Thankfully, the rest of the Doctor and Rose's evening went as planned without much of a hitch. They had ended up having to run once again to the movie theatre but they made it just in time for the start of The End of the World. Juggling their snacks, they made quite the spectacle as they stepped over quite a few amorous teenagers in an effort to make it to the two remaining empty seats in the middle of the row. Once settled, they leaned in close to each other to whisper tidbits about the movie and its actors which had them giggling as much as the youths surrounding them and by the end of the movie, they were holding hands as they watched the Earth burn.
And although the Doctor was loathe to behold another performance by Lady Cassandra O'Brien, once the movie had finished, Rose's hopeful gaze to stay and watch the newly released sequel 'New Earth' persuaded him more than the most pleading of tones ever could.
So with an accepting nod and a soft smile that was now reserved just for Rose, the Doctor settled back into his seat for the second feature. He did however manage to avoid some of the movie by calculating Pi using three million different forms of mathematical equations. Unfortunately, once that was done he still had eighty-three minutes and fifteen seconds left to go.
He glanced over at Rose and watched the various expressions cross her face and studied every flitting emotion at the sight of each new scene alternately filling her with joy, excitement and awe. She seemed to view everything around her with such wonder and possibility that it made him feel as if he was seeing everything through new eyes, the way he used to observe the universe when he and Susan had first begun their travels. Hmmm, he considered thoughtfully as he continued to peer at her discreetly, perhaps I have something to watch after all.
The next morning, Rose hears a tapping noise at the front door of her flat. Upon opening the door, she is pleasantly surprised to find the Doctor while at the same time slightly taken aback by the fact that he's using a mannequin's arm to knock on the door.
"What are you doing with that?" asks Rose in bewilderment.
"Good morning, Rose Tyler!" greets the Doctor. He taps the plastic arm with two fingers of his free hand. "I came across this onboard my ship and thought that perhaps you might be able to find some use for it in your work establishment."
Rose sports a huge grin as she teases, "You know, Doctor, you could have just called me if you wanted to see me again."
The Doctor clears his throat nervously and confesses to his true reason for calling on her. "Yes…well…I seemed to recall your mentioning that your holiday began today and since I've only resided in London for a few weeks, I was hoping that you would be kind enough to escort me around the area."
"You want me to be your travelling companion?" inquires Rose cheekily. At his expectant and slightly anxious nod, she relents and enthuses, "I'd love to, Doctor. Come on in, I just need a moment to grab my purse."
While Rose heads off into her bedroom, the Doctor scans her flat and finds an umbrella stand that he hastily drops the mannequin's arm into. Smiling smugly to himself as he waits for her return, he jingles the multitude of British coins that he has in his pocket. At least those ridiculous wishing fountains are good for something.
Their day is spent visiting all of the local sights and several stores that Rose insists are indispensable to assist in the comforts of a gentleman and his young granddaughter. The Doctor scoffs at the latter and deems the tour of the various stores completely unnecessary as it is his opinion that everything that he could possibly ever need or want could be found at Henrik's department store. Rose has never been more flattered or blushed so fiercely in her life.
The hours have passed quickly and finally the couple decides that it is time to partake in both a brief rest and lunch. They come upon a vendor in the park and after purchasing hot dogs, crisps and beverages; they take a seat on a bench alongside a lake and watch a family of ducks swim by as they dine.
"Are you enjoying your meal, Rose?" questions the Doctor. As her mouth is too full to reply, Rose merely nods merrily and hums in contentment. Pleased to see their second date progressing so well, the Doctor returns to his own lunch and surveys their surroundings until his gaze falls upon a group of tourists throwing coins into a nearby wishing fountain.
With a gleam in his eye that is similar to a fox that has just spied his prey, the Doctor turns to Rose bearing a satisfied grin. "That's splendid, my dear, just splendid! Now be sure to let me know if there's anything else that you'd like, there's plenty more where that came from!"
Exhibiting a gentle smile before swallowing, Rose inquires interestedly, "So what made you and Susan decide to move to London?"
"Oh, we've traveled here and there for several cent-, erm…, sentimental reasons and Susan was becoming a bit restless and wanted to take a break from it all and put down some roots for awhile. I, of course, always have the girl's best interest at heart and readily agreed to the endeavor. My ship decided to land here for a bit of maintenance and Susan acquired such a fondness for the area and its people that we decided to stay."
