18, Goshawk Avenue.
It had happened quite suddenly. One day Mr and Mrs Brigham were getting their things together, ready to move, (Mr Brigham had got a new job, somewhere up north) and the next day they had arrived. Mr and Mrs Jones, they called themselves.
Naturally the neighbours had begun to gossip. After all, nobody had seen them move in. There had been no great big removal vans, unloading furniture and belongings, no friends helping them get settled, nothing. They just, arrived.
But of course, none of this mattered, because the main cause for the gossip was that there was now a black woman living in Goshawk Avenue, with a white husband. That was the real scandal here. She worked in Coxes, the department store, behind the perfume counter. Mrs Chinnery had seen her a few times, and she seemed like a very nice girl, well spoken, dressed smartly, neatly manicured nails, gold band on her wedding finger, nothing too out of the ordinary. Martha, that's what she'd said her name was.
Mr Jones, on the other hand, now he was a different story. He didn't seem to work. Each morning he would kiss his wife on the cheek and wave to her as she set off to work, before turning around and closing the front door of the house behind him. Mrs Reed said that she'd been hanging her washing out on the line on Wednesday afternoon when she heard the bangs coming from the shed in next door's garden. She'd called tentatively out to Mr Jones, peering over the garden wall. He'd erupted from the shed with a manic grin on his face and greeted her warmly. "Nothing to worry about" he had said, "just a few experiments". Mrs Reed had nodded, managed a smile, before scurrying back into her kitchen to peel potatoes.
After hearing this, the women of Goshawk Avenue had begun to feel a little sympathy for Mrs Jones, working all hours to support an eccentric husband who barely lifted a finger. But Mrs Jones always seemed fairly happy with her way of life, smiling whenever she saw one of her neighbours, chatting amiably if both of them had a spare moment, not even flinching, Mrs Reed had noted, when more loud bangs echoed from the shed behind her. They had been talking about the new shop which was opening on Broadway Street, and, as though it was a perfectly normal thing, three loud bangs had sounded from the shed and Martha had continued talking, not even batting an eyelid.
It was then that Mr Jones erupted once more from the shed, a strange contraption in his hand. "Martha!" he had said excitedly, "Get your coat! We're going out."
"He's an inventor," Martha supplied to Mrs Reed, who was looking between the contraption held in Mr Jones' hand and Martha, who seemed quite at ease with the whole thing. "Nothing to worry about, he knows what he's doing."
There was that phrase again, 'nothing to worry about'. However this sentiment didn't ease Mrs Reed's troubled mind, it just made her feel that there was most likely was something to worry about. However, she had said goodbye to the Joneses and walked back down her garden path, back into the kitchen before bolting the door behind her. Although she wasn't scared of Mr and Mrs Jones, because they were very nice people, if a little odd, Mrs Reed still felt very uneasy about their presence in Goshawk Avenue.
It was soon put out of her mind as Mr Reed called out, asking for a large brandy.
It was a warm Saturday evening when some of the men knocked on the front door of 18, Goshawk Avenue. Martha had opened the door, greeting the men with a warm smile.
"Hello Mrs Jones," the man standing closest to the front had said, tipping his cap in a polite manner. "We were just wondering if Mr Jones would like to join us for a drink. The Open Arms is showing the darts final, so we thought we'd make a bit of an evening of it."
"I'll just ask him," she told them, flashing another smile. "I won't be a minute," she turned on her heel and strode down the hallway, disappearing into a room on the right. Thirty seconds later, Mr Jones appeared in the hallway, his wife following behind him.
"Good evening, gents! I'd be delighted to join you this evening. Martha dear, could you fetch my coat?" Mrs Jones had smiled, although this time it hadn't been as warm, and it was a little too sweet.
"Oh sorry, darling!" she exclaimed as Mr Jones let out a yelp of pain. The heel of her shoe had caught his foot, causing him to grab his sore foot, whilst hopping up and down on the other one, before resuming a normal standing position once he realised holding his foot would do no good, and he looked quite silly as well. He watched Mrs carefully as she walked to the coat hooks, picking up his long brown overcoat and returning, helping him put it on.
"Don't wait up, dear," he had told her.
"I won't," she replied confidently. "But do be quiet when you return, if I wake up I shall never get back to sleep."
"We wouldn't want that, would we, dear?" Mrs Jones did not reply. "Goodbye then, dear," he leaned over and kissed her on the cheek.
