In case you missed it: Part One
Rose sat on the back of the decade-old Indian motorbike, arms wrapped around a strange bloke, wind wreaking havoc on her carefully-coiffed hair. She didn’t care about her hair. She didn’t care about the fact that this bloke should’ve scared her. She’d just hopped on his ride, and everything felt so very right, and she could just hear her mum screeching right now: Rose Marion Tyler, are you tryin’ to get yourself killed, runnin’ off with strange men?! You don’t know where he’s taking you or what he’s going to do!
It was as though she’d been waiting her whole life for this man without a proper name to knock her popcorn out of her hand and sweep her off her feet.
It didn’t hurt that he was a bit pretty, too, with his freckles and laugh lines, his brown mop of hair and day-old stubble. Grinning, she rested her forehead against his neck. He was skinny but strong – she felt his muscles as he leaned and swayed, expertly guiding his battered blue machine through the packed lanes of Sunset Boulevard. They bumped up a driveway into a parking lot. At the center of a crowd of people and cars sat a silver Gulfstream trailer. Smoke and steam rose from a few vents in the top. A crowd pressed around a window where a harried man was taking orders.
The bike rolled to a stop, and with the flip of a switch, the engine let out one last growl before falling silent. The machine grew still, but Rose’s entire body still felt like it was vibrating. She didn’t release the strange bloke from her arms.
He half-turned, twisting his head so he could look at her out of the corner of his eye. “Hamburger, or just chips?”
She rested her chin on his shoulder. With his sideburn tickling her lips, she murmured in his ear, “Just chips. Doctor.”
She would have sworn she felt his entire body tremble. “Back in a jif,” he said, beginning to slide off the bike. She let go, flashing him a grin and demurely bringing her legs over to one side. He strode toward the silver trailer, hair wild from their ride, overcoat billowing in the cool LA evening. The nearest car had its window open, the radio blasting B.B. King’s “Please Hurry Home.”
Rose was in trouble. The best kind of trouble imaginable. Tonight suddenly seemed full of magic and promise; anything could happen.
She genuinely hoped it would.
He made his way through the press of people and came back in a relatively short amount of time, bearing a paper box overflowing with chips and catsup. He handed it to her with a flourish.
“Happy birthday, Rose,” he said. “Tastier than two dozen flowers, I guarantee.”
She giggled, taking a chip and licking the catsup off, very aware of the Doctor’s focused gaze. Popping the chip into her mouth and chewing, she raised an eyebrow at him and said matter-of-factly, “You didn’t pay for these.”
He shuffled back a half-step, hands coming out of his pockets and into the air in a gesture of surrender. “What?”
“You were there and back too fast. You nicked someone else’s chips.” She picked up three at a time, cramming them into her mouth and chewing happily. “Mmmm, these are the most delicious birthday present I’ve ever had, if I’m honest. Which you’re not.”
He threw back his head and laughed, a deep-throated sound that shook his whole body. “Clever bird. That’s very good. And it doesn’t bother you, whether I paid or not,” he said, a statement rather than a question.
“I don’t see any red-and-blue lights, no coppers coming. If you’re a thief, at least you’re a decent one. You’re on a tear tonight: first you nick another man’s date, then a box of chips. What about this motorbike? You nick this, too, daddy-o?” she asked, wiggling her bottom on the leather seat.
He was grinning as though he’d won the lottery. “Would it impress you if I said yes?”
She shrugged, pushing her lips into a pout. “Nick anything you want. Just don’t lie to me about it. Is that a deal, Doctor?” The name, strange as it was, was beginning to feel natural on her tongue.
His smile faded and he regarded her with sudden, unexpected sincerity. “That’s a deal, Rose Tyler.”
She nodded, extending the box of chips toward him. “You worked hard for these. You’ve earned a few, I reckon.” He came to sit on the asphalt beside the bike. Crossing her legs at the knee, bouncing her right ankle in his vicinity, Rose waited until he took a few chips from the box. No lies. Well, if he was willing to make the deal, then so was she. “You should know, I’m a good girl. I don’t do things like … well, things like this,” she said, gesturing to him and the bike.
“Mmm,” he said, mouth full of fried potatoes. He swallowed. “I believe you. Honesty’s our deal.”
“Yeah.” She ate a few more chips, and on a whim, plucked one out and extended it toward him. He smiled, opening his lips, and leaned forward to take it from her fingers. His breath was warm on her skin; she decided she quite liked the sensation. “If we’re being honest, then tell me why they call you Doctor.”
He shrugged and leaned back, chewing. “I like to fix things. And I am a Doctor. A proper one, with a framed degree and everything.”
“You save lives,” she said, licking the catsup off another chip, watching him watch her.
“Something like that,” he replied. She put the potato between her teeth and bit it more slowly than was warranted. His eyes were already dark – a lovely chocolate color – but they darkened even more. Her ankle swung back and forth, back and forth, very much within his line of sight.
“You left that framed degree back in London?”
He wasn’t looking at her eyes; he was much too distracted by the chips disappearing between her lips. “Mmm-hmm.”
“Left your wife and kids behind in London, too?” She asked the question as if it didn’t matter. Of course, it mattered more than anything else either of them had said in the last mad half hour.
His gaze snapped to hers, instantly focused and clear. “No. No wife. No kids.” His pause was somber, his attention shifting to the chipped blue paint of the Indian bike. He spoke so softly, she hardly heard him: “Not anymore.”
Those two words held a universe of sadness.
Rose slipped off the bike and plopped down beside him on the ground, skirt fluffing around her like a pink cloud. She nudged his shoulder with her own. When he lifted his head, she proffered him more chips. He opened his mouth, plucking them from her fingers with his teeth, and nudged her shoulder in return.
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- episode613wasalie said: Thank you for writing that he had stubble. *swoon*
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