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Can't hide it much longer

 Rose Tyler gets a surprise when Pete hires a new head of alien artefacts before he goes back to stop her from falling into the void. On Rose's first day at work, she almost faints to see Jamie Smith, who looks like The Doctor sat at a desk covered in bits of alien 'tech'. On their wedding day, Rose meets another double, Alec Hardy and Jamie gets jealous when he sees them talking.

Chapter 1

Rose does some training with Jake and Mickey while she and Jackie get integrated into society and get used to living in a new world and Jamie Smith is indifferent when told he'd be having someone working with him.

On Rose's first day at work, she almost faints to see who looks like The Doctor sat at a desk covered in bits of alien 'tech' as he calls it and he looks up and tells her he'll have a coffee, thinking she's his new assistant.

She puts him right, saying who she is and thinks there's no way she's going to be able to put up with a cross between The Doctor and a smart-ass. She soon sees a difference between the two although this one still goes looking for trouble by dragging her to alien crash sites and digs.


Rose was never so horrified as the force of 'The Void' was pulling on her towards it, The Doctor calling out for her to hang on.

"Rose! Just keep hold for a few more minutes," he called out again as she was only hanging on with one hand.

"Doctor, I can't," Rose admitted as it was taking all her strength.

"You have to," he replied, wishing he could trade places with her.

It seemed like his whole nine hundred plus years as a Timelord were flashing in front of his eyes and in all that time, he'd never met anyone like Rose Tyler, well maybe Sarah-Jane was a close tie as he'd been reminded when he'd met her again recently.

"Doctor, I'm sorry," Rose called out as she willed herself to hold on to the lever.

He heard a loud noise and knew she'd let go and he watched helplessly as she was pulled in slow motion towards the last of the gap. Maybe it would close before she got there, he hoped. At least the last of the Daleks and Cybermen had gone, which might trigger the gap to close but Rose would crash into the wall or at least drop to the floor.

Why had it been her side that Dalek had bumped into the lever? Then, he saw a flicker of hope as a dark shadow appeared from nowhere and formed briefly as Pete Tyler, who had given in to Rose's mother nagging him. Pete had agreed to go talk to Rose and persuade her to go back with him and he'd hoped the Cybermen and those Daleks had been dealt with.

Pete quickly took in his surroundings and held his arms out to catch Rose as the backdraught from the force of The Void began to subside but Pete quickly activated his device around his neck before Rose had the chance to argue. He couldn't face Jackie if he returned without her daughter, even though Rose had chosen to go back of her own free will.

He'd already gathered this Jackie Tyler wouldn't accept no for an answer. As Rose realised she'd been taken back to the other universe and her mother dashed towards her she couldn't believe it.

"Mum, why did ya send Pete to get me?" Rose wanted to know.

"Too late," Pete told her as his device went dead. "You can't get back now and you heard what The Doctor said," he reminded her.

"It's not fair," Rose said tearfully. "I want to go back."

She walked towards the wall, where she knew The Doctor was at the other side.

"Leave her Jackie," Pete told her. "You both have to get used to living in this world now."

"Had those things gone?" Jackie wanted to know.

"I never saw any of them but think of what went on there Jackie?" Pete replied. "You'd best both come with me, until we get sorted out. Mickey, bring Rose."

"Leave me alone," Rose insisted as Mickey tried to lead her away from the wall. "He's still there, I know he is."

"Come on Rose, we have to go," Mickey still insisted. "He's still trying to get this place sorted out, me and Jake have been helping."

Pete drove them all to his mansion, which he'd been about to sell but now he wasn't so sure about it.

"You're both welcome to stay as long as you like," Pete told Rose and Jackie. "Unless you want to risk staying with Mickey?" he then joked.

Jackie had visions of green slime on the kitchen walls the last time she'd been in Mickey's flat.

"I've got control of Torchwood," he carried on telling them. "I'm hiring experts to sort things out and salvage anything that was left behind."

"How could ya let the Cybermen escape to our world?" Rose wanted to know as reality finally hit her.

"Nothing to do with me," Pete replied, knowing she was still angry. "I was still trying to get my company back after Lumic's demise, remember? Blame the population, they wanted to know why the Cybermen were locked up when they'd once been Human."

"I know, I was at the factory when they walked in to be converted," Rose complained. "Will you get those devices working again?"

Pete couldn't blame her for asking.

"No, I don't think so, Torchwood's not fully back yet, there's a lot to do," Pete admitted. "Mickey will bring you up to date but there's a job for you, if you want it?"

"Why would I want to work there?" Rose replied. Then she realised she was being ungrateful for being saved from The Void. "Sorry."

"Forget it. Here we are then," Pete replied as he pressed the remote on the dashboard and some tall gates opened. "I got the house sorted out," he told Rose.

"Have ya been here before then?" Jackie asked her.

"It's a long story Mum," Rose told her.

"Well I suppose I'll have time to find out?" Jackie replied as she stared at the house they were approaching. "You lived here, on ya own Pete?"

"After I lost my wife," he replied sadly. "She was converted, by the Cybermen."

Pete stopped the car and Jackie put her hand on his shoulder.

"I'm so sorry Pete," Jackie told him.

"Yeah. Well I have minimum staff, they'll make you both comfortable," Pete snapped out of it. "Are you staying tonight Mickey?"

"Yeah, I'll help Rose settle in," Mickey agreed. "Rose, you could have any job you want if you come and work at Torchwood."

"What about me?" Jackie asked as one of the male staff appeared from the house and helped her out of the car.

"Ah, Jackie," Pete thought about it. "Let's get you settled first?"

"Well I'm not gonna be the cleaner," Jackie replied as she looked up at the house, making Rose smile.

They were shown to some rooms and Pete then addressed the staff, who had been with him since he'd secured it from the Cybermen attack.

"My guests are to be extended every courtesy," Pete began to tell the half dozen or so staff. "I don't know how long they'll be here."

He then thought Rose would probably leave at the first chance she got after being here before. He still doubted she'd move in with Mickey though after being told they'd broken up after Rose had first met The Doctor. He'd already warned both Jake and Mickey not to say anything to Rose about the new head of alien artefacts he'd recently hired.

Although Doctor Jamie Smith resembled the Doctor Pete had encountered, he'd seen no reason why he shouldn't employ him. He'd no reason to think he'd ever see Rose or The Doctor again and the Cybermen when they had vanished three years ago, the only thing still to put right at Torchwood was the old abandoned lever room.

How would Rose react if she accepted a job?

"Pete, I'll think about the job but won't I need some sort of training?" Rose decided to ask.

"Mickey and Jake can sort that out," Pete replied. "Jackie, I wasn't suggesting you did the cleaning," he then laughed.

"I should hope not," Jackie complained. "Rose, what are we gonna do about the stuff we left behind? If I'd known I was gonna end up here, I'd rather have gone to Mars."

Pete looked at her.

"Mum, there's nothing on Mars," Rose reminded her. "If either of us knew what was gonna happen, we'd still have got caught up with the Cybermen fightin' everywhere. Pete's right, it's safer here but all the Cybermen went into the void. Don't know about the Daleks though. I'm gonna find a way back to The Doctor, can ya get those devices workin' again?" she asked Pete.

"It was just lucky they worked before," Pete told her. "I'm making no promises but I have someone checking for any signs there's a way through. It was just in case the devices didn't work and Mickey needed help."

"How did ya know all the Cybermen had got through?" Rose then wanted to know.

"There was no sign of them here," Pete began to tell her. "According to The Doctor, it had taken them three years to reach your world, that means we're three years ahead of your world, since it couldn't have taken them all three years. I reckon the first of them had some way of communicating with those left here."

"We started working for Pete when we got back from trying to rescue those who had been captured," Mickey explained. "It was a right mess, right Pete?"

"We'll talk more, meanwhile make yourselves at home," Pete told Rose and Jackie. "You can go shopping tomorrow but you might find things a bit strange, I'll get someone to take you."

Mickey took Rose by her arm and led her upstairs.

"Rose, you'll get used to it here," he tried to tell her.

"I don't wanna get used to it Micks, I wanna go back," Rose insisted.

"I know you loved him," Mickey admitted. "After he changed, so did you."

"That's not fair, I would have wanted to stay with him even if he'd not changed," Rose replied.

"You liked him then," Mickey reminded her. "He knew that Rose."

"Stop it, I'm tired and I don't even want to be here Mickey. He's back there, dealing with everything and he's on his own," Rose reminded him.

They were joined by Pete's housekeeper, who took Rose around a corner and opened a door.

"You'll be comfortable here, Miss Rose," Emily told her. "If you need anything, just ask, I'll have one of the maids find you something to wear."

"Not of Mrs Tyler's?" Rose hoped.

"Of course not Miss," Emily assured her. "We have a linen cupboard with nightwear, that was kept when Mrs Tyler invited people to stay. You know what happened to her?"

Rose nodded, looking at Mickey.

"Yeah, I was here that night, we tried to save her," Rose replied.

"Don't think about it Rose," Mickey insisted. "Pete told me most of it."

"If you leave your clothes, I'll have them cleaned for you by morning," Emily added.

"Thanks. What was your name?" Rose then asked.

"It's Emily, Miss," Rose was told.

Rose thought she would have freaked out if the woman had been called Flora.

"Dinner is at six," Emily then informed Rose.

"Thanks, I need some time to let it all sink in," Rose admitted, Emily looking at her.

"Rose, we need to talk," Mickey told her, leading her inside. "I don't think Pete will want the staff to know where you and your mother came from."

"Yeah, sorry," Rose realised he was right. "They know what happened to the other Jackie though."

"They'll have been told what they needed to know," Mickey replied. "You should go talk to your mother, at least you've been in similar situations," he reminded her. "Did ya tell her about this world?"

"Not much. Mickey, she'd have freaked out if I'd told her there was another Pete here," Rose had to smile.

"She did freak out when she saw him," Mickey laughed.

"So, what's been going on at Torchwood then?" Rose wanted to know. "Will someone try to get those devices working again?"

"Don't tell Pete I told ya but they may be on to something else," Mickey admitted. "I can't say much about it."

"Great, then I can get back," Rose replied. "I left a load of stuff in my room in the Tardis."

They talked for a while longer, Mickey trying to tell her the differences and who the president was, Rose not believing it was Harriet Jones. Then they went to find Jackie, who was trying to come to terms with where she was.

"Are ya gonna go work at this Torchwood then?" Jackie asked Rose.

"Mum, I don't know yet. I mean I might need some qualifications. What do you do there Mickey?"

"Security with Jake," Mickey replied proudly. "We sort out any trouble."

They went down to eat, Pete telling them he'd take care of them and get them set up if they wanted to leave but Jackie wasn't so sure she wanted to be out on her own just yet. As time went on, Rose was enrolled in a local collage to complete her education, Pete giving her a generous allowance and Jackie just did what she felt like doing but was spending more time in the evenings with Pete, who was careful where they went as he didn't want anyone thinking his Jackie had come back but then he had an idea, if Jackie agreed.

"Ya want me to what?" Jackie wanted to be sure she'd heard right one evening.

"Jackie, think about it? Things are still confused here after what the Cybermen did," he admitted. "Only the staff know apart from us. What do you think Rose?"

"Mum, think about it, you could be a reformed version of her. No offence Pete but the other one wasn't very nice, she was nasty to me."

"Yeah, sorry about that, she never treated any of the staff fairly," Pete had to admit.

"Well, that was the second time I was treated badly," Rose replied. "Never mind that now but Pete's right Mum, it would explain a lot of things. What about me though?"

"Well, no-one's seen much of you. You could be the daughter we gave up all that time ago," Pete suggested. "You could have found us that night you were here then in all the confusion, you decided against it and ran off. You could say we finally found you again?"

"Well if I have to have a cover story, so can you," Jackie decided.

So Pete went about sorting everything for them and he called a press conference to explain that he'd been keeping it all quiet until they had got used to the idea of being back together again and once they had, they'd decided to go public to avoid any speculation.

Slowly, Jackie began to settle down and decided it was time to play her part for real, which made Pete happy since things had not well between him and the other Jackie in the later years but then he wondered if things had ever been right from the start.

He now felt more at home with this Jackie and treating Rose like his long lost daughter made it even better, since he couldn't thank her enough for trying to save the other Jackie and helping to free those who were about to be turned into Cybermen.

Pete and Jackie had a private ceremony to renew their wedding vows and Rose was now officially their daughter. She'd done well at collage and was almost ready to join the team at Torchwood. It was now eighteen months Rose and Jackie had been in their new world and Jackie announced she was pregnant just as Rose swore The Doctor was trying to contact her.

She waited, thinking no-one would believe her at first then one weekend, Mickey was staying over and when she thought she'd heard The Doctor's voice calling her, she woke them all up and told them.

"Rose, you're certain?" Pete asked her after Mickey had.

"It's been happening a while," Rose admitted. "He told me to follow his voice."

"Well I'm coming as well," Jackie told them. "He owes us an explanation."

"Jaks, you were told to rest," Pete reminded her.

"Well I'll be resting in the car Pete," Jackie insisted.

"We'd best take my old jeep, if we don't know where we're going. Mickey, get dressed and help Rose and Jackie bring their stuff down, I'll get the jeep out of the garage. It'll be less conspicuous than either of the others."

They drove for hundreds of miles, across the water, Rose being pretty certain in her old world that such a journey by ferry was no longer in use then they finally ended up on a beach, Jackie trying to pronounce the name on the map.

"If ya ask me, that looks Norwegian for Dalek," Jackie pointed and laughed.

"Don't be daft Jackie," Pete insisted as he helped her out.

Rose was already at the water's edge, looking for any signs of The Doctor. She looked at her parents, thinking maybe she shouldn't have let her mother come with them. Then she turned back and a faint figure appeared in front of her.

"Ya look like a ghost," she told The Doctor.

"Hang on," he told her as he pointed his sonic screwdriver towards what Rose guessed was the Tardis control panel.

"Can't ya come through properly?" she asked him.

"Sorry, it's not possible, the two world's would collide," The Doctor grinned. "So, your mum and Pete are together?"

"Yeah, another little Tyler on the way," Rose smiled.

"You're not?" The Doctor acted surprised.

"No, you plum, it's mum. Anyway, this Torchwood's open for business and I'm about to join them."

"Good for you. In Pete's hands it will maybe do some good," The Doctor agreed. "I can't keep this projection much longer, there was so much I wanted to say to you."

"Yeah, so did I," Rose told him. "I'm gonna find my way back."

"If anyone can do it, it's you," he laughed.

He saw tears in her eyes and knew she was determined. He knew she needed some encouragement but time was running out.

"I'm in orbit around a nebula, I'm burning up a sun, just to say goodbye," he then told her. "It won't last much longer."

"Doctor. I…. I love you," she managed to get the words out.

"I suppose, since it's my last chance to say it," he began as he realised he wasn't going to be able to deny it any longer. "Rose Tyler. I…"

Time ran out just as he said 'love you' and he knew she'd not heard it. There had been a tiny gap, enough to talk to her but it must have taken a while for her to realise she wasn't imagining hearing his voice. It must also have taken them a considerable time to get to Norway. He'd hoped she'd seen the significance of seeing him at a place called Bad Wolf Bay.

Jackie had noticed Rose turn around and ran towards her, pulling her into a hug.

"He's gone Mum," Rose cried.

"I know sweetheart but maybe you'll meet someone who will take the pain away?" Jackie tried to console her.

The Doctor also had tears in his eyes at the thought Rose hadn't heard what he just tried to tell her. Why had he been an idiot and not told her when she was with him? He was just going around the console to get ready to take off again when he came face to face with a red-headed woman in a wedding dress who wanted to know where the hell she was.

As if losing Rose hadn't been enough.





 













Chapter 2

Rose started her first day at Torchwood going around with Jake. She'd fallen out with Mickey when they'd argued on the way back from Norway and despite Pete and Jake trying to mediate between them, nothing had worked so Mickey finally decided to leave.

He was just leaving Pete's office and Pete wished him good luck.

"Sorry it didn't work out. This place is big enough for you two to carry on avoiding each other," Pete suggested.

"I have to say no," Mickey replied. "I didn't mean for her to find who she'd be working with like that Pete."

"It's done now, it was just a bit of a shock," Pete tried to assure him. "She just took it out on you instead of us, what with Jackie almost due now. She would have found out when she got here, now Jake may find it easier?"

Rose and Jake were about to go to the tech lab when he stopped her.

"Are you sure ya wanna work here?" Jake asked her.

"Until I finish training," Rose replied. "I can handle it. Does he know?"

"Yeah, he's been told but not who ya are," Jake laughed as they arrived in the basement. "Pete thought it best not to let him know he'll be working with the boss's stepdaughter."

"Well he'd better not think I'm there to fetch and carry," Rose replied.

Jake went in first and called for Jamie Smith, who was just opening a new container for sorting that had been brought from the sub basement.

He picked up the first piece, shook it and threw it into an empty container.

"Rubbish," he said, looking disappointed. "Can't they do better than that?"

"Jamie," Jake called again. "Remember I said you were getting some help?"

"Ah, a new assistant?" he replied after he went to sit at his desk, which was covered in various articles. "Mine's coffee, no sugar."

"Excuse me, I'm not your assistant," Rose objected, making Jake laugh.

"Well what are you doing here then?" Jamie wanted to know. "Jake, I thought I had free reign down here?"

"Chill out Jamie, she's here to help ya sort this stuff out. There's things coming in all the time," Jake reminded him. "This is Rose. Say hello."

"Hmm, what does she know about alien artefacts?" Jamie asked, getting up and going to the coffee machine.

Rose went to pick something up.

"Well, what's this then?" she threw it to him, having recognised it as something she'd seen in Van Statten's museum. "Jake, where did this lot come from?"

"Hold on while I check," Jake replied, checking on his phone. "Some millionaire got caught hoarding all this stuff and we marched in and confiscated it," he grinned.

She took his arm and led him away.

"Jake, I know this stuff, it's from someone called Van Statten, right?" Jake nodded. "Jake, in my world, I went there, that's where I first saw a Dalek, he had one chained up."

"Rose, there we no Daleks, honest," Jake assured.

"Jake it was in a basement. Are agents still there? They have to check, I mean it. Tell Pete."

"Okay, I'll tell him. Geez Rose, you should tell him the rest, come on," Jake told her.

"Leaving so soon?" Jamie wondered. "Honestly, I don't mind having an assistant," he looked at Rose as he put something down.

"Jamie, don't touch any more of that stuff 'til I get back to you," Jake warned him.

"Why, what's wrong with it?" Jamie wanted to know.

"The source is questionable, that's all. Rose is an expert, she's had experience," was all Jake was willing to say.

"Oh, she's an alien expert?" Jamie laughed as he got up. "What do I do with this lot?"

"I'll send some men in to clear your desk, stay away from it," Jake reminded him. "Yes, Rose is an alien expert, thankfully, she knows where it's all come from."

"Then I thank you Rose," Jamie told her.

"That don't make up for ya thinking I was here to make drinks for ya," Rose turned on him.

Jamie put his hands up in defence.

"Come on Rose," Jake took her arm.

"Can I join you?" Jamie asked, thinking it would be interesting.

"Jake, he doesn't need to know," Rose insisted.

"Rose, he's been working on this stuff the last few days," Jake replied.

"Geez, I dread to think what else is in those containers," Rose shuddered. "Jake, ya have no idea. He collected one of everything, the only existing one of everything. He's a collector and he doesn't care where he gets things from. How did ya even overpower him?"

"Someone turned him in," Jake recalled. "He'd gone by the time we got there."

"Why didn't Pete tell me about it?" Rose wondered.

"Rose, ya were just gettin' over Norway and trying to get good grades at college," Jake reminded her.

"What happened in Norway?" Jamie wanted to know.

"It's private," Rose replied. "If ya wanna know about Van Statten's collection, I'll clear it with Pete."

They all went up to Pete's office, Pete surprised Rose hadn't freaked out at the sight of Jamie. Jake had called him on the way up that Rose knew where all the latest artefacts had come from.

"I didn't tell you because I had no idea you'd come across them before," Pete told her once they'd all settled down. "When we got there, the place was in chaos, staff were running in all directions trying to get out because the crazy collector's second in command was about to order the place to be set in concrete. Thankfully, it was stopped."

"Dad, we have to let Jamie in on my secret, so he knows I'm tellin' the truth. If ya don't agree, he has to leave now and everything has to be buried in a vault. There could be a lot of dangerous things," Rose explained.

"Calm down love," Pete told her. "We got word that Van Statten was becoming unhinged so we began investigating, he was nowhere to be seen. There were a lot of his collection in display cases, we were leaving them for now."

"Geez Dad, you know who nearly ended up in one of those," Rose sank back in her chair. "You're best burying it in concrete, trust me. Get some of the smaller stuff out but the large stuff?"

"Okay, take care of it Jake. Pass it on immediately that no-one is to go near any display cases. He tells me though that you're more worried about a certain enemy that might be there?" Pete asked her.

"Dad, if it is, the whole planet's in danger," Rose warned him.

"I've seen them, remember?" he reminded her.

"What are we talking about?" Jamie asked.

Pete went in his desk drawer and brought out a pad of forms.

"Rose's past is sealed, only a certain few know about it. Rose, do you want to tell him?" Pete wanted to make sure.

"Just what he needs to know," Rose insisted. "I just want that place and what's in it destroyed."

"We could use some of the things that were brought here," Jamie told her as he took the form.

"He didn't know what most of it was, he saw it and wanted it, he had to own it," Rose told him.

"You met him?" Jamie asked as he signed the form.

Rose looked over to Pete.

"Ya could say that," Rose admitted. "He almost wiped out the entire population for his amusement. No, it wasn't here," she turned to Jamie. "It was in a parallel world and he'd captured this creature called a Dalek, he was torturing it."

"You? You come from a parallel world?" Jamie sat down again. "You have no idea how long I have been trying to make people believe they exist."

"You never said anything," Pete reminded him.

"You would have thought I was crazy," Jamie admitted.

"It's what we do," Jake laughed. "Right now, we have to deal with that collection. Rose is right, it needs burying, I'll go supervise it. Want to come Rose?"

"No way Jake. I saw enough of it. You have guards on it?" she wanted to make sure.

"The same ones, they work for us now," Jake replied. "How about you Jamie?"

"Yeah, do I get to see any more?" Jamie asked.

"It's too dangerous. There's other stuff to go through besides that, I'll have some sent to you," Jake promised him.

"Then I'll stay here, if you'll join me and tell me more of where you come from, Rose?" he asked her.

"Jake, be careful," Rose warned him.

Jake went off and Rose followed Jamie down to his lab, why, she didn't know. He seemed a bit of a smart-ass to her but at least he believed where she came from.

"Well, well, well," Jamie grinned at her as he leaned on the elevator wall on the way back down. "Who would have guessed the Vitex heiress wasn't from around here?"

"You signed a confidentiality contract," Rose reminded him as she watched the floor indicator.

"So, what's with Norway then?" he still wanted to know.

"None of your business," she insisted as the lift slowed down.

"Touchy" he laughed as they got out. "Does that mean you won't tell me anything?"

"Hey, I hate to disappoint ya but there's not much to tell ya," Rose decided to put him right. "I came here because of those Cybermen, I didn't come here because I wanted to."

Jamie was not going to be satisfied with being told half the story. Pete had told Rose it was up to her how much she told him and now this world's version of Henry Van Statten may be on the loose.

"So you won't tell me about the Daleks either?" Jamie dared ask her as Rose sat opposite him.

"This is too much, I thought he'd gone," Rose admitted. "Van Statten I mean. If there's a Dalek in that place, every single living thing on this planet is in danger, if ya think the Cybermen were bad enough, think again. Daleks are completely crazy, they think only of themselves, that nothing but them should exist in the whole universe."

"Rose, I believe you," Jamie tried to assure her. "Maybe there isn't one though?"

