grateful for friends who want to look after you.
The ripping sound of duct tape makes James wince.
"You know," House says thoughtfully, "We should duct-tape you to a radiator in here forever. That would certainly stop you from your love of matrimony." He pauses. "I guess you could marry the radiator."
"Yes, but if you left Wilson in here to die, who would you torture?" Cuddy enquires, from where she's neatly packing books into a cardboard box.
"You?" suggests House, deftly biting off a length of tape and using it to stick James' box of various kitchen utensils shut. He's only helping on the understanding that James owes him big time *and* buys him drinks for the next three months.
"Like I couldn't stick my stiletto through your foot," Cuddy mutters dryly, a smirk quirking the edge of her mouth as a handful of medical journals fall through her hands. "Besides, it wouldn't be the same."
"When you've quite worked out whether or not you're leaving me hogtied to propose to inanimate objects-" James begins, and then starts laughing uncontrollably. House and Cuddy exchange looks.
"Don't look at me, I was the one who comforted him last time," Cuddy says. House glares at her and then walks over to put a hand on James' shoulder.
"It's ok," he says in a deadpan voice. "Everything will be all right."
"No wonder you have your own team; your bedside manner is seriously lacking," Cuddy smirks, taping up her own box and then coming over. "Wilson, I get that this is hard-"
"It's not," James says, choking the words out because he can't stop laughing, "The leaving of the house part is easy. I hate this house. I hate the colour scheme. I hate what Julie tried to do to Rose's colour scheme and I hate all the records Laura left me that don't fit in any of the shelving units Rose picked out or the shelving units that Julie picked out. How hard can it be to buy shelving that fits the stuff you already own?"
"Oh, God," House murmurs. His hand drops from Wilson's shoulder. "I came here to help you pack up so you could move into an apartment. I did not come here to join your pity party. The canapés are crap, for one thing."
James doesn't say anything, because he's mildly hysterical.
James studies the shiny shiny ring in the box and then studies House's face. He looks a little nervous.
"Well?" he demands. James swallows an amused smile.
"What, am I the guru of all things marital now?" he enquires. House snatches the box back and glowers menacingly. There's a 'fuck you' already forming on his lips, James can see it. "It's a nice ring, Greg," he says. "I'm sure she'll like it."
House bites his mouth together and looks awkward. James wants to laugh, but he doesn't. House has been a good friend this last year and mocking him when he's being mildly vulnerable is probably not a good idea.
"Thanks," House mutters awkwardly, and tucks the box away.
"Any reason why you want to marry Stacy?" James asks. "I mean, why now?"
"Because," House explains in a long-suffering voice, "The millennium is only eight months off and when the Y2K bug kills off everything electrical and we all have to regress to tribe-like existence and cannibalism and stuff, I'd rather have my own wife to eat than some stranger." James just looks at him. "What, you'd rather I ate you?"
"Tell you what House," he says, "I'd come up with a slightly better reason when you actually propose to her, rather than 'I want to eat you, you know, literally'."
House glares (and James wonders vaguely whether he's ever mushy around Stacy. For her sake, he hopes House is).
"I'm inviting Laura to the wedding," he says, like he's producing a trump card. James considers this for a moment. He knows that Greg and Laura have kept in touch, in an erratic sort of fashion, and that Greg went to her wedding eighteen months ago. James could have gone (the invitation had a you can ask Jimmy if you like, and he can bring Jezebel or whatever her name is at the bottom) but he'd decided he'd better not.
"Great," James shrugs. Pauses. "What colour's her hair now?"
"Acid green last time I saw it," House replies. They both consider their hands for a moment.
"So, when are you going to tell Lisa?" James enquires.
"I already have," House says shrugging, "I got her to write the speech I'm going to give Stacy when I propose. She seemed like she'd know what she's doing."
James lets his head drop into his hands and forces himself not to tell House that that isn't the point.
Pushing the doors to the operating theatre open, James is the first one out, snapping his bloody gloves off and dumping them in a bin, and pulling his protective clothing away from his body.
"Excellent work as always, Doctor Wilson," a voice whispers in his ear. He turns to see Elizabeth standing behind him, pulling her red-gold hair out of her ponytail and smiling wickedly at him.
"You weren't so bad yourself," he returns with a matching smirk. She laughs (God, he hopes he'll never get tired of that laugh), pressing a soft kiss to his mouth.
"I'll see you tonight," she whispers into his ear, before turning and heading off down the corridor, lights shining off her hair, looking back to wink at him.
They have been married... let's see... six months now, because it was her idea for once (he thinks she just wanted to wear a white dress and appease her mother; she hasn't tried to redecorate the apartment at all, and fucking hell, is he grateful). He was hardly going to say no to her- she's funny, sweet, and *fantastic* in the sack. And she has this pale, pale skin with the most gorgeous freckles all over it, which James loves, and although they hardly ever see each other outside of the bedroom or the operating theatre, they don't mind.
He likes this marriage. Elizabeth has felt no need to cover the apartment in neutral paint colours, to buy coffee tables (and then coffee table books to put on them, which seems possibly more pointless than everything else, because all House ever did was use them as coasters and watch Rose go all sad and mushy), to buy matching drapes and carpets, or, for that matter, to paint her toenails over the kitchen sink (which Laura loved to do, until she blocked the plughole with Midnight Ebony).
Right now, although James knows that it won’t last, life is *good*.