stacy_esq (stacy_esq) wrote in plainsboro,

Date/Time: Monday, around 8:30 or 9 pm.
Location: Wherever Wilson's cellphone is. Phone conversation.
Open To: Wilson
Currently Involving: Stacy and Wilson
Warnings: None

Stacy was a master of avoidance. Not for the first time, and undoubtedly not for the last, she was staring at her computer screen long after most of the office had gone home. Not that she was getting much done, but the illusion of working made it easier to pretend everything was okay. Closing Microsoft Word, she leaned back in her chair and sighed heavily, eyes falling on the phone. Mark would be waiting, of course. Mark was always waiting. She should call and promise to be done soon. She should leave her desk, lock her office door, catch a cab to Penn Station and catch the next train home. If she called, Mark would wait up for her.

Resigned, Stacy reached for the phone and started to dial. She made it as far as the area code before hanging up again. Last week she'd promised their marriage counselor that she'd make an effort to work less, and she was in no mood to address that particular broken promise. Another hour in the office and Mark would give up and go to bed. The next few days she was scheduled to stay in Philadelphia for a conference, and if she put off going home for an hour, the late nights spent in the office might be forgotten by Friday night.

It was a pattern, although not a terribly comfortable one, and it could only last so long. She couldn't force herself to break it though, and she wasn't entirely sure she wanted to. This of course, was a problem in it of itself. Equally problematic was the lack of people who seemed to get it.

Stacy could group her friends into three categories: single, happily married for twenty years or more, or divorced and not terribly sympathetic. None of them ever said anything that helped, and Stacy had the distinct feeling that most of them were getting sick of the sound of her voice. Paging absently through her rolodex, Stacy paused for a moment, hand hovering over the receiver.

Wilson didn't quite fit into any of her categories, and that was appealing.

She dialed quickly, leaning back in her chair and listening to the ringing phone.

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Wilson was no stranger to the concept of working late, especially when his marriages were falling apart. It was almost a subconscious response. He didn't plan on working in order to avoid his wives, but it was a very convenient excuse. Unfortunately, the 'I'm a doctor' line only worked for so long. Eventually there was no denying that he didn't want to be home and usually by that time, he wives didn't want him there either. Sometimes he could pretend it was just a mutual agreement.

Although time spent at work had increased with every wedding gift received, every divorce paper signed had a similar effect. There wasn't anything at home to avoid, but at the same time, there wasn't anything at home. Cuddy had put it best when she said he didn't have anyone to run home to. This was particularly true now that "home" was a hotel room. It was no surprise then that when his cell phone rang, he was still at work. Pausing in midst of shoving files into his briefcase, he immediately questioned who'd be call him at that number at this time of night. His first thoughts went to House and it was with a certain reluctance that he answered.

"Hey James," Stacy began cautiously. It had been a while, and conversations with Wilson were always accompnied by a vague sense that she had no right to contact him, as though she was somehow encroaching on House's territory. Not that Wilson was property.

"It's Stacy," she said then, after a split second's pause, added "Warner." Calling may have been a bad idea, but it was too late now. She cleared her throat "How're you doing?"
'Stacy' hardly needed to be clarified. There were many Stacy's in the world, but that name was connected to something much bigger in Wilson's life. It was therefore an understandable shock to pick up the phone and hear that Stacy on the other end of the line. He decided to sit back down for this.

"I'm ... I'm suddenly surprised." He answered as the chair creaked with his weight. He had no idea what to think of this call just yet. It was probably best to find out exactly what it was about first. "And how're you?"
'How are you?' It was a simple question, really, yet one Stacy had an increasingly difficult time answering honestly as she got older.

"I'm good," she said, forcing brightness into her voice. "Working late, there's no real hope of making the nine o'clock train at this point..." she trailed off, tone turning almost business-like. "I'll be in Philly for the rest of the week, conference. Let come up and buy you dinner?"
Stacy wouldn't have called if things were as 'good' as her answer suggested. While Wilson would describe them as friends, they weren't exactly in the habit of calling each other up too often. That generally proved to be complicated. In fact, the last time he and Stacy had arranged to have dinner, there had been a motive behind it. Not that she hadn't wanted to catch up, but slipping Mark's file under Wilson's nose was certainly in the plan as well. He had a hard time believing this was simply a social call. So what was it?

