amber_v: i will stare at you until you realize i am right (blinds)
amber_v ([personal profile] amber_v) wrote in [community profile] alwaysright2010-07-08 01:52 am

November 28th, 2007 - Wednesday

Amber eyed the small mountain her bags added up to. Part of her wondered if she hadn’t overdone it; this wasn’t the apocalypse. The rest of her new better: Thanksgiving with her family? Was worse. In those suitcases were provisions for all possible disasters, including a sleeping bag and extra bed sheets. Her mom would not accuse her of forgetting anything.

The salad, though, they’d get that in Worcester itself. Amber preferred to face last-minute Wednesday lines than bring six-hour wilted lettuce from Princeton-Plainsboro.

That ought to be it, though. Time to go. They were going to have a lot of traffic as it was since House had insisted they stay Wednesday afternoon despite the fact that they had no case—and also despite the fact most of the hospital had been gone since yesterday. House couldn’t actually be that lonely and bitter, not when she knew for a fact that Wilson had invited him to a full Thanksgiving meal cooked in his very own apartment. If House wanted to stay at the hospital to impress and/or to get into the pants of Cuddy—who would be working through the holiday, according to Amber’s sources (Cameron)— he didn’t have make them all suffer with him.

Amber got her cell phone out and texted Eric: Leaving now, be ready to go. He probably knew by now she would not spare him his life if he and his own bags were not waiting for her on the curb. He was rather inconsistent about when and when not to get into a power struggle with her, but for his own good and for her punctuality, she hoped he wouldn’t make a case of it today. Throwing her cell phone back into her purse, Amber began the wonderful journey of torture, starting with getting all her damn things down a huge staircase. First thing she’d do when she got back was get in the apartment management’s face about getting a damn elevator.
eric_foreman: Eric Foreman from Houes - hands (hands)

[personal profile] eric_foreman 2010-07-09 06:12 pm (UTC)(link)
Foreman was pacing.

His bags were by the door--only two of them, one with his best suit, freshly dry-cleaned, and the other with general clothing and toiletries, his usual shaving kit for travelling, and a few journals that he could reasonably excuse as "work reading" if he desperately needed to get away from a social situation. Sometimes it worked out better that way. They'd want a chance to talk about him, and he'd be happy enough to give it to them.

Foreman hadn't been this tense before presenting his last major conference paper. Hell, the job interviews he'd been through, even the ones after it became clear that he'd been blacklisted, hadn't felt like he might be facing the door of a torture chamber rather than another Dean of Medicine's tastefully decorated office. He'd be able to keep his cool once he was standing in front of the firing squad, but in the few moments of freedom he had left, he couldn't help giving in to the roiling knot in his stomach. Anger, nerves, resentment--it wasn't pleasant, and he knew it would be even worse if he inflicted any of it on Amber in the car.

His phone buzzed and Foreman actually flinched, rolling his eyes at himself a second later. Amber's text sounded sharp an clear; he wouldn't be off the hook with her either. God, why had he agreed to this? Why had he not only let himself be led to the slaughter, but volunteered to go?

Because Amber's family was important to her. Because he could see he was losing points in her eyes the second he reacted badly to her invitation. Because he was trying to prove something--yeah, like he'd been trying to prove something ever since he'd gotten fired. That he was still worthy of some damn respect, no matter what source it ultimately came from. He was kidding himself if he thought he'd get recognition from Cuddy or House for doing his damn job, but surely Amber's family would have to soften and admit he was a good choice, the right choice, for their daughter, no matter what they thought of his skin colour.

Grabbing his bags, Foreman headed out the door, locking it behind him. He'd wait downstairs; at least there he wouldn't let himself pace, since he might be seen. It was time to start closing down, shutting off any avenues people might have of getting to him. Public scrutiny was what he was in for, so it might as well start now.