"We can't be sure," Rose replied. "The whole of Torchwood may not be enough, unless the thing's chained up but if a time traveller touches it, it will be restored."

"Is that what happened on your world?" Jamie wanted to know.

Rose went quiet.

"Tell me Rose? I want to understand. I meant what I said, I used to wonder what it was like out there, what there was on other planets. Where did the Daleks come from? Who invented them and how did they come to Earth?"

"Whoa!" Rose told him. "Hold on. From what I know, they've never been here so I don't know how Van Statten got hold of one, if he did get one. As far as I know, a lot of things I've come across have never been here. This is crazy."

"You're not kidding," Jamie grinned. "So, will Jake just have that place buried?"

"Probably, it's the safest," Rose agreed. "That madman won't have known what he'd collected."

"So, what was that item earlier then?" Jamie grinned.

"You said I know nothing about alien artefacts," she reminded him.

"Oh come on Rose," he laughed.

"Oh, okay then. It was a musical instrument. You have to run your hands over it, very gently. It sounds beautiful."

"Really? Well no-one will ever hear it, lucky you," Jamie told her.

"Think what would happen if it was introduced to the public?" she asked him. "Who do we choose to give it to, so they can learn to play it?"

"You?" he suggested.

"Be serious," Rose warned him.

"Think about it? You would be world famous," he teased her.

"Stop it, smart-ass. What am I even doing here?' she questioned him.

"I thought you were going to come and work with me?" he grinned.

"Seriously?" Rose tried not to smile.

"You know you want to," he teased her. "There are other places other than that museum you know?"

"Yeah? Such as?" Rose tried not to sound like she was even remotely interested in going to find alien artefacts, especially with him.

"Could be fun?" he wondered what it would be like. "You might even know what some of it is? All this lot will be taken away then?"

"Nothing's to be touched," Rose confirmed. "We don't have a clue what that maniac collected. I only saw a few of the things the other one had."

"You could keep me out of trouble," Jamie suggested, waggling his eyebrows.

Rose did start laughing.

"Seriously? You got a girlfriend then?" she tried not to blush.

"Oh, why would you want to know?" he replied. "Not got enough boyfriends?"

"Do ya believe all that rubbish in the gossip columns?" she asked him.

"Mmm, should I? No, no girlfriend. She said I preferred artefacts to her so she went back to Paris. France – different planet," he laughed.

Rose knew that was something The Doctor had said one time. Why was Jamie reminding her so much of him? He got up and sat on the corner of the desk, holding his hand out.

"What do you say then? We'd make a good team, Rose Tyler."

"Do I have a choice?" Rose wondered. "I'll think about it. I'm gonna see all this stuff gets moved to a secure vault, it's dangerous. Wanna help?"

She called Jake's deputy and got half a dozen men down with trolleys to move all the artefacts on various tables and on the floor, one armed man on the door and one escorting the others. Jake had left word they were to follow Rose's instructions.

Jamie then sat back, his arms behind his head.

"Nearly lunchtime," he declared. "Care to join me?" he then grinned.

"You're so full of it, Jamie Smith," Rose laughed as he got up and offered his hand.

"Me?" he asked innocently. "I was trying to impress you. Is it working?"

"I'm not saying," she tried not to laugh, accepting his hand.

After lunch, Jamie looked on the internet for any signs of unusual activity.

"Ya should be looking on the Torchwood database," Rose decided to tell him, looking at her nails.

"I was never given access," Jamie admitted. "Then, they brought all that lot in. Do you know how long I worked on it and no-one knew about it?"

"Well, I've got full clearance, I'm senior management," Rose bragged.

"Well, you would be," Jamie replied, pulling a face. "I thought I was senior management. Seems not?"

"Ah, don't worry, that'll change if I come and work with ya," Rose then smiled.

"Was that the idea all along?" Jamie asked.

"I had to go through all kinds of training," Rose admitted. "Get one thing clear though, if I come and work with you, we'll be equals, neither of us will be boss. Got it?"

Jamie thought about it.

"Got it," he did a mock salute.

Rose thought at this rate, if he kept doing stuff like that, she'd start to call him 'Doctor' all the time, then he would start asking a load of questions. Then she did get a shock, like he could read her mind.

"Well, I don't really like being called Jamie. It's Doctor Jamie Smith actually, I prefer to be called just 'Doctor'", he declared.

"Geez, I can't call ya that, really I can't," Rose got up and crossed to the window.

He got up and stood behind her.

"Care to explain?" he dared ask. "Anything to do with Norway?"

"Stop it. I had this friend, everyone called him that and I lost him, when the Cybermen were leaving. I can't talk about it," Rose replied, thinking she'd said too much already.

"Was he made into one?" Jamie asked, wondering if he should pat her shoulder or put his arm around her.

"No. He was in the other world, with me. Pete and a team went there, he brought me and my mum here, The Doctor remained, to close the gap. I got stuck here. You have to swear you will never tell another living soul or I'll get Jake to wipe your mind."

He believed she would as well.

"You can trust me," Jamie grinned, using Pete's slogan. "So, what's Norway got to do with it?"

"Stop going on about Norway will ya?" Rose insisted. "If ya must know, there was a tiny gap left and he got a message to me. I told him I loved him but the gap closed before he could answer."

"Oh. Yeah, I can see that would be upsetting then?" Jamie agreed. "Well, you can still call me Jamie then," he grinned. "So, are you going to get me into the database?"

Rose got up and went to his computer, Jamie moving to one side while she typed in the password.

"I'll get the IT department to get you authorised," she promised. "Hey, you thought I was your assistant and I know more than you do. Ha!"

"Very amusing Rose," he replied. "Well, let's find our first project together?" he suggested as Rose moved.

Rose knew this was going to be a big mistake. A few weeks later, they had been on a couple of dates after work, Jamie had been introduced to Jackie, although Pete had told her about him looking like a certain Timelord just in case Rose couldn't cope with it. Jackie was quite please Rose seemed okay with it and he'd been invited to stay one weekend, arriving with Rose on the Friday night.

Jackie had given birth to a baby boy and a nanny had been employed to help her during the day, with Rose helping at night but now, Jackie had decided the nanny should live in, since Rose seemed to have got herself a boyfriend.

"Are you Rose's boyfriend now?" Jackie decided to ask.

"Mum, he's just a friend," Rose corrected her.

"Oh, well, that remains to be seen," Jamie grinned, looking across the table at Rose. "She may consider being my girlfriend, one day?"

"Yeah?" Rose questioned him. "I haven't said I would be yet though, have I?" she corrected him.

"What do I have to do?" Jamie then asked.

"Oi, you two, talk about it later," Jackie reminded them, making Pete smile as Jamie made a face.

"There's not much to discuss yet," Rose replied.

"I'm disappointed Rose," Jamie admitted. "We do have something to talk about then? Will you excuse us? Rose, where can we talk?"

"The conservatory," Rose suggested.

Jamie followed her, reaching for her hand. He was reminding Rose of The Doctor in so many ways but Jamie had a lot less patience, as she was discovering.

"Come on Rose, haven't I made it clear I want you to be my girlfriend?" he asked her once they reached the large conservatory, which was all lit up with tiny blue and white lights around the edges. "You like to come here a lot?" he noticed as she sat on one of the blue and white wicker chairs.

"Yeah, so I can look up at the stars and wonder exactly where my old world is out there. I expect all the stars are in different positions though," she replied.

"You still miss your old world then?" he guessed. "Rose, I thought you'd accepted being here?"

"I have, sort of. Doesn't mean I don't miss my home," she told him sadly.

He went to sit on the corner unit beside her and put his arm around her, prompting her to lean on him.

"I'm sorry Rose. Would it help, if I asked you properly?"

"Jamie, it's not a good idea, we work together," she reminded him.

"So? It could make it more fun. I mean when we eventually start going out looking for alien stuff?" he reminded her. "What do you think? Take your time, over the weekend eh? Let's go out tomorrow night, see a film or a show and maybe even stay out. See how we get on?"

"Separate rooms?" she managed to smile and nudge him.

"Now you're tormenting me," he laughed. "How do we get to know each other properly if we don't share? Tell you what. I promise to be on my best behaviour and if I'm not, you can either throw me out or I'll sleep on the chair? Can't say fairer than that."

"Well, okay then. I pick the show, you pay for the hotel and tickets and don't tell my mum we're sharing or it'll be a short date," Rose relented. "I'll get someone to drop us off if we find a hotel near the theatre, oh and somewhere to dine."

"Blimey, you're an expensive date, Rose Tyler," Jamie laughed. "Not that you're not worth it, you are. Mind you, I'll need to ask for a pay rise!"

Rose looked at him and tried not to laugh and patted his shoulder instead.

"You've been avoiding kissing me properly," he changed the subject.

"Have I?" she tried to deny it.

"You know you have. The moon is out, just those little twinkling lights. What's bothering you Rose?" he asked, touching her cheek gently.

"Nothing. It's just with us working together," she tried to bluff, knowing it wasn't just that and he'd want to know exactly what was holding her back.

The few dates they'd had, Jamie had thought had gone well but Rose had always shied away when he'd tried to kiss her, resulting in just short, sweet kisses. They had made him want more. Rose had loved The Doctor but the only kiss they'd shared was when she'd not even been herself so she didn't know why she was backing away from Jamie.

"Rose, we can still work together, can't we? Lots of couples work together, there's Rita and Steve in accounts who are always snogging in the cafeteria. Then there's Rick and James in IT, the ones who came to reset my computer. I saw the way they looked at each other," he grinned.

He slowly pulled her towards him, to see if she'd back away again but she didn't. Rose knew she'd have to trust someone at some point to feel the same as she did.

"Well?" he asked, stroking her hair back away from her face.

He kissed her cheek gently, then put his finger on her chin and got her to face him.

"Don't back away Rose, please," he whispered.

Chapter 3

Rose didn't back away and Jamie surprised her by taking things slowly.

"Let me see you to your room?" he suggested as Rose found it difficult to get to her feet after being kissed like that.

She vaguely remembered snogging The Doctor when Cassandra possessed her that time but that hadn't really been her in charge.

"Still a bit light-headed Rose?" Jamie teased her. "Oh, is it too early to go to your room? We could watch some TV or go for a walk around the grounds?"

"Dad doesn't like me going around when it's dark," Rose told him. "There are patrols going around the perimeter, after what happened with the Cybermen."

"So, you were here then?" Jamie asked. "That must have been very upsetting for you?"

"Yeah, I try not to think about it, thanks," Rose managed to smile. "Come on then, let's go find mum and dad and tell them we're going out tomorrow night. Mum will be overjoyed and ask ya a lot of questions, so be warned."

"Really?" Jamie sounded worried. Then he saw she was teasing him. "Really Rose. If you are trying to put me off, let me tell you, you are failing miserably."

"Aw, I was just having ya on," she giggled into his shoulder as he put his arm around her. "Are you up to being interrogated by my mother?"

"Try me," he replied, sneaking another kiss.

Jackie was waiting for Rose and who seemed like her new boyfriend to join them in the family room.

"Did ya do that on purpose Pete?" she asked him during an ad break. "I mean hire someone who looks like that alien?"

"Jackie, I wanted her to make her own mind up about him. She could have accepted him or gone to work in some other department. She did have a choice," he reminded her. "Besides, I had no reason to think she was ever coming back when I hired him did I? She took her time to decide about him anyway."

"Well so she should," Jackie told him as the door opened, hoping it wasn't about Tony, though how they'd shortened the poor baby's name so soon, she didn't know.

She still couldn't believe she'd become a mother again after so long.

"Oh, there you two are," she remarked as Jamie tagged along behind Rose, still holding her hand. "So, is it official then?"

They both sat on the small sofa, Rose curling her legs behind her, not leaving poor Jamie much room.

"I think that's a yes, Mrs Tyler," Jamie grinned. "With your approval of course? We plan on going out tomorrow night, my treat. See a show and have dinner, you know?"

"Oh and what about bringing her back?" Jackie wanted to know, forgetting all about the James Bond film she'd been watching for the twentieth time.

"Well, 'erm," Jamie stalled. "I thought maybe I'd treat her and we'd stay out? Save having to worry about getting back. I will return her after breakfast though. Rose invited me for Sunday lunch, didn't you sweetheart?" he grinned at Rose.

That was a surprise to Rose but she had to play along.

"Yeah, ya did invite him to stay the weekend Mum," she reminded Jackie.

"Well I thought maybe ya could look after Tony tomorrow?" Jackie objected.

"Leave them alone Jaks," Pete urged her. "Besides, they won't be going out until late afternoon, will you Rose?" he asked her. "They can babysit for a few hours if you want to go out shopping?"

"Okay, I suppose so?" Rose was forced to agree since she'd sprung it on her mother she was staying out overnight with Jamie and she'd not looked daggers at her yet. "Ya don't mind then Jamie?"

Jamie rather thought he'd been backed into a corner. They watched the remainder of the film then Jackie and Pete went off so Jamie tried his luck getting Rose where he wanted her for some more serious kissing.

"So, we'll choose a hotel near the theatre you choose in the morning then?" he suggested as he'd got Rose to unfasten some of his shirt buttons.

He then walked her to her room and they kissed goodnight. Rose was still a bit light-headed as she opened her door, gave him a smile then disappeared. Jamie thought maybe by tomorrow night, she would be more than willing to share with him providing they had a good time.

Rose sat on the edge of her bed, wondering what The Doctor would think of her agreeing to be Jamie's girlfriend but it had taken her some time to get over hearing his voice and just seeing his image when they'd arrived on that beach.

She had thought Pete was being insensitive by hiring Jamie and then seeing if she wanted to work with him or not but she had come to realise he was only trying to make up for her loss.

The next morning, Jamie had beaten her downstairs and was trying his best to feed an impatient Tony with his cereal.

"Aw, you were worried about lookin' after him later," Rose grinned, ruffling Tony's hair.

Jamie tried to look serious.

"There's nothing to it really," he tried to bluff. "So, you get your laptop out and choose somewhere to go tonight?"

"You're only just arranging it?" Jackie sounded confused.

"We only decided last night Mum," Rose told her. "Where are you off to this morning?"

"Just to the shopping mall. Pete's got work to catch up on. Jamie, you can manage to look after Tony if Rose comes with me?" Jackie turned to him.

He knew there was no escaping this if he wanted to make a good impression on Rose's mother.

"Yeah, no problemo," he grinned, flicking his hair back.

"Well I need a new dress for tonight," Rose then insisted.

"Oh, you two, be here after work on Monday," Jackie suddenly announced as she went to clean Tony's face. "I'm gonna arrange for Pete's PR team to announce that you're dating. They'll send a reporter and photographer to distribute to all the papers."

Jamie suddenly looked up from his own breakfast that had just been placed in front of him.

"What? You mean everyone will know about us? Blimey."

"We'll only have to do it once, then no-one will bother about us," Rose tried to tell him. "We won't have to sneak around or anything, the press know better than to go up against my stepfather."

"I suppose so then?" he had to agree, wondering what he was letting himself in for.

"Well we could leave it and have reporters following us everywhere?" Rose teased him.

"Very funny Rose. You'd best find us somewhere to go then?" Jamie suggested.

It didn't take long for Rose to decide what she wanted to go see at the theatre so she said she trusted Jamie to book dinner and a hotel so he thought he'd already gained her trust.

"Right, I'll be back as soon as I can then," Rose announced as she and her mother were about to leave and Jackie had picked Tony up. "We can get dropped off in town later."

"Don't spend up love will you?" Jamie teased her as he picked up Rose's laptop to follow Jackie to where she was taking Tony.

Why had he been roped in to look after a baby for the morning? Still, he supposed if he shouted one of the staff, they would find Pete Tyler for him and it would show he was taking an interest in Rose's family.

Once at the shopping mall, Rose arranged to meet her mother and went to try on dresses for a night out on the town. She also chose some suitable nightwear and hoped things wouldn't get too heated for a real first night together. She just hoped she was doing the right thing in agreeing so early in their new relationship. Once she had what she wanted, she found her mother sat in the café area.

"Are ya sure it's a good idea before ya go to the press?" Jackie wanted to know.

"Mum, hardly anyone knows me, remember?" Rose objected. "It's only since, well ya know?"

"Well once people start takin' an interest, ya'd better be ready," Rose was warned.

"It had better not scare Jamie off Mum," Rose replied, drinking her latte from a paper carton.

"He seems serious I suppose?" Jackie told her.

A driver picked them up outside, as arranged and they were soon back home again, Jamie having been relieved when Pete had gone to see how he was getting on. Jackie made a fuss over the boy when she got inside and Rose went to her room to pack, Jamie following her.

"Spent up love?" he grinned across at her as he leaned on the door, not daring to close it in case her mother was on the prowl.

"Not a chance," Rose joked back. "Are ya gettin' ready then?" she hinted at his attire.

"Oh? I suppose I should then?" he laughed, thankful he'd brought something in case she agreed to go out somewhere. "Everything's arranged, hope you like the hotel."

"It looked nice, I suppose it depends on the room they gave us?" Rose wondered. "I expect once everyone gets used to me being a Tyler, I'll only have to mention my name? I don't even know if I want that."

"Well if your mother gets her way, it seems she intends making a start," Jamie replied, hoping Jackie wasn't listening.

"She wanted to go public, a while back but I was doing my training and catching up with my education so there wasn't much point," Rose admitted. "Sorry she's draggin' you into it."

"Don't be sorry Rose," he told her, venturing into her room, thinking he was safe enough if the door was still open.

He leaned down as Rose went to him and they sneaked a kiss.

"Hey, get out of here before mum catches ya," Rose then laughed.

"I'm going," Jamie laughed back. "When we get back tomorrow, we tell her we're together and if she's putting us in the papers, she'd best get used to it," he insisted.

"You can tell her then," Rose dared him.

Jamie waggled his eyebrows, which always seemed to get him a smile from Rose.

Just after three, Jamie having been told they could book into the hotel near the theatre after four, he was waiting nervously downstairs for Rose to come down.

"You do know Rose has expensive tastes?" Pete laughed as Jamie was sat at the bottom of the stairs, an overnight bag beside him and wearing a jacket and trousers along with a fancy shirt.

"I think I'm about to find out Pete," Jamie replied nervously. "She said though she's not very well known yet, I hope it stays that way?"

"As long as we can Jamie but she'll soon start getting noticed if her mother gets her way," Pete smiled. "If you two are going to be serious, you and I need to have a talk."

"Oh? Should I be worried?" Jamie wondered where Rose had got to.

"No, it's not that bad," Pete replied. "Have a good night out then."

"Thanks, I hope she enjoys it, I'm still a bit nervous," Jamie admitted. "I am serious about her."

Rose finally came out of her room, having been wondering if she could share a room but maybe Jamie was right, they couldn't really find out how they felt if they avoided it. It was better to go out somewhere than go to his apartment.

When they got out of the car outside the hotel, Jamie checked them both in and they were shown to their room, which met with Rose's approval.

"So, we eat at six thirty, just in the dining room, thought it would save finding somewhere else, then it's a short walk to the theatre. Glad you chose a light romantic comedy over something serious like Shakespeare," Jamie told her.

"Wait until next time then," Rose warned him, seeing him pull a face.

Then he saw her smile at him as she hung her dress up in front of the mirrored wardrobe.

"Wow, is that your new dress?" he dared ask.

"Mmm, like it?" she teased him, glad she hadn't bought anything too daring for a first proper date.

"It looks very nice Rose. Oh, I have something for you. I had already made my mind up to ask you out properly tonight so, I got this for you."

He went in his overnight bag and brought out a small box wrapped in silver paper. Rose took it and opened it carefully and found a lovely delicate silver bracelet with a single heart on the clasp.

"It's lovely Jamie, thanks. Will you fasten it for me when I get changed?" she asked.

She sat in front of the window, since it was a bit early to get ready, she'd already had a shower, put some new underwear on to save doing it later so she just had to put her new dress on and put her hair up. Jamie was sat on the edge of the bed.

"Rose, come and sit with me?" he dared to suggest. "I just wanted to say that I'm happy you agreed to come out with me tonight."

"I'm glad ya asked. I mean the last few times we've been out have been nice enough though," she admitted.

"They have? Good, that's a relief," Jamie let out a sigh of relief. "I've not had a girlfriend for a while."

"Yeah, well. I sort of lost my boyfriend. I mean he's still around, somewhere. I don't talk about it. Sorry," she replied.

"Tell me when you're ready maybe? I'd like you to be able to trust me Rose," he asked as she got up and he held his arms out.

They kissed for a good while then talked about things they'd not yet told each other like what they liked and disliked, finding a lot they agreed on such as musical tastes.

"Ah, I must confess, I'm rather late to finding I like Beatles songs," Jamie laughed as he had his arm around Rose.

Rose had been glad they'd existed here as well as where she'd come from.

"Don't tell mum but she tried to turn me into a Cliff Richard fan," Rose giggled.

"Oh, I might have known," Jamie laughed some more.

"Yeah, we used to watch all his old movies every holiday," Rose admitted.

"Poor old you," Jamie tried to sound serious as Rose nudged him. "Why don't you go get changed eh?" he then suggested.

Rose was rather enjoying getting close. She took her dress into the bathroom and held it in front of her. It was a short-sleeved dark blue chiffon with gold trimmings and a black lining. She hoped it wasn't going to be too much once she had it on when the lining gave off a purple hue.

"Wow, look at you," Jamie looked at her. "You look amazing Rose. Here, let me put that bracelet on for you?"

They went to the dining room just before six thirty, telling the head waiter they were going out and Jamie put Rose's jacket on the back of her chair for her.

"Let's hope the service is fast," Jamie joked.

They were soon served and had plenty of time to walk to the theatre and find their seats.

"Looking forward to this love?" Jamie smiled as he took her hand, her jacket over his lap.

"Yeah, I wanted to see it a while ago," Rose admitted.

"What stopped you then?" he whispered into her ear, Rose trying not to shiver.

"I had no-one to go with – plum," she replied as the lights began to dim and people settled down.

Jamie just smiled to himself as Rose put her arm in his and the theatre curtain opened to reveal the first act of the play. Jamie had pre-booked drinks as well, thinking it may also impress his new girlfriend and when the play had finished, he delayed walking back to the hotel.

"We could go to a late-night wine bar?" he suggested as they stood outside the theatre.

Rose looked around and realised they were quite near one of the main squares.

"Can we go find a café? I'd love some hot chocolate," she insisted.

They found somewhere still open and sat with their hot drinks.

"Did you enjoy that then?" Jamie wanted to know.

"Yeah, it was good," Rose agreed. "So, want to do anything tomorrow?"

"Does it involve looking after your baby brother?" Jamie asked cautiously.

"Aw, not up to the challenge?" Rose teased him.

"Huh, I managed this morning," he objected.

"I'm just messin' with ya," Rose smiled. "Mum will be pleased ya managed."

"As long as she doesn't expect me to do it every Saturday morning?" he added.

"That depends if we decide to go shopping together again," Rose further teased him.

He saw her trying to hide her smile and let it go. They walked back to the hotel hand in hand and went to their room, Rose debating if she should retreat to the bathroom or not to get ready for bed.

"Rose, please don't hide," he asked her as he put his arms around her neck after taking the bracelet off for her.

"Sorry, I'm just a bit shy," Rose told him.

"You don't have to be. You could start by unfastening my shirt buttons," he suggested.

"Yeah, I can do that," Rose easily agreed.

Once his shirt was off, he went for the zip of her dress, thinking maybe she would tell him to stop but she didn't and once her dress was off, he admired her new lingerie set she'd bought as she slipped the nightdress over her head and led her to the bed.

"You can back out, if you still want to," he offered as he let her in first.

Rose just shook her head so he got in beside her, leaning with his arms behind his head as he let her make the first move. She did, by placing her hands on his chest and making circles. He moved one arm and put his behind her back, touching her skin that wasn't covered by the nightdress that was v-shaped at the back.

