Thy Love is Better Than Wine
7:10-12 I am my beloved's and his desire is towards me...Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves.
She cannot say the day or the time when everything shifted, when she could feel Chase's presence in a room before opening her eyes. Or in the case of this morning, not feel it. There's a rush of worry when she looks up at Chase's ceiling before she remembers that it's Sunday morning, and neither of them has to be anywhere but here.
Except, of course, as she realized before rolling over to look, Chase is no longer in bed, and she is alone. It's easier to get up when she doesn't have to extricate herself from underneath his arm - someday, she'll hunt through his drawers to find the teddy bear or the last ragged square of a security blanket she's sure he has squirreled away - but so much less pleasant to be unable to roll over and nestle into an embrace as he croaks a "good morning" to her.
She meanders through her morning routine, brushing the mossy feeling out of her mouth and the snarls out of her hair. The scent of coffee greets her as she ties the sash of her bathrobe, and she smiles at Chase, sitting on the couch with his feet on the coffee table and his mortal enemy, the New York Times Sunday crossword, in his lap. She sat next to him at work every morning, and that the sight of him now can make her stomach hurt feels foreign and delicious, all at once. She pours herself a mug of coffee and sinks into the couch beside him, snuggling up to his t-shirt covered shoulder.
"You should come back to bed," Cameron declares, sipping her coffee.
Chase looks at her bemusedly. "Oh? This, from the woman who threatens me with cold water if I'm not out of bed by 6 AM?"
"Yes," she says, peeking at his sparsely completed puzzle. "72 Across is 'USC.'"
"Ah, thank you," Chase replies, taking the pen from between his teeth and filling in the squares. "Terribly American-centric, this puzzle."
"It is the New York Times." Cameron brushes her leg against his and sips her coffee. "Apparently they expect Americans to fill them out." She leans over and picks up the front page from the table and starts reading through the world news. Her toes feel cold and she brushes her foot against Chase's. He nudges back, sliding her little foot between his own, and she smiles, crossing her leg to rub the sole of her other foot over the top of his.
"Very distracting," Chase murmurs, as his pen moves across the page.
"Mhmm." Cameron folds the page down with her finger and peeks at him. He appears to be concentrating on the newspaper, but his eyes dart her way, as if to check and see if she's watching him.
Chase grins, filling in one more column of squares, then drops his puzzle and pen on the floor before he wraps his arm around her waist and kisses her cheek. Cameron smiles coyly and drops her own section of the paper on the table so she can reach up and ruffle his hair.
"Giving up already? You're not even half-finished," she scolds him.
Chase shrugs, mischief in his eyes. "Later," he says. He shifts his legs to free her feet, and then scoops her into his lap. Cameron grins, pulling him into a warm kiss that leaves her cheeks flushed. He tastes good, even beneath the flavor of sweetened coffee, evolution's whisper that he belongs to her.
Her hands smooth over his shoulders and chest, and she slips one quickly under his t-shirt, making him shiver when her cool fingers make contact with his skin. The movement is subtle, but she knows it will happen, anticipates it with a little hitch in her breath. Cameron feels the prickle of stubble against her cheek as Chase bends to kiss her neck, and she curls her arms around him.
"Bed, huh?" Chase asks, lips brushing against her ear.
"Mmm. Maybe." Cameron says. She shifts, straddling his lap and smiles. "I think we're good right here." She kisses him, drunk on the feeling of his tongue pushing past her teeth. With a little help from Chase, her bathrobe falls to the floor, and he takes advantage of her newly exposed skin to dot her shoulders with kisses. She feels the pressure of his fingers through cotton along her back, tracing over her ribs. His caress arrives at the soft swell of her breasts and she surges forward, arching her body into his touch.
