1. Teachers who arrive in the same car in the morning are clearly sleeping together. And very bad at hiding it.
Mickey drops them off. They have, upon Rose's insistence and much to the Doctor's consternation, decided to stay at Jackie's for the duration of this particular "adventure". Quite apart from practical considerations such as the TARDIS getting a well-earned rest, they can at least avoid the rumours that would certainly abound should any student see them coming out of a small blue box together every morning. For some obscure reason the Doctor can't quite understand, no-one will trust him with a car (really, after a telepathic spaceship, how difficult can a silly little Earth vehicle be? Now, if only he knew which pedal was the break…), and so the happy job of chauffeur falls to Mickey.
"You trust Mickey with a car over me? Mickey?! Mickey the Idiot, who can't even remember his own name?" the Doctor sulks, pouting at Rose across the back seat as they pull into the school. Mickey grins at him in the rear-view mirror.
He's not even round the corner before they're hand-in-hand, swinging their arms and chattering happily as they walk in through the main double doors, Mr Smith and Miss Tyler, abysmally playing at being disgustingly ordinary.
The Doctor visits Rose in the kitchen during morning break to tell her that he likes her hat. The other dinnerladies glare. One scrubs a tray with extra, annoyed vigour while another is sharply reprimanded for self-consciously removing her headgear at the comment.
"What?" he says, indignant, and they all go back to silently and grumpily washing breakfast dishes. "That wasn't sarcasm. Can't do sarcasm. Not me. Nope. It's a talent I'm sadly lacking in this body." The room has gone incredibly quiet. He grins, and a dinnerlady wields her brush threateningly. "Did they think I was being sarcastic about their hats? Because really, they're very nice hats. Very, very nice hats. Very, very, very – I'm overdoing it again, aren't I?" he asks, in an audible aside to Rose, after she whacks him in the arm with a teatowel.
Rose nods, giggling, and sends him on his way before the other women boil him in oil.
2. Fancying teachers is morally wrong – unless you're Sarah Clarke and/or your teacher's choice of shoe is the ever-popular Converse.
"God, I hate Physics."
Another Monday afternoon, another year eleven Physics lesson. It's five minutes in – the teacher is late – and Sarah Clarke is already bemoaning their misfortune.
Her friend Abby, however, currently swinging back on her chair and eating strawberry laces, is having none of it.
"We got a new teacher today. Mr Smith, apparently." Even if he turns out to be a boring old sod, at least it'll be interesting for the first few seconds. And maybe they can convince him that the bell for home time goes half an hour earlier than he's been told…
Sarah perks up, all the tricks and games associated with new teachers popping into her mind. "Oh yeah? What's he like?" She hopes he's not old. Old teachers are no fun. "Age? Height? Sexual orientation? Come on, I want details."
"Dunno. 'S only his first day," Abby informs her, fountain of all knowledge. "He had year tens this morning, and none of them lot'll talk to me, not since we framed 'em for stealing all the whiteboard pens last term. Saw him at lunch, though."
Abby's words catch the attention of the next girl along the row, Lucy, who promptly joins in once she's cottoned on to the subject of their conversation.
3. Gossiping about teachers is the only thing that makes them interesting. And, of course, the only thing to gossip about is who is shagging whom, because, obviously, all teachers are sleeping with at least one other member of the faculty. There are no exceptions to this rule. What else do you think the broom cupboards are for?
"Is he the one with the Converses?" Lucy asks, actually pausing the filing assault on her nails in her interest. Abby nods. "He don't look like a teacher. Too fit."
Abby wrinkles her nose. "S'pose, if you're into the whole geeky scientist thing." She grimaces, obviously not into that herself, and nudges her friend significantly.
Sarah, who has a bit of a habit of fancying her teachers and whose most recent ex is currently running the school science fair, sits up straighter. "Ooh!" Then she frowns. "But he's a Physics teacher. He'll hate me. I don't know a circuit breaker from jelly." She looks behind her and scowls at the class swot. "Rhiannon's well in there."
"I dunno about that," Rhiannon-the-swot piped up. "Apparently he's having it off with that new dinnerlady," she supplies helpfully. The boy next to her looks relieved. Sarah pouts.
Lucy turns around smugly, with the air of one who knows something even the class brain doesn't. "What, the blonde one?" Rhiannon nods importantly. "He is and all. Ben Shepard says he saw 'em making out behind the bike sheds."
Sarah sinks down in her seat and folds her arms grumpily. Her sudden interest in Physics has flown right out of the window.
"He's lying," Abby pipes up quickly.
"How'd you know?"
Abby shrugs. "Ben Shepard says anythin'."
Sarah's not disappointed at this half-reason, though. "You were behind there with Adams, weren't you?"
"So what if I was?" Abby throws back, her blush failing her in her attempt to appear unflustered. "Least I'm not lusting after a Physics teacher. What is it with you and teachers, anyway? He's well too old for you."