He then pushed her over onto her back and began kissing her neck and made his way slowly down where her skin was exposed. Then he decided to find out exactly how she would react to him moving the straps on her nightdress and when she didn't object, he pulled them down and began kissing her shoulders.

Just as nearby clocks were all chiming midnight, Rose whispered that she wanted more with him. She knew she'd been on her own far too long and she'd found someone who didn't seem like he was going anywhere. They could sort all the details out later, like working together as she felt him reaching for his shorts, then her underwear and suddenly, she thought she was going to melt.

Jamie could hear her making funny little noises and hoped they were a good sign. He thought she was responding to his moves anyway so he must be doing something right, unlike with that ungrateful French ex-girlfriend who had finally gone back home complaining he never treated her right. He didn't think he was going to have the same problem with Rose as she made more contented noises in his ear and thought they were sweet.

He allowed her to change places when she indicated she was getting over-excited and was starting to giggle.

"I get a giggle from you?" he teased her as she lay on top of him.

"Sorry, it was just too good," she replied, feeling happier than she had been for a long time.

"Well, I may let you off then," he replied as she began moving on him again, making him wanting to start again but didn't know if she was quite ready for him a second time.

He found she was, despite being on top of him and they both found it just as enjoyable when he'd given her enough hints.

"That was certainly unexpected," he had to admit when Rose rolled over to find her underwear, which was on the headboard – surprisingly.

They had left the bedside lamp on a very low setting, Jamie had wanted to be able to actually see where he had been kissing her.

"Rose, that was, well really incredible actually. What would you say to maybe staying over at my place at weekends?" he asked hopefully. "Do you need time to think about it?"

Chapter 4

Rose knew if she didn't take the plunge, so to speak, she never would get over being torn away from The Doctor but she could never admit to Jamie how much alike the two of them were. At least there was no Mickey to spill the beans.

"Well, you know my past?" Rose wanted to make sure he meant it. "You also know my mother's plans for putting us in the limelight. Does that put ya off?"

"It should," he replied, objecting to her putting her vest top on but Rose was not having this conversation with nothing on. "One thing though. When we first met, you kept staring at me, like I had two heads or something?"

Rose tried to make light of it despite her stomach doing somersaults.

"Geez Jamie, I thought ya were the most gorgeous bloke I'd met since I've been here," Rose managed to bluff.

"Really?" he beamed, flicking his hair and rolling his tongue around. "You did? I must have been a recluse too long, no-one ever said that to me before."

"Ya can't have got out much then," Rose teased him.

"Ah, you may have a point there but you solved that, didn't you, my fair Rose?" he grinned in the dim light. "Okay, I agree to your mother putting out some kind of statement but only because I don't want any men stealing you from under my nose."

"Aw, as if any of them could even tempt me," Rose smiled as she sat astride him and he held onto her hips. "She's only doing it in case we cause a stir wherever we go and I think now, she wants everyone to know more about me, to get me established."

"What as?" Jamie tried to pull her down. "My girlfriend?"

"Jamie, be serious." she told him. He shook his head. "As Pete's stepdaughter, he's still in charge of Vitex, in case ya forgot?"

"No but what has that got to do with you?" he wondered. "Everyone assumes you're the Vitex heiress."

"They tried to keep it quiet when I arrived here but rumours started going around, that's why I went off for training and all that, to give him time. I suspect he and my mum have come up with some kind of plan to introduce us as a couple at the same time."

"Rose, you've still lost me love," Jamie shook his head, wanting to go back to kissing her again.

"Vitex is where dad made all his money," she reminded him, making him stop. "When I arrived here, besides training, which I got paid for, I got a generous allowance and when Tony came along, he set up funds for us and my mum but she didn't want to be the main one and Tony's too young. So, I'm it – the heiress to his fortune and the company."

Jamie sat back on the pillow, not knowing what to say, which Rose thought made a change. Should she have told him? It was slightly better she did instead of her mother springing it on him at a press conference. She knew the day was coming but had hoped it would be a low-key occasion but not when Jackie Tyler was in charge of it.

"Rose, I don't know what to say," Jamie had to admit. "I mean it doesn't change how I feel about you and I did make a move on you before you told me. So the rumours are all true then?"

"Jamie, I'll try and stop her but if she's got Pete to agree to it while we've been out, that'll be it," Rose told him. "It doesn't change how I feel about you either. It just puts everything in perspective I suppose? I've tried not to think about it until now but once she mentioned the press conference, I had to warn ya what ya were gettin' into."

"Come here Rose," he suggested. "It won't change anything and we can keep out of the way of the press when it's been announced, can't we?"

"I hope so?" Rose agreed as she went to lie on him. "I hope dad can keep the press away once it's been announced, he carries a lot of influence."

"Yeah, let's hope so?" Jamie also agreed. "I hope we don't have to sneak out of here in the morning?"

Jackie had indeed been discussing things with Pete once Rose and Jamie had gone out.

"Jackie, back off for now," Pete was trying to persuade her. "Give them a chance eh?"

"Pete, the sooner the better," Jackie had disagreed. "It's better than some photographer learning who Rose really is and sneakin' photos of 'em snoggin' somewhere, or worse."

"Rose is sensible, she'll not get caught in public," Pete tried to convince his wife.

"It's not Rose I'm worried about," Jackie told him. "Ya know there's already rumours about her."

"Jamie seems to respect her," Pete tried to explain. "Well okay, we'll go ahead with what we planned when you and Rose arrived here. Still no telling him about who he looks like."

"As if I would," Jackie had seemed put out. "She'll tell him if she wants to."

"He was asking questions a while back when she mentioned Norway," Pete admitted.

Rose and Jamie fooled around the next morning then went down to breakfast.

"Want to go out later?" Jamie suggested as Rose looked miles away. "We could take your little brother to the zoo?"

"You enjoyed looking after him for my mum yesterday?" Rose teased him.

"We seemed to get on, he's maybe not so much of a baby after all?" Jamie replied.

"He's almost two Jamie, he comes out with all kinds of things," Rose smiled. "I missed a lot of him growing up while I was training."

"Poor you. I had no-one though," Jamie admitted to her. "Well, I suppose we go face your mother now?"

"If we say we'll take Tony out, it will please her," Rose smiled across the table at him.

"Well next weekend, you stay with me?" he reminded her. "My place overlooks the river."

"Show-off," Rose giggled as they got up.

"I was hoping it would impress you?" he tried not to look disappointed until she took his hand and squeezed it.

"I look forward to seeing it then," she agreed.

"I can see I'm going to have trouble with you, Rose Tyler," he replied as they went back to clear their room.

Rose had arranged for someone to pick them up at ten and were soon back at the mansion, where Jackie was having trouble with her young son.

"Want Jamie," the youngster was sat on the floor with his arms folded.

"Rose will be back with him soon," Pete tried to tell the youngster. "See what you did Jackie? Getting Jamie to stay with him?"

"Well if he's gonna spend time with Rose, he'd best get used to it," Jackie replied, trying to get Tony up.

"On their first proper date?" Pete asked. "Then you spring it on him about a press conference. If Rose comes back on her own, you're to blame."

"Well he didn't object," Jackie huffed.

"You never gave him chance," Pete replied as they heard Rose calling that she was back.

Pete was relieved Jamie was following her otherwise she'd want a new job from tomorrow.

"Jamie!" Tony shouted and shuffled around to get up, running to his new friend and grabbing Jamie's legs.

"Hey there sport, how are you doing?" Jamie greeted the boy. "How about me and your sister take you out later then?"

"Yeah!" Tony let go and jumped up and down, clapping his hands.

Then the boy ran to his blue pedal car and jumped in.

"Brum, brum," Tony made some sounds. "Go now Jamie?" he looked up.

"Hey, soon Tony, yeah?" Rose told him. "Want to go to the zoo and see the lions and tigers?"

"Elepants! Tony laughed.

That made Jamie laugh and he stepped up to the toy car and started pushing Tony around the room, making the boy laugh and call out to go faster.

"What about lunch?" Jackie wanted to know.

"We can have it later or get something while we're out," Rose replied, hoping Jamie wouldn't get too dizzy that he wouldn't be able to drive his own car.

Rose went to get changed after Jamie escaped pushing Tony around, Jackie telling the boy to get ready to go out and they then set off, Jamie putting the stroller in the back of the car and Rose fastening her little brother in the car seat one of the staff had got from the storeroom.

Once at the zoo, Tony wanted to walk around for a while, holding Jamie's hand then being lifted on his shoulders to look at the penguins and sea lions then they stopped for a break.

"He's really enjoying this, thanks," Rose touched Jamie's arm as Tony sat happily in his stroller with a drink.

"He's a great kid," Jamie admitted. "I think we should make time to take him out, don't you?"

"Yeah," Rose agreed. "If mum doesn't put ya off tomorrow?"

"Don't worry love, she won't. Am I going to object being linked to you, eh?" he asked. "Rose, why don't you get a few things for tomorrow and stay with me tonight?" he dared to suggest.

"Really?" Rose was surprised. "Well, yeah, okay then, if ya sure?"

"I'm sure love. Rose, I want this with you," he whispered so no-one could hear.

Rose kissed his cheek then got up as she noticed Tony was falling asleep.

"So much for him seeing the elepants then!" Jamie laughed as Rose unhooked the back of the stroller to lay Tony back.

They walked around a while longer, hoping Tony would wake up, which he did in time to see a few more of the animals and they went back to a few he'd missed, then they went back to the car and took Tony back home. After getting something to eat, Rose admitted she was going to stay at Jamie's.

Jackie had to take her to one side though.

"I hope ya know what ya doin' Rose?"

"Yeah Mum. I like him a lot, you seem to like him," Rose replied.

"He's okay and he's good with Tony I suppose?" Jackie had to admit. "Let's see how he faces the press tomorrow night. Rose, ya do know that now, people will start to notice ya more?"

"I know and I've warned Jamie. He doesn't seem to mind Mum," Rose replied.

Jamie drove them just outside the other side of London, a bit nearer where Torchwood Tower was and Rose walked out onto the balcony of his apartment.

"Wow, my dad must pay ya too much," Rose joked as Jamie joined her, taking her hand.

"Ah, well you weren't here when he hired me," Jamie reminded her. "He stole me away from another employer. I told him I would be only too happy to work for the new Torchwood but I wanted certain things in return, which were my own department with free reign, a fancy apartment and a modest salary."

"So were you one of the first there?" Rose asked.

"Yeah, it was a bit of a mess. There was plenty to sort out, trust me but that stuff you had Jake disposed of could have been really interesting," he reminded her.

"Jamie, that man was dangerous, he was gathering the only one of everything in the universe and he wouldn't have stopped there. He could have got hold of Torchwood and got those devices working again. No-one would have been able to stop him."

"I get that Rose, really I do," Jamie tried to assure her. "We won't talk about it again, promise. There's a nice little pub not far away, we can walk down and sit outside for a while," he suggested.

When they got back, Jamie gave her the choice of getting changed in the bathroom or the bedroom.

"I think I'm over my shyness," Rose tried to assure him and herself.

"Then I'm glad to hear it," he told her as he put his arms around her. "Let's see how things go then maybe you can start staying over from next weekend?"

She wasn't really looking forward to her mother calling the press in but the PR team would have something for them to read out when questions were asked and only one reporter and cameraman would be allowed in, then the newspapers would get reports the following day.

She had been lucky so far but was her mother even aware that it could do more harm than good? Had she considered the social aspect like being expected to give interviews, be active on social media sites and appear on chat shows?

While she could get someone to update her social profiles every day, write responses to various subjects magazines would come up with, she wouldn't be able to pass someone off as herself on TV. Then Jamie would probably be expected to join her at parties she was invited to. So far, she'd only attended her mother's charity functions.

Unaware to Rose, a certain couple from the town of Sandbrook had attended one not so long ago. Tess Hardy had been elected to attend and she had dragged her husband along for support, to which he had protested that it wasn't his 'thing'. Tess had been asked at the last minute to accept a cheque from Jackie for the south west police widow's fund, a new charity Jackie had been asked to be the chairperson of and Jackie had a reputation of making sure it was well attended and a fair amount raised.

The following evening after work, Jamie pulled his car up outside the mansion, seeing a broadcast unit parked with thick cables leading inside and a satellite dish and a few people setting up lights.

"Miss Tyler," a woman shouted. "May we get a shot of you going inside?"

"On my own?" Rose asked, wondering if her mother had broken the news about Jamie yet.

"Why yes," the woman replied, wondering who was with Rose.

A cameraman came out of the van and began to follow Rose and Jamie to the front door and Rose was encouraged to give a wave as she went inside.

"So, it's started already?" Jamie turned to her.

"Well, they didn't know about you," Rose reminded him. "Ya can leave if ya want?"

"Rose, I've already told you," he replied, taking her hand again. "Your mother would be disappointed if I left now."

"Rose, come on," her mother called from one of the sitting rooms, Rose guessing poor Tony was with his nanny.

Once inside, there was a female reporter from a popular news channel and a cameraman, the reporter sat on the sofa going through her notes.

"Miss Tyler, nice to meet you. I'm Katie, may I call you Rose?"

She indicated for Rose to sit at the other end of the sofa so Jamie sat on the chair at the side.

"I have a set of questions for you, then you can give your statement. We'll be doing a special about you tomorrow at midday, my producer outside was very excited that you had decided to go public with your status," Rose was told.

"Have ya read my statement yet?" Rose wondered, since there was no signs of any PR team.

"We were going to let you do that," the woman beside her smiled, rather falsely Jamie thought.

"Well it's not just me," Rose informed her. "Mum, I thought ya had it arranged?"

"So did I," Jackie looked put out.

"Mrs Tyler, we were under the impression that Rose wanted to clarify that she indeed is the heir to the Vitex corporation and all that goes with it?" Jackie was asked. "It's been the subject of speculation for a number of years."

"Well yeah but that's not the main reason I called ya here," Jackie replied.

"Mum, if that's what she's here for, never mind," Rose tried to get out of the rest.

"Well, if there's more?" the reporter shuffled her notes. "Right, when you're ready."

Rose was asked a few trivial questions then was surprised at the next one.

"Hold on," Jackie interrupted Rose from answering. "This isn't what I agreed to. Jamie, can ya go find Pete?"

"Sure Jackie, I suggest this interview stops right now," Jamie replied as he got up.

"What's the problem?" the producer was asking over the two-way radio.

"Mrs Tyler says this isn't what she agreed to," Katie was saying as Rose got up to join her mother.

"What's going on Mum?" Rose wanted to know.

"I don't know Rose but your dad will insist that tape gets wiped or the station will be off the air for good," Jackie replied.

Jamie had found Pete and they went back to where Rose and Jackie were.

"I'm glad you came to get me Jamie," Pete was telling him. "What are they playing at? All Jackie wanted to do was put an end to the rumours about Rose and say you two were dating."

Rose couldn't hear what else was being said about them but she could guess.

"How did I know what they'd ask?" Jackie was saying.

"Come on Mum, I've been hiding away all this time," Rose almost laughed. "What else would I have been doing except blowing my inheritance?"

"Rose, they were told why they were here," Jackie reminded her. "That was uncalled for."

"I know Mum," Rose told her as Pete followed Jamie in, Jamie going to sit beside Rose on the sofa arm.

"Let me talk to your producer," Pete insisted to the reporter. "You know who I am. This interview is over, I want that recording wiped or I'll take legal action."

The media all finally left after Pete had gone outside to make sure all recordings had been wiped, Rose telling him how she'd been filmed on her way in.

"That should have been an indication I suppose?" Pete wondered.

"I had no idea Pete," Jamie assured him. "If I had, I would have stopped them. I thought it a little strange they never asked who I was."

"They were just using it as an excuse to fuel the rumours," Rose told them, leaning on Jamie, who put his arm around her. "Did ya get that statement back Dad?"

"Let them keep it, if they have any sense, they'll do what they were supposed to have done when they came here. I'll get the PR team ready to put out a statement that says that news channel were out of line and the interview will now go out to the papers. We'll pick another night," Pete told them.

"Sorry Jamie," Rose turned to him.

"It wasn't your fault Rose, forget it," he assured her. "It's okay Pete, get another news agency in if you want?"

A few nights later, Jamie returned with Rose to find the non-commercial news channel greeting them, not approaching as they arrived and being allowed to speak freely. It went on TV the following afternoon, Tess Hardy just happening to catch it.

"Just look at her," Tess was telling the woman next to her in the break room. "Just because her mother married into money."

"I heard they came from nowhere Tess," she was told,

"Well exactly. Who's that man with her?" Tess wanted to know, trying to get a better look.

"Hey Tess, he looks like your husband," one of the secretaries laughed.

"You are joking," Tess wasn't pleased. "We had to go to a charity function a while back, that man wasn't with Rose Tyler then."

"Sure you know where your Alec was last night," the first woman laughed.

"Shut up Elsie," Tess huffed, tired of being the subject of rumours she was on the verge of leaving Alec.

If he was going to ignore her all the time, why shouldn't she consider leaving him but she'd only gone to Dave because he'd offered to give her some advice. There was no other reason, she tried to convince herself and now, people were trying to convince her Alec was doing the same to get his revenge on her.

Alec was watching her as she returned to her desk. What was she getting up to when she kept disappearing by saying she was following a lead? Did he actually care, he wondered as he tried to get back to work. Were they only still together because of their daughter?

Chapter 5

Rose and Jamie's world was about to be set upside down as magazines and Sunday supplements lapped up the news that Rose had finally gone public that she was indeed heiress to Pete Tyler's empire he had made for himself, even though he now spent more time running Torchwood. He had got some good people in who he could trust to see to the day to day running of Vitex and it was going from strength to strength and several rivals were keen to buy.

Pete was having none of it, saying in a different interview that the future of Vitex was for his family. So Rose had been asked how she felt about the possibility of it being passed to her but she had declined to comment. She had met with Pete one night after work when the papers wouldn't leave it alone.

"I told ya Dad, I don't want it," Rose was insisting.

"Well none of my current rivals are getting it," Pete still insisted as he looked at Jackie.

"Don't let it just go Pete," she told him.

"The only thing I can do is hold off until I feel the time's right," Pete relented. "That's my final decision. Until then Rose, the news will soon die down about you being the Vitex heiress."

"I hope you're right," Rose had to agree. "I don't know what Jamie thinks about it, he's not said. He's just about got over us announcing we're dating."

"Well he'd best get used to it," Jackie told her.

"I'm staying at his place again this weekend," Rose then admitted.

"Well don't let any reporters catch ya sneakin' out," Jackie warned her.

"Well they don't know where he lives, do they Mum?" Rose asked her. "Well they'd better not anyway. I'll have to dash, he's picking me up in half an hour."

"Well call if ya gonna be late back," Jackie insisted.

As Rose left, Jackie questioned Pete about Rose's choice in boyfriends.

"Do ya think he's the right one for her Pete?" she wanted to know.

"Jackie, it's down to her, she has to decide," Pete reminded her. "I told you, I didn't hire him because of who he looked like, I never thought either of them would be back. Mickey never said anything to Jamie about who he looked like, there was never any need."

"Then how did ya explain Mickey going to stop the Cybermen?" Jackie wanted to know.

"Jamie had nothing to do with that. Mickey was just part of the advance team, as far as anyone else was concerned. Rose never went to Torchwood except for the time you both arrived. The lever room was just about the only place not cleared, there was no rush," Pete explained.

"Ya could have fooled me," Jackie laughed. "That and the underground garage were all we saw."

"There was no need," Pete told her. "Our priorities were to get up and running and to make sure the Cybermen didn't come back. I trusted The Doctor to take care of the other end but by leaving the lever room as it was, it meant nothing could get through from anywhere else. While Rose was away, we cleared it all out and made it into the cannon room by adapting the devices we used before."

"Well as long as she's happy I suppose?" Jackie replied. "Do ya think it'll make any difference to him, her being suddenly famous?"

Pete let out a laugh.

"Come on Jackie, it'll give him a chance to show off."

Jamie had taken Rose to a local wine bar and he was trying to get her to stay over at his place on Friday night as well.

"Come on Rose, then we can go somewhere on Saturday as well," he was trying to convince her. "Or if you want, we could maybe go somewhere for the weekend?"

"Jamie, slow down will ya?" she tried to tell him. "Okay, I'll stay over on Friday then but let's work up to going away for the weekend?"

"Fine. Why don't you think of somewhere then? You're always saying you enjoyed that Saturday night out the other weekend though. How about seeing another play, maybe Shakespeare? We could go to his home town, see it done properly?" he suggested.

"In a couple of weeks then?" Rose agreed as she sipped her white wine and lemonade.

"Are you planning on going when your favourite actor's appearing there?" he teased her, making Rose blush. "Ah, I caught you out, Miss Tyler," he laughed as he nudged her. "Okay, have a think about it then?"

By the time the weekend came around, Friday morning, Rose was almost late for work as she decided if she was going to pack for an extra night as one of the maids knocked on her door to say Pete was waiting to set off for work.

"Miss Tyler, your father said you'll have to get to work yourself if you're not downstairs in five minutes," she told Rose.

"Will ya ask him to just hang on?" Rose called out as the maid was about to close the door. "Tell him I'm just coming."

She threw another dress and nightwear into the small case and grabbed the rest of her things then saw Pete pacing the hallway as she went down the stairs.

"Sorry Dad. I was deciding if I was gonna stay at Jamie's tonight as well."

"Are you?" Pete queried, as he headed for the door. "You'd best tell your mother, I'll wait in the car. She'll not be happy if you just call her later."

"I know Dad. Can ya take my case for me?" Rose asked.

"How exactly are you going to explain carrying it to your office or haven't you thought of that?" Pete raised his eyebrows.

"Can I keep it in your car and get it later?" Rose asked hopefully.

"I suppose so, just don't make a habit of it eh? Decide what you're going to do Rose," Pete agreed. "You can get Jamie to collect my car keys at lunchtime so he can put your case in his car."

"Thanks Dad. I'd best go face Mum then? I hope she had no plans for tomorrow?"

"I knew it," Jackie was about to object. "Is that gonna be every weekend? What about spending time with your brother?"

"I'll talk Jamie into coming over with me some Saturday mornings and maybe some Sunday lunchtimes," Rose suggested.

How he'd take that, she had no idea but he had to understand that her family were important to her. They didn't talk much about it during the day, Jamie agreeing to getting her case but when it was time to leave, people were nudging each other.

"What's wrong with you lot, not seen anyone leaving an' holding hands?" Rose turned on them.

"Leave it Rose," Jamie insisted.

"Well haven't they got anything better to do on a Friday night?" Rose replied as they waited for the lift after signing out.

"We don't usually leave together on a Friday," Jamie reminded her.

"They'd best get used to it then," Rose told him, loud enough for anyone passing to hear.

"I see you're taking all this admitting who you are and the fact we're dating seriously then," Jamie joked as he saw Jake.

"Rose!" Jake called out just as the lift arrived. "Don't go out the front way, there's loads of photographers out there."

"What?" Rose wanted to know as Jamie held the lift door open. "Can't ya get your men to clear them away?"

"They've already pushed them back but the press aren't on our property any more. Jamie, go around the back way," Jake suggested. "I thought ya gave interviews?"

"We did," Jamie told him, holding the door button and trying to get Rose into the lift. "What's your mother been saying now?"

"Hey, how do I know?" Rose huffed at him.

"What are you two up to?" Jake grinned. "Leaving together?"

"Stop it Jake," Rose told him as the lift door closed, even though someone else was waiting.

"Hey, I wanted the lift, the man objected. "Who do they think they are?"

Jake thought the man must be the only one who'd not read a newspaper recently.

"The boss's stepdaughter and her boyfriend?" Jake offered as he walked off.

Once at Jamie's car, he opened the grill with the remote he had and turned right instead of left, leading them to a side road, missing the press, who were getting impatient.

"I hate to think what they'll make up by Monday morning," Rose admitted.