There is another turning point, Cameron thinks as she peels off her tank top, where contentment is not enough, and everything shifts toward need. The twist of arousal tingling between her thighs expands into an ache that pervades every drop of her blood. Chase's bedroom is ten feet away and all she can think of is tugging off his t-shirt to feel his skin on hers. He's getting hard as she grinds against him and Cameron can almost feel a growl in her throat. Her shorts stick to her damp skin as she gets caught up in a bobbing, writhing rhythm, a rush of kisses and the gentle brush of Chase's lips and teeth over her neck and chest.
Dazedly, Cameron rolls away and pulls herself to her feet, and Chase watches almost raptly as she sheds her shorts with a little wiggle. He's at his most honest in these moments, nothing hidden away as his cool blue eyes meet hers.
"Come on," Cameron murmurs, as Chase shucks his pajama pants to the floor. When he's finished, Cameron turns away to swing her leg over and slide him inside with his help, as if she was sitting on his lap, but far less innocent.
She keens softly as she moves, rocking gently against him at first. Maybe it's the epitome of vanity that her own voice turns her on as much as it does Chase, but she can't resist the pleasure of sound echoing off the walls of Chase's apartment. His mouth is pressed against the back of her neck, licking away salt as his hands toy with her breasts. She can't really touch him from this angle, other than to rest her hands against his thighs as she arches back, moaning as each bend of her knees helps her reach the perfect spot.
After a moment she decides this isn't enough, and stands up abruptly so that she can turn to face him. She knows his arousal matches hers, every flush and dilation keyed to her own desires, and she smiles as she straddles his thighs, leaning in for another kiss and digging her fingers into his shoulders as she sinks down on his cock again. She grinds against him, savoring the pleasure of feeling how completely he is hers for the moment, the perfect union of the way his body fits against her own. The rise and fall of her thighs quickens, almost as if she has ceded control to her body. Touching her was easier for him, she realizes, when she was facing away; his hands seem crushed now against her flesh. It reminds Cameron of earlier flings in cramped spaces, and her heart seems to skip as she lets their rhythm build, sometimes teasing and kneeling slightly above him, forcing him to lift his hips to thrust inside her. She moans as she rocks herself towards her climax, her own fingers stroking furiously against her clit, still clutching his shoulder for balance. Her thighs quiver from effort as she lifts herself off him, and lets Chase press her back into the couch and drive his own way towards completion, gasping and digging her nails into his back as his clever fingers draw out a sneaky, intense second orgasm from her body.
For a moment, she catches her breath, feeling boneless and spent, as Chase's weight drops heavily against her. Cameron strokes her fingers along his spine as she lets her foot drop to the floor, and smiles as he kisses his way up her neck to her lips.
"Gonna get up and make me some breakfast?" she asks.
Chase wrinkles his nose. "No fair. I already made you coffee."
She smacks him lightly on the ass and grins. "It's Sunday, and you should go make me some pancakes." He smiles and steals one more kiss, but he's not getting up, and Cameron has to admit that she's in no hurry to have him go anywhere just yet.
Some part of her remains unconvinced that this is all normal, that every moment they spend together is not merely the calm before an impending crisis. Still, Sunday keeps proving to be nothing but Sunday, growing more precious week by week.
6:11 I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished and the pomegranates budded.
When they first decided to stay, it was fun sneaking around the hospital, and there was something so essentially satisfying about the feeling that she had gotten one over on House. Now, though, there's something that hurts about the games going on without her, about the eagerness of the potential fellows striving for their former posts. She's even noticed a couple of candidates for the position of "lobby art," and somehow it leaves her feeling adrift, to think that her role can be so easily filled.
Home at last, having handed off her shift to the next attending (something she never could do working for House), Cameron pages through the issue of Real Simple, until she finds the article on pomegranates. She had seen the article without really reading it, but she had remembered the picture of the striking, jewel-like bowl of seeds at the end when she spotted a crate of the exotic fruit in the produce section at Wegman's. The image of Persephone, from her seventh grade mythology unit had floated to mind, a delicate girl dragged back to Hades for nine seeds, and Cameron had added a red, glossy fruit to her basket without another thought.
