Note: This is kinda just a filler chapter. Big stuff next chapter. This story is complete and on Teaspoon BTW; but where it's my first, I'm editing it and slowly posting it over here. Thanks so much for the reviews!
To those who knew Donna Harkness (nee Noble) only in passing, she appeared to be a fierce, no-nonsense type of woman; not one to take anything lying down, and a definite force with which to be reckoned. And to a large extent, that impression was accurate. She was a truly magnificent woman—full of love, passion, and wit. However, even though Donna possessed those attributes, she failed to acknowledge them. In fact, she was never one to think highly of herself, always assuming that she was lacking in comparison to everyone else. It was that lack of confidence which caused her to act abrasive at times; it was her defense mechanism. And when Donna met Jack Harkenss at the yearly gala held by her uncle's firm, that defense mechanism reached new heights.
There was no denying that Donna had been instantly attracted to the gorgeous, dark haired American. But she allowed her inner voice of self-doubt to prevent her from entertaining any ideas. That, and within five minutes of being introduced, Jack had leaned in towards her, and whispered that she had an "impressive keester." Donna had replied by grinding her high heel into his foot, her smile never once faltering. After that less than stellar encounter, she had gone out of her way to steadfastly avoid him, making sure there was ample distance between them at all times. During a lull in the evening, while her family was engaged in various conversations, Donna sat at one of the many tables and watched with envy as the couples on the floor danced. Her morose thoughts were interrupted by the sudden presence of Jack Harkness. Expecting another follow up to his less than charming come-on, she was surprised when he handed her a champagne flute and genuinely apologized. In fact, her jaw practically hit the floor when he then asked her to dance. Donna was at a loss as to why he would want to dance with her when he could have any of the many model types strutting around that evening. But as Jack continued to stand there, his smile brilliant and eyes excitedly hopeful, Donna couldn't help but feel a fluttering of anticipation and excitement within her, and she nodded in acceptance.
Taking her hand, Jack led her to the dance floor. The band played on, and while they swayed softly to the music, Donna felt something stir deeper within her as Jack continued to hold her tenderly in his arms. Everything around them slowed down, and she had never felt as special as she did in that moment. When the music ended, Jack escorted her back to her seat. Donna was overcome with disappointment, not only at the loss of his touch, but also by the thought of him leaving her to find someone else worth his time. But she was once again surprised when he took the seat next to her, and began animatedly engaging her in conversation, eagerly inquiring about her and her interests. She answered his questions honestly, but of course, used her cutting tongue as often as she saw fit—couldn't let him get too close, of course. However, Jack didn't seem affronted by her sporadic curtness; rather, he seemed more inclined to continue their conversation. The night gradually drew to a close, and the two of them parted ways with a simple exchange of 'goodbyes' and nothing more, much to Donna's disappointment.
The next day, however, a gorgeous bouquet of lilies was delivered to her with a note that simply said, "Dinner?" Donna would have been lying if she had said she wasn't ecstatic at his offer, but she was still fearful of being trifled with, and therefore, sent a note back saying, "Pull the other one." To her pleasant surprise, Jack wasn't so easily deterred by her refusal. The day he received her reply, he sent another bouquet—this time much larger, and of roses—and again asked her to dinner. And once again, Donna turned him down. This back and forth continued for two weeks, with Jack's last note saying, "I'm not giving up, so you might as well say yes." A wide smile on her lips as she read, Donna finally relented and agreed to dinner.
In all honesty, the dinner had been rough at times, but for the most part, it had been incredibly enjoyable. While she had toned down substantially on the sarcasm, Donna still wasted no time in calling him out anytime she felt he was using any artificial charm. After that evening, the two of them began to see each other frequently, though Donna was fearfully reluctant to call it dating. And the more time they spent together, the more their true selves became apparent to each other. Donna came to realize that Jack used his charm, not just because he liked to flirt, but also as a way to hide his fear of inadequacy; much like she used her biting wit and abrasiveness to protect herself from hurt. Once that understanding was reached, their relationship rapidly blossomed, resulting in their engagement and subsequent marriage. There were still occasional moments of self doubt; and when those would resurface, Jack would reassure her that she was what he wanted and she had 'made him a better man.' Those words and his winning smile, never once failed to put her mind at ease.
