Chapter 9 – Jelly Babies
Martin walked into the shed and ran his hands along the walls. He found, as he knew was the case, no hidden panels or trapdoors. Stamping on the rocky floor gave him further proof that it was solid. He walked outside and faced the shed, the sagging and splintered doors staring at him with the dirty windows starting like eyes.
"I know what I saw!" he exclaimed. "That's not possible! Ellingham? Have you gone Bodmin along with everyone else in this God-forsaken village?"
"What's that Martin?" a female voice asked and he turned to see Louisa Glasson standing in the road, staring at him with a quizzical look. "God-forsaken? I have heard other people call Port Wenn that, but never you!"
Martin walked towards her and peered down at her from the terrace, two feet above the road surface. She wore her hair in her usual ponytail and was wearing dark jeans, and a brown top of some sort with a cream sweater over her shoulders. He looked down and caught a glimpse of her midriff, and she quickly pulled the shirt down.
"I was…" he cleared his throat, "chasing a… bee. It went into the shed, then it… disappeared."
"A bee? Really? Bit early for bees isn't it?"
"Not really," he said. "It is May."
"Right. Well," she hesitated, "I was taking a walk and…"
Martin looked at Louisa and assumed she thought he was a fool. After the blowup over the scheduling he couldn't blame her. "You saw me acting the fool?"
"No, not really." She hugged herself. "Bit cool this evening, isn't it?"
Her arms dropped and twisted her handbag. "Well…" she squinted up at him. "I'll be off," she said with some sadness.
"I… erh, Louisa…"
She stopped in mid-stride. "Yes?"
"Erm… have you eaten, dinner, I mean?"
"Bit late for you, isn't it? Past 6:30. I know how you feel about eating late – your carbohydrate curfew – all that."
Martin straightened his coat. "Uhm. I had a patient to attend. So I… haven't had a chance to."
"Oh? Really. Well I haven't eaten either."
He answered nervously. "Well. Best if we ate then. Low blood sugar can result from eating too infrequently."
"Yes," she replied. "Good idea that. A patient you said? Anyone I know?"
"No. A visitor to the village."
He nodded. "Yes, a tourist… from Chiswick." He cleared his throat. "I could cook some dinner… for the two of us, I mean." His face fell. "There's fish and potatoes and sprouts. Wouldn't take long."
She looked around. "Sounds better than fish and chips as a take-away. Ok." She put out a hand and Martin took it to help her up the steep steps.
"There," she said, smoothing her hair at her brow. "The breeze mussed up my hair."
Martin looked at her shining head of brunette strands. "Still… it looks nice… But it is breezy."
A twinkle came to her eye. "Were you complimenting my hair? You've never done that before." She ended with a smile.
Martin was caught off guard. "I can tell that you're getting adequate nutrition, which if you did not, would cause your hair to be brittle with easily broken strands. Still taking the multi-vitamins?"
"Yes, I am." She looked down at her handbag which had taken on that twisting motion again.
"Is there something else?"
"Martin, well, I really wasn't just taking a walk."
"About the school schedule kerfuffle…"
Martin held up his hand. "I know, I know. I should not have flown off the handle."
"And neither should I."
They stood there looking at one another, not quite certain what to say next, then his mobile rang.
He hesitated before he moved to pull it from his suit coat. "I should…"
"Yes, take it."
He answered briskly. "Ellingham."
"Doc? Doc? It's Donna!"
Martin heard his recent patient yelling at him and somehow his phone was on speaker mode. He fiddled with the buttons but it did not good, just kept blasting her voice out loud. "Everything all right?"
"Fine! Fine! Say we're just back from the Infirmary."
"Infirmary? Which one? How did you get there? Is everything all right?" Martin shouted with rising concern.
Another voice came on the line. "Doctor Ellingham?" said the Doctor. "It's… Smith."
"Yes," said Martin. "Where did you go?"
"Something wrong?" asked Louisa.
"No," replied Martin curtly to the head teacher.
"Is that Louisa, Doc?" yelled Donna Noble.
"Yes. It is," he said factually.
"She's pretty. Very! Hi Louisa! I'm Donna."
Louisa spoke up. "Hi!" but then she whispered to Martin. "How can they see me? You got your video-mobile camera on, Martin?"
"No, I haven't," said the stressed out doctor. "Is everything right, of a medical nature?"
The Doctor answered cheerily. "Donna's hand is doing fine, Doc. We went to the Philo Infirmary on Radilax Beta. They've taken out the drain and told us everything's fine. Said you did a fine job – for a human."
Martin was stunned. "But you just left not minutes ago!"
"Minutes?" said John Smith. He stammered. "Well… been a few days in our time frame - not yours. But Donna's fine and she wanted to call and let you know."
Martin pursed his lips. "Time. Yes…." He looked down at Louisa, her smiling face brilliant in the fading sunlight. "Anything else?"
The Doctor laughed. "No."
Martin looked at Louisa. He'd rather speak to Louisa than those two. "Then goodbye. But if there is anything of a medical nature…"
"We'll call! Bye Doc! Bye Louisa!" echoed Smith and Donna and the line went dead.
Martin looked at his mobile. The call had lasted for zero minutes and zero seconds and the number was unknown. "Hmm." He snapped the mobile closed and dropped it back into his pocket. Probably need a new one, he thought to himself. Obviously defective.
Louisa butted into his thinking. "They sounded nice. That was?"
"The patient. Donna and her friend Smith."
"Oh. Right." Louisa checked her watch. "That offer still good for dinner, Martin?"