She follows the directions, alone in her kitchen with National Public Radio droning in the background. Slice off the crown, cut the fruit into sections. She plunges the slices into a bowl of cold water and the arils easily break away from the white pith with a twist of her chilled hands. The seeds are a crimson cascade as she pours them into a colander to drain, and plucking away the bits of pith and skin to drop into the garbage feels strangely like a meditation.
She hears the door, and a brief second of panic dissipates at the sound of Chase's voice, as she remembers the key she pressed into his hand the other night. She smiles as he walks into her kitchen, peering over her shoulder at the colander of ruby-colored seeds. She pops a few into her mouth and drops some into his hand. She watches as he pokes at them, curious and a little intrigued, before eating them one by one, chewing thoughtfully. Cameron needs to kiss him after that, to part pomegranate-stained lips with her tongue. Nearly everything about Chase is familiar, and something about that fact makes her heart ache. The tart flavor of the juice shines like autumn sunlight in his mouth.
She pours the pomegranate seeds, sparkling and red, into a container and feels Chase's lips ghosting along the side of her neck. How many did they consume when they were lost, she wonders, to remain here where they no longer belong?
5:1 I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.
5:2-3 I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night. I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?
"Go away, Chase," Cameron mumbles. He's been at a bachelor party for someone on the surgical staff tonight, and he reeks, positively reeks of whatever sticky place he's been. She doesn't even know how he wound up at her apartment, but once she scrapes up the brain cells she figures that the designated driver wouldn't know that this was her apartment, and not his.
"But I missed you," Chase pouts. Cameron nestles beneath her blankets and smiles at him. He's an adorable mess, his dress shirt pulled out and rumpled and his hair askew.
Unfortunately, he also smells like the bar in a post-apocalyptic movie. Or quite possibly, like the rag that wiped off said bar.
"You're gross," she says, "You smell like beer and cigarettes and...I'm not sure I want to know what else."
"Not telling," Chase says playfully, tipsily, and Cameron can't help a snort of laughter, even though she's half-asleep.
"Out," Cameron says, pointing towards the living room, "Go sleep out there." She is warm, and comfortable, and she is not moving to deal with him now. He pouts, but he rolls off the bed and walks out of the room, then stumbles back to turn out the light and leaves again.
Cameron smiles into her pillow and goes back to sleep, until she hears a crash from the living room. She's out of bed without thinking about it, in the living room with her heart racing. A flip of the light switch, and Chase blinks up at her from the floor between the couch and the coffee table. His hair is in his eyes and he's still in his leather jacket, and he'd be sort of cute if he wasn't ridiculously drunk.
"What happened?" He asks blearily, and Cameron rolls her eyes.
"Get up," she says, crouching down to pull him to his feet. He wobbles a little, but stays upright, and grins dopily at her. She pushes his jacket off his shoulders and tugs his arm, dragging him towards the bathroom.
"Where're we goin'?" Chase slurs a little, and narrowly misses walking into the doorjamb.
"Shower," Cameron tells him sternly, and wrinkles her nose, as getting him down to his shirt actually seems to be revealing something worse. "Ugh. Were you...were you smoking cigars?"
"Just one," Chase says sheepishly. Cameron sighs, and he watches as she unbuttons his shirt.
"Get in," she says, when she's got his clothes off, and Chase makes a sad little face.
"By myself?" He says, disappointed. Cameron frowns, but figures that she's up anyway, and takes off her t-shirt. She wrestles him into the shower, and finds herself smiling a little at the sight of water falling through his hair. House probably figured them out when they showered together, but they fell out of the habit when their lives became less urgent.
"So, were there strippers to finish off the triumvirate of nastiness?" Cameron asks, squeezing some shampoo into her hand.
"Oh, nooooo," Chase says, and he's so far from looking her in the eye that Cameron can't help snickering.
