Donna had thought about Jack Hart a lot since that night he walked her home. For some reason he infuriated her. She couldn't tell why, but she had this itching feeling as though she should just run away from him, as far as she possibly could. But there was something drawing her to him, no matter how hard she tried to deny it. Those penetrating blue eyes, that dazzling smile. She would drift off at work, lost in a reverie about that night, or nights that could yet come. He had asked for her number, hadn't he? But what could someone like him ever want with her? She was nothing but a secretary! Even so, there was something lurking beneath his charming exterior that made her feel like he knew her better than she knew herself. And it scared her, more than she would have liked to admit. And more rightly so than she could ever have imagined.
Jack Hart. Why did he have to choose 'Hart' as his last name? John would have a field day over that one if he ever found out, Jack mused.
It was Friday afternoon and he was sitting in his office, twirling a pen around and twiddling his thumbs. It wasn't often like this in the Torchwood hub; things had been quiet lately. A little too quiet. Where was Ianto when you needed him? Jack hadn't had coffee in a while and besides, there were certain other things he could think of to fill up a boring afternoon.
But somehow, thoughts of the Welshman didn't seem quite as appetising to Jack as they used to. Ianto had certainly seemed closed off of late, but that wasn't quite it.
The name of the fiery redhead kept coming back to Jack, no matter how far he tried to push her from his mind. She was at the forefront of his thoughts practically all the time. He hadn't seen her for three days and although he was worried about her safety, he knew that wasn't the reason he was thinking about her.
Something had passed between them on the night with the weevil. Jack hadn't been certain of it at the time, but he was seeing her differently now. He could remember the way the moonlight had bounced off her head in sheens of silver, highlighting her hair like a crown. Her eyes were sparkling in his mind and her voice reverberated around his head. But it wasn't just that. He wanted to talk to her, ask her things; he was refreshed by her no-nonsense attitude and found her amusing. Not in a patronising way, mind. She had been genuinely funny and he was sure she was aware of her charm.
There was only one thing for it. He had to establish a friendship, a relationship, of sorts, with her to ensure he could look after her properly.
Yes, he told himself. It was for her own safety. Not his own enjoyment, of course.
Donna sat on the bus, looking out at the wet and windy December night. She didn't know what was wrong with the weather here – it was so mercurial. The atmosphere around Cardiff certainly was peculiar. The rainwater dripped down the glass and she watched the swirls and eddies liquidate the streets. Her mobile phone beeped unexpectedly, interrupting her thoughts.
Slightly flustered, Donna hastily answered it. "Hello?"
"Donna? Hi, it's Jack! Jack Hart."
"Oh, hello …" she was even more flustered now. This was the last thing she'd expected, even though she'd thought of practically nothing but him for the last three days.
"How are you?"
"Fine. Listen, I'm on the bus right now, can I call you back later?"
"Not a chance. Either let me down nicely now, or maybe I won't ring again!"
Was he flirting with her? Again?
"Alright." Donna was more than a little confused by his behaviour.
"Listen, what are you doing tonight?"
"Uh, well …" Donna didn't want to admit that she had no plans. "I might be meeting some friends, but …"
"Any chance you could cancel? I'd love to take you out."
Was Donna imagining this? A handsome, albeit slightly arrogant man just walks into her life and takes a fancy to her – there was no way she could say no, no matter how 'infuriating' she found him. Besides, he'd been nice. And it wasn't like she'd be taking up with a complete stranger, was it? Well, she had only spent about half an hour with him. But he felt more familiar than some friends she'd known a number of years. The personification of déjà vu, even though he was such a mysterious stranger.
"I said okay, didn't I?"
"Brilliant. I'll pick you up around eight?"
"Eight it is."
She couldn't help but grin to herself for the rest of the journey home.
Donna had been getting herself ready for at least an hour. She didn't want to call her rendezvous with Jack a 'date' per say, but it was the first alone time she'd had with a man since Lance. That had all seemed so long ago, she could barely remember why they'd broken up in the end. Something to do with his sister-in-law. She'd been a complete monster, that woman. So destructive. It was funny, though; how the memories had faded … she could barely remember why she'd ended up hating him so much. How much he'd hurt her.
Still, it was all in the past and there was a new avenue opening up for Donna if tonight went well …
She'd chosen to wear a flattering, deep purple v-neck sweater with embroidered edges and what she thought was a classy gold chain. Her jet-black slacks streamlined her figure and she had her auburn tresses tumbling down, framing her face in loose curls and waves. Make-up was kept to a minimum and all in all, she thought she looked pretty good. The bell rang at quarter past eight.
She opened the door in a deliberately slow manner, careful not to look too eager.
"Hello," she said in a purposefully low, unnatural voice.
Jack looked slightly taken aback.
"Hi there," he uttered, as charming as ever. "I brought you flowers." He held out a bunch of blood red roses, beautifully bundled up. I wonder if they're a bit risky, he thought. The choice of flower definitely was significant and maybe a little familiar; roses. Even so, he was also worried she might think him a little keen.
But if Donna thought him too extravagant, she didn't show it. She took the flowers inside, practically treasuring them.
"I'll put them in a vase later. Shall we go?"
Jack had decided to take her to a fish bar near the bay. Again, he worried that the location might be a little too Torchwood-orientated, but he'd been to this restaurant before and knew it was intimate yet inviting. They'd been talking and laughing, relaxed into conversation as if they were old friends.
Pouring Donna her third glass of red wine, Jack gave her a deep stare across the table. The candlelight luminated her face and she really did look beautiful.
"You look beautiful," he admitted, though whether it was to her or himself he couldn't be sure.
Donna didn't simper or blush like other women might have done. She smiled at him, straight on, looking him dead in the eyes.
"Thank you," she said. Her eyes continued to bore into him and he had to look away. "Shall we order dessert?"
This time the walk back was much less controversial than the first time he delivered her safely home. They chatted and joked happily, and both felt a feeling of disappointment when they finally reached Donna's flat.
"Would you – like to come in for a cup of tea?" Donna asked him with some slight trepidation, holding up the keys to her humble abode.
Jack wavered. He really, really wanted to go in. He wanted to spend more time with her, talk to her more, maybe even brave kissing her. But something was stopping him. This was too dangerous; he just didn't know enough about the Metacrisis. Who knew what could happen?
"Uh, I think I should head home, actually. I have an early start tomorrow." Donna's smile faltered.
"But I'll call you again – soon!" Jack leaned in for a goodnight kiss, not sure whether he was aiming for her lips or her cheek. He just started to close his eyes, thinking he might as well give her a proper smooch –
Donna dropped her keys in surprise. "Oh, shit, I'm sorry," she muttered, hastily bending down to pick them up. The moment had been ruined. Jack rapidly stepped away, arms behind his back, looking slightly bashful. What was wrong with him? He wasn't usually like this with women, men, or anyone else for that matter.
"Well, good night." Donna smiled almost coyly, while Jack retreated down the steps.
Walking along the street, he looked back at the flat. He could see her in the living room, a silhouette against the beige curtains. What have I got myself into? He thought.