"Have a nice time, darling," she had replied as he stepped through the front door, following the men as they walked back down the path and onto the pavement. Mrs Jones waited only a few moments before shutting the door. Nobody heard her frustrated yell or saw her rip off the apron that she had tied around her waist. Nor did they hear her mutter all the ways that the Doctor was going to be killed.
He had stumbled in at one o'clock. Martha was most definitely not impressed. There had been a crash downstairs as he knocked over something large, and then there had been a series of thumps and bumps as he'd made his way up the stairs.
"You reek," Martha had told him as he'd climbed into bed. It was true, he smelt of ale and cigars, as well as that old pub smell that attacked the nostrils as soon as one opened the door to step inside.
"Martha," he sounded quite serious, so Martha rolled over to find him facing her, his hair looking quite dishevelled and his brown eyes glazed over slightly.
"What?" Martha asked quietly.
"You're my best friend," he slurred, and Martha frowned disapprovingly, before turning over once more so her back was facing him. "No but seriously though, I love you like an Aeron loves grass casserole. Grasserole, they call it sometimes." Martha didn't let him see the small smile that had begun to form on her features, and she didn't bother taking his hands off of her when they wrapped around her waist, pulling her a little closer for a hug. He stopped talking, and Martha was quite able to fall asleep, having trained her ears to block out the loud snoring that issued from the Doctor on a nightly basis.
Mrs Jones had been hanging out an assortment of shirts and ties on the washing line when Mrs Reed had spotted her. "Hello Martha," she had called cheerily as she stepped out into the garden, and Martha pegged the last of the shirts to the line before walking over to the wall.
"Hello Beatrice, how are you?" Beatrice also made her way over to the wall, to continue with the conversation.
"Oh, absolutely fine, just looking after my David, he's got a bit of a sore head after last night's activities." Martha smiled knowingly.
"Jonathan's the same, you probably realised," Martha nodded over to the shed, which had been very quiet for the first time in weeks. "He's still in bed complaining, as though it's not his own fault for drinking so much. Still, I'm sure he'll be fine by the time I serve up some dinner."
"They always are," Beatrice replied. "David said that Jonathan's a very funny man, said the whole lot of them were laughing non-stop last night."
"Yes, he does have his moments, always gives you a reason to smile," she smiled fondly, accentuating the point. "Anyway, I'll have to love you and leave you, Beatrice; I need to pop down to the butchers before it closes."
Half an hour later, Mrs Reed heard a loud bang, and concluded that Mr Jones was now back to his old self again. She handed Mr Reed a glass of water and a couple of aspirin, before going upstairs to change the sheets on the beds.
Eventually, the gossip had died away. Mrs Jones was welcomed into the friendship circle that the women of Goshawk Avenue had formed, and every Saturday the men of Goshawk Avenue went to The Open Arms, Mr Jones, (now officially part of the group) never failed to make every one of the men laugh at some point throughout the course of the evening, which then led to the women of Goshawk Avenue being told on Sunday afternoon (because Sunday morning came and went without so much as a peep from any of them) how Jonathan Jones was one of the funniest men they'd ever met, even if he did say strange things sometimes.
Mrs Jones became increasingly popular when she brought several small sample perfumes to one of the coffee mornings one Sunday. Coxes had said to Mrs Jones that she could have them, as they had never got round to using them, and Mrs Jones had graciously accepted, deciding to share them out with the women of Goshawk Avenue, much to their delight.
Nobody said anything about the bangs coming from Mr Jones' shed, for they were now a regular occurrence, and it seemed far too quiet without them. There had been one occasion, after a particularly loud bang, that the roof of the shed had ended up in Mrs Reed's garden. Mr Jones had apologised, although there was still a grin on his face, and set about mending his shed.
Mrs Jones had been promoted to head of the perfume department, and this meant that on the following Saturday, it was the women of Goshawk Avenue who were in The Open Arms, enjoying a drink or two, celebrating Mrs Jones' new position. The men had been left at home, either looking after children or trying to find some entertainment on the television. The men of Goshawk Avenue ended up going to bed fairly early that Saturday, missing their wives for the first time in a long time.
"Doctor," the Doctor opened one eye and saw Martha's silhouette in the doorway. She let out an uncharacteristic giggle and shut the door behind her. She was already in her nightdress, so she crawled into bed, if a little clumsily, and snuggled up in the duvet, trying not to giggle whilst looking up at the Doctor, who was facing her, holding back a smile.
"Martha Jones, don't tell me you're drunk."
"Me? Drunk? You have to be joking!" she giggled again, tucking her head into the duvet and hiding her face, looking very much like a child who'd been caught out of bed and sent back there by the more lenient of the two parents.
