Allison sat at the bar, nursing a glass of red wine and letting her mind wander.
House had been gone from the Diagnostics department for a month. Some days, she actually missed the snark and the deep, penetrating stares that seemed to be designed for no other purpose than to make her squirm uncomfortably in her seat. Looking at the bloodstains on the carpet next to the whiteboard stand was almost a comfort on those days. A reminder that House actually existed, that he’d be coming back after his rehab was done.
Other days, she was glad he wasn’t there. He wasn’t there to take potshots at her, or to mock the fact that she still harboured some caring feelings towards him. The Diagnostic department was managing to limp along (no pun intended) fine without him – they’d only had a few cases, and between her, Foreman, Chase, and Cuddy, they hadn’t managed to lose anyone yet. Allison was pretty sure that was partially due to Wilson acting as liaison behind the scenes between House and Cuddy on the more challenging cases, but she didn’t ask. Their approach seemed to be working for the moment.
She sighed and took a sip of wine. She probably should’ve asked Chase and Foreman to join her tonight, just so she wouldn’t be alone with these circling – useless – thoughts. She could always phone them, Allison supposed. But ever since the time she’d slept with Chase, and the time Foreman had stolen her article, she’d felt that confiding in them wasn’t exactly a good idea.
On the subject of Chase, her thoughts now turned to that night when she’d taken the meth and called him. In a way, part of her didn’t regret it. Who said one-night stands were for men only? This was the new millennium. And as an added bonus, at least no one could accuse her of having slept with Chase in a bid to ‘get to the top’. If she’d called House that night and jumped him, on the other hand…
Still, the aftermath hadn’t been pretty. The gossip mills at PPTH hadn’t exactly been kind to her. Clearly, getting involved in any way other than professionally with her work colleagues might be more trouble than it was worth. And chasing after House had been so much trouble already.
Not for the first time, she wished there was someone else. Someone unconnected to PPTH, that she could take the edge off her hunger with. That she could have fun with, and not have regrets in the morning. But between her job and her jogging, there wasn’t much time or energy for other socializing or dating. Even this night at the bar was a rare thing for her, alone or otherwise.
She didn’t know how Chase and Foreman managed it, but she just didn’t feel like going to the effort of finding new social circles, of making new friends. Which sucked, since the people she knew at PPTH weren’t exactly cutting it, lately.
Maybe that even was partially why she had been so enamoured of House – not just his brilliance, his wit, his uniqueness – but because she hadn’t taken the time to smell the roses. She didn’t associate with anyone outside of work, so when she felt the need to touch someone, to be touched, the only people available were her work colleagues.
She had just started to raise her wineglass to her lips again, when the person next to her jostled her arm, causing red liquid to slosh over the rim and onto her hand and the bar’s surface.
“Damn!” said a male voice. “Excuse me, ma’am. Guess I need to watch where I’m putting my elbow.”
She glanced over at him. Good-looking guy, around her age. Short spiky hair, light dusting of stubble across his cheeks. It was too dark in there to tell his eye-colour, but her guess was green or blue. A leather jacket and beat-up jeans with lots of holes in them completed her first impression.
He was very good-looking, actually. Allison’s thoughts of finding herself someone to just have ‘fun’ with came back to her full-force, but she shoved them away. “No problem,” she replied with a polite smile and a little chuckle. “Occupational hazard of the bar-stools being packed so close together.”
The stranger favoured her with a dazzling yet somehow self-conscious smile, and passed her a napkin. “Yeah, it’s a bit of a feng shui nightmare in here. Great for meeting new people, though, I guess.” He held out a hand to her. “I’m Dean. Can I buy you a replacement? We don’t want the counter to get all the fun.”
She didn’t miss the way his eyes travelled from her face, down over the rest of her body and back, but it didn’t annoy her as much as it usually did. Maybe having House look at her like that – and then do absolutely nothing about it – was making her appreciate other men’s ‘appreciation’ more than before. “Allison,” she said, taking Dean’s warm hand and shaking it. “And there’s no need, really. I’ve plenty of wine left.”
“It’s no trouble. You might think I get to buy drinks for pretty ladies every day, but no.” He gave her a sly wink that she found quite endearing, for a guy she barely knew. “C’mon, say yes. Then I can go meet up with my brother later and tell him I was being a gentleman. And I’d be telling the truth for once.”
She found herself smiling back at him. “All right.”
While another round was being brought for each of them, Allison took the opportunity to study her drinking companion again from the corner of her eye. Yes, she decided, very cute. A bit of a ‘bad boy’, too. He looked incredibly young compared to House, but…she realized what she was doing and stopped that train of thought.
