James stood there staring at the middle aged man for several minutes. Why would this man be here asking questions about his presumed dead wife? And at this late hour?
Mr. Daniels' eyebrows rose questioningly. "You are married to Rose Marion Tyler, correct?"
James faintly shook himself out of his train of thought and cleared his throat. "Yes. Sorry..."
"No, I'm sorry. I'm sure she goes by Rose Arden, but I just spent the last hour mistakenly speaking to a Roseanne Arden and I wanted to avoid another misunderstanding. I also apologize for intruding at this time of night. Unfortunately, I have to catch an early morning flight to New York and this is the only opportunity I'll have to sort out this matter."
"Yes, of course. I understand," James' reassured but still continued to blank the man.
A beat passed.
"So, if you don't mind...," Daniels hinted, motioning his head towards inside.
"Oh, yes...yes, of course," James said hurriedly, again shaking himself out if his daze. He took a few steps back and widened the door, allowing the man to enter the house.
James shoved his hands in his pockets, trying to contain the nervous energy this man's unexpected arrival an interest in Rose had caused.
"My office is back this way," he said motioning with his head and then turning towards it.
Mr. Daniels followed him closely and stepped into the room James indicated. James motioned to one of the leather wingbacks and Daniels promptly sat. The man was clearly drained and anxious to begin.
"My firm represents Mr. Jack Harkness and his suit regarding…," Daniels stopped abruptly as a thought suddenly crossed his mind. "This might be simpler if I speak with Mrs. Arden."
James' interest was immediately peaked at the mention of a man that he had never met or heard of, having a connection with his wife—especially after three years had passed. In that instant, James decided that his curiosity took precedence over anything else.
"My wife is…indisposed at the moment. I'm sure I can help you, though. Please continue," James prompted.
Daniels lifted an eyebrow and regarded him for a moment, weighing the likelihood of James being able to be of any real use. He glanced at his Rolex and on seeing the time, released a tired sigh and ran a hand over what little hair he had left. Despite his better judgment, he relented and continued with his explanation. Opening up his briefcase, he removed a manila folder and began skimming the contents.
"As I was saying, I represent a Mr. Jack Harkness, the founder of Torchwood Avionics. Mr. Harkness was reported missing three years ago after the boat he was on went down during an unexpected storm. In that time, the board transferred controlling interest to Torchwood's Vice President, Adam Mitchell. However, two days ago, Mr. Harkness suddenly resurfaced and discovered this fact. He immediately hired us to represent him as he seeks to reclaim control of his company."
This information only served to further confuse James. "So, what exactly does this have to do with Rose?"
"Well, according to Mr. Harkness, he was visiting a childhood friend, to whom the boat belonged. This friend, a Mr. Billy Shipton, owned a charter company and was hired by your wife to take her out to sea to scatter her grandfather's ashes. According to Mr. Harkness, a sudden severe storm struck and the boat's navigational system was damaged. Mr. Harkness and your wife were able to hold on to a piece of the wreckage. Unfortunately, Mr. Shipton drowned at sea. Eventually, Mr. Harkness and your wife ended up on an uninhabited island, where they spent the next three years. Less than a week ago, a ship called La Loba Mala veered off course and spotted their makeshift beacon on the shore. Mr. Harkness and your wife were rescued, and when they reached port, he was able to use some of his…let us say, connections…to arrange for your wife and himself to be transported back to London."
James knew that the man had finished speaking—his mouth had stopped moving. But all James could hear was a shrill ringing in his ears. He and Rose hadn't really spoken about their time apart. He knew she had been stranded on an island but, between the snogging and trying to deal with Reinette, they really hadn't discussed the details of what had exactly happened during those three years. He had assumed she had been alone, but he had just been proven wrong. She had been stranded with someone. Not just someone—a man. A man that was rich and successful. A man that wasn't James. He was sure it was only a matter of seconds before the intense pressure he felt in his head caused an aneurysm.
