The teacher and the housemaid

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It was 1913, John Smith was a history professor at a boy's military school, a job the Tardis had integrated him into when 'The Family' were after him. Martha had been found a job as a maid but when she started on her first day, she was dismayed to find Rose Tyler had beaten her to the job he'd promised her but this was not the Rose she'd known about, Rose was out of her time.  

It was 1913, John Smith was a history professor at a boy's military school, a job the Tardis had integrated him into when the family of blood were after him to consume his Timelord essence.  Martha had been found a job as a maid, knowing full well what had happened to him, being present when he'd changed.  When she started on her first day, she was dismayed to find she wasn't to be his personal maid, Rose Tyler had beaten her to it.

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Chapter 1
How did the Doctor start at Farringham School for boys?  He had found himself residing at the school, believing he'd just arrived by taxi from a neighbouring town's railway station and unpacked his belongings.  He had been found a room, it all having been arranged by the Tardis, his whole life story had been invented courtesy of the ship but Martha had to rely on the Doctor saying his maid from his family home was joining him. 

Martha Jones had arrived a few hours after Doctor John Smith at the military school she had found out from the Tardis he had been placed in, he had left some instructions for her on the screen, thanking her for being there for him during the following three months the creatures following them would have to live before dying off, like mayflies he'd said.  Just how these creatures, he had called 'The Family' had found them, Martha didn't know exactly but the Doctor had said the only way to avoid them was for him to hide himself away, make himself human and blend in.

She just wasn't expecting to find herself in rural England, circa 1913 at a boys military academy and the ship tactfully leaving all the details on the console after she'd been to pack, then having to go back and pack for 1913, again with a little help from the Tardis placing suitable attire for the time period.  Then she had found herself in a barn of some kind, a bicycle propped up against the wall making Martha smile to herself, the sneaky ship.  She had cycled to the school, been admitted and reported to the head of the staff, a Mrs Graham.

''Welcome to Farringham School for boys Miss Jones, we were informed of your arrival.  I believe your former employer, Doctor Smith asked for us to find you a position and as it's the start of the new term, fortunately we have been able to find one for you, you will be told tomorrow what your duties are.  Meanwhile, you will be sharing a room with another maid on the upper floor, it's the second room on the left, your room mate is around somewhere, she will join you later.  Have you any questions?  Do you wish to know how much you will be paid?''

''Doctor Smith said he would get me the position of his personal housekeeper, I worked for his family and he inherited me from them.''

''I'm sorry Miss Jones but I am in charge of the staff here, all personal housekeepers of the faculty are assigned by me, I cannot allow new staff to take up such an important position when there are servants who have been here longer and are more deserving of a promotion.  Doctor Smith had already been assigned a housekeeper for his room, you will have to wait another term to be considered.''

''I see, it's just he promised me and he's useless without me being around, I promised I would take care of him while he's here.''

''I'm sure whoever I've assigned to him will take adequate care of him Miss Jones, he will be introduced to her tomorrow morning, I've yet to inform her of her new duties, she has several at the moment, she's worked very hard to get the position.  I will not let hard work go unrewarded, so if you can prove to me you can work hard, I will consider you next term but it may not be with Doctor Smith.''

Martha was bitterly disappointed, she was hoping that during this time, she could get closer to the Doctor, since he'd made it clear he wasn't interested in her in that particular way.  She had broken her own rule, that of only going with human males, she had found it difficult not to just come out and tell him how she felt but as she'd had pointed out more than once, he never noticed her.  He liked her, she was sure of that or he wouldn't have let her stay with him but he was lonely and she knew he missed his last companion, since he hardly stopped talking about her.

The first time, he had taken her to the same planet he had taken Rose Tyler, the woman he had clearly been in love with though he'd not said so, the second time when they had met Shakespeare, they had been sharing a bed for the night and had told her Rose would know what to make of the events.  There were times when he would dance around the console then look at the empty seat as if expecting her to be sitting there, then the smile would be gone from his face.

Martha shook her head to clear it, finding herself on the top floor and looking for the second door on the left.  She knocked, just in case her new room mate was present and getting no answer, went inside, seeing two single beds, one littered with clothes so she assumed that was already occupied or it could be whoever she was sharing with was either a bit of a slob or liked taking up both beds.  She unpacked her few things and sat on the bed, wondering what to do until she could go down to the kitchen for tea, which she had been told for staff was at 6pm sharp or she would miss it and breakfast was at 6 am and she could only imagine what time the kitchen staff began work so she just hoped she wouldn't get a job in there.

Still, she should easily be able to keep an eye on the Doctor and since all the staff would be well versed in keeping away from the male tutors for fear of being dismissed, hopefully he would stay well clear of them but she'd hoped to get some time alone with him but would it have been fair when he didn't know who he was or who she was?  How would he react afterwards if she were to finally get him interested in her?  Maybe this hadn't been such a good idea after all.

She wished she wasn't so far out of her time that she could get her phone out and call her mother but if she were to and get caught, who knows what trouble it could lead to and the last time she had called her had been a disaster anyway, Martha was not proud of shouting at her for the answers to a stupid pub quiz, even though it was to save their lives.  She couldn't even bring her phone out of the Tardis so if she wanted to talk to her mother, she would have to go back there and do it anyway.

She had planned to go when she got some time off and see if she had missed anything on the recording he had made, in case she'd not got the job he'd asked for her to be given.  She had found a suitable watch for the period that a servant would have been able to afford on the wages she would have received, it was just after four, two hours before tea.  She was almost looking forward to starting work tomorrow, at least it would pass the time and it couldn't be any worse than late night shifts in the emergency department at The Royal Hope Hospital.

The door handle turned and she looked up, hoping she would be able to get along with whoever she was sharing with.  A young blonde woman stood in the doorway.

''Oh, you've arrived then?  I was told I was getting a room mate this morning.  Hello, I'm Rose and you are?''

Martha looked at her.  A young blonde called Rose?  How was this even possible?  Martha found her voice.

''Yeah, hello, I'm Martha, nice to meet you Rose, I hope this wasn't your bed?''

''Nah, mine's the messy one, sorry, only my last room mate was less fussy than I am, she left last term.  So, what job have you got then?  Hope it's not the kitchen, I narrowly escaped that, thank goodness.''

''I find out tomorrow, what are you doing?  That Mrs Graham said you did a few jobs?''

''Yeah, I did until she just called me to the housekeeper's room, I just got a sort of promotion, to a personal housemaid, can you believe it?  It's what I was hoping for, I tried working hard all last term to get it and it paid off.''

Martha started to panic.  ''So who are you looking after then?  I was supposed to have been promised one of those jobs, my last employer brought me with him but I've been told I've got to work my way up.  I've not even been allowed to see him yet though I don't know why he's not asked to see me.''

Martha had been thinking about that, the Doctor had promised he would have enough residual awareness to let her in so hopefully when she did get to see him, he would at least remember her but maybe not enough awareness to seek her out.

''One of the new teachers, the history one, I think she said a Doctor Smith.''

Martha's heart sunk, this Rose had got the job meant for her and this was more than a coincidence. 

''So, what's your surname then Rose?  I'm Martha Jones.''

''I'm Rose Tyler.  Bit formal Martha, you asking my surname.''

Martha recovered from the initial shock.  ''I like to know who I'm working with, that's all.  I wish I knew my old employer was okay, are we allowed to go visit the teachers?''

''Oh, I don't know about that, I've never had the need, they were all old and stuffy if you get my meaning, none of the maids fancied any of them.''

Martha dreaded to think what she meant.  ''No Rose, I didn't mean like that, I just wanted to let him know I'd arrived, that's all.  I worked for his family and when he became a teacher, I was with him at his last school but I'm surprised he never insisted I look after him here, he's a bit of a scatterbrain, he needs reminding of things from time to time.''

Rose giggled, just what she needed, a scatty teacher to look after from tomorrow morning.

''Come on then. I'll show you around, the pupils will be in their dorms now, we can move around the school freely, we won't get told off and if we do, I'll say you're new and I'm showing you where you'll be working, they all know me.''

''Thanks, can we stop by his classroom, see if he's there?''

''Well we could if you told me who it actually was?''

Martha was stuck, how could she say it was the same teacher?  There was only one way to find out.  ''Actually, it's Doctor Smith.''

Rose laughed.  ''Really, well you must be really annoyed with me then Martha, sorry but I have no choice.''

The two women went off, Rose looking out for the Doctor's classroom or his private quarters but as they passed a classroom, she saw the history room and stopped.  There was the Doctor, dressed as a 1913 style suit covered by a gown and wearing a mortar on his head and he was talking to one of the boys.

''Very well Latimer, I'll accept your reason but you know you can do better than that.''

''Yes Sir, I'll try Sir, thank you Sir.''

The Doctor turned and watched the boy walk out.

''Martha, so that's where you got to?''

''Yes Sir, I was being shown to my room and I didn't know where you were.  Have you settled in alright?''

''Yes, brilliant, I tried to get you my housekeeper's job but I was told it wasn't possible, sorry, I hope you don't mind?  They'll find you something else, it's not permanent, you can apply next term.''

Martha wanted to tell him there was never going to be a 'next term', they would be gone, if 'The Family' didn't find them.

''Hello there, who are you?'' he asked, turning to Rose, a big grin on his face.

''Rose Tyler Sir, I'm to be your new personal housekeeper.''

''Well, I look forward to that then Rose, I have my breakfast at 7am sharp, if that's not too early for you?'' he smiled.

Martha knew this was definitely a big mistake, he was already flirting with the blonde and she hadn't even started working for him yet.
Chapter 2
Martha knew it was impossible this was the same Rose Tyler that the Doctor had always raved about, he hardly ever stopped talking about her, how she had been just nineteen when he'd met her in a department store basement and saved her when the shop window dummies had all come to life.  Martha had been a young medical student and the hospital had been overcrowded with injuries at the time, mass hysteria being put down as the cause.

This Rose Tyler looked older but she had no idea who he was, if she did, she was hiding it very well or maybe she was playing a game, the same as she herself was, trying to get him to admit his feelings for her so maybe they hadn't actually been 'together' after all.  Perhaps this Rose wasn't who she appeared to be, maybe it was just a cruel joke being played on her, just as she was about to get him to maybe admit he did have feelings for her but now, she would hardly see anything of him and this Rose would be taking him his breakfast, tidying his room and fussing over him – the job she was meant to be doing.

Martha could only guess what had brought the blonde to the school but she seemed quite at home there, had worked her way up and everyone knew her, several of the students had looked at her and said 'hello Rose' to her and merely stared at Martha.  She would have to find out where Rose came from and try and remember what the Doctor had told her, since she'd not been paying attention.

John Smith and Rose were still giving each other the eye, Martha observed, making her feel sick and wanting to throw up.

''So Rose, you'll be attending my room then will you?  I don't know if I can trust you to sort my laundry for me, maybe you'll need some help with that?'' he grinned, running his tongue on the side of his mouth and Rose looking like she was also drooling – already.

''Well yes Sir, you'll have to tell me what to expect, this will be the first time I've been a personal maid to a teacher, I don't want to overstep my duties, do I?''

''Oh no Rose, we don't want that, do we now?'' he slyly winked, thinking Martha hadn't noticed but she wanted the floor to swallow her.

''Rose, I thought you were showing me around?'' Martha finally interrupted as Rose fluttered her eyelids and John stubbed his toe against the door frame.

''What?  Oh yeah, sorry Martha, can you find your way to the kitchen, I should really get Doctor Smith his afternoon tea.''

''Oh no Rose, you don't start until tomorrow, can't have you beginning your duties early, you must have already been working all day.''

''I can get it for you Sir, if you want?'' Martha volunteered hopefully.

Rose was having none of it, she had seen him first, he was fair game.  ''It's no trouble Sir, if I can remember which study you've been allocated.  I'll have to find it in the morning anyway, won't I?  May as well find it now, don't want to be late with your breakfast, do I now?''

''Well if you insist Rose, if you're sure you can find my study?  It's on the second floor, third on the right, has my name on it, Dr J Smith, you can't miss it.''

''I'm sure I can find it Sir, are you ready to take your tea now?''

''Ah, yes, I just have to get out of this gown, I'll have done that by the time you get to the kitchen and to my study, don't want you to catch me getting changed now, do we?''

He definitely winked at her that time, Martha noticed.   Why was she even standing here watching him so obviously flirting with his new maid?  Surely the school had to have rules about teachers and housemaids?  There again, she herself had been contemplating exactly the same as Rose was clearly doing, since she was now leaning against the opposite side of the same door frame, their feet now mere inches away from each others.

Even if she were to report either or both of them for breaking the rules, the headmaster may dismiss her for stepping out of line or dismiss the Doctor, she wouldn't win.  All she could do was try and talk Rose out of what she was now very clearly planning by telling her a teacher and a housemaid were never going to be socially acceptable in any circle.

''Hadn't you better go get his tea Rose?'' Martha reminded her, snapping Rose out of staring at him.

''Yeah, I'm on my way, won't be long Sir, I'll try not to get lost, with your afternoon tea.  What will you be doing about taking dinner later Sir?''

''Oh, I was told where the staff dining room is, I'll make my way there for seven, will you be working in the dining room Rose?''

''I don't think so Sir, when I'm not attending to you, I was told I'd be working in the infirmary as I did last term.''

''Right, brilliant, see you soon Rose, with my afternoon tea then?''

Martha had to turn away, this was too much.  To be with him several hours ago when they were running for their lives, watching him get his atoms ripped apart and turn into a human then when she'd finally turned away then back again, he was gone and all that had remained was a torturous device hanging down and a message blinking at her on the screen, telling her where he'd gone and telling her not to let him ignore her.

Great then, he was already doing that as he pried his way from the door frame, trying to avoid colliding with Rose Tyler and not doing it very successfully as they both laughed.  Martha was wishing someone would have passed and question them but there were no signs of anyone, not even a student, worse luck.

After a few rounds of 'sorry' as Rose and John Smith went off in different directions, Martha carried on following the blonde and caught up with her.

''What was all that about then?  You said you began your duties as his maid tomorrow.''

''Well like I said, no harm in starting early, is there?  Come on Martha, he's a bit different from the other tutors but he's out of my league, what do you think's gonna happen?  I do know my place but it was just a bit of harmless flirting.  Look Martha, you're new here, the other staff would love to have the job of looking after him but I was chosen, I'm not gonna get myself dismissed for misconduct with a teacher, am I?''

''I suppose not but be careful Rose, he could try and lead you on and it will end in tears, just remember that.''

''I will, don't worry so much Martha, I can look after myself, okay?  Thanks for your concern though.  Maybe we can talk later, tell me where you come from, yeah?''

Martha agreed and they went into the kitchen as other maids were coming out carrying trays containing teapots, cups and saucers and plates of cream teas so Rose picked the last remaining one, assuming it was for the rather dishy doctor she had just been flirting with and walked back out again, following the other girls.

Martha shook her head and walked out, knowing it was still too early for eating but was already feeling hungry and headed for the back stairs she had used earlier, staff were not permitted normally to use the main staircase that Rose had brought her down.

Back in the study of Doctor John Smith, he had taken off his gown and his tweed jacket and unfastened his tie that seemed somehow out of place, like he'd only ever worn a black one before and wished it was permitted to wear an ordinary tie, a striped one or one with swirls on it maybe and wondered where that idea had come from.

He crossed over to the fireplace and picked up his fobwatch, why he kept it he had no idea, it never even opened but it was a family heirloom and after he'd unpacked earlier that morning, having got a taxi from the nearest town's railway station, he'd placed it there along with his shaving kit and gone to take his first lesson after a light lunch.

Why had he had forgotten about Martha, the serving girl from his parent's home back in Nottingham and she had been his maid at the last school he'd worked in.  He had arrived by train and she had taken a bus, they never travelled together, an unwritten rule going back to when she worked for his family so of course she had arrived after him.  He'd already informed the headmaster he was bringing his personal maid with him but Mr Rocastle had told him it was up to the housekeeper as to who was assigned where but Martha would be at least given a position elsewhere in the school.

He had barely thought about it after that as he'd gone to his classroom, noticed one of the youngest in the class, Latimer, was avoiding answering questions when he clearly knew the answers, looking around at his classmates as if he was afraid to speak up.  John decided he should keep an eye on the young lad and see if he was being bullied.  John couldn't abide bullies, the main reason he had left his last position he recalled.

What John didn't know was that the Tardis, upon insertion of the fobwatch now on the fireplace and seemingly stuck, on purpose so he would think it had always been that way and not open it and become The Doctor again, which was rather the point of hiding in the first place, the ship had integrated him into the school, invented a whole life story for him and deposited him at the entrance to the school, a taxi just driving away and a recollection of a train journey and a ride in the said taxi.  The Tardis had not been able to do the same for poor Martha though except find her employment in the same school but Martha was mostly on her own and now, she had to contend with a rival for his affections.

What Martha didn't know, nor did Rose, was that there was likely to be another contender in that department as the arrival of a new teacher had not escaped the attention of Nurse Joan Redfern, the school's matron in charge of the infirmary and that being widowed for several years, had been rather shy with men since her husband and childhood sweetheart had been killed in battle but catching a glimpse of the new arrival, she was having second thoughts about remaining alone.

Rose was on her way upstairs, being allowed to use the main staircase, not that she didn't already use it when she knew full well she wasn't supposed to but she always had an excuse ready she was running an errand for matron and got away with it, no-one wanting to bother the frosty nurse with such matters or question why she had sent a servant to check on something.  Rose had been in the infirmary during the afternoon, two boys had already been in, one with a grazed knee when he had been knocked over, Rose had thought probably on purpose by his classmates and the other with a headache.

Rose had been allowed to attend the scraped knee, cleaning it with disinfectant and putting a bandage on it, she had worked there last term and the matron now trusted her.  Now Rose would be spending less time in there since she would be finding all kinds of excuses to attended Doctor Smith, whether he asked for it or not.  Rose remembered the last term, dividing her duties between the infirmary and her given job of cleaning the science room when it wasn't in use, since the girl before her had upset an important experiment and had been dismissed.

Rose couldn't remember much about her life before her arrival at the school.  She remembered her mother struggling to bring her up on her own in a tenement building in London, Jackie Tyler had been a hairdresser, trained before she had married Peter Tyler, who had died when Rose was barely six months old but had left them a bit of money, him being a salesman for a soft drinks company but it had all soon been used up as Rose got older and her mother could only work part-time when Rose was at school and school fees had to be paid but Rose had indeed grown up and unlike others her age, had not been sold to a family but sold to a school in the countryside.

She had been there nine years then last term, the school had closed down and she was found alternate employment at the neighbouring military academy where she now was, having been sold on.  She was now twenty six and single, not that there was much chance of meeting any man who would want to buy her from the school and marry her, well maybe apart from an older man at the butchers who always tried to get her to go for a drink with him at the village pub but she'd turned him down on numerous occasions.  She did have some standards.

What Rose was totally unaware of was the fact that she and the Doctor had been exploring a planet where the Doctor had got himself into trouble, as usual and telling Rose to lie low for a few days and he would sort it out, having his sonic screwdriver and psychic paper confiscated and Rose had gone back to the room they'd innocently (to her dismay) shared and by sheer accident had got caught in some sort of temporal flux and had a whole new life invented for her, finding herself with past memories of a poor upbringing and being a servant for the last nine years and no memory whatsoever of the Doctor or her real life.

Rose had reach John's study, knocked, waited for him to call out, 'Come in Rose' and opened the door.

John stood with his back to the fireplace, his shirt sleeves rolled up, the top two buttons undone and a big smile on his face. ''Hello Rose, I've been looking forward to your visit, care to join me for afternoon tea?''
Chapter 3
Rose put the tray on the table and looked around the room, she had never been in a teacher's room before.  There was the fireplace, a dresser and over in a corner a small bookcase, in front of which was a round table with a chess set on it.  She also noticed a set of drawers with a model in a glass case on top, a brown leather sofa, a writing bureaux and various other pieces of furniture, wall fittings and a large painting of a castle and lastly a single bed, which she expected she would have to make up every morning as well as dust everything in sight at least once a week and keep things tidy.

She thought it couldn't be any worse than avoiding spoiling science projects and cleaning up spills in the school's science laboratory.  She turned to the window, seeing a telescope and wondered if some day or night he would show her the stars.  She had been dreaming a lot the last few nights, of travelling the stars and where that had come from, she had no idea.  She used to go sit outside the pub at night with one of the other girls, Jenny and they would laugh at Rose's idea that one day, men would walk on the moon and explore other planets. 

Jenny used to tell her she had her head in the clouds but the way John Smith was looking at her, maybe her friend was right.  She hadn't seen Jenny since before the end of last term a few weeks ago and wondered where she had got to, she was the one she had shared a room with and had been surprised to be told earlier that she would have a new room mate this term.

Rose had gathered her senses and had up-righted the cup and poured milk into it and was pouring out his tea, John smiling at her as he eagerly took a tea plate and helped himself to a cream and jam scone, splitting it in half and licking the cream, rather seductively Rose thought, though she had never been with a man, not for lack of trying but she read the magazines some of the female staff of her last school had left behind in their rooms and even for 1913 were sometimes a bit 'racy' but Rose had lapped it all up, thinking maybe one day she wouldn't have to dream about it.

''Sorry Sir, they only put one cup on the tray, maybe I can sneak another one next time?''

''Yes Rose, maybe you could?  Have you been at the school long then?'' he smiled, licking the cream from his lips and not realising what it was doing to poor Rose.

He sat at the table and beckoned Rose to sit but she balanced herself on the edge of the leather sofa.  ''My second term, I used to work at the school on the other side of the village but it closed down, all the kids have to get a bus to the town.  I got sent here, it seems there is more need to train boys in military discipline than teach reading and writing.''

''Quite but then I would be out of a job Rose, since I teach military history.  Have you always worked in a school, what about your family?''

''There's just my mother, back in London, I send her money every month, what I can afford.  We didn't have much money and back in London, she contacted an agency and they put her in contact with the other school, she got fifteen pounds for a contract.''

''What?  She sold you to the other school?''

''Oh, isn't that normal?  I was lucky, some girls I knew got sold to dukes and duchesses but lucky old me got a school.''

''Sorry Rose, I didn't mean it like that.  I'm sure your mother found it very hard to make the decision then only out of necessity.  Could you not find employment in London?''

''I never finished school Sir, she couldn't afford to send me when I was twelve, she had to teach me herself and leave me with a neighbour while she went to work then to pay for her looking after me, she used to do Mrs Jenkins's housework.''

John was appalled, what conditions had she worked in?

''Well at least you got out of London, in the countryside, better than all that smoke, it could have been much worse.''

He got up and went to sit on the sofa, Rose turned in surprise as he touched her arm.

''You don't have to feel sorry for me Sir, I got used to it, it's not so bad, really.''

''I wish I could help Rose.  Why don't you drop the 'sir' and call me John, while you're in my room.  Have you any more duties today?''

''No, just returning your tray, I should be going now, I don't know how long I'm permitted to stay in your room.''

''For as long as I wish, you could tidy my things while I finish my tea, if you want?  Don't worry, I won't say anything, you'll have to get used to coming in and dusting and suchlike.  Just pretend I'm not here if it helps, I have some work to do, I've also been told I have to report to the matron in the morning, is that where else you work, in the infirmary?''

''Yes Sir, I mean John, when I'm not working for you and I have the science department to clean before lunch.''

''Quite a lot to fit in Rose, when do you get some free time?''

''Weekends, I get Sunday off, Saturday I help with the general cleaning of the school, classrooms and dorms, when the boys are exercising outside or extra training.  I finish at six in the evenings, sometimes I used to walk with my friend to the village and sit outside the pub but she didn't come back this term, I don't know where she went, your old maid seems to have taken her place, she's sharing a room with me.''

John was concerned Rose's friend had disappeared.  ''Did your friend give any indication she was leaving Rose?''

''No, I saw her before half-term, she seemed okay, she never said anything unless she was dismissed for some reason though I can't think why, she did nothing wrong.''

''Strange then, maybe she got another job?''

Rose smiled.  ''Around here?  I don't think so.  Anyway, I should go now, if you've finished your tea, John?''

''In a hurry are you Rose?  You weren't in such a hurry when you were flirting with me outside my classroom, were you?''

Rose blushed.  ''I wasn't aware I was 'flirting' John, you were just as bad, if you don't mind me being forward in saying so?''

''I don't mind Rose, not in the least.  I want you to feel comfortable while you're working for me, can you do that?''

''Yes John, I can do that, I do feel comfortable with you, I just don't want you to think I'm acting out of place, I don't want you making a complaint against me for being too bold, do I?''

''I don't think you're being too bold Rose as long as you remember I'm the teacher and you're the maid, I think we'll get on very well together don't you?  At least I hope so.''

Rose got up and he passed his plate to her.  ''Yeah, I think we'll get along, I know how to keep my place.''

''Good, I'd hate to ask for another maid just after my arrival.''

He got up and stood beside her.  ''What about Martha, didn't she work for you before?''

''Well yes, her family worked for my family then when I got my first teaching job, she came with me, I think she has a crush on me, pool girl.  I hate to hurt her feelings by sending her back home, maybe she worked a little too close with me, having a different job this time may be just what she needs eh?''

''It's not my place to comment on that, John, that's between her and you but she already warned me not to let you take advantage of me.''

''She did?  The nerve, I'll have to have words with her, strong words.''

''Please John, don't say anything to her, I have to share a room with her, it could make things very awkward, I'm sure she was just concerned for me, nothing more.''

''Very well, I'll leave it for now, best make sure you heed her words then eh Rose?''

He began rolling his tongue around and Rose was fast losing it.  She really shouldn't have been looking at those magazines.

''I'll say goodnight then John, I'll see you in the morning, 7am sharp.''

''Yes Rose, I look forward to it and thank you for starting your duties early and bringing my afternoon tea, it was very good of you.''

''It was nothing, I was just following the duties set out for me, John.  See you tomorrow morning then?''

''Yes, thanks, that tea was nice, very nice, brilliant.  See you in the morning Rose.  Don't take too much notice of Martha, will you?''

Rose picked up the tray and John dashed to the door, opening it for her.  ''Now you know where my study is, for morning I mean, not that I mean you should not know where it is, I mean you would have found out, in the morning but now you've saved time by finding it now.''

Rose smiled.  ''Yes Sir, thank you, I'll see you in the morning.''

John went back inside.  Since when did he get so tongue-tied over a serving girl?  Rose went back down to the kitchen and put the tray on the side, noting she was the last one but she had been the last to pick one up, maybe tomorrow she should try to be early then she would have an excuse to spend more time with him, if he invited her to stay that was.  He was definitely flirting with her again but it couldn't get past that, it would make things interesting, that's all, nothing could ever come of it, it could lead to her dismissal but since they had bought her, could they actually do that?

Maybe not but they could to John.  She knew she liked him, she'd never met anyone like him before who treated her like a person and not a serving girl.

Martha had been concerned that her new room mate had been so keen to start her duties a day early, if she had already been working but maybe she was just keen to get good marks in the housekeeper's books and prove she was worthy of such a high promotion.  Rose had told her she worked in the infirmary and cleaned the science lab once a day, both responsible jobs in their own right, maybe she had worked her way up but maybe there was something special about her.

Then it hit Martha like slamming into a brick wall – this was that Rose Tyler but she was out of her time, maybe the Tardis had done the same to her as the Doctor had, being found a place and integrated, like he was meant to be there and that was why Rose didn't know him or know any differently that she was a serving girl in a school but she had been given respect, the students had been respectful to her and she had responsible jobs and she had coincidentally just been given the job of looking after John Smith, some coincidence that was, the nerve of the Tardis, depositing Rose here at the same time to compete for his affections.

Martha had always thought Rose and the Doctor had actually been lovers when she'd first met him but the last adventures she'd had with him, it was clear he was just remembering what might have happened had his young blonde companion not been stuck in another universe.  She felt sorry for him, maybe he'd never got the chance to tell her how he felt but a human male would just have fond memories and move on, to the next available female and she was it but he wasn't human, he obviously didn't get the whole 'moving on' bit as had become apparent by taking her to the same planet he'd taken Rose and talk about her when they had to innocently share a bed in Shakespeare's time even when she had tried her best to get cosy with him.

Just before six, Martha made her way down to the kitchen to find Rose already there talking to some of the other girls and the male servants, one seemed to be paying particular attention to her but she was ignoring him, was it because she had just been flirting with the Doctor or did she always do that, Martha wondered.

''Hi Rose, there you are,'' Martha remarked, sitting at an empty place at the large kitchen table in the middle of the floor.

''Oh hi Martha, everyone, this is Martha Jones, she just started today, she came with the new teacher, Doctor Smith.''

A young girl, probably one of the youngest there spoke up.  ''Hello Martha, I'm Mavis, let me do the introductions?''

After going around the table, everyone began chatting amongst themselves again and Martha felt left out, glancing over at Rose as food was put in front of them in turn, a plate of stew and dumplings and Martha really wondered if this was going to be so bad, at least the food didn't seem bad but the kitchen staff jobs must be horrendous, cooking for the cleaning staff, the boys and the teachers.  It was an enormous kitchen, a dozen or so staff were buzzing around at the other end, it reminded Martha of the canteen at the school she had attended.  Still, hopefully she wouldn't end up working there, maybe she would get the job of Rose's old room mate, Rose had mentioned the woman had just disappeared and wondered if the Tardis had something to do with it, in order for her to get the job here.

After Rose had left his room, John had smartened himself up after sitting at the writing desk, meaning to jot down some notes to himself but he had opened a drawer and found a leather-bound journal, blank and stared at it.  Who had left that there, he wondered.  Maybe he should keep a record of his time here but best not mention his new flirty maid he'd just acquired, she was young, very pretty but out of bounds, unless he was very, very, careful, things could get complicated.

After their tea, the staff split up, some went off to do odd jobs for the students to make some extra money, the boys rather enjoyed flaunting the fact they had lots of spending money and paid those who were willing to clean their shoes and other menial tasks the boys thought were beneath their station in life.  Rose wasn't one of those though, she preferred to seek the company of the matron when she wasn't walking down to the village with Jenny but it was getting dark early now, being the middle of October so it was dark by the time she had finished her tea, not that it used to put her off going out when she had been at the other school.

Rose went to her room and was joined by Martha.  Martha was very reluctant to make up a story of where she had come from until she got more information from her apparent current employer himself, see if the Tardis had even given her some sort of background.  Martha vowed the first chance she got, she would visit the ship and go through the instructions the Doctor had left again to make sure she hadn't missed anything and to find out how to stop him flirting with his new housemaid.
Chapter 4
Rose was in quite a talkative mood with Martha though luckily she wanted to talk about herself as Martha escaped by telling her room mate she had been lucky that Doctor Smith had kept her on when he had chosen to come to the school.  Rose wanted to talk about her encounter earlier in his room but thought better of it.  Rose knew if she wasn't very careful, things would get awkward and he may still decide to insist Martha took the job, she had seemed very disappointed to say the least she'd thought as she sat on her bed, hugging her knees.

''So Martha, I don't want to put you off or anything but you may possibly get the job the girl you seemed to have replaced used to have, did I tell you she left without even saying goodbye to me?''

Martha was glad of the chance to avoid talking about her supposed past.

''No, you never said, why do you think she left then?''

Martha thought she had been right and hopefully nothing untoward would have happened to this Jenny in order for she herself to gain a place on the school staff.

''I told Doctor Smith about it, he sounded concerned, he's really nice and like I told you Martha, I'm not gonna get myself dismissed over it.  Anyway, Jenny and I were good friends, she wouldn't just go off without saying anything and I'm too scared to ask Mrs Graham what happened to her, she'll say it's none of my business but maybe he might mention it, try to find out for me.  I'm really worried about her Martha.  You know him, do you think he will?''

Martha wanted to say he'd already forgotten about her, let alone ask about a missing member of the cleaning staff but maybe the Tardis had not done a good enough job planting her in his memory or the ship thought they should keep their distance from each other.  She just hoped he had the fobwatch close by and not be tempted to open it but he'd managed to tell her that he'd put a perception filter on it so he'd recognise it was important but not take too much notice of it, then it was her job to make sure he opened it after three months or sooner if they were in real danger of being discovered but it was early days yet.

''I'm sure Doctor Smith will ask for you if he remembers Rose, he's got a lot on with him just starting here I'm sure and I really don't know how long he's staying here.''

''Oh, I thought he was permanent?  Funny, the other history master left in a hurry as well, had a family emergency or something.''

''Maybe your friend Jenny went home?''

''Yeah, she didn't talk much about her family to me.''

Meanwhile, John had found his way to the teachers dining room and joined the others, all male he noted until the matron walked in and everyone stood up.  John didn't think the woman had anything on the cheeky housemaid he'd met a few hours ago though, she was something else but as everyone sat down, John offered her his seat at the end to save her the embarrassment of sitting amidst the male teachers.

She smiled and thanked him and he moved two chairs up and pulled out the chair, scraping it on the floor and grinning.

''Ah, you must be matron then?  I'm John Smith.''

''Joan Redfern'' the woman replied, trying not to raise her head and look at him.

She always felt uncomfortable in the dining room every evening and often called in the kitchen to ask for someone to bring her meal to the infirmary but she had wanted to meet the new history teacher after catching a glimpse of him earlier.

The headmaster entered the room and everyone stood again as he took his seat at the head of the table.  He was followed by a few members of the kitchen staff carrying trays.

''Gentlemen, matron, let us give thanks for our meal shall we?''

As they ate, the headmaster finding it unusual for the matron to be dining with them but since there was a new member of staff put it down to mere curiosity on the woman's part.  It just meant they had to behave like proper gentlemen in her company and not discuss matters not meant for a woman to hear.  Joan was trying her best not to look over at John, he was now talking to the man next to him, Mr Snell though John was unable to fathom what position the man held so he was unaware the matron was giving him the eye.

Joan thought the new arrival a refreshing change from the older male teachers, not that she had been looking, trying to get over the fact she had never wanted to look at another man after losing her husband but many women she knew in the village and nearby town had remarried, why should she be any different?  Still, she was getting ahead of herself, he wasn't even aware she was in the room despite giving up his seat at the table for her.

She tried to delay her leaving as the men got up one by one and made their excuses, nodding to her and saying 'good evening' to her as they left, leaving whom John had learned was called Mr Philips, the headmaster and the matron.

''So matron,'' the headmaster, Mr Rocastle stated, getting up.  ''I hear you had two boys in the infirmary earlier, nothing serious I hope?''

Joan wondered where he got his information from sometimes, since she never reported minor incidents and scrapes and wondering if Rose Tyler was his spy.

''No, just a headache and a scraped knee headmaster, Rose attended to the knee injury.  She's proving to be a good helper, I'd like your permission to train her further if that's at all possible?  It would mean her spending more time there though, perhaps some of her other duties could be dropped?''

''You would have to speak to the housekeeper but I don't see any reason why not, she seems more than capable, unlike that clumsy girl who spoiled the science projects the other term.''

''Oh, actually, she's just been assigned as my housemaid headmaster,'' John chirped up, thinking now it was a big mistake in admitting it as matron and the headmaster both looked at him for being a bit over enthusiastic in volunteering the information.

''Has she indeed?'' Mr Rocastle enquired.

John decided to remain quiet, he had only met the young servant twice and was already smitten with her though he knew it would be frowned on and could get one or both of them dismissed.

''Well in that case matron, if you want to train the girl further, maybe you should do it at the weekend, I'll have a word with the housekeeper and get her released from general cleaning duties.''

''Thank you headmaster, I'm sure she'll be pleased.  If you'll excuse me, I have some notes to write up.''

''Of course matron,'' Rocastle replied, getting up and signalling for John to remember his manners and also stand.

''Doctor Smith, I believe you have an appointment for your medical examination in the morning?'' Joan enquired of him as she got up.

''Yes, I'll have to come and find the infirmary then, I believe it's for 9am?''

''Yes, would you care to walk me back there now and I can show you where it is?''

John wasn't so sure that was a good idea, he was hoping to find Rose and make an excuse his room needed tidying but if he wanted to last the next term at least, maybe that wasn't such a good idea and accompanying the matron would make it seem he was less interested in his new maid, since he'd just blurted out the fact a bit too enthusiastically to all those present.

Mr Rocastle settled the matter for him.  ''An excellent idea matron, I bid you all goodnight then.''

He allowed the matron to go first, then John caught up with her outside.

''It's this way Doctor Smith,'' she reminded him as he went in the wrong direction.

''Right, sorry, lead the way matron.''

''I prefer to be called Nurse Redfern, or even Joan and it's John isn't it?''

''Yes, quite but there are still boys around, best not eh?''

Phew, he didn't want to get caught going around calling her Joan and letting the students hear him and it get around the school he had a 'thing' for the school nurse.  Well not when he already had more than a 'thing' for Rose.  What was he thinking though?  She was a maid for goodness sake, nothing could ever come of it.  Maybe he could accidentally bump into her in the corridors or even in the infirmary, if he could find out when she was there.  She wouldn't be there in the morning though, she may be still doing his room or cleaning the science room or something.  Joan was talking to him again, snapping him out of it.

''I was just saying Doctor Smith, I don't usually have an escort to the infirmary.''

''Oh, right, I wasn't aware you needed an escort matron, then I'm happy to have obliged.''

They had stopped outside the infirmary door, Joan unlocking it, it wasn't good practice to leave it open even though the boys were very well behaved.

''Here we are then, thank you for walking me back.''

Joan was in no hurry to go inside.  She was the only eligible female around the school, he was a single male, as far as she knew and she had been alone far too long.  It wouldn't take too much effort on his part for him to invite her out to the village one evening, would it?  She turned her back to go inside, hoping he would follow but he merely said goodnight.

''Right, yes, here we are then, safe and sound.  Goodnight matron, I'll see you for my morning appointment.''  With that, he turned and walked off without another word.

Joan could see she was going to have her work cut out for her then.  She went inside and picked up a paper folder containing his medical details.  Maybe she could keep finding some excuses for calling him back but skimming through them could find nothing wrong with him.  Well she wouldn't since the Tardis had miraculously provided all his details. 

John went off back to his study and wondered where Rose's room was but she was sharing with Martha, the maid he knew had been with his family previously and had acquired when he'd got his first teaching job but he couldn't quite remember her around in the house he had lived in.  He got back to his study and looked at the sofa arm Rose had been sitting on earlier and how close he had got to her then sitting down, closed his eyes and began imaging it was morning and she was bringing his breakfast and he'd just got out of bed.

He shook his head, maybe he'd been without any female company for too long, no wonder Martha had thought she would try her luck with him.  Before John realised, he was waking to a knocking on the door and a flustered Rose catching him standing in his striped pyjamas as he'd called her to come in and she put his tray on the table by the door.

''Sorry Sir, am I too early for you?''

John grabbed his thick dressing gown and hurriedly put it on but not fastening it as he approached her, lifting the tray and putting it on the other table as Rose went to pull back the curtains.

''No, it's okay, come in.  Good morning Rose, ready to start your new duties properly today?'' he asked as he took a piece of toast and smiled at her and making no attempt to adjust his attire.

Rose looked at him and having no father around when she was growing up, wasn't entirely sure she should be even standing there when he had just got out of bed.

''Yes Sir, I mean John, if I may still call you that?''

''Yes you may.  I'll have my breakfast and get dressed then you can come back in an hour.''

''I'll leave you to get your breakfast then shall I?''

''I never said you had to leave while I ate, did I now?''

He had noticed there were two cups.  ''Rose, you are very sneaky, how did you manage to get two cups?''

''They may find one short in the kitchen,'' she replied, pouring two cups of tea and sitting opposite him.

He still hadn't fastened his dressing gown and Rose was certain she wasn't meant to be there, what if someone questioned her?

''Something wrong Rose?''

''I'm not sure I should be here.''

''Nonsense, it's perfectly alright for you to be here, no-one will bother, you are my personal housemaid after all.  Have you already eaten?''

Twenty minutes later, keeping her laughter to a minimum, Rose had put all the breakfast things back on the tray and was trying to get John to let her leave.

''So you'll be coming back then?'' he asked, grinning and leaning on the door-frame, one arm on the opposite side and Rose caught in the middle, rolling his tongue around.

''Yes, when you've started your lessons and weren't you meant to be seeing the matron?''

''Yes, will you be there Rose?'' he asked hopefully, not letting her move.

''No, I have to clean your room, make your bed and then go clean the science room.''

''Well I have to say I'm rather disappointed you won't be there Rose, I'm not sure I can trust matron to examine me on her own.''

''Are you trying to get me into trouble John?  For being in the infirmary when I'm not meant to be?''

''Nothing of the sort, it was just last night, matron insisted she showed me where the infirmary was and I had the feeling she didn't just want me to walk her there.''

''Oh, are you worried about being on your own with her?  I wouldn't bother, she's a bit frosty, well she is with the other teachers and some of the boys, trust me.''

''She didn't seem so frosty to me last night, maybe she was thinking about thawing somewhat?''

''Maybe she was but how does that concern me John?''
Chapter 5
Martha had woken to the alarm but noticed Rose had already left.  The blonde must be keen, Martha thought to herself but should she be worried about her?  She'd gone to sleep in yet another strange place but this was even stranger, the Doctor wasn't himself and neither was Rose Tyler.  She'd not paid much attention to the Doctor rambling on about his lost love, especially lying on a bed but something else was bothering her.  She was in danger of losing him altogether is she wasn't careful, losing him to Rose Tyler for one but him forgetting her was her main concern.  If he forgot about her, she wouldn't be able to get him to open the watch when the danger had gone.

Joan Redfern was looking forward to examining the new arrival later, thinking it a shame it was inappropriate to ask him to remove his shirt when no-one else was present, that was unless she found Rose early and got her to be there but John had informed her last night that Rose was his new maid so she would be cleaning his room at that time, unless she put the examination off to another time.  No, she had to get this out of her head, it was not appropriate to pursue a teacher but where else was she going to meet a man?

She supposed there was always the village dance, held every year but that was a few weeks away and it was mostly married couples that went there anyway and there were no men in the village whom she had ever taken a liking to.

Rose hadn't been able to get out fast enough at the prospect of seeing Doctor Smith and him wanting her to call him by his first name had been an added bonus, she had hardly been able to stop herself talking about him to Martha but she suspected his maid he had brought with him was more than a little bit upset she'd not got the job and she wouldn't be pleased when she found out what Jenny's job had been there, scrubbing the main hall floors and corridors all day, Jenny had been more deserving of a promotion than she herself had been and wondered if her old friend would have got the job instead had she not disappeared like she had done.

Rose hurried back and knocked on his door but got no answer so taking her wooden box containing the cleaning materials she had picked up from the kitchen with the other maids, she let herself in and busied herself making his bed and dusting.  She had been quite surprised each of the teachers that actually lived in all had their own personal maids, she would have thought it more common for each maid to do more than one room but they all had other tasks to perform afterwards.

John had delayed his departure to see the matron, it had occurred to him last night that the nurse had intended for him to follow her into the infirmary but he'd declined what he had assumed was an invitation to step inside.  He certainly had no eyes for the matron, not that he could find anything wrong with her, he expected she was quite attractive to some males, just not him, well not since he'd met Rose – his rosebud.  That was what he was going to refer to the petite blonde to himself from now on.

She was pink, yellow and perfect in every way and he wanted to get to know her a whole lot better and judging by her open flirting last night, she wanted to get to know him too but if he didn't show at least a little interest in the matron, he may get branded with the wrong label unless he could produce a fake lady friend and wished he'd kept some likenesses of his last girlfriend, the French aristocrat Reinette, named, as she loved pointing out to him on more than one occasion after Madame Du Pompadour who she had tried to pass off as a very distant relative, like he'd actually believed that.

Straightening his tie, he'd got up the courage to knock on the infirmary door and listened for a 'come in' then opened the door – slowly.  He was not looking forward to it but after the examination, thankful he'd not been asked to unbutton his shirt, something he hoped he may entice Rose to do at some point though maybe not today, the matron pronounced he was in good health, much to her dismay as she had hoped his medical records had been wrong and he would be required to visit on a regular basis.

''So Doctor Smith, you'll be pleased to know you're in excellent health,'' the matron declared, trying not to make her disappointment known.

''Good, brilliant, I mean that I'm in good health.  So no more reason for me to visit then?''

Joan thought he was the one that sounded disappointed.

"No, not at all unless you have a reason to visit, do you John?''

Oh, she was using his first name, how it got to that?  Still, there was no-one but them in the room, Rose hadn't showed up yet, worse luck.

''No matron, I mean Nurse Redfern, not that I can think of.''

''You could call me Joan, there are no boys around now John, if you're afraid they may talk about us?''

John was more hoping they would be talking about him and Rose but maybe not – that could be even worse but he wouldn't mind the speculation.

''No, indeed not matron, I mean Joan.  Well best be off then, I have a lesson in twenty minutes, don't want to be late and I have to get my gown and cap, from my study.''

''Don't you keep them in the classroom?  The other masters do I believe.''

''Ah, well, first day and all, I forgot I was wearing them when I left.''

More like he had been too busy flirting with Rose, rolling his tongue around and seeing how near he could get his feet to hers without actually touching them, in front of Martha Jones.  No wonder his former maid had got the huff with him and made him come back down to earth with a bump but it had prompted Rose to bring his afternoon tea.  He would have to keep himself in check with her around.  He escaped the infirmary and headed back to his study, just as Rose was about to leave.

Rose had been delaying her departure, hoping he may come back since he'd left his gown hung up by the door but she knew it would make her late getting to the science room after the morning lesson, for some reason the first year students made more mess.  So as the door opened, she felt her heart flutter, something she was not used to and John walked in.

''Oh, hello Rose, you're still here?''  He thought that was rather a stupid question since it was quite obvious she was and his wish had come true – well one of them anyway.  The other one was her unbuttoning his shirt.

''I was just leaving.  How did your medical examination go?''

''Fine, not as bad as I'd imagined, she didn't tell me there was anything wrong with me, she didn't even get me undressed, thankfully.''

''I told you, she's frosty, she was probably scared to ask you.''

''Maybe so, she may have done, had you been there Rose.''

Rose smiled at the thought, not that she had ever seen a man, especially one who appeared as fit as John without a shirt on.

''So if you couldn't trust matron, getting you to take your shirt off, what makes you think you could have trusted her if I'd been there?''

He now had her up against the wall again as he reached for his gown, not that Rose was aware she was leaning on it, his cap just above it, she could have been leaning on anything at that point and never noticed, her heart was fluttering and she was sure she was blushing the colour of her name.

''I don't know Rose, could I have trusted you in there?'' he grinned, reaching over and leaning on one arm, the other half an inch off Rose's cheek, pushing a lock of hair back from it.

''You said something, about matron earlier, about her thawing, you never answered my question, how does it concern me?''

Rose had gone off early before he'd had chance to say anything, telling him she would be late taking his breakfast things back and foolishly he'd let her go.

''Well Rose, I'd much rather she didn't thaw because of me, I haven't done anything to give her any indication for her to treat me any differently, not that I'm aware of anyway.''

Rose smiled as his finger grazed her cheek, making her flush.  ''Really?  You're male, what other reason would she have?''

''There are a lot of other males around the school,'' he replied, hoping he'd not been singled out by the matron.

''Yeah but none of them are….''  She stopped.

''What were you going to say Rose?'' he asked, touching her cheek again.

''Sorry, I'm speaking out of term, you should have told me off.''

''Never think that Rose, I wouldn't tell you off for speaking up, well not when we're on our own anyway.''

''I'd better go now, I'll be late and I won't get finished in the science room in time then I have to go help matron for the afternoon.  I'll see you with your afternoon tea just after four then.''

''Oh yes Rose, I'm looking forward to that, very much and maybe you could sneak another cup onto the tray eh?  We can share the cream cakes again.''

''I have to watch my figure John, maybe just one cream cake?''

He looked down for the first time, wondering what she looked like when she wasn't wearing that long maid's outfit but the white frilly cap she wore made her look even more alluring.

''Well maybe you could share half the cream scone with me then?'' he asked hopefully, imagining her licking the cream. 

Crikey, he'd never even had such thoughts with Reinette and he had gone out with her for two years, he'd barely escaped marrying her except her parents wanted her back in Paris and her governess had frowned upon him and insisted she go back and that a history teacher was below her station in life.  When he thought about it, he'd never had any of these feelings he was now having for his pretty blonde maid, what was happening to him?

He was going to have to pretend to talk to the matron, to throw off any suggestions he was being out of line with his servant, what would his own family think?  He could see Rose's cheeks going red and thought it was the most charming thing he had seen so far.

''Well, I'd best let you go then Rose, we don't want you being late, do we now?  I wouldn't want you to be kept behind and not bring my afternoon tea, that will be the highlight of my day from now on, that and you bringing me breakfast and who knows, you may have to start bringing me breakfast in bed, should I choose?''

''If that's what you wish John, just as long as no-one comes in?''

''There is a lock on the door Rose, should I choose to use it but if you don't want to bring me breakfast in bed?''

''I never said that, did I?''

He touched her cheek again and leaned towards her ear.  ''See you at teatime then, rosebud?''

Rose managed to tear herself away from his brown eyes, surprised he had just called her that.  This was definitely getting into dangerous territory and was going to get out of control very, very soon.

Martha had gone to find the housekeeper after breakfast and was now on her hands and knees scrubbing floors, her first task and she was hating every moment of it and was never going to last the three months or so they were going to have to hide away from The Family.  She just hoped she wouldn't be spending all her time doing the same but after she and another girl finished and went off to the kitchen, she was given the slightly better task of dusting.  Oh how she longed for this to be over and go back to training to be a doctor.  Maybe she should get John to put in a word for her, she was not being treated fairly at all and she had to make him somehow ditch Rose being his maid and get her the job instead so she could keep a closer eye on him.

She had seen him come out of the infirmary and head back upstairs, probably to his study.  She hadn't seen Rose come back down since she went up to clean his room earlier.  Just as she was finishing, she saw the blonde come down looking slightly flustered, followed a few minutes later by John himself.  Was that a coincidence?  She had managed to just see Rose as she went into the kitchen.

''You were right Rose, I didn't like what your friend Jenny's old job was, no wonder she left.  How come some of the staff get the better jobs?''

''Hey, I do my fair share of the cleaning on Saturday's I'll have you know and I worked my way up at the other school I was at, they took that into account.''

''I'm not having a go at you personally Rose.  Did I just see Doctor Smith follow you down the stairs?''

''He went back for his cap and gown, so?''

Martha saw a glint in Rose's eyes, like they were almost smiling.  She was sure when the blonde had come downstairs she'd looked flustered.  Maybe if she could catch some hint there was something going on untoward, she may yet get the job she had been meant to have.  Martha knew now she had to be on the lookout for any signs inappropriate behaviour was going on between John and his maid, any at all but if she reported it, it could get her dismissed as well and maybe even John but he would more than likely get just a warning.

Then Martha had an idea, get a female member of staff to take notice if she suspected something was happening and the only one she knew of was the matron, perfect since Rose worked with her in the afternoons and matron would easily pick up on anything, the woman may have already noticed the newest male member of staff anyway but she didn't want yet another rival on her hands, she had enough with Rose Tyler.
Chapter 6
Rose had been flustered as John was clearly making advances on her and she wasn't sure how to react.  If it had been a man from the village it would be a different matter but he was a school master and supposedly out of bounds but he was the one making the advances, Martha had tried to warn her but her feelings were not taking any notice.  She didn't even know what these feelings were, she had been so young when she had left home and her mother had never warned her about men trying to take advantage of her but she had never been in the position to have any men pursuing her, well apart from who she now considered a creep at the village butchers, he had nothing on John Smith.

