Rose couldn’t believe her luck when she got a call from the temp agency, from Donna Noble herself.
“Sit down Rose, don’t look so surprised. Here are the details, you’re just what they need, you’re good at organising things and they’re in need of a head of the PR department. The woman who called said there’s a big event coming up in a few days so you start tomorrow.”
Rose looked at the card she’d been handed with the address - Lazarus Laboratories, head, Prof. Richard Lazarus. Rose knew where it was in a prominent part of town.
“Thanks Donna, I’ll do my best.”
“I know you will Rose, no students or metal monsters there.”
“That wasn’t my fault Donna, be fair.”
“Get out of here Rose, I was just messing with you.”
Rose went home, babbling to her mother about her new job.
“It’s all very well you getting a fancy job Rose but you never keep them love. Look how long that department store, what’s it’s name lasted?”
“Yeah, well that wasn’t my fault the store got blown up and those students dressed up as shop window dummies. Still don’t know about the weird bloke in the basement though, him with his leather jacket and that awful northern accent. Bloomin’ cheek, dragging me out and telling me to go home and eat my beans on toast, I’m glad I never saw him again.”
“Yeah, well he might just have saved your life Rose, you could have still been in there love if he’d not pulled you out. What were you even doing in the basement after work?”
“Taking the lottery money down to Wilson but he wasn’t there. I hope he got out before I did.”
The next morning, Rose put on her best skirt and blouse, kissed her mother on the cheek and picked up her keys and mobile.
“Bye Mum, see you tonight.”
“Yeah sweetheart, good luck.”
Rose arrived in plenty of time, being shown around and meeting the professor, a 76 year old professor who went around all day trying to kiss her hand again and made Rose squirm every time she had to go find him after being given the daunting task of organising the event the following evening – that of showing off the said professor’s latest invention, some sort of genetic manipulation device.
She thought her friend the medical student, well trainee doctor would be most interested and she’d not seen Martha for a while so she altered the guest list and put her name down and wondered if she would be bringing anyone with her. Martha had mentioned she liked this older guy at the hospital, the head of psychology but she couldn’t recall her friend giving his name.
So during her break, she gave Martha a call.
“Hi Rose, what have you been up to?” Martha asked her.
“Oh nothing much, got a new job.”
“Another one?” Martha laughed, trying to eat her lunch while waiting for John to show his face.
Martha thought she was finally getting somewhere with whom her sister described as a ‘geek’, the hapless Dr John Smith but all he’d done so far was sometimes have lunch with her and all he talked about was his work with his patients. That and all his various inventions to make his life easier, like the computer system he’d come up with and how his poor secretary kept up with him, she’d no idea. She’d called in several times since meeting him to find the poor woman sitting staring at it in despair.
“So, about my new job Martha, I’ve got something that’s right up your street. Ever heard of Professor Lazarus?”
“Have I ever? No way, you got a job in his labs?”
“Yeah, there’s a big event tomorrow night, want to come? I’ve put you on the guest list, just show up. Are you bringing anyone?”
“I might do, if I see him this side of Christmas, he’s been hiding from me.”
“Aw, maybe you make him nervous Martha? I’d love to meet him if you can persuade him to come with you.”
“I’ll try. Oh, he’s just walked in, text me the details will you?”
Rose said goodbye and Martha called her rather nervous target over.
“Hi John, not avoiding me were you?”
“Ah, Martha, hello, fancy seeing you here.”
“It’s the staff canteen John, where else would I be eating?”
“Yes, indeed. I can see you’re already eating, I’ll leave you in peace then.”
John was nervous, he was always nervous. In fact, he couldn’t remember not being nervous around Martha Jones. She seemed to like him though what he’d done to deserve her attention, he’d no idea, it had just happened without any encouragement from him.
“Why don’t you go get yourself something and join me? I’ve got something to ask you.”
Panic set across his face. Martha had something to ask him, was she going to ask him on an actual date? What would he do if she did? Run for the door and go hide in his office? John Smith, a 38 year old doctor of psychology, a bachelor though not by choice when Reinette, the French head nurse had gone back to better herself in a top Paris hospital to become the head of psychiatric medicine and had broken his heart two years ago.
Now all he had was Martha Jones, who constantly flirted with him and found excuses to visit his office by befriending his slightly scatty secretary who couldn’t get her head around his brilliant (if he had to say so himself) computer system, the Tardis. He swore the computer had taken on a life of its own since he had developed it several years ago from spare parts he’d come across in a storeroom.
He had spent all his spare time on it, well mostly, when he wasn’t working on a device that resembled a screwdriver with different functions and was seriously considering putting a patent on it, until his cousin, a certain Donna Noble of the Noble temp agency had told him he was a spaceman and to grow up.
Now, he found himself getting some food and debating going back to join Martha or go sit on his own.
“So Martha, what did you want to ask me then?” he asked, hoping sincerely she wasn’t going to suggest he take her out to a fancy restaurant or something equally awkward.
“Actually John, I learned something interesting from my friend. She’s just got a new job at Lazarus Laboratories, the professor is unveiling his latest invention, a genetic manipulation device.”
“Wow! Really? That sounds interesting.”
“Ah, that got your attention. Well she gave me an invitation, want to go with me?”
“Oh, Martha Jones, you’re a star! That would be brilliant. Is it a formal event?”
“Yes so black suit and tie, no mucky trainers.”
John looked down at his off-white converse shoes and tried not to appear offended she should suggest he wore them all the time and possessed no other footwear. He did, a pair of red and white and a pair of black and white ones, he’d show her.