How dare she not tell me about this!
Daniels began to speak again but James still couldn't hear the words being uttered. Forcing himself to focus, he asked, "I'm sorry…what was that?"
Daniels sighed in weary frustration. "I said this is merely a formality. Does this account coincide with your wife's?"
James stared a few moments before realizing that he hadn't actually answered the man. And honestly, it was because he didn't know what had happened. But Daniels didn't need to know of James' ignorance.
He cleared his throat. "Um…sounds about right."
Daniels gave a sigh of relief. "Good. Is there anything you can think of to add?"
James mutely shook his head.
Daniels placed the folder back in the briefcase and promptly closed it. He stood up and shook James' hand.
"I thank you for your time. I know this situation is…unique, to say the least. I still have a hard time believing it's not some work of fiction. But after confirming everything else in Mr. Harkness' statement, there's no doubt it's true."
"No doubt," James agreed absentmindedly.
Daniels and James made their way towards the front door. As they reached it, Daniels spoke up.
"You know, I must say that I admire their spirit. After all that time, they never lost hope. And they certainly didn't lose their sense of humor."
James furrowed his brow in confusion. "How do you mean?"
Daniels chuckled. "Well, there they were—on a completely deserted island with no obvious sign of leaving, but they were still able to find humor in the situation. I mean the nicknames they had for each other were priceless—Adam and Eve," he said, chuckling harder than before.
The expression on James face froze as he heard the names.
"Eve. Eve Tyler…"
"Hysterical," he said with barely contained sarcasm.
If Daniels picked up on James' tone, he didn't show it. Instead, he bade him a goodnight and quickly left. James stared at the closed door in front of him, attempting to absorb the flood of information he had just received. The more he ruminated on it, the more infuriated he became. There was no way he was letting another minute go by without hearing the whole story. He hurriedly climbed the stairs, fuming the entire time.
Rose has some serious explaining to do…
Rose had planned on going straight to bed after leaving James in the hallway. However, Donna didn't have the same plans and proceeded to have Rose rehash the events of the evening, seeing as she had taken to hiding out in her room with a bottle of wine. Several times during the conversation, Donna would shrill "what?" and Rose would have to quickly calm her down before she committed a felony. Finally, Donna's need for information was satisfied and she settled into bed, quickly falling asleep.
Rose put on one of James' oversized t-shirts that Donna had managed to swipe before Reinette had turned in for the night. As she slipped it on over her head, she inhaled the lingering scent of her husband and a pang shot through her heart. She didn't want the scent on his shirt; she wanted the real thing. She wanted her husband, wanted to be lost in his embrace. But that wouldn't be happening tonight. Rose pulled back the plush duvet and lay down next to the sleeping Donna. She closed her eyes, sighing in contentment at the heavenly feel of the mattress beneath her, and began to drift off. That is until the bedroom door was thrown open and the lights unceremoniously flipped on.
Rose lifted herself up onto her elbow and turned her head to see who was there, squinting as her eyes attempted to adapt to the sudden light. Her vision started to come into focus and she saw James standing there, clearly trying to contain his anger.
"Turn off the godforsaken light, Rose," Donna grumbled groggily.
"It's not me," Rose answered, her eyes never leaving James'.
Donna huffed and shuffled upwards. "Some of us are trying to sleep, you daft git!"
"Donna. Leave. Now," James ordered without looking at her.
"Excuse me?! Who do yo—"
"If you leave now, I will give you Lee from Cardiology's number."
"Oh, please," Donna scoffed, "I got that two weeks ago. Now get out!"
Rose continued to stare at James, trying to determine what reason he had to be standing there fuming at her.
Finally, she crawled out of bed and spoke, "James, wh—"
"You and I need to talk. Now," he said pointedly.
Rose crinkled her brow in confusion. "About what?"
He didn't answer her, instead turning his attention back to Donna. "Donna. I'm serious. Leave so Rose and I can talk."