"I'd like that." He replied, if only pausing for a second to think about it. It didn't seem like a good idea to be mixing with Stacy again, especially after last time, but Wilson was not the type of person to say no to an invitation like that. 'Sorry, this could get messy' just didn't seem like that correct response. After all, they were probably both well aware of it. He would also have to confess a little curiosity into why this call, this dinner, now. "How's Wednesday sound? I can probably sneak out at a decent time." He chuckled.
"I can do Wednesday," she said, flipping through her planner and pencilling it in.

Dinner with Wilson. In Princeton.

With the words staring back at her from the page, the idea suddenly seemed less appealing. Stacy wasn't a huge fan of acknowledging old ghosts, and between a week at Penn and an evening in Princeton, ghosts would be all around her. Still, the appeal of human connection was huge, and she did genuinely like Wilson. Well, she mostly genuinely liked Wilson. It was an odd friendship, marked for her by feelings of competition as often as camaraderie. At the moment, however, she needed all the camraderie she could get.

"The last session I need to be there for gets out at six."
"How'd 7:30 be?" Wilson heard himself saying despite the nagging voice that said this was utterly ill-advised. His shin ached with the memory of Stacy's last visit and House's subsequent bad behavior following her departure. If Stacy was going to be around, he was certainly going to have to see that those two stayed far apart. This meant keeping the dinner under wraps once again too, despite the lecture House had given him last time. Wilson knew that if House found out about the dinner, he'd be curious. And if House was curious, House would stick his nose in. House's nose was getting nowhere near Stacy if Wilson had anything to say about it. "At the... Blue Point Grill?" He suggested first, picking a place he knew House and his team did not frequent.
7:30. Blue Point Grill.

Stacy blinked at the words on the page. The more she thought about it, the more certain she was that this was in no way a good idea. She was rarely impulsive, and she was kicking herself for letting impulsivity get the best of her now. Going back to Princeton because things are bad at home. Brilliant. She was kicking herself already. Then again, she wasn't really going back, and she certainly wasn't going back because of Greg.

"Seven thirty it is," she said, closing the planner abruptly.
In the span of a few moments and through only a short exchange they had somehow conspired to step into a world of trouble. Or at least dance through it and taunt the possibility of disaster. Maybe that was just Wilson’s overblown instinct to protect House at work, but no one was about to argue that this wasn’t a bad idea. And yet, as simple as that, they were committed.

Something had to be up with Stacy. “Sounds good. I’ll be there.” He said, with all the pretense of two old friends catching up. The fact that he wasn’t asking questions though showed he was thrown by the call.
Wilson's lack of questions hadn't gone unnoticed, and Stacy was unsure if it was due to suspicion, distaste for the idea of seeing her, or a combination. Normally, this is something she would leave unaddressed, because the possibility of being hurt by his response outweighed any degree of curiousity she might have.

The elephant was in the room, however.

"My calling you has nothing to do with Greg," she blurted out, as much to remind herself as to gauge Wilson.
“It’ll always have something to do with House.” Wilson replied with barely a pause. Even if it didn’t concern House immediately, it all came back to him in the big picture. Their friendship alone had enough to do with House that his influence had already touched this situation.

Rubbing his forehead and looking toward the window, he realized he was being vague if not facetious. “Sorry, it’s been a long day.” He said with a smile in his voice, as if to apologize. “No, it’ll be good to see you, Stacy.”
"Yeah," Stacy agreed, and there was a flat edge to her tone. Wilson was right, of course, to an extent. She wasn't interested in contacting House, wasn't interested in passing secret messages or using Wilson to get information or spy on him. But still, House was always there.

She once described House to a lawyer friend as being akin to Scalia's ghoul in the late-night horror movie who repeatedly sits up in its grave and shuffles abroad, after repeatedly being killed and buried. They had laughed about it then, but somehow it didn't seem terribly funny in this moment.

"You too." Pause. "I should go, Mark's waiting."
Wilson had a similarly strange horror movie image in his head. It involved one of those large portraits that seemed to follow you with its eyes but always snapped back to a stationary object the moment you endeavored to look. You could feel its presence and worried exactly how much it knew. That portrait was of House, hanging in a the dining hall as Stacy and Wilson ate in silence.

Of course, that was ridiculous. House was much scarier.

“Alright, you get home safe. I’ll see you Wednesday.” He replied, good naturedly as he picked up a pen and hunted for his planner to write their plans down.