Once he was outside the building, Foreman stamped to warm his feet, and blew through his hands, waiting for Amber to pull up in the loading zone in front of him.
eric_foreman: Eric Foreman from Houes - hands (hands)

[personal profile] eric_foreman 2010-08-04 06:36 pm (UTC)(link)
Foreman jumped back from the curb when Amber's car skidded to a barely-controlled stop in front of him. Forget about whatever torture her family would inflict; he might be lucky to reach their home alive, with Amber behind the wheel. He knew she went fast, and was normally an excellent, controlled driver despite that, but fast combined with icy, sleety weather, and the stress of this family get-together probably weren't the best ingredients for a safe drive.

"Of course," he said, his instinctively tight response to Amber's abrupt question almost lost under the slam of the car door. He'd picked up his bags before she'd opened the trunk, although instead of just tossing the suitcases in among hers, he had to stop and adjust the...six bags she'd packed. Christ, had he missed the memo where everyone dressed for dinner and were going out on a six-month expedition between turkey and pie besides? Shaking his head, Foreman found space for his bags and shoved them in, watching for Amber's fingers before closing the trunk firmly.

At least the car was warm. Foreman climbed in, unclenching slightly without the arctic wind blowing down his collar. He wasn't feeling his most talkative, and he didn't know how Amber planned to spend the drive--if it was lecturing him on every possible family quirk and her strategizing for dealing with it, then probably tense silence was better than an argument.
eric_foreman: Eric Foreman from House - thoughtful (amused)

[personal profile] eric_foreman 2010-08-10 11:07 pm (UTC)(link)
Foreman loosened the collar of his coat, although he hadn't warmed up enough to shrug it off his shoulders yet. It'd been a long day. Clinic patients didn't disappear just because Thanksgiving was approaching, and House had been wavering between manic and sullen for most of the week, his usual insanity around holidays manifesting. He hated them, but he loved the themed pranks he could pull, even if there wasn't a single practical joke that would stop him from being bitter and alone when all was said and done. Amber and the other candidates had been left to their own devices, fretting and bored, but Foreman had been putting out as many of House's fires as he could before taking off for a few days. If there was chaos in the meantime, Cuddy would just have to deal.

When Amber spoke, Foreman blinked, a smirk tugging at his mouth before he had a chance to defend against it. It wasn't fair. He'd been psyching himself up to treat her parents like a job interview or a firing squad. Whether they liked him or not, he refused to provide them with any evidence against him. Stiff politeness he could do, as long as he was consciously drawing up into himself to present his most conscientious facade. But Amber's dry comment nearly had him chuckling. He relaxed when he was with her. It wasn't a habit he wanted to break, but it made everything with her family that much harder. "I never would have guessed," he said, teasing back. Why was he borrowing trouble, anyway? The drive was long enough for him to enjoy being with Amber at a time when they both weren't rushing in opposite directions down the hospital hallways.

Outside the windows, other cars' taillights flashed as Amber passed them, handily making use of the left lane. It was dark and damp out, but Foreman leaned back in his seat, rubbing the last of the cold out of his hands and listening to the drone of the fans. "Brian's younger, right?" he asked. All of the Volakis siblings were pretty close in age, he thought he remembered. "And he's bringing his girlfriend?" It'd be nice if some of the attention could be diverted from him. He was pretty comfortable with sacrificing somebody else to save awkwardness himself.
eric_foreman: Eric Foreman from House - relaxing (relaxing)

[personal profile] eric_foreman 2010-08-13 08:38 pm (UTC)(link)
"If the shoe fits," Foreman answered with mild amusement, happy enough to focus on topics neither one of them would take too seriously. He nodded as Amber explained a bit of the family dynamics. At least she wasn't treating it like a campaign she had to strategize, telling him how to act. It would've been impossible to bury his resentment if she'd tried that. Any hint that he shouldn't be himself, whatever himself he planned to be, would drag up all the misgivings he had about her family's attitudes.

With a sigh, Foreman realized he'd relaxed enough and warmed up enough that he might start to nod off if he didn't pay attention. Amber's driving was fast but smooth, and he'd been missing a few hours' sleep here and there, especially on the nights they didn't spend together. It added up. The last few weeks had been uneventful, with Amber surviving another round of House's picks. At this rate it seemed like she'd get the job, as long as House didn't make some last minute asshole move just because he hated to see Foreman happy. Amber would be more than pissed if House focused on her because of Foreman, and not for anything to do with her own merits or failures. God, Foreman didn't want to get within a hundred miles of that showdown. Amber would be right, too--it wasn't fair--but of course that was why House would be so tickled to rake them over the coals again at the eleventh hour.