"I haven't even seen him yet!" Sarah retorts. "'Sides, it sounds like he's got himself a girlfriend. Though…it's not like she's that much older than us. Maybe he's into younger girls." She considers this for a minute, slightly hopeful, then something else occurs to her. "He moves quick." She looks impressed. "Or d'ya reckon he knew her before?"
Rhiannon, source of all knowledge, pipes up again. "They came in together, this morning. Same car. Holdin' hands and everything." Sarah and Lucy look at each other significantly. Rhiannon's words carry weight. She's the only one in the class who actually knows the title of the play they're studying.
"Holding hands?" Abby quips, mock-astonished. "Well, roll out the flippin' bridal train, Rhi. That don't mean nothing."
"Course it does," Rhiannon defends hotly, throwing a glance under the table. Her desk-partner grins.
Lucy comes to her defence. "They was sitting together at lunch."
Sarah waves a hand, dismissive, not quite wanting to believe that the mysterious Mr Smith is at all attached to the young, blonde (she would be blonde, wouldn't she?) dinnerlady she saw at lunch. "I sat next to Billy. Don't mean I'm bonking him."
"You wanna, though," Lucy points out, swishing an accusing, feather-topped pen in her direction.
"That ain't the point!" Sarah retorts, a little too quickly.
"Sarah an' Billy, sittin' in a tree…" Abby starts, grinning, but quickly stops when the look on Sarah's face plainly says she's about to get chewing gum spat into her hair. "God, I dunno how you stand it, even if you are into geeks. I bet he's got food stuck in them braces." They all shudder.
"Shut up. What were they doin' at lunch, Luce?"
Lucy grins knowingly at Abby. "Change of subject, much?"
"So what if it is? Can't we talk about somethin' else?" Sarah asks, indignantly, obviously keen to get off the subject of her impending relationship with Billy-the-braces-boy.
"Don't see what there is to talk about," Lucy informs them, bored. "They was just sitting there."
"Crime against nature, that," Abby notes dryly. Sarah elbows her in the side, and she almost topples over the side of her stool. "Oi, watch it!"
Rhiannon offers up another undeniable fact. "They looked all lovey-dovey this mornin'."
"Lovey-dovey?" Lucy snorts. "Who says that?!"
"Rhiannon does. Obviously," Abby points out, and gets a full view of Lucy's tongue and strawberry hubba bubba for her efforts.
"They did!" Rhiannon defends. "I bet you anything they're engaged before the end of the year."
Sarah scoffs at this. Lucy's gum gets caught around her tongue piercing in her laughter, and she spends the next five minutes staring cross-eyed down at her tongue, trying to pull it off without damaging her fake nails.
"I dunno, Sarah," Abby points out in her "reasoning" voice (a voice she has to use frequently on the teacher-fancying Sarah), grimacing at Lucy. "Remember Mr Avery an' that supply teacher? Rhi was right about them. Three weeks later she's knocked up and he's bought her that honking great ring."
"Doesn't mean anything," her friend retorts, stroppily. Apparently the "reasoning" voice has lost its charm. She may need to bring out the Johnny Depp posters.
"Ooo thus wan im thoo beh thinguh tho ooo don theel baaath athout ogling is ath when ee wites on thuh boar," Lucy puts in, still unwrapping the gum from her piercing.
She removes her fingers from her tongue and tries again. "You just want him to be single so you don't feel bad about ogling his ass when he writes on the board."
"Hey! I'm not – " Sarah begins, hotly, but she's interrupted by one the lads on the front row turning boredly to complain about their conversation.
"Haven't you got anythin' better to talk about?" he grunts, faking a yawn.
"No," they say collectively, and turn back to face each other, Rhiannon leaning over her desk on the row behind to hear.
After a slight pause in which no-one quite knows what to say now that their stride has been broken, Sarah voices a question that has obviously been bothering her for a while. "Has he got a good ass?"
Lucy's laughter hinders her progress with her gum. "Y'can find out for yourself…" Abby mutters, as the much-speculated-about teacher finally enters the room. Sarah lets out a low whistle.
"You were right, Luce. Definitely not teacher material."
Lucy agrees as vehemently as she can with three fingers and a pen attacking her tongue.
Abby pulls a face. "Nah. I dunno. Those shoes really don't go with that suit."
"I like 'em," Sarah decides, leaning back to survey him better as he dumps a large briefcase on the desk.
"You would, just as long as they've got someone good-lookin' in the top of 'em."
"You-oo think he's good-looking!" Sarah sings, pointing a laughing finger at her friend.
"I never said that!" Abby says, a little too loudly, glancing anxiously over to the desk at the front. Mr Smith looks up with a slight frown.
"Alright then, quieten down… You two, with the hair, stop talking."
"You been with your girlfriend, sir?" a voice pipes up from the back, obviously made curious by the girls' earlier conversation.