"Hey, forget it Rose, I'll have to get used to it. There's something I want to talk to you about before I take you out. I thought we'd go to this nice quiet candlelit place I've been meaning to take you to," he smiled at her through the mirror.

"Sounds important then?" Rose replied.

"It's not that bad," he tried to assure her.

Up in Sandbrook, Alec was now staying at a small hotel after having a blazing row with Tess and walking out the previous Sunday night. He'd gone to get the police to pay for it, annoying Tess even more when she was called by the personnel officer dealing with it that she'd no longer get the full amount of her housing allowance.

On the same morning Rose was deciding to stay all weekend with Jamie, Tess was complaining to Dave about it when she got back to her desk.

"Well at least you don't have to argue with him," Dave was telling her.

He thought maybe that was what she'd been enjoying though.

"Stop it Dave, he did it on purpose, didn't he?" Tess snapped at him. "Why didn't they tell me before then?"

"Maybe he told them not to?" Dave smiled as he glanced over at Alec, who was sat in his office.

Alec had thought why should he bother telling Tess, she'd find out soon enough and she'd have to learn to cut down instead of wasting her money on things she and Daisy didn't need. He'd decided that if Daisy needed anything urgently, then he would provide for her but that was all. Daisy hadn't taken it very well when he'd told her he'd moved out but she was still just about talking to him.

He was about to go get his lunch when she called him and he rang her back.

"Dad, are you coming to see me over the weekend?" Daisy wanted to know.

"How about I take you out tomorrow morning?" he suggested, so he could avoid Tess. "Do you need anything for school?"

"I'll think about it, will you pick me up?" Daisy wanted to know.

"Sure. We can have some lunch as well. Daisy, you do know my leaving is not your fault? I thought it would avoid all those arguments with your mother, so you won't have to listen to them."

"Dad, she still goes on about you," Daisy admitted. "Can't you try and get on?"

"I'm sorry Daisy, she won't even stop arguing with me at work," he admitted as he saw Dave making himself at home on the corner of Tess's desk.

"I'm trying to understand Dad," Daisy told him. "Mum's not helping though. See you tomorrow then?"

Alec agreed then got up to get something to eat, hoping Tess wouldn't decide to go at the same time and drag that boring Dave Harris with her. That was all he needed. Dave had picked up a magazine from under a pile of papers on Tess's messier than normal desk.

"You don't believe all that about Pete Tyler admitting he has a stepdaughter do you Tess?" Dave laughed.

"I'm not interested Dave. Daisy made me get it, then I decided she was too young to read it all. Really, why do they make these things appealing to teenagers?" Tess objected. "Daisy says all her friends at school went crazy when they found out those silly rumours were true, the head teacher should put a ban on such nonsense inside the school grounds."

"Tess, you can't stop kids talking," Dave laughed. "Don't you think it will all die down eventually? I'm glad I only have a boy."

"Well I hope it does die down, goodness knows what will happen if Rose Tyler decides to get engaged then get married, teenage girls are so impressionable these days. It's okay for Alec, he doesn't have to deal with it now," she nodded towards him as Alec left his office.

Alec knew he'd been spotted, like a rabbit in car headlights he thought. Nothing much got past Tess these days. He decided to go tell her he'd be calling for Daisy the next morning.

"Well I wish she had discussed it with me first," Tess wasn't pleased. "Maybe you can come early, to discuss my housing allowance being cut?"

"You're on your own with that Tess," Alec warned her. "Sit down and work out where you can cut down eh?"

"Well really," Tess huffed as Alec walked off.

Dave tried not to laugh, well not too much anyway but failed and Tess indicated for him to go away.

By early Sunday evening, Rose was deciding if she should go home or stay another night and face everyone talking about them at work again.

"Rose, let's just get it out of the way?" Jamie suggested. "They'll soon stop."

"I hope you're right," Rose replied. "It's been nice though," she had to admit.

"I told you it would be. Relax Rose, it can only get better," Jamie assured her as they stood at the patio window. "Maybe next Sunday, we can take a boat down the river for a few hours, have a picnic?"

"Mmm, sounds good to me," Rose agreed as she put her head on his shoulder.

"Ah, that means you agree to staying all next weekend?" Jamie smiled.

"You knew I would," Rose knew he was just teasing her. "Are ya now gonna tell me what ya wanted to talk about?"

"Oh, we never had that discussion, did we love?" he realised.

"Ya were stalling," Rose reminded him.

"Maybe on Friday night you were in a good mood and I wanted to take advantage of it?" he further teased her. "Relax Rose, it was nothing serious, it was only about you staying over. I just thought that maybe you'd want to keep some of your things here? I mean so you don't have to pack on Monday morning and get your stuff back home?"

"Wow? Seriously? I was almost late for work on Friday morning, dad nearly went without me," she admitted.

"Well, there you are then," Jamie looked at her. "Rose, you know I'm already in love with you?"

"You are?" Rose sounded surprised. "I mean are you? Jamie, I think I'm falling in love with you as well."

"Well staying over at weekends will help you decide, won't it love?" he suggested. "How about next weekend, we go off and stay over Saturday night and spend the rest of the time here? Would that help?"

"Yeah, that sounds nice. We don't have to go see a play Jamie," Rose looked up and smiled at him.

"Ah but I promised you love. Besides, I can take you on that boat ride, just down the river Avon instead of this one, then have dinner and see any play you choose. Rose, I want to show you just how much I do love you."

"I don't know what to say Jamie," Rose was lost for words.

"Just say you'll agree to go with me," Jamie replied.

He held his arms out to her and then held her tightly, kissing the top of her head.

"I think I'd like that," Rose agreed as she looked into his brown eyes.

"Then I hope to convince you that nothing the papers come up with about you or us is going to make any difference to how I feel about you. Now, do you want to go out to eat or shall we make something?" he asked. "First though, how much do you like the view of the river from here?"

"Why are ya asking?" Rose giggled. "What are ya up to Jamie?"

"Ah, that would be telling," he teased, hoping to entice her into staying more than the weekend in the very near future.

He had fallen for her in a very big way and no-one could accuse him of going after her status and money, since that had been established after they had dated several times. The only thing that remained was Rose telling him more about the man she'd left behind in her old world. Maybe she didn't want to be reminded of him though, was it fair to make her if she had fallen in love with himself the way he had fallen for her?

As Jamie predicted, they were ignored on Monday morning as they signed in and collected their ID badges but Rose had a message to go see Pete upon her arrival.

"I'll see you when you've finished love," Jamie told her as he kissed her cheek by the lifts.

"He's probably got a message from my mum 'cos I didn't go home last night," Rose tried to laugh it off.

Jackie had complained that Rose hadn't gone home but Pete had told her to call Rose herself, he had something else to discuss with her.

"Ah, Rose. Get yourself a coffee eh?" Pete suggested. "Guess who I had a call from last night?"

Rose shrugged her shoulders. She'd had a good weekend but wasn't in the mood for guessing who'd called her stepfather. Pete could see she didn't want to answer.

"Okay then. Mickey called me. Seems he misses the excitement of being a Torchwood agent. What do you think about him coming back? We could put him in charge of that project again, step it up a bit?" Pete suggested.

"It's up to you Dad. I work with Jamie, it's up to you where you place Mickey," Rose told him.

"Are you ever going to forgive him for telling you about Jamie?" Pete asked her.

"He was never very tactful, ask mum," Rose replied. "Geez, the things he used to come out with when he used to tag along with me and The Doctor," she recalled. "Why all of a sudden?"

"He's been working on his own, sort of freelance but mainly for UNIT. A Colonel Mace asked me for a reference, I could hardly say no just because you and Mickey fell out," Pete admitted.

"Fine, just tell him to stay away from me and Jamie then," Rose gave in.

"I'll advise him. Are you afraid he'll still say something?" Pete asked her.

"Of course I am Dad, what do ya expect? I don't want Jamie to think I'm with him because of that. He may be okay with it but I'm not gonna risk it."

"I don't blame you really Rose," Pete agreed. "Jamie will find out you two used to know each other though."

"I know that but I've not seen Mickey for a long time, ya know that," Rose replied. "I don't have to be friends with him again, do I?"

"That would be a shame Rose. At least tell Jamie you knew each other back home eh?" Pete asked her. "I'll warn your mother shall I?"

"Yeah and tell both of 'em not to mention that Christmas or Jamie might leave me for good," Rose reminded him.

She went to join Jamie, who had started going through some notes from the week before.

"Ah Rose. I was just considering something. How do you fancy visiting some sightings of alien artefacts?"

"Really?" Rose handed him a drink from the coffee maker. "Hey, that would be great. Where are we talking?"

"Just around here for now but as more are found, maybe travelling around a bit? Won't that be exciting love?" he grinned.

"How soon would that be? I mean we were gonna try long weekends together," Rose reminded him.

"We'd come home for the weekend love," he replied, patting his legs for her to sit on them. "Well until we start going further away. By then, who knows? I might have talked you into moving in with me full time."

"Oh you will, will you?" Rose decided to tease him for a change.

"Oh, you mean you didn't know the weekends were going to lead to that eh?" Jamie went along with her. "Did I get the wrong message?"

Rose let a smile creep across her face.

"Ha! Gotcha there," she laughed. "Is that what ya intended then why didn't ya just say so?"

"I didn't want you to run away Rose," he admitted. "You were reluctant staying a few extra nights."

"Sorry, it's just all new to me," she replied. "It's all happened so fast."

"You noticed?" he laughed as Rose put her arm around his shoulder. "I'll pick you up later and we'll talk about it."

"Yeah okay. Dad wanted to tell me that someone's coming back. Remember Mickey?"

"Yeah, he left as you arrived. You knew him then?" Jamie asked her.

"Yeah. Jamie, he comes from the other universe, same as me and my mum. He helped defeat the Cybermen. He stayed here when me and The Doctor went back."

"Then I thought he would have been pleased you were here?" Jamie replied.

"He was, then we fell out. It's personal, sorry, I don't like to talk about it."

"Rose, you don't have to tell me, don't worry," Jamie assured her. "Forget about it. I'm sure you can avoid him?"

"I hope so, it's up to dad if he lets Mickey back or not," Rose told him.

"I'm sure Pete will bear it in mind if he takes Mickey back. Now, Miss Tyler, back to work eh?" Jamie smiled, going for a kiss. "I'll talk to him about us going where the artefacts are, instead of us waiting for them to come to us."

It went better than either of them thought when Pete agreed that Torchwood would fund any extra costs for them to attend where specially trained agents were working at uncovering items found with adapted metal detectors. So a few weeks later, after a weekend away as Jamie had promised, they were on their way to Devon as some unusual items had been uncovered.

Rose thought it was rather like being with The Doctor again but she couldn't say anything about it to Jamie. After their first week, they were about to make their way home again on the Friday afternoon. The agent in charge, called Simon had been warned by Jamie to stop watching Rose as she worked with a fine brush to get all the bits of soil off a strange object that was to be sent back to London. So now, he'd had enough as they stopped work.

"Oh come on Smith, everyone's staring at her," Jamie had been told. "Everyone knows who she is."

"That's still no reason," Jamie had objected. "And that's Doctor Smith to you, I'm in charge here now, ask the director. You'd do well to remember that."

"I was told you'd be working with us, that's all," Simon had reminded Jamie. "I was told nothing about you taking over."

"Well I suggest you call Mister Tyler then and if you don't like it, he'll send someone else on Monday," Jamie had told him. "Rose is my girlfriend so stop watching her Bailey,"

"She's with you?" Simon had then laughed. "I thought she worked for you?"

"What gave you that idea?" Jamie wanted to know.

"The way she runs after you? So that's why? Still, I suppose that's an advantage?"

"What's that supposed to mean?" Jamie had suddenly stood tall, Rose taking notice.

"Don't blame you Smith, having the little girlfriend fetching and carrying for you," Simon had laughed.

All of a sudden, Jamie had grabbed the other man by his shirt collar and Rose had grabbed another male agent and they'd run over to the two men.

"Jamie, what's going on?" Rose had asked him, Jamie still holding on. "Let go of him."

"Not until he apologizes," Jamie had replied.

"Me, apologize?" Simon had laughed. "Not a chance Smith. Now let me go or I'll call the director myself."

"Hold on, what are you two fighting over?" Rose tried again.

"Nothing Rose, I can handle this," Jamie still insisted, slackening his grip slightly as Simon tried to get him to let go.

"Well tell her," Simon mocked Jamie.

"Tell me what Jamie?" Rose had asked him. "If you two don't stop, I'll call my stepfather myself," she'd warned them both.

So Jamie backed off slightly, Simon straightening his shirt collar.

"This isn't over Bailey," Jamie warned the other man. "You had better change your attitude over the weekend or I'll have you removed. I'm in charge as long as I'm here, got it? Come on Rose."

"Geez, what was all that about Jamie?" Rose wanted to know.

"I didn't like his attitude," was all he'd wanted to admit.

How could he say it made him angry the way the other man had been looking at the way Rose was dressed and the way she was stood when she was working. It even drove him mad and he spent all night having sex with her and waking up with her tangled up in his long legs, a mouth full of her hair that always smelled of strawberries and the way she almost got him going as he was about to wake up if she didn't move first. If she wasn't fast enough when she felt him, they were almost late for work.

Sometimes he swore she did it on purpose and though he couldn't always see, he bet she had a wicked smile on her face because she'd be giggling into his shoulder as they both let the feeling wash over them.

Rose snapped him out of it as they entered the hotel.

"Forget it Jamie, we're going home, you can cool down over the weekend. What did ya pull him up like that for?"

"You really want to know?" he asked as they were halfway up the stairs. "I love you Rose, it drives me crazy if another man looks at you the way he was looking at you."

"Jamie, I love you too but I never saw him. No-one's gonna turn my head. There's only you," she tried to assure him. "You're so cute ya know, when ya look so moody and when ya shake ya hair. Then when ya fold ya arms and raise one of your eyebrows," she started to smile as they reached the landing and he did exactly what she was describing.

"You know me so well," he began to relax. "I'm sorry love. Want to go home or stay here tonight?"

"We'd best go home. If we see that man, I might have to bail ya out of a jail cell if ya beat him up," she tried to be serious as they entered their room.

"I might deserve to be locked up if anyone went near you," he leaned down to kiss her. "I love you Rose. Let's move on somewhere else? Maybe go abroad? What do you say?"

Rose was about to say as long as she wasn't travelling in a blue wooden box, she would go anywhere with him.

Chapter 6

Waiting until after spending their first Christmas together, Jamie certainly kept his word in dragging her around the country, then Europe and eventually the rest of the world. He had cleared it with Pete, getting himself and Rose fast-tracked into places it was difficult to get visas for, Pete himself contacting the embassies there and enabling Torchwood to join in local 'digs' as long as extra security was flown in for the pair of them.

They had taken a break the following Christmas for the holidays after spending the entire year away and gone home. Jamie had contacted Pete and got his permission to ask Rose to marry him but not to tell Jackie and wanted a special new year's party to be an engagement party. So Pete agreed to keep it quiet until Rose and Jamie had gone back to their place for a few days before the Christmas celebrations.

Jackie had clasped her hands over her mouth in surprise.

"Oh Pete! Why didn't ya tell me?" she cried at him, Tony looking up from playing with a puzzle Rose and Jamie had got him.

"Jamie wanted to surprise her Jaks, that's why," Pete replied. "Well, get onto the caterers then, you have a week or so, he'll make sure she doesn't find out."

"Find out what Dad?" Tony asked innocently.

"Never mind young man," Pete laughed as Tony seemed to know when Jamie was being talked about, let alone his sister. "It's a big surprise for Rose, we have to keep it secret. Can you do that?"

"Yeah Dad," Tony grinned back. "Does Jamie know?"

"Yes Tony, he knows," Jackie had to laugh. "It's going to make your sister really happy. Oh Pete, I thought she'd never be happy until she met Jamie, he was just what she needed."

"I know love. You may as well make a start but you’re the caterer's best customer," Pete laughed.

"I'd better be," Jackie laughed back. "They'd better have a heated marquee as well. What about the invitations though?"

"Ah. I'll call Rose's secretary, she can get a rush job done on them and have the printers mail them direct and hopefully everyone will get them after Christmas and not before. We don't want Rose to find out," Pete replied.

"Well I hope they'll get them on time, I'll write a list and you find out who her friends are," Jackie suggested. "Then we can announce it in the papers."

"Do we have to Jackie?" Pete asked her.

"They'll have to get used to it. Maybe Jamie will stop draggin' her around all over the place now?" Jackie wondered.

"You know why she agreed," Pete reminded her.

"Well he doesn't know that, does he?" Jackie told him. "How no-one's ever mentioned it to him beats me."

"Because Mickey left and they went off when he came back, remember?" Pete asked her.

"Who's Mickey?" Tony wanted to know, since Mickey had made no attempt to be other than an employee when he'd gone back to work for Pete.

"Never mind," Jackie and Pete told the young boy at the same time.

Jackie knew Rose wouldn't want him on the guest list, whether she knew about the party or not. Would she want to go back to working in the same building as Mickey, Pete then wondered. At Rose and Jamie's apartment, which had been looked after while they'd been away, Rose was wrapping family Christmas presents, having just managed to post cards to her small circle of friends.

"I hope they get there in time," Rose mentioned to Jamie, who was catching up with the news.

"They only tell you to post them early so everyone's not rushing all at once," Jamie laughed. "Have you wrapped my presents yet?"

"Wouldn't you like to know?" Rose laughed back. "This one of Tony's is really a funny shape, he'll spend ages tryin' to guess what it is before he tears the paper off."

"Good, your dad will have time to charge the batteries," Jamie replied.

"Jamie, we should charge them before we go," Rose reminded him.

"I meant the spare ones Rose, the others will be flat in ten minutes," Jamie tried to be serious. "How did we manage before rechargeable batteries when we were kids?"

"We did without or we got toys that didn't take them," Rose replied, sticking the label on carefully and hoping it stayed on.

"Or got wind-up toys," Jamie added.

"You're showing your age again," Rose laughed at him.

"Come here and I'll show you how old I am," he replied.

Rose didn't doubt it. She loved him and wondered how serious he meant for them to get. They had been travelling around for quite a while and loving every minute of it but would Jamie want to give it all up and settle down at Torchwood again?

Maybe if an exciting project came along but they couldn't just invent one, could they? The cannon project had failed and had been shelved and Jamie might not have been interested anyway. He'd told her it was the prospect of discovering alien artefacts that had got him joining the organization.

Rose decided to take a break and went to sit beside him.

"I'm glad we came back for the holidays Jamie."

"So am I love, how could I have kept you away?" he replied, going to kiss her neck.

"Why do ya never talk about your family?" Rose wanted to know.

"Rose, you're my family now. I told you, we never got on, that's why they sent me away then to college and university. They thought by showing they were willing to pay for my education that was enough. They were not like Pete. Yes, he has money but he loves his family," Jamie told her.

"Sorry. I know ya don't like talking about it but do they even know what ya do now?" Rose asked him.

"Does it matter? Their solicitor knows how to reach me if the need arises, I passed your stepfather's details onto them rather than give yours, with his permission," Jamie replied. "Don't worry about it eh? Now, how about a lazy late afternoon snuggle or even more?"

Late on Christmas Eve afternoon, they made their way to Jackie and Pete's, Tony rushing to greet them while some of the staff unloaded the car and Jamie left the keys for them to put it out of the way before the evening guests arrived for the party.

"Jamie!" Tony called out excitedly. "You're back!"

"Hey, what about me?" Rose laughed as Jamie picked up the boy.

Tony held his arms out to her as well. Once inside, Rose went to get changed for the party and Jamie was grilled by Jackie as to the upcoming engagement.

"Sorry to spring it on you Jackie," Jamie was telling her.

"I should think so, you have no idea what a rush it's been, tryin' to get a marquee ordered for that day. The caterers had to pull a few strings, I'll tell ya," Jackie made sure he knew the trouble she'd had to go to. "Anyway, Rose's old secretary helped with the invitations, they've gone out, best hope everyone can cancel their arrangements and attend."

"I want it to be a real surprise for her Jackie," Jamie told her. "I think she's beginning to wonder if I'll ever get around to asking her."

"She won't," Jackie tried to assure him, not wanting to bring the subject up of the Doctor never doing anything. "What ya gonna do after the holidays? Are ya going away again?"

"We may but only until the wedding, well when we decide on a date. Maybe Rose will want to stay?" Jamie wondered. "Who am I to stop her, we had a good time while it lasted."

Jackie wondered just how much of her past Rose had told who was about to become her fiancé? The party lasted until the early hours of the following morning but Jamie was still up early as Tony came to find him to take him downstairs. When Rose emerged in the kitchen, the two of them were laughing about something and Pete was getting Jackie's breakfast.

"Rose, can I open that funny looking present?" Tony wanted to know. "Jamie said to wait for you."

"Let's wait for mum," Rose suggested as Pete drank his coffee.

"She could be a while," Pete admitted. "Why don't you help him with just your presents?" he suggested.

"Yeah!" Tony jumped onto Jamie. "Come on Jamie!"

"I'll catch up with ya," Rose told them both, getting some cereal, since the cook and her assistant were busy getting dinner ready.

"Hey, happy Christmas you two," Rose greeted the two surprised women. "Ya didn't have to volunteer to work today."

"It's no trouble Miss. Your stepfather's giving us time off when we’ve cleared up," Rose was told.

Rose knew only minimum staff were working and they were having the following day off. Jackie never overworked them except maybe the driver who kept taking her shopping.

While Jamie occupied Tony, Rose was wondering what Jamie had got her as a present. She was rather hoping he might give her a shiny diamond ring, she shouldn't get her hopes up though and shouldn't act disappointed if he didn't.

Pete went off with the breakfast tray so Rose hurried her breakfast and went to find Jamie and Tony, who was waiting for batteries being put in his new toy.

"This is great Jamie!" Tony was saying.

"Thank your sister as well," Jamie reminded the boy.

"Here Tony, this is just from me," Rose handed him another present.

The boy ripped the paper off, looked at it and gave Rose a hug. Then he went back to get the remote control for the off-road car they'd got for him.

"Show me Jamie," Tony was asking.

Rose went to sit on the stairs out of the way. Since Jamie had been introduced, when he was there Tony hardly had any time for her. She guessed she should be grateful Jamie was like a big brother to Tony when she'd had no-one when she'd grown up.

Pete and Jackie joined them at the tree and soon all the presents had been opened, Rose being given a diamond and sapphire bracelet by Jamie and guessed he wasn't ready to give her a ring yet. Jamie hoped she wasn't too disappointed since he intended asking a in a weeks' time to wear his ring.

Down in Sandbrook, things were not going so smoothly at the Hardy house. They were going to Tess's parents for Christmas dinner and as usual, Alec wasn't looking forward to meeting up with her relatives, even more so this year. They had tried to patch things together, Tess had promised not to see Dave out of work but they were still sleeping in separate rooms.

Alec didn't know how much longer things were going to hold together. It was a strain and they both knew it.

"Try to look interested Alec," Tess was telling him. "Who's driving home?"

"I expect that falls to me?" Alec replied as they waited for Daisy. "Daisy, get a move on," he called through the open living room door.

"That's not going to help." Tess reminded him.

"We need to talk after the holidays Tess. Things are not working out," Alec told her.

"It takes two to make it work Alec, I'm trying my best," Tess replied.

"You still work with Harris," Alec reminded her.

"I don't have any choice Alec," Tess told him. "The chief told us to put our differences aside at work, remember?"

He remembered all too well. Why had he ever agreed to give their marriage another chance when he was about to seek a divorce? Was it just the convenience?

"Daisy, you were told to be down here ten minutes ago," Tess reminded her. "Have you got everything?"

"Have you been playing on your phone again?" Alec asked her. "You should not be on those social media sites at your age, we never had them."

"That's because there was no internet back then," Daisy replied cheekily. "I was only finding out what Rose Tyler was doing for Christmas, if she's back home or staying in another country."