“So, Allison, what do you do? When you’re not in bars getting accidentally soaked in wine by clumsy neighbours, that is?” Dean asked, obviously amused at his own clumsiness.
“I’m a doctor. Immunologist.”
He nodded. “I don’t admit to knowing much about medicine, but sounds like important stuff. That’s got to be a tough job.”
It was, but not for the reason he was probably thinking. Working with someone as difficult as House was easily the toughest part of her job. “It can be. But very rewarding. When you figure out what the patient has and you can cure them, that makes it all worth it.”
He nodded and took a deep draught of his beer.
“What do you do?” she asked.
“Me? Oh, I’m a cop. Off-duty, of course,” he said, after a pause.
She wondered if he had handcuffs on him at the mom- Stop, she told herself. She didn’t actually have the balls – so to speak – to ask this stranger to take her home and have sex with her.
Or did she?
Dean was smirking, and she suddenly wondered if he was lying. “You’re kidding,” she said. Maybe House and his never-ending suspicions of other people and their motives were really starting to have an effect on her. A negative one.
“Nope,” Dean answered. He dug in a back pocket and produced his wallet, flipping it open and showing her the badge. Dean Steele, Dallas Police Department.
“So you’re not from around here, then,” Allison said, feeling both relieved and disappointed, and not really sure why she was feeling either emotion. Was she really thinking about picking this guy up? If that was the case, wouldn’t it work out even better if it didn’t become a regular thing? No strings attached, just a night of fun and that was it? If he left town the next day, the chances of anyone at PPTH finding out and the tongues starting to wag at full-steam ahead would be much lessened.
“Passing through, yeah. I may hang around for a little while – my brother’s here in town and he has some…things to take care of – but yeah, I’m not local. You?”
“Yes, I work at an area hospital.”
He nodded, and Allison took another sip of wine, feeling her heart start to pound just a bit faster. She began to wonder if she really dared to take the next step. Really, this was crazy. She should finish her drink, thank him for the company, and then call a cab and go home.
But, if she really examined her feelings closely, she was tired of things being the way they were. Of having to be the ‘good girl’. The one who needed to remove her inhibitions with meth, before sleeping with a co-worker. The one who crushed on her boss and hero-worshipped him. The woman who went home to an empty, cold bed night after night after night.
For once, she wanted to choose to have fun – while in her own right mind – and live a little. And have no one at PPTH know about it, unless she told them.
The question was, did she dare? Even if she did, Dean might just turn her down. She made an effort to calm herself, taking a deep brea th and trying almost by sheer force of will to slow her racing pulse. So that she’d feel less of a let-down if Officer Dean ran screaming in the other direction.
She decided it would be prudent to test the waters a bit first. Returning to her earlier thought, she asked him in as casual a voice as she could manage, “So, I guess if you’re off-duty, you don’t have your handcuffs on you, or anything like that?”
He’d been looking down into his beer, but now Dean glanced sharply over at her. A slow grin spread across his face, and he raised an eyebrow at her. “They’re nearby if I need ‘em.” He sat back on the bar-stool and gave her a lazy once-over again.
Her cheeks were burning now, but with embarrassment or arousal – or both – she couldn’t tell.
But she also felt more alive than she had in a very long time.
“Always good to be prepared?” she asked lightly.
“Hell, yes,” he drawled.
“But then again,” she continued, pretending to be disappointed, “you did want to tell that brother of yours that you’d been a gentleman tonight.”
He gave her a speculative look, and she felt a warm feeling stir in her stomach. “There’s many ways to define ‘gentleman’, Allison. I think if I gave a lady what she wanted, that’d make me a gentleman, too, wouldn’t it?”
“I think I like that definition,” she said, making up her mind and deliberately draining the last of her wine. She took another deep breath, steadying herself. “And I think I’d like to try out those handcuffs of yours.”
His car was a surprise. It was old (a ’67 Impala, he told her, pride evident in his voice) and black and seeing it made Allison wonder what the heck she was doing. She barely knew this guy, and she was getting into his car? What if he had an axe in the trunk, or something? She had mace in her purse, but she wasn’t sure it’d be much of a defense.
Dean seemed to pick up on her sudden unease. “You know, if you’re having second thoughts, it’s OK. You don’t really know me, and I don’t know you. You want to stop this right here, s’okay. But if that’s the case, I hope you’ll still give me your number.” He was standing at the driver’s-side door, looking earnestly at her across the top of the car. “We could try meeting up again later, sometime. Another public place. Have a coffee, a chat. Maybe give me a chance to prove I’m a nice guy. Or as nice as you want me to be, anyways.” He was smirking at her again as he finished the sentence, but she knew he was serious about this.
