AN: I'm sorry if Rose is becoming unlikeable. I really don't want that! That honestly wasn't the intent. I know that certain circumstances affect everyone differently; What kicks one person on their butt, doesn't faze another. But that last bit was the last intentional angst part in this story. She got called out on it. So I hope the coming resolution makes up for it! If not, I'm really sorry to disappoint.
By the time Rose had gotten home that night, everyone was already in bed—something for which she was incredibly grateful. All Rose had told Martha was that she had to take care of something and that she would be back before too long. At the time, Martha didn't ask any questions, but Rose knew for a certainty that she would be asked about it later on. When she had arrived home, Rose hastily made her way up the stairs to her room, and immediately locked her door. Very rarely did she lock her door, but she didn't want to take the chance that Martha would walk in suddenly and ask her about what she had been up to that evening. Rose had neither the desire nor the energy to explain what had happened.
Rose lay in her bed, staring out into the darkness. Even though she was thoroughly exhausted, sleep evaded her. She had never understood how silence could be deafening–until now. As she lay there on her side, the harsh words and truths of that night continued to turn over in her mind. The quietness of the room only served to make the memories louder. The words however were not as powerful as the emotions that had been conveyed. Those washed over her with so much intensity that she found it hard to breathe at times.
He loves me...
That fact ignited something within her that she didn't know existed. John's feelings were no longer a vague thought in the back of her mind or an unacknowledged hope. No, now they were out in the open. They were out there just waiting for her to take hold of them. Now, it was up to her whether or not she would. She couldn't stand lying there any longer; it was stifling, and she had to get away. It was still a couple hours before Martha would have to get up to open the shop. She quietly made her way down the stairs and out of the house. Once outside, she just started walking with no particular destination in mind. Before long, she found herself at the park she and John had taken Tony to a few weeks prior. Seeing the swings, she went over and sat down in one. As she moved faintly back and forth, she laid her head against the chain and was taken back to that memory of her and her father so many years ago.
"I'm not doin' it!" Rose said, arms crossed and stomping her foot in defiance.
Pete Tyler looked at his little girl and then bent down to her level.
"Sweetheart, you can't let a lil' fall scare you forever. Y'have to be brave."
"But it wasn't a lil' fall! It was a big fall! The biggest! And it hurt—see?" she said, showing her hands and then lifting up her pant legs to show the scabbed over cuts and bruises on her knees and legs.
Pete took her hands in his and kissed her scratches. His eyes were warm and full of love as he said, "I know it hurt, love. But just because it hurt, doesn't mean ya give up. Ya gotta keep goin'."
Rose kicked the gravel at him and shouted, "NO! I hate the swings! I'm never getting on 'em again! NEVER EVER!"
Pete stood himself up straight and looked down at her, contemplating what move to make next. In one swift movement, he picked her up and put her down on the seat. When he stepped back, she immediately slid off the seat.
"Rose Marion Tyler. You put your bottom back on that seat. Right now," he instructed her, his voice now firm.
Tears filled Rose's eyes as she looked up at him pleadingly. "Daddy…please don't make me do it."
His eyes softened but he didn't waver in his decision. Seeing the expression on her father's face, Rose sat back down in the seat.
"Ok now, love—start swinging."
A tear ran down her cheek as she started to swing gently back and forth.
He smiled wide at her. "There ya go, sweetheart. Keep going!" he encouraged.
As each moment passed without injury, Rose felt her confidence rising. She began to swing higher, feeling her former joy returning.
"Look, Daddy!" she squealed.
His smile broadened. "Good job! See—everythin's okay."
She continued to swing enthusiastically, giggling in delight.
"Alright now, love…I want ya to jump off like ya did last time."
The fear returned to her eyes. "But…but I'll get hurt again!"
"You don't know that. Plus, I'll be here to catch you."
"But you might drop me!" she said fearfully, her little hands gripping the chains as if she were hanging on for dear life.
Pete's eyes softened as he looked at his little girl, fear etched in every part of her face. "Ya have to trust me, love. Now…jump!"
She swung back and forth a few more times, before closing her eyes and letting herself go in midair. Seconds later, she found herself in her father's strong arms. She immediately opened her eyes and looked at him, surprise evident.
"Ya caught me!"
He smiled at her. "I told ya I would," he said, kissing her forehead. Looking her in the eyes again, he said, "Sometimes you're gonna fall and get hurt. And when that happens, you're gonna want to quit. But remember—you've got to get up, keep goin'. Y'can't be afraid to fall."
Rose emerged from her memories and wiped the tears that had unconsciously fallen. The sunlight began to break through the early morning fog. She checked her phone; it was still early, but she decided against waiting—she had done too much of it already. She looked for the number and hit Call. She could tell the phone was about to go to voicemail, but then a very groggy voice answered.