Maybe she could throw others off the scent though, talk about John like he was someone from the village but never say who it was, that could actually work, if John was indeed wanting to court her.  If that were the case, she would have to tell him or he may get jealous.  The thing was though, she didn't know what to expect, never being alone with a man and she had practically fainted when he had touched her cheek again then ever so gently kissed it.  She had seen Martha on her way downstairs and hoped her new friend was too far away to notice until Martha caught her coming out of the kitchen and asked her why John had followed her so closely down the stairs, then the other woman wondered why she had looked flushed.

John had smiled as Rose left his study, he had made the initial move, well he had made his intentions known by kissing Rose gently on the cheek, that should give her the general idea but Rose didn't look like a girl who'd had too many suitors clambering for her attention.  He hoped he'd not frightened her away, if he hadn't and she responded later when she brought him his afternoon tea, then he would have to tell her of his plan to keep their new liaison secret and pretend he was interested in the matron, which judging by last night and earlier, there would be no difficulty.

It would certainly solve the problem of him getting reported for taking up with his maid.  He made his mind up that if Rose let him kiss her later on, he would tell her about his plan. 

Rose had finished in the science room and went off to get some lunch then knocked on the infirmary door.  She only did it the once since Joan had her fetching and carrying and running errands for her, Rose quite enjoyed herself in the afternoons.

''Ah, there you are Rose, you're early today.''

''Yes matron.  I was wondering if it would be okay if I left five minutes early so I can get Doctor Smith his afternoon tea and get it to his study rather than him having to wait?  That way I can leave him to enjoy it in peace.''

''Yes, that's quite alright Rose, you shouldn't keep him waiting, it's also not good form to remain in a study whilst a teacher is taking tea or breakfast.  I know you've just started being a maid but I'm sure you'll learn quickly Rose.''

''Yes matron, I'm sure I will, I'm grateful for all you're teaching me here.''

Rose saw no harm in getting on the matron's good side, it may come in useful at some point.  So the rest of the afternoon, Joan was teaching Rose more basic nursing skills as two more boys came in, one with a bump on the head and one with a grazed elbow from playing rugby.  Escaping the infirmary at ten minutes to four, Rose went to the kitchen but had to wait for the trays to be readied but was the first one out.

Martha had been given the task of polishing the trophies in the small display cabinet, much to her dismay.  She knew she would have to risk going to John's study or classroom and ask him to talk to the housekeeper, if she kept on like this, she wouldn't even last the week. If she'd thought it had been hard work training in a hospital, this place had nothing on it, she thought no wonder Rose's friend had gone missing, who could blame her but she expected girls of the era knew no better but at least these days more modern cleaning practices would be engaged such as vacuum cleaners and polishing machines for the floors.

John remembered to take off his cap and gown and hung them up but considered not doing that every afternoon or he'd have no excuse to go back to his room in the mornings and catch Rose doing his cleaning since he had the first lesson of the morning as free time which he meant to use to his advantage and prepare some lessons in the classroom.  The last of the boys were leaving but Latimer was delaying his departure.

''Sir, can I ask you something?''

''Ah, Latimer, I noticed you were holding back again, any reason?''

''No Sir, sorry Sir but it wasn't about that, may I have some extra homework to do?''

''You are keen Latimer, I'll prepare something for the next lesson but is there any reason when you don't answer my questions?  Why are you trying to look like you don't know the answers but want extra work?''

John still suspected the boy was getting bullied, he'd spied at least two of the other boys, Hutchinson and Baines looking at him several times when he looked like he was about to raise his hand.  He shook his head and made his way upstairs, keen to have his afternoon tea with Rose.

Rose had been unable to sneak another cup though since the other maids were coming in but she wasn't that bothered.  She decided when she got the chance she would go buy one from the village store and keep it in his room.  She sometimes managed to get out early on Saturday afternoons so it would have to wait until then.  She had his tea already poured out as he entered his room and put the catch on the door, no-one would think of just walking right in without knocking and he could easily get rid of anyone who did, not letting them in and if someone were to stray inside, Rose would be busy tidying one thing or another.

''Hello Rose, had a good day?''

''Yeah but it just got better.  I'm sorry I ran off earlier, you took me by surprise John.''

''You mean you weren't expecting me to kiss your cheek?''

''No but it was nice.  I've never had a man interested in me enough to try that before.''

''Really?  Then after you've joined me for afternoon tea, allow me to show you how a man becomes interested in a young lady.''

Rose smiled.  ''No-one's ever called me a lady before either.  I'm sure you can teach me lots of things John but what about the school's rules on this kind of thing?  What if someone reports I spend too much time in your room?''

He made her sit next to him, holding out the plate of cream cakes and watching her take a small one, took one for himself.

''Let me worry about that Rose, I have a plan to use the matron's interest in me to our advantage, if you agree?''

''What did you have in mind?''

She didn't want to let on just yet in case she'd got the wrong idea that she had thought exactly the same as he did.

''Well she implied last night I should call her by her first name, if I were to start doing that and casually call by the infirmary every so often and maybe invite her out to the village pub one evening, then people will get the idea I'm pursuing her but I don't want you to feel jealous Rose, there's nothing in it, I'm only trying to create an illusion.''

''You'd do all that?''

The cream cakes finished, he leaned forward and touched her cheek.  ''Oh yes Rose, for you I would go to that extent but what about you?''

''Oh, I think I could invent a local man from the village being interested in me.''

John smiled.  She may be a servant but she was too clever.  ''So you've already thought about it, even when I just kissed your cheek this morning?''

''Well that and the flirting yesterday, what do you expect John?''

Well what did anyone expect, she was a young woman in her twenties, her mother had married and given birth to her when she was barely twenty.  John decided now was as good a time as any to make another move on her.  He got up and took his jacket off then his tie and looked in the mirror, flicking his hair back and rolling his tongue.  Rose was watching him carefully, it was like he was doing it to make her go crazy and she liked it.  Casually, he undid the top two buttons of his shirt and sat back down after suddenly picking up the fobwatch then putting it down.

He'd picked it up earlier and thought nothing of it, he had vague memories of being given it when he was younger but he still couldn't figure out why it would never open for him.  Maybe he should show it to Rose at some point, see if it would open for her.  Rose had taken off the frilly cap and loosened her hair, it having been tied back.  The long black maids outfit she wore looked complicated to John, it must take her a while to get into the uniform every morning but he got closer and went for the top two buttons.

Rose smiled and moved her arms to take the white apron off, she hadn't been wearing it earlier, he noted, when he gone back for his gown.  Then she surprised him by reaching for his shirt buttons.

''We don't have much time John, someone may knock on your door.''

''Then don't waste it rosebud, come here and let me help you?''

He unfastened more of her buttons until he could see more of her delicate skin and felt his heart beating faster.  He'd never really got anywhere with Reinette, even with her being French she wasn't that forward, well maybe not with him anyway.  Kissing and laying on his bed when no-one was around was about his limit though once or twice he had got most of his shirt buttons undone and almost got her out of her evening dress.

It was way past him getting further with a woman and Rose wanted the same by the way she was now attacking his shirt.  He could now see the top of her pale pink cami top as she pulled the shirt out of his trousers having pushed him down against the single cushion.  He smiled at her and pulled her down revealing more skin and wishing now he'd had made more of an effort with Reinette but to say Rose knew even less than he did, she wasn't doing so bad for herself.

Rose smiled back as she parted his shirt and he pulled her towards him.

''Rose, I so want to kiss you right now, may I be so bold?''

She didn't need to be asked twice as their lips met briefly then pulling her down on top of him, he deepened the kiss and remembered what Reinette had actually taught him about kissing.  What seemed like an age passed before Rose was breathless and panting as her exposed skin touched his slightly hairy chest then without warning, John moved her and she thought he was pushing her away but he smiled at her again and gently moved her so they changed places and he put his hand above her top then leaned down to kiss just above but it wasn't long before he was moving the top as far down as he could to reach more.

''My rosebud, you are indeed a flower but time is passing too quickly and I fear you will be missed.''

''Yeah, I'd best get your tea things back to the kitchen before they send someone looking for them.''

''Then may we continue this in the morning when you bring my breakfast?''

''Mmm, I look forward to it, yes we may continue but we still won't have much time so if I drop your breakfast in as early as I dare, I'll come back and we'll have more time.''

John was helping her fasten her buttons, well so he was pretending, leaning down to kiss the still exposed skin.  To say she was a serving girl, he thought she had good tastes in ladies lingerie, not that he'd seen much of Reinette's except when she had been teasing him.  If Rose had felt flushed earlier, she was going to have a hard time keeping her cool on the way back to the kitchen.

''May I come back later?'' she dared ask, thinking it was her turn to fasten his buttons and taking her time.

''I wish Rose but it may arouse suspicion, you are meant to finish work.''

''Yes but I often run messages for the matron, I could sneak back after dinner has been served.  Or don't you want me to?''

''Well yes I do but let's not rush things eh?  Otherwise we may raise some suspicion and that would spoil things.  Why don't you bring me breakfast early again in the morning, in bed of course?  Do you always wear that long maid's uniform?''

''I have to, sorry but not during the day.  Do you have any free time?''

''Just the first lesson, I can be here when you come back to clean, everyone would be busy.  There is another way, if you agree?''

He reached down to kiss her gently, making her shiver.  Whatever it was, she would readily agree.

''Anything John, what is it?''

''Maybe you could go to the kitchen around nine and bring me some cocoa?'' he grinned, rolling his tongue around that had started making Rose crazy again.

''Doctor Smith, it would be my pleasure, I won't be wearing my uniform then, well not all of it.''

''Then I look forward to it, my beautiful Rose.''

''Maybe I could sneak a cup for myself, say I'm dropping yours off before retiring to my own room?''

''Rose Tyler I was right, you are indeed devious, now come here and give me one more kiss before I have to let you go.''

Rose made sure she was presentable and gathered his tray, John leaning over her in the doorway.

''Until later, my fair rosebud.''

Then he leaned over and kissed her again, Rose already wishing the hours away.  Now all she had to do was remain calm and not give the game away to Martha.
Chapter 7
Martha had noticed Rose's absence in their room when she got there just after five, having been working since seven in the morning with a short break for lunch and had flopped down on her bed exhausted.  She supposed Rose was still fluttering her eyelids at the Doctor.  Martha wished she could warn him who Rose actually was, she still hadn't fathomed how Rose was actually in the school and if indeed it was the right one or some sort of copy the Tardis had invented to keep her, Martha Jones away from her one and only chance of getting him to have the same feelings as she had for him. 

Life just wasn't fair, she had finally got him away from his precious ship and his incessant meanderings of Rose this and Rose that and not to mention 'Rose used to say that' when she herself had suggested they went somewhere or some activity, like skating in New York's Central Park in the 1940's (the earth New York, not the new earth's one) at Christmas and she had tried to grab his hand but he'd let go and shrugged her off muttering something she could only imagine was 'get off Rose, used to hold my hand when we skated' and then she had seen him sit down and take his skates off and she knew she had spoiled it for him.

There had been other times too she'd noted when he'd get that look in his eyes that told her what they were doing or where they were reminded him of his Rose.  She knew she should be angry with the version of the blonde that was here in the school though technically she wasn't responsible for her actions or for getting the teacher in a state of making a fool of himself right in front of her own eyes like they had done yesterday.

Martha made her mind up that after her tea she would go knock on his study door, enquire how he was settling in stating she was concerned about him and ask him to put in a good word with the housekeeper, maybe encourage Rose to take up in the infirmary full time and lay the way clear for herself to take up the post she'd been meant to have.  There again, she could have been right about it being the meddlesome ship trying to keep her away from him.

Maybe the Tardis sensed he was still in love with Rose and wanted him to have another chance with her, even if neither of them knew it and it was the ship's way of making up for them being separated in two different universes.  After all, love was strange so they say but Martha would rather that not happen at her expense, thank you very much.  She made her mind up to go visit the ship as soon as she could and have a strong word or two for making the Doctor break his promise that he'd know her and let her into his new invented life that was clearly going to end in three months anyway.

Martha sat and thought about all the different ways she could warn the two of them before something happened, Rose would be bitterly disappointed when he just disappeared but knowing him, he'd insist on apologising to her and maybe want to take her along even though she wasn't the version of Rose he'd known and loved but wouldn't that be breaking timelines and all that?  Maybe he'd be embarrassed to think he'd taken advantage of Rose when she didn't know who she was and definitely who he was, he might even just go off without a word.

Time would only tell, Martha thought as she heard the doorknob turn and a 'Martha are you descent?' from Rose's voice.  Three months of watching the Doctor and this new version of Rose make out in front of her, she was surely going to throw up at some point and she wished they wouldn't insist on doing it in front of her.

''You're late finishing Rose, did you get delayed?'' Martha asked as Rose took her white apron off that she hoped hadn't got creased earlier when she had hastily taken it off so John could unfasten the buttons and kiss her cleavage, which had felt divine.

''I was late getting Doctor Smith's tea tray from him, he was taking his time today,'' she half lied.  Well he was taking his time – with her, it wasn't a complete lie and Rose surprised herself by finding it so easy to spin the yarn to her room mate.

''So how are you getting on Martha?  What are they giving you to do?  Nothing too hard?'' Rose continued, trying not to let Martha see the red marks on her neck John had surely made when they had been getting cosy of his sofa.

''It was horrendous Rose, between you and me I'm not surprised your friend Jenny ran off, I don't blame her.  I'm not used to it, it's hard work and I'm going to have to speak to Doctor Smith and get him to have words with the housekeeper.''

''Jenny never complained Martha, maybe things will get better tomorrow?  It was your first day after all.''

Rose went behind the screen and took her uniform off and put on a long black skirt and a black jumper, since female staff were not permitted to wear anything else if they intended roaming the school corridors in the evenings and she was going to excuse herself later and say she was going to see matron, then sneak in and get two mugs of cocoa and go have it with John.  There was a rule that both serving staff and boys all had to be in their rooms by ten so she wouldn't have much time but she could collect the mugs in the morning, saying she wasn't allowed to take them back. 

Teachers would take it in turns to wander the corridors at night on random patrols and she had no intentions of getting caught but she could sneak up the back staircase, they never went up to the third floor but sneaking in without Martha getting suspicious would be a different matter, that was going to take some doing and she would have to come up with a reasonable excuse.  She didn't know if Martha was a light or heavy sleeper so tonight, she would go back a few minutes after ten and see if Martha had already fallen asleep since she'd found the work hard and hope she wouldn't be missed other nights if she stayed out longer.

John was daydreaming of Rose, her fair skin exposed to him as she lay beneath him, smiling up at him and fingering his hair.  He could only fuel his imagination further by getting a better look at her later on, even if it was only going to be for a short while but if they continued their secret rendezvous, which he hoped they would, she should be able to stay longer and sneak around the school to get back without being caught.  It was a risk he was certainly willing to take.

He was almost late for dinner having been delayed by Martha trying to get him to put in a good word for her with the housekeeper so he made his way hurriedly downstairs to join the others.  His head was in the clouds, thinking later on, just before nine, Rose would knock on his door on the pretence he'd asked her earlier to call in with a hot drink if she were to be fetching one for herself by any chance and it was no trouble to bring a mug to his study.  He would formerly let her in so she could pretend to turn down his bed for him and hope if anyone were to be passing, they wouldn't hang around to make sure she came out five minutes or so later.

He knew he was allowed out in the hallways after ten but Rose wasn't, he'd have to make sure the way was clear for her to get back to the end of the corridor, around the corner and run up the servant's staircase without being seen.  He doubted whoever roamed those corridors at night would bother going that way to ensure no staff were creeping around though goodness knows how sneaky schoolboys could be when they wanted to be, he himself remembering numerous occasions he had been caught after accepting dares to sneak goodies from the kitchen.

He made a conscious effort as he walked into the teachers dining room to engage the matron in conversation and offer to walk her back to the infirmary but by no means was he going in there on his own with the woman after the way she was looking at him expectantly last night to follow her in, it had been bad enough this morning.

Matron had set off a few minutes early hoping to be seated next to John so she might try and strike up a conversation with him.  He'd seemed timid earlier though last night he had been talking ten to the dozen with the man next to him at the dinner table, maybe he was just shy with women and she was surprised to learn he was a bachelor, never having married but maybe his teaching career was more important to him than a wife and family.

Joan found herself a seat at the end of the table again but was followed in by Mr Snell, whom she had caught a few times last night glancing over when Doctor Smith wasn't apparently talking his ear off, which she wished he was talking to her and not to the other man.  Mr Snell smiled politely and nodded and took the seat opposite her, probably to avoid getting his ear talked off again by the enthusiastic history teacher Joan thought although she wouldn't mind if he were to engage her in polite conversation.

Joan knew she would be pointed out as she didn't often join the rest of the teaching staff two nights in a row, the headmaster would surely make some comment about it and it meant they had to be careful what they talked about in front of her.  Two or three of the other teachers were married and went home to their wives and families, lucky them, Joan thought as two more teacher came in, one nodding to her and taking the vacant seat next to her she had hoped John to take as she thought the others might avoid sitting next to her as a formality. 

There was only one seat remaining, unfortunately for Mr Snell but fortunately for Joan just opposite her but could she bare looking across at him for the duration of the evening meal?  He was stirring all kinds of emotions within her she thought she had buried deeply after her husband had been killed in the battle of Spion Kop, they had married young and she had been a widow all these thirteen years and it was showing, never finding anyone who could replace her childhood sweetheart until maybe now.

John was the last one in except for the headmaster, it was etiquette for him to be a few minutes late and John only just made it, he assumed it was considered rude to arrive after the headmaster so he took his seat moments before Mr Rocastle entered.  Joan wondered if he had been late on purpose to avoid talking to her after his rather hasty retreat from the infirmary earlier and thought the man was scared of her or of women in general but on that point she had no idea.

John managed to avoid poor Mr Snell and instead talked to the teacher at the other side, Joan was avoiding Mr Snell looking at her as she sipped at her soup and Mr Rocastle did indeed pick up on the fact the matron had once again joined them.  The main course almost finished, one or two teachers made their excuses again and departed, the teacher John was having a one-sided conversation with also made his getaway, probably making a note to himself to sit elsewhere the next evening which thankfully was a Friday and weekends, he travelled home to see his elderly mother and wouldn't be there.

John looked up as if he'd only just realised he was sitting opposite Joan Redfern or as Rose had giggled to him 'The ice matron' before she had left flustered that morning when he been reminded of his impending medical examination by her.

''Ah, matron, have you had a good day?  No major ailments amongst the boys?  I heard there was a minor one at rugby practice earlier, I trust no-one was seriously injured?''

Joan wondered how he had heard about it but maybe he made it his business to listen to what the boys were talking about since he also took a lesson on Thursday afternoons of firing practice in the field behind the school, something she stayed away from as it brought back painful memories of the war that took her husband away from her, yet here she was, patching boys up in a military school of all places.  She had been thankful none of the boys had suffered any injuries during the practice or she may have run away the way she was feeling right now.  Damn John Smith for coming to the school and setting her emotions off into a riot that she didn't think she could control for very much longer.

It was considered bad manners the way she had been brought up to seek a man's company but she really didn't care about her manners if John didn't start to talk to her very soon, she was going to have to take matters into her own hands and be coy about making the first move.  She thought again about the village dance a few weeks away and thought now was the time to be mentioning it and see if he got the hint.

Joan managed to find her voice, since she'd delayed answering him as a few more got up and said goodnight.

''No Doctor Smith, there were no major injuries, Rose and I dealt with the boys.  How did your firing practice go today?''

''Very well actually, it gets the boys some fresh air.  Right then, if you'll excuse me I have some papers to mark.  Headmaster?''

''Yes indeed Doctor Smith, don't let me keep you from your work.''

''Matron, may I escort you to the infirmary, I am going that way after all.''

Joan looked surprised.  ''Yes, thank you, goodnight to you headmaster.''

As they left, John purposely turning to see if there was any reaction to him leaving with the matron two nights in a row, he found himself walking alongside her and hoped Rose wasn't wandering around but why should she?  She was calling in on him in just over an hour and he was looking forward to unfastening more than just a few buttons and hoped she'd got rid of that maids outfit and wished she would wear something shorter, above the knee that showed off her legs, maybe with some black stockings.  Where had that come from?
Chapter 8
Martha was not happy as she had come away from the Doctor's study, or Doctor Smith as she had to keep reminding herself to call him.  The conversation she'd hoped to have with him had been hurried and a little one-sided as she had knocked on his door and waited to be admitted.  John's heart had been pounding when he'd heard a dainty knock on his door, thinking Rose was being brazen and coming back, twenty minutes before he was due in the staff dining room but as he'd called 'Come in' he had found it was Martha, his maid from back home whom he thought didn't look too pleased at being passed over for the job he'd more or less promised she would get upon him taking this post but that was hardly his fault, the blame was entirely upon the very strict housekeeper.

''Ah, Martha, I trust suitable employment has been offered to you then?'' he asked, looking at the clock on the shelf and counting how long it was before it would be Rose knocking on the door, with hot cocoa and kisses, plenty of the sweet kisses they had shared a short time ago.

''Sir, no actually the employment I've been given is far from being suitable, I didn't come here expecting to be given odd jobs of scrubbing floors and polishing trophies.  Can you do something about it?''

''How can I do that Martha?  It's down to the housekeeper to give out the cleaning staff's instructions, I expect there are other women doing exactly the same job.''

Martha was furious but didn't want to be dismissed on the spot.  That would mean leaving the school and leaving Rose free to take up with him.

''With respect Sir, you did promise I would remain your personal housemaid, then the housekeeper gave the job to Rose, why should she get it?''

''Because she was next in line for the job, that's why.  You've got a job here, I said I would try to get you installed as my personal housemaid, I couldn't guarantee there wouldn't be any objections.  If I get the chance, I'll speak to the deputy headmaster, have him speak to the housekeeper but until then, you'll just have to put up with it, it's nothing you haven't done already when you worked for my family.''

Martha wondered what the hell background the Tardis had managed to come up with, what had she supposed to have been doing when working for his family?  She had gone away bitterly disappointed he'd not been prepared to do more and after continuing to try to persuade him it was not what she expected when she came here, he'd brushed her off and said he was going to be late for dinner.  She had gone back to the room she shared with Rose and tried not to take it out on the blonde who was causing all this.

Rose was in a particularly good mood since she was going to make an excuse to go see the matron about something and say she would be back before curfew but to throw any suspicions away from herself, she thought she would ask Martha to have a walk to the village the next evening and have John happen to come along and escort them back to the school.

Rose noticed her new friend had gone off in a rush after tea and wondered if she'd gone to complain to John about the jobs she'd been given.

''So Martha, how about tomorrow night we go for a walk to the village and get a drink?  It's payday.''

''For you maybe, I just started remember?  I have to wait until next week.''

''Then I'll pay for both of us and you can pay next Friday, what do you think?  There are some cute men who hang around there on a Friday night, I used to go with the girls from the other school, I think one of them likes me but he's never bought me a drink yet.''

''Maybe he's just shy Rose, I'm sure if you flirted with him he'd get a move on.''

She wanted to say like Rose had been doing so blatantly yesterday afternoon right in front of her nose with John Smith then decided not to but there was nothing she could do so far to prevent the blonde from doing it again.  Rose had a feeling Martha had meant something by it but let it pass, it would give her the excuse to be out and if John would agree, although he couldn't be seen sitting outside a pub with them, he could make an excuse up he was just passing by.  She would see what he thought about it but she was dying to get to his room for more of the brilliant kissing they had done earlier.

She wished now her mother had told her more about being with a man but Jackie had not wanted her daughter to be led astray and then she had left home with no-one to guide her except the other girls who seemed a bit forward in that department and the articles she had read.  She just had to trust John would be a perfect gentleman and not rush her into anything but as she sat reading the book she had borrowed from the matron, she looked at the alarm clock wishing it was time to go see him.

John was having a difficult time after arriving at the infirmary door with Joan as she invited him in and if he said no this time, what would be the point in using her as an excuse to cover up his fondness of Rose?

''Would you like some tea John?'' Joan was asking him as he had timidly followed her and looked around, half expecting Rose to be there or for the room to be full of the schoolboys all laughing at him for following the nurse in.

''Excuse me?  Oh, tea, 'erm, not just now thank you, maybe another time?  I think I'll wait and get a drink later, before I retire for the evening.''

''That would mean you going out to the kitchen John, why would you want to do that?''

''Yes, well, I had some trouble sleeping last night, new surroundings, perhaps if I go get something to help me sleep I may have more success.''

''I see, well I only have tea in my room, I can't help you there, perhaps some hot milk or some cocoa would help you?''

''Yes, quite, that was what I was intending on doing, I'm sure I can find the kitchen or maybe if I see Martha around, she may bring me some, she's feeling quite put out at the moment, with her not getting the job of my housemaid.''

''Really John, she'll get over it and settle down, it's just a job after all.  How are you getting on with your new maid, Rose?''

''She's doing fine, she had actually left my tea tray before I got back this afternoon, then she collected it promptly at four thirty, I think she's trying to make a good impression.  Either that or she's avoiding me, she barely stayed this morning and I think I spooked her when I went back for my cap and gown when I'd finished here.''

''She's probably just nervous John, it's the first time she's been a teacher's housemaid, she'd perfectly okay around me, she's quite good in here.  I'm going to ask for her to be excused on Saturday mornings to spend more time learning.  You do know the maids don't work on Sundays?''

''Oh, thank you for informing me then, I expect everyone meets in the dining room for breakfast?''

''Yes, all the staff except the weekend ones have Sundays off, which includes the kitchen staff.  A lot of the girls live in the village or nearby farms, they all stay off with their families.  Some of those that remain in the school do odd jobs for the staff to make extra money, the headmaster doesn't approve but lets it go.''

Well at least that gave John the hope that maybe he could persuade Rose to spend some extra time in his study and not get questioned but she may already have other plans but since she had no reason to leave the school, where would she go?  John notice dthe time, eight thirty and thought Rose may well be coming down to go to the kitchen, maybe he could 'bump' into her in the hallway and ask her to bring him some cocoa.

''Right, I'd best be off, I still have some papers to go through so I'll say goodnight, Joan.''  There, she should be satisfied he'd remembered to call her by her first name.

''Yes, don't let me keep you, perhaps you'll stop by after dinner tomorrow night or even go for a walk into the village.''

''What's in the village?''

''There's a little pub the locals go to, some of the cleaning staff go there as well, your maid for one, she used to go with the girls from the other school, I think she likes one of the local men.''

''Really?  I mean the cleaning staff go there as well?  Is it a good idea to frequent the local pub together, staff and teachers?''

Joan laughed.  ''Out of the school it really doesn't matter as long as they remember their place, they have as much right to go there as anyone else.''

John was delighted to learn of this, until Joan continued.

''It doesn’t mean however we sit with them, don't look so alarmed at the thought, it's not good to socialise with them unless there are only one or two of them but the male teachers are never seen talking to them, for fear of being gossiped about but some of them don't take much notice, I really don't see the need to socialise with them outside the school.''

John thought she was a bit of a snob but if he were to see Rose sitting outside the pub, quite by accident, she was his housemaid, Martha was his former one and he knew them, surely it wouldn't be so bad to talk to the two of them, with or without anyone else being there.  He would talk to Rose tonight and mention it and if she agreed, he would walk down tomorrow evening after dinner and maybe even invite Joan as an excuse to be there.  He'd already told Rose not to get jealous, if she could be sly, then so could he but he was certain she could teach him a thing or two about being sneaky.

He said goodnight to Joan, she had told him she had welcomed his company and that sometimes Rose would call down if she had any questions about what she was being taught.  John made his way back to his study, hoping to catch Rose as she came down the stairs.  He was in luck as he was sure he had just caught sight of her halfway down.  He waited until she was almost at the bottom, in the far corner of the corridor.

''Ah Rose, I don't suppose you are going by the kitchen by any chance?''

''Yes Sir, I was actually on my way there.  Can I get something for you?''

''Why yes, if you are going that way?  I'd appreciate a mug of cocoa, if it's not too much trouble?''

''Oh no Sir, it's no trouble, I'll bring it to your study, I was going to get some for myself anyway.''

''Well thank you Rose, that's very good of you in your time off, I haven't had chance to find out where the kitchens are yet, perhaps you could show me sometimes?''

''I'd be happy to Sir but if it's only a mug of cocoa you are wanting, I can fetch it when I get my own, I can collect the empty mug in the morning with your breakfast things.''

''Thank you Rose, I wouldn't want you to go to the trouble of collecting my empty mug, I'm sure it will be alright until morning, unless you are coming back down yourself later?''

Well that would certainly give her the excuse of being late to her room, wouldn't it?

Rose had told Martha she was going down to see matron about the book she was reading, a medical history book Joan had thought would be interesting to her but Martha wondered if that was the real reason.  Still, she had no excuse herself to go following Rose unless she went down to the kitchen for a late drink but thought she would leave it tonight, she was tired and wait and see if Rose went out the next time, since tomorrow night she had been invited to the village pub.

Rose wandered into the kitchen, some of the other girls were sitting around the table talking and drinking and the young girl who had spoken to Rose last night called over to her.

''Hello Rose, coming to join us?''

''Oh, not tonight thanks, Doctor Smith found me in the corridor and asked if I'd take him some cocoa on my way back so I'll drop his then take mine upstairs, thanks anyway.''

''You want to be careful Rose.'' 

She thought she had been caught out.  ''What do you mean?''

The others looked at her.  ''He'll have you doing it every night, that's what, if he wants extra favours doing, make sure you tell him you want paying.''

''I can't do that.''

''Why not, everyone else does it, he'll find out sooner or later that anything out of hours is chargeable, lots of us do jobs for the boys or some of the other teachers, one of the lads goes down to the pub every Saturday night for a crate of beer for some of the senior boys but don't tell anyone, he says it's for Mr Snell.  The man hasn't caught on yet!''

Rose smiled.  ''Well I'll tell Doctor Smith this one's on the house but I want paying if I do it again, right?  He won't dismiss me will he?''

''No, 'course not.  He'll say he'll think about it then ask around but you want cash in hand at the end of the week so keep a check on what errands you run, like when you do it for matron, you should charge her too.''

''I can't do that, she's teaching me in the infirmary.''

''Well consider it.  Don't let us keep you then.''

Rose went to the stove and stirred a pan of hot milk simmering on a low heat, put the cocoa powder in and poured the milk into two large mugs that were hanging up.  She said goodnight to the girls, pushed the door open and made her way up the main staircase to John's study, putting a mug down on the hall table outside, knocked on his door.

John had been jittery of Rose's impending arrival, it was almost nine, there would only be an hour at most before she had to return to her room but she had an excuse of taking the mugs back, he would cover for her if she was reported as he planned seeing her downstairs if need be.  He almost jumped when a tap came on the door and he called for her to come in, praying it wasn't Joan or Martha come to call.

He smiled as Rose let herself in and she smiled back.

''Hello again rosebud, I've been waiting for you.  Come here and give me a kiss.''
Chapter 9
While Rose had been waiting for him to call her into his study, she was getting all excited, firstly at how bold she was getting and that he'd actually had the nerve to ask her in the corridor to bring a drink to his room for anybody who was happening to pass by at the time to hear.  She just hoped her room-mate hadn't decided to stroll downstairs and follow her, Martha wouldn't do that, would she?  She had heard him call her in and forgot about being nervous as he smiled at her and took the drinks from her and put them on the table and asked her for a kiss.

They managed to have their drinks before they went cold, John taking the empty mugs and placing them on the table then lay Rose down against the cushion on the leather sofa, noting she was wearing a jumper with a few buttons down the front and a long skirt just above her ankles.

''Oh Rose, I've been waiting all evening for you to come back to my room, we don't have much time, may I?'' he asked as he unfastened the buttons and pulled the offending jumper over her head, leaving her in a pale pink cami top he could hardly wait to relieve her of, well maybe not tonight but soon.

''Mmm, John, sorry I don't have much else to wear since I'm working most of the time and I don't have a lot of money to spare for clothes by the time I've paid for my room and board, I don't have a lot left.''

''Not to worry my beautiful flower, maybe one day you'll let me take care of that and buy you some nice clothes?''

Rose was now giggling as he leaned down to kiss her like he had done earlier, moving the material of her top with his fingers and touching her, making her shiver again as she reached for his shirt buttons, the top two already unfastened as he'd waited for her after escaping from the matron.  He really wanted to do more but they had very limited time and he knew it was never going to be enough, not with her.

Rose was fingering the buttons of his shirt as it came undone, his sleeves already rolled up, his fingers felt warm on her skin as he touched part of her and kissed the other side, then changing over.  He knew a bell would go at ten and he just hoped he wasn't too lost in what he was doing to miss it or Rose really would be in trouble, either from being caught or him getting carried away.  Rose was already lost in the sensations he was giving her until finally, she took his hand, smiled at him and encouraged him to lift the cami top.

He gave her a wicked grin and pulled up the delicate garment, knowing it was going to be impossible to ever let her go in a short while.  He so wanted her to stay, he could tell she wouldn't want to leave.  He continued with what he was doing now the garment was pulled up and Rose was now calling his name as he nipped both sides and she began ruffling his hair and pulling him down.

''John, I want to feel your skin next to mine, please?''

She parted his shirt and he leaned down.  ''Oh Rose, I wish we had more time but sadly, it's running out for us.  I can't keep on like this, you are making me mad with desire.  Tomorrow evening, maybe we can go to the village early, after my evening meal and have a drink, then I can escort you back and you can fetch me another hot drink later, there is a later curfew on Friday evenings so I've learned.''

''Yes John, I already asked Martha to go with me, if you happen to be there at the same time, you can walk us back to school.''

''Then we'll do that but I may have the matron with me, do you mind?  I was just going to use her as a cover, she doesn't believe servants and teachers should socialise.''

Rose looked at him.  ''Who does she think she is?''

John laughed.  ''The matron?  Now no more talking, we don't have much time left and you make sure you bring my breakfast nice and early in the morning and serve it to me in bed.''

He nipped at her skin and she stifled a scream.  ''No more getting my neck or Martha may notice.''

''Then lay still my love and I'll make it so she doesn't see.''

They were just getting up when he heard the bell going.  ''Quickly Rose, just take one of the mugs and go back to the kitchen, you can get the other in the morning, I doubt anyone will ask.  I'll see you downstairs, if anyone does ask, you were collecting it from my room.''

''John, this isn't enough for me, not now.''

''I know Rose, we can come up with another plan, I'm sure of it.  I'll see you in the morning, nice and early and we'll have more kisses.  Goodnight my sweet.''

''Mmm, goodnight John, sweet dreams.''

''As long as they are about you, then in the morning, we'll make plans so we can see each other.''

John made sure Rose made it downstairs just after ten and went back to his room, how was he ever going to stop himself now?  It was like he was addicted to her and he didn't know what was happening to him, well he did but never thought it would, especially as he'd tried and failed with Reinette.

Rose managed to get back to her room, entering quietly just in case Martha was asleep.  She got undressed behind the screen and got into bed, turning down the lamp on the dresser.

''I'm not asleep Rose, you're late back.''

''Yeah, I went for a bedtime drink and got talking to the girls after I took one for Doctor Smith, he caught me on my way to see matron, I never got to the infirmary.  I swear Martha if he asks me again to take him a bedtime drink I'm gonna charge him for my time.''

''I thought him flirting with you would be enough Rose?''

''Go to sleep Martha, I thought you were tired?''

''Look Rose, it's none of my business what he does but just remember your place, if someone catches him making advances towards you, you could get dismissed.''

''I can handle myself Martha, it's not like anything's gonna happen, he's a teacher, I know that.  You're just jealous because I got the job or is it more than that?  Is it because he was flirting with me and not you?''

''Stop it Rose, I've nothing to be jealous of, I was his housemaid, nothing more but be careful, that's all.  You're young and impressionable and it could lead to more than you expect.''

''Like I said Martha, I can handle things.''

Rose just hoped she could handle herself because she knew nothing more than she had read about and they had definitely got carried away earlier and she hoped it was going to lead to more.  Despite the hot drink, she was still going to find it difficult to get to sleep, going over in her mind what John had just been doing but as she drifted off, she imagined him with his hair slightly different and a brown pinstriped suit and he insisted she just called him Doctor.

After John had left the infirmary, Joan had tried to get him off her mind but she couldn't.  What was it about him?  He was just another teacher, younger and better looking than any of the others admittedly and like the others, he was still keeping his distance but at least tonight he'd walked her back and spent a little time with her and at the last moment had called her Joan, she supposed it was a start.  It wasn't like there were plenty of other women in the school after all.

She made her mind up that if he had taken the hints and invited her to the village pub, she would go with him but not on Saturday night, that was the afternoon and evening she spent visiting her friend in the village, she couldn't change her plans just for him, she shouldn't seem that keen or it may put him off altogether.

John was also finding it difficult to keep Rose off his mind, she was indeed a fair flower, especially after he had seen her beauty as she had laid beneath him and allowed him to kiss her there, she was perfect in every way and he had been so disappointed when she had to leave.  If she would risk getting caught, he could keep her in his room longer tomorrow night, the curfew was overlooked on Friday nights he'd been told, hence his intense conversation at dinner as he'd tried to gather information to use to his and Rose's advantage plus the news the staff had Sundays off, giving Rose a free day, she may be willing to meet him somewhere outside the school.

Rose was still up early the next morning, keen to go get John his breakfast and have more kisses.  He called for her to enter, he was sat up in bed and called her over, pulling her down on him.

''I dreamt about you last night Rose, that we were out of the school and free to do what we wanted but curiously, you were wearing a much shorter skirt than you were last night, you don't own one do you?''

Rose giggled.  ''No I don't, what made you think that?''

''I don't know Rose, maybe because you hide your legs?  Maybe I could take a peek at them later on tonight eh?''

Rose tried to get up.  ''Maybe, if you're lucky but I thought we were meeting at the village pub after your dinner?''

''Yes but no official curfew tonight Rose, no-one will be roaming the corridors, well they will but so will everyone who wants to sneak around, you could stay much later, if you want?''

''Yes, I want to, I want you to teach me what it's like to be with a man.''

''Oh I will Rose but that could take a while.''

Rose sat on the edge of his bed, unfastening his pyjama top and admiring his chest.  ''Oh I hope so John but you'd best eat your breakfast, I'll be back in half an hour and if you've no lesson to go to, maybe you can help me with the cleaning?''

''It will be my pleasure to assist you, hurry back won't you?''

Rose hurried to get her own breakfast and was surprised Martha was sitting there.  Martha had intended going to see the housekeeper herself and ask if there were any other jobs to do around the school and thought if she was there early she may have a chance.  Rose was hoping Martha hadn't asked the other girls if she had spent some time with them last night.

''Hey Martha, are we still going out tonight?'' Rose asked casually.

''Yes, if you want Rose, since you say you've got your eye on a young man who goes there, maybe you could point him out to me?''

Rose thought she had just buried herself.  ''Okay, if he's there but I saw him first, just you remember that.''

Martha thought that would be a good test to see if Rose flirted with all the men or only the Doctor.  Rose hurried her breakfast, knocked on John's door and told him she would be back in five minutes and not to go anywhere.  It was still quite early and his first lesson wasn't until 9.45, he decided to delay getting dressed for an hour or so, no-one would bother him, they would think he was either in his classroom or elsewhere in the school while his room was being tidied.

Getting back to his room, Rose put the catch on the door and fell into John's embrace.  They kissed as he took her over to the roughly made bed as she unbuttoned his pyjama jacket again and he took the white apron off over her head and unbuttoned the rest of her uniform but instead of stopping, he helped free her arms of the garment and pulled it down slowly.  Rose smiled and allowed him to do so as he pulled it down over her waist. 

''Rose, is this okay?''

''Mmm, yes, take your pyjama top off though or you'll have the advantage.''

He hovered over her and allowed her to help him off with it, Rose smiling and running her fingers over his chest.

''Can't have that now, can we?  Do you trust me Rose?''

''Yes, I trust you, why wouldn't I?''

''Yes but you say you've never been with a man before, I don't want you to think all men are the same.''

''I'm sure non of them could compare to you John, it's you I want to show me.''

''Oh I will Rose but there's no rush now, wait until tonight, then come back down to my room when Martha's asleep because I want to spend a lot of time with you.''

''What is someone catches me out of my room?''

''Then don't get caught Rose.''

She pulled him down for another kiss.  ''Don't worry John, I won't, I'm sure it will be worth it.''

''Yes Rose, it will be more than worth it, that I promise.''

Rose didn't want to move but if she didn't appear to have tidied his room, she knew she would be in trouble so after a bit of persuasion, she got him to let her up and he helped her get her arms back into her uniform and she got up.

''Some help you are with the housework,'' she teased, ''I hope you haven't creased my uniform, Doctor Smith.''

John smiled.  ''Then that would be your fault for not letting me take it off for you but don't think you'll get away with it next time.  Now you'd best do some work or I'll have to report you to the housekeeper and Martha may get your job after all.''

''Huh?  Bloomin' cheek, you started it, pulling me down on the bed, now you'd better go get dressed, I'll try not to look and it's laundry day, I hope you've thrown your dirty washing in the hamper?''

''Yes Miss Bossy, I remembered, now turn around and don't look and that includes through the mirror.''

Rose grinned, as if she was going to take any notice of those instructions to her.
Chapter 10
Rose finally managed to get the housework done once he'd got dressed and left after they had kissed again, him saying she had better not have made him late for his class and saying they would see each other when she brought his afternoon tea.  He went downstairs, trying not to make it so obvious were he to be observed that he was inwardly smiling to himself at the thought of maybe getting even further with Rose later on and that they would have more time once they got back from the village pub.

He was regretting having to invite the matron along but if he didn't and he sat with Rose and Martha, someone may say something but maybe he was willing to risk it, he could say he had been somewhere and was just happening to pass by and innocently talk to his maid.  He would wait and see and delay asking Joan to join him unless she brought up the subject but he'd have to come up with a reason for getting his coat and hat and making his way down to the village after dinner and it would be almost dark anyway, he hadn't asked Rose what time she and Martha planned on going out.

If matron asked him where he was going, then he'd have to ask her to go with him but make it plain it was not a formal invitation, he didn't want her getting the wrong idea, she might start to call on him in his room and that would put paid to Rose's evening visits, which he now looked forward to immensely.

He waited for his first group of students to arrive after putting on his cap and gown and as the boys came in, he noticed Latimer again was looking like he didn't want to be there, what was the matter with the boy?  He seemed very shy amongst his classmates and John remembered he'd asked for more work to do in his free time, probably to avoid other activities such as outdoor sports or the sport of the other boys taunting him or making him do their work or even clean their shoes.

He noted Latimer delayed his departure again.  ''Yes Latimer, you wanted something?''

''Yes Sir, did you find extra work for me to complete?''

''Ah, yes, come back after your final class and I'll give you a book to study, you can answer some questions about it when you've finished.''

''Very good Sir, I'll come back at four shall I?''

John thought that may make him a few minutes late for his tea with Rose but she would wait for him and said for the boy to do that.

Martha didn't have much luck getting other tasks to do but the housekeeper said she would have to work up to getting a more trusting position but said sometimes on Saturday's she may be able to help the other maids change the bedding.  Martha could see she was going to get exactly nowhere anytime soon and was wishing the three months were up when even three days hadn't gone by.  Still, Rose was treating her to a drink tonight even though it would be getting chilly outside but it would be more than worth it if the blonde could produce this man she had reckoned she liked or to see if she was covering up she had taken a strong liking to John Smith.  

Joan had a busy morning, a three monthly check-up of the boys was almost due and she was drawing up a list of those with known ailments and those who sometimes faked it to get out of playing sports or doing physical training and hoped to get Rose to help her organise things on Monday morning and for the headmaster to allow her to help the next few days by making notes for her to save time.  It would mean her being excused as John's maid for a few mornings but someone would fill in for her, his maid he had brought with him for one would certainly jump at the chance and Rose may find she didn't want to give up the temporary position.

Joan had made her mind up to go see the headmaster to arrange it with the housekeeper before the end of the day and had also made her mind up if John were to invite her out on Saturday night, she would cut short the visit to her friend and accept, he may not offer again.  Rose had finished in John's room, a bit disappointed he'd not come back but they could make up for it later.  She meant to tell him she'd had another strange dream about him, about being inside a large blue wooden box that had been made much bigger once inside and had strange coral struts and an even stranger device in the middle with a glass column on top.  He would probably think she was making it up but he may listen to her, she already thought he went around with his head in the clouds.

Rose passed by his classroom at lunchtime and saw him come out.  He nodded to her as he said good afternoon to her but other than that, there was no other acknowledgement from him, she knew there couldn't ever be when people were around.  Martha was passing at the same time and watched the two of them, if they were hiding something, they were doing it well.  Martha caught up with Rose.

''There you are Rose, guess what?''

''Go on, surprise me, did you get a promotion?''

''I heard you might be occupied for a few days next week in the infirmary, I overheard the matron talking to the headmaster about you helping her with the boys' three monthly check-up so it will mean you being there all day so I'm going to ask the housekeeper if I can take over from you, when she's been notified, which should be before the end of the day.''

''Well matron will probably tell me after lunch but if you manage to get it, don't think I'm not coming back even if you were his maid before you came here.''

Martha was feeling quite pleased with herself that she had been cleaning the corridor outside the infirmary as matron had stepped out and spied Mr Rocastle and asked him for Rose to be temporarily relieved of her responsibilities and he had said he would inform the housekeeper.  She did indeed intend to talk to the Doctor again and make him see sense that she got the job instead of Rose, especially since she'd heard another piece of news that Rose might well go work in the infirmary full time quite soon but she was keeping that piece of information to herself since she had been eavesdropping at the time as matron had then asked if he had thought any more about the request of her training Rose further.

Martha smiled.  ''I wouldn't dream of it Rose, since he would probably object if I were not to give it back to you.  He must think you're doing a good job then.  Make sure if he asks you to get him a hot drink tonight you charge him for it.''

Rose thought she was being rather catty but let it go and went to get her lunch.

John had gone to the kitchen and collected his lunch on a tray and taken it back to the classroom to catch up on what he had been meaning to do when he had stayed behind in his room to 'help' Rose with the housework, not that it had helped so much as hindered her somewhat but it had been wholly enjoyable to say the least.  He was already looking forward to teatime even as he sipped at his soup, Rose with cream on her chin and him offering to wipe it with the napkin or better still, lick it off.

He had no idea where this way of thinking was coming from, perhaps from deep within somewhere, all the things he'd not achieved with Reinette but he hadn't been as obsessed with the Frenchwoman the way he was with Rose, not even remotely so.  These were new feelings he was having for his current maid but he'd seen Martha as he'd come out of his classroom and nodded to Rose, the woman had been looking daggers at him and at Rose and he just hoped his former maid hadn't already suspected something or he was doomed.

Once in the infirmary, Joan kept Rose busy taking stock of supplies and it wasn't until nearly the end of the afternoon she asked Rose to sit down.

"Rose, you are doing very well in here and I've got the headmaster's permission to train you further, if you'd like the opportunity?''

''Yes Matron, I'd like that, if you think I'm capable.''

''Indeed I do so on Saturday mornings, you're being excused to spend the morning here then you can have the afternoon off.  Then from Monday for a few days, I require your assistance helping me do the medical check-ups on the boys, which will take a few days so you're excused your maids duties and cleaning the science lab.''

''Yes Matron, thank you for your confidence in me, I'll do my best not to let you down.''

''I know you will, I have faith in your abilities Rose, I think you will go a long way despite your rather humble upbringing.  You must tell me about your family sometimes.''

''There's only my mother, she's on her own but I send her money every month and she works part time but it's been a few years since I went home, I don't get much time off.''

''If you ask Mr Rocastle, I'm sure now you have a more responsible position within the school, you'll be permitted to leave during the school holidays, I could ask him on your behalf, maybe you could spend Christmas with her?''

Rose almost cried, she hadn't seen her mother in so long, only writing once a month and sending a money order to her.

''Thank you Matron, that would mean a lot to me.''

''There's no need to thank me Rose, just keep working hard, you deserve to at least see your mother once in a while, I'm surprised your other school didn't let you go home.''

''It wasn't as well paid there, I had to work the holidays to make up for it.''

''Well now you don't have to.  So I'll see you first thing after breakfast in the morning.''

''I still have to take Doctor Smith his breakfast first, if the housekeeper hasn't made any arrangements.''

''Very well, after you've cleared his tray, just come by when you've finished.''

Rose went off with a smile on her face, she missed her mother so much and when she wrote to her again, she could tell her she would be finally going home and she had met someone very special, well maybe not reveal he was a teacher, perhaps she should stick to the story she had told Martha for now or her mother would be thinking she was getting ideas above her station in life. 

She thought back to what John had said the day before, about the matron not thinking it was correct to socialise with the cleaning staff but if she were to become matron's assistant, maybe it would mean she didn't have to hide her friendship with John but it would mean she wouldn't get to take his breakfast or tea though it would also mean she didn't have to sneak around the school late at night, like she fully intended to do later. 

Matron would be quite unaware she was actually doing them a favour but what would John think?  Was he only chasing her because she was his maid and he wouldn't be interested in her any more if she were to be elevated to matron's assistant?  Maybe she shouldn't mention it to him just yet but he was going to invite matron to the pub with him, she didn't want him to learn it from matron herself.

She went off to get his afternoon tea, not knowing John had been delayed by Timothy Latimer so she was waiting for him when he got to his study, him having remembered to leave his cap and gown behind since it was the weekend and he noticed immediately as she smiled at him that she was excited about something.  So as they shared the cream cakes, she told him what matron had said about her maybe getting some time off the next school holidays and going to see her mother for Christmas, the first time all the time she had been working away.

John was pleased for her.  ''That's wonderful Rose, you must be very happy.  So are you still calling her Matron Frosty then?'' he teased as he was tempted to lick the cream from the side of her mouth but spotted it with the napkin instead, clearly disappointed at his choice of actions.

Rose smiled, knowing what he'd been tempted to do and being disappointed herself.  ''Yeah, maybe I shouldn't, it's just how she comes across, the boys probably have another name for her.  She wants me to do more training with her on Saturday mornings and then I get an extra afternoon off, isn't that great?''

''Yes indeed Rose, maybe you can get a bus into the town and we can meet somewhere where no-one knows us?  I've only just arrived, do they know you there?''

''I don't think so, I've only been once or twice and that was years ago, I just stick to the village.  I got paid today so I've got a bit of spare money for the fare to the town and back but I promised I'd buy Martha a drink tonight though but if I do without something else, I can manage.  Now I don't have to buy cream cakes since I share yours but she told me something else.''

"What was that my love?''

''I think she wants me in the infirmary full time, I'm to help her a few days when the boy's medicals are due and I think she wants to ask the headmaster if I can remain there.  I didn't expect it and I'm only telling you because I didn't want you to hear it from her first John but it would mean I can't be your housemaid any more, you might get Martha back.''

John looked disappointed but she was still smiling.  Maybe she had been the one doing the leading when he thought he was the one taking advantage of her but why would she still be smiling?
Chapter 11
Rose was looking at him.  Had she been using him to get a taste of what it was like to have a man interested in her, was she indeed making up the fact she fancied a man at the village pub and had told him she was just inventing it to throw others off the fact they liked each other?  He got up, putting the plate on the tray.

''Then I'll not stand in your way Rose, if you can get a better position within the school, you should take it, I'm sure Martha would be more than delighted to take your place.''

Rose knew he was hiding his disappointment that they wouldn't share any more afternoon teas, or the fact she had brought him breakfast in bed this morning and he had intended for it to remain that way but if everything worked out, they could still have tea and there would be nothing to worry about, even if Martha didn't like the fact she could come to his room without an excuse but then she realised John hadn't thought about it very well.

She got up and went to lean against him, putting her arms around him but he didn't return the gesture.

''Aw come on John, I thought you'd be pleased for me?''

''I told you I was Rose, now hadn't you better clear the tea tray away?''

''Now who's being frosty?  What's wrong, we've not even kissed properly yet, I want to undo your shirt buttons again so come here.''