"I don't see anyone else complaining about my lateness," he says after a moment, smoothing out the puzzled frown that had crossed his forehead. Rhiannon gives a satisfied nod, obviously implying, I was right! He is going out with her! "In fact, I think most of you were probably grateful for it. I know I used to wish for my teachers to be late when I was in school…ooh, a good nine hundred years or so ago now," he grins, and half of the class laugh uncertainly. Sarah giggles shrilly and then hides behind her textbook.
"Yes, well. Shall we get on?" He catches sight of Lucy. "Oh, and I'd appreciate it if you could put your tongue away while I'm trying to teach you about background radiation…thank you."
4. Denial is simply confirmation.
He's marking papers and they're bored out of their minds when they ask him.
"What's her name?" Abby mutters sideways.
"Whose?!" Sarah asks, thrown off. Several minutes and lots of questions have passed since they last covered Mr Smith's potential lovelife.
"That dinnerlady," Abby clarifies impatiently. "The blonde one."
Sarah's reply is more than a little grumpy. They're stuck answering disgusting boring past-paper questions on alpha particles, a subject she knows more about that she's letting on. She's already called Mr Smith over four times for help with the most basic of questions. Finally cottoning onto the fact that she didn't really need his help at all, Mr Smith had asked her if she needed help writing her name, too, and she'd sunk into her seat in embarrassment. "How should I know? I wasn't there, remember? Ask Lucy. Or Rhiannon. She's the one so bloody obsessed with 'em."
Abby does as she's told, sending a loud whisper along the row. "Lucy! Luce!"
Lucy throws a glance over at Mr Smith, making sure he's not watching before she replies. He's absorbed in his papers. "What?"
"That dinnerlady Rhi's convinced him over there" – she jerks a thumb "'s marrying. What's her name?"
"Not a bloody clue," Lucy replies, finally free of her gum and obviously thankful for the distraction from alpha particles. "Don't wear name badges, do they?"
"Rose, he called her this morning," Rhiannon supplies, a little louder than the others due to her distance.
Mr Smith looks up at the name, the slightest of grins tugging at his mouth. Rhiannon straightens up proudly, and Lucy raises her eyebrows.
He's about to lower his head again when Abby thrusts her hand in the air. "Sir!"
Their teacher makes a hm noise, waiting for her question, while Sarah sinks even lower in her seat. She just had to make friends with the mouthy one, didn't she? Of course, they all want to know, though, and if anyone's going to ask, it's going to be Abby.
"Are you shagging that new dinnerlady?"
There's a very long, slightly shocked pause. Even the boys are interested now. Everyone stops twirling their pens and chewing their gum, listening.
"I hardly think that's any of your business," he says, eventually, struggling to maintain his authority but obviously incredibly amused. They all know that said dinnerlady will be getting a full account of this after school.
Lucy raises her eyebrows with a grin. "That means yes."
5. Classroom visits mean love.
Rose returns the favour and comes to visit at break, when the Doctor's keeping his class inside because of the rain. The boys are annoyed, but the girls are secretly pleased that they don't have to go out and ruin their hair. Besides, nosing into other people's relationships is far more interesting than watching football from their usual miserable positions, hunched up on the radiators in the south corridor.
There's a soft knock on the door and a blonde head peeps around the frame before he's had the chance to ask who's there. She's dressed in her own clothes, now, and it's easier to see why such a teacher might go after a dinnerlady when she's not wearing that terrible hat. They grin at each other and he inclines his head in invitation, shifting some papers from the desk. One of the lads whistles.
6. Sitting on the desk is always, always flirting.
They're so caught up in their hushed conversation, Rose perched on the end of the desk and Mr Smith so very delighted with the fairycake she's smuggled out of the kitchen for him that it takes them a moment to notice the silence. The normally rowdy class has abandoned all conversation in favour of simply watching them, hedging mental bets on whether they really are a couple or not. The only sounds echoing through the room are the low hum of the projector and the constant chomp, chomp of old gum. Rose turns around, bemused. "Something I said?" she mutters to the teacher.
"Oh, not exactly," is his carefully measured response. "But I think we may have become the latest addition to the Deffry Vale rumour mill."
A creak issues from the middle row as Sarah leans to her left, practically hanging off her stool in her effort to see the dinnerlady's hands and check for a ring.
Said dinnerlady raises an eyebrow at the man before her. "Do I wanna know?"
Mr Smith grins. "Probably not, no."
7. All school staff members who begin a relationship are doomed to be married with seven extraordinarily mathematically able children and a white picket fence within six months of commencing said relationship. This is a scientifically proven fact.
Two days later, the school blows up and they're gone.
"See?" Rhiannon says triumphantly to Abby in their next lesson (unfortunately, the Maths block was left intact), after Ben Shepard recounts a readily-believed tale of Mr Smith heroically carrying an unconscious dinnerlady to safety - not to mention her kisses of gratitude - despite the fact that they'd all seen her walk out on her own two legs. "I told you so. They've gone to get married."
Sarah doesn't speak to her for the rest of the day.