Stardust

Chapter 8

And it all started because of the rain. Hard to believe, two months ago, she didn't even know he existed. Today, merely couldn't imagine her life without him. After that Friday party, everything changed. Finally, this embarrassment between them disappeared. Gradually, day by day, they were becoming better friends.

Not that it wasn't a little uncomfortable just after this evening. Especially for Rose, who probably because of the wine (definitely way too much wine...) or some peculiar mood, started imagining God knows what. When she stayed alone with John and their conversation took on more confidential character, for a moment, she had an impression, he wanted to kiss her. If not, highly possible she would do it herself. Luckily, Jack came into the room just in time to prevent a disaster, she could cause. Surely, John didn't mean anything like that! He treated her nicely, maybe even liked her, ultimately they had so much in common. But AS A FRIEND NOTHING MORE, FOR SAKE!

The morning after, Rose woke up on a coach cuddled to Donna. Dearest Donna! So good she came to see 'how was she', when Jack stole John for a while. They decided to rest 'just a few minutes' and apparently, at once fall asleep. Thankfully! Who knows what Rose would make, otherwise... Something regrettable for sure. Moreover, how could she forget about that Martha?! Anyway, nothing happened and now it was great. Well, maybe not quite great in fact. Let's face it, she was in love with him. But if his friendship was everything Rose could count on, she had to deal with it. Still better than nothing.

Weeks went by, while they spent more time together, meeting in a park or for a cup of coffee, where discussed about everything. Unfortunately, the closer to each other they were, the more frightened she was, constantly worried that sooner or later can expose her true feelings. And that one thing, Rose wanted to avoid at all price. The painful memories of Jimmy Stones, with this whole pathetic story, constantly haunted her in the worst nightmares. Still remembered, how vastly in love she was then... as well as, how horribly he hurt her. She revealed the true feelings, giving him heart on a golden plate. Jimmy took it gladly, wiped his shoes in it, trampled utterly and returned with a cruel grin, on his handsome face.

After that Rose broke down completely. Shedding tears for weeks, almost failed final exams what could wreck her whole future plans. Luckily, thanks to Mum's and Mickey's support, literally rose from the ashes, rubbing along somehow. However, after that, one part of previous Rose died forever. She became more timid and sad, promising herself not to fall in love even again. Or at least, if it unhappily happens, hide it deeply. Of course, John had nothing in common with Jimmy. Anyway, she couldn't show him anything. Then would be defenseless, dependent on him entirely. So friends, nothing more.

They didn't meet for a few days. Just so happened. Rose already missed him... When did it all changed, that suddenly she came to be such pathetic?! Addicted to one man, couldn't hold out a week without him... John, obviously didn't need seeing her so often. Always had so much to do, to read, to write. In free time hanging out in Jack and Rory's or Donna's company (or maybe Martha's). Day by day, in constant run.

But, yesterday he called her, saying had these scripts from Latin, she needed for exam, so can bring them to the classes. '...later we could... you know for example go for some coffee, then I could help you with more difficult phrases or something... if you want, of course...' He was so kind, always willingly helped with any problems, she had on classes. Actually, Rose didn't have too much of them. She enjoyed her signatures, well maybe except this infelicitous Latin. Perhaps, as potential writers they should learn some basic constructions or idioms in this ancient language, but for goodness' sake! Will she ever need to know in her future life how to divide types of unicellular bacteries in it? Seriously?! Nevertheless, she studied literature not pharmacy whether medicine! Sometimes, Rose suspected there's not enough work for the Latin teacher and they got additional (but useless) lessons. Whatever. If this funny old man could earn more thanks to that, she could stand it. The biggest problem with that was a sense of losing time. Honestly, she didn't need any advice from John with the phrases or grammar. However, asking him for help with learning was a great excuse to meet. So naturally, yesterday she agreed gladly.

Now she was waiting for him on a bench, next to the main entrance. Everything around was waiting with her. Like until John would come, nothing worked properly... Not so long ago beautiful, full of colors trees, looked gloomy today. Usually warbling in joy birds now, like suddenly downhearted, hid deeply in their nestles. Even wind instead of leading its own dance with golden and ruddy leaves, had ceased.
'And if he won't come?' Rose wasn't sure what frighten her more? This thought itself, or rather own reaction to that - as her heart stopped for a second, pinched by violent pain. Oh she really had to do something with herself, stop this madness! It's all going into very dangerous direction...

Yet, he came and suddenly everything around made sense again, became more distinct. As usually brisk, with disheveled hair, dressed in this brown coat, which brought so many memories... their own small shelter full of beautiful emotions, where she felt so safe, so happy... So different from her present feelings, a real abyss! John spotted her heading towards the bench, she sat on before with a book (still opened at the same page, cause no matter how hard she tried, couldn't focus on anything...). In a while, Jack rushed out from the building caught him up, merrily saying something and they approached Rose together, then Jack said cordially.

"Good afternoon my beautiful! I've heard you two are going for a cuppa, in some 'scientific purposes'. It just so happens, I know a place with the best coffee in whole town, where was supposed to go now, then you could join me..."

"Hello Rose. How are you? Forgive me, but Jack insisted we just have to go. Allegedly, has some connections there..."
explained John smiling warmly.

"Not allegedly, only I REALLY DO have. And don't worry dears, I won't disturb in your learning. Have own interests there..."

