Caroline yawned, stretched, pulled the soft duvet over her head and turned onto her side. She was just dreaming of being at her 15th birthday party, when her and Danny had first gotten together, and she felt happy. It had been the first time she had thought of him in that way for a long time. It was a warm and happy memory and she was content to stay there, but then there came a knocking on the door and she was brought straight back to reality.
The reality of the matter was that she had already been in 1901 for a month and so far she hadn’t heard from the Doctor or Danny…and to her amazement, she really missed the both of them. That Doctor included.
After meeting William, she had been taken through the town in a horse-drawn carriage. Something she had never, ever done before, but here she was, taking a genuine trip on one. And it had been a pretty bumpy ride. The new tram system was only just being installed in the town and most people still had to rely on the horses to get them around.
She had sat in silence, gazing out of the window, amazed at the difference in the town. Victoria Street was a completely different affair. She had tried to pinpoint the location where the main road would be built. She couldn’t. All she saw were buildings and churches and warehouses that were no longer there in her day.
They finally passed the riverhead where, in her day, the Barge pub had been docked. The riverhead was still there, but it was open to small barges and boats delivering all manner of materials and food. A large warehouse dominated the skyline next to the water, instead of the row of bars that were there in her day. They passed through Victoria Street, into Bethlehem Street and past the Corn Exchange building. She’d seen pictures of this. An amazing, towered building with a market area at the side, surrounded by quaint little buildings selling tea and coffee and fruit and veg. In her day it had been demolished and a huge monstrosity of a building built in the early 1970’s had emerged in its place.
The carriage crossed over the railway, down Wellowgate and towards Bargate until it pulled up outside a large, ivy-covered house with a huge tree towering over the front wall.
Caroline was helped out of the carriage by William.
“I’m afraid my parents are out of the country,” he said, “But they’ll be back in a few weeks. My father is a business man. Work’s in the iron industry and he always takes mother with him on his trips. They’re inseparable”
“That’s…very interesting,” said Caroline, still unable to take all of this in, let alone get to know this perfectly handsome gentleman’s parents.
They had entered the building and the maid, Hazel, had helped her clean up, and they had found her an appropriate dress, more fitting to a lady of the time. It belonged to William’s mother, and he assured her that she wouldn’t mind.
Somehow, when Caroline put the dress on, she felt like something had already changed in her life. She felt like she had suddenly become a part of that time.
And so she had stayed there for the last few weeks. Waiting for the Doctor and Danny.
The knock on the door came again and Caroline sat herself up, making herself ready for the same routine she had gone through for the past few weeks.
“Come in,” she said, trying to sound as cheerful as possible.
The door opened and Hazel, the maid, came bustling in. “Sorry to wake you, miss.”
Caroline smiled. She had said that every single morning and every single morning it hadn’t bothered her. “That’s okay, Hazel,” she said. “You don’t have to do any of this, you know?”
“Any of what, miss?” asked Hazel.
“Bring me tea and toast,” said Caroline, indicating the trolley and the tray which contained a teapot, a plate with two slices of toast on it and a small jar of jam.
“Nonsense,” said Hazel, hardly believing the young woman could think such a thing. “It’s my job.” Hazel suddenly had another thought. “And it’s my privilege,” she added quickly. “And besides,” she continued, “today’s a very special day.”
“Of course,” said Caroline, suddenly feeling tense and nervous. Today was the day that Arthur and Agatha Fieldgate - William’s parents - were returning from their business trip to India.
Later that morning Caroline found herself downstairs in the drawing room, sat awkwardly in a long, white dress with William by her side. The two of them looked at each other, smiled nervously and then looked away.
“This is insane,” said Caroline after a while.
“Insane?” queried William.
“Yes. Madness. Insanity,” said Caroline, getting up and crossing to the large, bay window that overlooked the Bargate road.
“Do you not wish to meet my parents?” asked William, innocently.
Caroline smiled and closed her eyes. “Of course I do, Will,” she said, realising that she really didn’t, “but what exactly am I to you?”
“I don’t quite understand.”
“No. That’s the problem. You don’t quite understand me at all.”