More trouble it wasn't worth getting knotted over in advance. Foreman raised his eyebrows, trying to keep his eyes open. "Can't believe House didn't fuck off earlier," he muttered. Amber's mother had said something on the phone about them arriving no later than four, but that was obviously an impossible goal for two doctors. They'd still been at the hospital then. Maybe Mrs. Volakis had meant on Thanksgiving Day, although in that case Foreman didn't know why Amber had insisted on driving up tonight. Well, the timing at least meant they could easily excuse themselves for an early night if the introductions went sour.
eric_foreman: Eric Foreman from House - relaxing (relaxing)

[personal profile] eric_foreman 2010-08-16 04:09 pm (UTC)(link)
Foreman let out a short breath at Amber's encouragement, half-amused and half-bridling that she'd caught him nodding off. He'd been so wired earlier that he hadn't needed coffee to keep his energy up. Being pissed off at House and anxious about tonight had been more than enough stimulant. He felt a bit guilty for leaving the driving to Amber, but at the same time, it was obvious that she'd bite his head off rather than give up that control, and she was the one who knew where they were going.

It wasn't the most supportive thing he could do, conking out for a nap when he knew that Amber was just as jittery as he was, even if she wasn't showing it. The intent way she gripped the steering wheel and the at least three redundant bags in the trunk showed that. But still, all Foreman wanted was to check out for a few hours. Push off the actual moment until the future. He leaned his head against the cool glass of the passenger side window and closed his eyes, his breathing deepening slightly. He'd be there for Amber when she needed him, he promised himself. That didn't mean he couldn't slide into sleep for the moment.
eric_foreman: Eric Foreman from House - relaxing (relaxing)

[personal profile] eric_foreman 2010-09-05 10:31 am (UTC)(link)
Foreman woke up with the slightest start when the car engine cut out and the heaters whined into silence. He blinked and lifted a hand to rub at the bridge of his nose, before pulling in a deep breath and looking to see if they'd arrived. But instead of an austere, perfectly-groomed suburban street, they were in a shopping centre parking lot. That was a relief. He had a chance to get himself together, maybe even grab a coffee, before the moment of truth. "How was the drive?" he asked, a little cautiously, in case he'd managed to sleep through a high-speed chase or Amber picking off the drivers of the other cars with a sniper rifle, not out of road rage but from the simple fact that their trip would be more expedient that way. She looked tense, still, lips slightly compressed and the usual gleam of mischief in her eyes slightly dulled. Foreman hoped they'd have enough privacy this weekend that he could help her unwind, even if it was only by watching her pace and listening to her vent. He could bottle stuff up; Amber, he had a feeling, would explode like an oxygen tank in a smoker's room if she didn't get a chance to let off steam.

He climbed out of the car, tilting his head to one side and then the other to crack his neck and work out the kink he'd gotten from sleeping slumped against the door. Walking around to the driver's side, he met Amber and wrapped an arm around her shoulder, pressing his lips to her temple in a gentle kiss. "Hey, I'm sorry I wasn't much company," he said quietly. Glancing up at the lights of the grocery store, he remembered that they'd been supposed to bring something, and Amber had wanted to get it fresh. "Can I help with the shopping?"
eric_foreman: Eric Foreman from House - thoughtful (thoughtful)

[personal profile] eric_foreman 2010-09-05 10:36 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah, the drive sounded about as bad as he'd feared. "I'll mention that to the highway commission," Foreman said, teasing very lightly. He waited for Amber to grab whatever she needed from her luggage. She wasn't taking the state of the nation's holiday traffic out on him, and for that, Foreman was grateful. Once she was ready, he let his arm around her fall to her waist, since she'd leaned into his touch like she needed the reassurance. She might not ask for it, but he could give it, nonetheless. It was only for the length of the parking lot; they'd diverge once they were inside the doors. "Okay. Any allergies or preferences I should know about?" He could avoid the seven most common allergens easily enough, but he'd hate to find out once the salad was on the table that Mrs Volakis couldn't abide romaine and iceberg lettuce in the same bowl.