He pulled her arms away.  ''Not now Rose, I'm not in the mood.''

''Don't you want to still meet me at the pub tonight and I bring you cocoa and more kisses later on?''

''I doubt I'll be going out tonight and the cocoa didn't really help last night anyway, I'd be just wasting your time Rose.''

She reached up and kissed his cheek, John wondered why she was still keeping up the pretence.  She'd used him to worm her way to a better job, one where she would no longer be his maid and he'd get Martha back, the other maid that made him uncomfortable every time she was around when she fussed over him.  He wanted Rose to fuss over him, he wanted to pull Rose onto his bed with him and kiss her delicate skin and play his fingers over her best attributes, he wanted to see Rose's legs as he pulled down her skirt, run his fingers up and down them and then feel her skin on his bare chest.

''You don't waste my time John.  Everyone says I should charge you extra for bringing you a night-time drink but your kisses and how you make me feel are enough payment.  Don't you enjoy paying me in that way?''

He took it the wrong way.  ''I didn't know you were charging me for the privilege of bringing my meals to my room, I'm sure the payment is not adequate enough.''

''What's got into you all of a sudden John?  You couldn't keep your hands of me earlier, what's changed?  Is it because I said I was going to better myself?''

''You deserve to better yourself Rose, don't let me stop you.  You'd best go now, I can get my own breakfast in the morning until the housekeeper gives me a replacement maid, I just hope she doesn't give me Martha.''

''She was your maid John, you brought her here.''

''I just inherited her from my family, that's all, it doesn't mean I have to enjoy her company.''

He wanted to say like he enjoyed Rose's company the last day or so, Martha was always throwing herself at him and it was becoming tiresome and he had considered not bringing her with him to this post but hadn't had the time to dispense of her services then the housekeeper here had done him a big favour.  Then he'd met Rose, in the hallway outside his classroom and he had flirted heavily with her, in front of Martha and he was falling in love with her, despite her currently being his maid.

Rose was trying to understand why he'd gone so cold on her.  Then she smiled at him again.

''You plum, you don't get it, do you?''

''Get what?  Just go do your duties Rose, thank you for your services the last few days and for your attentiveness, it was quite unnecessary but I won't report you.''

Rose let go of him.  Did he really mean it?  Had he just been having some fun with her?

''So you're taking matron out tonight then?''

''I'm taking no-one out tonight Rose, now go about your business if you will?''

Rose gathered up the tray and headed for the door, hoping once again he would lean over her and kiss her and say he'd see her later but he never moved.  She was saddened by his sudden change of mood, blimey, could he run hot and cold or what?  She thought he'd seemed happy for her at the news she had the chance to better herself and she no longer envied Martha if she were to have the misfortune of actually getting the job, he'd made his feelings about his former maid very clear, Martha would be devastated to find out he was barely tolerating her for his family's sake.

She just hoped he wouldn't think any less of her, how she had laid under him as skin had touched skin, his fingers on the delicate parts of her and kissing them, taking his time over each one and feeling his slightly hairy chest press against her.  She put the tray in the kitchen and felt like crying but she couldn't let Martha see her, if she was already in their room.  She was.

''Hello Rose, what time are we going out tonight?  I hope that man you were telling me about is there, I can't wait for you to point him out to me, maybe I can have a word with him about you?''

''Shut up Martha, I'm not in the mood.''

''What's come over you?  Did Doctor Smith tell you to stop flirting with him?''

''None of your business.''

''Tetchy.  He did, didn't he?  Oh Rose, I did try to warn you, didn't I?  He's not worth it really, you're just his maid, he's been having some fun at your expense, that's all, get over it.''

''That's nothing to do with you, for your information, it was me who flirted with him, I saw I was getting nowhere so that's that.  Forget it.  I'm sorry I told you to shut up Martha, we can still go out, if you want and there's no-one I fancy at the pub, I made it up because I fancied Doctor Smith but why would he be interested in a housemaid?''

''But you won't be a housemaid if you go work in the infirmary Rose.  I'll tell you something but don't repeat it, especially to Doctor Smith, promise?''

''I won't be seeing him again, will I?  I have to help matron from Monday and he told me not to bother taking his breakfast tomorrow, he'll go get it himself, I guess he got tired of me fluttering my eyelashes at him when he was eating his afternoon tea although he was encouraging me, it's not entirely my fault.''

Martha smiled.  ''Then I accept your apology, you're not the first and you won't be the last Rose, trust me.  We'll come back and get our coats after tea and go take a walk, see if we can get ourselves a few drinks bought for us, you can flutter your eyelashes at some of the locals.''

Rose smiled back.  ''Yeah but I don't fancy any of them, I really fancied Doctor Smith but he's way out of my league.''

''I'm glad you're seeing some sense Rose.  Let's go down to the kitchen and see  if we can get a pot of tea?''

They went downstairs and Rose spied matron talking to John, feeling slightly jealous as she would have still been in his room at that time, pretending to be doing some extra jobs for him, like him pulling up her cami top and she unbuttoning his shirt.

After Rose had left his room, John stood for a while.  What had he been thinking, making a move on his personal housemaid?  She was young, pretty, he had to give her that much but he came from a very conservative family who would frown on him taking up with such a woman.  He got changed and went downstairs, he decided to seek out the matron and ask her to accompany him to the village pub despite the thought Rose would be there, Joan would certainly not actually want to go sit with her, whether or not Rose would soon be her assistant.  In his sudden anger and being taken in by Rose's charms and allowing her into his very private world, one he'd not even shared with Reinette, it had never occurred to him that Rose's apparent promotion to being the matron's assistant would mean they would no longer have to hide their feelings for each other.

So he had knocked on Joan's door and she had come out into the hallway, since he was still unsure he should be seen setting foot inside with all the boys and the other teachers wandering around and had to both his own and her surprise, invited her for a drink at the village pub after dinner.

Joan had been more than surprised as he'd asked her.

''Yes John, I would be happy to go out with you tonight, if you have no work to do?''

''No, I have no work to do, may as well go out, it is Friday night after all.  Consider it two colleagues keeping each other company if you wish, nothing formal, well not as yet.''

Joan wondered what he meant by that remark, did he have his eye on someone else then?  She just hoped for his sake it wasn't his soon to be departed maid, Rose Tyler. 

After their tea, Rose and Martha went to their room to get their coats and made their way down to the village pub just as John had again managed to find a seat at the dining table away from Joan, him having arrived before her and sat in the middle of the opposite side, the others having silently agreed amongst themselves that if she was going to insist on joining them most evenings, they would keep where she had been sitting vacant and she had been last but one in, having looked through her sparse wardrobe for something suitable to wear for an evening out in John Smith's company albeit he had insisted not a formal outing but it was a start.

Having been to fetch his hat and coat after dinner, he had knocked on the infirmary door and Joan had come out, dressed in a long grey skirt under her long coat, her hair tied back under her hat and they took the short walk down to the village.  Since the school doors were locked at ten on Friday's, John intended keeping an eye on the time but hadn't really intended staying for more than two half pints of mild ale, figuring he'd need his wits about him if Joan really had taken his invitation the wrong way.

The matron was indeed no comparison to the fair Rose but taking into consideration the lack of females around the school, plus wanting to keep up the illusion he was a single male with no current lady friend, he tried to keep up the conversation they were having about where he had just come from as they approached the pub and Rose and Martha were sitting outside, a lantern on the table and Rose was laughing at something, John for some strange reason hoping it wasn't about him and she wasn't telling Martha what they had been up to the last few days in his room.

Not that it hadn't been pleasant, it had but she had used him, seen her opportunity to better herself and dumped him like yesterday's trash.  He hoped Joan wouldn't talk to him about how she had successfully gained permission from the headmaster to train her.

Rose had pretended she hadn't seen John and the matron walking towards the pub entrance and had told Martha how she was always inventing men were interested in her to make the girls at the other school jealous of her.  Martha had known she was making it all up, poor Rose was totally unaware this was not her real life, it had been just as invented for her as had the Doctor's and hadn't really been surprised Rose had looked upset earlier if he had spurned her.  He had no idea who she really was and he would be horrified to learn when he became himself again that he had taken advantage of her when she had been unaware who either of them really were.

Maybe it really was the Tardis doing this, as some sort of compensation for the both of them at being torn apart, he'd never really talked about what had happened except it had been at Canary Wharf and she had lost her cousin there.  Martha had noticed how John and the matron had been talking as they entered the pub, John never seeming to notice either of them and what had she supposed to have done to him?  She knew he was mad at Rose, probably after she had done more than just fluttered her eyelashes at him considering her performance the other afternoon and her eagerness to get away at every opportunity.

Martha had spoken with the girls in the kitchen who had confirmed Rose had gone in for a late night drink, getting one for the Doctor but she had never gone back, surely she hadn't remained in his room?  Well if she had, whatever had gone on was now clearly over, that much was apparent.
Chapter 12
John and Joan went and sat inside, Joan telling him of the friend she visited on Saturdays and him saying he was considering taking a bus ride into the nearby town.  Joan was considering offering to go with him but he may think she was being too forward, maybe next time he may invite her.

''So what will your visit to town consist of John?''

''I thought a visit to the barber's shop may be in order, my hair is getting quite wild,'' he mused.

Joan didn't think so but it was up to him, it was not the place of a woman, close or not to dictate when a man needed a haircut.  John's plan to ask Rose to meet him the next day had gone up in smoke anyway, he thought he may as well do something useful to pass the time, save seeing her around the school and from Monday, she would no longer be his problem, she had chosen to better herself, he should be happy for her but he was annoyed she had chosen it over bringing him his meals and sharing some special time with her.

He was still oblivious to the fact it could prove to their advantage, that not being his maid or anyone else's maid would give them the chance to be seen together, he was too blinded by the fact she might have been using him and he'd let her.

Rose was getting cold and told Martha they should get back to the school just as John and Joan came out.  Joan acknowledged her new trainee.

''Ah Rose and Martha is it?  Would you care to walk back to the school with us?''

Rose let Martha speak for her.  ''Thank you matron, we'll follow you and Doctor Smith, if that's okay?''

Joan nodded and considered putting her arm in John's but he may not thank her later for it and she was being far too bold.  Once back at the school, John walked the matron back to her room and said goodnight.

''John, what I said about visiting my friend on Saturdays, I could cut the visit short, if you want some company again tomorrow evening?''

''I couldn’t ask you to do that Joan, it's no matter, I can catch up on some reading, thank you all the same.''

''Maybe another time then?  Goodnight John.''

Rose had gone to their room, flung her coat off and told Martha she was going to the bathroom then going to get a drink, the ale had left a bad taste in her mouth she claimed.  Martha didn't entirely believe her but let it go.  She knew Rose had to get John Smith out of her system and the sooner the better, she'd not yet told the blonde he would be gone in three months time anyway and maybe Rose herself would be gone before that.

Martha planned to go visit the Tardis tomorrow after she finished work and see what she could find out, maybe the ship had come up with another message for her.  Surely the Doctor had thought about the fact he was turning himself into a human male and he was bound to come across a female who was interested him and judging by earlier, not just herself and possibly Rose but the matron as well, just what Martha needed and out of the three women, the matron was the only one who had the advantage of being on the staff and allowed to be seen with him but the way he had frostily passed herself and Rose outside the pub and not said a word to them on the way back, if Rose had any designs on him, they were well and truly over.

After John left Joan outside her room adjacent to the infirmary, she wondered if he would change his mind and invite her out again the following evening.  If he were to ask before she left to go visit her friend she would carefully consider it.  She was finding it difficult knowing how to behave around a man, her husband had been around since their childhood but she'd had many suitors when she had come of age despite them being sweet on each other until their late teens but it hadn't been awkward once he had got up the courage to ask her father's permission to court her.

Now she was left wondering what John's intentions were especially when this evening was according to him just two work colleagues going for a drink, what had that been all about?  He either wanted her company or not, she wasn't prepared to be a work colleague if that was all he wanted, in that case, if he asked her in that capacity again she would refuse, saying she had other things to attend to.

John was on his way back upstairs to his room, thinking the entire evening had been a complete waste of time.  His heart had leapt when he had seen Rose sitting outside, laughing with Martha at what he'd hoped wasn't about him but hoping she would smile at him, give some indication she wasn't mad at him but she had every right to be, he had thrown her out earlier.  He had been angry, he knew that, he thought they had something really special but was it only the thrill of pursuing his maid, forbidden fruit and now she was leaving him, to better herself.

He was about to open his room door when he caught sight of her on the servants staircase and called after her.  She chose to ignore him so he went after her, catching up to her as she reached the ground floor, pulling on her arm.

''Rose, talk to me.''

''Can I help you Sir?''

''Rose, don't be like that.  Will you fetch me a mug of cocoa, to my room?''

''I'm off duty Sir, sorry.''

''Then I'll pay you for your time, any amount you choose to charge me.  What do you say?''

Some boys were coming along the corridor, just as John let go in time before he was seen but they went around the corner.  Why was he still risking being caught after she had betrayed their friendship and was going to leave his service?  Some of his anger had subsided somewhat after spending a couple of hours in the matron's company when all she had done was talk about her friend in the village raising two boys on her own and how her husband had left her well provided for and Joan's own husband who had died in battle out somewhere in Africa. 

He had been watching the time since they'd entered the somewhat crowded pub, filled with smoke and the smell of stronger ale than he and the matron had been drinking and daydreaming of eating cream teas with Rose.  He'd not got her off his mind all night since thrusting the tea tray into her hands and telling her to go about the rest of her duties and to forget bringing his breakfast in the morning, something he was now regretting.  He could at least let her finish her duties to him in the morning.  So when he had spied Rose on the staircase, he had relented somewhat and asked her to bring him some cocoa.

He was still waiting for her answer, which he'd expected her to say she would charge him for it, what was he she had said?  Something about her reward being him kissing her delicate skin or words to that effect.

''No, sorry Sir but I'm getting a drink for myself and taking it back to my room before it goes cold, I'm off duty and if I remember correctly, you dismissed me early from my duties.''

''I could insist you remain in my service until your replacement starts her duties.  I've not spoken to the housekeeper yet about who that is going to be.  I don't want it to be Martha, I want someone who won't be constantly complaining all the time.  You never complained Rose, did you?''

She knew he was trying to flirt with her again, just like the other afternoon before they had got close but was she going to let him?  She was about to walk off but suddenly turned and saw the expression on his face, was that regret?

''Please Rose?  Just this once?''

Rose relented.  ''Very well Doctor Smith, I'll bring you a drink just this once and your breakfast in the morning but that's it.''

''Yes, thank you, I apologise Rose, I should not have dismissed you the way I did and I wish you every success with your new post as the matron's assistant.''

''I've not yet been formerly released from my duties so I'd be happy to do so until such times.  I'll bring your drink to your room Doctor Smith.''

John turned around, tempted to go back the way he had come and thought why not?  Rose carried on to the kitchen and poured out two mugs of cocoa, the other girls sitting at the table and watching.

''What?'' Rose asked as she felt them observing her.

''Didn't you tell him you wanted paying for taking him a late night drink?''

''Yes and he'd agreed to pay me, so what?''

She didn't want to let on just yet that from Monday, she would no longer be one of the servants, well not really but it still wasn't official except for matron telling her, she expected the headmaster would approve it in the morning so she had best keep on the matron's good side or she would be out scrubbing the floors and Martha would get her old job.

It was gone nine thirty, Rose knew there was no real curfew on Friday nights, the boys knew their limits and only the seniors prowled the corridors late at night, up to their mischief or seeing who had any beer left until the next crates came in but they were used to her wandering around and wouldn't think anything of it and it was beneath them to bother her except to say the odd 'hello' to her but at least they were civil.

Martha had complained to her while they were sitting outside the pub that Baines and Hutchinson had been making fun of her when they had passed her in the main hallway that she had felt like throwing her bucket of water over them, which was what she had been laughing at as John had passed her going into the pub with matron.  She had felt a pang of jealousy as he had walked past them, not even a nod in her direction but not really looking like he was enjoying the matron talking to him and he'd looked the same when he'd come out.

Rose hurried back to his room, anxious to get it over with and get back to her room and try and get over him.  After Rose had left their room though, Martha was wondering what Rose's real reason was for still going down to the kitchen when she had said the cocoa hadn't helped her sleep last night.  She was sure she had heard Rose calling out during the night but could have been imagining it.

Rose knocked on John's door, putting one of the mugs down and intending just to hand him his over and bid a hasty retreat but as he opened his door, which he didn't usually do, he normally called her in, he stood there as she held out the mug to him.

''Come in Rose, do you have time to turn down my bedclothes for me?''

She knew he was back to his old tricks of teasing her and couldn't believe his nerve after earlier and throwing her out but she had said she would retain her duties until she as formally relieved so she picked up her own mug before someone came along and decided to drink it as the boys were apt to playing tricks and allowed him to stand to one side and let her in.  She put the mug on the table by the sofa, the same table as they had shared tea earlier and walked towards his bed.

John stood there, taking sips from his own white mug and watching her.  He saw she was wearing the same long skirt as last night but instead of the jumper she wore a long maroon coloured cardigan and a white cotton blouse underneath.  For some reason, John stood staring at her, imagining her in a long black evening dress, off at the shoulders, her hair all tied up with a black hairclip.  He shook his head and saw Rose turning down the bedclothes, imagining her then in a short blue skirt and black stockings and meant to slap himself silly once she had left.

Where the hell were these ideas of Rose coming from?  He remembered the blank journal in the drawer, waiting to be written in and decided to start writing down all these feelings and sketching how he was imagining Rose looking as well as the weird dreams he was beginning to have the last few nights.

Rose had turned back and was walking towards him to retrieve her drink, thinking it would either be cold now or the skin would have formed on the top and she had no teaspoon.

''Your bed is turned down now Sir, may I leave before my drink goes cold?''

''You can drink it here Rose.''

She thought she may just as well, it wouldn't be worth going up another flight of stairs and complaining it was stone cold by the time she got there.  She decided to pick up the mug and took a drink from it, John still staring at her and trying to get all these visions of her out of his head.

''So, you'll still bring me breakfast in bed tomorrow morning then?''

''I'll leave it on the table for you if it's all the same to you Sir.''

''Come on Rose, you can still call me John, can't you?''

''Why should I get myself into trouble for being too familiar with you?  You might still report me for it.''

''I wouldn't do that Rose and you know it.''

Rose finished her drink, seeing he was still watching her, then he stepped forward and took the empty mug from her.

''I don't want us to fall out Rose, really I don't.''

''Then why did you say you were dispensing with my services earlier?''

''I was mad with you and I'm sorry.''

''What for?  Because I'm trying to better myself and learn something useful instead of being a servant?''

''I know you want to better yourself but I was upset at the fact you won't be my maid any more, I was just being selfish because I wanted you to bring me breakfast in bed, not have Martha bringing it to me.  Is that so wrong?  You said earlier I didn't get something Rose, what did you mean by it?''

She moved closer to him and reached out to grab hold of his open jacket.

''You just don't get it do you?  You're supposed to be the smart one, you're the teacher, work it out.''

He stopped for a moment, considered her words then a smile appeared on his face as he realised what she meant.

''Rose, you won't be my maid or anyone's maid any more, will you?''

Rose closed the gap and said, ''Now you're getting it,'' as she launched herself at him, John catching her as their lips met.
Chapter 13
John pulled Rose over to the bed she had just turned down and she fell backwards onto it.  ''I'm so sorry Rose, I didn't mean to hurt your feelings, that wasn't my intention but you just took me by surprise.  I mean I heard them discussing it but she said just Saturdays and I thought you would remain as my maid the rest of the time, I never thought it would be all the time, please say you forgive me my love?''
''You really are a plum John, I tried to tell you.  Now I'm gonna have to keep up the pretence with Martha that I'm annoyed with you.''

''You mean you're not annoyed with me, rosebud?''

''Nah, 'course I'm not but you could have let me down a bit more gently rather than practically throw me out earlier but it was a good touch, you had me fooled,'' she giggled in reply as he pushed her backwards and began unbuttoning her cardigan and white blouse, revealing an ivory cami top.

He pulled her skirt down, revealing her white cotton underwear which he was dismayed to find was quite long in the leg as she tried toeing her shoes off, revealing she was wearing white cotton socks, not the black stockings he had imagined but as the skirt came down, revealing her legs, he found them more flattering without the hosiery.  He proceeded to kiss his way across her tummy then smiled as she fingered his chest as she unbuttoned his shirt, admiring the splattering of hair.

''So we're still friends then?'' he asked hopefully, pulling up her cami top to reveal her beauty.

''Mmm, I think we've become a bit more than just friends John or do you treat all your female friends like this?'' she asked as he nipped at one side then the other and trailing one finger down the middle to her navel.  He circled around it then leaned down to kiss it, smiling as he did so.

''Oh my rosebud, no-one compares to you, the matron was talking my ear off earlier and people say I can talk and as for Martha, I was pulling daggers out of my back when I returned to the school.  You didn't tell her I had upset you, did you my flower?''

''I might have appeared upset but it will prevent her thinking any further that we had been flirting with each other,'' she giggled as he ran his hand under the edge of the leg of her cotton underwear that he was annoyed was so long.

''Oh, I was flirting with you was I?  I think it was you who was flirting with me, teasing me by sharing my cream cakes that I wanted to lick off the side of your mouth, you have no idea what you've done to me, Rose Tyler.  Now hush, no more talking, we only have little more than an hour before questions will be asked about you roaming the corridors late at night.''

John took his shirt off and lay above her, kissing her delicate pink breasts, Rose ruffling his hair that he thought he may not get cut the next day after all as she seemed to like it that length and now he intended passing the afternoon having more than a visit to the barber's shop because now he couldn't get enough of the company of the young woman beneath him who was smiling up at him as she ran her fingers down his torso, making him shiver.

As they both got lost in what they were enjoying doing to each other, John was somehow aware of the time, something he thought he'd always had, he could tell what the time was like he had some kind of internal clock and fifty minutes later after they had changed places and it was Rose who was kissing his chest, he was helping her by pulling down her cami top and fastening her blouse, the cardigan having been tossed further across the bed as they lay across it in the middle, John's bare feet now on the floor as his legs dangled over the edge of the bed.

He pulled her up and they both stood there, Rose quickly pulling on her skirt that was lying on the pillow as she had insisted between moaning his name and trying to bite his neck that it didn't get creased or she really would be getting asked some very awkward questions and not only by Martha.

More or less neatly dressed, she quickly tied her hair back with the band she found where she had been laying and smiled at him, putting her arms around his neck and still admiring his chest as he'd put on his shirt but not yet fastened it.

''I think you had better check the corridor is clear for me so I can slip back upstairs without anyone seeing me, I'll take my mug with me and get yours in the morning, everyone saw me getting you a drink.''

''I hope you told them you were charging me for bringing it to my room?'' he smiled, leaning in to kiss her neck.

''I told them I was getting you to pay me for bringing it, I seem to remember something about getting payment from you at the end of the week and it had better be a suitable amount, Doctor Smith,'' she teased.

''Oh I think there are lots of suitable ways to pay you Rose, don't you?  Now don't forget to bring me my breakfast in bed and don't send Martha in your place either, will you?''

''No but you might not have a choice from next week, not unless I can persuade matron not to take me on full time but the first few days she needs me to help her with the boys' examinations, I have to help her organise them and take down notes for her.''

''It sounds like she really trusts you and means to train you properly then so don't spoil your chances Rose, not even to remain as my maid.''

She took hold of the edges of his still open shirt.  ''I know but I'm not so sure I want that now.''

''You should take it Rose, you don't belong as a maid, that I am certain of, you deserve so much more.  Don't let remaining being my maid get in the way, promise me?''

''Okay, I promise but if the headmaster isn't so keen, I won't argue over it.''

''Right, that's fair enough.  Now you had best be on your way young lady or you will get caught and don't go blaming it on me, I may not be able to cover for you.  One more kiss before you go my love.''

Martha was wondering where Rose had got to, getting a hot drink indeed but would she really chance getting caught visiting John?  She could tell Rose was a rebel whether out of her time or not but to brazenly enter a teacher's study and spend an hour or so with him?  She didn't think even Rose would risk that so she had tried to get to sleep but she knew she would get woken when the blonde came back and put the lamp on, the lights in the narrow passageway would still be on for safety reasons of the open staircase that lead to their floor and someone could easily tumble down on the way to the staff bathroom.

Rose felt elated as she made her way back to her room, she could still feel the sensations of him touching her, brushing his fingers under the leg of her cotton underwear, wishing the garment wasn't so long and dreaming of wearing a pair that were silky and high-legged and hung low on her hips, in pink.  She giggled to herself as she imagined John taking her skirt off for her and seeing her wearing such a thing, he would surely have a funny turn!

She opened her room door quietly, left it open so she could get undressed without putting on the lamp so as not to disturb Martha and went behind the screen, sincerely hoping John had left no red marks on her neck but she was fairly certain if there were any, they would be on her breasts where no-one could see them.  She longed for a time when he could mark her neck and she would be proud to have them seen by one and all, as a sign a man cared enough to make them.

Martha heard her room-mate moving around but chose not to let on she was awake, she didn't want to be having a conversation at that time of night as to what Rose had been doing.  If she had been seeing the Doctor, she would only deny it and say she was talking with the other girls, which could be easily checked if she cared to do so but she decided to leave it and over the weekend watch for any signs something was going on between the two of them.

She would surely be having words with the Tardis when she returned, it had to be the meddlesome ship playing a cruel joke on her by placing Rose Tyler out of her time on purpose to prevent her and the Doctor getting better acquainted.  Martha thought back to what he had said on her first trip with him, that she wasn't replacing Rose, he was obviously still upset about her sudden departure but she thought he'd warmed to her and was letting her get close but she knew he was only getting further away so if she got him interested enough while he was human, he may relent and figure Rose was never coming back but now, if he was indeed getting close to this Rose, he'd remember everything and feel guilty about leading her on.

Still, that was his problem, not hers and he may welcome a distraction from feeling guilty about leading Rose on when it was all over but it may make him even worse.  It was a gamble Martha would have to make, console him when they got back to normal, Rose was never coming back in real life, he'd already told her that.  The real Rose was trapped in another universe and that was the end of it, he knew that and maybe deep inside he knew it as John but he was letting his emotions run riot at seeing her again.  Martha didn't reckon she would ever win this one, it would all end in disappointment for him when the three months were up.

Maybe she should concentrate on getting Rose to be the one to leave him alone, she'd seemed upset earlier at something, maybe he'd told her to back off, if she'd said she was not going to be his maid any more, at least they wouldn't see each other several times a day, that was something she supposed and she would get the chance instead, that was if the housekeeper gave her the job.  She would have to try to catch him early in the morning to put in a good word for her, after what she had put up with the last few days, she deserved it.

After Rose had left, John got ready for bed and thought about her, she was even more beautiful laying under him, her fair skin glistening in the low light after he had turned down the lamp to a minimum.  The way she had let her hair loose, fanning out on the bed, her fingers running through his own thick brown hair which he was still debating whether or not to get cut tomorrow but if Rose agreed to meet him, they wouldn't go to the town but meet somewhere else on the bus route, somewhere quiet where they could go for a walk and maybe take afternoon tea together, no-one in the surrounding area knew him, even if they knew Rose.

Before he got into bed, even though it was getting late, he took the empty journal from the desk drawer and opened it.  Finding several pencils in the drawer, he began to sketch Rose's face on the first page, with her hair across one side of her face.  He had always been fairly good at drawing, he somehow had the knack for it but as he drew her face, he began imagining her with her hair different but as it was getting late.  He decided further sketches could wait, it wasn't like he was going to forget her in a hurry.  Before he put the journal way, he scribbled down her name and that the journal was dedicated to her.

He went to sleep feeling happy at his reconciliation with his sweetheart, he hadn't wanted to go to bed still feeling angry over the news she was leaving his service but now he realised he'd been foolish to jump to the conclusion he would no longer see her, it had paved the way for her to be seen knocking on his door once the rest of the pupils and staff were aware of her new position.  He made up his mind he would no longer seek out the matron's company but getting her to stop seeking his was going to be an entirely different matter and could prove difficult, not that he hadn't done some of the encouragement.

He knew it was partly his own fault, to get out of being suspected he had a liking for the pretty blonde maid, he had feared she would be picked on by staff and pupils alike were she to be seen entering and leaving his room but there again, the same would have happened if he had openly pursued the matron and now, Rose would still be a target for the gossips in the school but her new position would probably ensure she was not dismissed because of it and they could surely put up with setting tongues wagging for the sake of being able to see each other and if they did it openly, there would be nothing to talk about.

Rose got into bed, grateful her room-mate hadn't still been awake but was sure she was faking sleep.  Now she could dream of something real and solid instead of dreaming she was escaping her boring life in a blue box but funnily enough, it was strange how John resembled the man she travelled with.
Chapter 14
Rose was up early the next morning, hopefully for the last time and went to knock on his door, she took the tray over to him and after kissing her said good morning to her.

''I'm really sorry this will be the last time but don't worry, you can still come and join me for afternoon tea, I'll have whoever takes over from you bring enough for two but I won't let on who will be joining me, let them think it's the matron eh?''

Rose smiled and sat on the bed beside him.  ''I'll come back in a while, matron already said I'd to report to her when I've finished collecting your tray.  I'll just go get my own breakfast and come back.  Are you still planning on going out later?''

''Oh yes Rose but maybe not to the town.  Would you still meet me?''

''Yes, I know another village just across the town, stay on the bus and get off three stops later, just asked for the white cross pub, then walk down the lane.  There are a few shops and a tea rooms, I'll meet you there at say two?''

''Yes, brilliant, is there somewhere we can go afterwards?''

''Yeah, there's a park by a stream, we can take a walk.  No-one knows me there so we won't be spotted.  The buses are every hour though, we'll have to go back on the same one but sit apart, in case anyone gets on in the town that's going back to the village.''

''Don't worry so much Rose, we could have accidentally met on the bus and if it's crowded, no-one will bother.  It won't matter after next week anyway, will it?''

''No, I guess not.  I'll leave you to get your breakfast before it goes cold, see ya later.''

He caught her arm and she leaned over to kiss him, then handed him the tray.

''Don't get crumbs in your bed John, I don't want to have to explain them when your sheets get laundered, do I now?''

He loved the way she spoke, loved even more the way she stuck her tongue out when she laughed.  He was falling hopelessly for her and was surely a doomed man.

Martha had also been up early, gone to get her breakfast, seeing Rose coming in as she was leaving but since she was going to see the housekeeper before getting the Doctor involved, decided not to ask her what had delayed her.  Martha found the housekeeper and made her request.

''I've not been informed yet Miss Jones, I'm sure if Rose is being elevated to matron's assistant, the headmaster or Doctor Smith will be the ones to inform me.  You came to the school with him did you not?''

''Yes, I worked for his family, I'm fully qualified to be his personal maid, I don't know why I wasn't given the job when I arrived.''

''You were told the reason, we can't have someone coming in and taking the more important positions but I will bare you in mind when I'm told officially Rose is leaving to help the matron.''

Martha was just going to report to the kitchen when she saw Rose going back upstairs to collect John's tray.

''Rose, can you ask Doctor Smith to put in a word for me to get your job once it's been confirmed?''

Rose wasn't so sure that was a good idea, since John had make it clear he wasn't that keen on her but who else was there to take her place?

''Sure Martha, if he doesn't think I'm talking out of term.''

''I'm sure he won't.  Where did you get to last night?''

''Does it matter?  I went to get a drink and sat in the hallway, under the stairs.  I didn't feel much like company, I was still upset.''

''About what?  You were okay last night when we were out though you were off a bit before that, biting my head off, just because I warned you not to flirt with him.  I told you it wouldn't end well.  He's a teacher Rose, he does it everywhere he goes, trust me.''

Rose didn't believe her, how would she know?  Surely even being his maid at his last school didn't make her an expert.

''Well it doesn't matter now, does it?  I have to get his tray and report to matron, I'll ask him for you.''

She knocked on his door and on being told to enter, he was still in his pyjamas, his dressing gown loosely fastened as he stepped up to her, putting his arms around her.

''I thought you'd forgotten me Rose?'' he asked as he moved her collar and kissed her neck lightly.

''Don't you go making a mark, I'll be under matron's scrutiny all morning in case you've forgotten.  I should be finished by lunchtime, then I'll catch the bus and meet you.  Are you going earlier?'' 

''I may go to the village first and get a few things, including something nice for you, maybe some nice chocolates or something sweet smelling for my lovely flower?''

''Don't you go spoiling me, I told Martha last night I'd made that man up I was talking about, I was a bit mad with you.''

''Oh, then you'll just have to say you have another secret admirer then, won't you?  Now one more kiss before you have to go and when we meet in that village, we can take a walk and hold hands with no-one spying on us.''

''I look forward to it.''

They kissed for a few minutes, Rose with her hands under his dressing gown, his pyjama top loose as she put her hands up the back, making him smile.  He kissed her neck as she rested her head on his chest as she tried to look up at him.  For the first time in her life she felt content and a man was holding her like she had always dreamt of.

He kissed her forehead and tried to move away.  ''Later my love, when we've been out and tomorrow, we'll meet somewhere and spend the day together, I think I know a place we can go.''

As Rose was reporting to the matron, Martha was being informed from Monday morning she would have the responsibility of being Doctor Smith's maid until such times Rose returned, a condition John had made as he had spoken to the housekeeper after catching the headmaster in the hallway and asking if his maid's position as matron's assistant was official.

Rose found it easy to pay attention to what Joan was saying, telling her of the few rules and what was expected of her and never to overstep her position or to challenge any decision, Joan saying she never expected Rose to but she had to be told.  Rose figured she knew how to behave and wasn't intending challenging the matron's authority, especially since John had told her he was not going to use matron to cover the fact he was interested in her, something that may not go down too well once the matron discovered the fact, which may get Rose back to scrubbing floors if she wasn't careful and she may have to depend on John defending his decision to associate with her.

He had briefly told her of his plan tomorrow, to meet in the village and get the midday bus to town and go to the piano recital at the town hall at 2pm he had seen a notice for in the village pub, hoping Joan hadn't already seen it.  Then he planned to take her somewhere for afternoon tea or maybe a drink and get the bus back.  Rose knew it was risky but being on the same bus wasn't a crime.

So as Rose got on with matron's instructions and Martha went to join some of the other servants changing bedclothes in the dorms, cursing the boys and them being untidy and wishing she could give them all a good smack and teach them some manners when they had to pull one or two out of bed at ten in the morning, John was counting the minutes until he could walk down to the village and catch the bus to the other side of town and wait for Rose's arrival.

He had decided to call in the village store and buy Rose a small box of chocolates to give her once she arrived at the tea rooms for a late lunch, maybe next time he would buy her a gift of sweet smelling toiletries but maybe that may be too intimate just yet.  By ten, he was climbing the wall so he put his coat on, thinking he'd leave the hat and he made his mind up to go catch the next bus into town, go get his hair cut then catch the same bus Rose would be getting, giving her a pleasant surprise as surely anyone from the village who knew her would be getting off.

Joan had decided to leave Rose with the tasks she'd been given and bumped into John, who was trying to sneak out of the front door without anyone, especially matron seeing him.

''Going out Doctor Smith?  Have you decided on a visit to the barber's in town after all?''

''Ah, yes, I have actually and I thought if I got there early enough I wouldn't have long to wait.  I was going to take my time walking down to the village so I wouldn't miss the bus.  Don't let me keep you from your duties matron.''

''I've left some tasks for Rose to do, she's quite competent.  Did you get Martha back as your maid or hasn't that been decided yet?''

''Well actually, Rose asked me if I would put in a good word for Martha and she has been with me for a number of years, I'll have wait and see but I did stress if things don't work out for Rose in the infirmary she was to get her old job back.''

''Why wouldn't she get on in the infirmary John?''

''Please matron, Doctor Smith if you don't mind, well I was only thinking that it wouldn't be fair if things went wrong if Rose were to be relegated back to the cleaning staff.''

''You must get on well with her then, Rose has been very popular in her short tenure here in the school and I know one of the teachers from the old school, she worked very hard there, that was why she got one of the better jobs here.  Anyway, I'll be in the village myself later to go visit my friend, around two, maybe if you are back from town then you may have tea with me before my visit?''

John was busy thinking up excuses.  ''Ah, well, I will more than likely be back later than that since there is only one bus every hour, if I have to wait in the barber's shop.''  He thought he had got away with it for now.

He made his escape and made his was slowly down to the village and went into the store, looking at all the nice things he'd like to be able to buy for Rose but not daring, well not yet until they had established a few things such as what she liked and disliked and if they were going to be seen together in public.  He had seen the notice for the village dance in a few weeks time, well matron had pointed it out which he thought she had already known about it if it was an annual event and hoping again she hadn't seen the piano recital one he intended to take Rose to the next day otherwise that could take some getting out of to say the least.

Joan had got back to the infirmary, seeing Rose was busy and went to make her morning tea, wondering why John Smith was always so keen to get away from her or any female for that matter, what made him so uncomfortable around her?  She sat drinking her tea and looked at Rose, who smiled back at her and never asking if she could go get a drink herself, it didn't do to offer staff cups of tea as it was seen as being too familiar with them and gave them ideas they could get away with things but she doubted Rose was like that.

''Rose, when you've finished that, go take a short break and get yourself a drink from the kitchen, you should still get finished for one.''

Rose was hoping to catch the bus at one or she would be late meeting John and if she hurried, she could get changed, walking briskly to the village and be in time to catch the bus otherwise she would make John think she had changed her mind.  Would he sit waiting for her an hour?

''Matron, if it's all the same I'd rather work through and finish at half past twelve, I planned going out later.''

''Yes, very well then, I thought you may want to have a break, I don't want you thinking I'm being too hard on you.  Are you meeting someone?''

Rose had to think fast.  ''One of the girls I used to work with, we keep in touch, we were going to town to look around the shops, no harm in window shopping.''

''Yes, indeed, no harm, you go ahead then.  Did you find your other friend, the girl you used to share a room with?''

''No matron, I don't know where she got to, I'm quite worried about her, maybe she just went home though I thought she would have told me she was leaving, maybe she'll write to me.''

Rose finally got finished, said goodbye to the matron, ran upstairs to find Martha wasn't there thankfully and was out of the front door fifteen minutes later, trying not to run to the village that was a ten minute walk, well by the time she had walked down the driveway, avoiding the boys messing around and got out of the gate it was and they were tossing rugby balls at each other across the driveway and she was trying to dodge them, she was dreading winter when she would be dodging snowballs, she might have to retaliate like she had done at the other school
Chapter 15
Rose hurried down to the village, smiling to herself at the thought of throwing snowballs at John and him trying to get some down her back, then they could run inside and get warm by a roaring fire in his study or maybe eventually a cottage in the village but she was getting way too far ahead of herself on that score, no-one even knew about them yet, let alone them living together.

John had been sitting in the barber's shop, hoping the chocolates in the small white paper bag wouldn't melt or get squashed as two schoolboys with their mother had been sitting next to him and they were getting bored.

His turn finally came, he hung up his coat and put the paper bag on the shelf underneath and hoped no-one would walk off with them, they had been quite expensive and he knew once he got out he would have to go to the bank and withdraw some cash from his account.  He told the barber what he wanted his hair to look like and twenty minutes later, he was retrieving his coat, wishing now he'd been bothered to bring his hat with him and found a branch of his bank.

Having noted what time the bus would be arriving that Rose would be on, he made his way back to the stop and sat on a nearby bench, having about twenty minutes to wait.  He meant to give Rose the money back for the fare both ways as it seemed only fair since she was meeting him the next afternoon as well so as he was looking down the road, noting there was another bus further down and not thinking it would be the one he wanted, he looked across the road and saw where the piano recital was the next day and thought he should have gone to get tickets but couldn't see any signs of the place being open.

The bus was not the number he had wanted, there were still ten minutes before that one was due anyway as Rose had just got to the stop in time and paid the fare, she would have to forgo putting money aside for her mother this week though surely she was due a pay rise for her new duties and John may offer to pay her fare on the way back.  The bus was approaching where she would have got off if she were visiting the main shopping area, people were getting up, some of the women she knew nodded to her and probably wondering why she was making no attempt to get up.

Rose wondered what John had been doing and if he was already in the little village of East Hillenden but as she looked out of the window, he was just getting up from the bench to allow passengers room to get off.   She thought to wave but since people were still standing around chatting and greeting people she kept her excitement to herself as another man got on first, then John, asking for the destination Rose had told him even though it was only three stops but since he had no idea where he was going, he risked getting a funny look from the driver and hoped it would be a different one on the way back, meaning to ask what time the return journeys were since the bus continued up the main road to the next village where it terminated.

He made his way past the few remaining passengers and smiled at Rose.

''May I sit here?'' he asked politely, even though there were a few empty seats.

''It's a free country, why not?''

''Then may I introduce myself?  I'm Doctor John Smith and you are?''

''Rose Tyler, nice to meet you Doctor Smith, are you going far only I get off in three stops.''

''Well that's a coincidence, so am I.  I'll be certain to make sure you don't miss your stop then Miss Tyler.''

Rose smiled at him and since no-one was looking in their direction, took his hand.

''I'm sure you won't Doctor Smith.''

Three stops later they were standing outside the white painted pub, John had got off first to help Rose down the two rather steep steps, holding his hand out after enquiring what time the bus came back.  Since they were early, John asked if she wanted to go inside the pub.

''No, I'm dying for a cup of tea, I had to dash out to catch the bus, I thought I was going to miss it.  I did without my break earlier so I'd get out in time.  How long had you been waiting in town for the bus?''

''About twenty minutes or so, I thought I would surprise you.  These are for you Rose.''

He handed the paper bag to her and she gave him a smile.  ''Well thank you, maybe we can share them later?''

''Maybe we can sit by the stream and share them?  Is that the same stream that runs down the local village then?''

''Yeah.  Did you find somewhere to go tomorrow then?'' she asked, putting her arm in his, thinking back to last night when she thought the matron had looked like she was going to do the same, which she was glad the woman hadn't or she may not have been so pleasant with her earlier.

''Oh yes, indeed, there's a piano recital at two, just across from where we get off the bus, I thought I mentioned it to you?  It's not at the town hall, my mistake, it's in the concert room next door to it but there was no-one around to ask while I was waiting for the bus.  We'll be early if we get the midday bus though but we need to find out how to get tickets.  Maybe there will be a café open in town where we can wait?''

They found themselves in the centre of the village ten minutes later and then the tearooms, John allowing Rose in first and hoping no-one knew who they were, as if they would, they were quite a distance away from Farringham and this might just become their meeting place if things went well, until people in the local village got used to seeing them together.

Ordering a light lunch for the two of them, John asked if she liked his haircut.

''I think it suits you, though I liked it how it was, it's up to you how you have it styled, I'm not used to having men asking me about their hairstyles, this is all new to me.  I was thinking, about if we still have to hide the fact we're seeing each other, I could say I met someone on the bus going to town.''

''No Rose, we're not going to hide, well not after next week anyway.  I think though I may have a problem with the matron, she asked if I could meet her for tea in the village, I think I gave her the wrong idea.''

Rose smiled.  ''Well you started it, you'll have to break it to her gently, I don't want to find myself scrubbing floors again thanks very much.''

''Don't worry, I made it clear if things didn't work out, you would get your old job back.  Let's just have a nice afternoon out shall we?''

They did indeed have a nice afternoon, passing the gardens, intending to look around on the way back, they walked alongside the stream, Rose saying how nice it looked when everything was covered in snow and they found a wall to sit on, still holding hands.

John reached over to push a strand of hair back from her face and dared to kiss her cheek, Rose giggling as she took his hand and squeezed it.  Before they knew it, it was time to be making their way back to the main road to catch the bus, John had tried giving Rose back the money for her fare on the way there but she had refused it so he insisted on paying her fare on their return journey, going to sit at the back of the bus behind two other people and hoping no-one would spot them.  While they had been out, Rose had told him that for the first few days the following week, they should try and discreetly talk to each other and see if anyone said anything and if not, John agreed they could stop and talk to each other in the corridors and she could be seen knocking on his study door.

He said from Monday he would ask Martha to bring tea for two and Rose would go get changed and join him, since she could slip back down the servants staircase without drawing attention to herself and he'd tell Martha he would leave the tray outside once he had finished with it so she wouldn't go barging in and catch Rose until everyone was aware they were friendly.  They got off the bus and Rose said she wanted to call into the village store for a few things, John insisting she went to his room when she got back before she went for her tea at six but Rose said there wouldn't be a lot of time when she got back so they agreed to meet in the pub again and he would sit outside with her, as long as Martha was with her.

Rose agreed but said for him not to invite the matron.

''Don't worry Rose, she said she paid a visit to her friend on Saturday's, I doubt she'll even be passing by the pub since it's on the other side of the village hall.  Did you know there's a dance there in a few weeks time?''

''Yes, I did, are you going to invite me then?''

''I may do, if I'm allowed to escort you there, that depends entirely as to people accepting we're courting.''

Rose smiled as he stood by the bus stop, stubbing the toe of his shoe against it, thinking he looked adorable.

''Well you'll have to invite me, formally but perhaps a bit nearer the time or are you going to purchase tickets in advance?''

''Well I would, if I knew where to get them from?''

''Ask in the store, the next time you go in, the village hall only opens on special occasions and for private functions, oh and the women's institute the first Tuesday of each month, I believe matron attends.  She might be already planning on you taking her.''

''She's already mentioned it, don't remind me.''

Rose patted his arm.  ''Aw, never mind, who's afraid of the matron then?''

''It's not funny Rose, I think I started something I may not be able to get out of, what do I do?''

''I don't know but I hope I don't lose my new job over it, you'll just have to think of something, won't you?  I'd better get to the store before it closes and thanks for the chocolates, they were really nice but we shouldn't have finished them.''

John smiled.  ''You're welcome, I'll see you later then?''

John went back to the school, safe in the knowledge the matron was out until later that evening.  While Rose and John had been enjoying an afternoon out in each other's company, Joan had got to the village and taken a quick look around to see if John was in any of the shops or was getting off the bus from town.  She was disappointed to find she was out of luck at spotting him and figured he was either still in the town or gone back to the school without her seeing him but he wouldn't have had time really.

She hurried to her friend's house and was let in, giving the two boys a packet of sweets each she bought whilst looking in the store to see if John was there.

''So how are things with you Joan?'' her friend Rita asked.

''Fine, a new teacher started earlier this week, Doctor Smith, he's really quite handsome although he's a little shy.  He invited me to the village pub last night, it's been ages since I was last out with a man.''

Her friend poured out tea and handed a cup to her.  ''Well Joan, I never thought I would see the day you went out with another man, are you going to let him take you out again, perhaps to the village dance?''

''I hope so, I've already mentioned it to him though he seems a little slow.''

''I'm sure you can win him over Joan, do you have a plan?''

''Yes, I have a plan, if I can get him interested, I'm going to be bold and ask him to the dance, otherwise I'll be waiting until next year.'' 

Rose got back to the school in time for tea, Martha was just on her way downstairs and Rose said she would catch up with her after saying she wanted to go out again tonight.

''I thought you said the ale left a bad taste last night?''

''I'm sure we can get something else if we ask, I've been out earlier but I don't feel like staying in, you want to come with me?''

''Why not as long as you can afford it?''

''It's just one drink Martha, I can save money next week to send home to my mother, I might even get a pay rise next week anyway.  We'll go out a bit later tonight though, what do you think?''

''Fine, it's getting a bit cold sitting outside now, we could sit inside.''

''It's all smoky in there, get some fresh air Martha, we're stuck in that school all week.''

Martha just wished her new friend wasn't so enthusiastic.  Another three months of this was going to be hard work indeed.  John went down to dinner, relieved matron was missing as were a few of the teachers so it wasn't difficult to get away afterwards, he was looking forward to sitting down and having a drink with Rose, even if Martha was there but as he set off, Joan was about to leave her friend's house to walk back, thinking she would have to start leaving earlier now it was getting dark.

Wishing she didn't have to pass by the pub but grateful for the light coming from it although the moon was out, she was sure she could see Rose and Martha sitting outside then she saw John walking towards them.  She could have sworn he'd said he wasn't going back there tonight but he stopped to talk to the two of them as she approached the table and he walked inside.

''Rose, Martha, was that Doctor Smith?''

''Yes matron, he's just getting himself a drink,'' Rose replied, hoping she didn't sound out of place.

''Is he now?  Is he also getting drinks for the two of you?''

''No, we said we were okay, we're not in the school now, we can sit outside and talk if we wish, the rules don't apply out here do they?''

Joan couldn't really argue on that point, she couldn't chastise her new assistant when they were not on the school grounds.  John was just coming back out, seeing Joan standing talking to the two women.

''Ah, matron, would you care to join us?''

Joan was certain he was about to sit with the two servants, well Rose was no longer a servant as such since her promotion that morning and like she had said, they weren't in the school.

''No thank you, I should be getting back.  Rose, I'll see you on Monday morning.  Good evening to you all.''

She certainly was not going to sit a few hours in their company whether John was there or not, she was a firm believer the classes should keep their distance socially, hence her not offering Rose some tea that morning but who John kept company with was his business and hardly anyone in the village knew who he was yet.  As she walked off, John casually took the seat next to Rose as the two woman began to giggle, wondering what he had just set himself up for, at least matron might leave him alone now he was associating with the cleaning staff.
Chapter 16
Rose and John were trying not to look at each other for the rest of the evening, Martha feeling like she was the odd one out and playing the part of the chaperone as it was quite obvious now she had seen them together for an hour or so.  At one point, John had insisted they went inside but Rose said she was fine, Martha not so sure.  They eventually walked back to the school, Rose insisting she was going to go get a hot drink and asked John if he wanted one since officially she was still his maid.

Martha shook her head at her new friend, how was she ever going to get Rose away from him now?  Once upstairs, Rose having hung up her coat and seemed like she was in a hurry to get back downstairs again, Martha stopped her.

''Rose, you no longer work for him, give it a rest.''

''I'm still his maid until Monday you know, you've not taken over from me yet and if I want to take him a drink, I will do, whether you become his maid or not on Monday.  What's wrong in that?  I was told the rest of the staff do extra jobs for staff and pupils, he said he would pay me and I need the extra money to send to my mum.  Are you jealous I got the job first or something?''

''No, why should I be?  I've known him longer than you have, that's all, I don't want him to use you when I can do the job quite well.''

''I don't think he's using me Martha, I would rather fetch Doctor Smith his evening drink than polish boots for the boys, you could get an extra job for yourself you know, there are always some of the boys who will pay you for getting them things from the village store they aren't allowed to buy I expect.''

''No thanks, I'll give that a miss.  Go on then, don't keep him waiting.''

Rose could sense Martha had a jealous streak about her, she would just have to get used to it.  She rushed back to the kitchen, getting stares from the others as she took two mugs from the hooks.  Rose just stared back at them.

''So?  I'm not gonna turn down some extra money for taking him a drink on my way back upstairs am I?''

It was Mavis that spoke up, they had been talking about her the last few nights.  ''We never said anything did we?''

''You don't have to, I know when I'm being talked about you know.  You lot got nothing better to do?''

''Nothing of the sort, it's non of our business, lots of us do odd jobs for the teachers but so far, you're the only one who does it late at night for the best looking teacher in the school.''

The other girls all giggled.

''Well lucky me then, can't say I noticed.''

''Oh come on Rose, he arrives and suddenly you're coming down and getting two mugs of cocoa?  We don't have to be clever to work that one out, good luck I say but just be careful, we heard the matron's got her eye on him, they were talking outside the infirmary earlier on today.''

''So what?  Loads of people talk to him.''

''Yeah but Millie saw them leaving the school together last night.''

''Well I saw them down at the pub so what are you getting at?''

