“So, you’re not mad with me any more then Rose?” John asked as he ate his lunch, feeling sorry she was eating home-made sandwiches and he was eating beef stew and dumplings.
“Nah, I was being stupid, it was just you took me by surprise the other night. I don’t like that Doctor Saxon, he’s a creep. I may not be so polite in telling him to shove off next time.”
“Just ignore him Rose, everyone else does, he’s tried it on with every blonde in the hospital, even my ex girlfriend and if Reinette comes back, he’s welcome to her. I meant it, I’m not going back to her.”
“Yeah, well I’m hardly in a position to fend her off, if she’s the head nurse. How long has she been away?”
“Almost a year and funnily enough, that was around the time Martha began talking to me, she must have been waiting for a chance. I feel really bad about letting her down now.”
“She’ll get over it, I’ll introduce her to my ex,” Rose smiled. “I just wanted to leave this morning, I was gonna ask you to phone the agency and get a replacement.”
“Oh, I’m sorry Rose, you should have said. That would have been a shame, the Tardis likes you.”
“Really? When the screen wouldn’t come on?”
“She’s very sensitive, she can pick up moods and she sensed there was something wrong, she was only concerned about you. I used to get told off for upsetting Emma.”
“Yeah, I can imagine. Looks like Martha is still mad at us then?”
John turned to see Martha sitting with her back to them.
“What can I do? It’s not my fault she fancies me, just because I’m a bloke in a tight suit,” he grinned.
“Yeah, mad Martha, that’s her.”
“Oi, are you suggesting she fancies me out of sympathy?”
Rose giggled, something John was finding very charming about her.
“Well, I’m not so sure. I mean Kathy wasn’t too happy on Friday when I introduced myself and that Chelsea in reception gave me a funny look when I came in.”
“Blimey, have I got a fan club?”
They got back to work and thankfully, Harry avoided going back into John’s office and Martha got caught up by the new head of the department so as they left just after four, incident free this time, John asked about going for a burger – his treat. Rose agreed but said it was just the once.
“Oh come on Rose, why just once?” John asked as they found a seat, the place being filled with school kids.
“Let’s not start that again John, please?”
“Oh, ok but there’s no reason why we can’t go out after work, as friends?”
“You don’t get it, do you?”
“You’re clueless when it comes to the opposite sex John, they don’t want to be just friends with you, especially with you looking like that. The tight blue suit, the top button of your shirt undone and your tie not straight, then the way you flick your hair and waggling your eyebrows, you drive women crazy.”
As if to prove her point, two older teenage girls in the corner were pointing to him and giggling and if she were to get up and go to the ladies room, they would be over like a shot to chat him up. He tugged at his shirt collar, in an attempt to fasten the button but Rose was near enough to grab his arm to stop him.
“Too late, you’ve already got an audience over there.” She nodded towards the two girls, who were nudging each other.
“Oh, I think I may need rescuing Rose, help me out?”
Rose laughed. “Serves you right, you can’t go around like that and expect to be invisible. If you take Reinette back you won’t have a problem, will you?”
“If I take Reinette back, you’ll get jealous and leave,” he admitted sadly, slurping his banana milkshake that the two teenagers could hear and made them giggle.
“You’re scared of her, admit it John.”
“I’m scared of what she does to me, she had me under some sort of hold and when she left, I was heartbroken, it took me a long time to get over her. I’m never doing that again Rose, trust me and if she tries, I’m scared she’ll only have to say the word and I’ll go back to her.”
“Blimey, you were really hooked on her? When you said she never wanted to really go out, she just wanted to show you off to the hospital staff, like as a warning you were hers and for the rest of the women to back off.”
John shrugged his shoulders, a sad look in his eyes. Rose wondered what sort of woman could do that, get him in such a state. No wonder he’d been keen to try and impress her the other night, then again in the hospital, he was trying to break free of Reinette’s hold and now her return was imminent, he was scared to death he’d fall back into her trap. Rose took his hand over the table.
“Well, we’ll just have to stop her then, won’t we?”
“Yeah, I’ll fix you a date with Martha then shall I?” she teased, poking her tongue out.
“That I don’t need, thanks. Oh, I get it, you’re just messing with me, very funny Rose. If she comes back, will you pretend to be my girlfriend? I have a confession to make.”
“Oh. I can’t just pretend to be your girlfriend John, that’s not fair, I would be no better than her, would I? Just for us to be seen in the pub near the hospital and seen eating lunch together, which we already do, what would be the difference? You’d just be using me as an escape, to prove to her you can get another woman interested in you.”
He hadn’t thought of that. It would make him no better than his ex either, would it?
“She called me, the other morning, said she was getting her old job back and she was looking forward to resuming where we left off. I told her I had someone else when I said I wasn’t going to be used any more. She’d thought I wanted more than we had before, I don’t so I told her I’d already got a new girlfriend.”
