"How's this, Doctor?"
"What?" The Doctor looked up from his book, jerked out of his reverie. His eyes widened. Rose was wearing a striking midnight blue dress that sparkled silver. "You look … beautiful," he said once he'd regained control of his mouth. "What's the occasion?"
Rose had blushed at the compliment, but still managed to convey exasperation as she said, "I'm going out with the girls from work. I did tell you."
"Oh, yes. You'll be at the place on the corner by the market, right?"
"Yeah, the Northern Lights."
"Great name for a pub," the Doctor chuckled. "Well, have fun. But remember, the rule of Cogodian alcohol is remarkably similar to the golden rule of visiting planets."
"Don't wander off?"
"No, the one which says the prettier it is, the more likely it is to kill you."
"Oh, that one. So for drinks …"
"It's the same principle. The prettier the drink, the less likely you are to know your name the next morning." The Doctor paused, thinking. "Avoid anything lilac or containing fruit pieces. I don't want to get a call in the early hours asking to come and get you because you can't remember where you live."
"All right, I promise; I don't want a repeat of New Camden either."
Rose had been looking forward to her first night out on Em Yle ever since Dya and Oajrey had asked her. They were both waiting for her outside the pub, and waved cheerfully, though as Rose drew nearer they seemed to be having a whispered argument.
"I'm telling you, you should have told her …" Dya trailed off and smiled at Rose, though now it looked slightly forced. "Hi, Rose."
"Hi. What's wrong?"
They glanced at each other awkwardly, but before either could answer, a voice called from behind Rose. "I'm here!"
Rose turned, and the smile on Naradi's face faded. "Oh. Hi, Rose."
"I thought it was just going to be the three of us," Rose said, rounding on the other two.
"Sorry," Oajrey said. "I'd already invited both of you when I heard about … uh. You know."
"I'd have told you," Dya said, shooting a dark glance at Oajrey, "but I didn't know you didn't know."
A very awkward silence stretched. "Well, we're all here now," Oajrey said, trying to sound cheerful. "So, why don't we go in?"
Rose avoided looking at Naradi as the four of them found a table in silence. The two hadn't spoken since the Snogroom incident, unless you counted the short exchange that had taken place right after Elsa had clocked the Doctor, and he had headed back to the flat to change out of his coffee-and-blood covered shirt.
"Naradi," Rose had said coldly. The other woman had jumped and looked incredibly guilty.
There were many things she could have said. Many things she wanted to say, along the lines of "Keep your claws off my man", but settled instead for simply, "I swapped our shifts around. Hope you don't mind. But I like to spend some time with my companion on the weekends."
Naradi had gone bright red as Rose narrowed her eyes at her, and squeaked that it was fine with her. And that had been the end of it. The two had barely made eye contact since.
Although, deep down, she knew Naradi wasn't really to blame, Rose couldn't help resenting her. The thought of them together gave her a feeling akin to when the Doctor had joked about 'rectifying' their marriage. For a moment her heart had leapt and she had thought he was serious. But it hadn't taken long for her common sense to sink in—he'd never shown any inclination to take their relationship a single step further, ever; it was just one of his badly-timed quips. Despite the pain that caused, she'd somehow been able to laugh it off. With Naradi, she wasn't prepared to be so forgiving.
"I'm sorry," Oajrey said in a low voice to Rose. "But I couldn't just uninvite one of you."
"You could have told me she'd be here."
"I was going to, but … I admit I got distracted by the allergic reaction thing."
"Why is it that my life seems to be all everyone gossips about?" Rose said, annoyed.
"Probably because it's a lot more interesting than the rest of ours," Oajrey said with a laugh. "So, can you forgive me?"
"If you buy me a drink. Something that won't send me back to the hospital, thanks."