Just having him recognize the potential pitfalls of their current situation made her feel better. He was capable of empathy, not like Hous- again, she stopped that train of thought.
Besides, he didn’t strike her as dangerous, somehow. He was a cop, for God’s sake. He arrested people who took advantage of people like her. And her gut told her that she could trust him.
It seemed like mere moments later, they were walking into her apartment. He was tall, she realized, as she grabbed his jacket in both hands and pulled him against her, stretching up to kiss him. Not quite as tall as House, but- Again, she realized what she was doing and put a stop to it. House didn’t belong here. Not in this moment.
Instead, she focused on what was happening. Like the fact that Dean was a good kisser. Leather-clad arms slid around her shoulders while his hot tongue probed her mouth. She breathed in - cologne, beer, leather, and a bit of smokiness from the bar. How long had it been since she’d kissed anyone (and the barely-remembered tumble with Chase didn’t count)?
The hot ache between her thighs soon drove her to drag Dean – not unwillingly – towards the couch. She didn’t even think about trying to make it to the bedroom in this state. But he didn’t seem to care, as he was too busy losing the jacket, a shirt, and a khaki-coloured tee-shirt along the way. Soon they were both lying on the cushions, Allison running her hands over the incredibly smooth skin of his chest and arms, and toying with the odd charm around his neck.
He tangled his fingers in her hair and kissed her so many times, she couldn’t keep track of it. She didn’t care to keep track, either. The heat in her belly and between her thighs threatened to overwhelm her, and again she recognized that she felt more alive, more awake, than she had in a very long time. Why the Hell hadn’t she done something like this long before?
She helped Dean unbutton her blouse, guided his eager fingers to the front clasp of her bra. She didn’t feel like wasting time. She’d waited long enough for someone to please her like this.
His teeth were on her nipple and she gasped, grinding herself against the hot bulge in his jeans. His tongue left wet tracks on her skin, slowly working down towards the waistband of her pants.
“Wait,” he said, pausing, his voice rough. “Did you still want to play with these?” He held up a pair of handcuffs, a mischievious twinkle in his eyes – green, she finally confirmed – as he spun them around on his ind ex finger.
She could feel the heat, the want, spiking in her belly, spiralling deep inside her. It was tempting to say yes, to just give in, but that didn’t mean she shouldn’t be careful. “If you have the key.”
“Never leave home without it,” Dean grinned and produced a key from another jeans pocket, locking and unlocking the cuffs just to show her. “Here, you can even hold onto the key the whole time, if you want. Whatever you’re comfortable with.”
Again, she was struck by how…empathic he was. So different from her team-mates at PPTH. So different from House. Just as before, it encouraged her. Made her willing to take the chance. “Sounds like a plan,” she said, taking the key from his outstretched palm.
He locked the cuffs securely around her wrists and then placed her hands carefully down on the cushions above her head. “Where was I?” he mused out loud, smirking at her once more. “Oh yeah, I was about to continue my ‘strip-search’.”
“Please, Officer,” Allison said, feeling an urge to be playful. “Can’t you just let me off with a warning?”
“I’d rather get you off,” he leered, undoing her pants and pulling them down and away. Her panties went next, and she had to close her eyes against the intense look on his face as he spread her wide and looked at her.
“Looks like I’ll have to charge you with possession. ‘Possession of hot female body parts’,” Dean commented archly, and Allison laughed. She was enjoying this, oh God yes.
“Does this mean you’re going to send me to jail, Officer Steele?” she teased, opening her eyes and looking up at him.
“No. ‘Round these parts, we like to give first-time offenders an opportunity for ‘treatment’. Would you like a demonstration?” He licked those full lips, his expression pure sin.
“Do your worst, copper,” she jeered. Her laugh turning sharply into a moan as Dean’s mouth made contact.
He was good at this. Very good at this. The only thing better than that dexterous tongue walking its way up and down between her folds, was that tongue settling on her clit for an extended visit. Plus his fingers easing inside her, seeking out the most sensitive places to touch and tease.
Allison had the first non-self-induced orgasm she’d had in months – that she could remember, anyways (again, the sex with Chase didn’t count).
When Dean sat back, his lips wet, and looking very pleased with himself, she figured it was time to return the favour. She fumbled to unlock the cuffs, and then tossed them onto the coffee table with a clunk, before practically pouncing on him.
