Second Chance

Chapter Five . . .

'Have you ever loved somebody so much it makes you cry?
Have you ever needed something so bad you can't sleep at night?
Have you ever tried to find the words but they don't come out right?
Have you ever, have you ever?
'
It had been two weeks since the Doctor unexpectedly showed up in New York and he now remained firmly on Martha’s mind. ‘Damn him’ she thought. Why did he have to be the one to track her down? She felt like if her family or even Jack managed to do so, she would have been able to deflect their concerns easier because she had gotten very good at masking her true feelings for their benefit. But the Doctor . . . the Doctor had perfected that little dance. It was during her time with him that she learned how to appear to be “fine” when there was so much more going on underneath. She couldn’t fool the master and it irked her immensely. The other part of it was that she had been fighting old tendencies since his unannounced arrival. On the one hand, she knew it shouldn’t matter one iota that he seemed to be genuinely concerned about her but because of their previous relationship she was finding it hard not be overly pleased that he was.

Martha knew she would only be lying to herself if she pretended that it didn’t affect her somewhat but unlike in the past she refused to let her musings go beyond that. She’d been down this road before, reading too much into a situation, the kiss on the moon coming to mind. He would be concerned for anyone he thought was in trouble and she would chide herself whenever she thought of it as anything more. Besides, if it was more than basic concern he wouldn’t have given up so easily . . . no, he had his precious Rose back and his best buddy Donna to traverse the universe with now. She was and would remain a minor blip on his screen. She sighed to herself . . . some things never change.

The Doctor sat off in a darkened corner discreetly watching her as he had for the past couple of weeks. He knew this was closely bordering on stalking but he needed to see her with her guard down. He needed to understand what had changed so drastically with her and maybe, hopefully, find a way to help her regain her former self. For the past two weeks he’d watched her sightsee like any other visitor to New York, Soho and Harlem being some of the highlights. As she shopped and chatted with a variety of people, he had to admit she did seem more relaxed here but there was still something just on the fringe that appeared to be insecurity. He noticed that she didn’t speak until spoken to and that she rarely made prolonged eye contact. Small things to the casual observer but to the Time Lord they spoke volumes. Martha was never one to shy away from contact and definitely never waited for the conversation to start.

'Have you ever been in love, been in love so bad
You'd do anything to make them understand?
Have you ever had someone steal your heart away?
You'd give anything to make them feel the same
Have you ever searched for words to get you in their heart?
But you don't know what to say and you don't know where to start'

He was brought back to the present and continued to study her from afar as she now sipped thoughtfully on her drink and appeared to be immersed in the intimate atmosphere of the rhythm and blues club she had ducked into earlier that evening. He’d waited for her to get situated before eventually following her in and tried to make himself as inconspicuous as possible once inside. It was a nice set up with a number of small round tables encircling a generous dance floor and at the front of the house stood a small stage where, it was lauded on an outside chalkboard that, live performances were also offered. At the moment a petite middle aged African American woman stood upon that very stage singing a sultry but melancholy tune. The Doctor caught bits and pieces of the lyrics and then looked at the young woman sitting alone at the bar lost in the music and, he would venture, her own thoughts. He knew that part of her distraction was due to his denial and refusal to acknowledge the very things the singer was now portraying.

His indifference, as she saw it, had contributed to the cynical demeanor she now enrobed herself in but if he was honest with himself, he knew that apathy was the last thing he had ever felt about the then spry young medical student. It was the fact that from almost the instant that he met her, he knew she was what he needed that had began his carefully crafted charade of indifference. He hadn’t too long before that lost Rose for the first time and the thought of replacing her, ever, was too much to take, especially so soon after. But when Martha had given her last breath to save him on the moon, he knew she was something special . . . something he could not afford to do without. She had become a more than capable companion in her own right over their time together but he had gotten so used to keeping her at a distance that when she decided to walk away, he couldn’t even bring himself to stop her. Now here she sat all alone in a foreign city, away from family and friends, searching for the pieces he had slowly chipped away while they were together. He had never treated Rose that way and Donna would have never stood for it but Martha stayed for so long in spite of his behavior and he was dying to know why. Even human love had its limits, he knew. So why would someone with so much to look forward to put up with a crotchety old Time Lord?

'Have you ever found the one you've dreamed of all your life?
You'd do just about anything to look into their eyes
Have you finally found the one you've given your heart to?
Only to find that one won't give their heart to you
Have you ever closed your eyes and dreamed that they were there?
And all you can do is wait for that day when they will care
'

Martha smirked inwardly at the passionate words being sung. This could be her official theme song, she thought. Pining away after someone who barely knew you existed and convincing yourself if you just hang in a bit longer they will come around . . . what a crock! No, the reality was it was human nature to want things you can’t have. After all, in Tom she had found someone who indeed saw her, in fact adored her and what did she do? She pulled a Doctor and constantly compared him to the alien and never fully acknowledged his feelings for her even after she accepted his ring. He tried so hard to make their life together good and she continually pushed him away because deep inside she knew she was just using him to forget her own slight.