''Nothing, just saying that's all and the dance at the village hall is coming up in a few weeks time, he's bound to go and invite her.''

''Is that supposed to mean something to me?''

The girls giggled again.  Mavis continued, obviously to get a reaction out of Rose, who was still stirring the milk.

''Won't you get jealous if he does?''

''Why should I?  He's free to take whoever he wants to the dance but what makes you think he'll ask her?''

''Well he wouldn't ask you, would he?  You being his maid.''

Rose thought they'd not yet heard about her promotion and decided to keep quiet, they would find out on Monday morning anyway when Martha turned up to get his breakfast instead of her.  Martha would be delighted to inform them she had got the job she should have had upon her arrival and complain still that Rose had got another promotion, she wouldn't need to tell them herself.

''What's wrong with a teacher going to a dance with a maid then?'' Rose asked, deciding the milk had been stirred enough and proceeded to make the drinks before John wondered where she was and it was already almost nine thirty.

''Really?  Maids and teachers aren't supposed to socialise, where do you come from?''

''London but what difference does that make?  When not on the school grounds, it doesn't count, does it?  Now excuse me, the drinks are getting cold.''

The girls all stared after her as she pushed the door open, thinking it would only lead to trouble but it would be Rose who would be getting into it.  Rose went upstairs and tapped on John's door.

When John had left Rose and Martha downstairs though, matron had happened to be out of her room and had seen him come back before he'd had the chance to get upstairs.

''Oh, you're back Doctor Smith.  Tired of the company of the cleaning staff?''

''Really matron, Rose is hardly still a member of the cleaning staff since she is now working for you.  I do hope you won't chastise her in any way come Monday morning, for me talking to her outside the village pub, will you?''

Joan thought she would try and stay on his good side, if she were to go ahead and try to get tickets for the annual dance and have the chance to get him to ask her, or she ask him if he didn't.

''No, of course not, like Rose pointed out, we were not on the school grounds so certain rules no longer apply.  It was only I couldn't bring myself to sit outside in the cold in their company, that's all.  I'm sure they are both decent girls.''

''Rose is quite entertaining, she was telling us about where she grew up and her mother having to struggle.  She's come a long way.''

''What about Martha?''

''Oh, I already know about her.  Anyway, must be off, things to do.''

''You said last night you weren't going out tonight, what made you change your mind?''

''Well, with being out earlier, I didn't really feel like staying in after all and since it was smoky inside the pub last night, I thought I would get some fresh air.  I hadn't realised you would be passing by.''

''I had just left my friend's house, there is another way but not when it's dark, you could have offered to see me back.''

''I'd just got there, you could have waited with us.''

''Not in Rose and Martha's presence John.  Excuse me for mistaking going with you last night as you wanting to be friends with me.''

''I did say you could count it as two work colleagues did I not?  I'm sorry you took that for something else matron, that was not my intention.  To avoid any more confusion, I will refrain from inviting you again, since you prefer not to associate with the staff and those two seem to be making a habit of frequenting the only pub in the village.  Goodnight then.''

Joan could only stare as he turned around and made his way to the stairs then a few minutes later as she was going back in, she saw Rose come out of the kitchen with two mugs in her hands but she turned towards the servants staircase.  Maybe she would just have to keep an eye out that nothing inappropriate was going on but as for outside the school, there was nothing she could do.  John would surely object if she said something to Rose on Monday about her conduct when not in the school and if her new assistant behaved suitably in front of her, she couldn't actually say anything.

John had just taken off his coat and hung it up when there was a tap on the door.  Making sure it was Rose and that matron had not followed him, he let her in.

''Sorry I'm late with your drink Doctor Smith, I got held up in the kitchen,'' Rose said as he closed the door, putting the catch on.

''That's quite alright Rose, I got delayed myself, it seems I had a bigger problem with matron than I initially thought.''

''Oh, do tell!'' Rose giggled as she handed him a mug of cocoa and kissing his cheek.

''Very funny Rose, I'm being serious, she mistook the invitation last night for me asking her out, properly and I was certain I had made it clear that was not the case.''

''Admit it John, you are scared of her.  Tongues are already wagging in the kitchen.''

''Really?  What about?'' John asked innocently as he put the mug down and began unbuttoning Rose's cardigan and some of her buttons on the top she was wearing.

Rose giggled.  ''You, who do you think they were talking about?  It was all I could do not to spoil their fun and tell them we were seeing each other but what would be the point in doing that?  They saw you talking with matron earlier today and leaving the school with her last night, they're already convinced you're gonna take her to the village dance.''

''Oh, then I do have a problem, don't I?  Did you put them wise?''

''Nope, like I say, let them have some fun, they'll find out sooner or later, won't they?  They did infer about me still bringing you a late night drink though.  I told them you were paying me and what was the harm in you maybe asking me to go to the dance with you?'' she teased, going for the buttons on his shirt.

''You never?  You told them I was going to ask you to the dance?''

''Not in so many words but I may have implied it.  So what?  It's not a crime.''

''Rose, I was right, you are a torment and speaking of which, I hope that top of yours comes off easily.''

''Mmm, come and find out for yourself but let me finish unbuttoning your shirt first.''

The cocoa finished and their clothing unbuttoned, Rose pulled the sleeves over his shoulders as he pushed her back on the sofa, tugging at her top and pulling it over her head, revealing the ivory cami she had worn the night before and admiring the view before also pulling that up.  Tonight he was going to try and get her skirt off again and maybe the remainder of her underwear, well at least part of the way down and if she was willing, maybe take off his own trousers before they really got creased.

They began kissing in earnest, between John dipping down to kiss her cleavage, Rose ruffling his newly cut hair that he was now wishing he'd left alone since Rose seemed content to run her fingers through it and raking his scalp, making it tingle.  He unbuttoned her skirt, noting it had a few buttons on the back and he was able to get his hand down the back, making Rose flinch as he touched her rear, something he'd not done last night and Rose seemed to like it.

She wanted her revenge though as she moved her own hands and indicted she wanted him to unfasten his trousers, something she thought was not her place.

''Don't be shy Rose, I don't want you to be afraid of me.  Here, let me help you.''

He took her hand and guided it to the top button, letting her undo the rest of them.  Before either of them knew it, his trousers and Rose's skirt were slung over the back of the sofa, John was kissing his way across Rose, him having coaxed her out of her cami top which was under her skirt, her hands were around his back, his trousers loose and Rose wondering if he meant her to put her hands further down.

She decided it may well be worth her while to do so, she ventured a little lower down his back, feeling the wet kisses on her skin which felt really good and making him look up for a moment, smiling at her.

''That's really nice Rose, I told you, there's no need to be shy but maybe you should just take your time, I don't want to rush you and make you feel uncomfortable.  We can leave it until tomorrow night, we won't go out and we can spend more time here, if you want?''

Rose kept her hands were they were, on the waistband of his what she could tell now were his white underwear.

''Yeah, I think I'd best do as you suggest but don't let me stop you, you know, if you want to kiss me a bit lower down, I think I'm completely covered in kisses on my top half, don't you?''

John smiled down at her, taking in the sight of her.

''If you say so my love, may I venture further down then?''

Rose managed a nod and he moved further down to the waistband of her underwear, Rose had been glad she'd found a pair that weren't quite as long as the ones she'd worn last night and tomorrow was staff laundry day but she planned from now on to do what some of the other girl's did and get some soap from the kitchen and rinse some out in the bathroom and dry them on the radiator but she'd have to ask Martha if she objected.

Before long, Rose was totally gone in the sensations she was getting from John, she knew it was only a matter of time before things would progress to what she had read in the magazines and all that had happened that she had seen in there would be happening to her.  She let out a low moan as he began kissing just above the waistband, she took one of her hands away from his back and tried to move the garment lower, John sensing she wanted him to go lower down but decided to stay where he was, he had got further he had last night and it felt glorious.
Chapter 17
While John and Rose had been enjoying an afternoon out and matron had been seeing her friend, Martha had paid a visit to the Tardis, making sure she hadn't been followed and had let herself into the ship using the key the Doctor had recently given her, thankful now he'd finally trusted her to have one after their recent visit to a spaceship that had been hurtling towards a sun.

She greeted the ship, saying she had missed her and went up to the monitor, rewinding the message he had left for her on his departure.  Of course she found nothing that she had missed the first time she had played it, it wasn't like he'd nipped back and added to it, he was well and truly out of it and now it seemed like he was gone on Rose Tyler – again and Martha had already been jealous and it was now getting worse.

She screamed at the screen.  ''Fat lot of good you telling me not to let you forget me or get involved with people, you've already done both.  What am I supposed to do, if you fall in love with someone and it's not me?  How am I supposed to stop you without you hating me when all this is over?''

The recording had stopped, the Doctor still had a smile on his face, after he had turned back to the camera and had said, ''Oh and thank you.''

Thank you for what, she wondered.  For standing by and watch him flirt with Rose, his lost companion who didn't even know him and he didn't know her?  At least the Doctor would remember Rose but he would be so annoyed for allowing himself to get close to her and then go losing her again and also that she wouldn't even know about it but Martha had no way of stopping it without doing something drastic.  She had no way of winning this, even if she tried by some remote chance to get him interested in matron or herself, what then?

He would be himself in less than three months and regret it, whoever had won him over because she had to face it, he was never going to choose her but she had the responsibility to look after him while he was human but what then?  Could she go on travelling with him knowing what she was now feeling for him would never be returned or could she still remain his friend?

After John finally allowed Rose up from the sofa and helped her get dressed, Rose knowing it was late and would have to be careful, they agreed they would meet in the village in the morning, just before the midday bus was due, since they were only every two hours on Sundays and the last one back from the town would be just before six.  They kissed goodnight, both of them longing to spend more time with each other than was allowed to be seen a decent amount of time for Rose's absence from the room she shared with Martha.

''Goodnight my love, I'll see you at the bus stop tomorrow but if I'm not there, it won't be because I don't want to be, it will mean I got held up.  Just return to school and we'll catch the one two hours later and we'll find somewhere else in the town to go.''

''Okay, I won't think you stood me up then.  Goodnight John, I'll see you tomorrow, even if you're late.  Do you think anyone will have noticed we were both out, at the same time, two days in a row?''

She reached up to kiss him again.

''I don't think so Rose, I'm sure a lot of people go out during the weekend, are the boys allowed out?''

''Only on Sundays, then just in groups if their parents have given them permission.  I'll just sneak out with them but now you mention it, I hope none of them see us getting on the bus together.''

''Oh, they'll probably be too engrossed in what they're doing, I doubt they will be hanging around the bus stop, waiting to see who gets on or off it don't you?''

''I hope so.  I'd better get going, Martha will already be suspecting I'm taking far too long taking a drink to you, I'll have to make another excuse up for staying out so long.''

''I'm sure you'll think of something my rosebud, you are so clever sometimes.  I'll miss you, in the morning now you won't be bringing me breakfast in bed again.  It won't be the same you know, I'm almost sad at the thought but you deserved that promotion, I won't spoil it for you and have it taken away from you.  Now go, before I have a mind to keep you here all night.''

They kissed again.  ''Mmm, I might just let you if you keep doing what you were earlier but I need to get used to this, there are things my mother never told me, I've had no experience with a man before.  I wonder if matron will have a book about it I can borrow?''

John smiled.  ''I'll have to leave that to you, what do I know about women?''

''You mean you've never had a girlfriend John?  Seriously?''

''Yes, I've had girlfriends, my last one was French though I never got as far with her as I have with you.  She always put me off when I got too far.''

''Her loss then.  So basically, you don't know much more than me then, do you?''

''Oh I think I may have a few tricks up my sleeve Rose, I know what I like.''

Rose giggled.  ''I'm sure you do John, I'd really better go before you try a few of them, hadn't I?''

With that, Rose kissed his cheek and pulled away, heading for the door but he caught up with her.

''Then maybe I can show you a few more, tomorrow night, what do you say?''

''That I'll have to go get that book from matron, I don't want any surprises, do I?''

''That is rather the point Rose, surprising you.''

''Maybe but there are certain other things I need to know, I already told you, my mother never warned me about men like you.''

He put his arms back around her.  ''Really?  Well she would have just loved me then, wouldn't she?''

''If she were here, I'm sure she would love to meet you but she may just give you a slap and try to warn you off.''

''I'm sure she would but maybe I'd actually deserve it eh?''

Rose giggled and tried to break free.  ''I have to go, until tomorrow then, you'll give me something to dream about.''

''You as well, goodnight my love.''

Rose hurried back to her room, knowing she would have to face Martha, she would surely be waiting for her.  Maybe her room-mate had already guessed and they weren't planning on keeping it a secret for much longer, Martha could be the first to know but only with John's approval.  Well that was the plan anyway.

''There's no need to sneak in Rose, I know where you've been,'' Martha called out as Rose tried to enter the room quietly.

''So, you know where I've been?  How do you know I wasn't in the kitchen then, did you follow me?''

''I decided to get a drink myself, you weren't there.  They said you'd already gone out with two drinks.  So you're not denying it?  You do know that serving staff aren't allowed in the teacher's rooms unless they are cleaning and then not while they're present?''

''You're a fine one, telling me the rules when you've just arrived.  So did you tell on me then?''

''No, I don't want to get Doctor Smith into trouble, I'm not keeping quiet for you, I'm doing it for him.  You're wasting your time though Rose.''

''Really, why's that then?''

''Because he'll be leaving in three months, this contract is only temporary, that's why.''  She saw the look on Rose's face.  ''Oh, he never told you that bit, did he?''

Rose tried to shake it off, not wanting to give Martha the satisfaction of seeing her disappointment that he had so far failed to give her that piece of information but maybe he intended telling her tomorrow but why had he not brought the subject up before now?

Rose recovered.  ''I'm sure he'll tell me, maybe he'll extend his contract, how are you so certain it's only for three months?''

Martha had to think about that carefully.  She didn't know exactly what John would say when Rose brought the subject up, which she was bound to do but it would maybe put some doubt in her mind  - she hoped.

Rose tried to put what Martha had told her out of her mind as she tried to get to sleep.  She had been happy when she had left him, after he'd kissed her one last time and Monday morning, before she started work, she was going to ask matron if there was a book she could borrow that would explain things a woman needed to know when she was interested in a man.  She doubted though that matron would approve, of either the fact Rose was interested enough in a man to want to know these kinds of things, let alone contemplate actually doing them outside of marriage, which was frowned upon in society in general but for the man she was wanting to know for was John, well it wouldn't go down well, that was for certain.

She would have to invent a man for the purpose of fooling matron, at least for the time being despite John protesting they should let it be known they wanted to keep seeing each other.  He would surely understand her need to be discreet, until they established the fact within the school, matron could still get her dismissed for unseemly behaviour with a teacher, what with her new position only just beginning.

Rose went to sleep devising a way to get around the subject with matron, deciding to stick to what she had teased John about earlier, that she had met a man on the bus into town.  She just hoped John would understand her need to keep the peace and not that she was still trying to hide him, she didn't want to do that but had no idea how the matron would react, once word got around the school.

By eleven the following morning, John having taken his breakfast in the teacher's dining room, he was already missing Rose bringing it to him in bed, how was he going to cope without having her as his maid any more?  He got himself ready to set off for the village, hoping this time matron wouldn't delay his departure.

Rose had still been up early and put on her Sunday clothes, after asking Martha if she objected to her drying her undergarments in their room, Martha saying she could do with washing her own if that were the case.  Martha asked her where she was going and Rose hated lying to her but after the discussion they'd had last night, Rose wasn't so sure she should disclose where she was actual going but if she said she was going to the piano recital with a friend, Martha could hardly object.

Rose arrived in the village ten minutes before the bus was due but seeing no sign of John, certain he had not followed her out of the school grounds but he'd been a fast walker yesterday.  Rose had got him to slow down a few times as they had strolled beside the stream, him dragging her along on his arm.

Five minutes before the bus approached the stop, Rose seeing it in the distance, John came around the corner and waved to her.

''Ah, Rose, fancy seeing you here.  Are you going to town?''

''Yes, I'm meeting a friend, we're going to the piano recital.''

''Well that's a coincidence then, so am I.  Maybe if your friend fails to show, you may let me accompany you?''

''Maybe, I'm not sure he will turn up, we only met yesterday, on the bus and so far, I've not made my mind up about him.''

''Really?  How did you meet him?''

''He came and sat next to me on the bus as it was leaving town yesterday, I stayed on the bus to take a walk around the next village and he asked if he could sit next to me.  Then it turned out he was going to the same place so we walked around for a while.''

John smiled.  He knew she was only saying these things as people were getting off the bus and the driver was making them wait to get on, he apparently thinking it was a Sunday and no-one actually was in a hurry to get anywhere as John took his working pocket watch out and looked at the time.  Rose had to smile.

''So, if my friend is not waiting for me once we get to the town, I may have to get the return bus back here,'' Rose informed him, looking at the man and woman who had joined the queue.

''That would be quite a waste of a journey, would it not?''

''Maybe I could just go to the recital with you then?''

''I would hate for you to have to miss it.  So if your friend fails to show, it would be my pleasure to invite you to go to it with me.  Ah, the driver is ready for us to get on board.  May I at least offer to pay the fare into town?''

''Why thank you Doctor Smith, that's most kind of you.''

He helped her up the steps and Rose indicated John was paying and she went to sit right at the back, John going to join her and sitting next to her.  The man and woman who got on after them were taking no notice, thankfully and the bus set off, Rose putting her arm in his.  Since the sound of the engine was quite loud, they talked quietly without fear of being overheard.

''So Rose, I sincerely hope your friend fails to show but are you in habit of talking to strangers on buses?''

Rose smiled.  ''Only the cute ones, jealous are you?''

''Me?  Why would I be jealous?''

''Maybe because I made someone up for the benefit of anyone listening?''

''Well I think you just established your friend may have been intending to ask you out for show, you could always say you were very disappointed and needed consoling.''

''You would be happy to console me then, would you?''

''Oh yes Rose, I would be more than happy to console you.''

Rose took his hand and squeezed it.  ''Oh, I'm sure you would.  Maybe you can console me when we get back to the school?''

''I'm sure I can Rose, I look forward to it.  I do hope your friend isn't waiting for you when we get off in town.''

''Well if he is and he sees me getting off with you, maybe he'll change his mind?''

''I do hope so Rose, I really do.''
Chapter 18
When Rose and John got back from their afternoon out, unaware some boys had still been in the village and seen them get off the bus together, Rose quickly got her tea and went to her room to await John finishing his.  Martha asked how her afternoon had been.

"It was okay, thanks for asking, what did you get up to?''

''Nothing, borrowed a book from the library, talked to some of the girls.  Did your new friend show up?''

Rose had decided to throw Martha off by telling her she had met someone on the bus yesterday.

''Yes he did, we had a nice time.  Now will stop going on about Doctor Smith?''

''Maybe, if you stop disappearing to his room every night.''

''That's none of your business Martha.  We may be on the school grounds but it's out of working hours, I don't see how it has to do with anyone anyway.  I can understand if it was a female student and since there are none here, it doesn't count, does it?''

''I'm sure they have rules for a reason Rose, it won't do for teachers and servants to mix, they seem very strict about social behaviour here.''

Rose thought aren't they just?  It was too early to go get a drink so Rose said she was off to the library but knocked on John's door instead.  She didn't even know why she bothered making up excuses to Martha, she seemed to know anyway and it wasn't really in Martha's interest to have her dismissed since getting the job she wanted.

John had got back, dismayed matron was in the dining room that evening but he managed to avoid her staring at him.  He thought he had made it quite clear that his social behaviour was none of her concern.  As far as he was aware, he could do worse than to seek the company of the matron's new assistant, Rose was almost above the cleaning and serving staff anyway, he didn't see what all the fuss was about.

He had dreamt he lived in a time where the social barriers had all but been brought down and his dreams were getting stranger.  Last night, Martha had been there and they had been in a hospital with all modern equipment and strange creatures were wandering the corridors looking for him.  He just wished he could have more dreams about Rose, she was becoming the most important person in his life.  He'd never got that close with any of his former girlfriends, not that he could remember anyway.  He heard a tap at the door and knew it had to be her.

He'd got away from the dining room easily as someone had been talking to Joan.  He hoped now she would not think he had been meaning to court her, it had just been one night at the village pub and she had made it clear to him she thought it was beneath her to sit with the staff, even if one of them was her new assistant.  He called for Rose to enter and greeted her.

''Rose, can't keep away eh?  I've been waiting for you though, I hope you'll go get us a drink later?''

''Yeah, can I stay the rest of the evening then?''

John reached out and put his arms around her.  ''I really hope so Rose or do you have anywhere else to be?''

Rose giggled.  ''No, I can stay.  I wanted to talk to you about something though but let's sit down first, after you've kissed me.''

They had held hands while they were out, except at the piano recital which they had both enjoyed and John was already planning their next weekend outings, one to the newly opened Picture Palace that was showing the latest fad from America, moving pictures on the Saturday afternoon and on Sunday, a visit to the park and the boating lake, if the weather stayed fine and hoping the boat hire was open.  He had heard the couple in front of them on the bus talking about the park and seen a billboard for the movie house.

After he lay Rose on the sofa, pleased she was wearing a button-down navy blue dress which was easy to get her out of, they both began kissing, Rose ruffling his hair and John caressing her skin while kissing it.  Rose couldn't believe how good it felt but when John suggested they would have more room on the bed, Rose declined.

''I'm sorry Rose, I don't mean to make you nervous, I just thought it would be more comfortable for you than the hard leather sofa.''

''It's okay but maybe we can just swap places?  I really like kissing my way across your hairy chest and you seem to do that to me more than I do it to you, fair's fair John.''

John looked up and gave her a wicked smile.  ''If you insist my love, then by all means, we can change places.''

He managed to let Rose get on top but as she was moving, he pulled her dress over her shoulders, since he had just parted it as she lay beneath him.  He thought she would object but she let him pull it over her shoulders and down her arms, her cami top had fallen back down but as he took the dress and put it over the back of the sofa with his shirt, he took a good look at her, in her pink cami top and Rose had treated herself in the store to a pair of pink knickers that had cost more than she intended spending and there would be no more nights out with Martha the next week.

She'd had to go to the servants bathroom to change into them when she'd got back, taking some of her other underwear and having called for some soap on the way up, had washed them though how she could justify displaying these when the time came, she had no idea, she would have to say she got carried away when buying them.

John let out a low whistle when he saw her.  ''Wow Rose, you look really nice.  Did you buy them to impress me?''

''No, I bought them to impress Martha, who do you think I bought them for?  I'm gonna have some explaining to do when they need laundering.  Do you like them?''

''Yes indeed my rosebud, maybe later you can stand up and I can get a better look?''

Rose giggled again, it had been worth spending most of her remaining money on them.  John continued, letting Rose sit on his legs, holding her at arms length.  Rose leaned forward slightly, showing her cleavage, John licking his lips at the sight of her.  He let go of one of her hands, pulling up her cami top, revealing her flat stomach.

''You are beautiful Rose, a fair flower indeed, may I?''

He indicated he wanted her to take the cami top off, helping her lift the delicate garment over her head.  He whistled again as he lay back, Rose still sitting on his legs.

''Is this okay?  I mean, I want to come and lay on you but your trousers will feel a bit rough, maybe you should put them on the back of the sofa?''

He smiled, pleased she had made the suggestion instead of it being him as Rose moved off his legs and sat beside him, giggling as he revealed his hairy legs then as he threw the trousers over her dress, she pushed him back down as he swung his legs on the sofa and he pulled her with him.

They were soon lost in each other, John's hands on her rear, at first on top of her underwear, then slowly, he worked one hand under the waistband, judging her reaction when she didn't protest by slapping his face and getting up.  Rose was feeling his hands wandering on her rear, she was kissing her way across his chest but suddenly moved up to kiss him properly.

''Mmm, this is nice, I could go for lots more of this but maybe I should go get us a drink now, I've been gone rather a while, someone may notice I'm missing.''

John was now enjoying her leaning over him, feeling her on his chest and was reluctant to let her up.  He knew she was right though, they must have been in there a good while and since she had been going in the kitchen every night for the last few nights, it may arouse suspicion if she failed to show up.

''Very well, if you must but hurry back, won't you my love?''

Ten minutes later, Rose hurried to the servants staircase and down to the kitchen, half surprised to see Martha there and hoping to avoid any awkward questions.

''Hello Rose, where did you get to?  You said you were going to the library, couldn't you find a book you liked?''

The other girls giggled, getting them a scowl from Rose, who was ready to defend herself.

''Can't I stay in the library now?  There was no-one around, I was taking my time, I love looking at different books, my mum used to read to me all the time and she used to tell me stories from when she was a girl.  Haven't you got anything better to talk about?''

''No, not when three of the boys see you get off the evening bus with a certain teacher, anything to say?''

Rose went to the stove and stirred the milk.  ''Not to any of you lot, I don't answer to you.  Want to make something of it then?  Go on, report me to the housekeeper or the headmaster.  I don't really care, we just got the same bus back from town when I'd been to the piano recital, so what?''

''Oh come on Rose, Timothy Latimer said Doctor Smith was helping you down the steps, they were in the village and thought it was a lark, him helping one of the maids.''

''Yeah, well I'm not a maid any longer, not from tomorrow, so what of it?  Did we come back into the school together?  Well?''

''I wouldn't know about that, you could have come back separately and just because you won't be a maid any longer doesn't excuse you from the rules.''

''I thought we'd been through that Martha, I'm surprised at you.  You got the job you wanted, he's all yours during the day and since I'm no longer his personal maid, there's nothing to say I can't see anyone, out of working hours, no matter who it is.  Now, I'll be off, my drinks are going cold.''

Martha shook her head, as hard as she tried, there would be no getting Rose away from John, she would have to think of some other way, getting either of them dismissed was not the answer to the problem.  Rose made her way back to John, who had got partially dressed but his shirt remained unbuttoned, hoping it would encourage her to let him unbutton her dress again.  They sat drinking from the mugs, Rose occasionally leaning on him and laughing at something.

They were talking about where they would go the following weekend, Rose saying she would love to go see one of the new moving pictures but saying she wouldn't be able to go out during the week, unless she went with him.

''I spent all my money on that new underwear, to please you John, did it, were you pleased?''

''Oh yes Rose, I was very pleased and I hope you are not too embarrassed to be seen laundering it though,'' he smiled, taking the top button of her dress, waiting to see if she smacked his hand.  She didn't so he began unbuttoning the rest, laying her back and parting the dress.

They spent another hour or so, kissing, John touching her gently then helping her fasten her dress again, not wanting to let her go.  Next weekend, he planned on asking her to stay, set his alarm clock early and let her sneak back to her room but would Martha report her if she was missing all night?  Would Rose get scared and refuse to stay with him for the night?  He hoped not, he may even suggest it both weekend nights but Monday morning, there may be people already around and it may be difficult, unless she brought her uniform to change into but how would she get her Sunday clothes back to her room?

He would have to work something out, that was if she agreed.  They stood by the door and kissed goodnight, Rose leaning against the wall.

''That was a very pleasant evening Rose, was it not my flower?''

''Yeah, it was um, very nice, especially when you know, your hand was on my rear.''

John grinned, that had been the best part and she'd not objected.  ''Oh Rose, that was the highlight of the evening.  I want to give you the money back, for the underwear, would you allow me?  I know you objected to my giving you back the bus fare yesterday, I can see you are a very independent young lady.''

''Yeah I am but they took most of my money for next week.  Okay then, you can pay me back for them if you like or you can buy the drinks the next time we go to the village pub.''

''That would mean we will have to go together Rose, are you ready for that yet?''

''We were seen getting off the bus, Martha told me three of the boys were talking about it, they saw you helping me off and us walk back towards the school.  I'd say it won't be long before word gets around anyway and they say women like to gossip, I reckon schoolboys are ten times worse.  She said one was Timothy Latimer.''

''I know the boy, the others bully him, I'm sure of it, maybe word will get around faster than we thought, if his classmates get to know he saw something, they'll have him spying on us for them.  Will you be able to cope with that?''

''I guess there's only one way to find out.  Oh and tomorrow night, I have something to ask you.''

''Really?  I'll try and answer but you had best go now my lovely rosebud, goodnight, sweet dreams.''
Chapter 19
Monday morning, Rose was both disappointed and excited, first not having to get up that bit earlier to take John his breakfast in bed but the prospect of helping matron all day was reason enough to at least put some of that disappointment aside.  She had promised John while they had been out the day before that she wouldn't do anything to spoil her chances at her new post - not even for him, he'd asked her not to get herself dismissed as matron's assistant just to keep being his maid.

Martha however was quite pleased with herself, finally getting the job she should have had on her arrival though being a maid was a bit beneath her, she should have been the one to be assisting in the infirmary but she couldn't let on she was training to be a doctor, a medical one not an alien one, not just yet anyway.  At least almost a week had gone by and so far there had been no signs of The Family coming after them but it was early days yet.

She collected John's breakfast tray, never giving a thought to how he would receive her.  She had been meant to have been his maid in a previous posting, he should be used to her.  She wasn't however expecting the 'off' way he greeted her as he made her wait at the door while he fastened his dressing gown before unlocking the door.

It was the first time in a few days he had locked it the night before, knowing it wouldn't be Rose bringing his tray and drawing back his curtains, let alone make his bed.

''Ah, Martha, come in.  Just leave the tray on the table and come back in half an hour will you?  Then you can come back and I'll let you to get on with tidying my room once I leave.''

He was not intending to hang around, not like he'd done those few mornings with Rose, keeping her by the door and stealing kisses from her.  Martha tried not to look too offended, surely he hadn't treated Rose like that or thinking that was how he had treated her before.  If this was what it was going to be like, it was going to be a long three months. What was left of it anyway.

''Yes Sir, may I ask you something?''

John was sitting down and pouring his cup of tea, though he'd got used to the mugs Rose brought the cocoa in by now.

''Very well Martha, what is it?  Is it because I never insisted you got the job right away?  If that's what you want to ask, it was beyond my control, we have to abide by what the housekeeper says.''

Martha thought he was one to be quoting the rules at her, if the rumours she had heard Rose and John had been spotted walking back to the school together last night.  The girls in the kitchen she had talked to were already telling the others who weren't there last night, it would soon get around.

''No Sir, it's about Rose.  I know she's got a sort of promotion now and she's not going to be your maid any more but are you going to still ask her to bring you a late night drink?  Only I could do that for you now, there's really no need to ask her, it's part of my job.''

''Really Martha, you needn't bother with such matters, your duties end after you bring my afternoon tea.  I was paying Rose to bring me a drink later, not that it's anyone's concern, especially yours.  I'm told a lot of the servants earn a few extra pence for doing odd jobs.  That's all it is, do I detect a hint of jealousy on your part?''

''No Sir, if you say so.  It's not my place to judge who you ask to do favours for you.''

Martha felt like finding the fobwatch and waking him up, he was really getting to her.

''Just remember that Martha and we'll get along just fine again.  I hope you are not going to judge Rose for undertaking such a task?''

''No Sir, of course not.''

''Good because I will not tolerate such a judgement.  Really Martha, what harm do you think there is in Rose calling by to bring me a drink if she is getting one for herself?''

Martha was about to reply that it all depended on who Rose was having the drink with but thought better of it.  Now she was in his direct employment again, well so to speak since technically she never really had been, he had the power to dispense with her services and she couldn't let that happen.

''No Sir, there's no harm but she tells me she has been in the kitchen or sitting alone somewhere when in actual fact, no-one has seen her.  The other servants are beginning to talk.''

''Then I trust you won't be joining in the gossip Martha, will you?''

''I'll try not to Sir.''

Martha went off, not entirely happily back to the kitchen to get her own breakfast to see Rose sitting there laughing with the other girls.  Perhaps the others had been told something she hadn't.  The morning went fairly smoothly, Joan had told Rose what she expected of her once the first year students had been summoned to the infirmary, then a repeat in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, Martha had also been given Rose's other job of cleaning the science lab before the midday break then in the afternoon, she was making herself scarce by walking around the school pretending to be busy, no-one questioned her.  After her visit to the Tardis on the Saturday, she was going to have to visit again soon, the ship had a lot to answer for.

When matron had finished with the boys' examinations, Rose was tidying up when Joan asked her how she had enjoyed her first full day.

''Do you think you are going to enjoy your new job here Rose?''

''Yes matron, it was interesting.  May I ask a question?  Well actually a few questions.''

''Yes, what are they?''

''Well do I get a pay rise, since I'm no longer a maid, I'd like to send more money home to my mum, to help her so she can cut down on the hours she works.''

''I'll speak to the headmaster for you and about you wanting a visit home, I'm sure he won't object if you were to take a day off, maybe a Friday, then you can go for a weekend visit perhaps?  What else did you want to ask me?''

''Well it's personal and my mother would normally be the one I'd ask but she's too far away and it's not something I could ask by letter.''

''Then ask me.  Is it about a woman's problems?''

''Yes, is it too much to ask about?  I was hoping you may have a book I could borrow, it's not the sort of book you'd find in the library.''

''Yes, I believe I may have something you could read though if you have any questions, you can ask me.  Don't be shy.''

''Thank you matron, I'll read the book first and if I don't understand something, I'll ask you but there is one thing, though you might think I'm being too forward.  I met someone recently, I know he's interested in me but if I get to be alone with him, well I don't know just how far I should allow him to take things.  I've never had a man interested in me in that way before.''

''I see.  Are you likely to be alone with him at any point?''

''Maybe, if he invites me to his room, he lives in the town but if he were to invite me, well he's already kissed me, I just told him I was shy.''  She couldn’t just come out and say how far she had actually let John go the last few nights.

''Just be careful he doesn't make you do anything you are uncomfortable with.  I'm sure a book can explain it better than I can.  I was married but I'm a widow now, we never had any children but everyone is different.  Don't be too forward though, you don't want to gain a reputation of being an easy target.  I know society these days is changing all the time as to what's acceptable but there are still some morals, just remember that.  What does he do, for a living?''

Rose was getting deeper in this than she had intended.

''I've not asked him yet, we only met on Saturday afternoon, on the bus and yesterday, he took me out for the afternoon.  He must be working though, to be able to afford to take me out.  I'll try to remember what you said.  So may I borrow that book then?''

Joan got up and crossed to one of the shelves, locating the book Rose would need.  She was relieved she hadn't been asked too may questions, they brought back memories of her husband.  She passed the book to Rose.

''Take your time, there's no rush to return it.''

Rose went off and took the book back to her room then waited a few minutes before peering down the stairs to see if Martha was around, then she was going to sneak into John's room.  Martha had been puzzled as to why after she had collected John's tray that morning, he'd said for her to bring two cups and saucers and an extra cake but she couldn't come right out and ask him who they were for.

Rose saw Martha go into his room, waited until she came out and crept down as Martha reached the ground floor.  Rose tapped on his door.  John was glad to see her though he had some worrying news for her.  He had overheard some of the boys themselves, talking about seeing Rose getting off the bus with him and had pulled three of them up after the third period.

''So, what have you boys been talking about?'' John had asked them.

''Nothing Sir, sorry Sir, we meant no disrespect,'' Baines muttered, eyeing poor Timothy, who had been forced into telling both Baines and Hutchinson about him and his two friends' observations, well more like bullying.

''Is that so Baines?  What about you Latimer?  Anything to say for yourself?''

Latimer looked at the other two and shook his head.  ''No Sir, nothing Sir.''

John paced up and down, knowing that his hearing was quite good and had been certain he had heard both his and Rose's names mentioned outside the classroom as they had held Timothy by the collar.

''Well don't let me catch you three again, I'll be keeping an eye on all of you.  Get along to your next class.''

The three boys hurried away but stopped around the corner, getting hold of Timothy again.

''Don't think you're getting off this lightly Latimer,'' Jeremy Baines spat at him.  ''You are going to be our spy, you are going to tell us every time you see Doctor Smith and that maid Rose together or even looking at each other.  There has to be something going on between the two of them and we want to know everything they do, together or separately.  Got it Latimer?''

''Yes, I get it but they weren't doing anything, they just got off the bus, they could have met on there, maybe they'd hadn't both been to the piano recital.''

''How do you know one or both of them had been there?  What aren't you telling us, you little oink?''

''Nothing, I was just guessing, I'm good at guessing things, that's all.''

''Well you are going to find out where they went, then you tell me or Hutchinson what you discover.  Now get to class before I report you.''

Baines watched as Timothy walked off but stopped Hutchinson.

''This is going to be fun, mark my words.  The teacher has a thing for his blonde maid.''

''Yes but Baines, she's no longer his maid from what I heard, she's now the matron's assistant.''

''Is she now?  It was bad enough when we had to pass her when she was cleaning, now she'll be in there every time we have to go there.  Mind you, she's not really bad looking, compared to the others.  This is going to be very interesting Hutchinson – the teacher and the housemaid, well matron's assistant, she's still not on the teaching staff and Mr Smith is contemplating breaking the rules, maybe we can use that to our advantage, if we get enough information from Latimer.''

Baines and Hutchinson smiled to themselves, Baines already plotting how they could use this to their own ends.  Timothy had gone off, wondering himself how he had known one of them had been to the piano recital he had seen a notice for while he was in the village store the day before, maybe it had just been a lucky guess but he was glad he'd not told the other two that he had a strange feeling about Doctor Smith, like he didn't belong there and that he was somehow out of his time, as was Rose.

He decided to try and get on the teacher's good side, to find out his secrets and maybe Rose's as well, he knew neither of them really belonged there, it was just a feeling he had, the first day Doctor Smith had arrived and he'd had a similar feeling about Rose when she had arrived a few weeks ago.  It was like she had come from nowhere despite him learning she had come from another school that had recently closed down but he knew for a fact there was no school at the other side of the village.

Everyone else seemed under the illusion there had been a school, he'd heard some of the staff talking that Rose had been lucky to get a position there but where were the other staff, if indeed it was true?  He hurried along to his next lesson, thankfully without Baines and Hutchinson's presence, which gave him some relief from them tormenting him.  He planned on going to see Doctor Smith later on after tea, on the pretence of the book he had borrowed and see if he could sense something else about him.

John had let Rose go, after kissing her and letting her pour out some tea for both of them.

''Did Martha get suspicious when you told her to bring two cups?'' she asked, handing him one and him winking at her.

''I think she might have actually, I'm going to have to explain myself to her if we keep on meeting every afternoon.''

''Then maybe I shouldn't come here every afternoon then?''

''Nonsense Rose, it's the highlight of my day now you are no longer bringing my breakfast.  What else would I have to look forward to if you were to miss having afternoon tea with me?''

Rose just gave him a wicked smile.  ''Your evening cocoa?''
Chapter 20
Rose left him just before six, saying she would see him later, after his dinner and asked if he wanted to go out again.

''No, we can stay in tonight Rose, unless you really do want to go out?''

''Well it won't do to stay in all the time, will it?  I was only thinking about your reputation, since we're already being talked about.''

John moved closer as Rose leaned on the wall.  ''Let me be the one to worry about that, if we're seen sitting inside or outside the pub, the villagers will also start talking.  There's no easy way of doing this, I think letting the villagers seeing us together first would be better but maybe not all the time.  I told you I caught some of the boys talking, I'm going to have to keep an eye on them.''

''Yeah, me too, I mean with the others in the kitchen, they were asking me questions this morning that I was trying to avoid, I'm getting deeper than I wanted with this making up a man I met on the bus tale.''

''Really?  You met a man on the bus?  Should I be worried my little rosebud?'' he mused, kissing her neck.

Rose giggled.  ''Aw, you're jealous though you don't have to be.  I don't know if any of them believe me or not though, matron seems to, I was asking her for advice, she lent me a book which I'm gonna have to read.  You might be taking an unfair advantage over me.''

''Never, I told you I would never do anything you were uncomfortable with and I meant it, you could stop me at any time you know but you seemed to have been enjoying yourself.''

''Well I don't know any different, do I?  I've no other experience with men to go by, I'm having to trust you.  I hope I can, can't I?''

She reached up to kiss him, knowing she was already in too deep now.

''Yes, you can trust me, I'd never hurt you Rose, you know that.  Now are you coming back later?  Say around eight or so?''

''Yes, I'll come back and I have something to ask you since I didn't get chance last night.''

''It sounds important, until later then.''

Rose just made it as the others were sitting down, Martha following her in, thinking to herself she was certain she had seen Rose creep down the servant's staircase after she had left John's study.  Martha had gone back to their room and seen a book sticking out from under Rose's pillow and glanced at it, a book about women's health and wellbeing including sexual health.  Should she be getting worried Rose and John were already involved or was it true that Rose had met someone from the town?

She looked across the table at her room-mate, Rose didn't seem all that bothered or flustered.  She had been curious that John had left the tea tray outside his room, like he hadn't wanted to be disturbed but maybe he was catching up with some work or maybe someone was inside with him still, she just hoped it wasn't Rose.  They wouldn't dare stay in his room in the late afternoon, would they?

Martha made her mind up to ask Rose where she had got to for almost two hours before teatime, she could be told to mind her own business but it was her business, keeping John from doing anything stupid like fall in love with a human female and it wasn't her and he'd told her not to let him hurt anyone.  Well he was hurting her and he would hurt Rose in the end and if somehow the matron was also interested in him though she had seen nothing more over the weekend, he would end up hurting all three of them.  Not bad going for someone who was only pretending to be a human male teacher.

While the boys were in the dining hall, Timothy tried to sit on his own but Baines and Hutchinson were watching him.  He slipped away while they were busy laughing at a young boy who had dropped something and dodged into the library, planning to go see the teacher he had seen with the matron's assistant.

He made his way upstairs and knocked on John's door.  When it was open, Timothy knew he had been right, the teacher didn't belong there and the feeling was getting stronger.

''Yes Latimer, did you want something?''

''Yes Sir, I have some questions about the book I borrowed.''

''Well you should have come to see me in the classroom, come back tomorrow after your classes.  Was there something else?''

Timothy looked briefly around the room, seeing a brown leather journal John had just been writing in after Rose had left and then over at the fireplace, seeing a silver fobwatch lying in the centre.  He knew then he had been fooled along with everyone else in the school that the teacher belonged there because now he knew for certain he didn't, no more than Rose did.

''Very good Sir, sorry I disturbed you.''

It had just been an excuse really, to set foot in the teacher's study and get a look around, although there were no signs Rose had been there.  He had been hoping he would get a sense of her as well but more and more things were beginning to make sense.

John had been disturbed as he'd been writing more in his new journal, mostly about Rose but now he was remembering other things, other faces and now, he was feeling like he wanted to tell her, see what her reaction was.  She had said she wanted to ask him something, probably about where their new relationship was going and how much longer they could keep it hidden.

It was almost time for him to go for dinner anyway, then he had Rose's visit to look forward to, if no more students came knocking on his door that was.  He was glad he'd had the mind to close the journal before he had let the boy in, goodness knows what he would have made of it, especially as he'd been drawing more images of Rose.  He put it back in the drawer and made his way downstairs, hoping he might catch a glimpse of Rose going upstairs.

Rose had just left the kitchen, having stayed to talk for a while but really wanting to start reading that book she had borrowed.  She was just going upstairs when she saw John coming out of his room.  Checking no-one was behind her, she stepped out onto the landing and called him.

''Ah, Rose, hello again, how is your new job?''

''Good, thanks for asking.  You still want your drink later then?''

''Well if it's not too much trouble, I'll still pay you.''

''Yeah, about that, you still owe me for last week.''

''Yes, that was very remiss of me, allow me to make payment later when you bring my drink.''

Rose was about to say she would take it, since he hadn't paid her for the underwear she had bought to impress him.  She said goodbye and went up to read the book for an hour or so but was interrupted by Martha as she was about to go down to be with John.

''Interesting book Rose?  Any reason you borrowed it?''

''Maybe, I have just found myself a man after all.''

''You may be fooling the others but you're not fooling me.  Give it up Rose, it's Doctor Smith, isn't it?  Those boys were right, he wasn't just getting off the bus with you, was he?''

''It's none of yours or anyone else's business Martha, I'm not a serving girl any more.  Are you going to tell on us then?''

''No, should I?  You can't keep sneaking around, the whole school will be talking soon and the headmaster will get to know.  Take my advice Rose, don't make it so obvious, you need to keep back.''

''I can't do that Martha, maybe if I keep talking about someone else, no-one will think any more about it.''

''No they won't, they'll just think you're trying to cover something up.  Has matron said anything to you, were you asking her questions?''

''No, she thinks I met someone.  She likes him too, doesn't she?''

''How would I know?  Maybe, I've seen them talking over the weekend and the other night, outside the pub, she looked upset he'd stopped to talk to us.  Then the night after, when he was alone, you were both making eyes at each other, I thought I was going to throw up.''

Rose suppressed a giggle, thinking Martha was just a little bit jealous.  ''Oh come off it Martha, he was just talking to us.  He knew how matron felt about sitting outside the pub with us so he didn't invite her again.  Okay, if you promise to keep it to yourself, we have been spending time with each other but nothing's happened, not that it has anything to do with anyone else.''

Martha knew it, he had fallen in love with a human and it wasn't her.  She would just have to bottle it all up and see if she could talk to him but judging by that morning, he wouldn't like her interfering.  What would he think when he came out of all this?  He would be so annoyed with her and with himself but how was she meant to stop him?  Why hadn't the Tardis brought the possibility of him finding someone into the equation?  Had he never thought it would be possible?  Worse still, the ship had decided to throw his old girlfriend into the mix, as if he'd be able to resist going after her, memory or no memory of her and what was all that about? 

She couldn't figure out how they had both ended up in the same school, that Rose had been taken from another time but didn't know him, would she also remember when she was returned from whenever she had been taken from?  It was obvious Rose wasn't aware she was not really a servant so it had to be something temporal, either the ship or something unnatural had plucked her out of her time and she needed to find out which.

Timothy was hoping to keep out of his tormentors way but had no such luck.  He'd thought about the watch he had seen and the journal, he'd have to try and get a look at both of them, it would give him a chance to find out what both of them were really doing there.  He was pretending to be cleaning the boots belonging to Baines and hoped they'd leave him alone.

Baines was bragging he knew who had some bottles of beer hidden and was going to fetch them tomorrow after classes before it got dark.  Hutchinson had suggested they all club together and get one of the male kitchen staff to fetch a crate from the pub like some of the other boys did.

''Why pay for it if we can obtain it another way?'' Baines asked.  Then he looked at Timothy.  ''You, Latimer, have you found anything out yet about the teacher and the maid?''

''No, not yet, I've not had chance.''

''You'd better not be lying to me, get something soon or else.''

Rose had gone down to John's room, having been enlightened to a few things in the book she'd borrowed and meaning to bear them in mind.  He had let her in and they had kissed.

''What was it you wanted to ask me Rose?'' John asked as he unbuttoned her blouse and wishing she was wearing that dress again.

''You said you would pay me, for getting the drinks and for the underwear, you haven't forgotten have you?''

''No, do you want paying now?''

''For the underwear, the drinks are on the house, you don't have to pay me for them.''

He went into his pocket and brought out a note, Rose expecting some coins.  What he was trying to give her was double what she received in a week's wages.

''I can't accept that, it's too much.''

''You are more than worth it Rose, go buy some new things with it or send it to your mother.  Now come here and kiss me before you go get our drinks.  Was that all you had to ask me?''

''No.  It was something Martha said the other night.  She said as far as she knew, you were only going to be here for three months, is that true?''

''I have no idea where she got that from, my contract here was for an unspecified period, how did she arrive at that conclusion?''

''Don't ask me, she's now your maid again.''

''That's something else Rose.  I can hardly recall her being in my service but yet I know who she is.  I can't explain it really, just that I know she and her family worked for my family back home in Nottingham but that's all, I don't remember any of the details.  I was going to tell you Rose, I've been having these strange dreams, all in the future.  Sometimes Martha is there but then so are you.''

''Really?  I've been thinking about you as well, does it mean anything?''

''I don't know but I mean to find out.  Promise me you won't run away if I show you something?''

''No, of course not, what is it John?''

He went to the drawer and brought out the journal.  ''When I dream of something, I write it down in here.  I found the empty journal, in the drawer, like it was just waiting there for me to find it and begin filling it and I am Rose, I'm filling it with ideas I've been having, about my dreams but most of all, I've been drawing you.  You don't find it odd do you?  That I would want to draw you?''

''No, why would I?  Do you want to show me?''

''Oh yes Rose but maybe you'd best go get the drinks first, this may take a while.  I'm so relieved you've taken all this so well, I thought you would run out.''

''No, I wouldn't do that but you'd best show me first, I still may do.''

''I hope not.  I have a feeling I'll have a lot more to write about, mostly concerning you.  There's a connection between us Rose, I can tell and I can't explain it, not yet but I'm certain everything will become clear.''
Chapter 21
After John and Rose finished their drinks, he got the journal out to show Rose, hoping she wouldn't slap his face and run out.  He hadn't really written that much but he had begun writing around the drawings as he'd tried to associate events with them.  Rose looked through the few pages, then saw a drawing she recognised, the round device she had dreamt about.

''I've seen this John, in my dreams.  The last time, you were standing there, how can you explain that?''

''I can't, how can we both possibly dream of the same things?  I need to think about this Rose, carefully.  Sometimes, like I said, you're there and sometimes Martha.  Now tell me about your dreams, see if they are the same.''

They were so engrossed in talking about their dreams, Rose almost missed the curfew until she heard the bell.

''You should go now, I'll see you tomorrow and I want you to think about something.''

He put his arms around her and they kissed.

''What's that then?  Are we going out tomorrow night?''

''If we must, invite Martha and I'll meet you at the pub but I'll see you for afternoon tea, at four.''

''Yeah, okay now I have some money but I'll have to tell Martha it was part of my savings or she'll wonder where I got it from.''

''Yes, if you think that's best.  I want you to think of maybe staying with me, on Friday night?''

''Oh.  That's a big step John, I'll have to think carefully about that before giving you my answer.  You don't need to know now, do you?''

''Oh no Rose, take your time by all means.  Maybe you should read that book you borrowed from matron eh?''

''Yes John, I think I should.  Goodnight then and I'll try and remember more of my dreams and you can write them down for me.''

''Oh I will, goodnight my sweet Rose and I'm sorry we spent so much time talking tonight, I didn't give you my full attention but I can make up for it tomorrow.''

''I'm sure you will John.  Now I have to go or I may get caught sneaking back to my room late.''

They kissed again and he had to finally let her go.

After Rose didn't come back, Martha debated whether to go down to the kitchen instead of staying on her own.  She was sure she had known where her room-mate had gone, there was no question about it now, they were spending time in his room and the book was a dead giveaway.  There would be no other reason Rose would be wanting to look up such things, she was under the illusion she was a poor serving girl from the less wealthy part of London and she'd never had a boyfriend.

Martha was certain that wasn't true, she'd heard the Doctor mention someone called Mickey who had been Rose's former boyfriend before she'd run off to travel in the Tardis.  She knew how he must have felt.  Rose got back to her room and hoped Martha wouldn't ask her loads of questions again, she had plenty to think about now, trying to remember her dreams for one so she could tell John.  Now she knew this was right but she was still trying to come to terms with the fact she'd only begun having these dreams after she'd become his maid.

The next few days, Rose and John continued having tea together, Rose managing not to get caught and ignoring glances from Martha.  Timothy had been to see John in the classroom, disappointed he couldn't find anything more out about him or Rose.  Rose had been reading the book she had borrowed whenever she could, still not understanding some of it but too embarrassed to talk to matron or Martha about it so she was still practically on her own but how could she talk to John about it?

She really wished she could see her mother but it could be weeks before the headmaster allowed her to have an extra day off and now, she really wanted to wait until Christmas.  She decided to brave it and speak to matron but she left it until the Thursday afternoon, she had to give John her decision because she would have to plan this carefully.  She would need his help because he would have to set his alarm very early so she could be in the kitchen at the time Martha would come down to get his breakfast and pretend she hadn't been able to sleep but that wouldn't work more than once or twice and he'd asked her to stay both nights and think carefully about Sunday.