Early on in their relationship, they had made it a habit to have lunch together at least twice a week, which was why Donna found herself making her way towards the lift at Torchwood Titles. She had just entered the lift, when she heard a disturbingly familiar feminine voice that affected her like nails on a blackboard.
"Hold the lift!"
Donna pressed the Close Door button frantically, desperate to not be trapped in the lift with the woman. The doors had almost closed, when a well-manicured hand stopped them, effectively halting Donna's getaway. The heavily artificial woman raised a perfectly groomed eyebrow, and with a smirk, smoothed her blonde hair and stood beside Donna.
Donna kept her eyes locked forward, merely acknowledging the woman out of obligation.
"It's Donna," she corrected curtly through gritted teeth, knowing the woman had mistaken the name intentionally.
"Oh, that's right!" Yvonne hollowly chuckled, "Silly me. It's been forever." There was a small pause before she turned towards Donna, her critical eye making a head to tail inspection. "Have you lost weight? Your hips don't look nearly as wide as they used to," Yvonne inquired with snide sweetness.
"Have ya had more work done? Coz your nose doesn't look quite as piggish as it used to," Donna replied without missing a beat. The amount of self-control Donna was displaying was unparalleled. If she could've, she would have knocked the woman around by her hair extensions. Unfortunately, that was not an option. Yvonne Hartman was the daughter of the senior editor, Adam Hartman, who was Jack's superior.
Yvonne's eyes flashed and she pursed her lips, sharply turning her head forward. Another beat passed before she asked her next question.
"How's my sweet John?"
Rolling her eyes, Donna irritably replied, "My brother is fine, ta." A thought crossed her, and smirking, Donna added, "In fact, he's made a new acquaintance that seems to make him very happy. Happiest I've seen him, actually. He's like a whole new man."
Donna knew she was poking the bear but she didn't care. She detested this woman and shuddered at memories of her and John together, even if their relationship had been incredibly brief. Donna could practically see her fuming, but before Yvonne could retort, the lift reached Jack's floor and Donna exited without saying another word.
Giving a small smile to Anne, Jack's assistant, Donna hurriedly entered his office. On seeing her, Jack cracked a grin and quickly approached her, giving her a thorough snog in welcome. When they finally parted, Donna gave him a huge loving smile, greatly approving of his chose greeting.
She placed one more quick kiss to his lips before stepping back to look at him. "Ready?" she asked, still smiling.
"Have one email I need to send and then we can head out. Anything, interesting happen today?"
"Nothing particularly," Donna shrugged, "Rode the lift up with Satan's mistress. Other than that, pretty uneventful day."
"Did ya clean up after yourself? Because I really don't want to have to dispose of a body right before lunch," he teased laughingly.
"Oh, shut it!" she mockingly glared as she gave him a playful swat. "I behaved beautifully, thank you. Hurry up and let's go. I'm starving. Where do you wanna go, by the way?"
Finished with his email, Jack stepped back from his computer, and grabbed his jacket. "Why don't we go to that coffee shop you like so much? It seems like I'm the only one who hasn't been there. Trying to hide it from me?" he said with a smile.
"Sorta. I didn't even want to take John there, but I thought it could do him some good. Which apparently it has on multiple levels." As she said that, Donna turned to him and raised an inquiring eyebrow. "Wait…that's what this is about, isn't it? Ya wanna see what's goin' on, don't you?!" She was much less surprised than what she was conveying.
Jack went up to her and put his arms around her waist, smiling. "Oh, c'mon. Don't you?"
Donna frowned at him, but then quickly smiled, grabbed his hand, and pulled him to the door. "Hurry up. I don't wanna miss anything good."