"Why do I not believe you for one second, Martha Jones?" Martha peeked up at him from under the duvet again, and although the Doctor couldn't see her lips, he knew she was smiling. The duvet around her shoulders shifted and the Doctor took it as a shrug, resisting the urge to laugh at his companion. He remembered that she'd not laughed at him, even though he'd compared her to a Grasserole, and even more embarrassingly, compared himself to an Aeron. No, in the morning he would make her something to eat and provide her with some aspirin, just as she'd done for him.
"I'm head of the perfume department," she whispered loudly, "I got promoted."
"And very pleased you should be too," the Doctor told her.
"Doctor?" he raised his eyebrows at her, showing he was listening. "You're my best friend," she told him, giggling after she said it. "And I love you like I love Harry Potter."
"Which Harry Potter?" he asked, fishing for more, admittedly strange, but nevertheless ego flattering compliments.
"Maybe, the third one. My favourite one. I don't know though, I'll have to reread it and decide."
"Decide if it's your favourite?"
"No, decide if I like you as much as I like that." The Doctor rolled his eyes and looked down at Martha once more. Her eyelids had fluttered shut and she was now breathing evenly, no giggles, no talking. The Doctor smiled and put an arm around her. Perhaps he would laugh...once he was out of earshot.
It had happened quite suddenly. One day Mrs Jones had come home to find a blue police box in her garden, the next, she, Mr Jones, and the police box had vanished. The men of Goshawk Avenue would not tell their wives how funny Jonathan Jones had been the previous evening, because he wasn't there. The women of Goshawk Avenue would have to purchase perfume, instead of using the small sample bottles that Mrs Jones had used to supply them with. There were no loud bangs echoing from the shed of 18, Goshawk Avenue, it just sat there, still and quiet.
Soon enough, Mr and Mrs Ramsay had moved in, with their children Dominic and Jessica. Although they were a nice family, they possessed none of the eccentricities that the Joneses did. Mr Ramsay would kiss his wife on the cheek each morning before he set off to work, leather briefcase in his right hand, shoes highly polished, suit immaculate. Mrs Ramsay would spend the day washing clothes, cleaning the house and preparing the evening meal. Jessica and Dominic were welcomed by the other children in the street and were often seen playing outside, laughing happily and talking with the other children. Mrs Reed had conversations with Mrs Ramsay over the garden wall, chatting cheerfully, but not forgetting the pretty woman she used to enjoy speaking to when she got the chance.
Even when the Ramsays had been in the house for well over a year, the rest of Goshawk Avenue had not forgotten the married couple who had lived at number 18 for three and a half months. The couple who were never seen again.
Not for a while, at least.
"Mr and Mrs Jones!" Martha turned around, and so did the Doctor. It had been a good few months since they had been called that, and after numerous jibes about each others' drunken ramblings and comparisons to Grasseroles and Harry Potter, they had decided to put it behind them. "My goodness, you don't look a day older than when I saw you last!" Martha looked at the frail old woman, trying to work out if she knew her, or whether she hadn't met her yet. Tricky business, time travel. Although, she had called them 'Mr and Mrs Jones', and she doubted that she and the Doctor would be taking on those roles again anytime soon.
"Beatrice?" Martha asked, hardly believing it.
"You remember! Goodness knows I've changed, unlike you two! Did you invent age reversal in that shed then, Mr Jones?"
"Mr Jones?" Leo had joined them, handing a bottle of water to Martha and opening his own, taking a sip. When no one explained he said, "You married my sister and took her name?" Martha noticed Beatrice glance down at the place where a wedding ring had once been on Martha's finger. The Doctor was looking up at the sky, hands deep in his pockets, trying to find the best way to explain the odd marriage, without giving too much away to Beatrice. "Wait 'til Mum hears this," Leo said excitedly, "She'll go potty!"
The Doctor decided that it was the right time to drag Leo away, leaving Martha to explain to Beatrice about the strange circumstances. He watched as Martha smiled at Beatrice, who smiled back, and walked into an old fashioned sweet shop. Mr Reed had asked her that morning to get him some toffee while she was out.
"So what exactly are your intentions for my sister?" Leo asked, grinning cheekily as Martha made her way through the crowds of people to where they were standing.
The Doctor cast Leo a withering look, which quite plainly said 'don't even go there', and Leo dropped the subject, not noticing that when the Doctor took Martha's hand in his own, there was a gold band on his wedding finger, similar to the ring Martha had taken to wearing around her neck on a fine gold chain.
Perhaps being Mr and Mrs Jones had been more enjoyable than they would allow themselves to remember.