The little blonde haired girl stood in the middle of the line, face red and started to stomp her feet.
"Come on Hailey" her mother urged, gripping her small hand.
"But I don't want to visit Santa!" she whined.
Rose peered at her 5 year old daughter. Hailey had been looking forward to this visit at the local shopping centre. Rose was confused about her daughter's change of behaviour.
Hailey continued to stamp her feet in frustration, and scrunched her eyes closed. Rose placed her free hand on her small shoulder.
"Hailey? You need to try and calm down"
Hailey relaxed a bit from her mother's touch.
"Oh can you move?" came an annoyed voice from behind. Rose whipped around.
"I will when my daughter settles down" she replied with a forced smile. The older women's face fell. Rose smiled in satisfaction and turned back to her daughter, who was now crying.
"Oh, Hailey" she soothed, stooping down and wrapping her in a hug.
"I want Daddy!" she wailed. Rose sighed.
"Hailes. Daddy wishes he could have been here, but remember, he had to do something special today. But, he would really love a photo with you and Santa" Rose explained, thinking of what her husband had planned. A few ( or more) tears and a tantrum would be worth it in the end.
Hailey nodded against her mother's shoulder and pulled away.
"Come on, can I have a smile" Rose asked, tickling Hailey on the stomach.
Hailey first pouted, then fell into a peal of giggles, her big brown eyes and freckled face still tear stained. Rose pulled out a hanky from her bag and wiped the tears away, then took Hailey's hand again.
"Oh look sweetie, we're getting close. Are you ready to tell Santa what you would like for Christmas?"
"Can I ask him for a pony?"
"Why do you want a pony for? We can't keep a pony in our small backyard"
"But it can go in the TARDIS" Hailey countered.
'The TARDIS is still building. Plus, ponies are a lot of hard work." Rose explained patiently. "I don't even think ponies fit in Santa's sleigh"
Hailey thought about that for a moment, her face scrunched up in concertration. She smiled brightly.
"But Daddy told me that Santa's sleigh is bigger on the inside"
"I bet he did" Rose muttered. "Is there anything else you would like?" She asked her daughter.
Hailey started to chatter away about her Christmas list , and was listing three different dolls when the lady dressed as an elf waved them forward.
Hailey stood in front of Santa and paused.
Santa gave a grin underneath his white beard.
"Ho, Ho, Ho. Who do we have here?" He greeted, trying to keep his voice disguised as much as possible.
Rose nudged Hailey in the hip. She leant down to whisper in her ear.
" It's okay, go and say hi to him. Remember, Daddy wants a photo"
Hailey grudgingly moved forward and Santa patted the spot on his seat next to him.
" And what's your name?"
"Hailey Donna Tyler" she replied shyly. Santa peered at her.
"And Hailey Donna Tyler, what would you like for Christmas?"
Hailey looked at her mother, and Rose smiled back encouragingly.
Santa listened to Hailey's requests and when she finished, he looked back at Rose.
"Would you like a photo?"
"How does that sound Hailes? A photo with Santa for Daddy?" The small girl nodded.
"My Daddy is away, but he's doing something special" Hailey told Santa. Santa hesitated, before whispering in Hailey's ear.
"Look at my eyes Hailey"
Hailey appeared confused, but stared in Santa's eyes.
Wide and brown like her own. She beamed and opened her mouth. Santa quickly hushed her by placing a finger on his lips.
"Daddy?" she asked in a hushed whisper. He nodded.
"Yep, it's me"
"But, does this mean Santa isn't real?" Hailey asked.
Rose and the Doctor both groaned.
They hadn't thought about that when they arranged this surprise.