"Dork." Cameron scrubs his hair with shampoo, and Chase bends his neck to kiss her neck. "God, don't kiss me. Your breath smells like something died in there."
"'Kay," Chase replies, and rests his hands on her rear end while she works. She nudges him back to rinse out his hair, and picks up the bottle of shower gel, and a puff.
"Can't use that. S'girly," he complains.
"It's all I've got," Cameron says firmly. "C'mon, turn around." Chase complies, and she strokes the foam over the long planes of his back. She kisses the back of his neck when she's finished, and hands him the puff to finish up.
"You're way prettier than they were," Chase says, wrinkling his nose as he scrubs. "Fake boobs are gross."
"Yes, my fried eggs clearly make me superior," Cameron says dryly.
"I like fried eggs better than grapefruit halves," Chase says, then blinks because apparently that made more sense when his brain strung the words together. Cameron laughs and shakes her head, and has to physically turn him around to get him rinsed off.
Once Chase is clean and reluctantly lilac-scented, she wraps him in a towel, dries herself off and pulls her t-shirt on again. She waves his toothbrush at him, and thinks he might be sobering up at last when he manages to get the toothpaste onto it without her help.
Cameron slips back under the covers, and Chase plows into the space beside her a few minutes later. She shifts onto her back to let him snuggle against her shoulder, wet hair and all.
"You're nice," he drawls, curling a piece of her hair around his fingers.
"Just be glad I'm forgiving," Cameron says, tapping him gently on the nose.
"S'why I love you," Chase mumbles as he drifts blissfully off to sleep, and even though Cameron knows he's still drunk, his words leave her wide awake, the echo of her heart thumping noisily in her ears.
6:10 Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?
When House brings him the suggestion - split the pot and nobody gets fired - there's a little voice in his head that immediately says, no way. Not fair to take bets when you already know the outcome. Definitely not fair, and wrong, and that little voice sounds alarmingly like Cameron in a really bad mood, which is unsettling to say the least.
But Chase can't resist a sure bet, and there's a sick, weird part of him that wonders how she'll react. If she finds out, he wants to say, but Cameron will find out. There's something so inherently self-destructive about the decision that it fascinates him. He watched her fight House for the right thing for years, watched her eyes sparkle and her cheeks flush as her idealistic declarations hardened and focused into steely resolve. He knows he can't really give her that kind of excitement - he hates fights, finds the idea of getting a thrill from them unnatural. He never even liked writing position papers in high school. This is going to have to do.
As they sit down to dinner the night after the non-firing session, Cameron is actually the one to broach the subject of his seemingly unexpected windfall.
"So what are you planning to do with the money? $3,000 is a lot," Cameron says, twirling spaghetti around her fork.
"It's $1,500, actually," Chase says blithely, and Cameron looks at him oddly. "Had to split the pot with House," he explains. That's all he has to say for the pieces of the story to start falling into place for her.
"Let me get this straight," Cameron nearly growls, and Chase feels the hair on the back of his neck spring to attention. "You took people's money for your stupid bets when you knew no one was going to get fired?"
"Not at first," Chase says. Which is true - House didn't approach him until the pot was fairly large.
"But you did." Cameron's eyes narrow, and Chase unconsciously backs up a little. "For that matter, you took my money, when you knew no one would get fired."
"You can have it back." Clearly, that was not the answer Cameron was hoping for, judging by the way her nostrils flare and her cheeks flush an angry shade of pink.
"That's not the point!" She slams her fork onto her plate so forcefully that Chase expects it to crack in half. "And if you can't see that..."
She starts ranting with remarkable force, and Chase realizes that he hasn't made a plan for what would happen when Cameron did get angry. House would just say something obnoxious to cut Cameron off, but the fact is that House was, on some level, invested in Cameron being angry now and then. Chase realizes that he is decidedly not in the same position.
"I mean, really Chase, why would you do something like that? Why would you think I wouldn't care?"