"Does it matter?" Alec asked as he held the door open. "What is it with teenagers and these celebrities?"

"Come on Alec, you must have had some interests when you were growing up, even in Scotland," Tess told him as they got in the car.

He mumbled something as he started the car then wondered when his daughter had taken a sudden interest in Rose Tyler. Had Tess even told Daisy she'd dragged him to a charity event the Vitex heiress had been attending? That had been the last time they'd been out, things had fallen apart even faster after that.

Then after going to see Daisy a few times, they'd sat down and he'd agreed to go back to help financially and since he didn't really like living in a small hotel room had taken the spare room. How was he going to break the news to Daisy that it wasn't going to last?

After Christmas dinner, Jamie asked Rose if she liked her main present from him.

"It's lovely Jamie," she told him.

"Were you expecting something else maybe?" he dared ask.

"What? No, 'course not," Rose denied. "What would I be expecting?"

"Well, I don't know? I'm surprised your mother hasn't been dropping any hints," he laughed.

"Take no notice if she does," Rose smiled. "I'm happy the way things are."

"Really? Then so am I love," he agreed for her benefit, hoping he could keep it quiet for another week. "Hey, why don't we go down to Brighton or somewhere for a few days until the new year?" he suggested, so Jackie could get on with the plans.

"What brought that on?" Rose laughed.

"Well we've travelling around all over the place, it'll be nice and quiet down there for a short break, maybe get a hotel on the seafront? We could look them up, go back home tomorrow night then set off. What do you think?"

"Yeah, sounds great, I'll need to go home and get my big coat," Rose agreed.

Rose went off to tell her mother while Jamie sought out Pete.

"Good thinking Jamie, things will be a lot easier with Rose out of the way," Pete agreed.

"I thought it would Pete, Jackie might give something away," Jamie told him.

"That's why I was keeping an eye on her last night," Pete told him. "So, are you going off again after the holidays?"

"It depends Pete, on how soon Rose wants the wedding to be. We've had a good time going around, maybe she'll want to come back?" Jamie wondered.

"Ah, about that? Mickey sort of took over in your old department for now," Pete had to admit. "I'll need to know as soon as you can so I can move him. I told him it may not be permanent."

"What happened between Rose and him anyway?" Jamie wanted to know. "I thought they came from the other world together?"

"Well no, Mickey came here first then went back to help over the Cybermen," Pete reminded him. "Well you know how Rose and Jackie ended up here, then we went up to Norway so she could say goodbye to her friend?"

"Yeah but she never talks about it," Jamie replied. "I don't push her on it."

"Good, she was heart-broken over it. Well she and Mickey got into some sort of argument on the way back, lord knows how it started and when we got back, Mickey quit and went off."

"Well, I suppose that explains a few things? I wonder if Mickey was still a bit jealous over this friend she left behind?"

"Probably. When the Cybermen got loose here, Mickey was one of the first to go with the advance party to try to warn the other Torchwood. They failed though because the head was unapproachable," Pete told him. "All they could do was keep an eye out for Rose and the Doctor and help them as much as they could without giving themselves away until it was safe to do so."

"Then something went wrong when those other creatures arrived there?" Jamie asked. "So Rose and Jackie may have stayed there?"

"Maybe? We would have still made sure the Cybermen left though," Pete assured him. "I may have charmed Jackie into coming back with me," he smiled. "As for Rose, she would have stayed."

"Yeah, I expect she would have done?" Jamie didn't look happy about it.

Rose was telling her mother they were going off again.

"You've really got the travelling bug again Rose," Jackie told her.

"I thought it was sweet of him," Rose replied as she twisted the bracelet on her wrist.

"When are you two gonna settle down?" Jackie wanted to know without giving anything away.

"I thought maybe soon Mum but all he gave me was this bracelet," Rose sounded disappointed.

"Rose, he loves ya, don't give up yet. Maybe he's waitin' for Valentine's day?" Jackie suggested, trying not to say it could be a lot sooner than that.

"Mum, maybe it's why he suggested we go away?" Rose suddenly thought.

Jackie hadn't thought of that and she bet Jamie hadn't either. Maybe she should suggest Jamie proposed to Rose in Brighton and come back on New Year's Eve to the party?

"I'd best go see what Jake and Tony are up to," Jackie suddenly got up. "It's a wonder Tony didn't want Jamie to play with his train set with him."

"No Mum, he likes Jamie to chase him around," Rose laughed.

Jamie just happened to be on his way to find Rose when he bumped into Jackie.

"Here Jamie, quick," Jackie pulled him into the now empty kitchen. "I hope ya already got Rose a ring?"

"Yes Jackie, I've got her a ring," Jamie looked surprised.

"Good. Then when ya take her to Brighton, take her out to the end of the pier and ask her to marry ya there," Jackie suggested.

"That's funny, Pete just said that," Jamie laughed. "That's exactly what I'll do then, the night before we come back. Then back home, grab a change of clothes and back here for the engagement party. Perfect!"

"I'm glad ya agree 'cos Rose seemed a bit upset ya only gave her a diamond bracelet for Christmas so don't let her down," Jackie warned him.

Jamie did a mock salute.

"Best go find her then? She said Tony likes to play games later on."

"Don't let him play Twister with ya," Jackie gave him another warning.

"Wouldn't dream of it," Jamie laughed.

He went to join Rose, who smiled when he sat beside her and took her hand.

"Okay love?" he asked her.

"Yeah, it's the best Christmas I've had for a long time 'cos you're here," she told him, leaning on his shoulder.

Two days later, they were looking out of their nice warm hotel room overlooking the pier that had just lit up in the late afternoon. Jamie had been lucky to find the hotel at short notice and was glad he'd looked on a late booking website.

"Let's go for a walk after dinner," he suggested as he kissed her cheek.

"I hope the rides will be open tomorrow," Rose smiled.

"Don't see why not, I bet there are plenty of people here," Jamie agreed.

Now, he wasn't sure if he wanted to wait a few more nights since Jackie had told him how disappointed Rose had been. If he did it tonight, they could enjoy the next few days even better being engaged and he could still keep the party quiet.

He was feeling a bit nervous now the time had actually arrived. They'd gone shopping separately and he'd gone to buy the ring and didn't want to wait too long to give it to her. So after dinner, he went to get their coats and they crossed the road and went through the small gate that was still open since there were plenty of people still around.

He wanted somewhere quiet though but didn't think it a good idea to go too far. So he found a spot under some lights and turned to face the way they'd just walked.

"Rose, remember what you said to me on Christmas Day?" he asked her, taking the glove off her left hand and rubbing it. "I know you meant it but maybe I should have done something special to make it even better?"

"Jamie, it was great, honestly," Rose tried to assure him.

"Rose, I saw the look on your face when you opened that box with the bracelet inside. You would have preferred something else with a diamond in it?"

"Jamie," she started to say until he put his finger over her lips and hushed her then moving his finger kissed her gently whilst fingering the small box in his coat pocket.

"Let me make up for it love?"

He kept hold of her left hand to stop it getting cold and brought out the box, Rose letting go of him to put her hands over her mouth. Since it was already frosty, he very carefully bent one leg instead of kneeling and opened the box.

"Will you marry me, Rose Tyler?"

Chapter 7

Enjoying the rest of their break, Rose decided it would be best telling her mother when they got back, Jamie agreeing since he'd admitted people were already expecting an engagement party.

"You sneak," Rose laughed when he told her.

"Well I had to give your mother some warning," Jamie laughed. "Tony's going to be excited now I'll be his real brother!"

"Yeah, bless him, he'll tell everyone at school, we won't need to announce it in the papers," Rose agreed.

"Ah. About that?" Jamie asked nervously. "Do we have to?"

"You know what my mum's like?" Rose reminded him. "We'll just put out a press release this time then, take a couple of photos showing off my ring and say we've not settled on a date yet," she suggested.

"Well I was hoping it wasn't going to be too long," Jamie admitted. "How about April or May? Well June at the latest?"

"Well? Yeah, okay then. Tony can be pageboy, we'll have the wedding in a large marquee in the grounds but what about bridesmaids?" Rose wondered.

"I will leave that to you," Jamie replied as he was more interested in turning the lamp out and just getting under the covers with her with only the light coming from outside.

He was hoping now they were actually engaged, she would finally give in to him, not that he didn't enjoy getting as close as she would allow but he tried not to be too disappointed when it all ended before he wanted. She had claimed he just got her too excited that she couldn't bear any more and he had to believe her. It wasn't as though she didn't take precautions, he knew she did.

They left Brighton and Tony was asking when they were coming back.

"They'll be here soon," Jackie was trying to tell him. "They might have a surprise for ya as well."

"A new boat?" Tony asked hopefully.

"What do you want the most?" Pete asked him.

"For Jamie to be my real brother?" Tony then asked, a big grin on his face. "He will?"

The boy began running around the room, first to his mother, then to the window looking for Jamie's car.

"Wait 'til I tell my friends I'm gonna have a real big brother!" he told Jackie and Pete excitedly.

"You'd better get them to do a press release before he goes back to nursery school Pete," Jackie warned him.

Pete had already thought about that, after the fiasco last time. He called the media department at Torchwood and got them to arrange something and told them he'd get them both to write a statement and hand it in with some photos after the holidays.

The day before the party, Rose was hunting for a new dress, her mother tagging along while Jamie watched Tony.

"Really Mum, I don't know what I'm gonna do about any bridesmaids, all my friends are older," Rose complained as she browsed the rails in her favourite dress shop.

"Well what do other famous people do?" her mother asked, making sure everyone could hear.

Rose hated it when her mother showed her off.

"Use that social media thing for some ideas?" Jackie then suggested. "Ya know, that twitted thing."

"Mum, stop it," Rose warned Jackie as everyone looked at them. "Ya know that's not me."

Rose had given in and got a social secretary to deal with things like that, such as answering mail and passing anything on that needed her attention. The young woman was quite up on modern ways of communication and Rose had been impressed when she'd explained what she wanted.

Things such as answers to simple questions on the two main sites were dealt with but it was made plain on the accounts that it was not Rose herself and that it was run on her behalf. She didn't want anyone misquoting her.

"Well, ya'd better think of something when ya decide on a date. I hope ya gonna announce it tomorrow night?" Jackie asked her.

"I'm not sure yet Mum," Rose admitted as she held up two dresses and went off to the changing room, Jackie following her.

When they got back, Rose took Jamie up to their room.

"Mum expects us to announce a date at the party," she warned him.

"I did say she would," Jamie laughed. "Why don't we just pick a month?"

"Well it might satisfy her for now?" Rose wondered. "No, you're not seeing me in my new dress or my new lingerie, forget it loverboy," she teased him.

"You are such a tease, Rose Tyler," he laughed, going for a kiss. "Let me see if I can entice you?"

She supposed she couldn't blame him for trying as he pushed her onto the bed. The following day, Tony was getting in the way of preparing for the party so Rose and Jamie decided to take him to the park to let him run around for a while. Jamie was pushing the boy on the swings, Rose leaning on one of the posts.

She knew the way he'd taken to Tony meant he was keen for them to have kids of their own but there was that one final hurdle to get over. Could she ever tell him she'd been abused back in her old world by that Jimmy Stone? Jimmy had hurt her but she'd never done anything about it despite her mother marching her into the nearest police station.

She had never forgotten it but he'd been drunk at the time, she'd tried to fight him off and she didn't know because she was so young what had actually happened. She had escaped, gathering what she could when he'd passed out and had gone banging on her mother's door at almost midnight.

She shook the thoughts from her mind as Jamie was teasing Tony about how high he wanted to go.

"Tony, ya know what mum said," Rose called over to him as the boy leaned over to stare at the ground.

"He's just excited Rose," Jamie told her as Rose tried to catch the swing. "He'll be fine. Come on Tony, roundabout next."

They got back and handed Tony over to his nanny, who had just arrived to take charge of him for the rest of the day and during the party. Rose knew her mother liked to take her time getting ready for a party. Maybe no-one noticed the difference between her and the other Jackie in that department.

"So, don't forget, we say May," Jamie reminded her before Rose went to get ready. "Want some help love?" he waggled his eyebrows.

"Ha, you wish!" Rose had to laugh. "Give me an hour to have a soak in the bubble bath."

"As long as you don't get out first eh?" he replied.

He went off to find Pete, who was in his study.

"Pete, can I ask something?" Jamie wanted to know as Pete turned the screen off. "What happened here that night? Rose was staring into space while we were out. I can only think something had reminded her of that night."

"I wouldn't worry Jamie, Jackie still remembers the other side of it," Pete told him. "I doubt it'll ever go away fully. Have you two started working on that press statement yet?"

Jamie just gave him a grin so Pete assumed not.

"I'd get on with it before Jackie gets the press in again," Pete laughed.

"Rose is worried that she's got no bridesmaids," Jamie admitted. "Maybe she should run a competition or something? Maybe those who follow her on social media?"

"Wouldn't that rule a lot of the younger ones out?" Pete wondered.

"She should run a competition in a girl's magazine or something," Jamie then joked.

"I'd be careful if I were you," Pete also laughed.

"It's not a bad idea though," Jamie tried to be serious.

Rose had got out of the bath and was just getting dressed when Jamie joined her. He'd been delayed by Jackie.

"Ah, Jackie. I was just saying to Pete about bridesmaids for the wedding," he told her.

One thing Jackie wasn't sure about this particular likeness of the Doctor was that Jamie wasn't afraid of her. He spoke his mind and hadn't run a mile after getting over the initial shock of announcing to the press that he and Rose were dating. She had put his reluctance down to the fact that he'd wanted Rose to himself and not for their relationship to be public knowledge.

"Well, what about it?" Jackie wanted to know, since she was about to check on Tony before getting ready for the party.

"I thought you might be able to talk Rose into agreeing for some magazine or website to run a contest, to pick some girls from different age groups. She has quite a following by all accounts," Jamie grinned at his almost mother-in-law.

That was another thing Jackie was going to have to face. A version of the Timelord as her son-in-law and none of them could really talk about it in full. What Jamie would make of it was anyone's guess. Pete was satisfied he knew enough of Rose's past that everyone was comfortable with but Rose had nearly given the game away after revealing too much when she'd first met Jamie.

Luckily, Pete and Jake had caught on and been able to cover it up but it had been a close call and it had led to Rose taking up with Jamie.

"Have ya said anything to Rose?" Jackie wondered.

"No, not yet," Jamie replied, sure that's what he'd already said. "We thought it would be better coming from you. What do you think?"

"It might be better in a magazine?" Jackie thought. "Not all kids are allowed on the internet and quite right if ya ask me. She could talk to her secretary about it, after the holidays," she suggested.

"Great, I'll leave it with you then?" Jamie seemed pleased with himself. "Best go make myself presentable for tonight then?"

Jackie thought that meant spending an hour in front of a mirror getting his hair to stand up how he wanted it. They were all going to have a light meal before everyone arrived, since there was only going to be party food being served to the guests. Jamie was then arranging with Pete when would be the best time to make the announcement.

"After everyone's arrived I suppose?" Pete thought the most likely time as Rose and Jackie went off to greet early guests.

Up in Sandbrook, Alec had just about survived Christmas but hadn't been happy about being dragged to a party of a friend of Tess's for the new year.

"Come on Alec, one more party is not going to kill you," Tess had argued during the day as he waited to take Daisy to Tess's mother's.

"Tess, this is the last time," Alec warned her while he waited.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Tess wanted to know. "I thought we may try and make up in the new year?"

"That was your suggestion," Alec reminded her. "It depends on a few things, such as how much time you spend with Dave at work."

"You know I've cut down, mainly because he doesn't want much to do with me now," Tess admitted. "See, if I try, then you can."

"I wasn't the guilty one, was I?" he replied as he heard Daisy's room door closing.

"Sometimes there's no pleasing you Alec," Tess told him. "I can't try any harder Alec, it's down to you now. We could make a clean break in the new year, you have to want to try as well though."

"Seriously, are you two arguing again?" Daisy complained as she came downstairs with her arms folded.

"Have you been on that phone again?" Alec wanted to know.

"Why do you care?" Daisy asked cheekily. "I bet wherever Rose Tyler was, she had a better time than I did."

"Stop going on about her," Tess warned the teenager. "Whoever writes on her social pages, puts what they want."

"Stop spoiling it Mum," Daisy huffed. "I know it's not her but they keep in contact with her."

Alec just shook his head in despair. Teenagers such as his daughter were so impressionable where the likes of reality stars were concerned. Why had the Vitex heiress become popular all of a sudden just because she'd chosen to admit she was dating? It surely had to be her mother behind it, if Daisy were concerned, it would be Tess.

The engagement party was a complete success, all the women admiring Rose's ring and the men patting Jamie on the back and telling him he was a very lucky man.

"I already know that," Jamie admitted to someone Pete knew as they refilled their drinks and Rose had a circle around her. "We went travelling a while back, keeping men away wasn't easy."

"I bet it wasn't," the other man agreed. "She was so shy when she arrived here with her mother, she's come a long way."

"I remember when she first arrived at Torchwood," Jamie smiled. "I could tell she fancied me."

They both laughed and Rose heard them, turning around to smile at Jamie. She thought she was the lucky one. Losing the Doctor had been hard and she'd gone off afterwards to learn to live in this world and Pete had never told her Jamie was already working at Torchwood.

She could have stayed away from him but she'd reckoned she deserved some happiness in the end. Pete had somehow come across Jamie after she'd gone back to her own world and he'd figured that if she ever did find herself back here, she might find some comfort in him.

Well, it had happened and Pete had got a bonus. Jackie had settled for him and he'd not only gained a stepdaughter, he'd gained a young son, who after Jackie and Rose had been taken care of would also get a share of his Vitex fortune and his shares in Torchwood though Rose hadn't been made aware of that.

Rose excused herself and crept up behind Jamie, putting her arms around his neck.

"Hey, enjoying showing off?" Rose laughed.

"You're the one wearing the ring love," he laughed back. "How long's this party meant to last?"

"No idea. Wanna sneak off to the conservatory?" she teased him.

They were about to but were caught by Jackie.

"Where are you two off to?" she caught hold of Jamie's free arm, Rose half draped over him.

"Just five minutes Mum?" Rose pleaded with her, half letting go of Jamie but Jamie still hold of Rose.

"It's your party," Jackie reminded them both. "At least wait until it's nearly over."

She pointed them both back inside the large room and went off to fuss over something else.

"She doesn't miss much, does she?" Jamie commented to Rose as he handed her a glass of champagne from a passing waitress.

Rose didn't take the glass off him, leaving him holding them both.

"What's wrong now?" he wanted to know.

"It just reminds me of something, that's all," Rose admitted. "That night, when I was here before."

"Rose, you have to stop love, every party reminds you of that night," Jamie warned her. "Once we're married, we'll have parties at our place."

"Yeah, sorry," she told him as she took a glass, thinking she'd best get over it before she told him too much.

When it was almost midnight, Rose holding off the drink until then, everyone was gathering in the large entranceway and Jamie had been elected to be the one to go outside and let the new year in. So he gave Rose a kiss and went out two minutes before and thought back to when Pete had sent Rose away to be trained and had never mentioned she may be going to work with him, let alone ending up agreeing to marry him.

In Sandbrook, Tess had been on at Alec about trying to look like he was enjoying the party and when he'd been asked to be the one to see the new year in because he was Scottish, he'd only agreed because Tess had scowled at him and he knew there would be trouble when they got home.

Earlier, she'd already had a bit to drink and she'd whispered that perhaps when they got home, they could make an early start on patching up their marriage. Alec though still hadn't decided if he actually wanted to or not or if it had been left too late.

Maybe Daisy was right, the life of a certain personality was more interesting than her own parents' one was and he doubted it would ever get better. He was determined he wasn't going to get the blame for it though so he would try and make the effort when they got home because the way Tess had been drinking, it wouldn't take much to please her.

Little did he know it was going to cause even more trouble for him than he already had.

The next morning, Rose was in a very good mood, now officially being engaged and Jamie had gone down to fetch breakfast for them both.

"Where's Jamie going?" Tony wanted to know as he and his nanny entered the kitchen.

"Never you mind," Jackie told him, not wanting to explain. "They'll be in before they leave."

"Can I go stay with them?" the boy asked.

"They have to go back to work," Pete told him.

"So they've finished going around then?" Jackie asked. "About time, I had enough of Rose before."

"Be careful Jackie," Pete warned her. "I've not broken the news to Mickey yet. I hope now he's got a girlfriend, he won't be too bad when I have to move him."

"So he was doing Jamie's job?" Jackie wondered. "Wasn't Rose helping Jamie but Mickey can do it on his own?"

"I don't get why Rose doesn't want to tell Jamie everything," Jackie admitted.

"Maybe she will, when they get married?" Pete wondered.

Jackie caught Rose before she left, trying to make out the idea for the bridesmaids was hers.

"Your idea?" Rose eyed Jamie as he tried to sneak off. "Not so fast you," she warned him.

"Well Jamie might have mentioned ya had no idea about where to get any," Jackie had to admit.

"So you two thought most of the teenagers in the country should compete against each other and I'm supposed to pick two or three?" Rose asked. "How am I supposed to pick them?" she wanted to know.

"Well maybe not compete?" Jamie suggested. "Have them answer some questions? Maybe such as why they want to be your bridesmaid, in their own words and pick them out?"

"You're gonna volunteer to judge 'em?" Rose asked him.

"No, not me," he grinned, looking at Jackie.

"Hey, it wasn't my idea," Jackie turned on him.

"Thanks Jackie," he mumbled, making Pete laugh.

"I ought to make both of ya judge them," Rose tried to be serious. "I have to do something though, I can't have all grown-up bridesmaids. If I choose a popular magazine and give them an exclusive interview, they might offer to judge it?" she wondered. "I'll get my secretary onto it maybe but besides choosing three girls to be bridesmaids, they'll have to be one special prize," she added, looking at her mother.

Pete could see where this was going and supposed Jackie deserved it for getting involved.

"The prize could be being the head bridesmaid and staying overnight for the evening reception," he joined in, making Jackie look at him. "Plus the girl's parents. None of it can be done without their agreement if they're under eighteen," he reminded them.

Jackie gave him one of her famous 'wait until I get you later Pete Tyler' looks and went to get Tony, who was diving a toy zeppelin all over the place. Pete gave Rose a wink, Rose smiling back at him and Jamie thought he was lucky to get away with it.

"Did you put mum up to it?" Rose asked him on the way home.

"Me love?" he asked innocently. "I was only trying to help, I thought it would be a shame having no young bridesmaids. Well, back to work tomorrow then? That's if you want to? What's Pete doing about Mickey's position?"

"He's not said anything to me. Maybe he left it to Jake, he's neutral in all this?" Rose suggested.

Pete had caught hold of Jake before the new year and had asked what he thought about moving Mickey.

"Want me to tell him?" Jake suggested.

"No, it's my responsibility," Pete had told him. "When he arrives after the holiday, tell him to report to my office. It's best he hears before Rose and Jamie arrive. It won't be so bad for Jamie but I don't want Rose to face him."

"Maybe they've both forgotten?" Jake had wondered.

"Would you?" Pete disagreed.

So the following day, Mickey was getting ready for work, Martha having stayed over and regretting it.

"I knew you'd make us both late," Martha was complaining he'd taken too long coming out of the bathroom.

"No-one will be on time Martha," Mickey objected.

"Huh, you won't have to deal with all the hangovers and those ringing in sick," Martha disagreed. "It should be compulsory they have a sick note after the holidays to get away with it."

"Come on Martha, we've all done it," Mickey laughed.

"You might have done," Martha muttered under her breath. "I wonder if those rumours are true?"

"What rumours?" Mickey stopped what he was doing.

"Oh, you've not heard then?" Martha knew she'd made a big mistake, having being told a few days before. "The boss's stepdaughter and her boyfriend coming back to work. They're due for a medical," Martha replied, not knowing Mickey's past history with Rose. "I thought they were still away."

