House knew she was trouble from the moment she walked in. Didn't mean he couldn't look, of course; just meant he probably should know better than to touch. Or, as the case might be, hire her.
"Miss ... Cameron, is it? And you absolutely, positively want to work for me?" Her letter had been positively inspired. "Why?"
She sat down, legs crossed. "As I wrote in my - "
"Yeah, yeah, yeah." House gestured impatiently. His leg had been hurting since he'd gotten up this morning; he probably should have taken that as a sign. "I read it. Helping people, importance of the truth, blah, blah, blah. What I want to know is: what is wrong with you?"
She looked at him with eyes a man could melt in. Provided they could crack the ice first.
Well, if House had wanted easy, he wouldn't have set up as a private dick.
"Look, if you're not going to hire me, just say so," she said.
"I will," said House. "Not that I need your permission for that, but thanks for the unnecessary reminder. Did I mention the lousy pay? The long hours? The horrible boss? Seriously, the last guy who worked as his assistant? Ran out of here crying. No lie." A pity; he'd sort of liked Chase, really.
Horrible assistant, but boy, could he fetch a cup of coffee. Or answer a phone. Not too terrible at sucking up to people, either.
She lifted her head and let him have it. "I want this job." Ice and steel.
Underneath it, of course, she was just as broken and vulnerable as the rest of them. Moreso, likely as not; you didn't build barriers to keep people out when there was nothing to see, after all.
"But does this job want you? That's the question. I mean, this crush is all very cute, but if it's unrequited, well, then there's just going to be a whole lot of pining, is there? No happy endings for anyone involved. You can type? How's your handwriting? Any good at making coffee?"
"Yes," she said.
"Well, aren't you a chatty Cathy." House sighed. He'd known from the moment he'd read her letter, of course. This interview just clinched it. The final dot on the i. "You're hired. Don't thank me."
"You're welcome," she said. "I'll start next week, if that's all right."
"You'll start tomorrow," House snapped, and she smiled, and he thought damn.