The permanent temp

Chapter 7

Rose ran up the stairs as fast as she could, not knowing exactly why she’d run away from him. It was only meant to have been dinner, she’d only been going to kiss him on the cheek but he’d kissed her properly with no warning. She’d liked it but he was her new boss and she couldn’t afford to lose another temp job, Donna would be so annoyed with her again. She didn’t know how she kept getting away with it but Donna sometimes had more jobs that needed filling than she had temps.

She reached her flat and let herself in, hoping her mother wouldn’t be waiting and going into the bathroom before her name was called. She looked at herself in the mirror and cursed herself for leaving John dangling. What on earth would he be thinking? Had she just given him the brush off? He was clearly interested in her but she and Martha were bound to fall out over it, especially after the call that morning. John was fun to be with and he’d already told her he didn’t feel that way about Martha but as long as he was her boss, there could be nothing between them.

Then she got a message.

‘Sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you. Friends?’

John had got back to his car, without getting lost and had sat for a few moments, phone in hand wondering what he could possibly say. He’d made a huge mistake, kissing her like that when it hadn’t really been a date as such but the damage may have already been done. He was still waiting for a reply when he drove off. He’d finally got one as his message tone went when he pulled up outside his apartment.

It simply said ‘Yes’

The next day, John went to see his aunt Sylvia and his grandad Wilf and hoped his cousin would go easy on him. She didn’t as he knocked on the front door.

“Well if it isn’t the spaceman himself? Come in. Mum, it’s John.”

“Hello dear, how are you?” his aunt asked him as Wilf came into the kitchen and greeted him with a hug.

“Hello son, been alright have you? That Reinette come back yet? You’ve not been the same since she left you.”

“No Grandad, I don’t want her back though she’s trying to get her old job at the hospital back. It wouldn’t work, she left me, I don’t give second chances, I’m not that sort of a man any more. Been stargazing lately?”

“Yeah, still got the old telescope and the allotment. You should come up sometime.”

“Yeah, I’ll try, got nothing else to do. Hey Donna, the new temp seems ok, thanks.”

“Oh, she didn’t punch you and tell you to get lost then spaceman?”

“You got a new temp John?” his aunt asked as she set the table for lunch. “What happened to Emma then?”

“Spaceman’s computer system was too much for her. He asked me to send a temp so I sent him Rose.”

“You did what? That was hardly fair, sending Rose to your cousin, she has the worst record according to you, what did you send her for?”

John was praying Donna would say no more but he shouldn’t expect any mercy from her.

“Because he asked for her.”

“He did?”

“I’m here, hello.”

“Sorry John but why did you ask for Rose?” his aunt asked as she put a plate in front of him.

“I met her the other night, when that professor went crazy and I got her fired, I felt I had to help her out.”

“Well that was very good of you John. So how is she getting on?”

“Quite well, the Tardis seems to like her, the computer hasn’t acted up or locked her out yet but there was a bit of trouble in the hospital on Friday afternoon.”

“Oh, I saw that, that poor man. Did you find out what happened to him? They just said he bled to death.”

“No, they kept it quiet. He should have retired six months ago as well.”

“Never mind that spaceman, how did Rose do on her first day, really?”

“She did fine and no, I won’t be asking for a replacement, well at least I hope not but I did something a bit stupid last night.”

“Go on you dunce, what did you do?”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

Wilf spoke up. “Bit of woman trouble eh John?”

“I don’t know Grandad, I asked someone out and messed up.”

He didn’t want to tell Donna it was Rose.

“Don’t tell me, you finally asked Martha out?” Donna scoffed.

“Well did you?” his aunt asked him.

“Well, ’erm, not exactly a date.”

“I knew it spaceman, she finally wore you down.”

Well it was marginally better than having Donna thinking he’d asked her temp out. He was just glad Donna did not have Martha’s number to confirm it.

“So, what stupid thing did you do then?” Donna asked him.

“Never mind, it’s too late now.”

“Kissed her goodnight and she slapped your face?” Donna grinned.

“Not exactly, it doesn’t matter.”

John was getting ready to leave when Wilf took him to one side.

“Are you ok John? You look a bit off your game. You worried about Reinette coming back?”