"Hey, so did I, I took their job," Mickey huffed. "When was I gonna be told?"

"Maybe they'll keep you on?" Martha patted him on the shoulder as she looked for her car keys.

Then she saw the look on his face.

"Mickey, what aren't you telling me?" she wanted to know. "Did you know them? Oh don't tell me she's an old girlfriend or something? Are you kidding me?"

"Martha, it was a long time ago, forget it," he tried to convince her.

"You have some explaining to do Mister," she decided.

As Rose and Jamie went to work, Jamie wondered why Rose was so quiet.

"I'm sure Pete won't have you bumping into Mickey," he tried to assure her.

"Ya don't understand Jamie," Rose told him as they arrived at the underground car park.

"Then tell me," Jamie tried to get her to talk to him. "I know you fell out."

Rose let out a nervous laugh.

"He reminded me of something, I couldn't forgive him," Rose admitted.

"Has it to do with you coming here?" Jamie tried to guess as they heard another car following them as Jamie tried to remember where his parking space was.

Then he did remember as another car pulled into it.

"What?" Jamie called out. "I suppose that's him then?" he asked Rose as Mickey got out, since Martha was in her own car and Jamie was in the way.

Then, Jake arrived to see Jamie and Mickey in a stand-off, having just found out where Mickey had been allocated to park, since someone had thought the space went with the job and Jamie had been away.

"Ah," Jake grinned as Jamie got out to face Mickey.

"Who are you then?" Mickey dared ask before seeing Rose. "Are you that Jamie Smith then? Rose, is that you?" he then saw her trying to hide. "You did, didn't you? You had to find someone else who looked like him."

"Mickey, why do ya have to have such a big mouth?" Jake told him. "Rose, why don't ya go up to reception an' wait there? Mickey, you knew about Jamie," he reminded Mickey.

"I was away a lot, wasn't I? Finding a way back to warn the other world," Mickey objected.

Martha had got out of her car and joined them.

"I know the reason you went off Mickey Smith," Martha told him. "Everyone knew it was to find Rose."

"Hey, I never asked him to," Rose spoke up as she got out of Jamie's car.

"Hold on," Jamie looked at Mickey. "I know I look a bit like someone Rose used to know. Is this why you two fell out?"

"Jamie, I never even knew about ya," Rose reminded him.

"That's true," Jake backed her up. "Rose was catching up on her education then sent for training."

"So everyone was told," Martha said sarcastically.

"Keep out of it Martha," Mickey warned her.

"Charming," Martha huffed. "Forget it, get yourself another girlfriend Mickey," she told him as she got back in her car to wait for Jamie to move.

"Mickey, Pete wants to see ya, so move into a visitor spot until this gets sorted out then Jamie can park there," Jake decided.

"So I'm getting thrown out of my job?" Mickey wanted to know.

"No idea mate, more than likely get moved if Rose and Jamie are back," Jake replied.

"So they did decide to come back?" Martha asked. "It helps to be related to the boss."

"I'd watch it if I were you," Rose warned her. "So who are you then?"

"Martha Jones. You must be non other than Rose Tyler then?" Martha replied. "You got engaged?"

"They did what?" Mickey stopped staring at Jamie.

"The other day, Jamie asked me on Brighton pier when it was all lit up," Rose admitted, any chance to show her ring off again.

"I would have thought you'd be busy planning your wedding then?" Martha remarked.

"We've not got a date yet so work it is," Rose replied.

"Then why can't Mickey keep his job?" Martha asked, wondering why she was still defending him.

"You must be joking, look at them," Rose laughed as they continued their staring contest. "No way."

"I still want to know how much I look like the friend you lost Rose," Jamie reminded her.

"Jamie, ya need to speak to Pete, mate," Jake told him. "Rose can't tell you."

"Then wait for me," Jamie insisted as he got back in his car, prompting Martha to back up.

After they all moved around, Jamie followed Jake and Mickey up to Pete's office, leaving Rose and Martha to go to their jobs.

"Men!" Martha laughed.

"Yeah, tell me about it." Rose agreed. "Jamie can get really jealous. When we were away, he nearly had someone fired 'cos of the way they looked at me."

"I wish I could get Mickey jealous. So, what's with you two then? I know you used to know each other before you came to work here," Martha told Rose.

"It's a long story, some of it I can't talk about, honestly. I'd best go get my ID or wait for Jake coming back. Nice to have met ya Martha."

"You too Rose. Do I get a wedding invite?" Martha asked cheekily.

"Yeah, sure. My mum and Jamie are plotting how to get me some bridesmaids by running a competition for teenagers," Rose laughed.

"Actually, it's not a bad idea," Martha agreed. "Get everyone involved, it'll be a great publicity event."

"Maybe too much," Rose laughed.

Chapter 8

Pete wanted to know why Jake, Jamie and Mickey were standing in his office.

"I nearly had to stop a fight downstairs in the parking garage," Jake laughed when he'd told Pete it was about.

"Really you two," Pete looked at Jamie then at Mickey.

"You gave me a job, you said nothing about him coming back," Mickey pointed sideways to Jamie.

"Well what did you expect?" Jamie wanted to know.

"Stop it," Pete told them both again. "Mickey, I told you it was until Rose and Jamie came back."

"Well the way it was put, I thought they'd be away for longer," Mickey huffed.

"Well Rose wants to come back home to plan the wedding," Jamie replied sarcastically.

"Well I can see you two won't work together," Pete decided. "I'll give you any job you want, either of you but Jamie, you know more about the artefacts than Mickey does so Mickey, take some time off and think about it."

"I didn't have to come back," Mickey made a face as he clenched his fists.

"You asked to be let back mate," Jake reminded him. "How did ya know Rose and Jamie had gone away anyway?"

"I saw it in the papers, when there was an article about Rose," Mickey had to admit.

"You were still following what she did?" Pete was surprised.
"Well, what's wrong with that? Just because she took offence at what I said?" Mickey wanted to know. "You know I always did watch out for her Pete."

"That's my job now," Jamie objected. "I take great care of her, I don't need your help, Ricky."

That made Jake smile as Mickey had told him the old Doctor used to call him that, even though he himself had lost this world's version of Mickey, who had been called Ricky.

"Oi, it's Mickey," he objected. "Why'd ya call me that? What's Rose been telling ya?"

"Leave it Mickey," Pete warned him, knowing what he could be like.

He knew there were some things Rose had never told Jamie, he knew about the Doctor but not how he'd changed his appearance.

"Take my advice Mickey and go think about your position here, unless you want to move Jamie?" Pete asked his almost son-in-law.

"I don't know Pete, it's what I've been doing and Rose taught me a lot," Jamie replied.

"Well you come back to work then, you'll be on your own though?" Pete was sure Rose would be otherwise occupied. "Did Rose say anything about it?"

"She's downstairs, we left her talking to Martha," Jake grinned.

That made Pete smile, since she was meant to be Mickey's girlfriend and Martha had been excessively jealous that Rose had been Mickey's girlfriend at one point. No-one had bothered to actually tell Martha that had been in another universe.

"Well you need to clear them both," Pete told Jake.

"Well I'm not staying if they both come back," Mickey declared.

"Stop sulking mate," Jake advised him. "Just stay away from her."

"I'll make sure he does that," Jamie promised, not liking the thought of Mickey upsetting her when they had a wedding to plan. "She's only coming back for a while anyway, don't go upsetting her," he warned Mickey.

Jake went off to meet up with Rose, since he had to do a back to work assessment, telling Jamie he'd send for him later. Mickey caught up with Jake at the lifts.

"I thought you were on my side?" he asked Jake.

"I'm just tryin' to keep the peace," Jake held his hands up in defence as the lift arrived. "Go to personnel and tell them Pete's put you on paid leave, unless ya know what job ya wanna take?"

"I was doing okay in that one. You could've warned me they were coming back," Mickey complained as Jake pressed what floor they wanted.

"Hey, I only just found out myself," Jake told him as he pressed Rose's number on his phone. "Rose, meet me in my office will ya?"

Rose left Martha after laughing at the way Jamie and Mickey had been locking horns in the parking garage.

"I bet they're still both doing the same up in Pete's office," Rose laughed after Martha invited her to her office for coffee.

"Yeah, talk about taking an instant dislike to someone?" Martha agreed. "So they'd never managed to meet before?"

"No, Mickey just left after we fell out and no, I can't tell ya what it was about," Rose told her as her phone rang.

They agreed to be friends and Rose went off to meet Jake and Jamie had gone back to what had been his department. He didn't think he'd have been bothered if Rose hadn't been going back as well, not that they saw much of each other at work, Rose had her own job to do.

When everyone had left Pete's office, he had a feeling they wouldn't be seeing Mickey any more but that was his decision, he could stay away from Rose if he really wanted to. He called Jackie to warn her that there'd been a bit of a showdown, in case Rose called her.

"Well what did Mickey expect?" Jackie wanted to know. "He was the one who started it on the way back from Norway."

"I know Jackie," Pete had to agree with her. "According to Jake, he and Jamie were almost fighting down in the garage."

"That's not like Jamie," Jackie was surprised. "I mean I know he's defensive of Rose but still?"

"So he never mentioned he got into a fight with someone when they first started working away?" Pete told her.

"He never!" Jackie had to laugh. "Well at least he sticks up for her, can't say Mickey used to do much of that, except when the Doctor first came along," she recalled.

Jake was asking Rose some questions about going back to work and passed her to go back, which Rose said was a good thing he had.

"Ya know the rules," Jake grinned as he stamped the form to send to personnel that she was back and didn't need a living allowance any more.

"So, what happened in Pete's office then?" she wanted to know.

"Daggers at fifty paces," Jake laughed. "I think Mickey's left over it to be honest."

"He doesn't have to," Rose told him. "Can't ya tell him?"

"Rose, ya know what he's like," Jake reminded her. "Let him cool off for a while. So when are you and Jamie setting a date then? I was gonna ask him if I can be best man, or did I ask him before?"

"Me and Martha were talkin' about bridesmaids. Would ya believe Jamie told mum to suggest starting a competition in a teen magazine?"

"That'll cause a riot," Jake had to laugh even more.

"Well maybe not if I promise something in return for the magazine running it all?" Rose wondered. "How else am I gonna get any? I can promise the magazine an exclusive on wedding coverage."

"After the fiasco of your engagement?" Jake was still laughing.

"Don't remind me of that," Rose smiled. "Best get to work then?"

A few weeks later, Rose gave in and had her secretary contact a few of the most popular girls magazines that catered for 12-18 year olds and since one of them had several in the same group, she decided to go to them.

"So, Miss Tyler," she was being asked by the head of the publicity department. "What exactly did you have in mind?"

"Well, exclusive details of the wedding, photos on the day and since I want four bridesmaids in the age groups I mentioned, to choose a head bridesmaid who'll get to spend the weekend with us. Things like the dresses can be discussed later," Rose suggested.

"Sounds good," the woman agreed. "Then we'll talk again when we put a few ideas together but what kind of competition? Do you want them to answer a question, guess the date?"

"Hey, that's a good idea," Rose agreed. "We could give a choice of dates I suppose but maybe we should just keep it simple? Just have them send their name and age and where they live? They'll have to get to London themselves so they'll need their parent's permission. Have one of them sign the form giving consent maybe?"

"Well when do you want to start?" Rose was asked.

"Well it'll have to be soon, we wanted to get married no later than June," Rose admitted.

"Well, leave it with us, we won't do anything until we get your approval," Rose was assured.

She expected they'd keep their word, if they wanted to beat their rivals to the exclusive rights to her wedding.

That sorted, she went off to tell Jamie, whom she knew would be pleased his idea had worked.

"I just happened to think it may work," was all Rose was going to admit to him when asked how it had gone.

"Then we have to set a date," Jamie reminded her. "That will have to go in all the papers I expect?"

They didn't usually mess around at work but disappeared for a while as Rose told him all the preparations would be worth it.

Rose heard back from the magazine and the plans were put into place. Just a simple contest was arranged and Rose agreed only those with permission could enter and when the choice was made, it would be checked again.

When the twice monthly magazine appeared in the shops and newsstands, Rose and Jamie's photo's were all over the front page and a special four page pullout had been included with how they had met and their romance, how Jamie had formerly asked Rose to marry him and loads of other information that teenage girls wanted about a celebrity wedding.

It had been advertised in advance so newsagents had been swamped with orders from new customers not wanting to miss out on it as the contest had also been announced. The closing date had been issued, teenage and almost teenage girls were getting excited the date was going to be announced and teachers were trying to stop them whispering about it to each other in class.

Three such girls in the town of Sandbrook were all getting equally excited. Two were cousins, Pippa Gillespie and Lisa Newberry and then there was Daisy Hardy, who hadn't been very happy lately when she'd found out her dad was still in the spare room after having failed to make up with her mother in the new year.

Alec had tried his best but Tess hadn't been making it easy. He thought she'd rather had a nerve to tell him he had to want it to work when she put in minimum effort, especially after she had a false alarm at the end of January when she thought she may be pregnant. She had lost interest in him again after that. Daisy had gone to a friend's one evening when Alec had been finishing eating.

"Alec, I don't know about you but I think we should go for a proper separation," Tess declared.

"You want me to move out?" he asked, a bit confused.

"Well maybe not right away?" Tess supposed. "We should go apply for one, try not to let Daisy know just yet. Just act normally."

"She already knows Tess, in case you have not noticed," Alec pointed out to her.

"Well, just stay here then, as long as we both agree?" Tess relented. "We could get a separation any time I suppose?"

"Yes, we should try and keep as we are, at least for now," Alec agreed. "Were you thinking of going back to Dave?"

"No, what makes you think that?" Tess wondered. "Did you hear Daisy on the phone to her friend?"

"I gave up listening to her Tess, all she does is go on about that Rose Tyler," he replied.

"Well you've not heard the latest then have you?" Tess replied. "About the wedding. I heard her tell Sally the reason why she suddenly wanted me to go in the newsagents with her to place an order for that teen magazine so she wouldn't miss the next one."

"You agreed?" Alec was surprised. "What next eh?"

"Let me tell you the rest. There's some kind of contest to be one of the bridesmaids," Tess told him.

"You are not going to let her enter are you?" he asked.

"Come on Alec, how many are going to apply?" Tess wanted to know. "Let her spend the money on a stamp if her friends are doing it. Besides, she'll never forgive me if I don't let her."

"That's just it Tess, you give in to her every single time," Alec told her as he got up.

"You should try it sometime Alec," Tess replied, going to clear the kitchen table.

"Don't make me out to be the bad guy Tess," he objected.

Across the town, Pippa and Lisa were sat in Pippa's neighbours garden and Lisa was practising plaiting Pippa's hair as Claire was watching them while drinking tea.

"When's Lee going to be home?" young Pippa wanted to know.

"Any time now sweetheart," Claire smiled at her. "Lisa, that's very good, you should get some training."

"I don't know Claire," Lisa replied as Pippa tried to turn her head.

"Lisa, will you get that magazine for me then?"

"I'll try sweetheart but they may all sell out," Lisa told her, knowing how much of a fan her cousin was of Rose Tyler.

"What magazine's that?" Claire wanted to know. "There's a newsagents by the salon."

"Pippa, it's in those others as well," Lisa reminded her.

"They're for older girls," Pippa pulled a face. "I'll let Claire try, it might not sell out there. Mum wouldn't order it for me Claire," she complained.

"I'm sure there was a reason, did you tell her why you wanted it?" Claire asked her.

"There's a competition, to be one of Rose Tyler's bridesmaids. I'd do anything to win a place," Pippa grinned.

Claire had to let out a laugh.

"Sorry. Well I suppose you'd stand as much chance as anyone else?" Claire told the girl.

"Lisa could do my hair for me," Pippa smiled up at her cousin.

"So I'm out of a job then?" Claire teased her as she heard the front door open and Lee shouted for her.

"Oh, you have company?" Lee licked his lips as he stepped out to join them, putting his arms around Pippa and Lisa. "Hello girls."

"Give me the name of the magazine and I'll order it for you," Claire offered.

"Thanks Claire," Pippa got up from the stool she'd been sitting on. "Do you like my hair Lee?"

A few weeks later, Rose had been told how many entries had arrived at the magazine's office but as requested by Rose, none had yet been opened. She thought it best that she should go to the office herself, pick out four envelopes at random rather than hire staff to open them. Then with four envelopes on a table, before she opened them, she would pick one up for the prize of being the head bridesmaid and sort out the details.

Having picked one out of four, Rose opened it but handed it to the editor to read out whose name it was.

"Daisy's a nice name," Rose remarked. "Ha, that's gonna be funny, with my name. So has she got permission?"

"Yes, she has," the editor noted, making sure the entry was correct. "She lives in somewhere called Sandbrook, I'm not sure where that is."

"No, never heard of it," Rose agreed, using the letter opener on the next envelope.

She opened the next one, handed it over then went for the last one.

"Oh, this is strange," the editor remarked. "This girl is from Sandbrook too. Mind you, there's something strange, about the parent's signature."

Rose went to have a look. When Pippa had collected the magazine from Claire, Claire saying she didn't want paying for it, the girl had gone home excitedly to show her mother.

"Very nice Pippa but all celebrity weddings are the same," Cate had told her.

"This one's Rose Tyler's Mum," Pippa reminded her. "Can I enter the contest to be one of the bridesmaids? Please Mum?"

"What? How are you even going to get there?" Cate had then asked her.

"You or dad can take me and besides, parents are invited to attend," Pippa told her.

"Do you know how much a hotel will cost if we have to stay over?" Cate reminded her. "We have that other wedding soon, your dad won't want to attend another one so soon afterwards. Especially when we don't even know the people who are getting married."

"Mum, she's famous," Pippa had insisted. "My friend's would be so jealous."

"I thought you said that magazine would be sold out?" Cate had then noticed. "Did you get Lisa to get it for you?"

Pippa had then had a guilty look on her face.

"Claire got it for me," she had then admitted.

"Pippa, you shouldn't have asked her," Cate had been cross.

"Claire offered, when we were talking about it," Pippa told her. "So can I enter? I need your permission, you or dad need to sign."

"No Pippa, it shouldn't even be open to girls of your age, what is that woman thinking of?" Cate then told the poor girl.

Pippa had then got upset and gone to her room, tempted to forge her mother's signature but how would she get to the wedding? She dried a few tears that had formed and thought maybe Lisa would help her out and even if she didn't win, she could honestly tell her friends she'd had a go at it.

So Pippa's entry had been rejected when the editor called the number Pippa had given, since she didn't think it would do any harm if she didn't win.

"It's what magazine?" Cate answered, after her afternoon drinking session. "What do you want?"

She had forgotten all about Pippa's attempt to get herself invited to some celebrity's wedding.

"Is that the mother of Pippa Gillespie?" Cate was asked.

"What's she done?" Cate wanted to know.

"Well, she entered a contest, to be a bridesmaid at Rose Tyler's wedding," Cate was told.

"She did what? I told her she couldn't enter and no, I didn't give her my permission so you can pick someone else," Cate told the woman. "She's not been told she's won has she?"

"No, we had to check first," the woman told her. "Well, sorry to have troubled you. Please don't be mad with your daughter, I expect a lot have entered without getting permission as well."

"Well, they're not my problem," Cate told her before hanging up. "Pippa's going to know about this when she gets home," she turned to the man on the sofa, who was laid with one arm behind his head.

"Go easy on her Cate, I heard her talking about it with Claire and Lisa," Lee told her. "Have you finished that drink?"

"You'd better go before Pippa gets home," Cate told him as she went towards him.

"Trying to get rid of me so soon Cate?" Lee grinned as he pulled her down onto the sofa. "So, tell me again how things have got bad with Ricky that you've come to me to get back at him?"

Cate was about to raise her arm when he grabbed it.

"You're so full of it Lee," Cate told him. "I'd rather be staying here that weekend instead of going to that wedding with Ricky. I know what he'll be like, with that flask of his and what'll be in it."

"I could do with some more of that, for Claire," Lee laughed.

Chapter 9

It was Tess who took the phone call from the magazine, to say Daisy had not only been chosen as a bridesmaid but had won the special prize.

"She never?" Tess was trying to get Alec's attention.

Tess always had the home phone forwarded to her mobile in case the school rang it.

"We just needed to check she had your permission," the magazine editor was glancing at Rose.

Before the call was made, Rose was wondering if she'd have to pick another envelope.

"Well, I never expected her to actually win," Tess had to admit. "So she actually got chosen to be the head bridesmaid? Did you say she gets to stay at the Tyler mansion?"

She was wondering what it would be like, to get Daisy in the photos that would be all over the papers and magazines, not to mention the news, probably. Should she take advantage herself? What would Alec say, she wondered as she got up to go to his office.

"Well, yes. Daisy was chosen out of thousands of entries, by Rose Tyler herself," the editor told Tess. "She's here now, she'd like to speak to you."

Rose was passed the phone, hoping she wouldn't be shot down in flames like the last time.

"Hi, Daisy's mother," Rose greeted Tess. "I'll make all the arrangements, there's nothing for you to do, except get her to London," Rose assured her.

Alec was wondering what Tess was doing heading towards his office, with her mobile in her hand and talking into it.

"Tess?" he questioned her as she entered, not bothering to knock.

Tess put her hand over her mobile.

"Alec, I've got Rose Tyler on the phone. Daisy won a place as a bridesmaid, the head one," she told him.

"How do you know someone is not having you on Tess?" Alec dismissed the idea that Rose Tyler would be calling personally.

"Someone from the magazine put her on," Tess scoffed back. "Miss Tyler, my husband doesn't believe she actually won," she told Rose.

Rose let out a laugh.

"Then put him on. This is a genuine call, I'll give you my personal number, you can call me back. So, put him on if he's not sure," Rose tried to be serious.

Tess held the phone out to Alec, who reluctantly took it.

"I hope you are not going to be playing a joke on my daughter?" Alec questioned Rose.

"Geez, are you the police or something," Rose couldn't resist trying to get him back for doubting her.

"Yes, detective inspector," Alec replied indignantly. "I can easily trace this call."

"Hey, I'm who I say I am," Rose was getting furious he was being serious.

Tess was trying to take her phone back.

"Don't be so rude Alec," she told him. "Let me deal with this."

"Well I am not getting Daisy's hopes up if one of her friends is behind this," Alec insisted.

"I'm still here you know?" Rose reminded him. "Call the magazine if ya don't believe me. Fine, I'll choose someone else then, shall I? I had enough earlier when someone else from your town refused to let her daughter be one of my bridesmaids."

The way Rose was now talking, Alec was just starting to believe her. Anyone else would have laughed it off by this point, he supposed.

"Fine, I will pass you back to her mother then," he gave in.

Rose wondered why he'd said her mother and not his wife? Maybe something was not right in the Hardy household? That wasn't her concern though but she didn't want her wedding being spoiled by squabbling parents of the bridesmaids.

"I'm sorry about that," Tess apologised. "We can do this by phone for now, unless you need a photo of Daisy?"

"Tess, don't encourage the woman," Alec hissed at her.

"Yeah, I never thought of that," Rose laughed. "I won't recognise them otherwise, will I? You can send it to the magazine editor, then they can publish the results when we've got them all?"

"Fine, I'll get a few taken then," Tess agreed. "I'll tell her when she gets home or will you want to speak to her?"

"Ah, well yeah," Rose thought the poor girl wouldn't believe she'd actually won. "I'll call again later then, we were just checking for permission."

She still had two more to do plus get a replacement envelope chosen. How had she ever got herself into this, she should have made Jamie and her mother choose them, it was their idea. The next two calls were slightly easier and Rose had picked another entry, the editor seeing the consent looked genuine and told the winners they needed to send a photo.

"Well that wasn't too bad," Rose grinned as they looked at all the unopened envelopes. "I feel guilty now. All those hopefuls, what did my mother start?"

"So it wasn't your idea?" the editor Sophie smiled.

