The locations I used in this chapter are real places. Lots of people know about Las Vegas, but I don't think anyone's ever heard of Summerlin South. It Googled it and it's actually about 20 minutes outside of Vegas and looks like a very nice place.
Doctor's POV, continued from last chapter's time
Looking down on her, humming so sweetly, so tunelessly now the song had ended, I realised just why Clara was so important to me. Why'd it taken so long for me to realise?
I loved her.
Clara, Clara, Clara. How had you, of the many billions of women in the universe, make me fall in love with you? I slowly walked to the chair and sat down, eyes still locked on her. I couldn't love her. Because I loved her, I couldn't love her. She couldn't be hurt because of me, not by the Daleks, not by the Cybermen, not by anyone or anything. I wanted her biggest fear to be that man Eric. I should have left. I should leave now.
Clara was scribbling furiously on the page before her, oblivious to everything that was going on in my head. I remembered her being in pain and how I couldn't stand watching her, unable to make it stop. How could I leave her?
And I wouldn't leave her. In the few days I'd known her for, I knew she could handle herself. I had to tell her. Soon. Maybe not right this second, but soon. She had a right to know, after all. Didn't she?
How could I tell her? "Good morning, Clara. How did you sleep last night? Oh, by the way, I'm in love with you." Yep. Pretty sure that wasn't going to work.
"Doctor?" Clara's voice broke my thoughts from turning into a full-blown panic attack. I looked up at her.
"Yes, Clara?" I asked her and she smiled. Oh, her smile. It far surpassed the radiance of any sun I'd ever seen.
"I'm done." She said, gesturing to the little stack of paper to her left. Was she a fast writter or had time passed just that fast?
"Where to now?"
"How 'bout outside the facility?"
I raised my eyebrow. "Outside? You sure you want to let a 'hostile' outside?"
She laughed. It was like a tinkling bell. "Your not a hostile, Doctor." She stood up with a childishly devious smile. "C'mon!" She grabbed my hand and pulled me up and to the door. Droppng my hand to open the door, she surpressed the smile only long enough to get to the elevator, then it was back. We exited the elevator, and Clara led me through a series of hall, then out a security check, then finally out into the soon-to-be-setting sunlight.
"What state is this again?" I asked.
"Nevada." She smiled. "We're about 20 minutes outside of Las Vegas."
"Ah, Vegas." I murmured. "The city that truly never sleeps." She gave a little laugh. "What city are we in, then?"
"You set up a top secret FBI base 20 minutes outside of Las Vegas?"
She full-out laughed. "Yes. Now, out of view of the building..." We walked along a little-worn path until we passed a thick grouping of trees into a clearing. Clara walked to the middle and sat down on the grass, and I sat down next to her.
We were quiet for a few minutes, listening to the sounds of birds flying overhead, the gentle brushing of the winds through the trees, before Clara spoke.
"How did you get into my base?" She asked quietly.
"Like I said before, my ship." I answered, and she frowned.
"There aren't any ports in Summerlin South, and if you came by ship you'd know where you are." Her frown deepened. "And you could not have gotten into the AROU by just walking in."
I sighed. "Sometime, Clara, sometime soon... I'll tell you everything." I promised her. She seemed satisfied with my answer and nodded. "Tell me about your family." I picked randomly.
She thought for a moment. "Well, I have my dad, my mom, a brother... the movie family type thing."
"What are their names?" I asked, wanting to keep her talking.
"My mom's name is Stephanie, my dad's name is Jacob, and my brother's name is Jordan."
I nodded. "I saw a picture of a little girl on your desk... who is she?"
A proud smile slowly spread on her face. "Tasha. Short for Natasha. She's my brother's 5-year-old daughter."
"Five? Your only 23. How old was your brother when he had his daughter?" I asked in shock.
"He was seventeen." She answered. Seeing my surprise, she continued, "He wasn't careful when he was... 'having fun' and his girlfriend ended up pregnant. She decided she wanted to keep it, and they sorta stayed together. About a month or so after Melanie, that's the girlfriend's name, gave birth, they got married."
"Nice guy." I commented.
"Yeah, he's great. So's Melanie. She and my brother were 'childhood sweethearts', literally. They were actually dating when I was born, and Jordan's five years older than I am. Melanie was always so sweet to me. Picked me up from school with my brother, sometimes it was just her. She took me to movies and endured hours of Disney."
"Sounds like a real sweetie." I put in. She nodded with a half smile.
"They have been married for almost ten years, and Tasha is their only child. I sneak around with her all the time. Melanie doesn't want her going to certain things, but I take her anyways. It's our little secret. And it's not like I'd let her get hurt."
No, I knew Clara wouldn't let her little neice be hurt. To stubborn, to caring.
"What about your family?" She asked quietly.
"Dead." I answered quietly.
"Oh." Clara murmured. "I'm sorry."
"It's alright, Clara." I said, and she reached out to squeeze my hand. "Let's talk about happier things." I suggested.
"Like what?" She asked.
"What's your favorite color?" Was what I thought of.
"Blue." She answered.
"Blue? Isn't blue a sad color?"
She shook her head. "People think blue is a sad color, but it really isn't. Happy things are blue, too. Like the sky. Bright sunny days with blue skies."
"Okay, I get your point."
"Never really thought about that. I guess I like blue, too."
She smiled at me. The 'see-I-told-you' kind of look to it. The sun had lowered behind the trees, our surrondings darkened. I debated telling the blonde angel in front of me that I was in love with her right then, but chickened out and didn't.
She lied back in the grass, and I lied down beside her. "Where did you grow up?" She asked me, eyes on the sky.
"Cardiff. In the UK." I answered, choosing a place I had visited recently. "What about you?"
"Birmingham, Alabama." She answered.
"Wow. You travelled quite a ways to head this department."
She laughed. "Only across eight states." She turned her head to me. "I got transfered from Alabama to Texas, then Arkansas, back to Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi... Texas... New Mexico, Arizona... Texas." She grinned. "They loved me in Texas." I chuckled. "Back to New Mexico, then finally to Vegas."
"Is your family still is Alabama?"
"No, they recently moved to West Sahara. Ten minutes out of Summerlin South."
So her family is close by. I had to wonder what I'd do about her father when I finally told her. Fathers were always the most difficult. And assuming she felt the same way. Looking at her, her eyes shining as she smiled at me, I held the hope that she did.
But had to tell her first. And telling Clara would have to be a delicate thing.