"Hey, Calleigh—it's Rose. I need a favor…"
oOo oOo oOo
Jack was at his desk catching up on some manuscripts that he had been putting off reading. He had a sixth sense about these things, and based on the few pages he had read, he could tell they weren't going to impress. He was unexpectedly disrupted by a knock on his door, followed by his assistant, Anne, popping her head through the door.
"Need something, Anne?" he said with a small smile.
"There's a Rose Tyler here to see you. She doesn't have an appointment, but she says that she's here to pick up a manuscript you have for her," she said, her tone hesitant and questioning.
Jack had no manuscript to give to Rose, but he was a smart man—he knew what she was referring to.
"Thanks, Anne. You can send her in."
Anne opened the door, allowing Rose to enter the office. Rose gave her a smile and brief nod in thanks. Jack stood as Rose approached him. He couldn't read her expression which, in his experience with women, was not a good sign.
"Hello Rose. Pull up chair," he said, motioning to the ones in front of his desk. "You want something to drink?"
She shook her head as she sat down. "I'm fine, thanks."
Jack let out the breath he had been holding. "It's always great to see you Rose, but you and I both know that this is in no way a social call. So…do you wanna awkwardly chitchat or should we just get to why you're really here?"
She gave him a smile that didn't fully reach her eyes. "You're right. It's not. I…I want John's manuscript."
He'd had the sneaking suspicion that her visit was about that. "He finally told you about, huh?"
She shifted uncomfortably. "Not…not exactly."
Jack furrowed his brow questioningly, causing Rose to clarify. "Yvonne told me about it."
Jack swore under his breath. He wasn't sure how that guttersnipe knew about Rose and the manuscript, but he could just imagine how she had manipulated the situation. Looking up at her with apologetic look, he said, "Rose…I can't just give it to you."
Her face hardened slightly. "Jack…it really wasn't a request."
"Rose—, " he started, but she cut him off.
"It's the least ya can do. I have a right to know what's in it—after all it's about me." There was no anger in her voice, only determination.
Jack sighed and looked down pensively.
He looked up and met her eyes. He could see her pain, could see and hear her pleading. Taking a breath, he moved his chair back and opened a desk-drawer. He pulled out a fairly thick stack of papers held together with a metal clip and wrapped with a rubber-band. He handed it over to her.
Rose took it in her hands and stared down at it for a moment. "Thank you," she said, her voice small and slightly broken. Looking up, she gave him a weak smile and headed towards the door.
"By the way," Jack called out to her, causing her to stop and glance back at him. "It's not so much about you, as it is for you. Just remember that."
oOo oOo oOo
Martha was waiting for Rose to come in any time now. She had gone to bed before Rose had gotten home and she was anxious to talk to her. Martha had wanted to see her before she left to open, but she had been running late and decided she would just talk to Rose when she came in later. She had only spoken with Rose over the phone, but Martha could definitely tell that something was very off with her. It was approaching noon and Rose was due any time. The door opened and Calleigh walked in. Martha assumed she was there to order something, but that idea was discarded when Calleigh came behind the counter and put her bag down.
"What's goin' on, Calleigh?" Martha asked quizzically.
"Nothin' much. You?" Calleigh asked nonchalantly as she put an apron around her waist.
"No, I mean, why are you here? You aren't scheduled to work today."
Calleigh looked at Martha and crinkled her brow in confusion. "Rose called. She asked if I could cover her shifts while she was out of town. She's leaving today, right?"
Martha had absolutely no clue what was happening, but she did not have a good feeling about it.
"She said she was goin' outta town? Did she say where?" Martha asked worriedly.
Calleigh looked at her, clearly concerned about the situation. She spoke hesitantly. "No…she didn't say anythin' about that. She just called me early this morning and said she was gonna be gone for a few days and asked if I could cover for her. You…you mean you didn't know?"
Martha was already calling Rose on her mobile before Calleigh had even finished her question. She looked at Calleigh. "No…no I didn't," she said, her voice calm but her eyes clearly worried.
The phone rang repeatedly before finally going to voicemail. Martha let out a frustrated breath and dialed again.
Finally, there was an answer.
"Rose," Martha said in a voice that teetered on shouting, "Where are you?!"
oOo oOo oOo
"Where are you?!
Rose took a steadying breath. "I'm…I'm fine, Martha. I just needed some time…time to think…"
Martha became indignant. "That's not what I asked. Tell me where you are. Or tell me what's goin' on. I can help you."
"You can't this time, Martha. I…I have to do this on my own," she said softly.
"I'll call later and let ya know how I am. I gotta go. I love ya," she said and quickly turned off her mobile. She didn't want to deal with the constant ringing and messages. She had let Martha know she was safe and she would check in, but other than that, she needed to be away from the epicenter of everything. She went to the only place she could think of where no one would think to look. Rose nervously approached the door and knocked. After a few moments, the door opened.