"Well I didn't know anyone," Rose admitted. "Imagine if all of them had to be opened if there'd been a question to answer," she nodded to the envelopes.

"Well I'm glad there wasn't," Sophie agreed. "Why don't we put a free gift inside the wedding edition?" she suggested. "A bracelet or something, not too expensive of course."

"How many copies are we talking about?" Rose asked. "Well I suppose it would also compensate those who weren't allowed to enter?" she added, remembering the first girl whom she'd chosen. "I hope that young girl doesn't get into trouble."

"Well we sometimes do put free gifts in," Sophie admitted. "If it's for your wedding special, we'll have no problem getting them made, probably at no cost if it's known who supplied them."

"I expect there'll be a lot of interest then?" Rose smiled.

Sophie was already planning the wedding special plus all the extra revenue from advertisers, they may run out of room. Rose finally left, feeling pleased with herself but she wished she'd talked to the mother of that young girl, Sophie had insisted on dealing with it herself. Maybe it wouldn't have made much difference though?

Pippa Gillespie was on the school bus, heading home since her mother had failed to collect her.

"Hey Pippa," some girls opposite her called over. "Did you enter that bridesmaids contest then?" the ringleader asked her as four girls were squashed up on a double seat.

"Didn't everyone?" one of the girls laughed. "Bet your mother didn't let you though?" she directed the question at poor Pippa.

"Yeah, I entered, I got her to give in," Pippa lied, since she'd finally got Lisa to sign it.

"Well, one of us is gonna win so you wasted your time," another girl laughed.

"And a stamp," the last one joined in.

They all turned away, hoping they'd upset Pippa sufficiently. That was why Pippa hated getting the bus on a morning as well, once a day was bad enough with those four. She was glad Claire and Lee dropped her off sometimes and wished Lee would get out of the car and escort her to the gate, to make those four opposite get jealous.

She got off the bus at the top of the road and walked towards home and was just entering the street when she was sure Lee had just come out of their house. Lee had nothing to do so he thought he'd waste his time with Cate, if she'd not drunk that much. He'd had the misfortune to be there when Cate had got the call from the magazine.

"I'm going to be having words with Lisa when she comes round again," Cate had told him. "She must have forged my signature on that competition entry."

"Come on Cate, they're just kids," Lee had told her. "I heard Pippa going on about it to Claire."

"I hope Pippa never asked you or Claire to sign?" Cate asked him.

Lee just laughed and got up to leave.

"You women and weddings," he told her. "You and Ricky still off to that other one then?"

"We already told them we'd go but I wish I'd said no now," Cate admitted. "I don't know if I can trust Lisa overnight with Pippa."

"Me and Claire can keep an eye on them for you," he offered, hoping to get in her good books.

"Well if you're sure?" Cate was tempted. "I suppose I can trust you?"

Lee held his hands up.

"I could take offence at that question," he grinned. "I'm off before Pippa walks in from school then? I could go out the back way."

"Get out of here Lee," Cate replied, seeing the look on his face.

As he went out, he was sure the young girl was just coming around the corner of the street so he quickly opened the door and hoped she'd not noticed him. Pippa got inside her house and called to her mother. She knew any time soon, the bridesmaids would be chosen but she'd be caught out if they bothered to check the permission part of the form.

Lisa had tried her best to copy Cate's handwriting but had said she wasn't promising anything.

"Come in here Pippa, I want a word with you," Cate called her before Pippa could get upstairs. "Who forged that signature on that silly competition I told you not to enter?"

"Which one was that Mum?" Pippa tried to act all innocent.

"You know Madam," Cate told her. "Was it Lisa?"

"How did you find out, did they check?" Pippa admitted. "Did I win?"

"Oh no you don't Pippa, don't think you got away with it," Cate faced her daughter and grabbed her arm. "So you thought you'd get Lisa to help you, did you? Well forget it Pippa, I told them I did not give my permission and to choose someone else."

Pippa pulled back, rubbing her arm.

"Mum, you mean Rose Tyler rang here?" she stuttered.

"Of course not, why would she? It was only someone from that magazine. When did you sneak off to buy it anyway? Did you get Lisa to buy it for you?" Cate wanted to know.

Pippa tried not to look guilty but it was better laying the blame on her cousin rather than Claire.

"Wait until I see her," Cate then told Pippa. "I should tell your father, young lady."

"Please don't Mum," Pippa pleaded with her. "I just wanted to try, all my friends were sending their applications. I never gave any details, just my age."

"I should think not, have you any idea what they use your information for?" Cate asked her. "They target young girls like you, with all kinds of things. I've a good mind to cancel that wedding and not let Lisa stay overnight with you."

Across town, Tess had just got home before Daisy, wondering why Alec hadn't believed Daisy could actually win something. After the call, he'd tried to get out agreeing to go.

"Why would I want to go to a celebrity wedding?" he had complained when Tess had gone on about it.

"We have to show our support to Daisy," Tess had tried to convince him.

"Well it won't look good if all we do is argue all the time," he had used the excuse. "Then there's the question of staying over. You did say the prize was staying overnight after the wedding?"

"Daisy and I can share, you can have the room they give to her," Tess had told him, beginning to enjoy herself to get back at him. "Spend some time with Daisy for goodness sake."

Daisy was delighted to be told Rose herself would be calling her when Tess told her.

"No-one's going to believe it Mum," Daisy had told Tess. "Everyone will be so jealous. Will dad be going with us?"

"I've tried to get him," Tess admitted. "You'll just have to work on him. When you get another call, ask when it is."

"Well I hope dad doesn't use the excuse he can't get the weekend off," Daisy then complained.

Rose had got home, pleased the plans were coming together. Now, she had to organise four bridesmaids dresses though. She'd discussed some arrangements with her mother and they had decided on an afternoon wedding so everyone taking part had time to get there and get changed. The other three bridesmaids could share a room and Jackie suggested they hired the dresses, since Jamie was hiring a wedding suit.

Then there was just Tony to sort out but he'd insisted he wanted to be like Jamie, which had made them laugh as getting Tony to wear a suit wasn't going to be easy. They may just have to leave that with Jamie himself.

So Rose told him the bridesmaids were sorted and he was going to have to take charge of Tony when he got home.

"Fine Rose but we still don't have a date, remember?" he asked her.

"How about the beginning of May?" Rose suggested, sure they'd already mentioned that.

"Rose, that only gives us about six weeks love," Jamie reminded her. "End of May?"

"Right but we stick to that, agreed?" Rose replied, putting her arms around his neck. "I'd best call mum, she has the wedding invitations on standby."

"I can imagine," Jamie laughed as he went to kiss her. "Best get the PR department to issue a statement then?"

Everything was going to plan over the next few weeks. The marquee was booked, the DJ and live entertainment for the smaller evening reception for specially invited guests, including a now nervous Daisy Hardy, who had been given a link to the dresses the bridesmaids would be wearing.

"That woman must have some money," Tess was telling Alec as it started getting into the newspapers. "You won't let Daisy down, will you Alec?"

"Of course I won't Tess. I know it's important to her. Have you been given the arrangements yet?" he asked.

"Only what time to get there and that Daisy has seen the dresses being worn. I'm sure no-one will notice us Alec," Tess replied. "Oh, an official wedding invitation arrived this morning," she added. "Best not say I've gone back to my maiden name."

"I'm sure they are not interested Tess," Alec replied.

He was going to regret that statement shortly. Cate Gillespie hadn't cancelled the wedding she and Ricky were going to after all. His only complaint was having to share a hotel room with her when she'd had too much to drink but then he'd made his mind up he was going to see which of the female wedding guests would invite him to their room.

Lee had mentioned to Claire that he'd offered to keep an eye on the two girls while Cate and Ricky were away.

"You should have told me Lee," Claire got angry with him when she found out. "I was going out with some friends and maybe staying overnight.

"Well that gives me more time alone with Lisa then," Lee taunted her.

"You would as well," Claire snapped at him.

"Come on Claire, why do you keep inviting them round then? I've seen the way you look at Ricky."

Claire raised her hand but he fended her off. She ducked out of his way but he pushed her against the wall, aiming his other hand up her back.

"I hate you sometimes Lee," she told him as they were getting dressed again. "Were you joking about Lisa?"

"What do you think Claire?" he replied. "Maybe she's ready? Maybe when you're out I'll invite them both over?"

Pippa had still been getting taunted about entering the contest but it was dying down slightly. She was relieved none of the four involved had won either and she'd told no-one she'd been turned down for it. In the next magazine edition, the names of the four lucky girls had been released and Pippa was upset someone from the town had won the special prize.

It was also announced a special gift, chosen by Rose herself would be given away in the wedding edition and for readers to place their orders so as not to be disappointed. Rose hadn't wanted any of them to be disappointed but expected it would be a free-for all if they didn't heed the warning it may sell out.

Pippa and her friend were talking about it, Pippa having to pretend she wasn't that jealous of Daisy Hardy from the same school but a higher class in a different building so she didn't have to see her being followed around everywhere.

Daisy was quite enjoying herself once the news got out but Alec wasn't pleased when Tess had allowed the local newspaper to interview her.

"Alec, she would have been in the wedding photos," Tess pointed out to him. "At least I made sure it was done properly."

"Well I hope so Tess. Does she know about us though?" he asked her.

"She knows something's going on Alec," Tess reminded him. "We can keep it civil, for her sake, can't we?"

"As long as you do Tess," Alec told her. "You knew it was coming."

"Yes and you had to be the one who made the first move, Alec," Tess reminded him.

"How do you expect me to feel when you don't even hide the fact about you and Dave around the station anymore," he asked her. "It's one thing you being work partners, you said there was nothing more and I trusted you."

"You always suspected Alec," Tess told him.

"You fooled me Tess. Enough though, I will go to that wedding with you and Daisy, for her sake, not yours. Clear?" he asked her.

The wedding plans were going nicely but on the day Cate and Ricky Gillespie were setting off for their friends' wedding, Ricky was determined Cate wasn't going to spoil his fun later on. Cate had argued about him driving but had won in the end and they had ordered a taxi. Cate was giving Lisa last minute instructions as Pippa was out riding her bike up and down the street.

"Keep an eye on Pippa," Cate was warning Lisa yet again.

"I know how to look after her Cate," Lisa told her aunt bluntly.

"Don't be cheeky Lisa," Ricky interrupted them. "Stay away from next door as well."

"Ricky, someone has to take charge if something happens," Cate insisted.

"What's going to happen Cate?" Ricky had wanted to know. "We're going to be miles away and you won't let me take the car so nothing had better happen."

"Will you two stop?" Lisa interrupted them. "Just go, we'll be fine. If there's any trouble, I'll just have to try and call you or go next door."

Cate shook her head and went to see if the taxi had arrived.

"Jealous if I go see Lee?" Lisa asked Ricky cheekily.

"You little tart," Ricky hissed at her.

"You think I'm saving myself for you?" Lisa laughed. "Well I've got news for you, 'Uncle' Ricky.

He was about to raise his hand to her when Cate shouted the taxi had arrived. Cate had called Pippa over to tell her to behave for Lisa.

"Don't worry Mum," Pippa had told Cate, going to give her a hug. "We'll go see Claire if anything's wrong."

"You do that then sweetheart. I'll bring you some cake back," Cate replied, kissing Pippa's forehead.

"Can I ask Claire to do my hair tomorrow Mummy?" Pippa then asked as Ricky came out with a small case. "Bye Daddy," she went to give him a hug.

As they got into the taxi and Pippa waved to them, they had no idea how events were going to turn out and Cate would never see her daughter alive again and that her husband would be partly responsible.

Alec had been looking forward to meeting Daisy in the town then she was going to visit his apartment for a few hours, just to see if she felt like staying over next time. Tess was giving the almost teenager a lecture not to be so hasty in making her mind up.

"Mum, he's been asking me for weeks now," Daisy was telling Tess on the way. "I still don't know why he had to move out though. Can't you two get on?"

"Daisy, we've tried but your dad insisted he moved out," Tess was trying to steer the blame away from herself. "Don't worry, I made him promise he’ll take you to Rose Tyler's wedding."

"I hope he won't let me down at the last minute Mum, he'd better not find something else to do," Daisy replied.

"I'll make sure you get there," Tess promised.

"I want him to see me in my bridesmaid's dress Mum. They look gorgeous on the website," Daisy was getting excited.

"Well, they could look different in real life," Tess warned her as they approached where Alec was waiting.

Daisy greeted Alec, then they went to look around the shopping centre and get something to eat.

"So, how are you getting on at school?" Alec was asking, running out of things to say.

"Fine Dad. I'm glad that wedding's during the holidays, I'm going to need time to recover," she told him.

"It's only a wedding Daisy," he replied, getting tired of hearing about it already and it was weeks away.

Why had he promised he'd still take her? Tess was quite capable of going on her own, weddings were more her thing than his. It was Daisy who would get all the attention, he and Tess would be seated somewhere with other guests the couple had invited, they wouldn't get to sit with family and close friends. Then they had to endure the formal evening reception, Daisy had been told that was only for special guests which even the other bridesmaids weren't invited to.

Why had his daughter have to be picked to be the head bridesmaid? Well he hoped the bride and groom wouldn't pay him and Tess much attention but knowing Tess, she would throw herself into it just to show him up.

Chapter 10

Just about a month to go to Rose's wedding and the news had come through on the radio – two young cousins had gone missing in the town of Sandbrook. It had now been going on for weeks and Alec still suspected the next door neighbours. He'd discovered the Ashworths rented the house from Ricky Gillespie, the youngest girl's father and Alec wondered if there had been a fallout and it was some sort of retaliation.

Tess also thought Claire was involved as well.

"Well, you wouldn't think she was involved Alec," Tess had told him when they were getting nowhere fast.

"Think about it Tess," he replied, taking his specs off that he'd taken to wearing more, since he had a permanent headache. "I told you, something is not right about those two. Maybe Lee Ashworth waited until his wife was out then he went too far and the girls ran off? He went after them, chased them through the woods and Pippa fell in the river?"

"Alec, that's another different version of events," Tess reminded him.

"Well you think of another scenario then," he invited her.

Tess shook her head.

"Don't you go forgetting we leave for London on Friday afternoon," she added.

"I know but why do you need me to go?" he wanted to know, still determined to get out of it if he could.

He was tired of seeing magazines and newspaper supplements lying around with Rose and Jamie's faces on the front and Tess was hoarding those with pictures of the bridesmaids on them. Her colleagues knew of her split with Alec and not said anything about it except the women were on her side and the males were patting Alec on the back and saying hard luck.

Rose had heard who was leading the investigation and had sent a text to poor Daisy, asking if she would still be attending the wedding. Daisy had replied she wouldn't miss it for anything, much to Rose's relief. Then Rose was fussing around, driving Jamie crazy that he had to go to work to get away. He loved her, he had no doubts about getting married but it was getting a bit too much when he got home and she'd changed her mind about something.

"Rose, sweetheart, will you please calm down?" he tried to tell her when there were only a few days to the wedding. "There's nothing else to do. Tell you what, why don't you go visit that spa you like tomorrow?" he suggested. "You'll feel more relaxed love for the big day."

"Yeah, maybe you're right?" Rose had to agree. "Everything's at mum's now and no, you're not seeing my wedding dress," she smiled at the thought of him sneaking in their room at the mansion and trying to find where she'd hung it up.

"I'm sure I can wait a few more days love," he replied as they ate breakfast. "I might take the day off to do a few things, just adding a few touches and a surprise for you."

"Aw, ya don't have to surprise me Jamie," she leaned over to take his hand.

"I'm the luckiest guy in this universe, marrying Rose Tyler," he grinned back.

"You're such a softie Jamie," she replied. "Remember, ya have to promise ya won't pick a fight at the wedding with every male who wants to kiss the bride," she teased him.

"I will try not to love but it won't be easy," he tried to be serious.

In the back of his mind, he was dreading it, having to shake hands with the men and watch them either kiss her cheek, which was just about bearable or kiss her on the lips. That was why Jake was his best man, to pull him back if he thought someone was taking a bit longer than the others.

There had been a few incidents of his jealousy but he'd not hit or threatened anyone. He had stormed off, leaving new Torchwood agents puzzled as to his behaviour and that was due to him overhearing them in the canteen talking about seeing her in a magazine.

Jake had told him to get used to it over the coming weeks leading up to the wedding. He was getting worried Jamie would do something stupid at the wedding reception and hoped he was worrying over nothing. They had gone to get their suits for the big day, Jake choosing a modern grey suit but they had all refused to wear tall hats.

Jackie had finally chosen her mother of the bride outfit, a light mauve shiny material jacket and long skirt and a white blouse with a matching hat with big feathers. Rose had been there earlier and Jackie had modelled it for her.

"It looks great Mum, honestly," Rose had tried to assure Jackie.

"I hope no-one else is wearing the same colour," Jackie was worried, making Rose smile at the thought of clashing outfits.

"Mum, all the women will be wanting to know where you got the outfit, you'll be setting a trend," she laughed.

"Well it's not about me, is it? It's your big day sweetheart. You two look so happy together," Jackie replied. "What time are you coming over on Friday?"

"Probably before lunch, we have the head bridesmaid arriving, she has to try on her dress," Rose replied. "I should call them and see what time they're arriving. I feel so sorry for her parents, having to deal with that poor girl's death."

"Well no-one had better mention it to them," Jackie replied.

"Jamie suggested I go off to the spa tomorrow, to try and wind down. Why don't ya come with me?" Rose suggested.

"I don't know Rose, the house has to be decorated," Jackie was reluctant to agree.

"Mum, let the staff deal with it," Rose insisted. "Take some time off and relax."

Jackie reluctantly agreed and the next morning, they got Pete's driver to drive them out of the city to a country spa Rose had found online. Jamie had dropped Rose off at the mansion before going to work, telling her it was his treat as he wanted her to be nice and relaxed for the wedding .

"Have a good day out love," he had told her as she kissed his cheek before getting out of his fancy sports car.

"Aw, thanks for paying for it babe," she smiled at him. "You do know I'm getting butterflies in my tummy, the wedding being so near?"

"Yeah? Me too," he admitted in a voice that reminded Rose of the Doctor's when he got excited. "See you tonight love, I won't be late home, it's going to be our last night, before I make you my wife."

"Nothing's gonna change Jamie," Rose reminded him.

"I wasn't saying it was love but maybe more exciting eh?" he hinted. "You promised to give in to me, remember?"

"I remember," she teased him, kissing his nose. "Ya can't really blame me ya know? I wanted it to be special Jamie, we both have never really committed ourselves to anyone before."

"I know that Rose, it will be special, on our wedding night, or morning, depending when the evening reception finishes, knowing your mother," he laughed.

"Well that depends when the guests wanna leave as well," Rose replied. "They'll be a few guests staying over as well, including my head bridesmaid's family. I bet she's getting really excited."

"Yes, I can imagine love, she'll be more nervous than you," Jamie laughed as he could see Jackie at one of the windows. "Sure you don't want to sneak off early and book into a hotel?"

"No, it's best we stay there, then we won't have our luggage to move twice," Rose reminded him.

He went off, hoping Rose had nerves for all the right reasons and not that she was going to change her mind.

So Rose and Jackie had a nice day out, being picked up at four, Rose going in with Jackie to see Tony.

"You smell funny Rose," Tony joked with her. "So do you Mum."

"Come here you little rascal," Rose pretended to chase him. "Have you been practising holding that ring cushion like dad showed ya?"

Tony nodded his head, a big grin on his face.

"Yep, I'm really good at it," he told her proudly. "Dad even put two rings on it to help me, I never dropped them, did I Mum?" he asked Jackie.

"Great, Jamie will be happy about that. Well, see ya tomorrow Tony, we'll be over early to get ready for the party," Rose told him.

"Can I stay up then Mum?" Tony wanted to know.

"We'll see then but ya have to be up early on Saturday morning to get ready for the wedding," she agreed.

"Jamie will help me, won't he Rose?" Tony looked at her.

"Yeah, 'course he will," she smiled. "I have to go now, Mum, see ya tomorrow."

"What's Jamie decided?" Jackie asked as they walked out.

"Well we're staying here after the wedding," Rose told her. "I think he'll take one of the guest rooms tomorrow night, then he can drink all he wants at the party."

"He'd better be in a fit state to marry you," Jackie had to laugh.

When Jamie had got to work, Jake had lured him up to the staff cafeteria when Pete had given permission for them to put banners with 'Rose and Jamie' on them with wedding rings and other decorative items all over the place. Instead of individual presents, there was one large one, that Jake had been in charge of looking after in his security office and it had been taken up that morning.

So, Jake and Jamie were on their way to the top of the building and most people had already gathered for their lunch break, being told to act as normal in the memo that had gone around the building.

"Okay Jake, what do you want to talk to me about?" Jamie was getting suspicious already.

"My best man's speech, what do ya think?" Jake laughed, having slowed down the lift before he'd called for Jamie. "Anything you want me to add or avoid?"

"Just don't say anything embarrassing," Jamie replied, looking at the floor numbers. "What's wrong with this lift, isn't it the express one?"

"I'll take a look later, might need adjusting again," Jake tried to throw Jamie off.

When they got out of the lift, other employees were getting out of one of the lifts opposite, acting normally but as Jake pushed open the double doors, everyone stopped what they were doing and shouted 'Surprise!' at Jamie as Jake stepped to one side and started cheering.

Jamie was thrown off and ran his fingers through his hair then as they continued, he tried to motion for them to stop with one hand and raised his other.

"Thank you, everyone," he managed to say, looking at Jake. "I knew you were up to something, this has you written all over it Jake," he laughed as everyone went quiet, except for the staff behind the counters and in the kitchen area.

"Ya got me," Jake was laughing. "Shame we never got Rose here but Pete said you packed her and Jackie off to a spa for the day."

Everyone joined in the laughter. Then Pete had joined them, standing behind Jamie and put his hand on Jamie's shoulder.

"Yeah, nice one Jamie," Pete laughed. "How could I have told Rose and her mother not to go? Jackie was looking forward to it."

"Sorry about that Pete, I had no idea Jake had organised this. I suppose if he'd told Rose, she would have been bound to let it slip," Jamie replied.

"Well, since you two never have secrets between you, probably," Pete replied. "Well with you not being here tomorrow, we had to plan this in a hurry so on behalf of Torchwood staff and agents, everyone wants to wish you and Rose all the happiness in the world. It seems deciding to employ you before Rose even joined us, was the best thing I ever did."

"Thanks Pete, I really appreciate that. She even forgave me for thinking she was my assistant when we first met," Jamie admitted as everyone laughed. "You and her mother have always been family to me since Rose and I started our relationship and you both accepted me. I want you to know how much I love Rose and that I intend to keep her as happy as she's been ever since we saw each other."

"Well after what happened before she met you, she certainly changed that day she came to work here. Her mother and myself thought she would never settle down," Pete admitted. "Anyway, over to you Jake, this was your idea," he laughed again.

"Hey, don't blame it all on me Boss," Jake laughed. "I had some help from maintenance, who slowed the express lift and made sure no-one used it while I went to get the victim, sorry I mean the groom."

Everyone began laughing again as Jake went over to where the large present had been carefully wrapped with several rolls of silver and white wedding paper with rings and champagne glasses all over it, a big red bow on the top that two secretaries had been working on all morning. Jamie was scratching his head, wondering if it was dozens of smaller boxes inside a large one.

"No Jamie, it's not something in disguise," Jake knew what he was thinking. "I heard ya saying that when you got married, you'd still go out as often as ya already did and that Rose would probably have other ideas about it. Well, what's under this wrapping paper may help with that. Don't worry, I'll have it delivered to your place."

"So we have to open it when we get back from our honeymoon?" Jamie asked.

"That was the idea," Pete told him, his hand on Jamie's shoulder again. "You can explain it to Rose."

"Ya are kidding?" Rose laughed when he got home and told her he'd been hi-jacked by Jake at lunchtime.

