A slim man covered in oil and tattoos pushed a bill toward him. House looked at the bill. Wilson had the car tuned up and detailed. He also had a new car horn installed. House pulled his wallet out and thrust a credit card at the owner. A few minutes later, House pulled out of the body shop parking lot with Cameron following him in her car. Carefully he pressed the horn. A loud wolf whistle sounded. House began to laugh as he merged with traffic. He and Cameron would meet up at his apartment to plan his retaliation for Wilson.
“What struck me as odd is I would think Wilson would take this as an opportunity to dun you for a lot of money but he didn’t,” Cameron said once they were back at House’s place. “All he charged you was three dollars and seventeen cents.”
House made a slight snarfing noise while trying to take a sip of coffee. “I don’t believe I almost missed that.”
“What? Is there some significance to St. Patrick’s day with you and him?”
“Not St. Patrick’s day.” House put his coffee down on the kitchen counter. “His first address when I met him was 317 Regent Street. That’s where he and wife number one lived for years. I’m going over there.”
“I’m sure there are people living in that house now who aren’t necessarily going to want to open up their door to a big guy with a cane and a lousy disposition,” Cameron said. “They’d be far more likely to say ‘yes’ to, say, a pretty, sweet woman, wouldn’t they?” It was Cameron’s turn to grin mischievously.
House arched his eyebrows. “Damn.” He smiled broadly. “You’re good.” His eyes twinkled.
“Like you said,” she told him. “The dark side is fun.”
He started toward the front door when he noticed one of his guitars missing. It was the first guitar he owned. Cameron was at the door and turned to look at him. Slowly, he walked over to the wall behind his piano.
“I don’t suppose my guitar is at Wilson’s old place?” he asked without turning around.
“Your guitar is missing?”
House turned and looked at her with narrowed eyes. “You’re playing both sides.”
She shrugged and smiled.
They arrived at the condo on Regent Street. There was a For Sale sign in the tiny front yard. A pretty young woman stood on the top step and smiled at them as they approached.
“Afternoon, Doctor House,” she said as she held out a key.
“How much did Wilson pay you?” he asked as he took it.
“Enough,” she smiled.
House unlocked the front door and went inside. It was shadowy and smelled faintly of furniture polish. His guitar hung from the stair rail leading up to the second floor.
House inclined his head at Cameron. She laughed softly and got the guitar. As she handed it to him, he noticed a note taped to the back. This time it was written in Cameron’s loopy handwriting. He glared at her but she simply grinned at him.
“Music is the key,” he read and then looked up at her. “He’s at my apartment right now stealing something, isn’t he?”
She shrugged and smiled wider.
“Come on,” he growled.
She followed him out and skipped down the stairs behind him. He carefully stowed his guitar in the trunk of the Corvette. Cameron got in and he burned rubber as he sped away.
“Where are we going?” Cameron shouted over the sound of the wind.
They arrived at Wilson’s apartment and House looked for his car. When he saw it wasn’t there, he sent Cameron in with a message of his own. She returned almost half an hour later with a shoe box. Once she was in the car, House sped out of the parking lot.
As they sat at a red light, she opened the box.
“Baseball cards?” she asked. “Why does he have baseball cards stored in his home safe?”
“They are all signed vintage cards,” House told her as the light turned green and he changed gears. “Those cards are worth thousands. His grandfather started the collection years ago.”
Cameron shook her head and closed the box.
They returned to House’s apartment after a brief stop and he convinced Cameron to sleep on his couch. They watched television and ordered Indian food for dinner. Cameron was cleaning up when House’s door slammed open. Wilson stomped in, his face red and House’s note clenched in his fist.
“Nooooobody expects the Wilson inquisition!” House yelled, laughing.
“Where are my cards?!?”
“Read the note,” House told him. “Or would you rather play Truth or Dare?”
Wilson breathed deeply several times before smoothing out the note and reading it aloud. “Take me out to the ball game. Take me out with the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack. I don't care if I never get back.”
House watched him closely. Cameron leaned against the door jamb leading to the kitchen, smothering a giggle.
“You’re helping him,” Wilson practically snarled at her. “You were supposed to be helping me.”
“I am double agent,” she said in a terrible Russian accent.
“Ve make beeg trouble for moose and sqvirrel,” House added in an even sillier Russian accent.
Wilson narrowed his eyes and read over the note again. He spun on his heel and left. Cameron walked over and closed the door.
“I don’t suppose you’re going to tell me his next move, are you?” he asked as she sat back down beside him and took the remote from him.
“Nope,” she said cheerfully as she changed the channels.
The next morning House woke to the smell of bacon. He swallowed a couple Vicodin and made his way slowly to the kitchen. Cameron was sitting on the butcher block island with a plate of bacon and a note. House took two slices of bacon and nodded at her.
She shook her head. “Can’t read it to you until you find what’s missing,” she told him.
“You could go buy us some coffee while I look,” he told her. “I refuse to drink that swill you call coffee.”
She reached behind her back and pulled out a take out cup of coffee. He grunted and took it from her. He leaned back against the refrigerator and thought. What could Wilson take that was equal to the baseball cards? Books? House didn’t have any worth taking. Then it hit him. He thrust the cup at Cameron who grabbed it in time. He went to the closet where he kept his most valuable blues albums. The box was gone.
“FUCK!!!!!!!” he shouted then jumped slightly when Cameron tapped him on the shoulder. She held out the note. This time it was typed out.
Got the blues? Only one thing can cure them.
House leaned his head against the closet door. “Please tell me he isn’t going to ruin them,” he said softly.
“That’s not the point of this,” Cameron told him. “I’m kind of surprised you haven’t figured out the point of all this.”
House laughed ruefully. “You two are trying to get me out of my funk.”
“Yes. Now go get dressed so we can get your albums back,” she replied before kissing him gently on the cheek.
He turned and leaned his head against hers. “Tell me where he hid them.”
“No,” she breathed. “Mainly because he didn’t hide them.”
He pulled back and stared at her in shock. She winked at him and turned to walk over to the couch. He shook his head and went to get dressed. His sweet, caring Cameron had a nefarious streak a mile wide. It made him like her even more.