They had talked more and more about their dreams but on the Thursday night, Rose hadn't had any, well not that she could recall.  John was excited though as he let her in to join him for tea.

''Ah, Rose, come in.  Come and see how far I've got with my journal.  Did I tell you, I've discovered that all this is taking place in 2006 and 2007?  That's almost 100 years, imagine that but last night, I dreamt something else.  All those faces, the ones I drew altogether, they're me.''

''What?'' asked Rose, about to take a bite out of half a cream scone.  ''How can they be you?''

''I can't explain it but somehow, I started out as one of them, then when something happens to me, I can change.''

''Wow, how does that happen then?''

''I have no idea.  Isn't it exciting though?  To be able to change?''

''I dunno John, it sounds a bit scary to me.  Don't you want to know what I've decided about tomorrow night?''

''Yes indeed Rose, what have you decided?''

''I talked to matron, about the dilemma I find myself in.  I want to stay with you, I didn't mention your name so don't worry about that.  She told me to follow my instincts, to not let my heart rule and to remember my status in life.  Fat lot of good that is, she's been married, she should know this kind of thing.''

''Never mind Rose, at least you sought some advice.  I promise I won't take advantage of you but how are you going to explain your absence?''

''I don't know and I have to sneak my nightclothes down here somehow.''

''Oh I don't know, I'm sure I can find you something to borrow for the night.  You don't wear your maids outfit now for working in the infirmary.''

''I know, matron gave me another uniform, she said there had been two of them working there before she arrived, luckily it was just my size.  Anyway, it's the weekend, maybe I'll just stay over on Friday and see what happens?  I was planning on being in the kitchen early so no-one would suspect where I've been.''

''Ah, so you've already given it some thought then?'' he asked, trying to kiss her neck as she finished the remainder of the cakes.

''Well you wanted to know and I have to be sure you don't let me sleep in late or I really will be in trouble when Martha brings your morning tray on Saturday.''

John smiled.  He had wondered all week what her answer was going to be.  Rose was stirring all kinds of feelings in him, more than Reinette or any of his other girlfriends had, not that now he remembered much about them, had they really just been for show, to prove he could get himself a lady friend?  He took the tray, made sure Martha wasn't around and left it on the table outside the door.

He had figured Martha would be getting suspicious if he kept doing that but he didn't want anything to change, Rose having tea with him was one of the highlights of the day but he'd have to have some deviance in his new routine sooner or later before Martha began to ask questions.  He had also thought about what Rose had said a few nights ago when they had begun discussing about being seen in the village together.

If people saw them sitting outside the pub, which by now was beginning to make them all cold, since Martha had tagged along on Tuesday night and last night they'd finally gone to sit inside though Rose swore she would never get the smell of smoke out of her hair and clothes, it would soon get around the rest of the village and into the school for real.  John had laughed when they'd got back and told her she still smelled wonderful though Rose doubted it and it wasn't her turn to get a bath until Friday evening so before joining him that night, she was going to have a quick wash to try and get rid of some of it.

During the week, Timothy had tried to avoid his tormentors, almost getting caught by John outside the classroom a few times but the others had backed off in time, leaving the boy standing there, puzzling at why he couldn't sense any more about the teacher.  He was dying to get back in John's study but couldn't come up with another excuse so he decided Rose would be an easier target if he paid a visit to the infirmary.  Not that he needed much of an excuse, Baines and Hutchinson were giving him a permanent headache anyway so he planned going during the morning break on Friday morning.

After Rose had left the infirmary on Thursday afternoon, Joan was finishing the tea she had made herself, having been in the kitchen for some scones and jam and seen Martha in there, wondering why the maid had two cups and saucers and extra cakes, she thought about her conversation with Rose.

What had suddenly brought her new assistant to asking such questions about men?  Rose had mentioned a man she had said she'd met on the bus to town and she'd seen her go out with Martha but they had both reportedly been returning with John the last two nights but still, he was probably only being polite and escorting them back though why he'd stopped inviting her, she couldn't understand.  Had it been because she wasn't ready to accept the invitation to join him as a co-worker?

Well she couldn't, she had been hoping to go out with him as more than that but did he think she was too hasty to refuse to join the staff who worked under her?  Maybe she should have a re-think, the village dance was looming, a week on Saturday and although tickets could be bought at the door, she would have liked for him to have it all arranged and invite her a few days before at least, not as a last minute afterthought but if that's what it took, she would be willing to still go with him.

After their tea, Rose and John kissed for a while until it was time for Rose to leave.

''John, I'm not sure it's a good idea, for me to have tea with you every night.  Who have you said joins you?''

''No-one, the question has never been raised, don't worry so much.  Have you remembered any more of your dreams you want to tell me about?''

''No, I can't remember any more, I will tell you when I do.  How's your journal coming along?''

He didn't want to tell her.  He'd had a very disturbing one the other night and wasn't sure he should share it but he had to write it down, it all had to mean something, it was like putting the pieces of a puzzle together.

''I'll tell you later but you need to be prepared for something.''

''Sounds serious, I hope you're not trying to put me off still sharing it with you?''

''No, of course not Rose, we agreed we would tell each other but I don't want to upset you.''

She put her arms around him, leaning her head on his chest.  ''You won't and you shouldn't keep these things to yourself.  Were they really bad things?''

''Yes and I have a very strange feeling about it, I can't explain it though but you were a very intricate part of it, you were there.''

He'd thought about it most of the day, of how to tell her they had been caught up with silver creatures who were intent on making everyone like them and they'd only just managed to escape, in a fury of flames and by climbing a ladder made of rope to a large flying contraption like a balloon but much larger and the worst thing was, they were on another world, one where neither of them belonged, with no way of getting back to their own.

Rose said goodbye and that they wouldn't go out again that night, she would do some more reading and John would write down his dreams before he completely forgot them, not that he thought he'd do that in such a hurry.  He was sure the dreams would remain with him for some time but he was determined to try and lessen the effect it may have on Rose, since in his dream there had been another woman, one with blonde hair who had seemed less than kind and they had been in a large mansion but Rose seemed to know her and he wondered if it was her mother or another version of her.  Rose had seemed upset but the worse thing was, they had seen a man electrocuted in front of them as the creatures had smashed windows to get inside and people were running everywhere and screaming.

One thing had fascinated him though, Rose had said her father had died when she was young but as they'd escaped the onslaught, a man had jumped out and Rose had called him 'dad'.  Should he tell her everything but it had all been on another world?  She seemed strong, not one who would be put off so easily and she may take comfort in the fact some version of the father she had lost was still out there, somewhere.
Chapter 22
By the time Rose had gone back to finish reading her book, Baines and Hutchinson had cornered poor Timothy again.

''Thought you'd got away with did you, you little oink?'' Baines tormented him outside their dorm.

''Come on Latimer, out with it, we've given you enough time to get some more on the teacher and his new lady friend,'' Hutchinson joined in.

''I'm working on it, give me some more time.  I'm going to try spying on Rose, I can't get near Doctor Smith.''

''Then get to it Latimer, while you're about it, my boots need polishing,'' Baines stated with a smirk.

''Yes, I want my homework doing, in my best handwriting,'' Hutchinson added, catching Timothy's ear.

Timothy went off and picked up the boots and crossed to his bed, thinking at least it would keep him away from the two bullies for a while.

''He knows something Hutchinson, mark my words,'' Baines proclaimed.

''We'll just have to keep on at him then, it could be worth it.  Did you get that beer you were talking about then?''

''Yes, it's in my locker, we'll get it after tea.  None for the oink though.''

Timothy wasn't that bothered, if they got their beer, it would keep them amused until bedtime.

It was time for Rose to go make her trip down to John's room, via the kitchen and Martha eyed her, expecting her room-mate to come up with the same excuse.

''So are you going to get drinks then?''

''Why do you bother asking Martha?  What do you want me to say?''

''Nothing, so you're not going to bother denying you're taking it to his study?''

''Why should I?  Come on Martha, it's just a bedtime drink, I'm here on time aren't I?''

Martha couldn't deny that but how much longer would Rose attempt to get back either on or just after the curfew?  The weekend nights were later, what then?  Would she bother coming back at all?  All she could do was hope the Doctor wouldn't get in too deep and come to his senses that Rose was just the matron's assistant, though she had come to have more respect now she was no longer a maid.  Martha had noticed the other girls start to talk about her, that they wondered why Rose was still eating with them in the kitchen but supposed she wouldn't be allowed to eat with the staff.

She had noticed Rose hadn't been so keen to go out that night, opting to just read her book.

''So Rose, are we going out tomorrow night?  My treat?''

''Yeah, okay but we'll have to sit inside, it's too cold now to sit out late.''

''Well we could go right after tea, it won't be too bad then or are you expecting some company?''

''Well if Doctor Smith happens to come along, it would be rude to ignore him, wouldn't it?''

Once she had got the drinks, she knocked on John's door.  While Rose had been absent, he had written more things down, pleased he could still remember in great detail what he had dreamt about.

''Ah, Rose, there you are my love.  Had any trouble with Martha?''

''No but she knows, what can I do about it?  I can't deny it, she is your maid after all.''

''Yes, quite.  Well we won't be able to keep it quiet around the school for much longer anyway, it just may make things awkward, that's all.  I'll take full responsibility for it, if the headmaster wants to blame anyone, he can blame me, I'll not let him have you dismissed.  Matron however may be harder to placate, you are the one who has to work with her after all.  I'm sorry Rose but that one is down to you but if things get unpleasant, I'll try and talk to her, on your behalf.''

''Thanks, I hope she doesn't dismiss me but if she does, you said I'd get my old job back, didn't you make that a condition when you took Martha on?''

''Yes, I did but that was on the premise no-one knew about us, it may be more difficult now.  We'll just have to wait and see what happens, there's no sense worrying about it until then.  Now how about some kisses, my lovely rosebud?''

Rose wasn't going to object to that since they'd been talking earlier and hardly kissed at all.  Unbuttoning her blouse after his shirt, he lay her down on the sofa, taking his time pulling the garment off as Rose ruffled his hair, which was still quite short that he reminded himself to grow it longer again, it had felt good as Rose had combed her fingers through it.  After he pulled up her cami top, he pulled down her skirt, pleased she was wearing the underwear she had bought last week.

''Rose, I hope now I gave you some money, you are going to buy some more of this underwear my love.''

''What will they think of me, in the store?'' she laughed.  ''I'd best go down after I finish work tomorrow, if I'm staying with you tomorrow night.  Martha wants to go out later, to pay me back for the drinks I've been buying for her.  She suspected you would be joining us.''

''Did she now?  We wouldn't want to disappoint her, would we?''

They kissed some more, John dreaming of the time she would give in to him, to see even more of her but he knew she was still a little shy, she wouldn't know what to do and she was relying on him to show her.  It wouldn't do to rush her, not on her first overnight stay anyway, hopefully, that would come later.  As Rose lay under him, she smiled to herself, wondering how she would feel the following night if she decided to stay and not go back to her room.

She was still going to have to be careful, her plan was she would still take him a drink and hope no-one questioned why she didn't go back to her room.  Martha would probably give in and go to sleep, thinking she was going to break the curfew and creep in much later and as long as she acted normally in the morning, no-one would be any wiser but would she be able to act normally if she slept in the same bed as John?

She knew this was what it felt like, to be falling in love with a man.  He made her feel wanted, special and most of all, he called her his love, that must be what he was feeling for her.  All too soon, it was time for her to get dressed and go back to her room.

''Tomorrow night Rose, we have longer anyway so if you want to change your mind, you'll be free to leave.  I don't want you to feel you have to stay if you don't want to.  Are you apprehensive about it?''

''A little, yeah but I'm sure you'll be able to put me at ease, won't you?''

''Oh yes, I'll do all I can to make it more than a pleasant experience.  Until tomorrow then, shall we meet in the pub, since you are going down to the village store?''

''Yeah, we'll meet you there though we may be inside by the time you get there.  Don't take too much notice of Martha, will you?''

''You know I won't do that Rose.  Until tomorrow then and we have something to discuss.  I have to tell you about the dreams I've been having but I feared you wouldn't like what they were about.''

''Oh.  You don't have to share them, if you'd rather keep them to yourself.''

''No, we agreed, I was just trying to think of the best way to tell you and I will.  Goodnight my sweet Rose.''

Rose kissed him goodnight, wondering what was so bad he had been waiting to talk to her about.  She hadn't been able to recall much the last few nights, except she didn't want to tell who was fast becoming her lover what she really thought about – him.  The more she thought about him the plainer it was becoming she wanted to be with him more and more, to spend as much time as she could with him but they needed some time apart but not too much.

They were apart all day now she was no longer his maid but how long would it be before he was making up excuses to call into the infirmary?  She hoped he wouldn't or they may give the game away to the matron and Rose had more or less convinced her about this mysterious man she had met on the bus though she hadn't made a name up for him yet but it was only a matter of time before the subject came up.

After Rose left, John was still debating how to tell Rose that in his dreams, the fobwatch he had laid on the shelf had somehow something to do with him being at the school.  She had asked him a few days ago how long he was staying at the school and he'd meant to have words with Martha about telling Rose he was only there for three months.  Goodness knows how she had got that idea when he didn't know himself but did she know something he didn’t or was she trying to put Rose off?

He made his mind up he would speak to Martha about it and to tell her he only wanted tea for one the next afternoon and he hoped Rose would buy herself something nice for him to see her in, it seemed his new love interest liked to please him.  Well if he only ordered tea for one, Martha may think she was wrong about them but she may know Rose was going down to the village anyway.  He just hoped Rose wouldn't go showing off by buying anything too fancy, since she had to wash them then dry them in her room, then Martha would think she was trying to impress him.

The next day, Rose could hardly wait to get work finished and get down to the store, she had seen a nice piece of underwear and a cami top that the money John had given her would buy, even after going out and plus she would get her pay later on.  There were a few other things she was going to need anyway, early next week so she hoped if she stayed overnight with John, things wouldn't go so far that she would have to make up excuses for a few days but he'd had other girlfriends, surely they had made it plain when they were feeling 'off' at a certain time every month?

Timothy decided to feign a headache during military history, John's class which he thought was only fitting and got himself excused to go visit the infirmary.  He knocked on the door and waited to be told to enter but Rose answered.

''Hello Timothy, is there something wrong?''

''Yes, 'erm, I wondered if matron could give me something for a headache, Doctor Smith sent me.''

''You'd better come in then, matron will see you in a minute.''

Timothy was in no hurry since his next class was in fifteen minutes, with both Baines and Hutchinson.  Rose looked at him and smiled.  John had said he suspected the boy was being bullied but he showed no outward signs of it but did they ever, Rose wondered.  Timothy tried to allude her attention but as she looked at him, he noticed something else about her.  He didn't know how he knew with him being so young but she was in love with someone, probably the history teacher and he had been right there was something between them when he had seen them get off the bus together.  That piece of information may get his tormentors off his back for a while but there was something more.  Something was still bothering him, how to find out why she or the teacher didn't belong there.

He was aroused from his thoughts as matron had finished with another boy who'd had a temperature and she called him over.  By the time he got out he was thinking it had been a bit of a waste of time but it may keep the other two away from him.

Rose was about to get her lunch when matron stopped her.

''You seem anxious today Rose, any reason?''

''Yes matron, I'm meeting my new friend tomorrow, didn't I mention it?''

''Yes, indeed you did.  Have you made plans?''

''I'm meeting him in the town, to go to the new picture palace with him and then the park on Sunday.''

''That sounds nice then but the bus fare must take a bit out of your wages.''

''He offered to pay me back.  I've almost finished with that book, I'll return it on Monday.  It's not like I'm expecting for him to invite me to his room just yet though, not until we get to know each other.''

Joan was wondering how much longer she could keep up the pretence that she suspected Rose was spinning a tale to her, that on several occasions John had escorted both Rose and Martha back to the school but surely they wouldn't dare see each other?  The way John had defended her recently should be proof enough but she would have to give him the benefit of the doubt, give him chance next week to invite her to the village dance and prove once and for all that she was mistaken about him and her assistant.

Still, Rose was no longer his maid, she had been informed Rose was to be given a pay rise from next week and she had to inform her before she left for the day.  Joan still hoped she was completely wrong about this, she had dearly hoped John would be interested in her but Rose was younger, maybe a little bit prettier and not previously married but she had much more over the younger woman, experience and used to keeping house for a man, something she doubted Rose would be capable of and be out of her depth but there again, every woman had to learn how to look after a house and a husband at some point.

''I'll be off for my lunch then matron.  Oh, I'm going into the village later, can I bring anything back for you?''

''No, it's fine, I have to go myself, maybe I'll see you there?''

Rose was sincerely hoping she wouldn't, how would she explain the bold underwear she was going to purchase?  She'd have to get straight off and hope she could get the items wrapped and paid for before the other woman got there, since she'd just admitted she wasn't expecting to be invited to her new man's room just yet but it would just be her luck to get caught.

After lunch, Rose still had some time and wondered if John would be in his study so she went to knock on his door.  He'd said recently that people would have to get used to them, she had been observed earlier in the week approaching his door with two white mugs in her hands and no-one had questioned her about it so this would be something new since now she was no longer his maid with no excuse as to why she would be standing knocking on his door at lunchtime.

John was in his room, jotting a few things down when he heard the knock.  His heart skipped slightly at the thought it could be Rose, being bold and taking his advice she should be seen going to his room during the day when anyone could be roaming the corridors.  He smiled when he saw he was right but avoided inviting her in, they would have to establish a few things first.

''Rose, what an unexpected surprise.  What brings you to my door?''

''Oh, I was going into the village later, can I fetch anything for you?''

''That's most kind of you Rose but maybe I should take a walk down myself later.  If you see Martha, would you tell her I'm going out and won't require my afternoon tea?  Do you happen to know if the tearooms in town are still open at that time?''

''I think they're open until five.''

''Well in that case, I may see you there, perhaps I could buy you afternoon tea?''

''Oh, that would be nice, thank you.  I don't think anyone has ever invited me out for afternoon tea before, are you certain you want to be seen with me?''

John knew she was teasing him, they had to start somewhere so why not be seen innocently having tea together? 

''Well you're not exactly a maid any more, why not?  I'll see you there around four thirty then you can go to the store afterwards.''

Rose was hoping she would get there in time but since the store stayed open until six on Fridays, she should still have time but matron had said she was going there herself so should she warn him they might be seen?
Chapter 23
As Rose was about to leave for the afternoon, being given her wages and being told she would receive an extra amount the following week, she rushed to her room to get changed and was just leaving when Martha came in.  Rose had managed to catch Martha earlier to briefly tell her John wasn't wanting any afternoon tea but Martha was far from pleased with the news, seething all afternoon that he was going out, more than likely the pair were actually daring to meet in public, apart from sitting in the pub.

After Rose had left the infirmary, Joan went to get changed and get her coat to take a walk down to the village store.  She would have waited until the following day but she was curious as to what Rose was going for, was she meeting her new gentleman friend off the bus?  If so, they wouldn't have much time together before he'd have to get the next one back but maybe they were only going to the tearooms.  Joan thought about seeking out John to see if he was going out but she spied him going out of the front door ahead of her and she got held up by the headmaster.

''Good afternoon matron, how are things going with your new assistant?''

Joan was hoping he wouldn't keep her for too long or John would be on his way back.

"She's a hard worker headmaster, she's very keen to learn, she's very polite and also good with the boys, she puts them at ease if I'm already attending to another boy.  I'm very pleased with her so far.  Was there anything else?  I was on my way out."

''Yes, indeed, don't let me delay you.  I'm glad things have worked out, Doctor Smith had insisted if things didn't work out here, she took her old position back but I gather there won't be any need for that.  Enjoy your time out matron."

Joan knew that John would be in the village by now but he was going out early, he wouldn't have had his afternoon tea, maybe he was intending having it in the village today?  She hurried along, acknowledging the boys as they bid her good afternoon, well except for Baines, Hutchinson and Latimer, the latter having been cornered.

"So, out with it Latimer, what have you got for us?  We know you sneaked out of class this morning, it had better not have been for no good a reason."

Timothy wanted to say they had caused his headache but thought better of it.

"Yes, I've got something for you.  Rose is definitely interested in Doctor Smith, she smiled when I mentioned his name."

"Did she now?  I knew it, the good Doctor Smith does have a thing for his former maid.  Hutchinson, this is going to be very interesting.  Spread the word, we are having a little wager."

Rose stood outside the tearooms, ten minutes before she was due to meet John, butterflies in her tummy.  Why was she so nervous?  She'd sat with him inside and outside the pub and been on buses with him, what was so different about today?  Was it because it was different to going in the pub where it was mostly the menfolk and the daytime, lots of the women from the village would be there?  Surely now word would get to the matron, she had a friend she visited every Saturday and someone was bound to tell that friend.  She saw John walking towards her and suddenly, all thoughts of being nervous disappeared.

"Ah, good afternoon Rose, I trust I haven't kept you waiting too long?  Shall we go inside, it's rather nippy out here.  I'm so glad you accepted my invitation, I was afraid I was going to have tea on my own," he said cautiously.

"No, I've not been here long though the thought crossed my mind that maybe it was you that had changed your mind, after all, I'm just matron's assistant, no-one important.  I thought you would have been wanting to invite the matron herself?"  Rose was aware people were passing and thought it best it should look like they didn't really know each other as well as they actually did.

"Why would I want to do that?  I've never met anyone who wasn't important Rose.  Anyway, let's enjoy our afternoon tea shall we, now you're not sneaking into my room at the school for it, our first public engagement in the village, in broad daylight.  You weren't nervous about meeting me here, were you?" he whispered, aware what she was trying to do, fool anyone who happened to be passing by.

"A little, we are being rather bold after all."

John opened the door, allowing Rose in first and she made her way to a window table at the side and took her coat off, John doing the same, taking it from her and hanging them both up.  He ordered afternoon tea for them both, Rose grateful it was nice and warm inside and smiled at John.

"So, are we going to make this a regular thing then?  If we want people to see us together during the day?"

"I don't see why not, do you?  What's wrong with innocently having tea together?  We can still have it at the school some afternoons, maybe we can just meet here on Fridays?"

"Yeah, okay then.  What time are we meeting tomorrow, midday again?"

"Wee-ll, it was a bit of a rush for you last week, we can make it an hour later, since we're staying in the town.  I've been thinking maybe after we've been to the picture palace, we could walk around some of the stores, then get something to eat and get the last bus back.  What do you think?"

Rose was delighted to be spending more time out with him but the thought that tonight, she would be staying with him was making her feel all funny inside, this was something new and exciting and she was feeling a little nervous but she was sure he would put her at ease.  They talked for a while, completely unaware that matron had been passing by and seen who she thought was John with his back to the door, then as he moved, saw Rose opposite him.

Now her suspicions had been realised, he had been meeting her assistant, she should have known Rose was deceiving her by telling tales of someone she had met from the town or was she stringing two men along?  No wonder Rose had been so anxious to get away and as for her borrowing that book, well, she wished she had never lent it to her now, what was she planning?

Joan hurried past and went into the village stores, seeing once again the poster for the village dance, thinking now there was no way John would be inviting her to go with him, it was quite obvious he was taken with her assistant or had he merely just happened to meet her there and joined her?  Only time would tell, he still had time to ask her, Joan Redfern to accompany him to the dance, there was another week and tickets never really sold out, entrance could still be gained at the door.

Joan made her mind up to ignore just seeing him sat talking to Rose and would go talk to him after dinner later on and determine if he'd just met her there by accident or not but how should she go about this?  Should she come right out and ask him if he had pre-arranged the meeting or not?  Maybe if she did, it would put paid to any chance there might have been of him asking her out again.  He'd been quiet all week at dinner, sometimes leaving before she had, never offering to walk her back to the infirmary or even talking to her in the dining room.

In fact, John had been quiet with everyone, his first few nights there, he had talked non-stop but it had been exactly the opposite, especially the last few nights.  She had heard more talk amongst the boys that they had seen Rose taking him a drink each night and she'd seen Martha not looking very pleased about something, maybe John's new maid also suspected something.  Maybe she and Martha should have a little talk, it may be enlightening to say the least.

As Rose and John were leaving the tearooms just after five, he suggested they walked across to the store together and Rose could go off to the counter she wanted and he'd walk back to the school with her since it would be getting dark soon.  Rose agreed though she declined his offer for her to take his arm, she wasn't quite ready to let everyone see her doing that just yet though she really wanted to show him off.

Rose got what she wanted, a pink silky cami top, she somehow hated what other women were supposed to wear, they were very restrictive she thought and most certainly would not please or impress John, then she chose a similar pair of underwear to the ones from her last visit, got them wrapped and paid for them, wishing someone would decide to make underwear more appealing to men, especially when you were thinking seriously of spending the night in their bed.

After she got what else she needed, she waited outside for John to stop talking with one of the male assistants, goodness knew what he was actually talking about but she knew he could certainly keep his side going for hours if he really wanted to, she'd had first hand experience on that.  John was suddenly aware Rose was no longer in the store and looked out of the window to see her leaning on the glass, said goodbye to the assistant, who was quite relieved the man had finally decided to leave as he had to get the floor swept before closing time.

John apologised for keeping his new lady friend waiting.

"Oh, sorry Rose, I'd not realised you'd already come outside, may I escort you back to the school?"

He held his arm out and Rose took it, her new purchases under her other arm wrapped in a brown paper bag.  She hoped when she wore them later after her proper tea, he would appreciate them.  Rose let go of his arm as they approached the school gates.

"Nervous Rose?" John asked as he smiled at her apprehension of someone seeing them walk onto the school grounds arm in arm, something he had enjoyed as they'd not done that since being in the town together last Sunday.

''Me?  I was only thinking of your reputation, Doctor Smith," she teased, poking her tongue out of the corner of her mouth, something that John found very endearing about her that just made his heart feel like skipping a beat or two.

He knew he was falling for her in a big way and tonight, if she didn't run off after their late night drink and a cuddle, he may just tell her how he felt about her, though he suspected she already knew she meant a lot to him, she was someone very special in his life.

"That's most considerate of you Rose but you don't have to protect me, I'm more worried it may get you into trouble.  I'll see you at our usual time then shall I?  I hope you'll be wearing the new articles of clothing you went into the store for?"

"Yeah but I have something I need to talk to you about that I hope you'll understand, you having girlfriends before me."

John knew what was coming, Reinette had been a real misery once a month and would lock herself away at home and refuse to see him, then come to pay him a visit like nothing had been wrong, not that they had actually done anything about it afterwards, much to his disappointment.  He knew though that his girlfriend before that had let him do more though he couldn't recall all the details but he knew now that Rose would somehow be different, that she would still come and visit him despite being indisposed for a few days.

"It's okay Rose, I understand, you have nothing to explain to me, if you're going to be feeling unwell, we can just have a late night drink together, if you still want?"

"Yeah, we'll do that then, I don't want to stop seeing you, unless you think we should maybe take a rest from my nightly visits?"

"Oh no, not at all, I'd only miss you and then Martha will see her chance and offer to bring my cocoa, we can't have that, can we?" he winked as he opened the main door.

"No, we can't, can we, Doctor Smith?  I'll see you in the pub later then?"

"Oh yes Rose, that would be brilliant, until later then?"  He'd almost forgotten that.

Joan was already back and on her way to the kitchen to see about having her dinner in her room, if John was going to avoid her afterwards.  It didn't help that he chose to sit opposite her every night and never even acknowledge her, that was bad enough but to see him in the village tearooms, talking to Rose and seeing a smile on the woman's face, well that had been just a bit too much.  Maybe she should just forget about it and not expect him to even think now about inviting her to the dance next week, it was more than obvious now he would be taking the younger blonde.

There was very little she could even do about it, Rose was no longer one of the serving staff and she had been the one to encourage her to make something of herself and had been giving her friendly advice about who she'd thought was a man Rose had met in the town but it was quite clear it had all been about John now, how could she have been fooled?  As she headed for the kitchen, passing by the main corridor, she saw Rose come in, followed by John. 

They had stopped to talk then Rose had gone off, to the staff staircase Joan had noted, since Rose hadn't got used to using the main one yet but Rose had a reason for that, so she could nip up and down to John's room without fear of detection.  Joan also saw Martha and stopped her.

"Ah, Martha, I've been meaning to have a word with you, about Rose."

"Yes matron, what about her?"

"You're her friend are you not?  Has she said anything to you about this man she'd met last weekend?" Joan asked her, hoping she was completely wrong about all this and John had just been escorting her back to the school, after bumping into Rose in the tearooms.  What really had been the chances of that, it had to have been pre-arranged.

Martha was looking at her.  "She doesn't talk much about it to me, I don't ask her about it.  I'm going out with her later, I can tell you if she mentions anything other than she's meeting him in town tomorrow."

"Thank you, yes, I'd like to know, I'm concerned about her after she borrowed that book from me, I don't want her to get out of her depth with anything, it could only lead to trouble.  You'll keep me informed then?  She may listen to you, as her friend, more than she will to me."

Martha wanted to tell matron it was no use asking her, she would now be the last one to say anything concerning men, especially if it was John Smith but matron need not know that just yet, maybe the woman was getting jealous after all.
Chapter 24

Martha had wondered why the matron was so bothered about Rose but it was becoming more apparent, now Rose no longer seemed to be hiding the fact she was chasing after the Doctor but to still string along matron and others of the staff that she had a man friend in the town, well even for Rose it was a bit much. She wished now she'd taken more notice of what she'd been told about the Doctor's former companion or whom she now thought was most definitely his girlfriend despite numerous denials from him but the way he'd moped around, the way that time they had been in Shakespeare's time and said her name, it had to have been more.

Now Martha faced another dilemma, since two women were interested in who was now plain John Smith, should she just step back and hope he'd choose neither of them or enter the fray herself? It wouldn't do him any good to get involved with any of them but she'd already taken a bit of a dislike for both of them but Rose was slowly coming out on top, since her and the Doctor had been parted for all the wrong reasons, it hadn't been fair on either of them.

She knew very little of the details but it had dawned on her that he'd been there, at Torchwood when her cousin had failed to go home, he must have met her, she'd worked in the lever room and he'd said Rose had let go of one of the levers and been rescued at the last moment by someone from the parallel world. She'd wanted to blame him for Addy's disappearance but she had no proof it hadn't been the Cybermen who'd done that.

Martha went off to join the others in the kitchen to find them talking about Rose again. Apparently, some of the boys had started a betting pool that Rose and Doctor Smith were indeed seeing each other and the bet was who saw them kissing together first, the matron or the headmaster since Baines had seen the matron following Doctor Smith out of the school grounds on several occasions when he himself had been following Rose.

Baines of course along with Hutchinson was going to make a good deal of money out of this, he was banking on it and it was only a matter of time before the two lovers were caught out since now, he'd roped in other boys in the dorm to watch for her sneaking into the teacher's room and he'd learned since that she had boldly been seen standing talking to him outside his room at lunchtime and someone reportedly had seen them in the village tearooms, the matron staring through the window at the pair of them.

Baines was considering opening another wager that the matron would confront the two of them if she did actually catch them first.

Timothy had known the teacher had gone out, closely behind Rose, he'd noted and had considered trying to sneak into his room, to see if he could learn anything about the two who he now considered didn't belong there but Baines had caught him and given him another task, find out who was getting the beer in this weekend and where it was going to be hidden and since he wanted a quiet life, had thought that more urgent than spying on the teacher.

Rose had taken her purchases to her room, she was going to have her tea, go back upstairs and get her coat then when they got back, go into the bathroom and change her underwear on the pretence she was washing some out then go get the drinks. She didn't intend taking her nightwear with her, she was going to borrow one of John's vest tops so as to avoid being caught with a bundle of clothes in her arms.

Then if all worked out, even with boys and staff still around, only Martha may wonder where she'd got to and would think she was just leaving it until after the curfew to lessen the chance of getting caught sneaking back. What she really intended was to wake with John's alarm and just go directly down to the kitchen earlier than usual on the pretence she'd woken early.

As planned, Rose and Martha walked down to the village pub, Rose had only agreed since she wanted paying back, she'd rather have just gone with John, since they'd been seen out earlier but he'd mentioned they should be seen out together gradually and tomorrow, when they were going to town, they planned on walking to the bus stop together so the chances were, the whole school may see them. Neither Rose nor John were aware wagers were already being taken about them or the fact matron was less than pleased she'd already seen them together.

Sitting outside the pub, Rose was already looking into the night sky, dreaming of later on and if she'd get scared and run off. Martha had just come back out and put the drinks on the table when Rose saw something moving across the sky.

"Did you see that Martha?"


"It was probably nothing, maybe a shooting star or something, forget about it. You seem off tonight Martha, what's wrong?"

"Nothing much, I should tell you, the matron suspects you're seeing Doctor Smith though, she's a bit annoyed to say the least, since you've been talking all week about a man you met on the bus when all along it's been him."

"Well I couldn't tell her, could I? She'd have either confronted him or gone to the headmaster, I don't know which would have been worse. I'm not going to deny it, if she asks me, she'll probably say something on Monday morning, give me a lecture about lying to her and trying to deceive her but what was I supposed to do? She likes him, I know she does and he knows it too, he sort of led her on but when we started being serious and he found out I was getting a promotion, he stopped."

"I should think so but he's probably already caused the damage, if she thinks he was wanting to ask her out, she probably still thinks he does, well maybe not now, since the rumours are she saw the two of you in the village tearooms earlier."

Rose swore she had blushed the colour of her name. "So, what if she did? There's no law says we can't sit in the tearooms together, is there? We weren't in the school, I already told her, last week that I respect her in the school but outside, she has to do the same with me, I don't work for her while I'm out."

"I know that Rose, I expect the same when I'm not working. She pulled me up earlier, asking about you. She was far from happy about things though she didn't come right out and say in so many words she thought you were already seeing Doctor Smith but she more or less insinuated it."

"Then let her, John will stick up for me, if she reports me to the headmaster. We're not doing anything wrong if we want to see each other outside the school."

Martha laughed. "Yeah Rose but it's not just out of school, is it? You taking him a drink every night and staying in his room does nothing to stop the rumours, and the wagers. The boys are wagering their pocket money either matron or the headmaster will catch you, so I'd be more careful if I were you. What time's he joining us then? It's already getting colder out here and it's too smoky to stay inside and wait."

"He'll be here after his dinner and don't worry Martha, you won't have to put up with coming with us for much longer 'cos no matter what happens, we won't stop seeing each other."

"That remains to be seen, what if you get fired from being matron's assistant? Will he be able to stop that? Matron's hardly going to be taking any notice of him defending your job for you if he's spurned her in favour of you, is she? What will you do then? If the headmaster gets involved, you'll be dismissed from the school, is it worth risking that?"

Rose sat and thought about it. Yes, it would be worth risking getting dismissed, she could always get another job but if word got around the village she and John were having an illicit liaison, would the villagers still be friendly with her or would they turn on her, brand her as a woman of ill repute and even demand she left the village? Then where would she go or would John stick by her and make sure that never happened?

Now she realised they were both taking a very big risk, John could even lose his job because of it, if it got the headmaster's attention and couldn't be persuaded it was innocent but after tonight, if she stayed in John's room, she knew it would no longer be innocent, not if she let John have his way. She had seen it in his eyes earlier while they had been out, he had a certain look about him, the look that said tonight, he was no longer prepared to be content with kissing his way across her chest and fondling her, he was no longer content with just taking off her cami top, which she hoped the new one she'd just bought would please him, until he coaxed her out of it like he had been doing the last few nights.

No, John had that look she'd read about in those magazines, the look that said tonight, Doctor John Smith wanted to make her well and truly his own and she knew she wanted him to.

John had been only half surprised matron had not been in the dining room, since he had been guilty of ignoring her the last few nights and getting out as soon as he could to avoid her stares. He knew he shouldn't have encouraged her the first few days he'd been there, to cover up the fact he was sweet on Rose, which he knew now he was more than just sweet on his former maid, she was his flower and tonight, he would hopefully get to see much more of her.

He was fully aware that today's society frowned on sex outside of marriage but he'd never been one to conform to what others thought. In his dreams, he would imagine they lived in a time where it didn't matter if two young lovers were married or not but he didn't think either he or Rose would ever live to see the day. He had made up his mind that if something happened tonight, if she gave in to him, he would take full responsibility for his actions and eagerness but she'd not given him any indication she would give in to him on their first night together, it could still take a while but he was determined to get her to give in to him sooner rather than later.

Joan had opted to collect her evening meal and was on her way back to the kitchen with her tray as John was coming out of the dining room and could hardly avoid him. She had not wanted to confront him out in the corridor but there was no other way, since he'd been avoiding her.

"Ah, good evening matron, been dining on your own?" he asked, immediately wanting to kick himself for stating the obvious.

"Well really Doctor Smith, is it any surprise to you after I was completely ignored by you in the dining room the last few evenings? I'm really surprised at you John, you invite me out to the village, lead me on to think you are interested in me then say I'm wrong to not want to associate myself with staff outside the school, then you avoid me when I won't agree to go with you as a work colleague. Is that hardly any wonder, that I should be the one that wishes to avoid you? I saw you in the village earlier, enjoying your afternoon tea, you never noticed since you were paying your full attention to your new lady friend."

She wasn't going to tell him she had felt jealousy at seeing Rose smiling at him, when it could and should have been her sitting across the table from him. She also wasn't yet going to name the woman he'd been sitting with, if she did, the headmaster would get to know, all three of them would get dragged into his study and been told to stop behaving like little children and sort it out themselves, well that was unless he dismissed Rose and maybe John, then he would go away and that would be defeating the object.

Either way, the only way she could win this was wait until he got tired of the younger woman and come to his senses, Rose was beneath him socially and he would eventually come to see reason and she would be waiting when he realised Rose was just using him to climb the social ladder, just like she had to become her own assistant but she could hardly use that as an excuse to dismiss Rose, she had been encouraging her to better herself but that had happened before John had come along.

John was hoping to get away as soon as he'd eaten but matron was blocking the way. What was she expecting from him? An apology?

"What can I say matron? Except I'm surprised you would be spying on me, it's hardly anyone's concern whom I meet in the village, do I have to make an announcement to the entire school as to where I intend going, on my own time?"

"Well of course not Doctor Smith, that was not what I meant but when you lead someone on and make them think you want to spend some time with them, then you are seen with another person, you can hardly blame me."

"What do you want from me? An apology? Right then, matron, I apologize if I gave you the impression I asked you to go to the village pub with me as anything but what it was, just one time. I was just being polite, nothing more. It won't happen again, I can assure you and as to whom I keep company with outside the school, that's nobody's business than mine and the young lady I was with, whom I presume you saw who that was and in view of her position, can I assume word will not spread around the entire school?"

"Well, they certainly won't hear it from me, the boys I'm not so sure of, they have already been talking since I got back earlier, they may be harder to persuade otherwise. You might want to ask Martha about that, since she is more privy to information from the kitchen and the rest of the staff but a word of warning. Your association with a certain person in the school has not gone unnoticed Doctor Smith, just you be aware of that fact before the rest of the faculty become aware."

With that, matron went off to the kitchen, leaving John to ponder over what she had just said. Was he putting his and Rose's new relationship at risk? If he was, maybe having one night with her may just be worth it, then, they would have to consider carefully where they went from there but the weekend, they would be out anyway and maybe it might be worth staying in the town for the night, book them into a small hotel and hope it would all blow over by Monday morning. Well just as long as no-one noticed they were both absent from the school come Sunday.
Chapter 25
John was glad to get away, he'd not expected matron confronting him like she had done, what had all that been about?  Perhaps he'd deserved it, for making her think he was going to invite her out on a regular basis but even if he wasn't now pursuing Rose, he didn't think he would have made a move on Joan Redfern, she didn't really seem his type.  Maybe he had been wrong to invite her out that night, she wouldn't even sit with Rose or Martha, what was wrong with that?  Then she wondered why he didn't invite her again and now, Rose would be waiting for him, hopefully inside as it would be getting cold.

Rose tried not to fidget in her seat, wondering where John had got to, maybe matron or the headmaster had caught him and hopefully were not asking about their new relationship.  She was worried over what Martha had just told her, she didn't want to get dismissed over it, it had started off innocently but it had become apparent that was no longer the case.  She still liked to look up at the stars though, being brought up in the city had always clouded her view but since being in a small village, it was much more fascinating.

Maybe once people got used to her and John being out together, they could go somewhere, outside the village and watch the stars together though sometimes in her dreams, they already did that and had even been to some of them.  John still hadn't told her what it was he'd been holding back from her, about his own dreams, were they really that bad?  She looked up and saw him heading towards them and smiled.

If Martha had not been there, she would have greeted him with a kiss but maybe they wouldn't have to wait too much longer.  She decided though she was not going to be coy in front of her friend.

"Hello John, we thought you'd taken a wrong turning somewhere."

John smiled.  "How could I have done that Rose?  It's a straight road.  Good evening Martha, aren't you two cold out here?  Shall we go inside?"

Martha could tell she was going to lose this battle, the two were totally gone on each other and now, they weren't even trying to hide the fact.  This was going to be awkward to say the least, spending the remaining time with him being human and acting like a love-sick puppy.  The pair of them continued inside, Martha feeling like a wallflower, longing for Rose to suggest they left, just to get some fresh air.  The smokers inside the pub were obviously quite used to breathing it in but she was sure the time she came from, the pub would have violated half a dozen health and safety laws at least.

Still, she didn't relish walking back to the school on her own and the other two looked like they were nowhere near ready to leave by the looks on their faces.  The Doctor was telling them anecdotes from his past schools, which Martha knew for a fact they were invented and she had no idea where he'd got them from, unless in some past regeneration he'd experienced them but one in particular sounded familiar as he'd mentioned once about the teachers and kitchen staff turning into some kind of bats at night.

Rose seemed to think it was highly amusing as they sat side by side, leaning into his arm and laughing, Martha thought they were going to snog each other to death at one point.  She was quite relieved when John announced just after nine thirty they should be getting back to the school, it was the longest hour and a half Martha had endured in her life, even beating their night in Manhattan eluding Daleks.

At the front door of the school, John said goodnight to Martha then asked Rose if she was still bringing his nightly cocoa.

"Yeah, if you still want me to?  Thought you'd had enough to drink."

John laughed.  "There is a difference between light ale and cocoa, maybe when you bring me the latter, I could point out the differences to you?"

"Maybe you could but only maids are allowed in your room, after hours, surely?"

She shot a glance at Martha, who had been about to turn towards the servants staircase, knowing she was going to be climbing them on her own at this rate as the other two were openly flirting with each other again.

"Oh, Martha won't mind, will you Martha?  You don't mind if Rose assumes her old post for the rest of the evening, do you?  She already brings me my nightly hot drink, you don't mind doing some tidying up for me, do you Rose?"

Martha was shaking her head.  He may just as well say out loud he wanted Rose in his room for a bit of snogging, it was quite obvious they were already at that stage, maybe even more.

"No, why should I Sir?  It's up to you whom you ask to do things for you out of working hours.  It's not my place to object.  I'll see you upstairs Rose."

Martha turned down the corridor, furious they were being so coy about it.  She just hoped matron would actually come along and see them, that would be amusing.

"I think she suspects something Rose, don't you?"

Rose smiled.  "Ya think?  I'd best go take my coat upstairs, then I'll go get the drinks but I have to sneak into the bathroom to change, I'll be as quick as I can, you won't lock me out, will you?"

John smiled back.  "No, why would I do something like that?  I forgot to tell you the reason I was delayed in getting to the pub."

"Don't tell me, a certain matron?"

"How did you guess?"

Rose shook her head and poked her tongue out the side of her mouth.  "Just lucky.  See ya in a bit."

John headed for the main staircase as Rose hurried down the corridor, past the infirmary and the kitchen, just as matron was coming out with a hot drink of her own, her only having tea in her own room attached to it.

"You're out late Rose, been to the village?"

"Yes matron, with Martha, would you excuse me, I need the bathroom, I had too much to drink."

"Just a moment though.  Did you see Doctor Smith while you were out?  Only I saw the three of you come back in a few minutes ago."

Rose thought there was very little point in denying it but she should ask John about it first, she knew he'd already had a run-in earlier with the matron.  Rose had learned a lot lately about being tactful so this was a good time to practice it.

"He saw us outside the pub and walked us back.  Can I ask you something?"

"Yes, as long as you avoid spinning more yarns about your so-called friend you met on the bus last weekend.  Tell me the truth Rose, you were referring to Doctor Smith, were you not?"

Rose had been caught red-handed.  "I can't tell you that matron.  What I think about it and what he thinks are two different things.  Yes, we were on the bus together coming back from town but what his intentions are towards me, I don't know, you'd have to ask him."

She thought at least that part was true, she had no idea what was going to happen tonight.  He may try to take things too far and she may get scared and never want to see him again, well not privately as being in the school with him meant she couldn't avoid him altogether.

"It's not my place either to confront him about it but a word of advice Rose.  If he is making any advances towards you that you feel uncomfortable with, you should report him to the headmaster.  I'm not exactly sure what the school's policy is concerning staff and teachers but since you are no longer Doctor Smith's maid, the circumstances may be different.  Just make sure you are not in a situation you have no control over.  Were some of the things you told me true or was it just wishful thinking on your part?"

Rose thought matron was calling her a liar in round-about way.  Should she admit it?  Still, she should ask John first, it did involve him as well, what would matron think of him if she admitted they had kissed and more?

"It was just a whim matron but honestly, he's not made any unwanted advances towards me, he's been a complete gentleman on that part."

She hoped that would cover it, she'd not actually admitted they had kissed.

Joan only half believed her but let it go.  "Well, you can come to me if he does, don't let him take advantage of you Rose, you are young and attractive to him and from what you told me, you've had no experience with men in general.  I'll let you go but don't let him invite you into his room on your own, now you are no longer his maid."

Rose thought it was a bit too late for that.  "I've promised to still take his drink to him in the evenings and he has asked me in but we just talk, that's all.  He doesn't make me feel uncomfortable, he's very charming and entertaining."

"That's as maybe but if he invites you in, don't stay too long and keep the door open and be sure you are out before the curfew bell rings, otherwise the boys will start talking."

Joan thought it was rather too late for that after hearing about some sort of wager going on.  She just hoped her assistant knew what she was doing and that John Smith seemed a bit of a lady-killer and could charm any woman he wanted.  He had charmed her in the first few days of being there and given her the false hope she could finally put her feelings for her dead husband aside and start afresh but now that seemed very unlikely.

There was still a week for him to get the younger woman out of his system and invite her to the dance but that was now looking unlikely as well.

After escaping the matron, who'd had a few more words of warning to offer her, which Rose was certain it was her way of saying she was deeply disappointed she'd not won his affections, Rose hurried upstairs and gathered her new underwear still in the paper bag from earlier and ran out to the bathroom, taking off her blouse to put on the new cami top and then changing into the silky knickers she had bought, wondering what the female assistant in the store had made of it, her second visit in a week for such luxuries and hoping rumours were not already spreading amongst the women in the village.

She put her dirty laundry into the paper bag and checking herself in the mirror after quickly cleaning herself up a bit, put the bag with her laundry in with the other pile, thinking she'd have to keep her new ones separate before general laundry day and realising it was getting late and being thankful Martha hadn't been there, went down to the kitchen to find her room-mate there.

"You took your time Rose," she remarked.

"Got caught by matron, she was asking me all sorts of things.  I swear that woman has no social life to the point she wants to know when someone else has been out."

One of the other maids spoke up.  "Don't worry Rose, she'll have plenty to think about, she'll be trying to get someone to take her to the village dance this year, I heard she went on her own last year, with her friend from the village."

Rose thought the matron had better not be trying to get John to take her, as if he would.  Now she herself was no longer his maid, it would be okay for him to ask her formally, their first social engagement together, whether matron attended with her friend or not.

"So did she ask who you'd been out with then?" Martha asked, as Rose poured the hot milk into the mugs.

"Yeah but I said I was out with you, who else would I be out with?  Anyway, how come no-one else from here goes out on a Friday night?"

One of the other maids spoke up.  "We go out once a month on Saturday night, that's next week though we won't be going to the dance, at least the pub will be mostly empty.  Will you two be joining us then?"

"I may be doing, don't know about Rose though, she may be going to the dance," Martha declared.

Rose glared at her.

"On her own?"

"Oh, I'm sure she'll find someone to take her, won't you Rose?  What about that friend of yours, from the town?  Don't be shy, you can tell everyone about him.  Rose met someone last week, on the bus, didn't you?"

Rose wanted to just get out of there, she was wasting precious time, with John.  She was so going to get Martha back for disclosing that piece of information.  Then she thought at least it would get the others off her back and curb the wagers that were going around the school.

Rose hurried back upstairs and knocked on John's door.  John meanwhile was still writing in his journal, about the bat-like creatures he had told Rose about in the pub because he knew he'd never actually seen them, they must be from his dreams but tonight, he had to tell Rose about the worse ones and see if she ran away because it could make or break their new relationship before it had got really started.

If she stayed, it would prove what he already knew, that they were meant to be together.  They were both free and single, Rose's status as matron's assistant meant there should be no rules they couldn't see each other inside and outside the school as long as it was after hours and they stayed apart during the day, there would be nothing improper about it.  Even if the headmaster did frown on it, there were very few things he could do about it since they were unwritten rules, everyone would just have to get used to the two of them being seen together after classes and as for their dining arrangements, John thought they would start dining in his room, together. 

Now, if she didn't run away tonight, there was no way he was going to keep their relationship quiet but they would still have to do it gradually, starting with Rose not sneaking around and by next Saturday night, when he had formally invited her to the village dance, the entire village population would know they were together but it all depended entirely on what Rose made of what he had to tell her, before they could take things any further.

He had to tell her that in his dreams, she was in grave danger and he'd had to watch her being carried towards the unknown after two lots of creatures had been battling each other and so far, his dreams had not revealed the outcome of where she was being carried to and if he could save her in time from what he was certain was her death.  Just how she would take it, he had no idea and it could be the end of what he now considered to be the best time of his life and surely it was hers.

His heart skipped when he heard her familiar knock on the door.  He went to the door and opened it, smiling.

"Hello Rose, did you get delayed by matron as well?"

"Yeah, how did you know?  Her and Martha."

He took the drinks from her, put them on the table then kissed her.  "Before you decide to stay, I have some things to share with you but I don't know where to start."

Rose kissed him back.  "Well, why not from the beginning?  Is it about those dreams you didn't want me to know about?  If it is, nothing's gonna put me off so you may as well get it over with."

John knew from that moment, she was going to stay.
Chapter 26
Rose was sat on the sofa as John slowly revealed his recurring nightmare.  He was now pacing the space in front of the table at the side of the sofa, avoiding looking at her when he'd finally finished.  He was aware of the time, it was late, they'd both heard the curfew bell though on Friday nights, hardly anyone took any notice of it, the boys were too busy letting off steam and the staff were huddled in one room or another with a crate of beer with only two staff members trying to round up the students and missing most of them.  The headmaster had long since given up on Friday nights and just left them to it, barring emergencies of fire or invasion, then he was expecting everyone present to do their appointed tasks, sober or not.

Rose never interrupted him, watching him pace up and down and not letting on if she believed him or not.

"Say something Rose, please."

"What can I say?  You saw me being torn towards goodness knows what, a wall, those creatures or something worse.  Why is your dream never complete?"

John ran his hands through his hair, something he now enjoyed Rose doing.  "I don't know, maybe it's because it's not complete, like the ending is still open but the last one, there was a figure, in black appeared, I don't know the significance of that, maybe the figure came to save you, when I couldn't."

Rose got up and stood in front of him.  Her heart was breaking for him, having to hide this from her for days.  He'd been afraid to tell her she was most likely going to die, perhaps a terrible death or worse than death, to be hurtled into the unknown and what was even worse was, he had to watch helplessly or risk being caught in it himself, there was little choice for him.

