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Divisions and Precisions

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By lapsus linguae 

“Damn it, Cameron.”

You had never punched anyone before. You hadn’t met anyone like him before, either, and if there were ever a reason for a solid right hook Dr. Gregory House would be it.

“I guess,” he starts. He wipes the blood from his lip on the back of his hand. “I guess I went a little too far with that last comment?”

“Not really.” You sit back down on the sofa, ever the lady, and cross your legs.

He walks to the kitchen and takes two beers out of the refrigerator. After handing one to you, he sits down on the sofa.

“Care to enlighten me?” he asks.

He’s struggling with the cap on his beer bottle. You watch, wondering how a person that smart can occasionally act stupid, before reaching for the bottle opener on the coffee table.

“You try so hard to make me angry,” you say, taking the bottle from him. You open the bottle and hand it back to him.

“Yeah?”

You watch him drink, his Adam’s apple bobbing, and then open your beer, tossing the bottle opener on the coffee table.

“It comes naturally. Stop trying.”

He meets your eyes as he puts his beer down. You put yours down next to it as he scoots closer.

“I don’t apologize.” He takes your hand, running a thumb over the faintly bruised knuckles. “Not even to you.”

“I know.” You pull your hand away from him.



“Men,” your mother told you once, “men are trouble.”

You roll your eyes.

“Listen to me, Allison.” She points a finger at you. “Don’t ever give them what they want.”

“Don’t you trust me?” You brush hair out of your eyes. “We’ve been through this.”

“I’m sorry if I’m boring you, but this is your life we’re talking about.”

“Exactly. It’s my life.”

“Please-”

“And I already said that I’m waiting until I’m married to have sex.”

She puts a hand on your forearm.

“I know you want to wait. That doesn’t mean the man will want to wait, too.”



In an alley, outside a shitty bar, pressed between a damp brick wall and his urgent body, is when he decides to finish a conversation that had never begun.

“I love you,” as he slides a hand underneath your shirt.

“Don’t say that,” you whisper.

He trails wet kisses along your neck and jaw.

“Why not?”

Your fingers tighten around his neck when his thumb presses impatiently against your skirt’s zipper.

“You’re drunk.”

“And you’re not?”

You fumble for his belt and pretend his declaration wasn’t so unwavering.

“But I don’t love you,” you respond.

He slides your skirt up over your hips. Calloused fingers follow, trembling along the insides of your thighs; your back arches to meet his touch.

“Yeah, well,” he begins.

The cold brick wall cuts into your shoulder blades through the thin material of your blouse.

“Everybody lies,” he says, sliding into you with a grunt.



“Don’t compromise for anyone.”

Your mother had a way of accenting her words with hand gestures and a crease of her brow.

“When you stop being yourself, then you’ve already lost.”

Unyielding stances and piercing stares, she’s ahead of the curve, trying to save you from yourself.



Through the hospital grapevine you’d heard of his ‘gift’. When he left for the night, he came upon his new car, and found you sitting in the passenger seat.

He tossed his bag and cane into the backseat. “Are you insane?”

“Possibly,” you smiled, “but we’ll save the analyzing for later. Let’s go.”

He gets into the car, but makes no move to start it.

“Driving Dr. Cameron? I don’t think so.”

“Oh, shut up.” You take off your shoes and toss them in the back seat. “I’m going to love putting my feet up on this dashboard.”

If he were any other man, he’d be smiling right about now. But if he were any other man you wouldn’t be sitting in this car.

“My leg-”

“I’m an impatient woman. Talk and drive,” you request, and then grin at him.

He hates it, and sometimes it’s all you’ve got, but a little part of him breaks every time you smile.

“This act of goodwill had better get me laid later tonight.”

He starts the car, pretending to be angry.

“Just drive.”

“To where?”

“Anywhere. Nowhere.” You play with the hair at the nape of his neck. “Just get there fast.”

“Why fast?” He asks, pulling out of the parking lot.

“I’m a woman in the prime of my life.”

“Yeah?”

“There’s nothing like driving down the road with a little rumble between my legs.”

He swerves.



“It’s easy for two people to fall into bed together.”

“Mom, you should publish this speech. New York Times best seller.”

“Sex is easy. Living is the hard part.”

With a fork you pick at her undercooked meatloaf. You never could eat red meat without tasting blood.



He’s sitting at his desk, still puzzling over the chart of someone who had died days earlier.

“You can’t-” you try.

He cuts you off. “Don’t you have something else you could be doing?”

“Yes,” crossing your arms, “a lot of things, actually.”

“Then why are you here?” he asks, without looking up from his reading.

You walk closer to his desk; he tenses up immediately.

“You can’t be right all the time,” you whisper.

He looks at you, searching for something, but he’ll never tell you what.

You sit down in the chair at the front of his desk and try to pinpoint the exact moment when being in over your head became the norm.

“I know.” He looks back to his desk. “Doesn’t stop me from wishing I was.”



“It’s trust, love, and compromise. Sex is a physical summation of a relationship.”



It was the days, weeks, and months that finally got to him. Somewhere along the line of that ever-reliable Gregorian calendar, he gave in to himself.

He kisses you in his darkened office, late one night, the moon reflecting tears in his eyes.

“Camer – Allison …”

He’s trembling underneath your fingertips.

“Come home with me.”



“A man is only as strong as his weakest moment.”

You look past your mother, over her shoulder, out the window, as far away from your neighborhood as you can get. Vegas maybe? You’d rather take some chances.

“What if all he has are weak moments?”

“Then you’ve got some serious work cut out for you,” she responds.

Fork still in hand, she takes your plate over to the sink. You weren’t close to finished.



You wake up and glance at the clock: 2:39 a.m.

To the right there’s nothing left of him but an indentation in your bed. But you can smell him in your sheets and feel him on your body. He always leaves but is never gone. Wishing that time could stop, you get up to use the bathroom.

On the way back to the bedroom, you notice a light coming from the kitchen. You walk into the kitchen; it takes a few seconds for your eyes to adjust to the light. And then you get a good look. Your heart breaks. For both of you.

“Greg?”

He’s sitting on the floor, ashen and sweating, leaning against the wall by the refrigerator.

“A drink, I just wanted a drink,” he stops, absentmindedly gripping his thigh. “My leg. I get sick of trying.”

You sit down next to him, not expecting him to say anything else. You’re surprised he said anything at all.

“I’ll try for both of us,” you say.

He pulls your hand into his lap.

You fall asleep on the floor of your kitchen. He falls asleep a little while later. Before he does he traces the veins in your arm with a hesitant touch from a confident finger. He doesn’t trust his eyes and when you’re sleeping he doesn’t trust himself.

When you wake up he’s in the shower. You have an ache in your back from sleeping on the floor.

Taking a few steps, you pick up the phone, dialing a familiar number. You smile.

“Mom?”

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