Rose let go of his hand. So he had been stringing her along but he grabbed it back.
“I said it was you.”
“Please Rose, don’t be mad at me, I was desperate, I could have said it was Martha but I don’t want to get her involved so you were the one I thought of. I’d really like it Rose, if you were, my girlfriend, no pretending.”
Rose let go of his hand again and sat back on the seat, John got up and sat next to her, seeing the two teenagers get up and ignore him. They must have thought he’d been just showing off. He took her hand, stroking the back of it and looked at her with his sad brown eyes.
“Say something Rose, please?”
“What do you want me to say? After you pulled that stunt the other night, I made my mind up I was not going to give you any more excuses to ask me out. When I mentioned that kiss, you said fine, that’s all it was, one kiss after a night out.”
“I didn’t mean it Rose, I thought that’s what you wanted it to be, just one kiss.”
“So did I but we work together John.”
“I worked with Reinette, so what?”
“Yeah and look where it got you?”
“She worked different hours, she was studying for her exams. She made me believe that was the reason we never went anywhere but it doesn’t have to be like that with us.”
“We work in the same office John.”
“Yes, I know that but it would work out Rose, I know it would, if you gave me a chance. We have fun, don’t we? I never really used to have fun, it’s the most fun I’ve had, since I met you.”
He took her hand properly and put his fingers between hers, they fitted together perfectly.
“Please Rose, give me a chance?”
“Let me think about it, I could lose my job if my agency boss found out, I’m not supposed to get involved with clients.”
“Oh, I don’t think that will be a problem Rose, trust me,” he smiled.
“Oh, you know that for certain? You don’t know what she’s like, we all call her The General.”
John couldn’t resist laughing, that’s what their grandad called her.
“Yes, I know. Donna Noble, my cousin.”
“What? Oh, now I get it, you asked for me the other day, didn’t you?”
“Well, ’erm, yes. I felt bad because you lost your job when the experiment went wrong but that wasn’t the only reason. I couldn’t bear the thought of never seeing you again and I never even had your phone number.”
“You could have got it from Martha.”
“Seriously? Yeah, like she’d ever give it to me when I asked her and said I wanted it so I could ask you out, that would have gone down extremely well.”
“I should be so mad at you, as if I’d ever get a job, working for a psychologist, I usually get all the seedy places like betting offices and loan sharks.”
“Blimey, no wonder you’re expected to show off your legs then,” he grinned. “So, are you mad at me?”
Rose nudged his arm. “So, you’re the one Donna calls spaceman then?”
“She talks about me?”
“She’s mentioned you. Why does she call you that?”
John got up, pulling her with him. “Let me take you home, properly and I may tell you, if you’re lucky and yes, I do want to meet your mother.”
“You are so going to regret that, she’ll probably slap your face for kissing me the other night.”
“Blimey, you told her?”
“I was upset, even the Tardis picked up on that.”
“Yeah, she knows I like you.”
“Come on then Doctor, then when you’ve met my mother, we’ll see if you still want me to pretend to be your girlfriend to give the message to Reinette.”
They got into John’s car. “Rose, that’s just it, I don’t want a pretend girlfriend.”
“I was playing with you John, geez, relax.”
“Not amusing Rose, you have no idea what Reinette’s capable of. She claims she’s related distantly to Madame Du Pompadour, the uncrowned queen of France.”
“Seriously? She must be deluded then, what did you ever see in her?”
“I told you, she held some kind of spell over me, we started talking one day and I found I couldn’t back away, no matter how she treated me and I agreed I wouldn’t keep her out late and give her time to study and all that and the day she passed her exams, she accepted the post in Paris and she was all packed and ready to leave. She never even gave me a warning.”
He went quiet, remembering the day he’d called for her, her cases being put into a taxi to go to the airport. She had kissed both his cheeks, told him she wouldn’t forget him but she’d got this exciting opportunity and she was gone, leaving him waving at the taxi as it drove off. That was when he’d told himself never again would he be fooled by a woman, hence avoiding Martha and half the female staff in the hospital, that was until he’d met Rose.
Rose was feeling sorry for him, she’d been no better that his ex. So what if they did work together? John remembered where to park and Rose led them through the playground, leaping over the low railing, John walking around and smiling at her. Then she took his hand and they walked to the rear entrance to the block of flats, Rose putting the code in and making sure John took a note of it. They climbed the stairs to her floor and walked along the balcony until Rose stopped at her door.
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you, just get ready to raise your arm to fend her off.”
“I think I can handle your mother Rose,” he grinned, waggling his eyebrows.
“Oh, you have no idea. Ready?”
John looked at her. Yes, he was ready to start a new chapter in his life.
