According to Lucie, it had been forever since she went shopping last. According to the Doctor, and he had a much better time sense and much less exaggeration, he knew it had only been three weeks. However, he also knew better than to contradict Lucie in matters of shopping.
"Alright," the Doctor consented, "where to? Blackpool? London?"
"Actually Doctor, I want to try something new," Lucie smiled. The Doctor's eyebrows raised in suspicion. "Yeah, I want to go to Texas."
"What?" This had to be the oddest request Lucie had ever made. "Your serious?"
"Yeah, I am." Lucie smiled.
"Fine, I'll take you to Texas, but where in Texas and when? Texas is quite huge for a shopping trip." The Doctor walked to the console and started entering the coordinates that would take Lucie to Texas.
"Modern day, of course, 2007. And I read about this shopping center in Dallas. It is the biggest in Texas! Two hundred stores," Lucie could hardly contain her excitement.
The Doctor laughed, "Two hundred stores? I think that will keep you busy for a while, Lucie Miller."
Once the TARDIS had landed, Lucie was out the door. She was wearing her most comfortable shoes and had promised to meet the Doctor for lunch at 1:30. She had invited the Doctor to come along, but he declined, admitting to being a terrible shopping companion, unless they were going into a technology store. He stayed next to the console for several minutes, listening to the silence. Then he lifted up the floor panel under the console and climbed down the ladder. The TARDIS's powerhouse was glowing with energy. He walked around, checking the TARDIS's readings, looking for wires that needed to be repaired, and other maintenance issues that there might be. He happily hummed a tune as he walked around, his mind occupied with the TARDIS read outs.
A little tickle in the back of his mind began to form. He ignored it. The constant quiet buzzing of his telepathic race in his mind was quite normal. Once in a while, something would give him notice, but for the most part, it was ignored. He gave the tickle little notice. Again the tickle in his mind distracted him from his work. He looked to the TARDIS's energy column. It glowed a little brighter.
"What is it Old Girl?" he spoke out loud. She didn't answer him. He finished the maintenance checks, climbed back up the ladder and replaced the floor panel. There wasn't much that needed to be done, so he walked to the kitchen. He would get a cup of tea and then catch up on some favorite reading. The tickle in his mind came to him again. He focused his thoughts on it and was surprised by what he found. Charley Pollard, his Edwardian Adventuress. He smiled at the thought of Charley. Absent-mindedly he prepared his tea while thinking back to some of their adventures together. Some had been scary, some had been fun, some had been filled with peril and danger, but no matter what, Charley had stood by his side, ready to face anything. And face anything she did.
The Doctor wandered back into the console room and sat down in his favorite armchair. He put his feet up on the footstool and reached for the top book in the stack of books on the dark wooden table next to his chair. It was Oliver Twist, a first edition copy. Charley had found the book for him and he had been delighted to add it to his library. He looked over to the time rotor and spoke out loud, "The book Charley found for me. What is it, Old Girl? Are you trying to tell me something about Charley?"
The TARDIS didn't answer. She usually didn't, but he had a feeling she was trying to tell him something anyway. "You and her didn't quite get along, did you? Or, should I say, you didn't like her?" The console dimmed slightly. "I'm not attacking you, Old Girl. It wasn't your fault. Charley was a walking paradox and that was very repelling to you. She was very fond of you, though, and you know what she meant to me." He stopped in his one sided conversation and listened. He heard nothing, but the feeling that he needed to go see Charley crept over him.
"Will you take me to her?" he asked, getting up out of his chair and going to the console. He didn't know where to look for her or even when. He started to make the adjustments on the console and stopped dead in his tracks. Lucie. He couldn't just leave her, but on the other hand, she would be shopping for hours. The local time was twenty minutes after ten in the morning. She didn't expect to see him again until 1:30. He could easily get back within minutes of leaving, if all went well. He made a note of the location's coordinates and time. Lucie wouldn't even know he had left. The time rotor began to rise and fall and the engines of the ancient machine whined to life. He set what coordinates he could, trusting the TARDIS to take him to the right place.
The TARDIS landed, it's rotor quite still and engines quiet. The Doctor looked at the information on the console and screen. England, 1945. The Doctor straightened his cravat and smoothed his waistcoat. He slipped his favorite green frock coat on and walked to the doors. He took a deep breath. He felt nervous. Why did he feel nervous? This was Charley, one of his dearest friends. Upon opening the door, he found himself in front of a lovely little cottage. It was afternoon and the sun shone brightly on the garden that surrounded the house. The garden looked a little over-grown, but not too messy. He walked up to the door of the cottage, hoping the TARDIS had brought him to the right place, and knocked on the door.