“Yeah Grandad, I finally got over her when she broke my heart and she wants to pick up where we left off but I’ve met someone else. Don’t tell Donna but it’s not Martha who I took out last night, it was Rose.”

“Ah, well then, that’s more like it, I didn’t like that Martha very much, she was a bit pushy if you ask me.”

“Yeah, well I told Martha I wasn’t interested in her but I may have blown it with Rose. I tried to kiss her goodnight but she ran off.”

Wilf let out a chuckle. “Don’t let it put you off son, you maybe just caught her by surprise.”

“I suppose you’re right Grandad, it wasn’t really a date as such. I just hope she turns up to work tomorrow, I’d hate to have to call Donna for a new temp.”

Wilf patted him on the back.

When Rose had got up that morning, her mother wanted to know how her ‘date’ had gone.

“It wasn’t a date Mum, I told you that. Anyway, you were right, it wasn’t a very good idea and now, I have to face him tomorrow and pretend everything’s ok.”

“Why what happened?”

“He kissed me goodnight, that’s what happened.”

Her mother laughed. “Is that all? Thought it was something bad.”

“It’s just not a good idea, he’s my new boss.”

“Then tell him and just put it down to experience.”

So Rose made up her mind she was going to give him no reason to ask her out again. Martha’s words kept coming back to her but he’d already explained why he hardly had been seen out with his last girlfriend, she had no reason to think if he did ask her again, it would be any different.

Monday morning, she made her way to work, remembering to get some milk and arriving just before nine. John had got there early and got his parking spot but his rival had pulled up as he was walking away. He recognised the other man.

“Well, if it isn’t Dr Smith?”

“I might have known it would be you Harry, using my parking spot. It has my name on it, yours has your name on it.”

He had assumed someone else had taken the other man’s parking space.

“Ah but it’s more fun parking in yours John. I hear you got caught up with that mess on Friday, poor Stoker.”

“Yes, I was there, it wasn’t pleasant. Must dash and don’t get any ideas about trying to beat me to my own parking space in the morning.”

“You’re so dull John. I heard you had a new temp? What happened to Emma? I liked Emma.”

“She left, probably because you kept trying to get her to come and work with you. What would Kathy think?”

“Kathy prefers to talk about you all day, can’t think why. I must stop by and meet your new temp, Rose is it?”

“Don’t bother Harry, you won’t lure her away.”

“We’ll see. Oh, do you like my new car?”

“A bit flash for my liking but it’s very you.”

Harry laughed and walked through the main door, John just behind him.

“Ah, good morning Chelsea,” Harry called.

The girl scowled at him, he wasn’t the one she wanted to flirt with her but John always just waved and carried on, well apart from Friday morning but she didn’t want the other consultant’s attention.

“Good morning Doctor Saxon. Good morning Doctor Smith.”

Harry noticed the change in her tone and turned towards her as John carried on to the lifts.

“Tut, tut, my dear girl. If I didn’t know any better, I would think you like Doctor Smith more than me. That’s not the case is it my dear?”

He reached over and put his hand under her chin. “Why don’t you just stand there and look gorgeous?”

The other receptionist, Rita, just shook her head.

“Chelsea, you have work to do.”

“I have work to do Doctor Saxon, excuse me.”

“Another time. Don’t let me keep you.”

John was glad to have escaped but Harry also stopped to talk to Martha, who liked him even less than Chelsea did.

“Ah, Martha, how are you today?”

“Fine thank you Doctor Saxon. Excuse me, I’ll be late for rounds.”

“Who’s taken over from Stoker?”

“We’re just about to find out, if you let me go?”

Harry had got her up by the wall next to the lifts.

“I hear your boyfriend’s got a new temp, jealous?”

“He’s not my boyfriend and so what?”

“I heard something very interesting on Friday afternoon, before Stoker’s demise. Our little French head nurse may be coming back.”

“What’s that got to do with me?”

“Come on Martha, you hated her because she just strung John along when he could have been going out with you.”

“I didn’t even know him back then, well not to talk to, why should it bother me?”

“He keeps turning you down and now he has a new muse, his new temp. If you don’t make your move soon, he’ll be gone forever. Think about it Martha.”

“He’ll be gone anyway when Reinette gets back.”