"I knew you'd care," Chase says abruptly, almost a little too quickly. "I thought...you might miss getting your hackles up about something. You don't do much of that anymore. You don't really have to, now that you're the one in charge." He can't quite believe the words coming out of his mouth, because they are so inherently idiotic.
"Chase." She casts a withering glare in his direction. "That is the dumbest thing you've ever said."
"If it makes you feel better, the money did have something to do with it," Chase mumbles, feeling remarkably stupid.
"Not really," Cameron says icily.
"And I probably would have spent it on you."
"Seriously. Not helping, Chase." But she doesn't glare this time, and he's feeling hopeful.
"You can decide what to do with it," Chase says, thinking that maybe she'd like to take a trip, or that there's something she'd want that he's never considered. Cameron smiles, and hops to her feet, digging her computer out of her bag.
"We can make a donation to Sebastian Charles' foundation," She says calmly as she perches on the edge of the couch and flips it open, "So something good will come out of this."
"Nobody got fired for a week. That was good," Chase mutters.
"That was," Cameron acknowledges, with a softness to her voice. A wicked smile crosses her face and starts tapping away on her keyboard. "We'll make the donation in House's name and he'll freak out when he gets the thank you note."
Chase looks at her, a little stunned, and as Cameron holds out her hand for his credit card, all bright eyes and a glowing smile, he thinks that he might just be starting to understand the appeal of arguments after all.
8:2 I would lead thee, and bring thee into my mother's house, who would instruct me: I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate.
"I grew up with her," Cameron says, tapping the thick ivory invitation in her hand."I think it would be nice to go. It's Thanksgiving weekend, so we already have the time off."
Chase nods absently, absorbed in his book. "If you like," he replies as he turns the page. "Might be fun."
A full two hours pass before Chase sticks his head around the corner, chin first, and says, "So. A wedding."
Cameron looks at the invitation, "She called me, to tell me it was coming and that she'd understand if I didn't..." She drops it on her desk, and sighs. "There's no point in avoiding it. And I want to be there for her."
"Then we'll go," He leans over her awkwardly, hugs her with one arm and kisses her temple. "I'd like to see the place where you grew up." She clasps his arm beneath her hand and leans into the clumsy embrace. That's all it is, she realizes at that instant, not home anymore, not really, but just another place that still makes her heart ache with thoughts of snowy mornings and the scent of pencil shavings. She will bring home to home, and see what they think of each other.
Chase is a good wedding date, which isn't all that surprising, Cameron supposes. She's so accustomed to seeing him the way she does at home, quiet and on the silly side, that she has forgotten how effortlessly he can charm, his accent and smile disarming people easily. He can't dance, of course, but Cameron doesn't mind, since she and the bride and the other girls who as women have scattered themselves across the country dance like they are still in middle school, with the boys hanging out against the wall, only straying away for a slow song or two.
Her town is still suburban, still average and sprawling and pretty in a green, placid sort of way. A mall with a Restoration Hardware and a Smith & Hawken has sprouted up off the interstate, and a Starbucks now sits where the ice cream parlor used to be. There's a Coldstone Creamery in the mall, but it's not the same and it leaves Cameron feeling slightly bereft for something she didn't know she would miss.
At least the donut shop in town is still there, and they stop in for homemade donuts and warm apple cider. The chill of autumn bristles in the air as they climb the empty bleachers at the high school football field and huddle together for warmth in the fifth row. A housing development looms in the distance where a cornfield once rolled, and Cameron leans more heavily against Chase. The sharp, cinnamon-soaked flavor of the cider in her mouth hasn't changed, and she can hear Chase's hum of approval when he takes a sip.
"Did you like living here?" Chase asks. Cameron nods, and smiles, clutching the warm cup in her hands.