Before Donna could smart off, Rose said, "James, whatever it is, it can wait till the morning. I'm goin' ba-...oi!"
Rose never got to finish her sentence, because before she realized what was happening, James picked her up in a fireman hold and promptly left the room.
"James Ian Arden! Ya let me down this minute!" she hissed as he took them both downstairs.
"Quiet," he countered as they reached the floor. He continued to hold onto her despite Rose pinching him and trying to pull his hair, all in a futile attempt to get him to release her. When they entered his office, he dropped her in the middle of the room and firmly shut the door.
"What is you're bloody deal?! Have you lost your head?!" Rose turned on him, her eyes flashing with anger at his Neanderthal behavior.
James opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out. His brain was otherwise preoccupied trying to process the image of his gorgeous wife standing before him, her hair slightly tussled and dressed in his shirt, the hem of which stopped just above mid-thigh. He just stood there silent and staring. He felt himself begin to drool and quickly snapped his jaw closed.
The longer the silence continued, the more infuriated Rose became.
"Well?!" she demanded, crossing her arms.
"Y-y-you…you're wearing my shirt," James idiotically stuttered.
"Well, I'm sharing a bed with Donna, and most of what I bought to sleep in would make both of us extremely uncomfortable."
At Rose's explanation, James' mouth gaped open yet again.
She rolled her eyes at his ridiculousness. "It's nothin' you haven't seen before. So, stop staring and start talkin'!"
James immediately remembered his anger, and shook himself out of the daze that seemed to happen every time he looked at Rose.
"Tell me about the island," he said as he mimicked her stance.
Rose furrowed her brow and opened and closed her mouth a few times before saying, "Ya drug me outta bed for that?"
"Tell me. About. The island," he firmly reiterated.
Her eyebrows shot upwards at his tone. "Well…there were trees. Quite a bit of sand. Oh, and water…lots and lots of water."
"That it?" he challenged, raising his eyebrows and cocking his head to the side.
"Well, the food was terrible. I think they need to change chefs," she replied sarcastically.
"Ha bloody ha! You're holding out on me!"
"What are you on about? Why are ya actin' like such a prat?!" she demanded.
"You weren't alone, were you 'Eve'?" he grumbled, staring daggers at her.
Rose's eyes widened slightly at his question before returning back to normal. "How do you know that? I hadn't told you about that yet!"
"Feeling guilty, are we?" he smirked.
As understanding hit her, Rose's eyes flashed again in anger. "First of all, I don't have anything to feel guilty about!"
"And second of all, stop glaring at me and implying that I've done something wrong, you daft hypocritical git!" she growled.
"Excuse me?! Hypocritical?!" he squawked.
"Yes! Hypocritical! Accusing me of holding out on you, when you can't man up and tell the woman upstairs in our bed that I'm alive! You bleedin' coward!"
James' anger burned and he pulled at his hair in frustration. "Well, I wasn't the one parading around on some island playing Adam and Eve! Did you plan on 'multiplying and replenishing the earth,' too?" he shouted
The words had barely left his mouth when he felt a searing flash of pain across his cheek. Rose's slap brought him back to reality. He looked at her startled and instantly ashamed of what he had implied.
"How dare you! I never thought of Jack like that—not once! I've only ever wanted you! And every single day for three long years, I tried to get back to you!" she fiercely replied, tears strangling her voice as she spoke.
James silently and repeatedly cursed himself. He hated himself for his thoughtlessness, for his utterly unjust and unfounded accusations. He stepped towards her, his arms slightly opened.
"Rose, I'm so sorry. I was completely wrong and I—"
She stepped back and held her hand out, keeping him at bay.
"Just…leave me alone right now. I'm going back to bed," she said softly, hurt evident in her voice.
She hurried past him and out of the room, tears pricking her eyes. She had just reached the top of the stairs when she heard the front door slam shut. Rose sunk to the floor and buried her face in her hands as silent tears began to fall.