John went off, excited at the prospect of seeing this device up close, the fact he had to go with Martha pushed out of his mind for now. He knew the trainee had a crush on him but he felt no such thing for her, he’d not yet got over been dumped and couldn’t bring himself to tell her he wasn’t interested in that way.
Martha though was quite pleased with herself, already planning what she was going to wear and fully intending she was going to call this a date, even though she’d been the one to suggest it. While Martha had been getting John to agree to go with her, Rose had been busy organising the caterers and the musicians for the evening, being told money was no object. The press had already been informed and a TV crew were going to do the announcement after the morning breakfast show.
So Rose went home for the day, being told she’d done quite well by the professor’s partner, Lady Thaw, who caught Rose as she was leaving.
“You’ve done very well my dear, for someone so young. You seem to have settled down but don’t get too comfortable with the professor.”
Rose knew what the older woman was getting at and had no intentions of going down that road.
“I was always good at organising things but the professor makes me feel uncomfortable, you have my word on that.”
“I hope so, I would hate for you to lose your job Rose, just bear that in mind.”
“I will your Ladyship.”
Rose hoped she wouldn’t get dismissed for being cheeky.
The next day, deciding she wouldn’t have time to go home and get ready, Rose brought a change of clothes with her and hung her dress up behind her office door. It was just a simple black dress she hoped would be appropriate for the occasion. She thankfully saw nothing of the professor all morning until they had to go out to do the press interview.
The professor gave his statement, John was making sure he was tuned in on his laptop to see what it was all about. He gulped when he heard the man saying he was going to change the meaning of what it was to be human. He thought Lazarus was a bit of an egotistical maniac and was glad now he’d accepted the invitation. Martha had just come in the outer office and asked if John was free, being told to go in.
“Ah Martha, take a look at this.”
Martha saw the professor and then she caught a glimpse of Rose in the background.
“That’s my friend, there, behind Lazarus.”
John seemed to be taking more notice of what was being said, until she pointed Rose out. Martha noticed, trust him. Lazarus was saying how everything was being kept secret until the unveiling to a select group of influential people later that evening.
John closed his laptop. “Well it could be a very interesting evening. So, I’ll meet you there then?”
Martha was rather hoping for him to escort her but she was lucky he’d accepted.
As the day went on, the final preparations for the demonstration were being made in the reception area as people busied themselves with various tasks. Rose was telling the caterers what she expected, the musicians were arriving and the professor was up in his office, out of Rose’s way. She still had to go face him to show him the final guest list, hoping he wouldn’t ask who Martha Jones was. She went up to his office just before the events were about to take place, interrupting his talk with Lady Thaw.
Rose thought she’d heard something about them operating the device commercially. She wished she knew more about it but being in the PR department didn’t qualify her for being privy to such information and it had been a closely guarded secret.
“Excuse me Professor.”
“Ah Rose, there you are.”
“I’ve brought you the final guest list.”
“Yes, thank you Rose, you’ve done an excellent job.”
He held onto her hand and she just knew he was going to kiss it again and she’d have to go wash it as he wasn’t about to let go, getting her a scowl from the other woman.
“That’s an interesting perfume Rose, what’s it called? You look very nice this evening.”
Rose pulled her hand away. “It’s called soap.”
With that, she made a rather hasty retreat. The professor went back to his previous conversation and Rose thought if he was considering cornering her later, he could think again and what would they be wanting to go commercial with exactly? All she knew was that it was something to do with genetics though what, she had no idea, she was never that good at science when she’d actually attended school.
Martha had met John outside and they were just being admitted. Once inside, John looked around, seeing a bank of machines and a cylindrical device on a plinth. Then he spied a waiter with a tray of delicacies and his eyes lit up.
“Ah, nibbles, I love nibbles.”
“Yeah, very you,” Martha managed to say as she saw Rose walking towards them. “Rose! Hi.”
“Martha, hey, how are you? Is he with you?” she asked as she pointed to John, who had just got another handful of nibbles.
“Yeah, he’s my plus one. Rose, this is Doctor John Smith. John, this is my friend Rose, she works in the PR department.”
Before Rose could respond, John was grabbing her hand and shaking it.
“Actually, I’m head of the PR department, I put this whole thing together. Hi, nice to meet you John.”
She was going to ask if he was the one Martha always went on about but since he was still shaking her hand, decided to try and get it back off him.
“Nice to meet you too Rose, I’m the Doctor.”
“I thought it was John?” Rose queried.
He gave her a grin back. Rose shook her head and decided to leave it.
“So, what do you think then? Are you impressed?”
“What’s the professor going to be unveiling tonight then? That looks like it might be a sonic microfield manipulator,” John interrupted, grinning and realising Rose had now taken her hand back.
“Trust you to bring a geek with you Martha. I’ll catch up with you later then?”
“Geek? Who is she calling a geek?” John asked indignantly as Rose turned away.
“She means you’re a bit enthusiastic about it,” Martha assured him, shaking her head as Rose hurried off.
“Oh, in that case, I’ll let her off. So she’s your friend?”
“Yeah, she was a temp in the A&E department, she was good too but a load of students came in claiming they’d been chased by metal robots and she quit.”
John smiled. The lights were dimmed and Rose went to take her place as the professor called for attention.
After his brief yet informative introduction, the professor made a startling announcement.
“I am going to perform a miracle tonight and you will watch and wonder. Tomorrow, you will wake to a world which will be changed forever.”
John even stared and thought this was going to be very interesting and couldn’t wait for the demonstration to begin.