Title: What's the Differential for Horndogging?
Series: Wilson in Therapy
Series beginning: http://brenginee.livejournal.com/21
Pairing: None, though this piece concerns Wilson, includes House, and refers to the women in Wilson's life
Warnings: implied het
Summary: Wilson is preoccupied with his own issues after starting counseling.
Disclaimer: House and Wilson are not characters I created, nor are their histories mine. Princeton-Plainsboro Hospital is not a setting I created. The rest grew from my imagination.
Notes: Massive thanks to autumnfaerie for medical information and to cocoajava for beta-reading.
Feedback: gets me to write more...
Wilson pushed open the glass door to House's office. "What's up?"
House tossed an oversized gray and red tennis ball into the air. "Patient presents with slight jaundice, and the MRI shows an enlarged liver."
"Tumor?" He wandered in and glanced into the empty team room next door.
"MRI ruled it out."
"Cirrhosis," he offered.
House got out of his chair and grabbed his cane. "None yet."
Wilson followed, trying to concentrate, but idle thoughts kept dancing through his mind about the last two days since he'd met with Beth. It seemed like all this had started when he and Julie split up, but it hadn't, really--it had been going on for years before he met her. Was he going through some kind of sex withdrawal? His pace slowed as his thoughts blocked out more of his external world, and House turned. "Hitch in your getty-up?"
"No, just contemplating a metaphor. Any other symptoms?"
"History of itchy rash followed by flu-like symptoms."
"He's been out of the country. South America."
"His lips say no, but his liver says yes."
Wilson smiled, but the obsessive thoughts continued, circling and doubling back on each other. He did have a physical relationship with Julie, but it had been all but nonexistent the last two years. He had fallen in love with Julie once, but then they had started spending so much time apart, and he only remained faithful to her. He missed her, but hadn't known how to rebuild the bridge. Nothing he tried seemed to have much of an effect.
And then that thing with Kathy--the strength of that impulse to ignore reason and go home with her had shocked him. He had believed himself to have matured beyond the short-term relationships. No. He knew it. He wasn't that kid any more. Just because he felt attracted--no, drawn--to Kathy, that was no reason to believe he was interested in sleeping around.
House turned on his good leg and stopped Wilson with his cane. "You aren't listening. In fact, you're completely preoccupied. You have been since yesterday."
He realized too late he had missed too much of everything House had said. "You're right. I am preoccupied. I apologize."
"What is it? Julie?"
"Surprisingly insightful for you, House. But... no. Not Julie. Not really."
House stared him in the eye a moment, then continued down the hall. "Go take care of it. Call me when you're done."
"Thanks for your compassion."
House was right, though. He needed to take care of it. He slipped into a stairwell and pulled out his phone.
"Dr. McClintock, this is James Wilson. I know I have an appointment with you for next Wednesday, but I wondered if I could move it up a bit? I have some questions that I don't think I can work out on my own just yet, and they're keeping me from getting work done. Thanks." He left his call-back number and clicked the phone shut.
He spent the afternoon with patients and charting, maintaining a level of activity consistent with his ability to concentrate, grateful to House for leaving him out of the differentials for today.
When Beth returned his call, he arranged for a short meeting that evening. He drove to her office directly after his last scheduled patient.
"Hello, James. Come on in."
"Hi. Thanks for seeing me so quickly. I just want to..." he paused, searching for some way of describing what he needed, but found nothing.
"Have a seat. We'll work it out."
He took the same place on the leather sofa and leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. "Our talk the other day got me looking at myself. I guess that's what this is supposed to do. But I don't know what I see."
Beth nodded, once again balancing the legal pad on her knee and making notes. "Let's start with behavior. What behaviors have you observed in yourself?"
Wilson nodded, staring first at the silk flower arrangement as he organized his thoughts, then glanced up at Beth. "I'm not like this. This isn't me-this panic, this uncertainty. I know who I am. Or I did."
"So what has happened? What do you see?"
He stared hard at the flowers, thinking back through the last few weeks. "Okay, first Julie... well, first my marriage fell apart. And then Julie ended our marriage, and I moved in with House."
"Moved in with House?"
"My friend-the one I was telling you about. Last time?"
"The--how did you put it--piece of work? His name is House?"
He laughed. "Yeah."
"Okay. You moved in with House."
"And then I met Grace. She's the patient... that I told you about before."