Rose could easily imagine WHAT 'own interests' he meant. Firstly, a little disappointed they won't be alone, after quick rethinking, decided maybe it will be even better to go in Jack's company. At least safer. So she agreed gladly and they moved towards the gate. However after a few steps, some pretty dark skinned girl, run up to John saying with a grin, she must steal him for a moment.

Rose even had no time to wonder 'WHO THE HELL IS THAT?!' touched by sudden flash of jealousy, as she noticed familiar, yellow car. Mickey, who immediately spotted her, got out it calling Rose. She apologized Jack for a moment (John was still busy with someone else...) and came towards her friend. He wanted to give her a lift or maybe take somewhere... since they hardly talk to each other lately, so she explained, unluckily already had some plans, but can call him later... Unfortunately it only irritated him more. He went back to the car, snarling:

"FINE!"
Then he slammed the doors with a thud

"FINE!"
Came to her ears at the same time, then she saw that girl, who talked to John before, now almost running towards the street (throwing Rose a sinister glance on her way). She looked really furious. In a moment, she heard familiar roar of the engine, a scream and squeal of tires. Apparently, Mickey drove into a big puddle, drenching her from head to toe. Hearing raised voices, they agreeably decided leave these two to fend for themselves, hoping it won't come to fisticuffs.

"Looks like promising afternoon, if you ask me... shall we?"
remarked Jack with a grin.

Then he leaded them towards that unlucky coffee shop, entertaining with his talk. Rose, as well as John was rather quiet. Apparently, both deep in own thoughts. Fortunately, got to the place pretty fast. It was rather tiny but cozy, filled with wonderful smell of freshly grounded coffee. Jack recommended them to find some nice table, while he can order. They chose the one in the corner, next to the window.

"Well, now I understand why Jack insisted so much for coming here..."

Joked Rose after noticing Jack sitting at the bar, now completely absorbed by flirting with a handsome barista.

"Oooooh. It must be this famous Ianto, he is constantly talking about lately. Rose I'm afraid we won't look forward this coffee..."

However, in a moment Jack came back, carrying not only coffee but also two cupcakes, in a company of pretty brunette.

"You must try these - are incredible, trust me! Also have some good news for you! Miss Cooper..."

"Hello guys, I'm Gwen. Rose, right? And you must be John!"
She turned to them smiling.

"Rumored, you look for some part - time job Rose, is that still valid? Because we have hands full here and need some help. Would be interested?"

"Sure! I love coffee. And cupcakes likewise, mostly so delicious ones..."

Whole four laugh at that. It would be really great to work here, what a surprise..

"Excellent! Here's my number, please call me tomorrow, we'll discuss the details okay? Now, forgive me, but work is waiting. Was nice to meet you two!"

"Actually, my dears I also won't be bothering you anymore. Learn diligently!"

Added Jack. Then he came back to his previous place at the bar and returned to flirting with Ianto. So they stayed alone again.

"Wow, good for you Rose. Is a nice job here, I think."

"Yes, I still can't believe that. And this Gwen seems so nice..."

"Yeah... listen here you've got these scripts. Of course as I've said, can help you with some harder parts if you need..."

"Thank you John, really I'm very grateful! And would gladly repay you somehow for all of that..."

"Oh, come on! But actually I need your advice... wanted to talk to you about something. No one knows it yet..."

"I'd be honored." In fact she really felt singled out by him, being the first one to know... just to know what?

"I talked to Professor Yano today. Some time ago I gave him my novel and he quite liked it... well... he even sent it to a competition for young writers..."
Dear John, always so modest. Rose was sure it must be great. She would love to read it...

"And? By the way, will you let me read it?"

He smiled, somehow sadly...

"Oh... maybe one day, now is too soon you know I... Oh never mind, anyway I won a scholarship for new program especially for Literature students..."

"John it's wonderful news! Really is an amazing opportunity for you! I am so proud..."

"... in Edinburgh."

He finished the sentence and Rose felt like her heart stopped beating for a moment. She ran out of breath. Edinburgh. In Scotland. So far away. So far far away from London. How will she live along when he'll be gone... How will she even breath... HOW?! It turned out, her heart still worked, just seemed so heavy in a chest. So heavy...

"In Edinburgh?"

That's all she was able to utter now, with painfully clenched throat. John deeply looked into her eyes, he looked for some answers there. What could he see there? The depths of despair? Paralyzing sadness? Or noiseless entreaty: 'please don't go, don't leave me'?

"Yes... if it would be in London I would jump of happiness... but Edinburgh... you know is far away... maybe not the other end of the world yet anyway... I would miss you... "

He throw Rose a quick glance again.

"...I mean all of you, the whole team... 6 months is a long time..."

Rose at the moment, falling into some deep, dark endless hole, felt tears just behind the eyelids... Luckily her cell phone saved her.

"Forgive me, must answer..."

She left John at the table, coming closer to the window.

"Hello? Donna?"
Asked with a weak voice.

"ROSE! Where are you?!"

"A little busy, now really can't..."

Actually, all she wanted now was come back home, bury in her bedding and die there.

"We need you, we really do. EMERGENCY!!!"

Suddenly, she heard Amy's sobbing.

"What...what happened?"

"Please come. Amy... Amy is pregnant."


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