On Sunday mornings, Isabelle was typically found asleep on
the couch or, if it was warm enough, outside. She would stay awake late into
Saturday night to early Sunday morning gazing up at the stars through the
telescope her parents had gotten her for her twelfth birthday. This Sunday
morning though she was wide awake waiting for breakfast her mother was cooking.
"Is it done yet?" Isabelle asked impatiently wearing a yellow sundress.
"No, Isabelle," her mother replied with slight irritation. The woman had short graying brown hair. She wore a royal blue dress with short sleeves. A white apron with a ruffle around the edge was tied around her waist. On her feet, she had on slip on slippers. The woman had a slight plump figure. She was very grandmotherly looking despite having a twelve year old.
"Where's Dad?" Isabelle asked.
"He went down to the corner shop to get more coffee. We're just about out," her mum answered.
"I hope we're not going to be late. The program starts at one o'clock," she whined.
"Isabelle Brianna Darling! It is eight o'clock in the morning! You are not going to be late!" her mother shouted. "You need to settle down."
"Me? You're the one who's yelling," she returned.
Isabelle's mother pointed a spatula at the girl. "You need to watch your tongue," her mum spoke.
"Hmm," she hummed as she turned back to the bacon.
Isabelle's father walked in with a small paper bag. He set it on the counter. He had on brown trousers, a light yellow button up shirt, and brown shoes. His hair, what was left, was already more gray than his wife's. He had a small protruding stomach from the few pints he had a week. The way his eyes crinkled at the corners made his face kind and friendly.
"Is breakfast ready, Dorothy?" he asked kissing his wife on the cheek.
"Don't you start," her mother cut into him.
"What did I do?"
"It's not ready, Dad," Isabelle said softly.
"I'll get the coffee ready then," he suggested. "Are you ready to go, Izzy?"
"Absolutely!" Isabelle beamed as she grabbed a piece of toast from the stack that sat on a plate.
"I figured you would be," he said with a chuckle. His belly shook as he reached into a cupboard for the French press.
"I can't wait to go to the planetarium. I wonder what stars they'll talk about?"
"Don't you want to know about the planets?" her mum asked.
"I know all the planets, Mum. I'm looking forward to learning something new."
"Oh, Henry! Watch what you're doing. You're making a mess," her mother scolded. Coffee grounds were all over the counter as he scooped them into the press. Isabelle's mum pushed her dad out of the way as she swept up the grounds into her hand. Her father only chuckled as he filled a kettle with water. Isabelle looked at the pan with bacon in it that was now smoking.
"Mum?" Isabelle said as her mum cleaned up the grounds. "Mum!"
"What is it, Isabelle?" she said in a raised voice.
"The bacon's burning."
"The bacon's burning!"
"Isabelle," a different voice said. Isabelle looked around for the source. "Isabelle."
"Who's that?" Isabelle questioned.
"Who is who, Izzy?" her father asked turning towards her.
She closed her eyes as the smell of bacon permeated her nostrils. The voice came from inside her head.
"The bacon's burning," she said as she kept her eyes closed.
"Isabelle, wake up," the voice commanded.
"But the bacon's burning," she said in a groggy voice.
"The bacon's not burning. Breakfast is ready."
"I'll be there in a minute, Mum. Some man is talking to me," she said as she rolled over.
"Isabelle!" he shouted.
"I'm up! I'm up!" she said sitting upright in her bed. She held her head and glanced around. Her childhood home had vanished leaving her in her own bedroom. She turned abruptly towards the doorway.
"Morning," he said smiling that beautiful smile with shining blue eyes still clad in his black leather jacket and short cropped hair. The Doctor stood there with a cup of coffee in his hand.
"What are you doing here?" she questioned grinding the sleep from her eyes. Her mouth was gaped open.
"Making breakfast. Come on, before it gets cold," he said exiting her bedroom. "Oh, almost forgot. Coffee."
The Doctor walked over to the bed and left the cup of coffee on the nightstand. Isabelle stared at him in disbelief. He then walked out of the room and back down the stairs. She gave herself a hardy pinch on the arm.
"It's not a dream. Get down here," he shouted up to her.
"Stop reading my mind," she shouted back.
She couldn't help but smile.
Isabelle slid herself to the side of her bed and took up the cup of coffee. The warmth of the cup seeped into her chilled hands. She looked at the beige color of the coffee looking puzzled. She sipped the coffee.
"How did he know I like milk and no sugar? Not even my husband ever got that right."
A minute later, she was downstairs in her dressing gown peeking into her kitchen. There he was, for certain, scraping an omelette onto a plate. From another pan, he pushed two pieces of bacon onto the same plate. He turned and discovered her there.
"Hungry?" he asked. She nodded with a smile. "Have a seat."
The Doctor set the plate on the table in the dining room. A glass of orange juice, napkin, and fork were set there. Another place setting sat across from where he set the plate. There were even fresh flowers in a vase.
"You did all this?" she asked sitting where he set the plate.
"Yup," he said.
"Why?" she asked.
"I was bored," he answered walking back into the kitchen to whisk some more eggs.
"You really didn't need to do all this."
"I know." He was still smiling.