When Amber had mentioned changing, Foreman had glanced down at himself reflexively and brushed at his camelhair coat. He'd changed into this suit at home before she'd picked him up, and even though a few hours' scrunched-up sleeping couldn't have been good for the line of the fabric, the check pattern wouldn't show wrinkles easily, and he'd paid enough for the suit to know that the material should hold up to harder wear than a long car drive. He'd bought it knowing he'd probably end up sleeping in it sooner or later, and still need to look professional the following day. With simple unpuncturable confidence, he could make it work.

"See you in ten," Foreman said, when they'd entered the store. He headed for the fresh foods, got the biggest container they offered, and filled it almost to the brim, remembering his mom's phantom voice telling him not to let the top layer get crushed by the lid. He grimaced at that reminder; his dad had called him about coming to Trenton for Thanksgiving, and Foreman had put him off without being specific about his plans. If Dad assumed it was work that kept him away--or, more likely, from the way he'd harrumphed, he thought it was because Foreman couldn't stand to see Mom on the holiday that had always meant so much to her--then at least it gave Foreman more leeway. No matter what he'd said to Amber about getting the family meeting out of the way and over with, he was much more willing to put their relationship to the test under her family's scrutiny than his.

Foreman finished packing the salad and ordered two coffees as long as he was paying at the deli cash point. Carefully balancing everything well away from himself--spilling coffee on his dress shirt ten minutes before meeting the Volakises was not going to happen--Foreman headed back to the front doors to meet Amber.
eric_foreman: Eric Foreman from House - thoughtful (amused)

[personal profile] eric_foreman 2010-09-06 07:26 pm (UTC)(link)
Foreman hated the uncertainty that made him look down into the salad he'd constructed to double-check that he hadn't included any of the verboten ingredients. He knew what he'd picked--walnuts, apple slices, and raisins, with some crumbled blue cheese to sharpen the flavour. It was best on spinach, but he'd taken mixed spring greens to be on the safe side. Might not be what the Volakises usually ate, but the salad wasn't the most controversial thing they'd be working to accept this weekend. If they couldn't take his choice of vinaigrettes, they were going to have a damn hard time choking him down.

Once Amber had taken her coffee, and gulped it down despite the hot contents, Foreman was able to carry his own coffee in one hand and the salad in the other, reducing the possibility of a disastrous spill. He relaxed enough to grin at her. On the verge of possibly getting every second of their relationship picked apart by vultures, he couldn't help looking at her like Hallmark's sappiest copywriters had invaded his brain. Her vehemence, and her annoyance at what her family might put him through, made up for a hell of a lot of his own nervousness. "We'll get through this," he said. "I know I'm not what they're expecting, but you can't tell me this is the first choice you've made that they might second-guess." He wished he could put his arm around her again as they headed back to the car, but there was too much to carry. "I know you're not going to let somebody else's opinion get in the way of what you feel."

It'd been a busy few weeks, and they hadn't exactly been spending every second together, but even so, they'd had their soft and tender moments. Times when the word love slipped out a little more often than Foreman could possibly consider safe. Even saying it made his chest tighten and a smile appear on his face, his stomach doing a ridiculous little flip; part of him hoped he never stopped feeling like he'd just parachuted out of plane when he said it. He climbed back into the passenger seat carefully, keeping the salad on his lap. "It's one meal, a few days. We'll be all right."
eric_foreman: Eric Foreman from House - thoughtful (thoughtful)

[personal profile] eric_foreman 2010-09-08 08:18 pm (UTC)(link)
With a smile that wasn't belied by his skeptical raised eyebrow, Foreman accepted Amber's assessment of her family. It was gratifying to see Amber perk up, if only slightly, because of his reassurance. "I'm sure I will," he said. Taking a few gulps of his coffee, and burning the back of his throat, Foreman felt much more alert and prepared to play the perfect houseguest once they'd arrived.