It made her feel good to be desired again . . . to make herself believe she wasn’t the one with the problem but in the end, she knew she could not marry this good-hearted man. She couldn’t make a life with him when the life he wanted, with the two of them working side by side and eventually having a family of their own was not something she had much interest in. She was never meant to be a Suzy Homemaker and she was more acutely aware of that fact the more he began to hint at it. She exhaled. When did she get so messed up? When did she become a user?

Before she could delve any deeper into those thoughts her contemplation was interrupted by a throat clearing and the vision of mocha prince standing before her. Martha glanced up into a pair of startling light brown eyes but refused to give much more acknowledgement than a raised brow until the gentleman put on a devastating smile and suavely began, “Who was he and how could he be so stupid?”

“Excuse me?” she asked with slight confusion.

His smile only grew as he explained, “Who was the idiot that allowed such a beautiful woman to come out all alone?”

Martha finally relaxed her tense visage and gave a half smile of her own, “Maybe he wasn’t the stupid one.”

The handsome young man raised a brow but his smile never wavered as their banter continued, “Oh, I highly doubt that.”

Her smile was fully on display now as he finally got to the reason he came over. He held out a hand and dashingly asked, “May I have this dance?”

Martha looked from his face to his hand and then back into his eyes. She usually would have declined, knowing she was in no condition to entertain even a harmless flirtation in her recent state. But as she looked at the handsome visage before her, she allowed herself a selfish moment. After all, she was in a new city, in a new country. Why not try a new approach? She finally placed her hand in his and allowed him to pull her up and lead her out onto the dance floor.

'What do I gotta do to get you in my arms, baby?
What do I gotta say to get to your heart?
To make you understand how I need you next to me
Gotta get you in my world 'cuz baby I can't sleep
Have you ever loved somebody so much it makes you cry?
Have you ever needed something so bad you can't sleep at night?
'

Immediately, she was engulfed in his strong embrace. His arms encircled her waist and Martha easily did the same around his neck. They stood apart briefly before he drew Martha closer and allowed his hands to gently caress her curvaceous hips. For her part, Martha let him as she snuggled her head into his shoulder and allowed the music to overtake her. It felt good to be in someone’s hold again, even if it was only for a dance. Again she recalled Tom and the way he would hold her with so much love and tenderness. What more she could have asked for, she didn’t know. Then there was Mickey. Theirs was a relationship borne out of shared experiences but when he held her she knew he was passionate about more than just the work but her as well. His hold was fiery and intense but that kind of passion was fleeting at best.

Then there was the one man’s hold that she melted into every single time. Like a glove, he encased her and nothing else on earth or any other planet felt so right to her. His embrace was the most painful of all, though, because she knew there was nothing more behind it. While in it, she felt sure warmth but once it ended it was as though nothing at all had happened. ‘Damn’ why did he keep slipping in her thoughts. She thought she was over this and then he showed up looking so concerned and now . . . before she realized it her eyes were closed and she was tightening her hold on a man whose name she hadn’t even bothered to ask. He responded in kind and she was sure getting the wrong idea but she couldn’t help it. She needed to feel again and right now this is what she had. Then as though sensing something or someone watching her, Martha’s eyes popped open and fell upon a set of very familiar brown ones.

The instant her eyes met his, the Doctor was sure he would see indignation at his presence but instead all he got was surprise and confusion. It was almost as if she couldn’t believe that he was there again. He knew she had asked him to leave but hadn’t they spent enough time together for her to know he never gave up that easily? And then he saw something that stunned and moved him more than he would have expected, a glint . . . a tear escaping her eye. Was it a tear of joy or something else? He was hoping to remain unnoticed but would have dealt with her anger at his having disregarded her request but tears were something different. He wasn’t prepared for that. Martha had always been so strong. He had only seen her close to tears once and that was when her whole world was at stake but now . . . When she closed her eyes again, he stealthily escaped back into the crisp night, trying to understand what the moment meant.

Martha was at a loss. What was he doing back here? She stayed lost in his steady gaze for as long as she dared before she felt the tears threaten. He still had some much power . . . power to hurt her and here he was again. Why was he never this concerned when she wanted him to be? Now when she was fighting to regain control of her life he kept popping up. Why? She wasn’t quick enough to halt a single tear from escaping but hoping to staunch any more from falling and also to keep him from seeing in her eyes how much he still affected her, Martha tightly closed her eyes once more. After an instant to recollect herself, she opened them again only to find the Doctor had vanished. She quietly sighed and began to loosen her hold on her dance partner . . . like she said some things never change.
'Have you ever loved somebody so much it makes you cry?
Have you ever needed something so bad you can't sleep at night?
Have you ever tried to find the words but they don't come out right?
Have you ever, have you ever?
'


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