Rose releases a soft laugh. "You speak of your ship as though she's alive."
Averting her gaze by glancing off to the side, the Doctor chuckles nervously and states, "Quite right my dear, as unpredictable and temperamental as my ship tends to be, it's easy to forget at times that she's definitely not human."
The Doctor pulls of a few bits of bread from his hot dog and tosses the crumbs out to the ducklings that are running around the front of the lake. "Rose, I must be honest with you, although I did want to see you again for the pleasure of your delightful company, I wanted to ask a favor of you as well."
Even though Rose hasn't known the Doctor for very long, she is sure of one thing, he is definitely not the type of man who asks for help easily. She is more than willing to help him if she can. "What do you need me to do?"
The Doctor's smile is grateful as he explains, "It's not exactly for me, but for my granddaughter, Susan. Because we've traveled all over since she was very young, I'm afraid that neither of us is very well versed in the modern trends and customs of this era." At Rose's quizzical stare, the Doctor hurriedly amends, "I mean this area, and I was hoping that when the time came for Susan to attend the dance that you could help her prepare."
"You mean help her with her hair and make-up?" clarifies Rose. The Doctor's hum of agreement while he takes another bite of his hot dog spurs Rose to consider the situation as she munches on her own. "Absolutely, in fact, bring her over to my place about two hours before she has to leave for the dance and my mum and I will take care of her. Mum used to be a hairdresser so she'll do her hair and I'll take care of her make-up."
The Doctor picks up Rose's free hand and gives it a grateful squeeze. "Thank you very, very much, Rose. I can't tell you how relieved I am to know that Susan will be well taken care of and feel at ease before her first important social gathering with her peers."
Rose laughs aloud and squeezes his hand in amusement. "Well, I hope it's a great deal more fun for Susan then you've made it sound!"
"Yes, yes, my dear, so do I," he concedes gleefully once he realizes the joke. Susan's always teasing him about his stuffiness and telling him that he needs to loosen up and let go. Twentieth century Earth slang aside, he has never been blind to the fact that he is an old, gruff, at sometimes bitter and often strict, curmudgeon. But is that truly any wonder when you think of the traditions and social mores of the planet they came from? However, they're on a new planet now, no longer out of time but dropped straight into the midst of it. Perhaps, like everything else around them, it's time for him to change, a change for the better for both himself and for Susan…and perhaps Rose could help him, yes…perhaps she could make him better.
"Rose Tyler, I have something else to ask you if I may?" requests the Doctor excitedly.
Rose offers him a wry glance before she flashes his favorite grin that she seems to display whenever she's teasing him. "I knew it. Are you out of British money? I noticed that several of your coins are currency from numerous countries. You really do live the life of a tourist, don't you?"
"Really?" murmurs the Doctor as he withdraws a handful of coins from his pocket and scrutinizes the various denominations and engravings. "I hadn't noticed." Dismissively, he shoves the change back into his pocket and focuses once more on Rose. "Actually, I was hoping that you would do me the honor of attending the dance with me at Susan's school."
Rose's action of lifting the hot dog to her mouth for another bite ceases mid-way as she stares at him in disbelief. "You're asking me out to a school dance for teenagers? Doctor, don't you think that we're a little old for that?"
This time it is the Doctor who gives her a wry look. "Rose Tyler, you have no idea. However, Susan has informed me that the school is short of chaperones this year and would be very grateful if anyone would be willing to volunteer."
Oh, how romantic, muses Rose.
"So, what do you say, Rose? Hmmm? Do you think that you would be able to tolerate being stuck with an old man for an entire evening?"
Rose's smile lights up her face as she bumps his shoulder with her own. "Stuck with you? That's not so bad." Well, would you look at that! He flushes such an adorable shade of crimson. "Alright, Doctor, I accept your invitation."
"Fantastic!" proclaims the Doctor unexpectedly and a little too loudly. They share equally startled gazes as the Doctor ponders, Fantastic? Fantastic? I never say fantastic. Hmmm, it must be someone coming up. Oh, well, time will tell.
A week later, the night of the school dance has arrived and Susan is sat in front of the vanity in Rose's room while Jackie Tyler works on her hair. "Just you wait, Susan Foreman, a half hour from now and you'll have a hairdo that's out of this world!"
Susan's giggles are mistaken for excitement rather than amusement and she responds, "That will be wonderful, Mrs. Tyler, thank you so much for all of your help." She glances over gratefully at Rose and adds, "Both of you."