He watched through the window as Amber drove through her parents' neighbourhood with practised assurance. The homes were tasteful, set back from the wide road, with lawns and gardens that looked neat and tended despite the autumn weather and the bare tree branches; he supposed anyone who didn't rake up their leaves or trim their summer perennials would set the neighbours gossiping. That actually felt familiar. "I know what you mean," he said. "The last Christmas I was home from college...all the rooms felt so small." His brain caught up with what he was saying, and he lapsed into silence. The last time he'd truly felt at home. New York had been his world by then, and later Maryland for med school. It felt contradictory to miss that, when he knew he'd never want to go back. Amber seemed confident, and no matter what she said, she seemed perfectly comfortable as she drew the car up behind a few others and turned off the car, so that silence settled around him.

Foreman felt her hand on his shoulder first, and turned on time to catch the firm press of her lips against his. In the cool air, she felt all the warmer, and her familiar perfume was soothing. He breathed in through his nose, leaning into the kiss although not deepening it, his hand moving up to cover hers. As he drew back, he squeezed her hand and kissed her fingers, too. The lights from the house gleamed in her eyes, giving him a slightly better view of her than she probably had of him, since he was sihouetted by the porch light. He cupped her cheek for a moment, smiling in the dark. "Ready to face the firing squad?" he asked, keeping his voice ironic. "I'll get the suitcases."
eric_foreman: Eric Foreman from House - skeptical (skeptical)

[personal profile] eric_foreman 2010-09-19 05:19 pm (UTC)(link)
The switch in Amber's tone and focus were as sharp as if she'd cut the moment through with the knife. The softness of her hand and her mouth disappeared, and she rushed to leap out of the car as fast as if House had demanded ten diagnoses and promised to fire the last one to blurt out an idea. Foreman sighed and unclicked his seatbelt, climbing out the passenger side onto the sidewalk. The home was nice bungalow, and as he stood up, the front door opened and Mrs. Volakis stepped out. For the last second he'd have to himself, Foreman hung back from Amber's greeting, holding the salad and waiting to be introduced. Before Amber could start--although it looked like it hadn't occurred to her--Mrs. Volakis was calling for the rest of her family.

Foreman could feel his back stiffening, but he kept any sign of it to himself. When a tall, bluff man with a shark's smile that had to be shared among all the Volakis siblings started towards the car, Foreman went into action. He was the stranger and the interloper; fine, that was a given. He could work with that, he always had. He intercepted Amber's brother and, balancing the salad in one hand, he offered his right to shake. "Eric Foreman," he said, with every appearance of outgoing interest.

"Geoffrey Volakis," Geoffrey said. His handshake was firm but not crushing, and his air of self-confident friendliness wasn't as off-putting as Foreman had feared. "I'm guessing you let my sister drive--if she had her way she'd buy a car with jet propulsion."

Foreman smiled, a fraction tightly. "The drive was fine," he said. Despite one or two of his own private thoughts about Amber's need for speed, he couldn't help bristling slightly at her brother's complacent pomposity.

"Geoffrey, the bags," Mrs. Volakis said, coming up beside them.

Foreman looked over his shoulder at the car. "I can--"

Geoffrey clapped him on the shoulder. "Don't worry about a thing, Eric," he said. "I know where I'm taking them." He headed for the trunk Amber had opened and started pulling out suitcases.

"So," Mrs. Volakis said, taking Foreman's elbow and giving him an appraising look up and down and nodding as if he'd already passed muster. "I'm so glad to meet you, Eric. Don't worry about the drive, we were just glad you could make it," she said. "Amber wasn't sure you two could get the time off."

"Of course," Foreman said. It was early yet, but so far he hadn't gotten any sign that he was 'controversial', let alone unwelcome. That might come later, after a few glasses of Thanksgiving wine or a heated talk about politics, or, he suspected, if anyone tried to puncture Geoffrey's attitude, but his first fears had been somewhat soothed. Amber's family were a bit overbearing, but nothing Foreman hadn't felt before from his own parents. It was almost traitorously welcome to be fussed over. "Wouldn't miss it. I, ah--" He proffered the salad, only the slightest bit hesitant, and Mrs. Volakis smiled.