Martha couldn't help but keep looking over at John. Though he was sitting in one of the most comfortable chairs, he was still fidgeting like mad, and was currently on his third latte. Rose couldn't get there soon enough, and Martha knew that was his whole reason for being there. As soon as he'd arrived, John had asked (not so subtly) if she was there, was she coming in, and if so when. Grinning at his eagerness, Martha assured him that Rose would be in within the hour.
John had been semi-patiently waiting for about forty-five minutes, when Donna and an extremely handsome man (who Martha inferred was Jack) came into the shop. Their arrival apparently did not set well with John, because on seeing them, he dramatically threw his head back and groaned. Evidently his desire to see Rose outweighed his discomfort at their arrival, because John made no attempt to leave.
After introductions were made and lunch orders were taken, Jack and Donna walked back over and sat with John. Shortly after Martha had finished preparing and delivering their food, Rose came through the back door that led into the kitchen, carrying several bags of groceries. Martha rushed forward, taking the bags from her. Motioning to the main room with her head, Martha said, "Donna's here, and she finally brought the elusive Jack. Ya should go say hello." She decided to leave out the part about John; best she find out about that on her own.
Leaving the groceries till later, Martha and Rose exited the kitchen. Martha couldn't help but notice the faint blush that appeared on Rose's cheeks, or the absurd grin that found its way onto John's face when the two of them made eye contact. Based on the small smiles that played on their faces, Jack and Donna noticed it, too. After a few moments of idle conversation, Jack excused himself to go to the loo. Sensing an opportunity, Martha made up a rather poor excuse for her and Donna to leave, saying she had something to show her. It was completely transparent, but it got the job done.
As both of them reached the counter, Donna turned and whispered to Martha.
"Is anythin' happening?"
Martha turned her head ever so slightly. All she could see was Rose and John talking, exchanging occasional smiles.
"Not that I can tell."
"Dumbo needs to make his move. Glaciers move at quicker speeds," Donna huffed.
Part of Martha wanted to defend John, knowing that he wasn't the primary cause of the holdup. But doing so would require more explanation than Martha could give to her, so she let it pass. Just then, Jack came up beside them.
"No, and be quiet! They'll hear us," Donna whispered, swatting his arm.
Jack rolled his eyes at her. "Like they can't see us huddle over here whispering to each other. Let's face it—we aren't that subtle."
Martha saw movement out of the corner of her eye. "Shh! Act natural!"
Martha began wiping the counter, while Jack and Donna pretended to be determining what pastry to order. Rose came up to them, John directly behind her.
"Martha, John and I are gonna go pick up Tony, but we were gonna grab some chips beforehand. Ya gonna be ok if I leave a lil earlier?"
"Of course," she readily assured.
Smiling, Rose went to get her stuff and use the loo, stating that she would be ready to go in a few moments. Exchanging quick goodbyes with her, Donna and Jack excused themselves and went back to their seats. This left John and Martha standing before each other in silence. John smiled at Martha and rocked back slightly on his heels, hands in pockets. Taking advantage of this opportune moment, Martha grabbed his elbow and took him to the side. He opened his mouth to speak, but she cut him off.
"No," she raised her hand, "What I'm gonna say requires no input from you. I know you're crazy 'bout her—I do. And I like you. I think you're a really great bloke. But know this—you do anything', and I mean absolutely anythin' to hurt her, and I will do anythin' and everythin' possible to make your life as difficult and unpleasant as I can. I mean a slow living hell. And if y'think Donna is a force to be reckoned with, ya haven't met me. Rose practically saved my life, and I love her more than a sister. There isn't anything I wouldn't do for her. Are we clear?"
John swallowed harshly and merely nodded at her, unsure if it was even safe to do that. Martha's face softened, and she gave him a warm smile. Rose came out shortly after that, and she and John left the shop. As they watched the two of them leave, Jack, Donna, and Martha couldn't help but grin at each other in expectation.