"It's different now," she says, "Not just in the 'hey, I thought that tree was really tall' kind of way." Chase grins, and reaches over to pluck a stray maple spinner out of her hair. He kisses her sweetly, like innocence blows through the air with crisp leaves. She feels aware of the press of his thigh against hers on the cold steel bench and the brush of his thumb against her cheek, as if she is experiencing them for the first time again.
"I was happy here," she says, "but I can't wait to get home."
7:6 Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.
He listened, because he wants to be supportive, because he wants to show how much he cares, and he has known, all along, that Cameron has her neuroses just like he does. Every word, though, every explanation and excuse, was like a drop of hot lead sinking into his veins, burning and poisoning every thought in his mind.
He lies beside her now in bed, the issue unresolved and heavy between them. The room is dark, the curtains tightly drawn. He was cold to her all evening, because if he was angry she could yell back, if he was upset she might try to apologize or comfort him and he didn't really want that, either. Retreat is always easier, until he knows what he wants. Cameron doesn't know how to react to blankness, to shrugged shoulders and monosyllabic answers, so she's kept her distance, too. He won't give her anything to fight, and he knows the problem only grows thornier as he waits.
Chase can't claim he was never jealous. He'd developed a habit of leaving the lights on while they make love so that he can see if her eyes are closed, and murmuring into her ear during sex so that she can't forget that it's him. Still, he'd been letting those habits slip away over time, his uncertainty lifting a little more each morning that he rolled over to still find her next to him, newly blonde hair spilling over her pillow. He feels like the jealousy is creeping back into his mind now, rebuilding itself over a sleepless night. If he doesn't crush it again, it will erode what he had so carefully built all this time.
He reaches for her, listening to her breath and holding out his hand in the air to detect the heat rising from her body. He leans over her to kiss her, discerning where her lips are from the warm puff of her breath into the air against his skin. His aim fails slightly, the swell of her lips falling somewhat to the left of where he's landed, but it does the trick and adjusting is simple enough. She responds, he thinks, barely even waking, the pressure of the kiss soft and yielding. A sound of surprise slips past her lips and her hands instinctively reach for his face.
"What - " Cameron starts, her voice cracked with sleep, but her question goes unasked, because he kisses her again, teasing at her tongue with his own until he feels her relax again beneath him. They understand this about each other, healthy way to settle their tensions or not. He traces the line of her jaw with kisses, still listening to the even rhythm of her breath. She arches her back against him as he pushes her shoulder against the bed and his teeth graze the delicate skin of her throat. The stubble on his chin brushes against her neck and she shivers, sliding her fingers through his hair. That stirs his jealousy again, unreasonable or not, and he sucks viciously at her throat with every intention of leaving a bruise behind.
Cameron tugs on his hair, clumsily pulling his mouth back to hers. His eyes are adjusting to the dark and he can vaguely see her ivory skin against the sheets. Her camisole is a dark swath against the light; the outline shows him where to caress the curve of her breast, causing her to sigh against his mouth. Chase can feel her skin flush without seeing it, the warmth passing through cotton beneath his hands.
It's not enough.
He roughly sinks his teeth into the flesh around her clavicle and hears her gasp, feels her tense beneath him. He can't tell if she's feeling pleasure or shock, he realizes, when he can't see her face, but she doesn't try to push him away. Cameron's heart beats faster beneath his hand, her breath quicker, but she still doesn't speak. Her nails dig into his back and he shifts more of his weight onto her body, grinding against her with a groan. Her knees fall to each side, her ankle rubbing against his calf. Blindly, he lunges for her mouth again, lightly pressing her lip between his teeth.