"It looks delicious. Thank you, you're very thoughtful," she said, taking it out of his hands. "Come on, now, let's get you two out of the cold."
eric_foreman: Eric Foreman from House - skeptical (skeptical)

[personal profile] eric_foreman 2010-09-20 10:21 am (UTC)(link)
Over Mrs. Volakis' shoulder, Foreman saw Amber pull out of her hug with her dad and chase Geoffrey down with the bags. There were still four in the trunk, including his two, and he started to move in that direction.

"Oh, don't worry about that," Mrs. Volakis said. "Geoffrey will get you two settled. Come and meet my husband." Carrying the salad, she took his elbow and turned him towards the house, where Mr. Volakis was holding the door for them.

Once they were all inside and the door swung shut lightly on the cold, he turned to Foreman with a smile. "Hi, Eric. I'm Chris, Amber's dad." His handshake was as firm as his son's, but more casual.

"I'll just get this to the kitchen," Mrs. Volakis said. "Chris, get Eric something to drink."

Before Foreman could catch up with where Amber had disappeared to, he found himself ushered into the living room, a large, warm room. He'd expected, somehow, the same sort of good quality but worn furniture that still sat in his parents' house--the stuff that had been there all through his childhood and had suffered a couple of teenage boys wrestling on it more than once--but the Volakis' decor was, while obviously meant for comfort, was equally obviously meant to impress with its style and modernity. Foreman found himself clasping hands with Geoffrey's wife--Lisa or Lola, he was beginning to lose track of names--and Amber's aunt. "You'll have rye, Eric?" Mr. Volakis asked, and Foreman nodded; he hated rye, but a drink would be welcome, at least to occupy his hands.

"Amber tells us you're a doctor," her aunt said, seeming unwilling to give up her hold on his arm and his attention.

"Neurologist," Foreman agreed, with a quick glance around the room. Where had Amber gotten to?

"Oh, that's wonderful," the aunt--Foreman tried to drag her name back to the front of his mind--said. "I've been having this tingling in my hands. For months now--it comes and goes. That's not right, is it?"

Foreman hesitated, and was saved from answering when Mr. Volakis put a glass in his hands. "Jude, it's your circulation, Dr. Mitenko told you that." Finally, in a rush, Amber appeared on the stairs. Foreman didn't want to seem like he'd been feeling like a cornered animal without her to at least take some of the brunt of socializing, so he sent her a pained smile from across the room instead of going over to her, hoping it didn't look like he was begging her to rescue him.
eric_foreman: Eric Foreman from House - smug (smug)

[personal profile] eric_foreman 2010-09-21 12:16 pm (UTC)(link)
"A general practitioner," Jude said, with all the snobbery that Foreman had ever felt for doctors who wouldn't buckle down and choose a real specialty. "He's in, he's out, and you're back in the waiting room before you've even had a chance to explain." She launched into the explanation Dr. Mitenko hadn't allowed her, but Foreman barely heard. He locked eyes with Amber when she came down the stairs, and she smirked at him. Right before she walked out of the room.

Foreman stiffened slightly--not enough that Jude noticed. Oh, so that was how she was going to play it? Leave him to the mercy of her family? He didn't know if she hoped he'd hate them, or get the lightning-fast version of Stockholm and love them. Either way, that was playing dirty. She'd recognized that he wanted her support and she'd all but laughed at him.

He'd show her. "I understand," he told Jude, patting her hand on his arm and smiling at her with a mixture of gentleness and the firm professionalism he showed to clinic patients. "That sounds like idiopathic peripheral neuropathy."

Jude's mouth opened for a moment, and then she beamed at him. "Oh dear," she said, utterly delighted. "Is it serious?"

Foreman nodded solemnly. "It can be. Is it your hands, or your feet too?"