“A standing ovation, Doctor? I love getting those,” he commented appreciatively. He lifted his hips, helping her to slide off his jeans and boxers. A very nice erection, lean and long, was waiting for her.
“You’re the one standing,” she pointed out, before taking him into her mouth.
“Not- for long,” he gasped, his hands caressing her shoulders as she moved slowly back and forth along his length. For several moments, she felt clumsy and out-of-practice at this, but Dean was making a lot of low noises deep in his chest and watching her every move as intently as if it was the hottest porn action he’d ever seen, so she stopped worrying about it.
Allison sped up a fraction, caressing his balls at the same time, and then paused to look him wickedly in the eyes as she gave the pulsing crown a good tongue-bathing. She wasn’t too surprised when he sat up straighter and pushed her gently away. “I’ve got condoms in the bedroom,” she said, by way of invitation.
“I’ve got condoms in my pants,” Dean countered, reaching to snag them from the floor. At her amused look, he added, “Hey, I like to come prepared.”
“They teach you that at the Police Academy ?” she asked, grinning.
“Nah. Boy Scouts.”
She helped Dean put the rubber on, then let him pull her into his lap. It was a new position for her – though she saw no need to mention that to Dean – face-to-face and seated, but they found their ideal rhythm within a few experimental thrusts.
Thoughts of House tried to intrude one last time – speculation as to whether House would’ve been able to perform this position with her, with his bad thigh and all, not to mention the bullet wounds – but she shoved them away, concentrating on kissing Dean. Concentrating on the way her nipples were sliding against his nicely-muscled chest, his arms strong around her, his heat thrusting forcefully inside her…
When they were lying together afterwards, entwined in her bed, she reflected that she wasn’t going to regret this in the morning.
Dean called her four days later. “Hey, Allison.”
She smiled to herself, pleased. They’d exchanged numbers the morning after their first encounter, but even after he’d left her apartment that day, she’d still been OK with what they’d done, even knowing that she’d probably never see Dean again. For one night, she’d been able to let loose and have fun, and no one had gotten hurt for once. And no one was gossiping about it.
“Hi Dean. How are things going?”
“Not bad. Listen, I’m going to be here awhile longer than I’d thought. And I had a lot of fun with you last time, so I was wondering….Um, would you like to get together again? It’s OK if you don’t, I just thought I’d take the chanc-“
“I’d love to,” she said, without hesitation.
“I’ll bring the handcuffs, then. Just in case,” he said with a leer in his voice, and she could very clearly picture the smirk on his face.
When House walked into the Diagnostic conference area without even a trace of a limp, Allison was surprised, to say the least. But she was also happy to see him.
“Welcome back!” she said. “You look…”
“Healthy,” Foreman finished for her.
Predictably, House brushed off their attempts to be welcoming. “Quad with no broken neck, strikes me as odd.”
She tried to get him to slow down. Just because she was seeing Dean now, didn’t mean she had to stop caring about House. “Uhh... you could take a whole two minutes to ease into being back.”
He didn’t listen to her. No surprise there. Even her attempt to ask about the shooter was brushed off.
Still, she made one last effort to connect with him. “The leg looks fine. You totally pain free?”
All she got was the familiar snark in return. “When did this turn into ‘what did you do over your summer vacation?’” House might have full use of his leg, but otherwise, the status quo was in full force. She should have known.
Still, she found herself rising to the bait a few seconds later, when House did ask, “What did you do over the summer?”
But when she tried to answer, he cut her off and told her to redo the tests for their latest case.
Screw it, she decided with an inner sigh. Besides, what was she going to tell him? “Well, House, I went to this bar and picked up a guy – and no, I wasn’t drunk or stoned out of my mind, I’m sure that surprises you – and we had a great time having wild sex on my couch. Oh, and now we’re dating. So I really am over you, you see.” Oh yeah, that’d go over real well.
What was she thinking? Was she feeling guilty because she’d finally moved on and left House and his problems behind?
That was just silly. She’d finally found someone nice. Someone who was good to her – and not just in bed – and who was witty (without being cutting like House) and who she had fun with. And no, Dean wasn’t damaged, unlike House may have predicted.
No, it was none of House’s business. Nor anyone else’s. If things with Dean developed further, yeah, then maybe she’d tell someone. In the meantime, she was going to do her job, work hard for House and her team just as she always had, and enjoy her time off with the new man in her life. She was going to enjoy this new side of herself.
And if House didn’t like it? Well, he had only himself to blame.