She thrusts her hips against him, and he can't see how she positions herself to suck his earlobe into her mouth but the surprise leaves him almost breathless. Chase pulls away, sliding his hands down her body to guide him. He brushes the hem of her camisole aside, circling his tongue around her navel and smiles a little as her hands push against his shoulders, urging him lower. The tiny shorts Cameron is wearing disappear into the mess of the covers as he helps her kick them off. He covers her belly with kisses, occasionally testing with his teeth until his nose brushes against the crisp curls between her thighs, but then veers off course and nuzzles the crease of her inner thigh instead, so that she makes a frustrated little noise above him. Her thigh trembles beneath his lips while he teases his fingers along her labia, stroking more gently than she likes, and she threads her fingers in his hair until her nails graze his scalp, trying to force the issue. When her hand in his hair starts to hurt, he holds her hip down with one hand and holds her open with the other, stroking with his tongue, feeling her melt around him as her musky, sharp scent floods his senses. She moans breathily, and in one electrifying moment, whispers his name.
That should slake his desire, he knows, take the edge off the need to prove that she has turned her focus to him, but still, it isn't enough. She is close to her climax, a sliver of desperation coloring every little cry. He knows he can bring her off with just a few rough strokes, but instead he pulls away, leaving her breathless. She actually kicks him a little, and he almost hopes it sounds cruel when he laughs.
Chase moves aside, grabs her hips and turns her over. He can hear the hitch in her breath, the creak of the mattress as she crawls onto her knees, pausing briefly to shed the twisted mess that was left of her camisole. She had admitted to liking the position, over a bottle of wine in the no-strings phase, and he still remembers almost choking on his merlot at the idea of sweet, seemingly innocent Cameron wanting to be taken from behind.
Cameron had talked about anatomy and physiology at the time, flirtatiously going on about blood flow and nerve endings, but tonight he experiences a rush of primitive power as he leans over her back and drags his hand along her spine. He runs his hands over her hips, feeling his way over her damp skin as he pictures the angle of her torso, her body half-prostrated into an offering for him. The thrill of possession is almost overwhelming, the distinct sensation that she belongs to him in this moment, their world having contracted to a single, shadowy room. Navigating with his fingers, he takes hold of his cock and plunges inside her, shivering with pleasure at the velvety warmth that sheathes him.
Cameron moans as he thrusts, her voice ragged, and he remembers her practicing innocent, concerned faces in the mirror. Claiming she was misunderstood, when she had infused those words with far more meaning than the camera crew would have taken from them. He glides his hand along her spine until he reaches the back of her neck, and gently brushes her hair away from her face. He digs the fingers of his other hand into her hip, driving his hips more roughly against her. Not enough, he thinks. She made him watch, while she rearranged her words and twisted something that meant nothing into a tangled mess. He snarls his hand in her hair and yanks roughly, feeling a shudder pass through her as she cries out softly. His heart pounds louder and he wonders, dizzily, if he's hurt her, but she is panting, soft breathy sounds from her mouth filling the air, driving herself backwards towards him.
"Harder. Please." Cameron begs. Her voice breaks up the rhythm of his flesh slapping against hers, and it's almost a surprise to hear her voice, what he thinks of her real voice, and not the simpering, nervous girl from the afternoon. The need dripping from her words is shocking, and maybe she thinks she deserves this, a little rough treatment to salve an accidental wound. He bends forward, his chest against her back. She tips her head up against his shoulder, and he tries to kiss her, but it's messy and when he can't quite find her mouth he winds up sort of licking her face at first. She laughs, but he can taste salt on her cheek and he doesn't know if it is sweat or tears.
"Come on. Don't keep me waiting," Cameron says huskily, brushing her hand over his chin. "Show me how you feel. How it felt."
Cameron is no fool, of course. She knew what he was about from the first kiss. He eases himself back, caressing the supple skin of her breasts and sides along the way. He gets rougher now, and feels like he's slamming his hips against hers, feels her flinch when his hands come in contact with the places he's grabbed and held her. It should fill him with guilt but instead each gasp and whimper seems to go straight to his groin.
"I was getting over it," he almost shouts, "I thought it didn't matter because you chose me, in the end." He quickens his pace and slides his hand over her slippery, swollen clit, but he's not done talking. "But it matters. It still matters. And I don't -" He gasps himself, the edge of his climax starting to build. "Don't know what to do about that."