"I was just helping her out one night. She needed a ride, needed groceries, needed a friend. House and I hadn't been getting along too great. I guess I was feeling lonely, too. I wanted to stay with her. The first few nights I just stayed on the couch. But, you know how it is. You spend a lot of time with someone, you start to care about them more. When she started to feel better, I guess she felt ready to, uhm, express some of what she was feeling for me. I didn't turn her down. I didn't want to."
Beth made short notes on her pad and nodded. "Anything else?"
Wilson laughed and pressed at the spasm in the back of his neck. "Yeah. After House figured out I was with Grace, I realized I had to move out. Get my own place. So I found an apartment and signed a three-month lease. Paying through the nose for it, too. It's a nice place, but..." He glanced up at Beth and waited for her to look back up from her notes. "It's nice, but it's too quiet. I went there after work the other night and tried to do that being alone thing you were asking me about. You know, no television, no radio, no reading. I got bored. Fast."
"I wanted to be reading, at least. It seemed like such a waste of time. I realized it had probably been a very long time since I'd just done nothing. I don't know if I ever have. What does that mean?"
"You don't necessarily have to be doing nothing to be in solitude," she said, capping and laying the pen across her lap. "You can be surrounded by a crowd of people and still be in solitude. But occasionally spending time alone without an urgent distraction can be an important part of staying in touch with yourself."
"I guess I don't know if I am, or if I'm not."
She picked up the pen and uncapped it. "Was there anything else? You said earlier that you were panicking. So far I don't see or hear anything I would describe as panic."
"No. What really made me question myself happened right after the solitude experiment."
"All right. What was that?"
"I called an old friend. Her husband died last weekend, and I wanted to just touch base, let her know I was sorry about her husband's death. It was supposed to be just a phone call to express sympathy. But somehow, I wound up inviting her out for a drink, and then it was all I could do not to go home with her."
Beth nodded, noted, and looked back up. "She invited you to her home?"
"No--she didn't. I just wanted to go with her, desperately. I wanted to sleep with her."
"Why didn't you?"
His face broke into a shocked grin. "It would have been completely inappropriate! She was grieving the death of her husband. He only died less than a week ago."
"All right. Anything else?"
"Anything else? No. That's ... well, I tried the solitude thing for about two seconds yesterday, but I just gave up and went over to spend the evening with House. I think I have a serious problem here. I just don't know what it is. I'm not histrionic, I'm completely okay with not being the center of attention-in fact I would prefer not to be. My life has fallen apart but I'm not depressed. There aren't any mood swings--"
"Please don't read the DSM-Four for answers about yourself." She smiled. "You don't have a mood disorder, and I certainly don't believe you have a psychosis."
"You don't have a diagnosis?" he asked, shocked.
"This isn't about diagnosing you. You're troubled, and we're here to work through that, together."
"You think I'm blowing it all out of proportion. The fact that I resisted going home with Kathy means I'm perfectly normal, and this is all about my having too much time on my hands or something."
"No, I wouldn't say that, at all. I believe that what's troubling you is very real, and the fact that you described yourself as a womanizer-if that sort of behavior were to continue, I can agree that it would become problematic for you. I think we can find out what's at the source of that behavior, and work for a change that will be satisfying to you."
"How do we do that?"
Beth glanced at the clock. "I think on Wednesday at your regular appointment we will focus on your background and how you got to be where you are now. To prepare for that meeting, I wonder if you would give me permission to get some of your history from your previous counselors?"
"You want to talk with my old counselors."
"If you give me permission to do so. I will form my own opinion, but it can help to draw on the information gathered about you at a previous time. However, if you would prefer that I not--"
Wilson raised a hand to stop her from finishing the sentence. "It's fine. I have no problem with you asking them about me. I'm just not used to that kind of question. May I ask you--what's your discipline? You don't seem to have the same approach as anyone I've ever met, including the psych professionals I've worked with in the hospital."
While Wilson drew a slender address book from his breast pocket, Beth smiled. "Not a single school. I suppose I draw on existentialist therapy rather heavily, but mostly what I care about is what helps my clients, so I just look for that."
He copied out for her the name of a counselor his second wife had insisted they see. "I don't know how helpful this will be." She took the paper from him, and he put away the address book. "In fact I don't know if she's even there any more. But you can talk to her if you find her."
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