She just hoped Rose hadn’t really got a crush on John, she would be disappointed when he went back to Reinette, which he was bound to do.

John had reached his office, Rose was waiting.

“Ah, good morning Rose. You remembered the milk then? Have you been waiting long?”

“A few minutes.”

“I should get you the spare key, save you waiting tomorrow morning. Is everything ok?” he asked, letting them in.

“Fine, why wouldn’t it be?”

“I got the impression you were mad at me on Saturday night?”

“No, I wasn’t expecting it, that’s all. It was one kiss, forget it.”

“Right. Ok then, if that’s what it was. Fine with me.”

He went into his office and closed the door. He had well and truly got his signals mixed up and Reinette may be coming back and he’d told her he had someone else – Rose. How was he going to get out of this one?

Rose went off to get some water to fill the kettle and thought about what was just said. Now he’d never ask her out again and may even resort to changing his mind about Martha. It would never work, with either her or Martha, not when they worked with him. She went back to make his first cup of coffee and knocked on his door.

“You don’t have to knock when I have no patients Rose.”

“Sorry. Here’s your coffee, I’ll have your day’s files presently, the computer was playing up.”

“What? That means she’s upset, what have you done to her?”

“Me? How can I do anything to upset a computer?”

“She’s very sensitive, you must have done something. Let me take a look.”

“Well I can’t even get the names of today’s patients on screen.”

“Ah, well you have to be delicate and ask her nicely.”

“Geez Doctor, it’s a computer.”

“Don’t say that. I’ll let you off this once, since you’re new. Let me talk to her.”

He turned to his screen, pressing a button on the keyboard that was almost as bad as the one on Rose’s desk. The screen came to life and Rose saw a ‘Good morning Doctor Smith’

“Good morning to you too Tardis. What seems to be the problem?”

‘No problem Doctor Smith. Rose is upset.’

“Is she now?” he raised his eyebrows. “Are you upset Rose?”

“No, why?”

“The Tardis thinks you are. Tell her you’re not upset and she’ll let you log on, won’t you?”

‘Yes Doctor Smith. Are you still upset Rose?’

“No, I’m not upset Tardis. Can I get to work now?”

‘Yes, of course Rose.’

Rose offered John a weak smile and went back to her desk, logging on successfully and getting the day’s patients. She shook her head and went to the filing cabinets to retrieve the folders. Temperamental computer.

The Tardis decided to let that one slide.

Martha had discovered who the new consultant was and she didn’t like her so after ward rounds, she slipped away on some pretence and went towards John’s office.

“Hi Rose, busy?” she asked as she saw the outer office was empty, the last morning patient just going into John’s office.

“No, come in Martha. I didn’t know if you were still talking to me or not.”

“Yeah, I’m still talking to you. Look, we both took things the wrong way but I heard something earlier. His old girlfriend may be coming back to work here so we’re both going to have our noses pushed out.”

“So you think he’ll go back to her? He told me why they hardly went anywhere.”

“Why’s that then?”

“You’ll have to ask him, I can’t tell you what he told me but there was a reason.”

“Yeah, like he’ll tell me. Anyway, it won’t matter, she can twist him around her little finger if she wants. He’ll go back to her, trust me. Have you met Doctor Saxon yet?”

“You mean in the next office? No, I’ve only met his secretary.”

“He’s a real womaniser, watch out for him, plus he’s married. I feel really sorry for his poor wife, Lucy.”

“Why would I have to worry about him?”

“You’re blonde, he has a thing for blondes, just ask Chelsea in main reception, the poor girl cringes every time he walks past and flirts with her.”

“Well I’m not Chelsea, am I? He’s hardly likely to come in here.”

“Don’t be too sure about that Rose, he’ll make a point of coming in sooner or later. He was always trying it on with Emma, she wasn’t a natural blonde but it didn’t stop him.”

“I’m sure I can handle him, thanks for the warning though. Martha, you may as well know now, I went out to dinner on Saturday night with John, he felt bad about what happened here in the hospital on Friday afternoon, that’s all. Nothing happened and I won’t be going out with him again so if his old girlfriend comes back, I’m not that bothered.”

“Yeah, you say that now Rose but will you be able to keep feeling like that when you see them together in the staff canteen?”