A few furious strokes make Cameron quake beneath him, the muscles of her vagina contracting and fluttering. Pride and fury overtake him as he pounds out the final rhythm, letting his orgasm blaze through him.
Cameron is trembling as he slips out of her, and he feels rubbed raw and wounded as he pulls her down to the bed beside him. Her fingers run through his sweat-soaked hair and he doesn't know what to say, so that when she kisses him the relief is overwhelming. Exhaustion makes him feel like he's drowning, and he can't fight it. The mattress shifts as she climbs off the bed, and the last thing he sees before falling asleep is her body silhouetted in the bathroom doorway.
The next morning, Chase wakes up with a sore back and a faint headache. Cameron is already walking around, getting ready for work. She's still in her underwear, and looking at her, Chase feels like he should know something. When she stretches, rolling her neck, Chase notices a purple bruise on her shoulder and the details of the night flood his thoughts - his teeth on her skin, his fingers creating the spattering of bruises on her hip - and suddenly he's certain that he harmed her last night. The next thing he realizes, the cold bathroom tiles are beneath his knees as he vomits into the toilet. He is trembling from the adrenaline when Cameron appears beside him, all calm and experience in the face of anything resembling illness.
"Something you ate?" She asks. Her hands are gentle as she helps him to his feet and flushes the toilet. Chase shakes his head, and then catches a glimpse of his red eyes in the mirror as he bends over the sink to wash out his mouth and splash water on his face. She rubs his back as he stands up, almost afraid to look at her.
"I'm sorry," Chase says quietly, "Last night..."
Cameron hushes him and touches his cheek, while she presses her nose into his hair. "I know it doesn't make sense, but...I think I needed it too," she says softly.
Chase leans into her, resting his head on her shoulder. "I hurt you. There's no excuse for that," he says, brushing his fingers lightly over the arc of violet bruises that rise above the line of her pale blue panties.
"You're a Catholic," says Cameron. "I had to do penance for my sin, right?"
Chase lifts his head and opens his mouth to object, because she doesn't have that quite right, but Cameron lays a finger against his lips. "Besides," she whispers, "I like it when you lose control."
She hangs close, her breath soft against his face, and he expects her to kiss him, but instead, she smiles that little smile that is mostly eyes and hardly any lips at all. "Better screw something up soon. I want my turn," she purrs, before she leaves him standing in the bathroom, dizzy and confused, and wondering once more if he understands her at all.
2:11-13 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
Cameron slips into bed well after midnight, having been delayed at work by a pile-up on the parkway. Driving home was strange, she felt hazy and lost, like the trees heavy with pollen and the nesting birds were jostling to speak to her blood. Spring is when Chase's heart turned, and sometimes she has dreams, where she pictures it slowly opening towards her, unfolding like an Easter lily craning for sunlight. Later still, when spring was giving way to summer, she'd felt her own heart shift and break free, and pull her in a direction she hadn't planned. Nearly a year ago, and that thought is enough to make her smile.
Spring is change, rebirth, reawakening. Cameron tried it then, and she thinks she's still trying to cultivate love over time, along a path with no end. She doesn't wake Chase as she shifts closer to his warmth on the other side of the bed; she is almost jealous that he can fall into dreams without knowing that she is there. They are once-solitary people who now sleep entwined like grapevines. She brushes her arm over Chase's hand and even in sleep his fingers curl like tendrils around her wrist.
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Legal Disclaimer: The authors published here make no claims on the ownership of Dr. Gregory House and the other fictional residents of Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. Like the television show House (and quite possibly Dr. Wilson's pocket protector), they are the property of NBC/Universal, David Shore and undoubtedly other individuals of whom I am only peripherally aware. The fan fiction authors published here receive no monetary benefit from their work and intend no copyright infringement nor slight to the actual owners. We love the characters and we love the show, otherwise we wouldn't be here.