"You're more than welcome," answers Jackie for the both of them. "And none of this Mrs. and Miss Tyler nonsense, you call us Jackie and Rose, same as everybody else. Rose, why don't you start discussing what shades you'll want to use? That way you'll have everything ready as soon as I'm done here."
"Good idea," agrees Rose. She opens up her make-up case and removes the eye shadow and lipstick that she thought would go best with the dress that she had chosen back at Henrik's. Then Rose leans against the vanity as she assesses Susan's skin tones before pulling out the face powder and blush that she thought would complement the young girl's complexion.
Susan's eyes widen in terror at the face powder as she exclaims, "Oh, no, Rose, I couldn't wear that! Grandfather never lets me wear face powder!"
"Oh, I think that we could convince him for just this one night, Susan," soothes Rose while hiding her surprise that the Doctor is so strict on his regard for make-up that it would hold such fear at reprisal for the girl. "It is a special night after all."
"It's not that Rose," insists Susan as she leans away from the face powder. "Everyone in my family carries a gene for a severe allergy to aspirin and any aspirin-related products and face powder contains salicylic acid. If any of that were to touch my skin, the results would be disastrous!"
"My goodness," utters Rose with a gasp. "Well, it's a good thing that you told me then!" She casts a worried glance at the remainder of the make-up. "Is there anything else that you're allergic to?"
"No," reassures Susan confidently. "Everything else should be fine. I hope this doesn't spoil the results in any way."
"Don't you worry about a thing," remarks Jackie as she pats Susan shoulder with a withered hand. "Your complexion's lovely as it is and Rose will only need to add the barest touches of make-up to highlight that fact. Now, you just sit back and by the time we're done with you, you'll be just like Cinderella ready for the ball!"
Susan's wide grin is all the response that either woman needs prompting Rose to jest, "Well then we'd better hurry up, I have a feeling that the Doctor won't wait for us until midnight."
"Oh that wouldn't be any problem, Rose," declares Susan completely straight-faced, "even in that unlikely event, we could still make it to the dance on time."
Not realizing her slip of the tongue amidst her excitement and nerves, Susan doesn't notice Rose and Jackie exchanging glances of total befuddlement. Rose simply arches an eyebrow at her mother while Jackie merely shrugs as they both arrive at the same conclusion. Kids today, who knows what they're talking about.
The Doctor, Rose and Susan arrive at the dance and they are barely through the door when Susan's friends come over and drag her away to discuss all the latest gossip and more importantly, boys.
Before the Doctor and Rose can search for someone to direct them in their duties, a man and woman bearing the friendliest of smiles approaches them and offers them their hands in greeting. "Good evening, I'm Ian Chesteron and this is my colleague, Barbara Wright," introduces Ian in a voice straining to be heard over the drummer on stage. "We're two of the teachers at this school."
"You both looked a bit lost and we thought we might be able to offer some assistance," pipes up Barbara over the noise of the music.
"Oh, yes, quite lost indeed," confesses the Doctor. "I'm Susan Foreman's grandfather, Dr. John Smith, and this is my lovely escort for the evening, Rose Tyler. Susan said that you were in dire need of chaperones in order for the dance to take place and here we are, my boy, to offer our services."
"That's very kind of you," states Ian, "but I'm afraid that you're too late. You see, apparently every teenager here spread word of our 'dire' need and ensured that various family members would be persuaded to answer the call."
"Yes, as you can see," gestures Barbara to the endless tables and gaily decorated gym walls behind her, "we have an over abundance of chaperones now. We've even had to turn some people away."
Seeing the elderly couple's downcast looks, Ian offers, "But we would love it if you would please stay all the same. In addition to an overabundance of chaperones, we also have plenty of refreshments so we would love to have you as our guests."
The Doctor turns to Rose with an inquiring gaze. "Well, what do you think, my dear? Shall we stay and give these young upstarts a run for their money?"
Rose laughs heartily before accepting the challenge. "I think I'm up to the task. I don't know about you though," she teases playfully as she bumps his arm.
The Doctor scoffs, "There hasn't been a celebration created yet that's been able to outlast me! Come along, Rose Tyler, we came to dance and we shall!" He takes her into his arms right before the schoolteachers' surprised and highly amused eyes and instructs, "You may want to move your feet, my dear, you'll find them at the end of your legs."