Isabelle shook her head and looked down at her plate. The omelet oozed with cheese. There were even bits of ham in it. She pushed a strand of hair behind her ear before taking up her fork. She cut into the omelet and took a bite. Her eyebrows raised as the flavor danced on her taste buds. She took another bite. When his omelet was done, he sat across from her.
"What's in the omelet?" she asked with her mouth full.
"Ham and cheese," he said. She nodded. "Oh, and mayonnaise."
She stopped her fork half way to her mouth and gazed upon it.
"And the green flecks?" she questioned.
"Parsley, chive, oregano," he mentioned. He put his first forkful into his mouth.
Isabelle glared at her fork again. "It's fantastic!" she said finally eating the forkful.
"Mmm," he murmured as he ate.
"Question," she said after she swallowed. "How did you know how I like my coffee?"
"At the coffee shop in the airport. You put milk in your coffee," he explained.
"At the airport we had tea with no milk and with sugar," she reminded him.
"Oh, right. Lucky guess."
"You did it again, didn't you. Read my mind," she said plainly.
"Maybe." He put another bite in his mouth.
"Another question. I locked the door last night. I assume you unlocked it with your screwdriver?"
The Doctor nodded after he took a sip of coffee.
"I guess the only question left to ask is, why are you here?" she asked the latter quite forcefully.
"The TARDIS wouldn't let me leave," the Doctor said just before depleting his glass of orange juice.
"What do you mean it wouldn't let you leave? I saw you leave. Is it broken?" she asked nibbling on her bacon having finished her omelet.
"You didn't see me leave. You saw me try to leave. It's not broken," he replied, "At least I don't think so. It would have indicated that there was something wrong. Unless the diagnostic system is broken, then that would make sense."
"You checked the diagnostic system, didn't you?" she said in a bored voice.
"Yes, I did."
"Then what's wrong with the TARDIS?"
"She's being stubborn."
"What is she being stubborn about?"
"I have my suspicions."
"She likes you."
"What?" Isabelle said spitting out the coffee she had just sipped.
"I think she wants you to come with me."
"No," she said wiping her mouth off with her napkin.
"Why not?" he asked sternly.
"I can't," she said shaking her head as she stood up. She picked up her plate taking it into the kitchen.
Isabelle leaned against the sink and looked out into the garden. There she stood bluer than the sky, the TARDIS, making Isabelle's life difficult and complicated.
"One trip," he said precariously close to her. It startled her somewhat. "Maybe the TARDIS just needs you to come on one trip and that's it."
"I don't know," she said distantly still staring at the TARDIS.
The Doctor took a hold of her shoulders gently and turned her towards him. The anxiety that Isabelle felt must have been apparent on her face. The look of concern from the Doctor had her bow her head in shame.
"I promise you, nothing will happen to you," he assured her.
Isabelle slowly glanced up at the Doctor.
"You can't make that kind of promise, Doctor. No one can," she expressed.
Freeing herself from his grip she walked away from him and back upstairs to her bedroom. Closing the door and sitting on her bed, Isabelle punched her pillow out of frustration.
A few minutes later, the Doctor was knocking at her bedroom door. She sighed heavily and opened the door. He stood there peering at her.
"Get dressed," he ordered.
"Is that how it is going to be?" she said, "Are you going to order me about while we travel? Because if it is, I'll be having none of it."
She stepped back into her bedroom and opened up her wardrobe sorting through her clothes with a smirk on her face.
"Darling," she said as she pushed some hanging clothes aside.
"I'm sorry, are we using pet names?" the Doctor asked looking puzzled. She giggled.
"No, silly," she said. "You once asked me for my last name. I just gave it to you. It's Darling, Isabelle Darling."
"Oh, right," he responded. "I still don't have a last name, for the record."
"Noted," she said as she selected a black v-neck shirt that cinched at the waist. She threw the shirt on the bed along with a pair of jeans. "If you don't mind, a little privacy please."
"But I've seen you naked," he reminded her with a smirk.
"Not physically! Out with you!" she said shutting the door in his face. This time she locked it.
When she was finished dressing, she went down to the lounge where the Doctor was sitting on the couch reading one of the alien magazines chuckling.
"Something funny?" she asked as she grabbed her brown bomber jacket off the coat rack.
"These articles are hilarious," he said tossing the magazine back on the coffee table.
"I'm assuming they are far from the truth?" she inquired.
"Yup," he said standing up. "Ready?"
Isabelle froze for a moment. She took a minute to look around the room at the posters and star charts. Then, she smiled and nodded her head vigorously.
"Excellent," he said grinning in return. He held out his hand for her to take. She gripped it tightly.
"How long will we be gone this time?" she asked as they walked through the kitchen to the garden door.
"You'll be back before the dishwasher turns off," he stated.
"Hold on! You cleaned up the kitchen?" she said stopping them. She looked around the kitchen and into the dining room. Everything was spotless.
"Yeah. I got bored while you were getting dressed," he replied.
"Oh, well, thanks for that. It looks nice."
"Can we go now?" he asked her.
"Oh, yeah," she said.
"Good. Come on," he said grabbing her hand and tugging her out the door.