"John, listen to me, maybe that figure does save me and isn't it better than the alternatives?"

"Maybe but who is it Rose?  Who comes to save you when I can't?  Why did that creature have to knock the lever you were trying to hold back, why couldn't it have been mine?"

"Because you're more important than me, it was meant to happen that way," Rose said sadly.

John reached his arms out but Rose just stood there.  He wanted to comfort her, hold her and kiss her and tell her it all worked out and they stayed together but he couldn't, not until the dream was complete.

"No Rose, I'm not more important than you or anyone else.  I know how I felt, seeing you letting go of that lever and I was unable to do anything."

"But you would have done, had you been able.  From what you said, the man you are in your dreams, that's what you do, all the time.  Well, you've told me now and I'm still here, aren't I?  When you finish your dream, then you'll know how it ends, won't you?"

John just looked at her.  Who was she?  She was becoming the most important person in his life but there was something else about her.  Anyone else would have gone running at the mention of these creatures he now somehow knew were called Cybermen and they were battling other evil creatures called Daleks as when he had relayed his dreams to Rose, the names suddenly came to him and now, it all seemed so real but how could it have been?

Rose was the one to approach him and hold out her arms.  "Am I still invited to stay then?  It must be late, the bell went ages ago and it's gone quiet out there, I heard talking a while ago.  It's a good thing no-one does a bed-check."

John smiled and put his arms around her, kissing her forehead.  "You still want to stay?  After all that?"

"Well yeah, it would be a shame to waste the new underwear I just bought, wouldn't it?"

"Rose Tyler, you amaze me and I want to share something very special with you, if you'll let me?  I want to ask you, properly.  Will you spend the night with me, please?"

Rose never hesitated as she looked up at him.  "Yes John, I want to spend the night with you but you'll have to be patient with me, I've never spent the night with a man before but I know you won't do anything to hurt me.  Teach me John, teach me what it's like, to be with a man."

"Oh Rose, it would be my honour and pleasure to teach you all that I know about a man and a woman being together but I must confess, I may learn a few things myself along the way, I've not had a lot of experience myself in that department but I'm sure we can discover it – together."

"Mmm, I'm sure we can.  Have you set your alarm clock?  I don't want Martha to find me here in the morning, do I?" she smiled.

"Oh no indeed but I've locked the door so she won't just wander in but you may be missed my love.  Now come here and show me this new underwear you bought to impress me."

"Ah, Ah, first I have to run to the bathroom, I'll be back in a tick."  

She retired to the small washroom in the corner, John had been thankful he'd been given one of the few rooms that afforded such luxuries though it only contained a basin and toilet but it saved him walking to the end of the corridor all the time.  While she was gone, John began getting ready for bed, getting out a white vest top he'd promised Rose could wear, once he'd got a very good view of her new underwear then helped her out of it.  He'd noted she was less shy about it than when they had begun this and now he was pleased she'd not run away despite what he'd just told her and if that hadn't put her off, he doubted that when the end was finally revealed she would and that she'd take in her stride.

He still had lots more to explore with Rose Tyler, the young woman who'd been appointed his maid just over a week ago and things had escalated very quickly from him boldly suggesting they spent last weekend out in the town and a nearby village to him inviting her into his bed.  If all went well tonight, tomorrow he would suggest she put a few things in a canvas shoulder bag he knew she had and they would spend the following night in a hotel, where there would be no fear of any of the staff or students catching them.  As Rose came out, John was now just in his shorts and his under-shirt, unbuttoned, which he didn't normally wear when he knew Rose was coming to visit but with him going out and it was cold, he'd not wanted to catch a chill.

"Oh, a challenge tonight?" Rose teased as she took hold of the hem.  "Mmm, can I wear this in bed then?"

"Well, if you insist my love but you'll have to take if off me first, won't you but before that, you have to be on an equal par with me, it's only fair."

As Rose's long grey skirt fell to the floor, John was unbuttoning her top and pulling it over her head, revealing the new cami-top she'd just bought, a red and white one with delicate pale pink flowers, a pink bow and lacy around the edges and which revealed more of her than the others had done.  The top rested on her pink silky knickers that were a lot shorter than the ones she'd previously worn and showed off most of her legs and she'd already taken off her black stockings though she always did and John had never actually seen her wearing any apart from the first few times but he fantasised about rolling them down her legs and taking them off for her.

John let out a low whistle as he surveyed her, taking in every inch of her and wishing he possessed one of those cameras to take a picture of her like that so he could carry it around with him everywhere he went when he was apart from her.

"You are beautiful, my rosebud," he whispered as he put his arms around her and began kissing just across the top of the cami.

Rose began ruffling his hair and pulling on his neck for him to kiss her lower down as he moved one hand to move the top out of the way, revealing more of her.  After he kissed his way across, he took her by the hand and led her across to the bed and sat her down after she fingered his vest top again and pulled it over his head and leaned close to him as skin touched skin.  He lay her down against the pillow and climbed onto the bed after her, Rose's arms still around his neck and him still trying to kiss her cleavage that had been revealed even more as she moved until he could no longer wait and pulled down the straps then pulled the article over her head.

Rose was more than enjoying the feeling of him now fondling her and kissing his way across, changing between ruffling his hair and her arms on his back until he took her hands and moved them lower to below the waistband of his shorts then Rose got the hint.  He smiled and went back to what he was doing, paying Rose's cleavage very close attention.

When Rose had not gone back up to her room, Martha knew she'd been right, they were probably in his room snogging each other's faces off.  She had gone back down to the kitchen, Rose had come in for the drinks and she'd tried to goad who she supposed had become the only real friend she had in the school and the village, in fact the whole invented thing and she planned paying another visit to the Tardis the next day because she knew the Doctor was falling in love with Rose Tyler all over again. 

It had been inevitable that he would become infatuated at some point with a member of the opposite sex but did it have to be another incarnation of his lost love?  Why couldn't it have been her?  She supposed he'd never even taken the fact he could fall in love with a human into account when he'd changed, what sort of person was he that he didn't think it would become possible?  He must have been in love at some point, probably with Rose though she doubted he'd ever confessed it to her.  If he had, he wouldn't have been moping about all the time, he would talk non-stop about her but instead, he'd just look like he was thinking about her if she said something to him, like she was constantly snapping him out of his daydreams.

Martha knew full well though why he'd been so instantly attracted to this version of Rose.  Deep down, there was still something of his old self there, buried deeply but enough to allow Rose into his life though he'd said that he'd have enough awareness to let her in but he was now thinking less of her and more of Rose to the point it was taking him over.  Now, she would have a really hard job getting him to open the watch when it was safe because he would never want to leave Rose, even though he never knew in his present state it was for the second time.

She had noticed that morning that he'd left some sort of journal out on his writing desk but she'd only moved it to dust the desk, she'd not dared touch it though for fear of him telling her off and the watch thankfully was still on the shelf, undisturbed.  She was a little troubled earlier when she'd missed what Rose had pointed out in the night sky, some sort of shooting star by what Rose had said but it had disappeared before she'd had chance to see it for herself.

There was nothing she could do anyway, she couldn't warn the Doctor in his present state of mind, she would just have to keep an eye out the next time they went out but Rose had said she was going into the town both Saturday and Sunday with whom she'd pretended was another man but it was bound to be John, they were making less of a secret of it now and the boys who had started the wager would be sorely disappointed when the two of them were more open about their liaison and getting caught by matron or the headmaster was the least of their problems.

She knew that if the family did eventually find them, John would defend Rose with his life if he had to, he would certainly not think twice about giving them what they wanted to preserve what he had found again with her, which was probably a lot more than they'd originally had back in the real world but how could she tell him how dangerous it would be?  If the shooting star Rose claimed she had seen earlier was them looking for him, was he well enough hidden that they wouldn't detect him just yet and were they just hunting every past and future time to see if they could detect any signs of him? 

How did they know though that he was still on earth?  Maybe they'd already searched other planets and earth was the last place they'd tried  - which meant they would eventually run out of years to try and hopefully, it would take the rest of the three months for them to do so.
Chapter 27
Rose didn't know how she felt when she woke up the next morning in John's bed.  They'd kissed, she had felt the best sensations of her entire life and thought she would never quite get over it.  He'd been gentle, asked her if she wanted him to do all the things to her to the point she'd just told him he didn't have to keep asking her, she'd been the one to ask him to show her what it was like but he'd laughed and said she was also showing him.

His alarm had gone off half an hour early and as much as he'd have liked to keep her there, she had to get out before Martha would be collecting his breakfast from the kitchen.

"Rose my love, get up, you have to leave before Martha gets here.  I wish now I'd bothered to tell her I'd get my own this morning."

"Mmm, I could have told her when I said you didn't want your tea but she would have had her suspicions confirmed then, wouldn't she?  Good morning John, last night was wonderful, you made me feel amazing, like I was up there, with the stars."

"Good morning to you my sweet Rose and I know exactly how you feel.  Would you care to have a repeat, tonight?"

Rose was already climbing over him, wearing his vest top, unbuttoned and showing her breasts and her pink silky knickers just on her hips.

"That would be nice, no Martha to disturb us."

"Ah, I was thinking about that.  What would you say if I were to book us into a hotel in town tonight?"

"Really?  You'd go to all that trouble for me to stay with you again?"

She had taken off the vest top and putting her cami-top on, John staring at her and longing to touch her like he'd done last night but he knew delaying her was out of the question, he couldn't let her get caught coming out of his room under any circumstances.

"Yes Rose, you are more than worth it my love.  When we go into the town, bring a few things with you and after we've been to the picture palace, we'll have tea and go find somewhere though I will look in the local newspaper at some of the advertisements, there may be a reasonably priced one."

"How will you explain who I am though?  Won't they question us?"

"Just keep your gloves on, they won't know we're not married and if we dine out, they won't see, will they?  As for breakfast, just say you left your ring on the dressing table, that we've not been married for long."

Rose stopped and put her arms around him as he'd got out of bed.

"Trust you to think of everything.  I'd best take those empty mugs from last night or I really will get caught.  I'm sure I can spare five minutes to give you a kiss or two though."

"Oh I'm sure you can.  So I'll meet you at the bus stop then?  Shall we make it two or still one?"

"Make it two, matron will have gone to her friend's house then or she may see us, she's a bit annoyed with me for stringing her along, about the friend I met from town."

John kissed her again, letting her go reluctantly.  "Well be careful Rose, I may get jealous if you keep talking about him."

He unlocked the door for her and peered out, seeing the corridor was clear.  If Rose was very lucky, she would be sat in the kitchen before anyone else and pretend she'd been there a while.  The kitchen staff wouldn't say anything, they hardly spoke to anyone.  After one last brief kiss, Rose ran for the stairs and had just got into the kitchen, washed the mugs and was just sitting down when the first of the maids arrived, Martha among them.

"Crikey Rose, you must have been up early this morning, why aren't you dressed for work?"

"Didn't feel like it yet, I didn't want to disturb you.  I've got plenty of time.  I'll be out this afternoon, don't wait for me to go out tonight, will you?"

Martha looked at her.  She could have sworn there was no way Rose had gone upstairs, got up then tidied her bed without her knowing about it.  She wouldn't have dared stayed in John's room last night, would she?

Matron regarded Rose as she set about her appointed tasks, taking stock of supplies and writing simple reports for the headmaster to give to the boys' parents.  They hardly spoke all morning, Rose declining a break so she could get ready to go out, hoping some of her clean underwear she'd washed out that morning was dry enough to pack to take with her.  Martha would surely be wondering at the silky items hung up to dry.

"Matron.  Would it be okay if I left early again?"

"Why, are you meeting someone again?  Doctor Smith perhaps?"

"I'm sorry if I deceived you, I never meant to, it just started out I was trying to keep the fact it was him quiet because we didn't want to get into trouble and it carried on from there.  We're just friends, that's all, I get a bit carried away with romanticising, I still don't really know what his intentions are and that's the truth."

"Very well Rose, I believe you but you are not helping by leading people on that you met someone from the town.  You need to be honest with them if asked, you don't have to name him but at least say it's someone close by, say you don't want to reveal who it is.  You shouldn't keep deceiving everyone, remember that."

"Yes matron, I'm sorry, it wasn't my intention, I just got a little carried away, that's all.  I'll speak to him about it, that's why we're trying to keep away from being alone in the village."

"Well having tea in the village tearooms certainly did not help your cause any."

"I tried to tell him it wasn't such a good idea but he said it would appear innocent enough for people to begin seeing us together.  That's why I still take Martha with me in the evenings, mainly because she owed me for the drinks I bought her but I won't ask her any more, she was sort of a chaperone."

"Perhaps it is best you keep that arrangement, for now."

"I don't think Martha would agree with you matron, I think she's getting tired of it," Rose smiled.

While Rose was getting ready to go out, Martha had already finished and cycled the short distance to the mostly empty barn the Tardis was currently housed in.

"Hello old girl," Martha said softly as the ship hummed.

Martha never really felt at home there, even when he'd finally trusted her with her own key.  She felt like the unwelcome guest who was allowed in for appearance's sake and now wasn't helping.  She knew full well by now Rose had certainly spent the night in his room, she'd asked the kitchen staff and been told Rose had only arrived ten minutes or so before she'd got there and there was no way she'd missed Rose getting up and she was wearing the same clothes, who did she think she was trying to fool?  Rose must think she was born yesterday.

Still, she'd have to put that aside and concentrate on getting him through the coming weeks, if the family were already hunting for him.  She replayed the instructions he'd left again, skipping some of it and heard him say not to let him forget her – again but it was too late, he was forgetting her and as for the bit about not letting him get tangled up with humans, he'd probably already tangled with one of them and he'd surely hurt Rose and himself when this was finally over but her only consolation was Rose may not even remember this but he would.  How would he feel knowing he'd found Rose again and lost her?

After Rose left the infirmary, Joan went to get ready to go visit her friend, maybe talking about it to someone else would help but the sickly feeling that it could have been her having tea with John yesterday wouldn't go away so easily.  She would just have to accept she was meant to be alone and that was it.  If John was just toying with Rose, would he have done the same to her?

After Rose had left John's room early that morning, he'd put his dressing-gown on and tried to act normally when Martha brought his breakfast tray in, thankful that on Sunday, he was meant to get his own and she wouldn't wonder why he requested her not to bother and no-one would notice he'd not been present.  He did though want a word with her finally about filling Rose's head with the notion his time was limited in the school.

"Ah, Martha, a word before you go.  I heard something rather peculiar that you have told Rose I'm only staying here in the school for three months, whatever gave you that idea and more importantly, why tell her that?"

"Sorry Sir, I must have been mistaken then, perhaps it was because your last post only lasted three months?"

Martha had hoped he'd been given no memory of where that had actually been or she would have been questioned further.

"Yes, well, maybe it was, I don't remember but please refrain for giving her such ideas, are you jealous perhaps, of me giving Rose some attention?"

"No Sir, it's not my place to get jealous of who you give your attention to.  Will there be anything else?"

Martha had just wanted to get out of there before she told him what she actually thought about it, that of him leading Rose on and him breaking more than one heart.  John decided to let it go.  He spent the morning recalling some of his other dreams and thoughts but what Rose had said, about the dream involving her being carried into the unknown, he had to get to the end and just hope it would all end well, the alternative was unthinkable but a feeling came over him that it wouldn't and that he would lose her – for good.

While he was awake though, he vowed that would never happen and after all, it was only a dream – wasn't it?  He'd had this nagging feeling that it could be more of a premonition than a dream, something that would be unavoidable but why wasn't Martha there?  Why did it have to be Rose, who was fast becoming the love of his life after last night, they'd come so close to be being fully his and maybe tonight, away from the school, that may actually happen.  Why had he watched helplessly as she had let go of a lever and was being carried towards what had appeared to be a white wall and who was the figure dressed in black?

Whoever it was, John just hoped was friendly and come to save her but where had whoever it was come from?  He quickly wrote down his thoughts on the matter, question marks everywhere as to what would happen and drew Rose's face again – a face he was falling in love with.  He realised he could go get his lunch before walking down to the village to meet Rose and bumped into her coming out of the kitchen.

"Hello Rose, going somewhere?"

"Yes Doctor Smith, I'm going into town later.  I don't suppose you're walking down to the village are you?"

"After my lunch, I was going into town myself, may I escort you?"

Rose thought about what the matron had told her a short while ago.  "Well I have to go get ready, can we meet in an hour or so?"

"By all means Rose, I'll meet you by the main door shall I?"

There, she had done it, now no-one would believe her any more about a man she'd met in the town or on the bus, she would be walking out of the school with him and if those boys wanted their stupid bets, they'd have to think of something better than if the headmaster or matron would catch them.

They were unaware they were being observed by Timothy, who'd been trying to get something else on John and Rose without success and now, here they were, talking outside the kitchen and he was sure he heard them planning on going into the town together, this would keep Baines amused.  He went off to find his nemesis but almost bumped into John.

As Timothy almost collided with him, he saw flashes, just for a few seconds of John, wearing a more modern brown pinstriped suit and his hair all over the place, talking with a slightly different accent.  Then it was gone.

"Excuse me Sir, sorry Sir, I wasn't looking where I was going."

John held the boy at arms length.  "Yes Latimer, it appears you were not.  Is there something wrong?  Why are you staring at me?"

Timothy shook his head, suddenly feeling like before that the teacher should not be there, either in the school or in this time.

"Sorry Sir,  I'll be on my way, I won't keep you any longer."

"No, indeed not, I must get to lunch, I have an engagement this afternoon and I don't want to be late."

Timothy thought the teacher had just confirmed he was indeed intending on going out of the school with the matron's assistant, Baines would just love this and if the teacher was trying to keep it quiet, then hard luck, this would keep Baines happy for a good while.  Having thought that, Timothy rounded the corner and ran slap into the person who was making his life in the school a misery.

"Well, if it isn't the mouse, where have you been hiding Latimer?"

"Nowhere.  I've got something for you."

"I should think so, all bets have been called off because you failed to inform me that matron knows about the teacher's little fancy lady.  Humphries was in the corridor outside the infirmary while the door was open and he heard matron and Rose Tyler talking, she knows Rose was lying about meeting someone from the town.  I'm very disappointed in you Latimer, why didn't I hear this from you?  Hutchinson, bring the little oink outside behind the school, I'm going to give him a thrashing he won't forget in a hurry."

Before Timothy could object, Hutchinson had hauled him by the collar and was dragging him to the main door, despite his protests of the occasional 'get off me' and 'put me down, I've got something else for you' which Baines ignored, he found himself on the school grounds just at the side of the firing practice area.

"But listen to me Baines, I tell you, I've got something better for you," he tried again as Baines went to pull a branch off a nearby tree.

"I say Baines, why don't we hear the filth out?"

"Taken his side have you Hutchinson?" Baines asked, pulling the rest of the clinging leaves off and making it as rough as he could.

"No, of course not but if it's good, we could start another wager."

Baines considered for a moment, relishing the thought of the branch he had cultivated into an instrument of torture on the squirming younger boy Hutchinson still held the collar of.

"Very well Latimer, if you want to save your hide from a good thrashing, your news had better be good.  Well get on with it then, I'm running out of patience with you.  Hutchinson, let him go and if he tries to run away, he'll get two thrashings instead."

Timothy squeezed out of the older boy's grip and straightened his collar that had almost been choking him and hoped what he had to tell his two torturers would be good enough to let him escape within an inch of his life.
Chapter 28
Baines was indeed pleased with the news Timothy had to tell him and let the boy go.  This was going to be so much better than the original wager and he set about devising his little scheme.  Timothy was just glad to get away, just in time to see John and Rose come out of the school, talking.
John had been waiting as patiently as he could, acknowledging matron leaving by herself to go to the store before walking to her friend's house, whom she intended pouring out her troubles to when she got there as her friend's advice about her giving him time to ask her to the dance, which was now only a week away and now it seemed extremely unlikely she would be going at all, let alone with the history teacher.

Last year, she and her friend had decided to go, there were still a few single males living in the village, a couple of widowed ones but nothing had come of it.  Her friend had left early since another friend was watching the boys for her but it turned out they could have gone as well, Lucy Cartwright had been there with her parents, complete with the red balloon she carried everywhere with her, her father buying her a new one every Saturday afternoon and spending ages inflating it.

As she carried on to the village, she thought of John, standing in the hallway, showing signs he was nervous over something, probably the fact he was blatantly going to walk out of the school, in broad daylight and in front of staff and boys alike, with Rose.  Still, she had offered her assistant advice of not to hide the fact so she only had herself to blame that he wasn't walking out with her.

She would have to have a serious think about herself, did she appear too stuffy for him?  Rose wore her hair in a fashionable shoulder length bob while she herself wore it fastened up, Rose was very outspoken, she was quiet, not too opinionated and knew her place, Rose obviously showed signs she had grown up in a poor part of a city, London from what she'd said so Joan supposed people grew up faster there as opposed to rural areas.

Getting what she wanted in the store, as she came out, Rose and John were standing at the bus stop, Rose was laughing at something and John had a smile on his face.  She thought how happy they looked, Rose touching his arm now and then, probably innocent on her part, the younger woman didn't seem to be bothered about it and John seemed content to let her keep doing it.  Joan carried on the way to her friend's house, knocking on the door when she arrived.

"Hello Joan, you're a bit early today, is there anything wrong?"

"No, not unless you count the fact John Smith has taken up with my assistant and they are no longer hiding it, it's been going on for about a week, well from what I can gather, almost since his arrival and now I believe that night he invited me out to the village pub, he was just doing it for show, to throw anyone off thinking he was already chasing after Rose, who was then still his maid.  I honestly don't know what he sees in her, albeit she's young but what's wrong with me?  Why couldn't he be interested in me?"

All her friend could do was pat Joan's shoulder and go make some tea.  She couldn't offer her friend any advice that she would want to hear.  She'd heard herself that the new history teacher had been seen on several occasions sitting outside the village pub with Joan's assistant and a maid from the school and this morning while in the village store herself, she'd heard some of the women saying they'd been sat in the tearooms yesterday afternoon and the boys from the school had several wagers going about them.

No wonder poor Joan was upset but such was life, half of the married women in the village thought he was most attractive and they knew Rose was very lucky to have caught his attention.  Joan was obviously not one of those who wished her luck with him, he seemed a bit of a lady-killer and she would surely have her heart broken.

"So Joan, I take it you won't be buying any tickets for the village dance, on the off-chance he'll change his mind?"

Joan felt sickly and excused herself to the bathroom – she had to face it, Rose Tyler had won so far but she'd see just how far John Smith was going to take this, if the headmaster himself didn't get involved and ban them from seeing each other, at least in the school but what then?  Would they go out of the school as soon as possible to continue their new liaison?  She'd seen them at the bus stop not that long ago, where were they going and more importantly, were they already planning something in case the headmaster did try to put a stop to it?

While John had been waiting, not so patiently for Rose, he'd gone over his little scheme for getting into the town, locating the small discreet hotel on the other side, close to where they had been to the piano recital last Sunday and he would introduce himself and book in, under Mr and Mrs J Smith, a bold measure for the times they lived in but he expected half the single men of the town and beyond had done that on numerous occasions but it was necessary if he wanted a repeat and more of last night with Rose, she was more than worth it.

They had walked out of the school together, he'd acknowledge matron briefly as she'd gone out, not looking too happy he'd noted and on the way, Martha had passed them, walking at the side of her bicycle up the main driveway.  Rose had stopped to say hello, avoiding being asked what did she think she was doing, walking in full view of everyone with him, Rose had seen it in her friend's eyes, she didn't have to say anything and when she did get back, Martha would be livid with her.  There would be no way Rose could talk herself out of being absent for the night, she just hoped Martha wouldn't find out John was missing as well.

They'd got to the bus stop with five minutes to spare, John had seen the matron passing, Rose had been holding onto his arm as she'd pointed out Martha would be insufferable when they got back to the school, which she'd thought was amusing.  He saw the funny side himself.

"So, Rose, what are you going to tell her, when she questions you?" he asked, her hand on his arm and he wanting to take hold of it, even though she was wearing red woollen mittens.

"Oh, maybe that you swept me off my feet, dragged me to a cheap hotel and held me captive all night?"

John smiled.  "Oh, I never thought of that, do I have to drag you there and keep you against your will?"

"Mmm, no, I don't think so, do you?  Maybe I'll have to claim that if I'm questioned though but it could get you into serious trouble so no, I'll have to say I complied with your wishes, won't I?"

John wanted to take her hand but thought better of it, the boys would have more than enough fuel for their fire without adding to it.

"Ah but are you willing to comply Rose?  Or need I not ask that question?"

The bus pulled up, people were getting off, one instantly recognisable to Rose.

"Jenny!  Where have you been?  I've been worried about you."

"Hello Rose, sorry, I got an urgent message, my mother was taken ill, I had to go look after her, the housekeeper knew about it."

"Well she made me believe she didn't know, did she keep your job for you?"

"I don't know, I'm going back there now.  What about you?"

"Got a promotion, to matron's assistant.  Oh, this is Doctor Smith, the new history teacher."

"Hello Jenny, nice to meet you finally, well more than nice, brilliant, since you're a friend of Rose.  You'll have to excuse us, we have to catch the bus."

"Yeah, of course, don't let me stop you, we'll catch up Rose, when you get back,  I'm sure I'll get my job back somehow."

"Don't worry I'm sure you will but I'm surprised when I asked about you, no-one knew where you'd gone."

They got on the bus, sitting at the back again which got them a few questionable looks from others already seated as they passed the few rows of seats.

"I wonder if she will get her job back, it was all a bit sudden, her going off without telling me.  She looked a bit off herself but if she's been looking after her mother, she's probably just tired.  Did you speak to the housekeeper about her for me?" Rose asked as the noise of the engine drowned out their voices as they kept them low.

John was miles away, having taken off Rose's mitten and was playing with her fingers, entwining them with his own long ones and Rose never even noticing his hands were warm, despite the cold weather.

"What?  Oh, you mean about your friend?  I don't think I actually got around to it, I have had other things on my mind after all Rose."

"Such as?" Rose teased, now doing battle with his fingers.

"I think you know the answer to that, don't you?  Why do you constantly tease me?"

"S'more fun that way, I have to keep you interested, don't I?"

"It's too late for that Rose, I'm already far too interested in you and you know it.  How could I possibly be more interested in you than I already am?  It's not a game, I don't want to play games any more, when we get back, we're not going to pretend any more, do you agree?"

Rose went quiet, letting him take off her other mitten as she put her arm through his, laying her head on his shoulder.  He already knew the answer, Rose was also tired of playing games but they were only doing so for appearances sake but he decided no longer and if certain people didn't like it then too bad. 

Once in the town, they had time to spare before the next showing at the picture palace so John located the 'Cedar Court Hotel' behind the Town Hall and keeping Rose behind him, with her shoulder bag stuffed with a few articles of clothing and other necessities and her mittens on, John went up to the small reception desk.  He wished society didn't frown so much on men and woman wanting to spend some time away from prying eyes in a school.  He'd already telephoned while the school secretary was having a mid-morning break but he knew he'd get questioned about the call when the quarterly bill arrived, even though he'd sought permission to make a call.

"Ah, good afternoon, I made a telephone reservation for tonight, for my wife and myself, Doctor John Smith?"

The man behind the desk looked at John, then Rose, who was trying her best to keep a straight face and not blurt out she was not his wife, well not yet anyway and what his plans were in that department, she had no idea, he'd not even told her yet outright that he loved her though he had implied it last night.  He constantly called her his love but he'd never yet said he loved her, maybe tonight, he actually would.

After looking at his reservations book, the man reached for a blank card and pen, sliding them over to John.

"Sign the card for you and your wife Sir, I've put you in room 201 on the second floor, do you have any luggage?"

"No, we're just out for the weekend, to visit the picture palace actually and my wife wanted to visit your rather magnificent park, didn't you dear?"

Rose could only smile and nod before she burst out laughing, he was taking this seriously and she didn't want to spoil the little performance he was putting on for the hotelier.  John signed the card, hoping the man at the desk wouldn't check since he'd put the school down as he couldn't very well put his home address down and handed it back, took the large keyfob from the man and thanked him.

"Will you be requiring dinner Sir, it's charged extra but the wife does a good meal."

They'd agreed to try and eat out so as not to show Rose did not wear a ring of any kind, like John had said, they could get away with breakfast.

"Well actually, we don't know what time we will be back so we'll decline and just take breakfast, thank you all the same."

Rose was still dying to laugh, holding back until they walked up two flights of stairs and John unlocked the door to find a small but homely room with a neatly made double bed, complete with a red satin quilt and matching red curtains at the small window and a small sink in the corner, the bathroom, they had already passed at the top of the stairs, Rose thankful it was on the same floor and not on the one above or below.

Rose flung her shoulder bag onto the wooden padded chair by the small dressing table and put her arms around John.

"I can't believe we actually got away with that but I think he might have suspected something."

John let out a short laugh.  "Well just hope he doesn't ring the school to ask if I've got a wife, then matron will have something to say.  Still, he doesn't know your real name so what can he ask anyway?  Well my love, we're all alone at last, are you sure you want to go to the picture palace this afternoon, they have an evening showing at seven, we could eat then go."

"Mmm, well if we're not going this afternoon, what do you have planned?"

John gave her a wicked smile and helped her off with her coat then fingered the buttons on the dress she'd changed into earlier.

"Oh, I'm sure we can think of something my lovely rosebud, in fact I'm sure we can find something to do.  I hope you're wearing your new underwear my love?"

"Yeah, I managed to wash it quickly this morning and luckily it was dry, I'm gonna have to buy some more at this rate though, I can't keep up with you, you're wicked John Smith."

"Have you only just discover that?  Now let me help you out of that dress, we have a few hours before we should seek somewhere to dine and go to the venue.  Since you had to leave early this morning to avoid Martha discovering you, I've done nothing but think about what would have happened had you not had to depart so hastily but I think I will tease you, the way you tease me and save the rest for later."

"Yeah, I bet you will but let me just run to the bathroom first yeah?  I won't be long."

She left the room door open slightly and ran back along the hallway, wondering if what he had in mind was a repeat of last night or if it was something else.  Well if not this afternoon, something else would surely happen tonight?  He wouldn't want to wait much longer, not according to what she'd read in those magazines but was she ready for more?  She had shuddered at all the feelings he'd given her last night, they were wonderful and she was sure she was ready for more of the same but should she let him go any further?
Chapter 29 
When Martha had passed Rose and John in the driveway of the school, she was so going to give Rose a lecture when she got back, whenever that was going to be.  Rose had been carrying a shoulder bag, she must have been intending to stay out, they were getting daring and if the pair of them didn't think it was a teeny bit obvious, who did they think they were kidding?  Certainly not her for one, she'd not just come over on the last banana boat.

Surely the matron had said something to Rose by now, warning her about getting involved with him or was Rose ignoring that advice?  She would have to seek Nurse Redfern out once she herself returned from the village.  Martha had been back a short while when there was a tap on the room door she shared with Rose.  No-one hardly ever knocked, not on a Saturday afternoon when the rest of the staff went off to the village to spend their wages and some to send money home or see their families.

As she opened it, a woman stood there, still in her coat, a bag at her side.

"Hello, I'm Jenny, I used to share with Rose.  You must be Martha?"

Martha let her in and they sat at the small table by the door as Jenny revealed she'd been called home and the housekeeper had forgotten to inform Rose and that she'd secured a position back in the school, though not her old one.

"So, you're this new teacher's housemaid and Rose works full-time in the infirmary then?" Jenny asked.  "I saw them when I was getting off the bus, they seemed very familiar with each other.  What's this world coming to, a teacher with one of the staff?"

Martha wondered herself, from what she'd read of the time period she'd found herself in.

"Rose has worked her way up Jenny, she was his housemaid before I got the job and yes, you could say they are familiar with each other, not everyone is pleased with that idea, trust me."

Jenny smiled.  She'd not known Rose for long but they had been good friends.  "Still, she looked happy but does anyone else know about the two of them?"

"Yeah, matron and most of the boys in the school, there are several wagers going on concerning them, that Baines has started most of them, I don't like him."

"Me neither but boys like him will be running the country in a few years time."

Martha thought of the year – it was 1913, maybe most of them would get caught up in the war that was to come and never live to become members of parliament.  That was the purpose of this military academy, to get them trained to fight should a war commence and none of them except her had any idea it would come in less than a year. 

Martha had considered using her knowledge to forewarn someone in authority of what was inevitable but she was sworn by the Doctor's codes not to interfere with historical events, it could change the course of the world and there would be dire consequences, she'd learned that much in Shakespeare's time, when the entire human race could have got wiped out by the Carrionites. 

If Jenny was a friend of Rose's though, she may take her side in events and even help her cover it all up so Jenny was not going to be her ally.

"Well I'm sure Rose is glad you've returned to the school safely, she was really worried about you."

Timothy thought he would take advantage of seeing Doctor Smith and Rose walking down the driveway together, after he'd escaped from Baines's clutches, with a warning he'd better not miss anything else involving the wagers going on and if he was right, he wouldn't win the bet, not that he was that bothered, they could keep their stupid money.

So making sure no-one was around, he crept into John's room and crossed over to the fireplace, picking up the fobwatch he'd seen lying there.

He could hear a voice coming from it, saying the time wasn't right, there was still danger to come and "Keep me hidden" so he put the watch down, not daring to open it as he touched the clasp and got another warning.   Now he knew the teacher didn't belong there and he'd been right all along.  He looked around and saw John's journal on the writing desk as John, in his excitement of a repeat of last night with Rose, had forgotten to put it away.

Timothy could hardly believe his luck as he opened it, there were drawings of Rose everywhere, scattered amongst scribblings and creatures he had no idea about but what stood out was a circle of faces, the teacher in the centre and Timothy wondered what the significance of it was.  Fearing he'd be caught, he closed the journal and made sure the way was clear before stepping out, then slipped down the servant's staircase, almost colliding with Martha. 

It made Timothy jump as he saw visions of Martha in more modern clothes for a moment and it made him realise, she had come to the school with the teacher, why had he not realised sooner she was also out of her time?  He'd known instantly Doctor Smith and Rose were so why not her?  He thought it most puzzling and meant to find out but after muttering a 'sorry' to her as she'd almost dropped her tea tray, he ran off around the corner only to bump into Hutchinson, on his own for a change.

Timothy knew Hutchinson was as much a coward as he himself was when he wasn't with Jeremy Baines, Baines was the ringleader and the others followed him like lambs to the slaughter, he had a hold over them that no-one wanted to break.

"Where are you skulking off to Latimer?"

"Nowhere Hutchinson, get off me, you're not with Baines now."

"You snivelling little coward, how dare you talk to me like that?"

Timothy wondered himself where his sudden courage had come from, had it been from Doctor Smith's fobwatch?

Hutchinson continued, tightening his grip on the other boy's collar.  "I should have Baines thrash you for that remark.  Get out of my sight and you'd better find out who's been to the pub for beer." 

He then went to find Baines, to tell him the younger boy had been cheeky to him, what had come over him, he'd been such a wimp so far, a walkover for the likes of Baines.

Rose had kept John waiting far too long for his liking and was about to peer down the corridor to see where she'd got to.

"Ah, there you my love, I was getting worried about you.  You're not having second thoughts are you?  If you are, I can escort you to the bus stop and take you back to the school, if that's what you want?"

Rose reached up and put her arms around his neck.

"No, I'm not having any doubts about us, I'm just worried that when we get back to the school, everyone will discover we've both been missing overnight and they start asking questions, that's all."

"Well, just you leave that to me, let me be the one to worry about that.  Would you rather go out than be here alone with me?  We can still catch the showing at the picture palace if we hurry."

"No, we can still go later, I want us to make up for lost time this morning, when I had to leave in such a hurry.  Just think, we can sleep in tomorrow morning, no-one will bother us and I'm not gonna change my mind so stop thinking that I am.  Now, why don't you make up to me what we missed earlier?"

"Oh Rose, I've waited all day to do that, let me show you?"

They kissed, Rose on her tip-toes to reach, her arms still around John's neck, his arms around her waist.  He wanted to show her all at once exactly how he intended making up for letting her leave so early that morning but now, they had all night and the morning and he was hoping if she was willing, he would get her to finally part with her last item of clothing.  They'd come so close last night, he'd pulled the silky underwear as far as he dare as she had laid on him, then, as he'd flipped her over and kissed his way across her and her cleavage, his hand had strayed lower down, feeling her hip as he'd gently caressed it with his finger and thumb.

He had loved the way she'd made funny little noises of delight, he'd been sure anyone could have heard her, had they been passing but it had been late when they'd stopped talking.  Tonight, there would be no talking, just Rose, murmuring softly under him at his touch, then her on top of him, he himself daring to pull his shorts down even further so skin would touch skin, their hips touching and them moving together effortlessly.

He pulled her towards the bed, reaching down to unbutton her dress, revealing the cami-top that was fast becoming his favourite one as it showed her breasts as she bent her arms to take the dress off her shoulders.  Now in just the top and the silky knickers, he put his hands on her shoulders, pulling down the straps and leaning down to kiss one, then the other and then, he gently laid her back and knelt either side of her, touching the top of her cami, feeling the material between his fingers.

As he hovered above her, she reached for his shirt buttons, pleased he was wearing nothing underneath like last night and pulled the shirt down his arms, John trying to unfasten the cuffs as she splayed her fingers across the hairs on his chest, a wicked smile on his face, him wondering if he was going to even have to wait until tonight for his fantasy to come to life, that of seeing her hips instead of just touching them and more.

Rose was smiling back at him as he tossed his shirt over the headboard and leaned down to kiss just above the cami, moving it out of the way, slowly and kissing as he did.  Then without a word, Rose reached for the buttons on his trousers, something she'd not done last night, he had taken them off himself but he was aware she was new to all this and didn't know what was expected of her, if he was the one that should initiate things or for her to follow his lead or even do as she pleased, he'd be happy with either of the last two options.

He raised himself up for her to ease his trousers down over his hips, revealing his white cotton shorts and moving one of his arms, helped ease them lower until the were at the top of his legs then awkwardly, swapping from side to side, they eventually dropped onto the floor and without warning he lowered himself on top of her and they began kissing passionately, not like before, when they had been sweet and fairly short but deeply as they sank their lips into each other.

When they finally came up for breath, they both smiled, John touching the hem of her cami and indicating he wanted to remove it, seeing her in the daylight from the window instead of the lamp in his room.

"You, my lovely rosebud are fair indeed and may I say what a delight it is to be seeing you in natural light, may I remove this?"

Rose giggled and ran her finger down his torso and stopped at his belly.  "Mmm, you don't need to ask, it never stopped you before."

"Yes, but most times, it's been in the lamplight or with the curtains closed, I want to take a good, long look at you my love, at the school, there was always a fear someone would knock on the door or Martha would wander in but now, there is no such fear.  Let me take in the sight of your loveliness."

He pulled the cami over her head, her breasts spilling out as she kept one hand on his arm that was now caressing her and her other hand on the waistband of his heavy cotton shorts.

"My, Rose, do you intend to begin taking the lead in our relationship by any chance?" he grinned, looking up from kissing her cleavage.

Rose removed her hand rather quickly, hoping he wouldn't think she was being so bold as to assume he'd wanted them pulling down like last night but maybe she was the one that was rushing things.

He looked disappointed and stopped her, moving her hand back.

"Rose, it's okay, I was only teasing you, like you tease me my love, here, let me lay on you and we'll do it together and capture what we both felt last night."

As he lay gently on her, first reaching for hers and pulling them down over her hips, then, guiding her hand, they pulled his down equally, they kissed again as he moved his hips against hers and he felt her tremble beneath him, smiling to himself at the pleasure they were now giving each other.

It seemed like an age to Rose as she felt him move against her, she could feel other things but was too scared to say anything, maybe these new sensations were part of what it was like being with a man.  It was beginning to get dark, they'd not noticed though as they kissed and moved, until John realised and giving her one last kiss for now, pulled his shorts back up that he hadn't realised had moved lower down than he'd intended them to do but she'd hadn't seemed to mind and had not tried to push him off when she could easily have done so.

Maybe tonight, when they'd had a nice evening out, she would let him take hers off all the way and enjoy it so much that she'd never notice if he did the same.  He couldn't recall ever getting so far with any of his other girlfriends but he supposed he must have done at some point, his memory was rather foggy on that point but he would certainly remember if he succeeded with Rose, that he would never forget as long as he lived and one day, he hoped she may want to leave the school with him and they would settle down together, get a house and start a family together.

Why shouldn't he begin to make plans like that, if Rose was responding to him in the way she was, it wouldn't be too long before she was finally all his.
Chapter 30
After they had been to the picture palace, they called at a late night café and John bought some hot chocolate and cream for Rose and tea for himself, Rose also wanting some cake and John wondering where she got her appetite from and where she put it all, they walked arm in arm back to the hotel, Rose being careful to keep her mittens on for fear of getting asked to leave, it was going to be difficult enough in the morning explaining where her ring was.
Alone at last in their room, John allowed Rose to unfasten his shirt for him after he unbuttoned her dress, Rose lying propped up against the pillows now in just her underwear.  She was giggling as she did so.

"That was a nice evening John, I've never seen a moving picture before but the writing on the screen kinda spoiled it a bit."

"Well, they could hardly have spoken for all the different characters, that would take a vast amount of people doing the voices."

"Why not just have them talking themselves?  Would it be that difficult?"

John unfastened his cuffs as she slid the shirt over his arms, she was getting impatient for him to take it off, she rather enjoyed seeing him without his shirt.  As he got up to put the shirt over the back of the chair, he took the liberty to take off his trousers at the same time, leaving a disappointed look on Rose's face as she wanted to do that herself, now she was beginning to get a bit bolder but she never said anything to him, he may think she was being too forward.

John was thinking the opposite and wished he'd not deprived her now as he crawled back onto the bed.

"Oh, I'm sorry my love, did you want the honour?"

He leaned down to kiss along the top of her cami.  "We'll have to take you to one of the finer women's stores in town and buy you some more nice underwear, won't we?  Maybe next Saturday afternoon, before I take you to the village dance.  You'll be needing something nice to wear for the occasion, a nice new dress perhaps?"

Rose giggled.  "Well, you're not choosing my underwear for me, John Smith, whatever will they think?"

"That I'm paying lots of attention to you my love.  You will come with me to the village dance next Saturday night, won't you?  Please say you will, then I can finally show you off to the villagers, not that word will not have already spread by now, us being seen in the tearooms and getting on the bus together."

"Yes, though you've not formally invited me yet.  I wonder if anyone's noticed we've not returned on the last bus back?"

"Oh, don't worry about that, you know what everyone is like on a Saturday night, the boys won't care, the staff will be too busy and they won't miss us, well maybe your friend Martha might.  By the way, I had words with her about filling your pretty little head with the idea I was only staying at the school for three months.  I set her straight and told her not to say such things to you."

"Thanks but she'll be even more suspicious and now, Jenny's seen us together, they might gang up on me."

"Then if they do, you make sure you tell me, I'll be having words with both of them.  When we get back tomorrow tongues may be wagging anyway, you won't be going to the kitchen to get my cocoa, will you?"

He pulled the straps of her cami down, one by one and kissed her shoulders, then her neck.  She grabbed hold of him and he landed on her, Rose smiling as she ruffled his hair.

"I thought we weren't going to talk tonight John?  Last night was wonderful but there's more, isn't there?  I want you to show me, please?"

"Oh Rose, I'd be honoured to show you, if you are certain my love?  Is there anything you want to ask?  Is there anything I should know about?"

"Mmm, not just yet but I might be a bit of a misery next week so take advantage of the fact I'm still okay.  I've been reading a book I borrowed from matron, I think it explained a few things, which I knew nothing about.  My mother never told me, she probably thought I was too young but now, I need to know these things, if we continue with this."

"Oh yes Rose, I want to continue with this, don't you?  You are very special to me Rose and yes, I know I've had other girlfriends but none of them compare to you, you are truly something special, I knew that when I first met you and I'm so glad you got that promotion so it wouldn't be wrong for me to pursue you.  Normally I would have had to ask your father's permission to take you out and I'm very sorry that's not the case but you're a long way from home.  So, Rose Tyler, I want to make it official by asking you, to be my girlfriend and not see anyone else."

"Yeah, I want to be your girlfriend, I don't want to see anyone else, there's only you.  Is this what it's like, to be in love with someone?"

He answered her by lifting the cami over her head and leaning down to kiss where it had been.

"Yes Rose, this is exactly how it feels and I think I've fallen deeply for you, it's too late now, I'm too far gone over the edge and want to make you all mine."

"Then I feel the same, I feel all excited John, like I've got butterflies in my tummy, I felt it last night, you made me feel special."

"You are special Rose, always remember that, there is something about you, I felt like I was drawn to you when we met and I know it's only just been over a week but it feels like we've known each other for longer."

"Yeah, I thought so too, that's how you make me feel, like I belong with you."

He reached for the waistband of her silky knickers, fingering the material.  "Yes Rose, we belong together, Doctor Smith and Rose Tyler, it has a certain ring to it and when the school takes another break, I'd like to take you home with me, to meet my family."

"Mmm, you'll have to meet my mum, she might give you a slap if she finds out I've been spending so much time alone with you."

"Then it will be so worth it and I'll deserve it, after tonight, now no more talking my rosebud, come and lay on me for a while and let's see what happens, maybe I can coax you out of these tonight, eh?"

Rose smiled, touching the waistband of his shorts.  "Maybe but you keep those on, for now, I'm still not sure about that.  I may take a bit of persuasion to let you out of those."

"Then allow me, my love, we can take turns if it puts you at ease, let's start with you.  May I?"

He eased her silk underwear down over her hips, then lower than he would normally do if they were laying together, he was smiling as she seemed content to let him as his hands gripped her hips and she his arms, he knew she would stop him when she felt scared but as they got lower and he took in the sight of her, he was surprised as slowly, they came down her legs and he moved out of the way as one side, then the other revealed the top of her thighs, until he threw them over the headboard.  Then she reached her arms out and he leaned over her and gently lay on her and Rose felt even more sensations than the night before as he whispered her name.


When it had got past the time Rose should have returned on the evening bus, Martha knew she had been right, Rose had been planning to stay out and as far as she knew, the Doctor hadn't been seen returning either, not that anyone would actually care on a Saturday night.  The boys would be running riot, the teachers would be hidden away with their crate of beer and those unlucky enough to have been left to keep some sort of order wouldn't care unless the school was on fire.

After her tea, she took Jenny to one side, wanting to know now exactly how long Rose had meant to have been there, not being able to rely on Rose's own memories, which had clearly been implanted somehow, either by that scheming ship in an effort to nudge the Doctor into finally getting his act together and declaring his love for his blonde companion or by some freaky cosmic interference that just happened to coincide with the current situation and honestly, she didn't know which was the worst.

Whoever or whatever had planted Rose and the Doctor, in the same school and instantly been attracted to each other, they would be sorry if she got her hands on them.  Her one chance for him to finally think of her as more than a friend and companion had been blown and there would more than likely never be another, well especially if he couldn't get over the fact of what he'd done when he came out of all this.  Maybe in some strange way, he'd relayed subconsciously to the Tardis he would love to see Rose again and he'd be pleased with the outcome, even if it was only short-lived.  Well he'd be the only one that was pleased about it, she and the matron certainly were not.

Letting most of the others leave, Jenny made them some tea.

"So Martha, what was it you wanted to see me about?"

Twenty minutes later, Martha was non the wiser about what had brought Rose to the school.  She only learned from Jenny what Rose had told her so whatever or whoever had brought her there, had planted her or made everyone else think she'd arrived when she did but as for her being at another school, if it had existed, she had no way of finding out.

Meanwhile, Timothy had been doing some snooping of his own, once Baines and his cronies retreated to the dorm with their prize, four bottles of beer they'd bullied out of another dorm, he went to the library and double checked there had been no other school in the village, though he would have known had there been one.  That meant Rose was either there under false pretences or it was as he originally thought, even though she'd appeared one day and them being told to be respectful to her, something they knew they should with all the staff but Baines and company normally ignored it but somehow, even he paid noticed of what they'd been instructed.

It was like the whole school was under the illusion she belonged there so who was she?  Now he had something else to worry about after he'd bumped into Martha earlier, she didn't belong there either so how many more were there?  Then that Jenny had just come back out of the blue when everyone thought Martha had taken her place and she'd been accepted back.

There was something very wrong here, he could feel it and since he'd picked up Doctor Smith's fobwatch earlier, he was seeing things clearer, could sense things he couldn't before but he could never let Baines find out, he'd never hear the end of it.  No, he had to act normally and see what he could find out now he was gaining new abilities, he could use them to his advantage.  Maybe now, it would all come clear to him and he would discover what they all had in common and he could look for anything else that was out of place.

When Joan had left her friend's house, feeling certain she was getting tired of her complaining about John Smith, she decided she'd see if he was in his study if he wasn't at dinner, something she herself had been avoiding for a few days as he was unsettling as he avoided her glancing at him.  Why had he even asked her out that time in the first place?  To give her some false sense of hope or to throw others off that he was meeting Rose? 

If he was in his study, she was going to have a good talk with him, without any interruptions, whether he liked it or not because he had to learn he couldn't play with a woman's emotions like he had been doing and if he was just stringing Rose along as well, giving the younger woman false hope, it was very remiss of him.  Rose had said she didn't know what his intentions were towards her but he certainly seemed keener on her assistant than he was on her but did he do that everywhere he went?

If he wasn't in his study, he may have gone straight to the village pub upon their return from the town, Rose had mentioned they were going to the picture palace, a place she had no desire to visit herself but the younger woman seemed keen to go there and watch moving pictures on a large screen but that was the modern age for you, she wondered what would be next, people watching them in their own homes?  Well if that ever happened, she wouldn't be entertaining the notion, were she ever to have her own home again, that was for sure.

John wasn't at dinner, she checked as she passed by the dining room so they must be still out.  She wondered whether or not to take a walk down to see and saw Martha walking along with Jenny.

"Ah, Martha, have you seen Rose by any chance?"

Martha thought more like was she still out with John Smith, it was written all over her face.

"No matron but Jenny and I are taking a walk down to the pub, would you care to join us?"

"No, thank you.  I just wondered if Rose enjoyed her afternoon out, she was going to see one of those moving pictures."

"I'll be sure to ask her that when I see her, she's probably had her tea out and sitting in the pub already.  Was there anything else?"

As Jenny and Martha got to the pub, there was no sign of either John or Rose, which Martha half suspected and buying the drinks, they sat away from the smokers and Jenny never even mentioned she thought Rose would have already been there, given the last bus had come and gone, unless Rose was hiding somewhere in the school, or more likely John's room.

Joan shook her head, there was but she wasn't going to discuss it with two of the maids.  She went upstairs and knocked on John's door and got no reply but it wasn't polite to enter a teacher's study without them being present or invited in but she found herself trying the door and walking in.  She looked around and spied the journal, right where Timothy had earlier on and she crossed over, flicking it open.

She was angry when the pages were filled with images of Rose, her name written down but she never looked at any of the other writings, she didn't need to, she'd seen quite enough to know he was obsessed with Rose and he'd never been remotely interested in her and never would be.  She closed it again, never seeing the faces of nine others with his in the centre and let herself out, tears in her eyes. 

Now she wished she'd never gone in there and certainly not let herself get caught up in the fanciful excitement of the new history teacher's arrival, she resigned herself to remain alone.

In the hotel, it was just after nine thirty and after successfully coaxing Rose out of her underwear, she was now enjoying John kissing across her tummy, daring now and then to kiss one of her hips as she ruffled his hair with one hand and one on his shoulder.

"Mmm, John, I thought you were gonna let me lie on you?"

"Oh, yes, of course my love, let me move for you."