Ian and Barbara are left standing on their own when the Doctor suddenly whirls Rose off onto the dance floor. "What a shame that they didn't stay longer," comments Barbara laughingly. "I didn't even have the chance to tell him how much I enjoy having Susan in my class."
"Neither did I," notes Ian, "but now that we're alone again, may I have the honor of this dance?"
"Another one?" marvels Barbara with a faint blush. "Ian, all we've done is dance tonight. We're supposed to be setting an example for the students, remember?"
"I am setting an example," returns Ian smoothly as he takes Barbara into his arms. "I'm a science teacher, aren't I? I'm demonstrating what happens when you have the proper chemistry."
Barbara groans, "Ian that was terrible, much like your dancing. Have you ever thought about taking lessons?"
"I don't need to," he answers cheekily, "not when I have such an excellent teacher. Now quit rabbiting on and enjoy the music," he orders with an encouraging smile.
Barbara simply shakes her head in enjoyment of both her partner and his antics and carries on dancing.
Two hours later, the schoolteachers are sitting on the sidelines and gazing on in astonishment as the Doctor and Rose continue to weave in and out among the young couples while maintaining constant eye contact with one another.
"Unbelievable," declares Ian in exasperation. "They haven't sat down once. You know, the kids out there are just as impressed with their stamina; they've even dubbed them 'The Stuff of Legend'.
"It is amazing," opines Barbara as the couple twirls by them for what seems like the hundredth time. "Well, at least it clears up one thing for us; I don't think that we have to worry about Susan anymore. Whatever eccentricities that she exhibits in school obviously come from her grandfather. I don't think there's any need for us to speak to her family regarding her odd behavior."
"And you wanted to follow her home," teases Ian. "But you're right; I don't believe it's necessary either. Besides, Susan's a good girl and it's not as if her behavior is detrimental, it's merely…odd. Perhaps, that's what happens when you come from a long line of geniuses. At least that's what I gathered from the few conversations that I had with Dr. Smith when we were able to keep up with them long enough to carry on a conversation."
They watch as the crowd full of youngsters part and encircle the elderly couple to allow them full reign of the dance floor to perform a series of rather old-fashioned but charming and elegant moves that quite literally leave the older couple breathless.
"Doctor," begs Rose, "I need to take a break. My heart's beating so hard that it feels as though I have two!"
"I know the feeling well, my dear!" He glances over Rose's shoulder and spies Susan heading towards them; she's clapping as madly as everyone else in honor of their esteemed efforts. "Rose, why don't you sit down and rest at that empty table over there? Susan's on her way over and I'd like to have one dance with my granddaughter before one of these scallywags spirits her away again! Go on, now and take a well deserved intermission!"
Rose nods gratefully, still holding her hand over her fluttering heart, and turns to offer a brilliant smile and wave to Susan as she makes her way to the table.
"Oh, Grandfather," squeals Susan as she throws her arms around her neck and hugs him fiercely. "You and Rose were wonderful! I had no idea that you could dance like that!"
The Doctor clasps his hand in Susan's and places his other arm around her waist as the music changes to a softer and slower tempo. "I haven't shared all of my secrets with you, my dear girl! There's still some life left in this old body yet!"
"Of course there is!" insists Susan before adding teasingly, "I guess that I just haven't been around long enough to see it."
"Hmmmph!" grunts the Doctor before turning a smile onto his granddaughter. "Are you enjoying the dance, Susan? It seems as if you are."
"Yes, Grandfather, it's been absolutely wonderful!" She smiles brightly as she looks up at him. "I'm so glad that you came, you and Rose seem to be having fun as well."
"Yes," agrees the Doctor wholeheartedly as he gazes off into the distance. "I don't believe that I can recall a time when I've been this happy."
Susan instantly notices when her Grandfather substitutes the word happy for fun. "So are you going to do what we discussed earlier, Grandfather? Are you going to tell her the truth about who you really are?"
He nods seriously and shares, "Yes, Susan, and with your consent I'm going to tell Rose everything about us and where we come from." He sighs worriedly. "I only hope that she'll still want to be with me when she knows the truth."
"She will, Grandfather," encourages Susan as she stops dancing and hugs him tightly. "I just know it."
I hope so, frets the Doctor as he turns to find Rose chatting amicably away with Susan's schoolteachers. I hope so.
To Be Continued…