"It is." He pointed to the side of the cottage. "Let's go into the kitchen as that door is open."
They took a few steps and Martin peered into the open garden shed, whipped his head about then closed the doors and latched them.
"Been working in the shed?" Louisa asked.
"Uhm, yes. Just a bit of clearing up." He took her elbow. "The cod I have is enough for two. Best get to it."
Louisa smiled at Martin. "Yes, I'd like that."
Martin glanced back at the shed and around the sides of the cottage, and finally up at the cloudless sky searching for something. He saw nothing that looked like a blue police box. Then he followed Louisa into the cottage and shut the door.
The Doctor snapped off the viewscreen, on which he and Donna had been watching Doc Martin and Louisa Glasson from the command console of the TARDIS.
Donna stretched her arms. "He is a strange man, your friend the Doc."
"Well, he's not a bad sort. Brilliant surgeon. Good thing he's in that village, though."
"Oh, really. Why's that?"
"He was, well, still is, a brilliant surgeon. Quite the shock to all concerned when he pulled up stakes from London and landed in Cornwall as a GP." Smith chuckled a bit. "I had to try very hard not to laugh when he vomited after operating on your arm. You had passed out by then."
"Was it that… yucky?" She shivered and rubbed her arms.
"No. Not really. It wasn't because of the creature. It was the blood, human blood." He smiled. "Shame really. One of the UK's finest surgeon's side lined by being afraid of the sight of blood."
"How'd you know that? Did he tell you that?"
"No. I've been here, that is in the village before. You see in about twelve years' time there will be a ship run aground on those rocks outside the harbor in ferocious storm. Doctor Ellingham will have himself airlifted aboard by the Coast Guard, and there he will treat, successfully, I might add, half the crew who had been burned by live steam in the wreck. Marvelous effort."
Donna stood by the console open mouthed. "You didn't tell him, did you?"
"No. No spoilers from me." He swiped at his spikey hair and grinned. "And Louisa, she'll be there too."
Donna pursed her lips. "Are those two… well, you know. Will they get on? The man seemed very lonely, underneath it all."
The Doctor smiled at his companion. He would keep some secrets. He reached into his jacket pocket and rooted around slowly, then checked all the pockets in a hurry. "Damn!"
"No." The Doctor chuckled and reached for the controls on the console.
"Allons-y !" he shouted as he pushed the master lever, sending the TARDIS on a spinning trip through time and space.
Donna's tinkling laugh followed them down a swirling tunnel of the continua.
Louisa watched as Martin skinned and gutted the fish and prepared the meal. She had offered to help, but he declined.
"You are my guest," he told her imperiously.
So she sat at the kitchen table, drinking water from a tall glass. She'd have liked red wine, but she didn't want him to think she was a lush. Drumming her fingers on the wood she looked around the kitchen. She'd not been in here that many times, but the room was always spic and span. She liked that in a man – and this one did know how to clean. But there was one thing out of place and it was on the chair next to hers. She picked it up and held it in her hand.
She smiled, admiring Martin's backside as his trousers went tight across his bum, as he put the fish into the oven. Not bad, she thought.
"Twenty minutes," he said. "Need more water?"
"I'm fine," she said quickly, hoping that Martin had not caught her peering at his derriere. "But there is one thing."
He turned from the cooker where he was now stirring potatoes as they boiled. "Yes?"
Grinning from ear to ear she held up a paper packet. "I had no idea, Martin that you indulged." She pushed thumb and finger inside and took out a red jelly baby, holding it out for his inspection.
"Oh, God," the GP muttered. "Smith must have left those."
Louisa popped the candy into her mouth before he could stop her. "Delicious. Quite fresh. Want one?"
Martin wondered how many - what did Smith, the Doctor,say? Hundreds of millions of trillions of miles, those had likely traveled.
His lips rose into a sneer, then he held out his hand. "I'll try one."
"Oh? Well then," she dug into the bag, pulled one out and walked to him. "Open up."
Martin looked down at the head teacher, her smooth and shiny brunette ponytail bouncing as she came forward. He looked at the woman, opened his mouth and she shoved the candy into his mouth.
Louisa held her hand for a moment on Martin's lips. "Ah…" she withdrew her fingers quickly.
Martin, with a startled look on his face, began to chew.
"You know," he started to say, "These are the worst of empty calories."
"Yeah," she responded testily. "So what?"
Martin swallowed the carbohydrates and coloring. It was yellow; he could tell from the flavor. He thought what Smith had told him. Time – best not to waste time. And the other message said the same.
He hurriedly damped out a rejoinder about candy, harmful sugars, and waistlines that was about to spring from his mouth.
Time. Maybe it was time, he thought. Louisa Glasson stood there expectantly and so beautiful and he longed to know her better.
"Yes. You may be right," he said kindly.
Louisa smiled hugely as she popped another jelly baby into her mouth and laughed.
- Finis -
Allons-y: This version of the Doctor frequently says this. Means in French – Let's go!
This story was suggested to my fevered brain while watching Louisa Glasson eat jelly babies in Season 4. Now, I said to myself, that's really interesting as the Doctor – the other Doctor – eats jelly babies. That was it and the title was far too obvious. I just brought the Doctor to the present (Number 10 – played by David Tenant) and there you go.
Thank you for reading my tale of sci-fi / medical / comedic / dramatic doggerel.
For those who have commented or written reviews, I stand in your debt, as some of the questions that you asked definitely influenced this story for the better.
See you in Port Wenn or in the Stars!