“I brought my own lunch today, I can go elsewhere and eat it.”

“Ok, have it your way. Maybe I’ll see you later?”

The door to John’s office opened and Martha made her exit. His last morning’s patient left and another appointment popped up on the screen, Rose pressing the button to confirm it before it was filed away in the computer’s memory. She still couldn’t work out how the computer functioned and she’d no hope of ever doing so since it ‘talked’ to her earlier. She also wondered how new patients got their confirmation letters but that wasn’t her job, so she’d been told.

John pressed the intercom. “Rose, can you come in please?”

“Sure, I’ll be right there. I took the files from Friday down to the office for you.”

“Thanks Rose. That wasn’t what I wanted though.”

Rose got up and leaving his door open went in to see him sat with his legs folded on the corner of his desk and his arms resting at his side.

“Still mad at me Rose?”

“No, why should I be?”

“I said I was sorry, I thought, well that Saturday night was a proper date but I obviously got it wrong. Did I?”

“No, I got it wrong, just forget it.”

“Oh come on Rose, I wasn’t that bad was I? At keeping you company?”

“No, I suppose not. I should get back to work.”

“Doing what? You were bored on Friday,” he smiled.

Rose smiled back. “I brought my own lunch today, if you want to go to the other café?”

“You still think I’m trying to avoid Martha?”

“She told me what you’d said to her on Saturday morning.”

“Oh. Well I was only taking your advice Rose, you said not to keep her wondering so I told her.”

“Yeah, not very tactfully by all accounts.”

“What was I supposed to say to her? Keep her thinking I may at some point change my mind?”

“Well you might. I heard your old girlfriend was thinking of coming back?”

“So? I’m not interested in picking up where we left off, it’s over with her.”

“If you say so. Anything else?”

“No. So you don’t want to sit with me in the canteen then? Are you going to sit with Martha?”

“I may just stay here.”

“Ah, well, I have a rule. No eating lunch in the office,” he smiled.

“Are you just saying that?”

“No. Oh, before I forget, here’s the spare office key, go on, take it, it’s yours. Quite a big moment really,” he grinned.

She took the key without a word and he caught her arm.

“Don’t be like that Rose, I thought we were friends?”

“Yeah, ok but no more non dates, right?”

“Ok. How about just grabbing a burger after work?”

“Not a date?”

“No, definitely not a date. Come on, let’s go have lunch.”

He had just got up when the outer door opened and in walked Harry Saxon.

“Ah, you must be John’s new temp?” he asked Rose, holding his hand out.

Rose backed off.

“What do you want Harry?” John asked.

“Just a friendly visit. I wasn’t able to welcome her on Friday, then you were busy, so I heard. I also heard you worked for Professor Lazarus my dear?”

She wondered how he knew that?

“Is that how you got the job here?”

“I just work for a temp agency, I go where I’m sent. Excuse me, I’m just going for my lunch.”

“Oh then allow me to escort you to the café”

“No thanks, I brought my own and Doctor Smith is going that way, to the staff canteen. I doubt you’ll want to be seen there?”

“Really John, you eat with the rest of the staff?” Harry scoffed.

“I’m surprised you don’t go into town and meet your wife Harry? How is Lucy anyway?”

“Oh, the same as usual, boring. Now Rose on the other hand doesn’t look boring.”

“Leave her alone Harry.”

“How many is that John? How many temps leave because they get nowhere with you when all you do is pine over that French nurse?”

“I do not ‘pine’ over Reinette, even if she does come back. Why don’t you try your luck with her, she’s blonde?”

“You’re wasting your time with him Rose.”

“Maybe but at least he’s not married, or a show off.”

“Come on Rose, we’re wasting time. Excuse us Harry, I need to lock the office.”

They got to the staff canteen and John said he would get her a soda. When he came to join her, he put his tray down and saw Martha coming in. Martha ignored them and went to sit on her own. So much for Rose saying she wasn’t interested in John, she thought. Her friend would just have to learn the hard way then. John going back to Reinette was a forgone conclusion and Martha was sure she had seen the French head nurse go into the hospital administrator’s office earlier. Reinette Poisson had wasted no time in coming back and would soon have her claws in Doctor John Smith before Rose even knew it.

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