"Oh, yes!" Jude clutched at his forearm. "And I just feel so tired all the time--could that be related?"

Chris Volakis, still standing nearby, watched them warily, although he didn't seem to mind Foreman usurping the family doctor's diagnosis. He'd been getting drinks, although Geoffrey's wife (Leila, Foreman thought he'd remembered it right) had begged off. "Is it treatable?" he asked, with a thoughtful frown.

Foreman looked up, extending his aura of doctorly authority. "Well, obviously it would be important to run some tests," he said. "But it's possible--" Here he looked meaningfully at Jude, and lowered his voice as if he was consigning her to a terminal illness. "--that you might have a B12 deficiency."

Jude finally let go of his arm, to touch her own chest as if she was checking that her heart was still beating.

"A vitamin--?" Chris started to ask, and Foreman nodded sternly, interrupting, "You might need to take supplements regularly for the rest of your life."

Chris blinked, and then a grin started to form on his face. "Pills?" he asked.

"Yes." Foreman touched Jude's shoulder. "I know it can be difficult," he started, but she shook her head, her eyes shining. "I knew that quack had missed something," she said.

Foreman smiled. In less than five minutes, he'd earned the goodwill of at least two of Amber's family members. Jude wanted a doctor to take her seriously; it wouldn't matter to her that a vitamin supplement was likely all that she needed. She'd feel important whenever she took them. And Chris looked like he didn't know whether to laugh or be impressed by Foreman's acumen. Well, Foreman would take either, gladly. Leila, who'd been sitting on the couch, seemed to have caught the by-play, too; at least, she seemed amused. When Amber came back into the room, she'd find that Foreman had gotten his footing even without her to guide him. Foreman took a sip of his rye and almost forgot how much he hated the stuff.
eric_foreman: Eric Foreman from House - thoughtful (amused)

[personal profile] eric_foreman 2010-09-22 10:45 am (UTC)(link)
Foreman carefully rescued his drink when Jude squeezed his arm again and crowed to Kate Volakis about his assessment. Foreman smiled slightly, raising his eyes to meet Amber's. She looked skeptical at best, but Foreman tilted his head, trying to communicate to her what else could I do? Generally he hated it when people asked for medical advice at parties, as if learning that he was a doctor was a perfect excuse to treat a friend's living room like an exam room. He'd had to stop more than one person from showing him their various rashes, bumps, and cuts. But in this case, if it helped him feel at ease with Amber's family, like he was already on his way to being respected, then he wasn't going to ignore someone asking for his help.

When Kate stepped forward, hand outstretched, Foreman came forward to shake her hand with a confident smile. "Mrs. Volakis," he said, after Amber's introduction.

Kate tsked at him and shook her head. "Kate," she said, reminding him of something she'd already told him.

"Kate," he said, giving in with good grace. A little courtesy at first never hurt, but now that the formalities had been observed, he could call her, and Chris, by their first names without undue discomfort.

He met Amber's gaze with a warm, teasing smile, when she blurted out that she was his boyfriend. She sounded all but defiant, as if somebody in the room would deny it, or try to snatch him away from her. Her face was glowing red. Foreman could feel the heat in his own skin, but at least his flush wouldn't show. He reached out for Amber's hand, holding it firmly and moving to stand at her side, so that they formed one side of the conversational circle--the two of them against the world.

"We know that, Amber," Geoffrey said, from his comfortable seat on the couch with his arm around Leila's shoulders. "Nice of you to finally bring your catch home; I was beginning to doubt all those big fish stories."

"Oh, Geoffrey," Kate said, but without much censure. "So, how did you meet?" she asked. "Amber, let Eric tell us, he might be a little more forthcoming."

Foreman cut short the glare he wanted to level at Geoffrey and cleared his throat. "At work," he said, his natural reticence surfacing. With a glance at Kate's face, he could tell that wasn't going to cut it. "Ah, it was during a rain storm. We were both leaving the hospital. I offered to share my umbrella." There--he hoped that would count as 'forthcoming' without detailing how he and Amber had ended up fucking in her apartment less than two hours later.

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