It went down better than either of them expected. John just held his hand out to shake Jackie’s, rather enthusiastically that she was taken by surprise when Rose said who he was and before Jackie could slap him for upsetting her daughter on Saturday night, she’d invited him into the living room and was making him a cup of tea. Rose could only stare in amusement then went to help her mother in the kitchen.
“Whatcha turn him down for Rose, he’s a bit of a charmer that one. You should have invited him in the other night.”
“I was just a bit shocked, that’s all but we’re good now. So, what ya think of him then?”
“He seems nice enough, are you serious about him?”
“I dunno, I like him but working with him, well it’s asking for trouble but there again, it works for some people.”
“You don’t know until you try love, give him a chance at least, what’s the alternative? You ready to go crawling back to that mechanic?”
No, she wasn’t ready to spend the rest of her life crawling after that no good Mickey Smith, whom she’d seen with one of her so called ‘mates’ Trisha Delaney. What did he see in her, albeit she seemed to have lost some weight recently, probably some new-fangled crash starvation diet.
John was making jokes, Jackie was laughing at them and she suggested they all went out for a drink at the local pub.
“Mum, John has to drive home.”
“Well he can have one bottle on the non-alcohol stuff can’t he?”
Rose didn’t want to spend the evening with her mother telling him embarrassing stories of when she was growing up.
“No, Rose is right Jackie, I really should be getting off now, I’ve got a way to go. Thanks for the tea, you make a great cup of tea, you could save the world with that tea, a super infusion of tannins and free-radicals, brilliant! Very British, drinking tea while the world comes to an end. Rose, I’ll see you at work tomorrow then? Don’t forget the milk, will you?”
Rose got up, not realising he was now sat so close to her with his arm half on the back of the sofa and half on her shoulder, rubbing it with his thumb.
“I’ll see you out then.”
“Right, best be off then, it was nice meeting you Jackie, very nice, brilliant.”
Rose led him to the door and out onto the balcony, leaving Jackie wondering why her daughter had run off the other night and was now probably about to snog his face off once they got outside. It was still quite early but in view of them eating earlier and Rose not wanting to rush things since they just about established she was now his girlfriend apart from a few minor details, she was just going to let him kiss her once and say goodnight.
“So, it wasn’t that bad then, was it?” he asked, putting his arms around her neck and leaning close.
“No, not as bad as I thought, she must like you, she was always slapping my ex for keeping me out late. Goodnight then John.”
“What happened to calling me Doctor?” he grinned, pushing his luck and going to kiss her neck just below her ear, which made her shiver.
He noticed and did it again, moving slightly as he did when she didn’t try to resist. Rose was trying to hold herself together and not run back inside, which would have put them back to square one again.
“I can’t call you that when we’re out, can I? So, see you tomorrow then? Are you going to tell your cousin?”
“No way, she already thinks I went out with Martha.”
“What?” she asked, trying to back off.
“Well I couldn’t tell her I took you out on Saturday night and it was her who said it was Martha, I just let her think that. Does that mean you’re going to run away again?”
He leaned down and pulled her closer, now kissing the back of her neck and Rose beginning to relax into his shoulder. He smiled as he felt her putting her arms around his slim waist.
“She knows Martha then?”
“They’ve met a few times, Donna was at the staff party last Christmas at the hospital but apart from that, they’re not close. My aunt doesn’t like her much, Martha was at a mutual friend’s wedding a while back. I’ll set Donna right, don’t worry about your job, I can get the hospital to take you on full time, if you want?”
“Let’s just see how it goes first?”
“Yeah, ok. We don’t have to go out every night, if you don’t want to? We can grab something to eat, then I can drop you off on my way home, it’s not too much out of the way and maybe we can go out properly at the weekend?”
“Well, ok then but can we keep this quiet, for now? I don’t want everyone thinking you’re going out with me because your ex is coming back to work again.”
“Right then, we’ll keep it quiet for now but Reinette will make a point of seeking you out, to make sure I wasn’t just saying that to fend her off, about you being my girlfriend and if she’s annoyed enough, it could get around the hospital very quickly.”
“Then we’ll deal with that when we come to it, won’t we?”
John smiled then looked up. “So, will you run off if I kiss you goodnight again?”
“Why don’t you try it and find out?”
“You’re just teasing me again Rose, don’t keep doing that, please?”
He leaned closer, finding the right angle and looked into her hazel eyes, closing the gap until their lips were almost touching.
“I won’t run off this time John,” she managed to whisper.
That was all he needed as they kissed, this time deeper and for longer that Rose thought she was going to melt and she no longer felt like running away from him. They could deal with the problems facing them concerning working together but things were plotting against them as they kissed on the balcony outside Rose’s flat. Reinette had successfully negotiated her return and was settling into her old apartment she shared with another nurse.
She had heard rumours John did indeed have a new temp, a blonde called Rose and if he really was now going out with her, the little upstart was in for a few surprises because one click of her fingers and John would be back with her before the other woman knew what had hit her.