The Idiot’s Lantern
GOING MY WAY: PART ONE
He was passing through Los Angeles again, without a place to stay. He wanted to be around people but didn’t feel like getting arrested for loitering, so he scrounged enough change for admission to the drive-in and parked his motorbike at the back of the lot for the evening.
It was a triple feature, and right now Roman Holiday was playing. Audrey Hepburn should’ve been enough to keep his attention, except for the blonde sitting in the pop-top Caddy. It was a slick ride, and the bloke next to her was posh to match, with a pompadour and a lit Marlboro, leaning over to talk to her too often. She was annoyed – tilting her head away, angling her shoulder so it didn’t touch his. And then, just as Hepburn was riding a scooter through the streets of Rome, the blonde slipped out from under his arm and walked over to the concession stand.
She was in full regalia: pink skirt, fitted blue jacket, hair pulled back with a pink ribbon. The night was dark, but he could make out her face well enough to know he liked what he saw: dark eyes and generous lips (not smiling, not yet, but he could fix that), cheeks pink and round as apples. All-American. He’d hit her with his English charm, maybe end up with someplace soft to sleep for the night, even if it was just the couch.
He sauntered to the concession stand behind her, smoothing back the sides of his hair. When he got close enough to hear her order popcorn and a Baby Ruth, his heart seemed to split, beating double-time on both sides of his chest. She wasn’t all-American. Not with that London accent.
She sounded like home.
When she turned around with her hands full of food, he was so close she ran right into him. “Sorry, doll,” he said, instinctively leaning down to pick up her candy bar and the half-spilled box of popcorn. “So sorry. Wasn’t looking where I was going.”
She blinked at him, taking the food from his hands, and for the first time since he’d seen her face, a smile curled at the corners of her mouth. It was a gorgeous sight, full of pearly teeth and the tip of her tongue, and she was grinning because his accent matched hers, and oh, he was in trouble.
“Oi mate, you’re going to get a smack, you are!” she said, accent thick as London fog, and he laughed.
“I’ll buy you another.” He reached toward his back pocket for a wallet he didn’t have.
“S’fine,” she said with a shake of her head. “Just watch it next time, yeah?” And she was walking away, toward the bloke with the greased-back hair in the posh Caddy. Her hips swayed, the pink skirt swished, and he was running after her before he could think.
“Don’t meet many Londoners in Los Angeles,” he said, walking alongside her. “Don’t know about you, but I’m so tired of Yanks and their twee vowels and their french fries.” The last two words came out in an exaggerated American accent. It was funny. He knew it was, because whenever he tried an American accent, he got laughed at, at least seventy percent of the time.
She didn’t smile. The skirt kept right on swishing, her pink high heels not slowing or stopping. Gregory Peck was yelling on the movie screen. They were four rows away from the Caddy with the man and his Marlboros and his arm around her shoulders.
“Get bent. Mickey’s expecting me,” she said, but her sideways glance was more of a challenge than a dismissal.
He took a few quick steps, spun around to face her, walking backward as he kept talking. “I figure you’ve been in America what … a year? See, ‘cause I’ve been traveling a while, and I can tell, it’s like a sixth sense or something. You’re here to be the English Doris Day. But so far, the closest you’ve come is this drive-in, and that bloke Mickey in the Caddy over there, and he’s telling you just enough of what you want to hear to keep you in the car and maybe even get you back to his place afterward. But he hasn’t made good on those Doris Day promises yet, has he?” The last bit was more of a statement than a question – all of this wild guesswork, really, but he was desperate. He didn’t know why, but he needed this girl to ride out of this drive-in on the back of his motorbike. He needed it like his life depended on it. “What’s your name?”
She stopped. Even with her hands full of food, she managed to cross her arms and purse her lips at him. “Rose Tyler.”
Rose. It fit. All pink and yellow and blooming. “When Mickey heard your name, he quoted you Shakespeare. ‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.’ Gave you the whole speech because he thought it would impress you, but it annoyed you instead. Because everybody says it. Just like everybody buys you roses for your birthday. They haven’t got any imagination.”
Her mouth twisted just a little; she was definitely intrigued. “Oh, and you’ve got an imagination stashed away under that pile of hair, do you?”
“O Mistress mine, where are you roaming? O stay and hear; your true love’s coming, That can sing both high and low: Trip no further, pretty sweeting; Journeys end in lovers meeting.”
She inhaled; her pupils dilated. “You’re telling me you’re going to sing high and low for me, loverboy?” The words were likely meant to be cutting, but they came out breathily instead.
“I’m telling you to come with me, right now. This is your journey’s end, Rose. Me. It’s your birthday, and I’m not giving you clichéd flowers or overused poetry. I’m buying you chips instead of french fries. Our first date.”
Her forehead wrinkled, her gaze roamed over him, her tongue darted out to moisten parted lips. He held out his hand, wiggled his fingers. Slowly, thoughtfully, she dropped the popcorn on the ground and laced her fingers with his. She didn’t even spare a glance toward Mickey and his Caddy.
“What’s your name, then?” she asked, taking a step closer and staring up at him, still full of cheek and bravado.
“Everyone calls me Doctor.”
She laughed, and for a moment he thought the spell had been broken, that whatever enchantment he’d woven had worn off. “Doctor? Doctor what?”
“Just Doctor,” he replied with a shrug.
“I’d believe your name was ‘Accountant,’ with that pinstripe getup and trench coat. But Doctor?” she said, head tilting as she eyed him appraisingly. “You got a right to that title?”
He nodded, his gaze steady on hers. “Yeah. “
“Chips, then, Doctor. An early present, for my birthday.” She grinned again, tongue touching her teeth and fingers squeezing his.
He couldn’t stop smiling as she walked hand-in-hand with him to his blue motorbike at the back of the drive-in.
# ...To be continued # Doctor Who # The Doctor # Rose Tyler # Doctor/Rose # OTP to end all OTPs # Look I accidentally AU # fanfic # ficlet # These gifs are PERFECT :D
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