"No I'm not, he had it well planned," Jamie told her. "You should see the size of the present someone had the job of wrapping up. Jake's having it delivered so you'd best arrange it with him."

"He'll probably ring me in the morning," Rose replied. "Well, wanna see how good I smell after that spa treatment?"

"You know I can't resist you after one of those love," he grinned. "You would have been better going tomorrow I suppose?"

"We've too much to do tomorrow Jamie and besides, for what the treatment cost, you'll still be able to smell it on me by Saturday," she teased him.

"I'll be checking love, don't worry," he teased her back. "It will be worth every penny."

Over in Sandbrook, Daisy Hardy was driving her mother crazy.

"I wish it was already tomorrow Mum," she was telling Tess. "You are taking the day off?"

"Yes, of course I am but your father is working in the morning," Tess told the anxious teenager.

"I won't forgive him if he's late picking us up," Daisy huffed, folding her arms.

"Don't worry, he'll be here and if not, we'll go on our own," Tess promised.

"I want him to be there Mum, he can do this one thing for me, can't he? I mean it will the best day of my life, being Rose Tyler's bridesmaid and actually getting to stay there," she told her mother.

Tess shook her head. Just let Alec let his daughter down, she would be so mad at him. She called him to make sure he wasn't going to try and get out of it.

"Yes, I said I would be there Tess," Alec reminded her. "I know she's excited about it, I only agreed to keep her happy. I'm not one for weddings."

"Yes, I know," Tess replied, after he'd failed to go to her cousin's wedding a while back and she'd had to make excuses for his absence.

"I don't know why we have to go tomorrow though?" he questioned her.

"Alec, it's part of the prize, meeting her and her family plus we're invited to the party that they're having with just friends," Tess told him.

Alec was dreading it, he wasn't big on parties either. He couldn't bring himself to spoil his daughter's day but he wished Rose Tyler had been more mindful of what teenage girls were like about their idols. Didn't the woman have enough friends and relatives to be bridesmaids? He'd overheard Daisy telling Tess that Rose had come from a council estate before Pete Tyler had met her mother.

The next day, Alec worked a few hours though the chief was ordering the case was losing the extra backing and they should concentrate on the next door neighbours. Alec had told him Lee Ashworth now had an alibi, even though the man's wife seemed equally guilty. They had been talking when Alec had arrived.

"What are your plans for the weekend Alec?" the chief had wanted to know.

"Going somewhere with Tess and Daisy," Alec replied, thinking he was probably going to be asked to take charge over the holiday.

"You, going with Tess?" the chief had to laugh.

"It's more for Daisy, she's being a bridesmaid," Alec replied, not wanting to give too many details.

"Oh, the one Tess was on about?" the chief wondered. "Wasn't that the wedding of the Vitex heiress?"

"Did she tell the whole bloody station?" Alec was annoyed Tess couldn't keep her big mouth shut.

"Too late Alec," the chief patted Alec's shoulder. "I was going to ask if you could take charge if anything happens over the weekend though? I'll have to ask Harris I suppose?"

"Daisy won't ever forgive me if I don't go with her," Alec replied. "I don't really want to go."

"Never mind, they'll be plenty of booze," the chief assured him. "What's with you going to a wedding though? Tess complained you wouldn't go with her to one a while back."

"Never mind that, I have paperwork to finish before I go," Alec told him.

"Well, next time, maybe you will want rescuing?" the chief laughed.

Alec finished on time and set off to pick up Tess and Daisy. His case was in the back of the car, containing his best suit, dress shirt and clothes for before and after and the party. He thought he may as well be going for a week. Daisy had talked Tess into getting a new dress for the party so Tess had treated herself at the same time.

Alec set the car's navigation system with the address Daisy had been given and he'd been told by Tess to show the invitation if anyone was on the gate when they arrived. At the Tyler mansion, Jamie was keeping Tony occupied while things were being set up for the party that evening.

Jake was organising a security detail, having put someone on the gate to direct any deliveries to the marquee that had been set up and the kitchen door around the back of the house. Rose was inspecting the decorations in the large marquee.

"Is everything to your satisfaction Miss Tyler?" the head of the catering staff was asking her. "Of course, the staff will be in their uniforms at the event itself."

"Yeah, it looks really nice. So while everyone's outside taking photos and stuff, the tables will be brought out and the chairs moved?" she wanted to know.

"Yes Miss Tyler, we have had full instructions from your mother," she was told. "Any last minute instructions?"

"Not that I can think of," Rose had to admit. "You've all done a great job."

"Thank you. Now I will see how the others are getting on for this evening's party, if you will excuse me?"

Rose let him go and sat on one of the chairs on the last row, looking around her. In twenty four hours or so, the place would be full of people watching her marry Jamie. He was the love of her new life here when she had been so miserable after coming back from seeing the Doctor on that beach. She had gone up there, so full of hope he'd found a way of getting her back and then Mickey had opened his big mouth on the way back.

She got up and went outside, seeing that a car had stopped at the gate and one of Jake's men was leaning towards the driver's window.

"We are expected," Alec had told the man, being handed the card by Tess. "My daughter is the head bridesmaid."

"I was told to expect you, drive towards the house, someone will show you where to park," Alec was told.

Daisy was peering through the windscreen.

"Wow, look at the size of this place," she gasped.

"What did you expect?" Tess asked her. "Remember your manners when you meet Rose and her family."

Alec raised his eyebrows, hoping Tess would remember hers and their agreement that she and Daisy would share a room and he'd get the other room.

Rose had waited to see who was in the car and was half expecting it to be her head bridesmaid and was looking forward to meeting her and the two lead detectives in a murder investigation. She had been following the case in the news and nothing appeared to be happening at present.

She caught up with the car as Alec was guided into the large garage on its own at the side of the house.

"Hi. You must be the Hardys then?" she asked Alec as he got out first, holding her hand out.

"Alec, nice to meet you Miss Tyler," he replied going to shake her hand.

Rose shuddered for a second as it felt like the Doctor's had done. Who on Earth was her bridesmaid's father?

Chapter 11

Alec had felt something as well but recovered faster than Rose did, thinking it just seemed Rose's hand fit perfectly in his. He was aware Daisy was getting out of the car behind him and Tess taking her time around the passenger side.

"Ah, my daughter, Daisy," Alec felt Daisy put her arm in his.

"Hi, nice to finally see ya," Rose greeted the teenager.

"I thought I'd never get here," Daisy was all excited. "This place is enormous," she glanced behind her at the mansion.

"Yeah, I still get lost sometimes," Rose laughed as Tess approached.

"Nice to meet you Miss Tyler," Tess came forward, feeling left out and Alec was still staring at Rose.

Tess knew she was going to have more trouble with him than Daisy, he wasn't going to be giving her any attention, it was all on the bride to be. Maybe the Vitex heiress would mistake him for the groom, if Alec was actually going to shave for the actual wedding.

"Well, come inside then, I was just looking at the marquee," Rose tore her glance away from Alec. "Someone will get your luggage for ya. Your dress is in your room Daisy, try it on and if there's any problems, we can get them sorted. Come down to the kitchen when you're all ready, we'll be having afternoon tea soon, before the party."

Alec handed his car key to one of the male staff who had come out and followed the others inside, Daisy still staring at the open reception area and the ornate staircase. He decided Tess could explain their sleeping arrangements, there was no way he was sleeping in the same room just to keep up the illusion they were still married.

Tess held Alec back before following their luggage upstairs.

"I'll get Daisy's dress out of the room meant for her," she told him.

"Fine Tess, we may as well admit our arrangement," Alec replied as he went off, seeing Rose disappear around a corner.

"I saw the way you looked at her Alec, she's getting married tomorrow, that's why we're here," Tess reminded him.

Alec wasn't about to admit it so he went upstairs after Daisy, who was waiting for them.

"I think I'll get lost around here Dad," Daisy admitted.

"Don't go wandering into the wrong room," Alec warned her. "We don't know if anyone else has been invited to stay over who's invited to the party tonight."

"She will be with me," Tess reminded him. "We won't be staying up too late anyway."

Alec thought that was a good one for her, she was always hanging on until the last minute if they'd been invited anywhere. It was like she was afraid of missing something. Then he'd realised she was just delaying going home because she was seeing Dave.

Rose had caught up with Jamie and they'd gone into the conservatory.

"Hey, getting the wedding jitters yet?" Rose teased him as they sat on the wicker sofa.

"Rose, I don't get the jitters, as you call it," Jamie insisted. "Why are we hiding away?"

"Because mum will drive us nuts if we show up early for tea," Rose told him.

"Ah, good point then," Jamie laughed as he sneaked a kiss. "Well, this is it."

"Yeah, just think," Rose had a big grin on her face. "At least my head bridesmaid arrived, I hope the others do."

"Don't worry Rose, what teenage girl wouldn't kill to have got such an honour?" he reminded her.

"Do ya know what's sad though?" Rose asked him. "The girl who got killed, I'm sure she was the one whose mother refused to let her be one of the bridesmaids. I'm pretty sure she was, we thought it funny Daisy came from the same town."

"Sorry love," Jamie sympathised, knowing all the trouble she'd gone to just to select three girls out of all those readers of that magazine.

"I hope her mother doesn't remember," Rose told him, their arms around each other.

"I wouldn't have thought so," Jamie agreed.

Cate Gillespie had remembered that she'd banned Pippa from entering that competition, then she'd found out Lisa had helped her. Ricky had wanted to know what was wrong that same morning, though he was on the verge of moving out.

"Out with it Cate, you've been acting funny the last few days. Do you know something I don't?" he'd asked before going off to work.

"How can you go to work Ricky, when Lisa's still missing?" she wanted to know. "Do you think they'd still be here if we'd not gone to that wedding?"

"I don't know Cate," he told her.

Would they have still gone next door and would he have still caught Lisa having sex with Lee? He might not have lashed out and killed Lisa by accident and would have taken Pippa home instead of leaving Claire to deal with her. He knew Claire and Lee had killed her, despite what they'd said.

"Where did you get to all that night?" Cate suddenly asked him. "I never saw you."

"You were in no state to see anyone Cate," Ricky replied. "I was there."

"You can't prove that," Cate told him.

"Don't be stupid Cate, the police have already asked you where I was, you said I was with you," he reminded her.

"What was I supposed to tell them?" Cate wanted to know. "That you were probably off chasing one of the guests or bridesmaids? I saw you sneaking that flask of yours to the wedding."

"How would you know what I was doing that night?" he replied. "Why didn't you call Lisa and made sure she hadn't taken Pippa next door?"

"She still wouldn't have taken any notice," Cate insisted. "If she wanted to see Lee, she wouldn't have left Pippa on her own, you know she was devoted to Pippa. No, she would have taken Pippa with her, probably put her into their spare room, if Claire had been out."

"Didn't Claire tell the police she was in all night?" Ricky remembered Tess saying something about it.

"I thought I could trust her, so what the hell happened Ricky?" Cate asked, filling her glass again.

"Well the police aren't doing much now," Ricky reminded her. "I heard Tess say something about going to a wedding this weekend."

"Well it's hardly likely to be that Rose Tyler's wedding," Cate laughed. Then she went serious. "Ricky, Pippa would have been going to it if I'd not stopped her."

"What?" Ricky stopped what he was doing. "Why would Pippa have been going? What did Lisa put in her head?"

"It wasn't Lisa, not at first. There was a competition in that magazine she used to get Lisa to buy her. It was to be one of Rose Tyler's bridesmaids," Cate started to tell him. "She went behind my back and got Lisa to sign for her and she won. I got a call a while back and I went crazy about it and said Pippa couldn't go."

"Why did you never tell me?" Ricky wanted to know.

"Would you have been bothered?" Cate replied. "We'd have been invited as well but I was so annoyed about Lisa pretending to be me."

"Why was there even a competition, can't Rose Tyler even get her own bridesmaids?" Ricky asked. "Pippa never even mentioned it to me."

"Would you have let her go?" Cate looked at him.

"Maybe not, if you'd already said no," Ricky replied.

"You always gave in when I said no," Cate reminded him.

"Does it matter now?" Ricky was getting annoyed.

"Maybe it would have made a big difference if I'd let her go to that wedding?" Cate wondered as she took a sip from the glass.

"We'll never know, will we?" Ricky told her as he left her to drown her sorrows again.

He went outside just as Claire was coming out of next door.

"Ricky," she called to him.

"What do you want Claire?" he asked, not wanting to talk to her.

"Have you been told anything else?" Claire wanted to know.

"Why would we when Lee's still free?" Ricky snapped.

"I told you what happened," Claire reminded him.

"Do you know how hard it is, telling the police I have no idea who left Pippa in the woods?" he asked her. "I could have talked to her, got her to believe she was dreaming it."

"How could you be so sure?" Claire asked him. "It was your idea to give her that stuff anyway."

"Stay away from us Claire," he warned her.

Claire watched him drive off, just as Lee was coming out.

"What was wrong with you last night?' Lee complained.

"I was feeling off," Claire used the excuse.

"Not another monthly? I swear you have two every month. You're not pregnant are you?"

"What? You must be joking Lee, you were more into borrowing kids than having your own," she replied.

"I was joking Claire," he grinned. "Don't have that female detective asking you questions when I'm not there," Lee reminded her.

"I can't help it if she keeps coming into the salon," Claire reminded him. "You never know, she might be having some time off. I remember Pippa was all excited about that big celebrity wedding, it's this weekend."

"So it's being televised," Lee joked.

"No, Pippa wanted to be a bridesmaid, I bet she would have won as well, it Cate hadn't been so mean not letting her," Claire replied.

"How do you know Pippa didn't enter?" Lee asked. "Maybe the detective's girl entered and she won? That would get them away for the weekend."

"You wish," Claire laughed as she got into the car.

"Who said I was giving you a lift?" Lee turned serious.

He did remember Cate mentioning it a while ago, how was he supposed to know when it was?

Daisy was trying her dress on after they'd finished their afternoon tea, seeing Rose and her family weren't stuck up at all and Alec noticing how much attention the groom was giving the bride to be that he dare not even look at her for more than a second.

He didn't even know what had come over him. He was left in the dining room with Pete, Jamie and Tony as the ladies went off.

"You both look like each other," Tony laughed as he went to sit on Jamie's lap. "Jamie's gonna be my new big brother, aren't you Jamie," he glanced up as Jamie ruffled his hair.

"You seem very happy about that," Alec told the boy. "Are you going to be a pageboy?"

"Nope, I get to hold the rings," Tony beamed. "Jamie, did Rose tell you how good I was at it?"

"Sure she did sport," Jamie replied. "We're both proud of you."

"Want to play with my race track?" Tony then asked Jamie.

"Tony, don't be rude, we have guests," Pete reminded him.

"Rose will be ages," Tony laughed. "Want to come with us?" he asked Pete then Alec.

"No, you go ahead, I have to call Jake about the final security arrangements for tomorrow," Pete told them. "That's if you don't mind Alec?"

"Sure, lead the way Tony," Alec replied, not wanting to be left on his own, the women were bound to take their time discussing dresses.

Jamie wasn't sure about Alec. Not only did they look alike apart from Alec's beard and their hairstyles but he was sure the detective was looking at Rose a bit more than he should be. No, he had to forget about it, Rose was just being friendly to the whole Hardy family. She had answered all the questions her head bridesmaid had thrown at her and Alec had been paying attention but that was all.

Rose was right, he couldn't pick a fight with every male who lined up to kiss the bride after the wedding tomorrow. Tomorrow, Rose would be all his and she would finally be giving in to him. He'd agreed they would wait for their wedding night and had bought her a very special present of expensive lingerie and matching nightwear made of pure satin and lace. He couldn't wait to see her in it and hoped she'd allow him to take photos of her wearing it.

Jackie was fussing over Daisy's bridesmaid's dress and Tess was trying to stop herself taking over. She wanted to find fault with the mother of the bride but hadn't managed it yet.

"Do I look okay?" Daisy asked Tess then turned to Rose and Jackie.

"You look lovely," Rose smiled. "Tess, can I talk to you a minute?"

Leaving Daisy and Jackie, Rose closed the room door.

"That girl who was killed, I'm sure she was almost chosen to be one of my bridesmaids," she admitted.

"Oh. Her mother never mentioned it," Tess replied.

"Well maybe she wanted to forget about it, under the circumstances," Rose told Tess. "The magazine editor rang Pippa's mother and Pippa hadn't got her permission to enter. Someone else must have signed for her."

"It was probably her cousin, they were very close," Tess revealed.

"Oh. You don't think that was anything to do with what happened?" Rose was horrified. "I mean, maybe Pippa was going to run away because the wedding was getting nearer and she wouldn't be attending."

"Rose, it's not your fault," Tess tried to tell her. "Don't think that. Things were complicated in that family, trust me."

"Well it just occurred to me, when I heard the news, that it was the same girl. Things have been really hectic," Rose admitted. "Tess, if there's anything I can do, please let me know. Will you give the girl's mother my best wishes and tell her I'm so sorry for her loss?"

"Of course I will, though whether she remembers or not," Tess replied.

"When you catch who's responsible, will you let me know when Pippa's funeral is?" Rose asked. "So I can send flowers."

"I will, I promise. We're getting new leads all the time," Tess told her. "Don't blame yourself, we have a pretty good idea what happened. Her cousin wouldn't have let Pippa run away."

"I can't imagine what the family are going through," Rose added. "What about Lisa's family?"

"They're split up, we're doing everything we can to find Lisa and we're keeping her mother updated," Tess replied. wondering why she was discussing the case with Rose.

"Don't say anything to your husband, will ya?" Rose then smiled. "I don't want him thinking bad of me for Pippa being out of the contest."

"He won't and besides, we don't talk much outside of work, we're separated," Tess admitted.

Why was she telling Rose all this? Rose reached out and put her hand on Tess's arm.

"Sorry to hear that Tess. How's Daisy taken it?" Rose sympathised.

"Fairly well, so far," Tess admitted. "We're just keeping up appearances, we both promised we'd see her be your bridesmaid."

"She'll wonder where we've got to," Rose smiled, putting her arm in Tess's.

Tony was leading Alec and Jamie into the large attic that had his race track and train set spread all around. He'd wanted more track but Pete was running out of places to expand so some careful planning had to take place. As they reached the first floor landing and crossing to the attic stairs, Alec had seen Rose and Tess talking, then Rose link her arm with Tess's.

They seemed to be getting on well, maybe it was just him Tess didn't get on with then? Who would have thought Tess would make friends with the bride? He himself couldn't find fault with the would-be groom, Rose's younger brother seemed to idolise him but the way Rose looked at Jamie, he felt slightly jealous.

He had to get any ideas out of his head for tomorrow or he'd be the head of the queue waiting to kiss the bride and would probably get a warning from her new husband. Maybe it would be worth it? After Tony had gone to bed, he bumped into Tess as he was going back downstairs, Jamie telling him to join the party just after seven thirty.

Tess had been to get changed but Daisy hadn't wanted to wait for her and had already gone.

"What did you and Rose Tyler find to talk about?" Alec wanted to know. "Did you let Daisy go down on her own?"

"Stop all the questions Alec," Tess warned him. "We were just talking, mostly about Daisy," she bluffed.

She wasn't going to bother telling him about Pippa almost being a bridesmaid. If she'd been allowed to attend, maybe she wouldn't have got herself killed. Alec wouldn't be interested anyway, it had no bearing on the case now.

"You were the one who didn't want to come," she reminded him.

"We could have set off early tomorrow," Alec huffed. "All the other guests arrive then."

"I told you Alec, it was part of Daisy's prize, don't go spoiling it for her."

He shook his head and followed her downstairs, looking around and seeing people standing in the reception area holding drinks and a few serving staff going around. It made him shiver involuntary, wondering what had brought on the vision of the Cybermen going around electrocuting everyone.

It had been a long time since those monsters had made their escape and nobody had been bothered how they'd disappeared. He'd never been here before in his life so how could he picture the scenario? The other question was, how had he also seen Rose standing in a waitress uniform for just a moment, standing next to a man who look like himself all that time ago. No, he was certain where he'd been that night – on duty and waiting for any reports the Cybermen were going to invade outside London when they'd been put on alert.

The police in London were trying to cope with widespread reports all over the capital as word had got out. He shook the thoughts from his mind when he saw Rose, in a light blue evening dress holding onto Jamie's arm as he was talking to someone. Was she even aware what effect she had on men? More importantly, what effect she had on him and he had no business letting her get to him.

He took a glass of champagne from a passing waiter and looked around for Daisy, seeing Tess had found her so he thought he'd catch up with his daughter later. Then Rose, who had got tired of Jamie talking to a friend of Pete's and was walking around called him from behind.

"Hi, glad you could join us," she told him.

Had she thought he'd declined to attend, he wondered.

"I thought this was a small party?" he asked her.

"This is small, compared to one of my mother's usual ones," Rose laughed. "You have a great daughter Alec, she's lovely. Wait until you see her in her dress tomorrow, you'll be really proud of her."

"I'm sure I will," Alec agreed. "You seemed to have lost your fiancé," he nodded to where Jamie was still in conversation.

"Sheesh, he'll be there all night, trust me," Rose smiled from behind her glass as she took a drink. "No-one can talk like he can. He's worse than a friend of mine used to be."

Rose had looked around to see if Mickey had decided to attend, she'd made sure he'd got an invitation to both events. She had told her mother she could at least invite him to the wedding, then it was up to him.

Alec wondered if the man would miss her if she wandered off. Who was he kidding, why would she wander off? Her mother was probably keeping an eye on her.

"Can I ask something?" Rose interrupted his thoughts. "It's just Jamie won't have a lot of people sitting on his side tomorrow. Would ya tell whoever's doing the seating you're on the groom's side? That's if ya don't mind?"

"Sure, I would not mind what side we sit on," Alec replied, hoping Tess would go sit on Rose's side.

"Aw, thanks. Tess told me you're separated, sorry," Rose replied.

"She did?" Alec asked, a bit surprised. "Ah, I saw you both talking earlier. I was on my way to play on your brother's racetrack."

"He roped ya in then?" Rose thought it was amusing. "He gets Jamie every time. He thinks the world of Tony and Tony him, they're already like brothers. Jamie grew up on his own and he lost his parents when he was a teenager. He went to live with relatives and he started being interested in alien stuff. It took his mind off it."

"I'm sorry to hear that," Alec told her. "I also grew up on my own, my parents used to argue a lot, even on holiday. I remember one year, we travelled all the way down to the south-west coast for a camping holiday and I used to hide away under the cliffs. I could never remember the name of the place," he admitted.

"Maybe ya might remember one day," Rose smiled. "Ya might even visit it again."

"Ah, I have to find out who killed that young girl first," Alec replied.

"Yeah, it was sad. I hope ya catch the person Alec," Rose told him. "Ah, looks like I might have got Jamie back? The other bloke must have run out of conversation, it wouldn't have been Jamie who ended it."

"It was nice talking to you Rose, all the best for tomorrow," Alec replied as Jamie joined them.

"There you are sweetheart," Jamie greeted her by kissing her cheek. "Blimey, we look a lot alike. Rose, don't walk off with the wrong one tomorrow will you?"

"No chance," Rose laughed as she looped her free arm in Jamie's. "I was just telling Alec his daughter's lovely, she looks great in her dress."

"Excuse us Alec, Rose owes me a dance. Come on sweetheart," Jamie told her as Alec heard music from another room.

"Bye Alec, enjoy the party," Rose told him as Jamie was about to lead her off. "I hope we can have a dance at the wedding."

Alec watched them walk off, arm in arm and felt even more jealous. How was he going to survive tomorrow? Now, he wished Daisy had never entered that contest and Tess actually agree to let her.

"Something wrong Alec?" Tess asked as she joined him.

"No, why should there be?" Alec replied. "Where's Daisy?"

"Talking to that blonde man over there but she's barking up the wrong tree," Tess was actually smiling.

Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23

Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
Chapter 31
Chapter 32
Chapter 33