Disclaimer:I own nothing. I have to confess, though, I do have CE locked up in my closet until he promises to take me 'round the universe but so far all I can get out of him is "daft nutter." But it's okay, I can be patient. He can only be naked for so long, don't you think?
And one not-so-very-special morning, Rose Tyler awoke. She felt strange, disconnected.
Blearily staring around the sparsely decorated bedroom, she tried to discover the source of what had awakened her. Nothing was out of place in the dim room, save the clothes she'd strewn across her deck and armchair the night before. Glancing at the clock, she realized that she'd woken hours before her alarm before remembering it was Saturday and it wouldn't have gone off anyway.
Shrugging, rubbing a hand over her pale, bare face, she pushed back the covers. Almost immediately she pulled them back again, burrowing deep to block the ice-filled air from entering the deep confines of her warm and cozy bed. Darting a thin, pale hand into the arctic air, she grabbed the remote for the television she kept in the corner, flicking it on.
She only half-listened to the weatherman droning on about the cold front that had moved through during the night and so only half-cared.
It would change. Weather did, it wasn't a constant.
And so it would change and this not-so-very-special morning would become a not-so-very-special today, evening and night. The only constant was that there was no constant and this helped Rose Tyler sleep at night.
Shoring up her resolve, she shoved back the covers and dashed across the room to grab a jumper from the closet. Grabbing a pair of socks from the top drawer of her bureau, she sat on the edge of her queen-size bed to tug them on.
Wrapping the two sides of her tan cardigan around small frame, she padded through the dark flat to the kitchen. She flicked on the overhead light to combat the gloom, blinking a bit at the glare.
She filled the kettle with water before flicking it on and went to look out the window while she waited for the kettle to boil.
And then she remembered.
She glanced at the calendar, just to make sure she had the date right. She'd stopped writing it on her yearly calendars, years back, but it wasn't as if she'd forget, was it?
"Six years," she said to herself, because who else was with her? She looked at the clock on the stove and mentally corrected herself. Six years in about eight hours, anyway.
Six years since she'd last seen the man she loved, the only one she'd loved. Six years since he'd forced her back here with no way to get back to him.
And then she realized why today was a not-so-special day.
For the first time, in the past six years, she'd woken up without the sharp, keening blade of his betrayal. And it was betrayal, because he had not only let himself die, but he'd forbidden her from the pleasure of doing so. So she had to live without him.
But today, as she thought on it, it was dull. Bittersweet, like when you think of a friend you've not spoken to in years.
And that made it a special day indeed.
Rose Tyler nudged her aching feet out of her shoes as she sat typing. She knew the stiletto heels she habitually wore were a stupid idea, but she still couldn't stop herself from buying them.
And buying them led to wearing them so she wouldn't get a huge sense of buyer's remorse and take them back.
That was also a habit she'd developed.
She minded her own business, often turning her iPod up as loud as she could stand, to cover the chattering of her colleagues.
Women that spent their entire shift sitting and gnattering on about their husbands, children, those last five pounds and stunningly never got bored—thank God she was too self-involved, self-concerned, to worry about making friends with these women—because there was only one man whose babies she'd ever considered having and even that was a stretch.
And these suburban housewives working for a lark wouldn't have understood or believed her, anyway.
So she kept to herself, which suited her just fine on this not-so-special day.
When lunch came round and she shoved her protesting feet back into her gorgeous, gorgeous shoes, she readily acknowledged she'd been shoved screaming and kicking into a rut.
The funny thing about ruts is you don't know how to get out of them.
And what was the point? Another job, just like this one. She stood, locking her computer, shrugging into her mid-thigh-length black and white coat and picked up her bag, leaving the office without saying a word. She hardly ever did.
She didn't notice them caring, either.
She stepped into the brisk wind, wisps of her dark, dark hair curling out of her mature chignon and whipping around her face. She'd fix it when she got back.
Her hair had been dark for a couple years now. The blonde had started as a dare and one she'd taken a liking to. She'd no intention to keep it blonde for very long, but he had expressed his like of it, so she'd kept it. Consciously or subconsciously, she didn't know.
A couple of years ago, it had been time for a change. Now hardly anyone remembered her as a blonde. Most of her time had been spent with the Doctor and Jack. Wasn't like she had a tonne of pictures from that period in her life.
Buttoning her coat against the brisk breeze, she headed down the sidewalk toward the café she usually took a salad and tea at during lunch, to get out of the office. She kept her head down, as much out of protection from the cold as protection from meeting anyone's gaze.
Her arms and elbows were bumped and she was jostled as she made her way through the crowd.
One man bumped into her particularly hard. He hurried past her and she had an impression of…darkness. That was it, darkness. He was a blur of dark clothing and features and a strange accent as he said "sorry" and shoved past her.
Six years ago, she'd've stopped stock still and yelled at the perpetrator. Today she just checked to make sure her bag was still zipped and intact before heading into the café.
She ordered herself the same chicken Caesar salad and cup of Lady Grey that she ordered every afternoon, five days a week. Usually, the cashier was ringing her order up before she'd opened her mouth. She took the little tray that was pushed across the counter at her and carried it to a table by the window.
Lame compared to exploring the universe, but at this point she would take what she could get. It was a good spot, in Piccadilly Circus, and seeing all the different people calmed her when she got particularly antsy. She enjoyed seeing the tourists, the kids, even the regular middle-aged shoppers on their regular, everyday shopping trips.
She added milk to her tea, gave it a quick stir and sipped it, peering out the window.
Today they just bored her.
So she concentrated on her lunch and the impending return to the office in—she glanced at her watch—20 minutes. Not for the first time, she entertained the idea of going back to school…maybe something would lead to a better job, a better life than she had now.
Is this what he would call a fantastic life?
Sometimes she hated him.
She speared a piece of chicken and took a thoughtful bite of it. She'd been single for the better part of two years. Mickey'd tried to pick up where they'd left off, but her grief had been too real, too raw. She'd only wanted one person. One being, she corrected herself. Even now, when she was fine and finally over him, she didn't think she could be with Mickey.
They were different people now. So, he was happy with Trisha. Her mum was happy with her boyfriend of a year, Mike and Shireen was happy with her sparkling new husband.
Rose Tyler was happy alone.
When she was finished with her lunch, she bought a coffee and sipped it as she left the café and headed back to the office. It took the chill out of the wind and she had a special fondness for peppermint and enjoyed the winter months when she could have peppermint mocha.
She rounded the corner and her office building loomed in her very near future. Suddenly, her life once again turned into that surreal, slowed-down, movie quality she'd gotten used to years ago but was disorienting now.
Someone slammed bodily into her, sending her coffee flying in the air. Two hard, strong arms grabbed her and tugged her back, out of the path of the falling, scalding drink. When her breathing began to calm once more, she realized her tiny hand was fisted in the lapel of a dark jacket.
Her lucidity began to return and she unclenched her fingers, smoothing out the wrinkles she couldn't see but knew she'd caused.
"You all right?" The voice was near her ear, a couple inches up and she was pretty sure it belonged to the arms around her. She stepped back a bit and looked up.
She wondered if the shock was evident on her features.
"Hey…you okay?" The man's voice, his features softened, but all Rose could do was stare. His pale eyes searched hers, her face before a look crossed his face. Just a flicker, a split-second thought.
He laughed, sounding half-strangled. "You almost look like a friend of mine. Someone I used to know a long time ago. But you—"
That was all it took. His eyes narrowed, his large hands gripped her upper arms.
Please R/R. Next chapter will be up ASAP. Thanks for reading!