A narrative experiment, written for the House Rareathon, using the following prompt: "The body is not an allegory--it can't help that it looks like one, any more than it can avoid not being able to stay." -Carl Phillips
Many thanks to Luthien for a speedy beta!
What Isn't There
by Beth H.
(c) November 2005
When the hospital grapevine finally got around to delivering its news about the impending nuptials of Allison Cameron and James Wilson, relief was Robert Chase's first reaction. Every single day for more than fifteen months, Chase had worried about how seriously Cameron might be taking the one night they'd spent together. After all, that's what Cameron did; she took things seriously, and even though the only one who ever brought the subject up again was Chase himself, well...it was good to discover she really was over it.
"...you're really not kidding?"
"Of course I'm not, Jimmy! I swear."
"But you're telling me that Chase wanted to...okay, he didn't want to wear diapers or anything, did he?"
"No! He just...he wanted me to rock him to sleep."
"And sing to him?"
"And sing to him. And tell him a story. But...no, stop laughing. It wasn't like it sounds."
"Okay, okay....but didn't it all seem a little odd?"
"You know, actually, it was sort of sweet."
"But you never wanted to see him again? Not like that, right?"
"No, not like that."
"You must have been really stoned."
"Oh, right, like you never got stoned enough to have sex with some inappropriate....."
"Will you turn out the light, Jimmy?"
Eric Foreman's only visible response to hearing about the upcoming wedding was to shrug his shoulders. If Cameron and Wilson had been able to keep their relationship quiet for as long as they had, getting married probably wasn't going to create any new problems for his department, and that's all he had time to worry about at the moment.
"Do you think there's enough oregano in the sauce, Jimmy?"
"And the pasta? You said you wanted it al dente, but..."
"No, the pasta's fine too."
"[...] He deserves the promotion, you know."
"Who, Foreman? Yeah, he does."
"[...] You weren't expecting Cuddy to..."
"Give me the job?"
"No, of course not. Eric's far more qualified than I am, and..."
"I don't think I'm going to stay."
"At the hospital?"
"Um hmm. It just doesn't seem like the same place anymore."
"[...] This isn't about Foreman, is it?"
"So...where did you say you found the recipe for this sauce?"
Lisa Cuddy first heard the news when Wilson - who was usually one of the first ones out the door after a board meeting - placed his hand on her forearm as the other board members were leaving and quietly asked whether his forthcoming marriage to Dr. Cameron was going to create any problems administratively. Lisa said she didn't foresee any difficulties and then congratulated him, but inside, she wasn't quite so complacent. Wilson knew as well as she did that there were still rules on the books about married couples working in the same department, and while Oncology wasn't officially attached to the diagnostic group, this marriage was going to be operating in more of a gray area than Lisa was comfortable with.
When Cameron came in the following week to ask that she be let out of her contract so she could start up a family practice away from the hospital, Lisa breathed a sigh of relief. She had done more than enough fighting on behalf of her staff over the past decade.
"Jimmy, can you help me lift this, and...yeah, that's perfect. Thank you."
"Your office is really starting to come together, Allison."
"I know! I'm really pleased with the floral borders out in reception. Much more welcoming than the art deco pattern we'd looked at first."
"What? You don't think it's too girly, do you?"
"No! I was just thinking."
"It's going to seem strange, not seeing you at the hospital every day. That's all."
"I know. It's just...the hospital really wasn't allowing me to spend enough time with my patients."
"Yeah. You know, I think I'm a little envious."
"You could always leave Princeton."
"And give up their fine cafeteria food? Not a chance."
Stacy and Mark Warner were amongst the first people placed on the wedding invitation list. By the time the Warners received their invitation, Stacy had already heard from Julie Wilson that her ex-husband was planning on marrying for a fourth time.
Mark took one look at the invitation and laughed, then gave seven to one odds against the marriage lasting more than three years. Stacy took the bet.
"What do Ken and Barbie have in common, other than the fact that they work in the same place?" he asked.
"Oh, you'd be surprised," said Stacy.
"Justice Matthews' office called this afternoon."
"What did he...oh no, he isn't going to have to back out, is he?"
"No, nothing like that. The 17th is fine for him. His clerk just wanted to confirm that we can add another few people to the guest list if we want."
"That's great, but...it really isn't going to bother you that we're not having this in a synagogue, is it?"
"My last three weddings were in churches, Allison."
"I know, but...."
"Matthews' chambers are fine with me as long as...you're not having second thoughts, are you? Because there's still time for us to make different plans if it would make you'd feel more comfortable."
"Don't be silly. Everything's fine."
No, it's not too early to call. The Ellen DeGeneres Show comes on in a minute, and I had to be up for that anyway.
What are you really calling for?
You know, I would have thought that between you two clever kids, one of you would have noticed I didn't check the little box marked 'yes.' Just like junior high, isn't it? Or did all the seventh grade boys check the 'yes' box when you passed your notes to....
Is he? I'll bet Jimmy hasn't told you he's upset.
This may come as a surprise, but not everything's about you.
Oh, look...Ellen's on! Got to go!
No, still awake. Did you know they've got the Scripps National Spelling Bee on ESPN? Is that a sport now? Because if it is, I might not be as much of a cripple as I thought I was.
No can do. I've got clinic duty that day, and you know Henski is more of a hardass about that sort of thing than Cuddy ever was.
Oh. Well, then there must be some other reason. A sale at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, maybe.
She told you that?
No, I didn't think so.
Yeah....I do too.