As he moved, Rose rolled over with him, not wanting to break contact with him, she was more than enjoying this, it was the best feeling ever and as he pulled her on top of him, his hands rested on the small of her back, fingers straying lower as he pressed her closer to him, giving her the best feeling of her life as she rested on him, this time without her underwear being in the way, the quilt covering them both and them not feeling the chill as the radiator went cold.

As Rose got used to him she became more adventurous and began moving on him, giving her more sensations.

"Rose, my love, I think now may be a good time for you to decide if I'm going to be allowed to remove my shorts, don't you?"

Rose giggled.  She was going to torment him something rotten and then he saw it on her face as she smiled at him, turning her head towards him and as she rested on his shoulder, she dared him to remove them.
Chapter 31
When Rose woke up the next morning, John was watching her carefully, studying every little twitch she'd made as she slept peacefully in his arms.

"Good morning my love, you look adorable when you make that funny little gesture when you wrinkle your nose."

"Mmm, it's itchy that's why.  Hi, is it morning already?"

John smiled and freed the arm she'd been sleeping on.  "Yes, we have about half an hour before breakfast and don't forget, you have to say you omitted to retrieve your wedding ring from the side of the sink when you'd washed.  Don't worry, they'll believe you if we say we're newly-weds.  After breakfast, we'll go visit the museum then the park before we get the bus back to the village and then we'll get back in time to have tea before we go face the music in the school."

"Sounds good to me but what if the headmaster sends for us?"

"Why would he get involved?  As long as we conduct ourselves properly in school, there's very little he can do, he can't forbid us to see each other but maybe you should refrain from fetching me any more cocoa each night?  Still come to my room but if you don't go in there, they will think you're no longer sneaking around and we're not going to sneak around, not any more.  How do you feel this morning?"

"Great, like my head is still reeling, I thought I was going to burst with excitement and the whole building could hear my heart beating, it was wonderful John.  Is it always like that?"

"Yes my love, I can make you feel like that every time but we'd best leave it for a while, considering what you told me but don't worry, we'll have plenty of time and there's lots more we can do while you are indisposed for a few days.  Now, come here while I make sure I didn't miss kissing any part of you last night, it took you quite a while to bring you back down to earth."

Rose giggled, thinking back to how she'd felt last night, when she'd dared him to take off his shorts and she had rolled over onto him, gasping for breath as she felt him and then had begun moving on him like when they had been in their underwear but it had felt so much better.  Then, she had moved uncontrollably as wave after wave of pleasure shook her whole body, holding onto his shoulders as he caressed her hips and the side of her breasts, then, when she thought she couldn't stand it any more, he had suddenly flipped her over, moved her legs to where he wanted them and gently made love to her.

She hadn't known what had hit her as she felt him, trusting him that he wouldn't hurt her but she could feel him moving and instead of shying away, she had welcomed him.  John had been feeling much the same, enjoying the sensations he was giving his precious Rose that he felt himself relax into her and let nature take its course.  It had taken her some time to control herself when he gently came away from her and several times when he'd tried to move away, she had pulled him back, not wanting him to leave her and depriving her of intimate contact with him.

When she had woken up, she swore she could still feel him moving and after kissing, she knew she still could as he moved her onto her back and moved her legs again.  Rose just stared into his gorgeous brown eyes that she could dive in to.

"John, what was that about breakfast?"

"Hush my love, they serve it for an hour, we don't have to be there right on time.  Do you think you can bear to enjoy some of what we shared last night?  If we had time, it would be a full repeat but we may still be able to safely do so tonight, with your consent of course, I would never presume you wanted a repeat."

She ruffled his hair.  "Yes John, I want a repeat, while it's safe to do so.  There's still a lot I don't understand but it's okay, I trust you.  Now, we're wasting time, make me feel like I did last night, it was amazing."

They made it to breakfast with just fifteen minutes to spare, after Rose said she should pretend her hands were cold and wear her mittens.  John had laughed and taken her hand and held it all the way downstairs and ushered her into the breakfast room smiling and nodding at the stuffy men and woman who were much older than he was and staring at the couple as John located their table number and sitting next to Rose so maybe no-one would notice they weren't actually married though to him, he felt like they were, he'd never felt this way as long as he could remember and he loved it.

He loved showing her off to everyone and he intended to continue doing so as long as she would allow and come the holiday season, he intended taking her back to his family home and introducing her to his friends and family when they all gathered to celebrate and if she was willing, to maybe introduce her as his fiancée and he hoped Reinette would be present since she had spurned him when he'd taken his last posting away from his home town.

As far as he could remember, he'd never felt the same for her as he did Rose, she was very special and had become the only one that mattered and now, she was finally his, after just over a week of his arrival at the school and his flirting with her that evening had paid off.  Now she was smiling at him as a couple came to sit at the next table, realising the woman was staring at Rose's left hand as he'd let go of it to read the breakfast menu.

"Good morning to you both, you must excuse my wife, we've only been married a month and she hasn't got used to picking up her ring when she has washed her hands, have you dear?"

Rose shook her head, figuring if he was going to start making up stories of how she wasn't wearing a ring, he was doing so on his own to avoid any complications but he was looking at her to back him up.

Oh well, he asked for it for getting himself into this when he could have just kept quiet and let people talk about them.

"Yeah, I was a bit late up, someone kept me in bed and I was in a rush, didn't want to miss breakfast, I worked up quite and appetite."

John wished he'd not bothered but smiled.  The man opposite shook his head as his wife's face reddened and Rose thought she was probably just jealous, people these days were so stuffy and what was wrong if they weren't married?  They had shown their love for each other last night and again this morning, they were committed to each other in their own way and in their minds so what was a piece of paper and a ring to say they had?

Martha had woken up, having no tray to pick up and even if it hadn't been Sunday, there would still have been no tray to pick up as it had become clear there were no signs of the Doctor or Rose last night and she doubted they would be back before the last bus back to the village.  When she'd talked to Jenny last night, she had got no new information from Rose's friend and sincerely doubted the two of them were close friends, otherwise Rose would have told her more yet Rose had been concerned over Jenny's sudden disappearance from the school.

Martha knew the obvious reason, the Tardis had created the vacancy to enable her to remain close to the Doctor to keep an eye on him  - for all the good that had done, she was no closer to him than she had already been, she may as well remained in the Tardis then at least she wouldn't have had to watch the two of them flirting and making eyes at each other and acting like a couple of lovesick teenagers.

Now they would be even worse if they'd spent the last two nights together, probably in a hotel in the town last night though how they'd get away with that, she had no idea, she'd read about society in that time period but there again, the Victorians were supposed to have been worse than the time she came from.  No doubt Rose would keep quiet when she got back, not that Martha wanted to hear of what they'd been doing or her raving about how good in bed he was.

As far as she was concerned, she was the one that would have to deal with the aftermath of all this, his guilt about allowing himself to fall in love with Rose all over again and his only consolation would be, Rose would never even know she had been there, well hopefully she wouldn't, since Martha had not yet worked out what she was even doing there and how she'd got there.  It was looking more and more like it was the meddling ship who thought the Doctor deserved to see his lost love one more time and finally act on his pent-up emotions.

She just wished she didn't have to watch and if he dared ask her when this was over why she'd let him – well she would tell him exactly what she thought about it, him looking the way he did and not expect women to throw themselves at his feet, despite his protests he wasn't looking to replace Rose.  Normal human males got over their old girlfriends and moved on but he wasn't human though acted like one, since he'd said he preferred earth to any other planet or had that just been since he met Rose?

If that was the case, why had he remained there after she'd gone?  Why hadn't he just left and never gone back?  No, he was drawn to the earth, maybe hoping one day she'd come back but it didn't mean he had to remain in mourning for her.  Why couldn't he just accept what was standing right in front of him?

Joan had got up and gone to knock on John's door again despite what she had seen in his journal last night.  She could never even admit she'd seen it anyway, he'd be angry she'd been in his room and even more so she'd read some of it, even though she'd seen enough about Rose but she wished she'd read more.  Then she had an idea.  If she pretended to be his friend and offer him advice about Rose, maybe he'd start to see sense, maybe she could plant the seeds of doubt in his mind that Rose was of a poor family and below his social status despite her recent promotion.

Surely his family would frown upon his new liaison and maybe disown him?  So she made her mind up that was what she was going to do and then see who he took to the village dance next Saturday night.  She had less than a week to come up with ideas how to lure him away from Rose without being too obvious about it.

After their day out in the museum and the park, Rose and John got the bus back to the village then had afternoon tea before walking back to the school.  Timothy had been anxiously awaiting their return after Baines had cornered him and sent him outside to watch for them and see if they were holding hands so as he sat on the steps waiting for them, he began thinking about Martha and how she was involved in all this.

While Rose and John were in the tearooms, talking quietly about their day out and the picture palace, not wanting to talk about their very private moments together, Jenny had ventured out for a walk and passed by, seeing them sitting by the corner window and Rose smiling and taking the teacher's hand across the table.

She wondered why Martha had been questioning her so much about her friend and why she'd suddenly been called to attend to her mother but Jenny had been surprised most of all as to how when she had got home, her mother had seemed fine but had insisted she stayed so she had decided to take advantage and not be branded a liar when she got back to the school but there had been so many changes while she'd been away.

There was Martha, being given her old job, Rose had worked her way up to be matron's full-time assistant and had become the new history teachers girlfriend in a matter of days.  The world was very strange indeed and for them to be so bold as to be sitting holding hands in the village tearooms and Martha had commented she'd not seen either of them last night or this morning.  Rose had never even mentioned she liked anyone from the village that much and since her own return yesterday, she'd not had the chance to ask Rose how she'd managed to capture the history teacher's attention.

So as the evening drew on, Rose made no secret of the fact she was going to John's room but asked Martha not to spread the word before she left.

"I'm not covering for you all the time Rose, forget it.  If you want to see him then fine, I can't stop you, you're both adults and know what you're doing but remember what I said.  He'll leave one day, then you'll get your heart broken."

"He's taking me with him when he goes home for the Christmas break, he promised me.  He also said he'd told you about trying to put me off him.  He says he doesn't know how long he's staying in the school but when he does leave, I'll be going with him, I'll get a job wherever he goes, he said he'd help me."

Martha thought yeah, just like he'd got her a job.

"I just don't want you to get hurt Rose, he might be taking advantage of you, that's all.  Just be careful."

"Matron's already tried to warn me but he'd never do that.  He's a good, kind man, he wouldn't do that to me."

"I'm sure you don't think he will but you never know.  I wish I could tell you everything will be fine but you just never know what might happen.  You might think it will last but you can never be certain."

Rose went off, how could Martha even talk like that?  John would never leave her but he'd not yet said that he loved her, even after what they'd shared last night and that morning, lying in the hotel bed after they'd woken up and he'd given her more wonderful sensations that when he'd decided to explain the absence of a wedding ring, she'd almost blurted out why exactly he'd kept her in bed and she'd seen him blush.

John noticed when she got to his room that she wasn't her normal bubbly self she'd been earlier in the day.

"Come on Rose, what is it?  Has Martha been putting ideas into your head again?  I did tell you not to take any notice of her, did I not?"

"Yeah, I know you did but how can I not listen?  How long are you staying here John?  Will you take me with you, when you leave?"

"You know I will if it's at all possible but surely you are free to leave when I do?  I know the school bought you from your last employers but you must have served your time and fulfilled the contract by now?  If and when I do leave, then if I have to, I will set you free my love, don't fear about that.  I'd never just leave you here, I couldn't do that, to think I had to leave you behind."

He took her in his arms and she looked up at him.

"Last night, I asked you is that was what it felt like, to be in love.  You said you'd make sure I always felt like that.  Do you love me John?"

He kissed her forehead and angled his lips to hers.

"You know I do Rose.  Now tell me, how long are you going to stay with me?"

She looked up at him and saw the love there in his eyes, she didn't need to hear him say it but she wanted him to.  No man had ever told her that he loved her and she wanted John to be the first to say it.

"Forever.  I love you John."

He leaned down and they kissed.  "Quite right too and I suppose, I'll have to say this sooner or later.  Rose Tyler….."
Chapter 32
The next few days were just normal.  Jenny began her new job, Martha continued to ignore Rose every night at the same time as she disappeared, the other maids never even noticed Rose had not gone in to make late night drinks.  Joan was trying to get up the courage to go knock on John's door but every night, she saw him meeting Rose by the front door and they would walk down to the village for tea.  They were making no secret about it but by Thursday, Joan had seen enough of them leaving together so after she'd seen Rose go back upstairs, she was ready to face him and caught him as he was about to go down for dinner.

John had continued to write in his journal, things Rose had remembered from her dreams but something else was disturbing him though he'd not wanted to wake Rose from her slumbers.  She had stayed in his room every night, they had talked quietly as he drew more images of her and shared what he'd dreamt, about the two of them travelling together and being free but he was no nearer solving the mystery of how they had been drawn to each other.

On the Wednesday night, Rose had got to his room and after they'd kissed, now waiting until they got into John's bed to do anything else, since Rose was feeling off, it had put a temporary hold on most other activities anyway but John had been determined not to let Rose be upset about it.

"Rose, we have to still find out the ending to my other dream you know.  I don't like leaving it like that."

"Maybe we're not meant to know.  Have you picked up the watch recently?"

"No, do you think I should?  Does that hold all the answers Rose?"

"There's only one way to find out, take hold of it again."

"It's strange, I never bothered about it until recently, like I was meant to wait but why now I wonder?"

Rose put her arms around him.  "Go on, pick it up then."

John still didn't feel he should do but maybe it would give them both the answers they needed.  He picked it up but just got whispers again the same as the last few times when he'd been alone.  Whispers of 'Wait' and 'The time is not yet right' followed by 'Keep me hidden, keep me safe' but as he picked it up, even Rose heard 'Danger is coming' and John put it back.

"What does it mean John?"

"I don't know, maybe it's what I've been remembering, well not remembering, about next year."

"Why, what happens next year?  Tell me John."

John did not want to tell her about the images of a war that had disturbed his sleep and he'd hurriedly written them down once Rose had left his room the last few mornings.  A great war was coming, bigger than anyone had ever seen before, encompassing many nations and it was coming very soon, that's all he knew.  Where were these ideas even from?  Was he really remembering all this, had it already happened?

As they'd fallen asleep that night, Rose beginning to feel better than the last few nights, he knew he had to tell her since it was going to affect her in ways she couldn't even imagine.  After they had got back from the village on Thursday evening, Rose saying she would see him later and she had some laundry of her own to do, he heard a tap at the door, knowing it wasn't Rose or Martha's

"Matron.  What can I do for you?"

"Can we talk, privately?'

"Well, I'm rather busy and it is almost time for dinner.  Still, come in."

He made a point of leaving the door slightly open and just hoped Rose wouldn't decide to come back early, though she would have just finished her own meal.

"I'm concerned about Rose, she's very distracted lately.  Is that your doing?"

"Really matron, I thought we were beyond that now?  Rose is not distracted, she's just happy.  We are not making a secret of it, just because no-one else seems to have noticed, well apart from you and Martha.  Are you two between you trying to disrupt our liaison?"

"Far be it from me to tell you who you should and should not strike up a friendship with Doctor Smith but when it affects my assistant, I feel I have to interfere somehow."

"Just let her be happy matron or have you forgotten what that feels like eh?  To be young and happy?"

"That's not fair John.  Why did you encourage her?"

"Who I encourage is up to me, like you said.  Now, was there anything else?  You cannot make me change my mind about Rose and I don't want you taking it out on her, if you don't mind.  Your personal feelings should not interfere with her abilities to do the job.  Can I have your assurance that it won't?"

Joan was lost for words.  She'd tried and failed yet again so she had to agree.  "Of course, Doctor Smith, I was concerned for you as well, your reputation, here at the school.  I wouldn't want to boys to lose respect for you."

"They haven't as far as I'm aware, nor for Rose.  They are all too concerned with their own amusements to bother about us."

He just hoped he was right, he couldn't have the boys losing their respect for Rose, even if they lost it for him but what was it about her and Martha trying to pull him and Rose apart?  Was it all just blind jealousy on both their parts?

Joan got up, spying the journal that was open on the desk.  "You must think a lot of her then?"

"Yes, I do.  Now I think it's time you left, don't you?"

She saw the images of the war to come.  "This looks horrendous, have you shown these to her?"

"No and I don't intend to, she doesn't need to see them."

Joan read what he'd written about 1914.

"This takes place next year?  How is that even possible?  All these other things you've written down," she added, flicking the pages he'd filled over the last week or so, some he'd shown to Rose, some he'd kept to himself.

"You've dreamt all this?"

"Yes and I think they are more than dreams.  Rose knows, she has some of the same ones, though hopefully not the war that is looming."

Joan shook her head.  Who on earth was he?  Who was Rose to him and had they only just met or did they know each other previously?  By the looks of it, it seemed they knew each other very well, maybe in a previous life because they had come from quite different places and backgrounds to have met anywhere other than in the school.  After she left, she meant to seek out Martha, she had more hope of getting something more out of the maid though she had been reluctant the last time but she needed to know more about the mysterious history teacher.

Timothy had been thinking almost the same thing over the last few days.  He'd been paying more attention to the teacher in classes rather on the lessons themselves and despite passing Rose and Martha several times, he'd seen Rose and the teacher leave right after lessons for the last few evenings and if Baines hadn't given him unwarranted punishment for something he'd not done, he would have sneaked out of the school and gone after them.

His curiosity was getting the better of him, he'd seen Martha talking with Jenny as they'd been leaving the kitchen and now he'd decided Martha was a better target.  If he could only work her out, he'd work out Doctor Smith and Rose.  He'd had a stroke of luck the night before.  Baines had got tired of him and told him to make himself scarce so he'd slipped out of the school and taken up position by the tearooms, saw John and Rose holding hands in the corner but then, they got up and making sure they didn't see him, he followed them to the village store.

He'd gone in, some of the other boys were there in the corner, annoying one of the assistants and he'd seen John go up to the counter and purchase two tickets for the dance on Saturday night.  Now he could sneak in himself and observe them but he wasn't going to tell Baines, he'd already lost his bets which was why Timothy was in his bad books anyway.  Since the teacher and Rose were being more open about their relationship, bets were now off, as if that was his fault but he'd got the blame for it.

Baines and the others wouldn't miss him on Saturday night, once he'd cleaned his boots and done Hutchinson's extra homework, he could get away and sneak in the back entrance to the hall where the band would be getting in.  Then he would wait for Rose and Doctor Smith and once away from the school, they may let down their guard and talk.

As he stood in the hallway, Martha came back around the corner.

"Are you okay?" Martha asked, seeing him in a bit of a daze.

"Yes, sorry, I'm fine."

"You look a bit off, why don't you go see matron?"

"I will, I've just got a bit of a headache, that's all."

His headache had steadily been getting worse and it had all been when he'd picked up that watch.  Was that tied in to it all or had that caused all this in the first place?  Even at night, the headache didn't really go away, just dulled a bit.

Martha touched his arm and he got flashes of her again, running off somewhere.  "Are the other boys bullying you?"

"No, it's fine, I can handle it."

"Well you should talk to the teachers, go see Doctor Smith."

"I did, he just sent me to see the matron."

Martha thought if he had still be the Doctor, he would have put a stop to it.  She was sure the boy wouldn't take notice of her.

John had been waiting for Rose to arrive, jotting more things down but wanting to put the journal away before she arrived.  He was glad to see her when she opened the door without knocking, making sure no-one had seen her doing so.

"Ah, there you are.  I had a visitor earlier."

"Oh, maybe a certain matron?"

"Yes, it's getting tiresome and do you know what I think my love?"

Rose let his arms fold around her and looked up at him as he kissed the top of her head.

"I think I should buy an extra ticket to the dance so she sees how happy we are, don't you?"

"Ooh and you say I'm the sneaky one, John Smith."

"Ah but Rose, I've been taking lessons from you.  She even had the cheek to say I'm distracting you from your infirmary duties.  I don't distract you my love, do I?  I told her you were just happy and you are happy, aren't you?"

"Yeah, I'm happy John though maybe I've been daydreaming when I should have been working but you don't help you know."

"Really?  What do you daydream about?"

Rose hit his arm playfully.  "You, who do you think I daydream about?"

John smiled.  "So I do distract you?  You should concentrate on your work though and not give her cause to have you going back to being my maid."

"Oh I don't know, I rather liked being your maid."

"You deserve much more than being a maid Rose.  You deserve to be out there, amongst the stars.  You know I would take you if I could.  Tomorrow night, we'll walk back to the village after dinner and find a clear spot and gaze up at the stars, maybe out in one of the fields, away from the village?  What do you think?"

"Yeah, that would be nice but cold."

"I'll help you keep warm then Saturday night, we'll be dancing together, in full view of everyone."

"Do you think it's fair, to dance together in front of matron?"

"Well she can't seem to accept we're together, we just need to convince her."

"Well you can't go with two women, what would everyone think?"

"That I'm popular?  Then why don't you go with Martha and we'll meet there?"

"What?  You don't want to be seen going in with me?"

"No, I didn't mean it like that.  I'm sorry, of course I want to be seen going in with you.  Forget it my love, it's you I'm going with and I want you to tell everyone.  We'll spend the afternoon in the village, we'll have a late lunch there then you can get yourself ready for the dance."

"I haven't got anything to wear though, not nice enough to wear to dance with you."

"Oh.  Then maybe we could go to town and get you something?"

"I'd rather go on my own, I have a bit of money to spare.  I'm sure I can find something suitable."

"You just choose something nice and send the bill to me.  I'll make sure you get the money back.  Very well, if you don't want me to invite matron then I won't.  The chances are she'll make her own way there, I doubt she'll miss the chance to see us together if you were to talk about it tomorrow perhaps?"

"Oh yes, I'll be talking about it, I can't wait."

As he helped her undress, Rose for the last few mornings getting changed after her breakfast, he kissed the back of her neck and turned her around.

"Oh yes Rose, I can hardly wait either and while you're in town, why don't you treat yourself to something nice to wear in bed?"

"Are you tired of me sleeping in your things?"

"No my love but you should be all soft while you sleep next to me, not wearing my things.  Why not get something in pink?  You look quite lovely in pink, it suits your complexion."

He led her over to his neatly made bed and sat her down, just in her underwear and the floral cami.  He didn't want to talk about what he'd written earlier and talked about with matron but he wanted to talk about their possible future together but would he scare her away?  Never before had he wanted to make such plans, not even with Reinette but with Rose, the ideas were overflowing and since she'd expressed a desire to travel, though he couldn't take her to the stars he intended to take her wherever she desired.

Rose looked up at as he sat beside her, his shirt unbuttoned and Rose resting her hand on his chest.

"Last Sunday night, you started to say something and we've not talked about it since.  Why did you never finish what it was?  You said my name then you pushed me down on the bed and we never spoke of it again.  I'm just curious but were you trying to avoid saying something back to me, when I told you that I loved you?"

"Me?  Why would I want to do that my love?"

He was scared though of telling her how he felt but why?  Why couldn't he tell Rose that he loved her?  What was holding him back?
Chapter 33
Rose was getting more excited about the dance the following evening.  She decided to take John's advice and drop as many hints as she could to both matron and Martha though she wasn't that worried about Martha, she was probably a bit upset she missed her and John sharing a bed and she no longer had to take his tea to them but when the bad weather really came, John had said Martha would just have to get used to Rose sharing his afternoon tea with him whether she liked it or not.

It wasn't until the afternoon that matron decided to try and find out just how serious Rose was about her bragging she was going to the dance with John.

"So Rose, have you thought about the implications of this?   Once you are seen out with Doctor Smith?"

"Yes matron, we have thought about it.  He's prepared for anything and the people in the village know me, we've been having afternoon tea there for a week and we've been in the village store together.  It's not like I'm still his maid."

"I understand that Rose but you are very young, he's much older than you are."

"That's what I like about him, he looks after me."

"You said you lost your father when you were young, are you sure you don't see him as a father figure?"

"I mean no disrespect matron but that's not fair.  What I feel for Doctor Smith has nothing to do with growing up without a father.  Can we not discuss this any more?"

Rose wished now she had never started this, so much for John's idea of rubbing matron's face in her going to the dance with him, he wasn't the one who had to do it.  She'd met Martha at lunchtime and didn't fare any better with her friend.  Jenny was also there.

"Rose, we hear you're going to the dance tomorrow night, we thought we might see if we can get tickets as well, didn't we Martha?"

It had been Martha's idea, strictly to keep an eye on the Doctor of course but she'd had this nagging feeling something was going to happen and soon.  Two weeks had almost gone by and all had been quiet but Timothy Latimer had been behaving strangely, like he had his head in the clouds most of the time, he'd looked surprised twice when she'd bumped into him, like he knew who she really was and Jenny had come back, out of the blue like she'd never even been away.

If that wasn't bad enough, Rose and the Doctor had got cosy with each other and were no longer hiding their relationship, Rose even sneaking down to his room every night and Martha knew she'd not been back overnight, her sitting there in the kitchen, all smiles, eating her breakfast like nothing had gone on and the kitchen staff not even bothering about it.

Then there were the other staff, who had questioned Rose every night as to if she was charging the Doctor for the errands she was doing for him then when she had stopped going in for his late night drink, they'd never even made anything of it and hardly even talked about Rose, let alone she'd been seen leaving school with him every night and they'd both been absent until Sunday evening.

That scheming ship was going to have a lot to answer to when she went off for a visit tomorrow, that was for sure but Martha doubted she could get the Tardis to change her mind, she was always going to be on his side and if that included bringing Rose back, that if the ship had thought it a good idea to keep him occupied for the duration he was acting as a human, then that was what would happen.  She supposed the Tardis thought it was better if he had to go fall in love with a human woman, it should be Rose and not a complete stranger – or her.

Martha thought she might have accepted had it been matron but she'd been up against Rose Tyler since the start, him telling her she wasn't replacing his lost companion.  He must have conveyed to his ship his sadness at losing her and this was the Tardis making it up to him.  It was sad really but he should have got over it by now but she wasn't sure how long it had been since he'd lost Rose, since he never seemed to travel in a straight line, not even when he'd taken her home two days after she'd left, something she was still having trouble wrapping her head around, especially after their encounter with Professor Lazarus.

She had thought the Doctor was going to leave her, he'd gone then come back but only because something was happening where her sister had got herself another new job, he hadn't come back for her but here she was, watching him with Rose Tyler, a woman she thought she'd never even meet let alone be more jealous of than when he'd raved on about her all the time.  She was snapped out of her thoughts by Jenny.

"Are you with us Martha?  You're as bad as Rose here.  Her and that Doctor Smith have been walking around with their heads in the clouds since I came back and now he's taking her to the dance tomorrow night.  Don't worry Rose, we'll be there for moral support.  Are you nervous?"

"No but I thought I would be.  I mean going out for tea with him is one thing, only a few people see us but everyone will be at the dance.  Thanks Jenny, I think I'd feel better if you two were there.  I expect it will be packed."

"I'll go down to the store later and see if there are any tickets left shall I Martha?"

"What?  Oh yeah, I'll pay you when you get back.  I have to get back to work."

Rose was about to leave when Jenny stopped her.  "I think she's jealous of you Rose and I don't mean of your new job."

"Yeah, Doctor Smith mentioned she'd been a bit off with him since they came here.  She was his maid before, he got her a job here but not the one she expected, I got it instead."

Jenny giggled.  "Yeah Rose, she told me.  I'd say annoyed doesn't even come into it.  It's like she's attached to him and she doesn't want to share."

Rose smiled.  "Well tough, he chose me to take the dance and I don't want to share him.  See ya later Jenny."

Jenny shook her head.  Tonight after work, she would go get two tickets to the dance then maybe watch the two of them in the tearooms and have a giggle as they held hands.  Then she might pay a visit to Saul, the man she'd taken a liking to who worked at the stables on Mr Clarke's farm and see if he was also going tomorrow night and he might actually get around to asking her to dance this year.  She'd have to rush though since it got dark early and she wasn't keen on walking back to school on her own and she doubted Rose would want her tagging along with her and Doctor Smith.

After school finished for the day, Rose dashed to her own room to get changed as did John and they met by the door again.  It had never bothered John that they'd met there all week and no-one even said anything to him, well apart from matron so kindly pointing it out to him last night, the nerve of the woman to question his feelings for his Rose.  She was his Rose now she had almost fully given herself to him and tomorrow night, after the dance, he would bring her back to his room and ask her if that was what she wanted – to have her first time with him.

They had come so close those few nights but nature had prevented them from doing so and Rose had assured him she had looked up such matters in the book she had borrowed and since he'd never had that problem with any of his past girlfriends, he had to rely on her judgement entirely.  Then, if she gave in to him, they would go out the next day, to the village they had met in the first weekend and he would ask her if she would consider getting engaged to him because although it had only been a short time, he knew he'd never want anyone else and he didn't want to waste time.

Last night though, something had troubled him and he'd written some not so nice things down that very morning.  Not only was a war looming but something worse was going to happen, everyone would be in danger and he'd heard the watch calling out to him in his dreams.  The whispers of 'Danger' had come to him in his sleep and he'd seen visions of creatures who had wanted to live forever and they'd destroyed everything in order to get it.

That was something else he could never bring himself to tell Rose, she was so innocent in all this but would she thank him for not telling her?  If he was going to ask her to be his wife, she would want to know everything and how they were connected.  It was funny though, he'd not even known her two weeks yet he'd never been as sure of anything in his life.  He just hoped she felt the same but she'd told him she loved him, now all he had to do was say it back and Sunday afternoon, he would tell her and ask her to marry him.

He could do so tomorrow night, either at the dance or when they got back but it would seem wrong to tell her after they had made love so he really should do it before.  Yes, he wouldn't wait until after, she would think it a mere afterthought on his part and it wasn't.  He did love her but he'd never been one to express his feelings verbally.

Timothy had seen the two of them leaving and since Baines had gone to the dorm to plot how to sneak out later to get some beer hidden in the nearby woods but was waiting for the cover of darkness, which these days wasn't that long to wait, he followed at a safe distance but saw Jenny come out after him.  Maybe she was following them as well so he hung back at the gate in the hope she wouldn't notice.

After their visit to the tearooms, John said they should go out later, when all the stars were out and just sit and look at them.

"We can do that from the pub John," she teased as they walked back to the school.

"Yes but there are lights from the village, it will spoil our view.  There shouldn't be any light from other sources.  We pass a field on the bus, we could walk out there."

"Yeah, it's called Cooper's field, it stretches for miles, we'd get a good view from there.  Can't you get your dinner any earlier?"

"Yes.  I'll go to the kitchen and take a tray to my room the same time as you, maybe you could bring one as well?"

"I don't think that's a good idea just yet but next week, we'll dine together, yeah?"

"Oh yes Rose, that would be fine indeed my love.  Do you have things to do, when you get back to the school?"

"Well yeah, I have to get my bath and wash my hair for tomorrow night, don't I?  I bought some nice bath salts in the store when we were last in and some more shampoo."

"Well I look forward to smelling it later on my love.  You are still going into the town tomorrow afternoon to choose a new dress and some new underwear?"

"Yes and I'm still going on my own."

"Then I'll accompany you on the bus and you go off on your own then we'll meet up for tea, where we went last Saturday evening?"

"Okay, we'll do that then but we won't have to be out long, I have to get ready for the dance, I have to look my best for you."

"Oh, I'm sure you will my love, you'd look lovely in anything.  Then when we get back tomorrow night after the dance, you can wear your new nightdress for me.  I wish I had one of those cameras to take a photograph of you wearing it, my sweet Rose."

Rose giggled as they reached the school gates, letting go of his hand but he took it back.

"No, we go into together, no more hiding after tomorrow, the entire village will see me dancing with you."

No-one but Martha and Timothy even noticed as they entered the school and John kissed the back of her hand.

"Until after your dinner then?  Meet me down here at seven sharp then we will go stargazing and pretend we are up there amongst them."

"Mmm, can't wait then, see ya."

Rose went off excitedly to book her time in the bathroom before someone beat her to it and was trying to dry her hair when Martha came in.

"Getting ready for tomorrow night then?"

"Yeah, I'm really looking forward to it.  I hope you don't think I've been ignoring you Martha?"

"No, why should I?  Jenny has been keeping me company since you prefer being with Doctor Smith."

"What do you want me to do Martha?  Choose between you and him?"

"No, I never meant that.  You go ahead and do what you want, just don't come crying to me when he breaks your heart."

"What's come over you?  You are jealous, aren't you?  Just because you've known him longer than I have and you came to the school with him but I got your job.  Well you got it back what else do you want?"

Martha wanted to say him but she would never have him and when all this was over, he would remember she tried to split them up so all the wishing in the world would never make it happen.

As Rose went off to get her tea, she saw John coming out of the kitchen with his tray.

"Hello Rose, in a rush are you?"

She knew he was teasing her, he liked to make her blush bright red in front of everyone, which had been what had got them into this in the first place, him and his flirting.

"Yeah, got a date later, I'm going stargazing."

"Really?  On your own?"

"Well I wasn't planning going with anyone but maybe you could join me, if you want?"

John was well aware the kitchen door was open and everyone inside could hear them but they would all find out tomorrow night anyway, it would be the talk of the entire village after the morning service at the small church as the gossips gathered outside afterwards.  Not that he cared.

"That would be most delightful then Rose, I look forward to it and in return, you must allow me to take you to the village dance, tomorrow evening?  I won't take no for an answer."

Martha was listening with interest.  They still thought they were trying to fool the whole school.

"Then I accept, if it's a formal invitation?"

"Why yes, it is a formal invitation, I already took the liberty of buying two tickets, it would be a shame to waste them, would it not?"

"Yeah, it would.  We can walk down to the field after you finish your dinner."

"Yes, fine, brilliant, I'll meet you at the front door in one hour then when we've done watching the stars, will you join me for a drink?"

Martha thought she was going to throw up, what were those two playing at?  All the maids knew about them but did nothing about it and the teachers seemed oblivious to the whole thing and even the boys had called off all bets, well maybe Baines had another one up his sleeve, such as them setting a wedding date but that was never going to happen or was it?  Martha was now officially worried.  What if he did something stupid like ask Rose to marry him and they actually did it before all this was over?  She was powerless to stop it, she knew that.

While Rose and John were still smiling at each other, John's dinner getting cold and Martha wondering why the kitchen staff had not objected to serving up his meal an hour before the other teacher's, little did they all know Martha was not going to have so much as to worry about John and Rose getting married but they would be fighting to stay alive.
Chapter 34
An hour later, they were walking in the moonlight towards the field Rose had told him about and John found a clear spot, unobstructed by the trees and they sat on a low wall by the gate.

"Mmm, it's lovely out here but cold."

"Then snuggle up to me my love, we should have sneaked out a blanket but we won't stay long then we'll get warm by the fire in the pub.  I wanted to ask you something."

"Yeah?  What was it?  You can ask me when you've named all those stars up there.  In some of my dreams, you knew all their names."

"Really?  I suppose I may have read about them but as to remembering them all  - well."

Rose touched his cheek with her hand covered by the mitten.  John smiled and tried to impress her.  He surprised her and himself by reeling off names he thought he'd read in a book and Rose clapped her hands.

"See, you did know them – show-off!  You'll be telling me next you can name all the planets as well."

"Well maybe I could but I wouldn't want to brag," he laughed, nudging her with his elbow as she slipped her arm back into his.

Rose saw a bright star.  "Go on then, what's that one called?  What constellation is that one in?"

"You never asked me to name the constellations!  Oh, actually, I think that one is in the constellation of Kasterborous."

"What?  I've never heard of that one.  Are there many stars and planets in it?"

"There are suns and moons but the main planet I think is called Gallifrey.  Yes, a red earth-like planet about 250,000 light years away."

"Wow and we're seeing it?"

"Well you can't see the planet but through a telescope you should be able to."

"How do you know so much about that planet in particular?"

"I don't know really, it must have stuck in my mind when I read about it."

Rose looked in awe at him and kissed his cheek, which was surprisingly warm.  She knew she loved him and wanted more than they already shared together and the flirting and teasing added to the excitement but she just hoped that tonight or tomorrow night, after the dance, he would finally tell her that he loved her.  Not that she wouldn't wait for him to say it but it had been almost a week since she had told him and a girl could only wait so long but she was confident he did love her but was shy at coming out and saying it.

They sat arm in arm for a while, John pointing out other stars, Rose resting on his shoulder, his arm around her and kissing her forehead.  He knew he should just come right out and say it, why couldn't he?  This was perfect, the stars shining above them, Rose giving him her full attention as he somehow came out with more names of stars, there was no better time than right now and she may even be his tonight, without waiting until after the dance but no, he couldn't tell her and until he did, he couldn't have all of her, it would have to wait.

They were about to leave when Rose noticed a bright star moving across the sky and nudged John, who was much too busy sinking his lips into her neck.

"John, look at that."

"What my love?  I'd rather be looking at your lovely neck."  He carried on kissing it despite her trying to get him to stop.

"Be serious will you John?  Look, it's stopped."

"What has?  What's stopped?"

"That star, it was moving fast across the sky."

"It was your imagination Rose, thinking about all the things I want to do to you when we go to bed tonight."

Rose would normally have gone all funny and giggled at the thought of what he would do but the star was moving again, slowly, like it was searching for something.

"No, I wish it was but just look will ya?  There, it moved again."

John reluctantly left her neck and looked up as the star began to move again.

"It's just a shooting star my love, or maybe a meteorite, it's 1000's of miles away."

"Yeah?  Then why did it stop then move off again and change its speed?"

"You are getting carried away with all this stargazing my love.  Really, it's nothing but an optical illusion.  Shall we go to the pub now?"

They watched as the star, or what Rose had thought was a star, took off again and out of sight.  Rose shook her head and allowed John to help her up, before he got buried in her rather wet neck again though it had been rather delightful to say the least.

"See, it's gone, the earth's gravity must have been drawing it and slowed it down while it passed over, nothing more."

"Yeah, well it looked like it landed close by to me, come on then, you can buy me a drink and tell me more about meteorites."

"With pleasure my love, then when we get back to my room, you can be the one to bury yourself in my neck but no nipping or biting tonight, save that for tomorrow, I have something special in mind to finish off our evening of dancing."

"Mmm, that sounds good.  So what did you have to ask me then?"

"Oh, right, yes.  I wanted to ask you my love, if by any chance, tomorrow night, you might consent in consummating our relationship?"


"Do I have to explain it to you Rose?  I want you to be mine, fully and without reservation."

"Oh, is that all?  Thought it would be something more than that."

"Really?" he asked hopefully, thinking she was going to say yes and he shouldn't have put it off.

"No, you plum.  This is something I'm gonna have to think about John, it's a big step you know, a commitment and something I never thought a man would ask me, until I was married."

"Take all the time you need my love but I just thought, after the dance tomorrow night, it would just seem so special.  If you want to wait, then I'm fine with that, all I ask is that you will consider it, consider being all mine."

Rose nudged him as they walked back towards the pub, its lights shining in the distance. 

"I am yours John, I just need time to think about this but if I do say yes, I want something in return."

"Oh, what might that be my love?  For me to buy you some more new underwear perhaps or something nice like those chocolates, flowers?"

"No, for you to tell me you love me."

"Oh Rose but you know I do.  I call you my love all the time and I show you, is that not proof enough I love you?"

"I just want to hear you say it, as you do all those things to me in bed and when we're kissing on the sofa."

"Then I will my love, when we get back tonight because I do want you Rose, more than I've wanted anything in my entire life.  I would chase that shooting star and give it to you to prove it."

"I know you would and I'm still not convinced it didn't land close by."

"Then you have been daydreaming a little too much my love.  Come on, it will be nice and warm in the pub."

They hadn't been the only ones to see what Rose and John had thought was a shooting star.  Jenny had been trying to cheer up her new friend Martha after the display Rose and John had put on outside the kitchen earlier and had persuaded her to go to the pub with her and they were sitting outside as the couple walked up to the pub, hand in hand, like that as all Martha needed, before she'd even got to the dance tomorrow night. 

Martha didn't think she'd be able to stand much more of this and hardly any time had passed at all but as she and Jenny had been talking, Jenny had pointed into the sky.

"Look at that Martha, make a wish?"

"What for?"

"Oh don't be such a misery Martha, it's good luck to wish on a shooting star.  I know you're rather sweet on Doctor Smith but you have to face it, he's too smitten with Rose to notice anyone else.  I hear the matron was seeking his attention as well.  What's so special about him then?"

Martha sometimes wondered that herself.  "I don't know, he's just been kind to me while I've been working for him."

"Are you sure that's all?  Has he encouraged you in any way?"

"Well no, I'm just his housemaid, unlike Rose."

"She said she got your job but that was hardly her fault was it?  She couldn't very well turn it down and now she's matron's assistant, you got your job back."

"Yeah, well I should have got it to start with, then maybe they wouldn't have got so friendly."

Jenny laughed.  "Yeah, like that would have ever stopped them, they're totally gone on each other, it's sweet."

"It makes me feel sick, having to watch them together.  Anyway, what about that star you just saw?"

"Well it stopped, like for just a minute then it landed over there I think though it could have just flown away from the earth, it was hard to tell."

Martha looked worried.  "Did you notice where you thought it had landed?"

"Yeah, over by Cooper's field but over the other end, it's miles away."

Martha got up.  "Then show me the way?"

"In the dark?  Don't be daft Martha, you'll be lucky if it even landed there.  Look, here comes Rose and her man."

Martha turned around.

"Ah, Martha, Jenny, good evening.  Would you care to join us inside?"

"No thanks, I think Martha wants to go after that shooting star we just saw, didn't you Martha?"

"What?  Oh, yeah, don't mind us.  Come on Jenny, I'm not going on my own."

"We've just seen it too Martha, this side of Cooper's field but John says its not even landed on earth, it's just carried on its way."

"Then why did it stop for a minute?" Jenny asked.

Rose let go of John's hand.  Jenny noticed and smiled. 

"See, I told you it stopped, it wasn't my imagination, you lose."

He knew he was going to pay for that mistake later, hopefully.  On their way back he'd said if it had actually stopped, she could lay on top of him and kiss a certain part of his chest, since he was always kissing hers.  He knew she was already looking forward to it.

Martha was too busy to wonder what was meant by that.

"Jenny, it's just a meteorite, it will be long gone by now.  Are you sure you don't want to join us?" John asked.

Martha was already on her way, off in her pursuit to see if it really was what he'd just said it was but her heart was pounding.  The Doctor had said the family had a ship and would follow them, maybe they had run out of places and times and come back, since Rose had seen something a week or so ago, she should have taken notice then but what could she have done anyway, beside stop him falling in love with Rose – again.

Now she was convinced it was them, no shooting star would just stop dead for no reason other than it was them, looking for the Doctor.

While Jenny had been consoling Martha and Rose had John had been stargazing, well Rose was stargazing, John was kissing her neck after he'd got her attention and they'd kissed for some time before doing any actual stargazing, Timothy had been polishing Baines's boots again and Baines himself had gone off after tea to find the hidden crate of beer.  He'd upset Hutchinson by revealing the contents of a letter the older boy had received, only just getting away with saying he was good at guessing but he'd guessed right, something that had surprised him and it was only since having contact with that watch.

He'd been back to see John earlier after he'd got back from the village with Rose, boldly knocking on John's door.  John had been in a good mood and invited the boy in.

"Ah, you came for that book, yes!  The Definitive Account of Mafeking by Aitchison Price.  Wait there a moment and I'll get it for you, I don't keep it in the classroom."

John went over to the alcove to look for the book as Timothy had spied the watch lying on the shelf.  He crossed over and picked it up, almost dying to put it in his pocket and discover its real secrets and find out who Doctor Smith, Rose and Martha really were.  He was too late.

"Something the matter Latimer?"

"No Sir, sorry Sir."

"Very well, you can return the book on Monday.  Was there anything else?  You look troubled."

"No Sir."

Now, Timothy was finishing Hutchinson's Latin homework when he heard a tapping at the window.  One of the other boys went to let Baines in and he knew immediately something was wrong as Baines had arrived back empty handed and a funny look on his face, sniffing the air.

John and Rose got back to the school, Rose hardly being able to wait to get her reward for winning the bet.

"Ah Rose, about that."

"Oh no, you're not getting out of it, you do it to me all the time."

"Yes and very nice it is too but we still need to talk.  I don't want to rush you my love but I had another dream last night, not a very pleasant one.  There are things you need to see, in my journal and I'm sorry Rose, I'm really sorry but you are not going to like it."

He didn't want to spoil their special time together and watched as she took the journal from him and looked through the recent pages.  He shouldn't really have been surprised at her reaction.

"Well, why did you keep this to yourself?"

"I did not want to upset you my love."

"Well you wouldn't have, you should have told me about it."

"It's not something I could just come out and tell you after our nights together.  Do you still want to be with me?"

She leaned forward and kissed him

"Yes John and you still have a bet I need to collect on but Martha looked troubled when she'd seen that shooting star."

"It was probably nothing."

"Yeah but what I've just read, about that family looking for you?"

"Forget it for now my love, we have a dance to attend tomorrow evening and nothing is going to stop me finally showing you off to the entire village.  Now, would you like to do the honours and unbutton my shirt?  I believe you were looking forward to something?"

Rose put the journal on the desk and got up.  "Mmm, yes, I am, now pay up."

"Who am I to argue with that my love?"

To say Rose enjoyed herself was an understatement and they spent another night, coming so close that John thought she was finally going to give in to him but had pulled away at the last moment and Rose didn't complain.  He knew she had to be certain about this, there would be no going back for either of them so tomorrow night, he would have to get himself together and tell her he loved her.

"Rose my love, are you alright?"

"Mmm, I'm fine, that was really something, it's getting much more 'erm, what's the word?"

He kissed her neck and glanced up at her.

"Intense?  Yes, intense is a good word for it, what do you think?"

"That it's my turn to kiss your neck?  Why can't I bite your neck tonight, it is Friday."

"I have this thing, about my neck being bitten.  Did you not see that image, in my journal?"

"What image?"

"Of a half man - half creature, a werewolf?"

"Must have missed that bit, when did you write that down?"

"Oh, maybe I never got around to writing that down then?"

"Yeah, I'd say so.  So, are you going to tell me?"

"About the werewolf?"

"No, that you love me."

"Oh Rose my love, I do, honestly, how can you not know it?  Have I not just shown you?"

He had, she knew he had and that he'd stopped before anything else happened.  What was stopping him?

"So, what we just did, was that it?"

"Oh no my love, that, I'm waiting until tomorrow night and all those feelings you've been having will pale in comparison, I promise you.  First though, you have to give me your answer, that you give your consent because I would never go against your wishes."

"Then tomorrow night, after the dance, I'll give you my answer."

He leaned down to kiss her, Rose putting her arms around his neck.

"Then I'll look forward to getting your answer and I hope it is yes."

Rose didn't know the answer herself.  She loved him, he'd shown her he loved her, wasn't that enough?
Chapter 35
Rose was still up early the next morning, pleased she'd finally got her reward for winning the bet that she'd not imagined seeing that shooting star stop dead in the night sky.  She still wished he'd actually come right out and say that he loved her but how could she doubt it?  She'd read in the book she borrowed from matron and knew tonight was the last time she could safely give in to him without much chance of any repercussions later but even then, it would be 50/50 and depend if she got really scared and made him stop, which they had talked about before they had fallen asleep last night.
After kissing John goodbye and saying they would walk to the bus stop together after Rose finished her duties, Rose went to get changed quickly, disturbing Martha.

Martha had not been expecting Rose back but normally, she got her breakfast first but since she had been early, she chanced the others seeing her creep back up to her room.

"I don't know why you bother sneaking around Rose, really.  They all talk about you and Doctor Smith."

"So?  Anyway, where did you dash off to last night then?  It was only a shooting star you know."

Martha thought that's what it had appeared to be but she still had this nagging feeling they'd been found and it wouldn't rest.  She was going to have to somehow get around to the subject of the watch when she took his breakfast and hope he didn't get too suspicious she asked too many questions.

So getting John's tray, Martha knocked on his door and waited to be let it.  She bet a measly weeks wages Rose just walked in now and that he'd never bothered to put on his dressing gown before allowing Rose to do so.

"Good morning Doctor Smith."

"Yes, indeed it is Martha.  Today is most definitely going to be a good day."

Martha thought he had finally gone loopy, a big grin on his face.

"Shall I pour out you tea for you Sir?"

"No, it's fine, actually I wanted to say something to you."

Martha knew what was coming, he was finally going to admit Rose had been staying with him and to assure her silence.  It wouldn't look good if he admitted it and she told the entire school, not that the boys probably didn't already know and most of the staff, who despite what she'd told Rose in a bid to get back at her, had been surprisingly quiet.

"What's that then Sir?  Is it about you and Rose walking hand in hand last night to the pub?"

"Well yes, actually.  You know we've been seeing each other, don't you Martha?"

"Of course Sir, she shares a room with me and it's not my place to judge whom you keep company with."

"Good, so we understand each other?  I'd be grateful if you kept the news to yourself, well apart from Jenny, whom also saw us last night.  You know, if we were in different times, we would not have to keep it so much as a secret, we would be free to do whatever we wanted but until then, we are going to be seen around the village together, we've already been down together several times and tonight, I've invited her to the dance."

Well at least it was now official Martha supposed.

"Yes, she already mentioned it, Jenny and I are also going."

John smiled.  "I hope you were not intending to spy on us Martha, were you?"

"Of course not Sir."

She glanced over at the fireplace, the watch still where it always was.

"Was there anything else Sir?  Would you like me to polish your watch for you?  If you intend wearing it tonight?"

"That thing?  Why should I wear that?  Actually, I was intending to give it to Rose, as a token of my affection, I don't have much else of a personal nature to offer her, it's a family heirloom."

Martha didn't know if this was a good or bad thing but if he gave it to her, at least she'd know where it was.

"I'm sure she will appreciate it Sir."

"Indeed.  She's become very important to me Martha, I'm sure you realise that?  If you are concerned at all for your friend, I can assure you, I'll take the greatest care of her."

"Of course Sir.  I'll come back and tidy your things later.  You've left your journal out again Sir, shall I put it away?"

"No, I need to write some things down.  Actually, last night, although I of course dream mostly about Rose, well, you were there as well."

"Really Sir?"

"Well yes, Rose thinks this is silly but sometimes she dreams it as well, that we travel together, in different times and places but last night, she wasn't there, you were.  We were in the year 2007 of all things."

Martha raised an eyebrow.  How long had he been dreaming about these 'things'?

"Yes and also, well, this sounds strange and I've not told Rose yet but I dreamt I was from another world and I had two hearts.  Do you think she will find it strange?"

"I expect she'll believe you Sir.  Your breakfast is getting cold and here's your morning paper.  It's Saturday November 15th 1913, see?"

"Yes Martha, I'm well aware of the date, the date I show Rose off to the entire village tonight.  I have plans to make if all goes well tonight Martha, very big plans, involving her and hopefully, she will agree to being a part of them."

Martha was beginning to panic slightly, surely he wasn't already thinking of getting married to Rose?  How was she going to stop him?  It hadn't been two weeks and he was making 'plans' that obviously did not include her and now, he was dreaming of what he thought was his and Rose's future, this was getting way out of hand.

Three months, he'd told her.  Three months of keeping an eye on him, making sure he didn't do anything stupid and he'd done exactly that – done something stupid like fall in love with Rose Tyler and forgotten her.  She barely remembered what he'd said the day he was about to become human, something about residual awareness to let her in, well he'd certainly kept to that bit – conveniently, what a surprise.

John wasn't completely surprised at Martha's reaction to the news he intended making Rose a part of his hurried plans.  He thought of asking her tonight if she would like him to rent a cottage in the village and move in with him but the village may not be quite ready for that but if they both worked in the school and kept to themselves, they could put up with the gossips, it was none of their business.

He decided while Rose was choosing a dress for the dance tonight, he would use the time to look at some property rentals and see what Rose thought about it before making a decision.  It would surely be better for both of them to escape the school when they had finished for the day but from Monday, John resolved they were having their meals together in the evenings, whether anyone liked it or not, breakfast was still a bit of a grey area so that would have to stay the same as would Rose leaving before Martha arrived, for the time being anyway.  He was sure Rose would agree with him on that point, not wanting her friend to see her still lying in his bed.

After his breakfast, he set about writing his latest thoughts in the journal, which was now filling up nicely.  He'd never imagined Martha would have been with him on his travels last night and yet she'd seemed quite at home with it but where was Rose?  Why wasn't she travelling with him or had he left her somewhere?

Martha had gone off, a bit unnerved about the whole thing if he was starting to remember and if he'd noticed Rose wasn't with him, he might wonder where she was and mention it to her, it wouldn't be good if Rose was out of her own time and remembered when she got back, that was if she did actually remember any of this but he would, he'd have to live with it, losing Rose again.

Rose had gone off to report to matron, considering asking her if she could leave early, then she and John could get into town and she would have more time to find a new dress.  John had said he would give her some money before they set off so she could also buy some nightwear and a new cami top, which he said he was looking forward to seeing her in after the dance and she was looking forward to coming out of the tiny washroom dressed up for him and debated whether or not tonight, to get him to turn around and she would dispense with getting undressed in the confined space.

She could get him to promise not to look while she got changed but he would be sure to get curious and peek but it wasn't like he'd not seen her already.  Maybe tonight, the final barrier she had put up would come tumbling down and she would agree to be with him fully.  It was either tonight or wait another week, then the special moments after the dance would be lost.  Tonight was the night she danced with the man she loved with all her heart in front of everyone and she wanted to make this a night to remember.

She was blissfully unaware that as she worked through the morning, Jenny had got off work early and was walking down to the village and confronted by who she thought was Saul, the stable hand from the farm, being silly and all dressed up as a scarecrow and dragged off into the nearby woods or the fact that Mr Clarke himself had spied several new scarecrows, thought he'd seen one of them moving then been apprehend by them.  She was also unaware that little Lucy Cartwright had been running an errand for her mother, skipping along one of the lanes with her red balloon her father had just inflated and had been grabbed from behind.

Rose chatted all morning to matron, neither of them spoke about the dance that night nor about John, the object of both their affections and Rose was thankful the other woman didn't mention his name in conversation. 

"Matron," Rose asked, just before eleven as Joan made herself a cup of tea.  "May I finish early today?"

"I don't see why not.  Where did you get to, last Saturday night, no-one saw you return."

Rose hated lying to her, how could she say she and John spent the night in a hotel room in the town?

"I came back at the last minute matron, only just got in.  We were all in the village pub, me, Martha and Jenny came down so we wanted to catch up."

"Was Doctor Smith with you?"

"Yeah but he left early, we went out again on Sunday, back to the town on the first bus."

She just hoped matron believed her and not go around asking Jenny, Martha may yet still cover for her.

"Very well Rose, finish what you are doing then you can catch the midday bus.  This is getting to be a regular occurrence but since it's Saturday, I'll let you off.  You haven't mentioned the dance this evening."

"I didn't want to matron, I'm still going, with Doctor Smith.  I want to go into town and buy a new dress for the occasion, since I have my increase in wages this week."

Joan thought it should be her going into town to choose something new to wear but it was too late now, John was set on taking Rose to the dance and she was still in two minds as to whether or not to attend herself and watch them together.  It was bad enough Rose hadn't stopped talking about it yesterday but she'd thankfully avoided the subject all morning but she could hardly dismiss her from her new duties because of her feelings on the matter, the headmaster would just tell her to get a grip of herself, him being unmarried would get her no sympathy from him.

No, Mr Rocastle would not get himself caught up in such matters, he must have been totally blind to the fact most of the school were talking about John and Rose, even the other teaching staff hadn't even noticed he'd been absent from the dining room and the school last weekend and as for Rose's poor excuse she'd been in the village pub with her friends, she highly doubted that, she'd not seen them coming back so Rose may or may not come back at the same time but she'd seen no signs whatsoever of John in the school and they must have been out very early the following morning to avoid being seen leaving together again.

She was going into the village later and debate if she should buy a ticket for herself, she didn't know if her friend could get someone to watch the boys at short notice and if she were to do so, there would be still tickets available at the door.  Maybe she should herself pay at the door, were she decide she still wanted to go but could she watch John dancing with Rose all night?

Joan told Rose she was just going to check on one of the boys whom she'd sent back up to one of the dorms and said she would see Rose on Monday, then on her way back, she would knock on John's door and see if he was going off to meet Rose, if he was, he would be getting ready.

Just as she was walking along the corridor, he came out one of the dorms with a pile of books in his hand.

"Ah, John, I was just coming to find you."

John was taking some books back down to the library that had gone missing and the boys never thought to return, realising he'd tried to carry too many at one time and there was only about half an hour before he was due to meet Rose downstairs.

"Were you?  What about?"

"Do you need some help with those books?"

"Yes, are you going back downstairs?  I was taking them back to the library though it seems I may have tried to carry too many."

"Well if I take half, maybe that would help?  Why don't you get the boys to return them?"

John laughed.  "If only.  It seems I've been appointed the task to gather them up and take them back myself."

They were approaching the stairs, John hoping he may catch a glimpse of Rose, since he had never ventured onto that floor before and she was just a few steps up in a different wing of the school, technically the same floor.

John hadn't realised he was walking sideways as he tried to let Joan take some of the books from him and Joan had stopped.  There was a notice board and Joan was looking at the poster for the dance, why did everywhere have to remind her?

"I hear you are still taking Rose to the dance tonight John."

"Yes, is there anything wrong with that?  I told you, she's no longer my maid and even if she were, that's between us.  Why were you even up here matron?"

"I was checking on one of the boys from earlier.  I think he's just homesick though he received a letter from home this morning, it seems to have cheered him up."

"Ah, well a letter from home can always cheer one up."

"What about you John?  Where's home for you?"

"Nottingham actually.  I'm hoping if all goes well this evening, Rose would agree to go back for a visit with me for the Christmas holidays."

"You are intending introducing her to your family?"

"Yes, that was rather the idea.  I know she wanted to go home but maybe we could fit both in before we return to school for the new term.  Are you going to the dance tonight?"

"I doubt it very much, no-one has asked me, unlike Rose."

"Yes, well, I'm meeting her shortly so I should get these books back to the library or we will miss the bus and have to wait another hour."

"You could have asked me John."

John hadn't realised he was two paces away from the top step.

"Asked you?"

"To go to the dance with you and also out to tea with you and to the village pub."

"You didn't seem to like the company I kept, if I remember correctly matron."

"You don't have to keep calling me matron all the time, do you?"

"Yes, I do.  I'm sorry matron but I'm with Rose now, I did apologise for misleading you the other week, is that not enough?"

"No John, it isn't, sorry."

She thrust the books she was carrying back into his arms suddenly but it made him lose his balance and before he could regain it, the weight of the books sent him stumbling backwards, them flying up into the air and John halfway down the stairs before he stopped and bumped his head six steps down on the opposite wall.

Avoiding the scattered, opened books, Joan ran down after him and helped him up, a dazed look on his face.

"I should get you down to the infirmary."

"Just take me back to my room, I have to get ready to meet Rose."

Two boys came out of one of the dorms as they heard the noise of John falling down the stairs.

"You boys, gather these books and take them down to the library, at once," Joan ordered as John brushed himself down.  "And if you boys bothered to return the books, Doctor Smith would not have fallen in the first place."

That was all he needed, John thought, word would now get to Rose he'd fallen down the stairs and matron had been helping him, back to his room.

Rose had just finished, hoping she'd have time to run upstairs and get changed, it would only take ten minutes or so and they should still catch the bus at midday and John should be waiting for her downstairs.  She closed the infirmary door and saw two boys come down the stairs with a pile of books each and giggling something about John.

"Hey, you two, what were you just saying then?" Rose asked them.

The boys looked at each other, Baines had told them all bets were off regarding Rose and the teacher since it was now no secret.

"Nothing Rose, it was just Doctor Smith fell down the stairs and matron told us to bring the books back for him."

"Well is he okay?  Is he hurt?"

"We don't know, matron was helping him back to his study."

"Oh, she was, was she?"

The smaller boy grinned at her.  Rose was jealous of the matron, wait until Baines heard about this.
Chapter 36
Rose was up the stairs two at a time in a bid to get to John.  What had happened, she'd no idea and didn't stop to question the two boys further.  Martha had just come out of the kitchen and had seen Rose dashing upstairs and followed her.

Joan had helped John downstairs and to his room and was just putting some warm water into a basin when Rose hurried in without knocking.

"John are you okay?  Some boys told me what happened."

"I'm fine Rose, matron is just attending to me."

Rose scowled at the other woman and grabbed the cloth from her and dipped it in the warm water.  Joan was most displeased.

"Really Rose, I can attend to Doctor Smith and it's bad form to enter a teacher's room without knocking."

Rose was about to say something flippant back to her when Martha burst in, Joan shook her head, he had quite a following, apparently.

"What's going on?  Doctor Smith, are you okay?"

Rose was tending his head, just a bit of a bump so far as she could see but a bit red.

"Ow, that hurts Rose, please go easy.  It's nothing Martha, I have Rose and matron attending to me."

"Really Martha, not you as well?  Does everyone around here enter your room without knocking, Doctor Smith?" Joan asked as Martha stood watching Rose, who was rinsing the cloth and putting it back to his wound, making him jump.

Rose just wanted to kiss it better but thought perhaps not in front of her two more than obvious rivals, not that John appeared to give her any reason to assume he was remotely interested in either of them.

"No, not usually but Rose doesn't need to knock, she has my permission to enter whenever she wishes, I make no secret of the fact matron.  You can leave now, Rose will look after me, thank you for helping me.  Say thank you to matron Rose."

Rose decided to be the bigger person, just for him.  "Yeah, thanks matron, I can take care of him now.  What were you doing to fall down the stairs anyway?  Showing off were you?"

John smiled.  "Not exactly, matron and I were discussing something."

"Oh yeah?  Such as?"

John was aware both Joan and Martha were watching him and he was not discussing this in front of them, Rose might be mad enough as it was.

"It was nothing Rose, really.  Martha, you can leave as well."

Martha saw he'd left his journal open and gaped at the images, she recognised the Daleks and saw several drawings of Rose.  So that's what he'd been up to.  No wonder he'd kept quiet about the watch, she wondered just how much Rose knew about this, he'd said she had dreams too.

Rose was still waiting for an answer, they had surely missed the chance of catching the bus anyway.  Joan got the hint and headed for the door, Martha followed.

"So, what was all that about then?" Rose asked him as he tried to get up.

"Nothing my love, now if you won't let me up, come and sit on my knee and give me a kiss."

Rose left the cloth on the side of the basin and sat on his lap, putting her arms around him.

"Go on then, how did you manage to fall down the stairs?  Were you carrying too many books?"

"Weell, yes, matron offered to take some but I was too near the top of the stairs, she pointed out about the dance tonight and got upset I hadn't asked her and I was taking you, she threw the books back onto the pile and I lost my balance."

Rose looked at him and began laughing.

"It's not funny Rose, she implied I should have been taking her tonight and I should have taken her out for tea in the village."

He smiled and realised she wasn't mad with him.

"It is a bit funny John.  Their faces when I took over seeing to your head.  Does it still hurt?"

"Yes, are you going to kiss it all better then?"

"Mmm, I will now they've gone but I have to go get changed to go out, we've missed that bus."

"I'm aware of that my love.  Now, about kissing me better?"

Twenty minutes later, Rose pulling down her cami top he'd somehow managed to move out of the way when he'd unbuttoned her uniform, Rose kissed him and told him she would meet him downstairs, if he could get down without falling down them.

"Yes, I can manage that Rose, it was hardly my fault, matron handing those books back without any warning."

"Well maybe you should warn the boys to return their own books next time, yeah?"

"Yes my love but they may take more notice of you than they do of me."

Rose smiled.  "You're such an easy touch John."

"Well you may want to take advantage of that later my love?"

"We'll see, won't we?"

Martha had gone back to get changed and was about to go to the village to pay a visit to the Tardis.  What would the Doctor say when he came out of all this if he'd got himself engaged or even worse still, married to Rose?  Things could escalate very quickly, they could even come back from the town engaged or he could propose to her at the dance, even take the stage and announce it to the entire village, it was the sort of thing he would do and given his present state of mind, was most likely to do it at the beginning of the evening and celebrate the rest of the time.

Then, there would be no stopping him, if the family didn't actually land anywhere close last night.  She and Jenny had walked as far as they'd dared but seen nothing though Jenny had sworn there was a faint green light coming from the other side of the woods at the far side but it could have really been anything.  She passed Rose on the way down, noting she'd just come from the floor below, probably making sure John was okay, well that amongst other things.

She got to the Tardis and said hello to the ship, who sort of hummed at her as usual.  She knew not to start any of the scanners, just in case the family were around and would pick them up so she had no way of detecting if the shooting star from last night was a ship or not and she gained nothing new from replaying the Doctor's message yet again.

"How do I stop you?" she asked his image again when he got to the bit about knowing what humans were like and not to let him hurt anyone.  He was hurting her but that never seemed to have occurred to him, why should it?  She was just his travelling companion, he'd made that perfectly clear on more than one occasion.  Sometimes she'd thought she was getting through to him but she wasn't really, she can't have done, he was surely going to ask Rose tonight to marry him, it had all the classic signs he was intending to do so.

Earlier though was the first time she'd really seen them together in his room, Rose not even bothering two more people were present and tending to him, the look in her eyes had said it all, she was completely in love with him, there was no mistake.

Meanwhile, earlier that morning, Timothy had noticed something strange about Baines, he was still sniffing, telling the others he had a cold and Hutchinson saying not to pass it on to him.  They had been in the field behind the school for extra firing practice, Hutchinson complaining he wasn't doing his best and it had got him a hiding, with Doctor Smith's permission, he was sad to see, whom he thought he may get some sympathy from.

It was from there John had some time to spare and the deputy headmaster had asked him to seek out several books missing yet again from the library which now Rose had gone to get changed, he'd thought was responsible for his tumble down the stairs a short while ago but the plus side, if indeed there was one, was that both Martha and matron had clearly seen Rose take charge of the situation and hopefully put paid to any ideas the other two women had about him.

Tonight, the lovely Rose would be his, if all went according to his plan and he would declare his love for her, in front of everyone at the dance because he knew he couldn't make her surrender to him without first telling her he loved her and then, he would take her out tomorrow, down by the river and ask her to marry him.  Maybe though, if he could get up the courage, he could tell her he loved her before they went out and ask in front of everyone but that would mean he would have to seek out a jeweller's shop and buy her a ring or go enquire about cottages to rent locally. 

Which should he choose?  Ask her to move in with him or to marry him?  If he was thinking straight, which he wasn't as his head still hurt a bit, the logical answer was ask her to marry him then move in with him, perhaps by tonight, he maybe would have come to his senses and do it in the right order, tell her he loved her, ask her to marry him and live in the village with him, yes, he thought, that sounded about right.  Would he back out at the last moment though, before he'd achieved all three?  He might get part of the way, if he was lucky and she said yes to him.

He took his time walking down the stairs, still feeling the effects of the bump on his head from earlier and thought he should maybe get something for it, just catching Joan on her way out to visit her friend, now she was running late.

"Yes Doctor Smith?"

"I wondered, if you could give me something, for my headache?"

"I thought Rose was taking care of you?"

"She did, yes but she's not allowed to dispense any medication, is she?"

Joan scowled at him.  He had the nerve to come here and ask for something for his headache but wouldn't let her do the job earlier?

"Wait here, I'll get some tablets for you.  Are you still intending going out?"

"Yes, I promised Rose I would still go into town with her though I don't intend going dress shopping with her, of course.  I have some other errands I have to do while I'm there."

If Joan was a betting person, she would wager on that herself.  John was waiting for Rose with a few minutes to spare and this time, had brought his hat with him, which Rose thought he looked cute in.  They walked down to the village arm in arm once they were off the school grounds, Rose occasionally trying to get his hat off him.

"Rose, stop it, my head is still hurting."

"You should have got something from the infirmary."

"What makes you think I didn't?"

"You would have had to go face matron."

"True but my aching head got the better of me."

"Aw, my poor John, I'll make it all better when we get back."

"I look forward to it my love."

Once in the town, they agreed they would meet in an hour at the café they had been to the Saturday evening before, Rose saying if she was late, it would only be because she couldn't find a dress and asked him to wait for her.  He left her at the bus stop and went off on his own mission, deciding that looking for a place to live could wait a while longer, he had to get over the first two hurdles to achieve the third and nothing would say he loved her more than simple diamond ring.

It never once occurred to him he was rushing into this, not even knowing her for two weeks.  Should he wait and ask her next weekend?  Maybe saying he loved her would be enough to get her to agree to move into a cottage with him, maybe look at some next weekend if everything went well.

Rose was in a dress shop she'd never noticed before, never having any money to spend on such fancy clothes and was looking at the display rails in her size.  A woman came up to her, wondering if Rose was just passing time or actually going to buy something.

"Can I help you Miss?"

"Yeah, I'm going to a dance tonight and I want something really nice to impress my boyfriend."

Thirty minutes later, Rose was in the shop a little further down the street, where most respectable woman never entered but Rose didn't really care, coming out with a revealing nightdress and a new cami top and having spent all the money John had given her but she thought it was worth every penny and she'd even got herself a new pair of shoes.  She smiled as John sat waiting for her in the café, a pot of tea and a plate of cream cakes on the table and Rose thinking she would have to get some exercise before John began to complain she was putting on weight.

He looked at the brown paper bags and the box with the shoes.

"You have been busy Rose, you really are trying to impress me aren't you?"

"I try my best John but if you keep buying me cream teas, I'll need a bigger size dress."

John smiled.  "No my love, I don't believe that will happen, I'm sure you will find a way to work it all off?"

"Maybe, with some help.  Anyway, I'm all ready for the dance tonight."

"I'm glad to hear that and afterwards?"

Rose was aware they could be overheard.  "Well yes, I believe I may just well be ready.  That's if you like what you see?"

"I'm sure I will my love, you could never disappoint me."

"Well, we have to catch the next bus back or I won't be ready in time.'

"I hope we'll have some time to ourselves before the dance starts?"

"Mmm, I'm sure we can, it won't take me that long."

They caught the next bus back and Rose took her dress upstairs, leaving her new nightwear in John's room for when they got back from the dance then they would have some time before John said he would get his evening meal early and Rose was to bring a tray and eat with him.  She went back down to his room, thankful she didn't have to see Martha after that morning.

John was waiting to see if Rose would dare to get changed in front of him later on when they got back.  They had about an hour before they could get something to eat so Rose went into the small bathroom and changed into her new underwear, John just staring at her when she came out.

"Well, what do you think?" Rose asked, in her new pale blue cami that had delicate lace along the top.

He got up and led her to the sofa.

"You look delightful my love, I can't wait to see you in your new nightdress when we get back, maybe I should just keep you here?"

"Yes but then you wouldn't be able to show me off to everyone, would you?"

"That's a very good point my love."

As Rose unbuttoned his shirt, John was eager to show how much he appreciated her choice of lingerie, kissing his way across the top then as Rose put her arms around his neck, she pulled him closer and whispered she was ready to give him her answer, that when they got back after the dance, she would be his.

"Rose my love, then I can hardly wait," John replied, running his fingers on her bare leg.

After kissing for a good while, John let her up then said he would meet her in the kitchen, then Rose would go put on her new dress.  Just before seven, Rose was getting dressed when Martha came in.

"That's a nice dress Rose, it looks expensive."

"John gave me the money for it, I wanted to look my best tonight."

"I'm sure you'll show the rest of us up.  Have you seen Jenny by any chance, she wasn't at tea."

Rose was just glad she'd not said neither had she been.

Jenny and her new friends were on their way to the school, unknown to anyone.  Rose had gone down to show John her new dress and he said she looked stunning.

"Let me draw you looking just like that my love."

"Well, be quick then or we'll be late."

"I want to draw you in your new nightdress when we get back," he added as Rose sat on the sofa and turned towards him and he put his finger under her chin and kissed her.  Then he quickly sketched her and showed it her.

"You make me look too beautiful John."

"That's how you look to me Rose, my love and this evening is going to be very special and I have something planned for when we get back."

"Then let's go, if you're ready?"

"Oh, I'm ready my love.  Rose, allow me to escort you to the village dance."

He crossed to the fireplace and picked up the watch.

"Rose, I want you to have this, as a token of my affection."

"John, I can't take that, it's yours."

"I want to give it to you my love."

"Then give it to me when we get back."

Rose got up and they kissed then as he helped her with her coat he whispered in her ear, "Rose, I want the whole village tonight to know how much I love you."
Chapter 37
Martha was about to get ready to go out, wondering where Jenny had got to and thinking someone else had deserted her but didn't want to waste the ticket Jenny had given her and she still needed to keep a close eye on the Doctor.  She heard someone coming upstairs and opened the door to see Jenny standing on the landing, sniffing the air.
"Hey Jenny, wondered where you'd got to.  Something wrong?  Have you caught a cold?"

Jenny sniffed again.  "Yeah I must have done.  Where's Rose?  Is she with Doctor Smith?"

Martha laughed, putting her coat on.  "Where do you think she is?  Honestly, she might as well go around with a sign on her.  Are you coming to the dance?"

"You go ahead, I'll catch up.  What you were saying the other night, about the stars, what did you mean?"

"Oh I wish I could tell you Jenny but I can't."

"I need you to tell me Martha, tell me now and tell me more about this Doctor Smith and Rose."

"You know Rose, she's your friend."

"Yes but Doctor Smith, you came with him, didn't you?"

Martha was getting just a bit suspicious.

"Jenny, where did you get to when Rose said you'd gone missing?"

"Nowhere, now tell me."

Martha had only one chance at getting past Jenny.

"Jenny, Rose is in our room, come inside."

Jenny brushed past her and Martha ran for the short staircase down on to the main landing, hearing Jenny behind her but the main staircase was at the other end so she chanced no-one would be coming back to their rooms and hurried down.  Now she had to go find the Doctor and warn him and she didn't have time to see if he'd already given Rose the watch.

Timothy had seen the teacher go out with Rose, assuming he was taking her to the dance so he made sure no-one was looking and sneaked into John's room and picked up the watch, getting messages of 'Keep me safe' and 'Danger is coming' so he put it in his pocket and retreated to the corner under the stairs to decide what to do.

Jenny had leaned out of an upstairs window and was firing a strange looking weapon at her, Martha running towards the gate to warn Rose and John.  Jenny then went to join the others, telling them the teacher had gone to the village dance and she had a ticket.  They sent a message to Lucy, to watch for the teacher and she informed them he was already there.

John escorted Rose into the village hall, matron was already there despite her initial distaste for watching them dance together all evening, she'd found she couldn't stay away so as John found them a table, Rose sat down and Joan crossed over to sit with her after the first dance, Rose remarking how good a dancer he was.

"Why are you doing this Rose?"


"Letting him show you off to the entire village."

"I'm sorry matron but that's his business if he wants to show me off."

"He's a lot older than you are Rose, he'll just hurt you."

John could see her talking to Rose but the woman who was serving the drinks didn't seem in a rush to get his as she was still talking to the woman in front of him so he was hopping up and down on one foot then the other.

Rose was about to answer and risk losing her job by telling her to keep out their business and back off but she saw Martha at the door, who'd had a run-in with an old soldier outside.  Rose waved to her but then saw the look on her friends face.

"Martha, what's wrong?"

"Where is he?" she asked, looking around then spying him at the drinks table.

"Martha, should you even be here?" Joan asked indignantly, already annoyed Rose was even there and had dared to actually sit in public with John and already had one dance with him before getting a table.

John approached the table, seeing the other two women had joined Rose.

"Martha, matron, what are you doing?"

"Listen to me Doctor Smith, there is someone on their way here, they found us."

"Who has found us?  What are you talking about Martha?"

She took the sonic screwdriver out of her pocket that she'd picked up from the Tardis earlier.

"You're not John Smith, you're called the Doctor."

"Yeah, he's Doctor Smith Martha, who else do ya think he is then?"

"Rose, you shouldn't even be here."

"Says you, what's the matter with you?"

"Yes Martha, like Rose said, she's every right to be here, just as much as you or matron have."

"I don't mean at the dance.  Matron, have you noticed anything odd about them?"

"Whatever do you mean Martha?" Joan asked.

Martha knew she was wasting time here, Jenny would have known where she was heading and would have others with her.

"Doctor, you're not John Smith, you're just called the Doctor and you're from the future as is Rose.  I'm sorry but don't you recognise this?"

John took the sonic from her and looked at it.  "Rose, what is she talking about my love?"

"I've got no idea but whatever it is, Martha, I never thought you'd be this jealous of the fact he loves me, I think you'd better have a good excuse for this."

"You have to snap out of this Doctor, I'm sorry."  She reached her hand out and slapped his face, making him gasp and Rose got up.

"What the hell you do that for?"

"You have to change back, where's the watch?  Do you have it with you?"

Timothy had sneaked in and was sitting in the corner and had seen Martha slap the teacher and heard something about the watch, safely tucked in his pocket and thankfully staying quiet when all of a sudden, Jenny, Baines and Mr Clarke all burst into the hall and Mr Clarke fired a weapon.

"There will be silence!" he demanded.

Martha panicked.  "Doctor, what I just said, forget about it."

"Forget what?" he asked, confused and taking Rose's hand.

Martha hid the sonic in her coat pocket quickly and hoped he would get the message to not reveal to them what she'd just told him.

"Mr Clarke, what is the meaning of this?" the host asked.

"I said there will be silence," he repeated as the other man disintegrated in front of everyone, to gasps from around the room.

Lucy had remained unnoticed in the far corner.  It was Baines who spoke next.

"Where's Mr Smith?"

"Better than that," Lucy proclaimed, standing up.  "He's the Doctor, I heard them talking."

"Oh but this is wonderful, he's hiding as a human with his little human girlfriend.  Grab them both."

"No, wait, what about matron?  Rose was jealous of her," Jenny added, grabbing hold of Rose, who was trying to keep hold of John's hand.

"Jenny, Mr Clarke, what's going on here?  Let them go," John demanded as Rose's hand was torn away from him.

"We will, when you change back," Baines replied, his weapon pointed at John as Jenny and Mr Clarke held similar weapons at Rose and Joan.

"What about her?" Jenny asked.

"What happened to Jenny?" Martha asked.

"She is consumed, her body is mine though she went with precious little dignity, all that screaming, I should have chosen your form, you have spirit."

"Baines, what is the meaning of this?" John asked.

"He's no good to us like this, we need the Timelord." Jenny added, pushing Rose back into John's arms and him trying to catch her, then grabbing Martha.

"Change back or we will kill one of these."

"I have no idea what you are talking about Baines, change back to what, I'm as human as you are."

"They're not human," Martha informed him.

"What?  Whoever you are, just what exactly do you want me to change into?"

"He's made himself an idiot," Jenny laughed.

"Same difference.  We'll make it simple so even he can understand, change back to a Timelord or choose which one dies, your lover or one of your friends, your choice."

Timothy remained where he was after going to the window and seeing a bunch of scarecrows staring back at him.  Everyone in the room was staring at the group of people, too scared to move after just seeing someone vanish in front of their eyes and people they knew being held hostage.

"I literally have no idea what you are talking about Baines."

"You have a decision to make, perhaps if we make the choice for you and kill your lover, it will break your heart enough for you to change back."

"Leave her alone."

Timothy could hear the watch calling to him and took it from his pocket and Baines turned around.  It also distracted Jenny and Martha grabbed the weapon from her and fired it into the air, now holding onto her former captor.

"One more move and I kill her."

"She's too scared to do that," Baines scoffed.

"You wanna bet?" Martha replied.

"Be careful son of mine, this is all so you can live forever," Mr Clarke reminded him.

"Yeah, scared and holding a gun is a good combination," Rose butted in.

"Doctor, get Rose out of here and take the matron with you back to the school."


"I mean you Doctor Smith, now.  Get everyone out of the side door over there, do it now.  You're rubbish as a human."

Rose decided to take charge, since they'd just ruined the biggest night of her life and she'd only had one dance with the man she loved.

"Everyone, out now, quickly," Rose reminded them, looking at John and wondering what they had meant.

Some began to move and others stayed where they were.  Joan had released herself and began ushering people out.

Rose turned to John.  "You too Doctor Smith, Rose, get him out of here," Martha urged her.

"Come on John, let's get out of here."

"But all I wanted to do was dance with you all night and to show everyone what you mean to me."

"I know John it doesn't matter, I know you love me."

She pulled him away and he followed, joining matron outside.  Timothy saw his chance and headed for the front door and was about to head back to the school as Martha got away when she shot into the air again and joined Rose, Joan and John.

"Don't just stand there Doctor, get them back to the school."

"What about you Martha?" Rose asked.

"Don't worry about me, Rose, just get him back and find the watch."

"The fobwatch?  What's that to do with all this?"

"I'll tell you when we get back to the school Rose now move, all of you."  John hesitated.  "I think you should escort Rose back to the school, don't you?"

Suddenly, John snapped out of it.  What had he been thinking?  He was so wrapped up because he'd wanted to show Rose off to everyone and now he was putting her in danger and all the whisperings he'd heard coming from the watch were coming true.  Rose was smiling at him.

"Come on you, am I gonna have to start looking after you?"

They heard noises behind them and everyone ran, Martha colliding with Timothy. 

"Where are you going?" she asked as he was running in the opposite direction.

"Anywhere except the school."

"Don't be daft, where will you go?"

He supposed she did have a point and if the watch had something to do with all this, maybe it could help but the watch was telling him the time was not yet right and to keep it safe.  He ran after them and they burst into the school, John grabbing the bell at the bottom of the banister and began ringing it.

"Take arms, take arms!" he repeated, ringing the bell and the boys that were in their dorms running out and hanging over the railings and those who were roaming around running down the stairs.

"I say Sir, what's going on?" Hutchinson asked him as he reached the bottom step.

"Enemy at the door Hutchinson, enemy at the door, gather the boys and assemble in the courtyard and barricade the gate."

The headmaster came out to see what all the commotion was, saying they would all regret it and receive punishment.

"Doctor Smith, would you care to explain yourself?"

"Headmaster, all you need to know is there is an enemy about to invade the school.  Baines and others from the village, they've gone mad and they have guns, they've already killed people."

The headmaster looked at matron and Rose, who he thought matron should know better than to get mixed up in this as he'd heard she was a rival for her assistant's object of affection but he'd chosen to let them just get on with it as long as it didn't interfere with their duties.

"Is this true matron, Rose?"

Joan spoke up first.  "Yes sir, I'm afraid it is, I saw it myself, Mr Clarke from the village and Baines, they threatened Doctor Smith, said they'd follow him back to the school, it's all true, Rose was there."

"They threatened to kill us, if Doctor Smith didn't go with them," Rose agreed, wanting to just go to him.

"Very well, secure the school, Mr Snell, telephone for the police, we will build our defences.  Boys, take up your positions in the courtyard.  We will stand against them in the name of the king."

They hadn't seen Lucy sneak in before the boys had barricaded the inner courtyard gate and who was sending information back to the rest of the family.

"Sir they're just boys," Martha interrupted.  "They don't stand a chance."

"They are doing what they are trained to do.  Doctor Smith, keep your servant in place if you will.  Mr Philips, come with me, we will investigate."

"But it's not safe out there," Martha pointed out.  "I've got to find the watch.  Rose, where is it?  He said he was going to give it to you."

"How do you know that?"

"Never mind, we have to find it now.  Are you going to help me or not?"

Rose looked at John and ran to his arms, she didn't care any longer who was watching them.

"How is all this happening John?  It was supposed to be our night, the night we've been talking about."

"I know.  I have to go with them my love, I'm sorry.  Go with Martha and take the watch and keep it with you, stay out of harms way because I could never forgive myself if something were to happen to you.  I know I should never have waited so long to tell you but I love you Rose, remember that."

She reached up and kissed him as boys ran around gathering all the rifles they could find and Martha could only watch, knowing it would all soon be over and he'd lose her again.  She could at least let them have this private moment as she turned to the main staircase, no longer bothering she wasn't supposed to use it, it didn't matter now anyway.

John kissed Rose long and fiercely, Rose melting into him then finally released her. 

"Be careful John and when this is over, it won't matter if anyone saw us.  I love you."

Joan had also seen John kissing Rose, passionately and knew she could never mean that much to him now.  She was going back to the infirmary but saw Martha running up the main staircase and followed her.  John let Rose go after another brief kiss and she went to find Martha.

When John went out to the courtyard, the headmaster had come back on his own, claiming Baines had just killed his deputy.

"They've disconnected the telephone, we're on our own," John said quietly when told the deputy head had been killed by Baines.

He was even more worried now about Rose and for her safety but as far as he knew, no-one was in the school now though they had been earlier.  Timothy had been dragged by Hutchison from his hiding place under the stairs but as he was about to feed ammunition into the 'Vickers' gun, he ran off, Hutchinson calling him a coward.

Baines and the others had been in the school, hauling boys in front of Lucy as she said one of them had the watch when she'd been roaming the corridors and he'd scared her away with the images from it when she'd asked what he was hiding.  Timothy ran upstairs then suddenly opened the watch again and Baines dashed upstairs followed by the rest of the family but Timothy ran down the servants staircase and tried to hide again which was when Hutchinson had found him.

After the headmaster tried to reason with Baines and the rest of the family, the boys opened fire on the army of scarecrows until they were all on the ground.  Mr Rocastle soon discovered they were not alive and Baines ordered him to send John out.  While they had been in the courtyard, John not being able to bring himself to fire despite it could cost him and Rose their lives, Martha had been searching John's room for the watch, Rose looking at her.

They were joined by Joan.

"What are you two looking for?"

"His fobwatch."

"Well neither of you two should be in here, what is so important about it?"

Martha tried to explain the significance of the watch but Rose stared in disbelief.

"So, he's not really John Smith?"

"I'm sorry Rose, I did try to warn you he would be leaving but you didn't want to listen."

"He told me he loved me and he's not even a human?"

"We don't have time for this Rose, if you've got the watch, we have to get him to open it up and change back."

"I don't want him to change back, I want him."

"I'm sorry Rose but if he doesn't, we're all finished as the family will kill us all.  If they get their hands on that watch, well I don't need to explain what will happen."

Joan had picked up his journal, seeing the last drawing he had made of Rose before they had gone out.

"He did love you Rose, we know that but he's not who you think he is, is he Martha?  He found you employment here but it was to keep a close eye on him, wasn't it?"

"Yes, he became human to hide from the family and now, he's the only one who can stop them but he needs to change back."

"Why did he come here?" Rose asked, still not believing the man she loved wasn't even from this planet, let alone human.

"It was just random, he has this ship and the ship arranged it all.  You should know that Rose."

"How would I know Martha?"

"I can't tell you, ask Doctor Smith when he changes back because I have no idea how you got here and I'm sorry Rose but you don't belong here."
Chapter 38
Rose was stunned by all she heard and now John or who she thought was John had gone off to fight goodness knew what those people had been, not human according to Martha.

"What do you even mean by that remark Martha?  I thought we were friends?"

"Rose, we don't have time for this, we need to find the watch now look for it, both of you."

Martha began looking through all his things, Rose and Joan joining in but Martha threw up a pile of papers in despair.

"It's not here Martha," Joan remarked, seeing her frustration.

"Well if they'd already got their hands on it, trust me, we wouldn't still be here.  Someone must have taken it while he was out.  Are you sure he never gave it to you Rose?"

"He told you he was going to give the watch to me?  When was that?"

"This morning before you went out, it doesn't matter now.  Come on, we have to go find him, the watch has to be somewhere."

Joan grabbed the journal and followed them downstairs.

"I have to go prepare, in case anyone is injured, I still have my job to do."

"Take care matron," Martha shouted after her and Rose followed Martha to the courtyard just in time to see a lot of scarecrows scattered on the ground.

The headmaster stood in the courtyard.  Baines and the others were waiting as he stepped forward.

"It's the Cartwright girl isn't it?  What are you doing with them?  Baines, what is the meaning of all this?  You child, come with me."

"Mr Rocastle, Sir, she's with them," Martha insisted.

"I've seen many strange things this night but I will not see a child in the middle of all this."

"But Sir, she was with them, wasn't she Doctor Smith?" Rose added.

"Doctor Smith, kindly control the women who are with you.  Now come here child, come with me."

"You're funny," Lucy laughed.

"Yes, indeed," Mr Rocastle laughed back, holding out his hand.

"So funny," Lucy repeated, firing her weapon and the headmaster disintegrating.  "Anyone else?"

The rest of the family laughed.

John held up his hands.  "All of you, put down your weapons and retreat back into the school."

"But Sir," Hutchinson insisted.

"I said retreat, now lead the way."

Baines fired his weapon into the air.

"Go on then, run.  Soldiers, reanimate."

Rose grabbed hold of John's hand and pulled him along with her as the boys fled back into the school.

"No, get out of here," Martha shouted at them as they ran upstairs.  "Run as far as you can and don't go to the village, there could be more of them."

"Martha, we have to leave here now," John insisted.  I'll make sure they all leave.  Go with them Rose, please."

"No, I'm not leaving here without you so tough."

John opened one of the doors to find a scarecrow at the other side and hastily closed it again.  Meanwhile, Timothy had run back upstairs again, hoping to draw the least attention as the watch whispered to him 'Now is the time' so he opened it then held it up to the ceiling.  The family all gave up questioning the boys again and ran upstairs as Timothy took the other staircase and ran out into the night, the watch remaining silent.

As Rose, Martha, Joan and John made their way outside, their attention was caught.

"Doctor, oh Doctor, we have your Tardis."

Martha glanced over to see the scarecrows must have found where it was being hidden and brought it to the steps of the school.

"Come out now, no need to hide, come and claim your prize," Jenny mocked.

"Yes, come out Doctor, come and face the family, you and your friends," Baines joined in.

"John, that's been in my dreams," Rose remarked, keeping a grip of his hand, never bothering about the other two now she was back with him and forgetting the bit about him not being human.

"You recognise it, don't you?" Martha asked him.

"I've only seen it in my dreams, how can it be here?" John asked, looking at Rose, the woman he knew he loved.

"We have to get away from here," Joan reminded them.

Martha got up and followed her and Rose looked at John.

"I've got a lot of questions to ask you but I don't think now is the time, come on, matron's right, we have to get out of here.  John, what did you do with the watch you were going to give me?  It wasn't in your room."

"I've no idea, you saw where I left it Rose.  You don't believe all this do you?  Please tell me you don't my love?"

"We'll talk later, we have to go, it's not safe here."

They got up from their hiding place and caught up with Martha and Joan, who had been trying to get along.  John then took the lead but Joan insisted they turn down a lane and stopped outside a white painted cottage.

"We can stay here a while, it belonged to the Cartwright's but I suspect no-one is at home."

They all went inside but John remained by the door, holding Rose back.

"How can you believe what happened back there Rose?  I love you, why are you questioning me?"

"Martha told me some things John, we dreamt about them, you've been writing them all down in your journal."

"Why do they want me Rose?  What have I ever done to them?"

"They don't want you, they want the watch, tell him Martha."

"It's true, you were called the Doctor and you became human to hide from them, they want your Timelord consciousness."

"What?  Rose, you know I'm as human as you are."

"Martha explained it to me, you're a Timelord, from the future and she says I don't belong here."

"Yes you do, how can you not think that and that I'm this Timelord you are talking about?  All those times we had Rose, were they not special?"

"Yes, they were John, you know they were but we have to think about this."

"Then give them the watch, wherever it is or I'll give myself up."

"You can't," Joan announced, using the light of a candle to read the journal.  "If you give yourself up, they'll destroy everything, like Martha said but they will also go on to other places and do the same there, they will live forever and it all ends, everything we've ever known."

"Martha, say you don't believe this?" John asked.

"It's all true, you can't give them what they want."

"Then who are you Martha?  Besides my maid."

"I'm your companion, I travel with you, just like Rose used to do."

"You mean my dreams weren't dreams?" Rose asked.

"No, I said you're somehow out of your time and I don't know how or why but I suspect the Tardis had something to do with it."

"You mean the blue box they had?  We've dreamt about it John, you know we have.  John, if I'm out of my time, then maybe so are you."

"No Rose, I just want to be with you, you know that." 

There was a knock on the door.  Timothy had seen the group head down the lane and had been getting up the courage to give the watch back to John, it was telling him to return it.

"I don't think scarecrows would knock on the door," Rose said as she went to answer it.  "Timothy, what are you doing here?"

"I brought this."  He brought the watch out of his pocket.

"You've had it all along?" Rose asked.

"Only since earlier."

"Then why didn't you bring it before?"

"It was waiting.  It's time."  He held out the watch to John.  "It wants you to hold it, I've seen what it can do and what he can do, as the Doctor and he's like fire and ice and rage."

"Stop it, I'm not him, I'm not this Doctor.  Tell them Rose, tell them you don't believe that."  He fingered the watch.  "Then I'll give it to them."

"You can't, I'm sorry John, everything you wrote down, it must have all been true, matron, you've got his journal, you've read to the end."

"Yes, she's right John, you wrote down they would live forever."

Suddenly there was a loud bang and the night sky lit up.

"What was that?" Martha asked.

"It must be them," Rose replied, putting her arms around John despite what she'd just heard about him, she still loved him but what had Martha meant about her not being from that time?

He took her hands.  "All I ever wanted was to be with you Rose, I had so many plans."

"I know.  Matron, Martha, Timothy, can you give us a few minutes?"

Martha led the others outside, sitting on a bench and Martha with her arm around the boy as the blasting of the village continued in the distance, the cottage itself on the other side of the village, thankfully but Martha knew it was only a matter of time before the family began firing in other directions.

"You know a lot more than you're letting on Martha," Joan commented.

"I can't tell you any more, honestly matron."

"Then who are you Martha?  You're from the future, as are John and Rose."

"I was training to be a doctor, a real one, not an alien one."

"You expect me to believe that?  One of your kind?"

Martha wondered how society had managed to change its attitude in less than a hundred years when people had their minds made up that not everyone was equal and thanked everything she knew nowadays they were slightly more tolerant.

"Matron, I could prove it but I think now is not the time.  Timothy, why did you take the watch?"

"It told me to keep it safe.  I wasn't going to just keep it, I think it wanted me to get it to Doctor Smith when he needed it."

"Yeah, it's okay, if it had been left in the school, they would have found it, if they'd known what they were looking for but never mind, they would have worked it out."

"I saw you, in the future Martha, you were running away from something."

Martha smiled.  "Yeah, tell me about it, that's what you do when you travel with the Doctor, a lot of running."

"How can you live like that Martha?" Joan asked.  "What Timothy said, about him being like fire and ice, what did he mean?"

Martha looked thoughtful.  What indeed?

"It's difficult to explain."

"Then explain it to me Martha."

When the others had gone outside, John turned to Rose.

"They want me to change back, so they can do whatever they have planned to me, what choice do I have Rose?  To remain as John Smith, the man who loves you, I went into town this afternoon with you and almost bought you a diamond ring, to ask you to marry me but I was waiting, for the right time, to see if after tonight, you would still want to be with me."

"I would have John, tonight would have been wonderful, you are a wonderful man, no-one has ever treated me the way you have."

"Then how do you feel now, about me?"

"I don't know John," she smiled.  "I'd need to know everything but what we had, that was real, wasn't it?"

"Yes Rose, it was real.  I don't remember anything about my life before I came here, just vague memories but this last few weeks, well I just want to remain here with you, get a cottage in the village and marry you."

"You know that can't be now John, the family will destroy the village to get you to surrender to them and you know it.  When they've destroyed everything, they will come and seek you out, they'll be no escape and they'll kill everyone to do it."

John took hold of the watch on the table.  "I wish I'd never seen this thing.  We could have had a life together Rose."

"I know John, I still love you."

She took his hand and suddenly, the watch sprang to life and showed them images of a white wedding, smiling at each other, Rose giving birth to their first child then walking through the woods, two children running in front of them, a third swinging between their arms.

"Did you see that?" he asked.

"Yeah but you know it's not meant to be John, I remember more of my dreams, you could never have a life like that."

"Why not?  Don't I deserve a life like that?  Don't you after the life you've had?"

"Martha says I don't belong in this time, who knows what my life was like before I was brought here?  Maybe your ship brought me here, so if you had to become human, you wouldn't do it on your own?"

"That implies you know me from the future Rose, you do know that?"

"Yes and whatever it is, I don't want to know.  You have to change back and stop them somehow, without being caught."

"We could have been happy Rose and if you are still here, when I get back, I want you to come with me, maybe this is how you start travelling with me?"

"Maybe but I know that things could never be the same."

"Why not?  You still love me don't you?  All those times we made love, that was real Rose, it had to be real, how could I live a lie like that?  When we first met, there was an instant attraction between us, you felt it.  We had to already have known each other in the future Rose, we could go back to that.  Wouldn't you like that?"

"Open the watch John, before it's too late, it doesn't matter what you or I want, John Smith will be gone and the Doctor will emerge, you may not even feel the same for me."

"Oh Rose, how could I not love you?"

He let go of her hand then kissed her.  "I love you now Rose, remember that when I change my love, my rosebud.  The times we had together could never be long enough for me.  Please leave, I don't want you to see me change."

"Tough, you're not doing this on your own but answer me this, out all those things in your journal, why did you draw me more than anything else?"

He let go of her after kissing her one last time.  Rose stood back as swirls of light began to emerge from the still closed watch, he had no choice now but to open it up.  As the light faded, he became aware of his surroundings, of who and what he was and the noise in the distance reminded him of why he'd hidden himself in the first place but he was also aware Rose had been there and now – she was gone.


The Doctor was sad as he left the cottage, Rose had been there or had she?  Was it the ship's way of getting him through this, like he thought she'd just said or was the Tardis tormenting him by taking away the only human woman he had ever loved in his miserable existence on earth?  He had to put that aside and deal with the family because now, not only was he mad with them for daring to seek him out but he was mad Rose was gone  - again if in fact she had really been there but Martha would know, surely?

He nodded to Martha, who was still comforting both Timothy and matron as the light from the watch had filled the whole room and filtered through the window.

"He's changed, hasn't he Martha?" Joan asked sadly.

Martha could only nod, not knowing if Rose was actually still in there or not but suspected the latter.  It had been the ship's doing, she knew that, to help him through this time and she was still immensely jealous she could have helped him through it but she also knew the ship was fiercely loyal to his past companion and had given him one last chance to put things right.  Maybe now he'd be better but she doubted it.

As he walked towards the family's ship, he'd already devised a plan of action, to fool them enough to make them think he was still human to get him inside the ship and interfere with their systems but allow them to live forever, just like they had wanted.  Martha led the others back inside the cottage, once the firing had stopped knowing he'd successfully gained entry to the ship and trusted he could handle them on his own.  The cottage was empty, she should have known.

"Where's Rose?" Timothy asked as Joan picked up the journal, determined she was going to keep it.

"She's gone, like she was never here," Joan replied, flicking through the pages.  "She was never meant to be here, was she Martha?"

The Doctor dealt with the family, one by one as daylight crept over the village and Martha went to find the Tardis, now parked on a nearby hillside, close to a lone scarecrow she had a feeling was Baines, or who they'd once known as Baines.  She felt sorry for the boys in the school, they'd been confused and the police and the army had been sent for and once the telephone line was repaired, the parents were being asked to collect the boys.

Joan had gone back to the cottage to wait for John and now he stood in the doorway.

"Is it done?"


Joan turned around.  "You look the same."

The Doctor gave her half a smile.

"What happened to Rose?"

"I don't know, when I changed, she disappeared.  Hopefully, she'll have no memory of what happened."

"You really loved her?  What was wrong with me?"

He hung his head.  He could never love anyone the way he had loved Rose.  He knew what the Tardis had done, plucked Rose or the image of Rose out of time and space to let him see her one more time, to put right what he'd never told her at Bad Wolf Bay.  Wherever she had gone back to, it was not in the time they had travelled together, he would have known.

"I'm sorry matron, I never meant to hurt anyone.  You could come with us, if you want?  I'd like that, we can try anything."

"I can't, that's not fair, what must I look like to you when you chose Rose over me?  Tell me John, or Doctor, if Rose had not been here, would you have chosen me?"

The look on his face told her the answer.  "You should go."

Martha was waiting for him outside the Tardis, in the rain.

"Is she okay?  I could talk to her, if you want?"

"Leave it Martha, it will just make things worse.  You knew about Rose?"

"I didn't know how to stop you.  Will she remember?"

He shook his head and pulled Martha into a hug.  "Thank you, for looking after me."

They were about to leave when Timothy approached them.  The Doctor took out the fobwatch and handed it to him.

"Take care of yourself," Martha told him.

"The biggest war ever is coming, isn't it?"

"You don't have to fight, you could get hurt."

"Yeah, so could you, if you continue to travel with him," Timothy laughed back.  "I know what must be done now."

The Doctor shook his hand.  "You might want to watch this."

Timothy smiled as the blue box in front of him faded from view.


Rose woke up with a start at knocking on her room door.

"Rose, come on, you'll be late," her mother called, trying to stop her young son running in and jumping on Rose's bed as she opened the door slightly.  "It's your big day today don't forget."

Rose shook her head and looked around her pink and blue room at the Tyler mansion.  She'd just had such the weirdest dream ever, she was back in the other world, in 1913 but it was all fading, she vaguely remembered the details and today was the day the board would finally approve the new dimension cannon for full use by top agents after successful tests and she would be able to go find the Doctor.

She got dressed for work and joined her mother and Pete in the kitchen, Jackie trying to give Tony his breakfast of scrambled eggs but he wanted to play with his toy zeppelin, Pete was half watching over his open newspaper.

"Big day Rose, are you ready for this?" Pete asked her.  Rose nodded.  "Well we finally picked the head research assistant, his name's David Smith, he's highly recommended, has all the right qualifications and Jake's cleared him."

"Great, if Jake's cleared him I'm sure he'll be fine."

Pete hid back behind his newspaper – wait until she saw him.

Rose was a little excited at finally being able to follow readings and measure timelines to get to know what was going on back in her old world and just hoped he'd not regenerated.  As she followed Pete into the room the dimension cannon was housed, Jake and Mickey were waiting amongst others, Jake talking to a tall brown haired man with his back to her and wearing a blue pinstriped suit that reminded Rose of the brown one the Doctor always wore, wherever they went.

Pete called their attention, the newcomer the last one as Jake indicated for him to turn around.

"Everyone, I'd like you all to meet the latest member of our team, Doctor David Smith."

Rose gasped as he stepped forward, enthusiastically and grabbed her hand and shaking it as there in front of her stood the exact double of the very man she was seeking.

"Hello, you can call me Doctor, you must be Rose, nice to meet you, very nice, more than nice, brilliant."

Pete smiled to himself and looked knowingly at Jake.  Out of the possible candidates to head the project, it had been sheer luck the man now holding onto Rose's hand and talking her ear off had applied for the job at the last minute and it had taken Pete and Jake all of five minutes to offer it to him.  His mission achieved, it was all now up to Rose.

Back in 2007, Timothy Latimer had lived a good life and had won many medals for his bravery in two world wars.  Now, he as sitting in the front row, surrounded by his old comrades at a commemorative service, holding on to the fobwatch given to him back in 1913 by his old history teacher, who wasn't really a teacher and as he looked up for a moment, the female member of the clergy read the words "They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.  Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn."

Timothy smiled as he saw Martha pinning a poppy to Doctor Smith's lapel and as long as he lived, he would always remember them as the teacher and the housemaid.

The End!