“Then tell me,” said William, getting up and crossing over to her. “Tell me why you are so determined to wait for these friends who don’t appear to be coming.”
Caroline turned and looked at him. He was a handsome man, and he was very, very charming to her, and she felt awful. She felt awful because she hadn’t really made an effort to get to know him and she certainly hadn’t let him in on her world, let alone tell him that she was a time travelling supermarket checkout girl from 2012.
And now this…this was awkward. She felt as though he was introducing her to his parents almost as a girlfriend, but not a girlfriend.
“I like you,” she said.
Caroline could see William’s eyes light up a little.
“But we don’t really know each other,” she added quickly.
“Then I’d like for us to get to know each other better,” said William. “And, forgive me for saying this, Caroline, but if your friends really cared that much about you, they’d be here by now. Perhaps it’s time for you to forget about them and get on with your life.”
Caroline frowned and felt hurt. She was about to tell this stuck up git to ‘do one’, but then she thought better of it. He didn’t mean anything bad by it. And it was true; the Doctor and Danny hadn’t come for her.
But she still wasn’t willing to give up on them. Not just yet.
Danny walked into the pub and spotted the Doctor sitting over in the snug, a normal screwdriver in hand and a circuit board in another. He was idly noodling away at a component on the circuit and didn’t even spot him come in with a load of bread.
He watched the Doctor intently as he went behind the bar and put the bread in the kitchen at the back. He then got a cloth from underneath the bar and started wiping down the wet rings that had been left from pint glasses being put down on top of the bar.
“Oi!” he said.
The Doctor didn’t look up.
“Is that the TARDIS?” he said, a little louder. Feigning a hopeful tone in his voice.
The Doctor looked up. “I beg your pardon?”
“Just checking you’re still with us,” said Danny, folding the cloth up and putting a few fresh beer
“Yes, I’m still with you,” said the Doctor quietly, returning to his screwdriver and circuit board.
Danny went around to the front of the bar and then leaned back on it, watching the Doctor closely.
“Any luck?” he asked. He knew the question was pointless.
“I’d have more luck if we played the National Lottery,” said the Doctor.
Danny made the sound of the ‘wrong answer’ sound effect from Family Fortunes. “The National Lottery isn’t around in 1987. And it’s Lotto in my day.”
“I know, I know,” said the Doctor, irritably.
“So we’re no closer to finding out if the TARDIS is still out there?”
Danny sighed. Since they’d arrived in 1987 they hadn’t really done much. They had spent night after night in the pub. The Doctor had worked on various circuits and pieces of equipment whilst Danny had drank beer and gotten to know the regulars. Finally he had given up on drinking, fearing he’d rot himself away with the stuff, and had offered to help behind the bar, only for the landlord - Harry Hall - to give him a job. He wasn’t the only one working behind the bar, though, and in the past three weeks he had befriended a young woman with curly blonde hair called Lisa. In that time they had become pretty good friends.
To Danny’s delight, Lisa walked into the pub.
“Bloody hell,” said Danny, “is it that time already?”
“Sure is,” said Lisa, grinning at Danny. “Time flies.”
“Definitely does,” said Danny. “Just me and you on tonight though.”
“What about Harry?” asked Lisa, looking a little frustrated.
“His wife’s been taken ill,” said Danny.
“It’ll be her headaches again,” said Lisa. “Poor love.”
Lisa went behind the bar and poured herself a glass of water. She leaned on the bar and smiled at Danny.
“How’s our friend over there?” She nodded towards the Doctor.
Danny sighed. “Working. As usual.”
Lisa shook her head. “He needs to lighten up.”
“Try telling him that. I know he doesn’t want to be here. I don’t want to be here either-”
“Cheers, babe,” said Lisa, faking that she was hurt.
“You know what I mean,” said Danny, turning to her and resting on his elbows. “We need to find our friend.”
“The mysterious Caroline,” said Lisa.
“She might be hurt.”
“Where can she have been for a whole month and not have gotten medical help?”
Danny smiled, opened his mouth and then closed it again. It’d be so easy to tell Lisa. So easy to explain where he’d come from. But it’d be a nightmare trying to convince her that he wasn’t mad.
“You’re right,” said Danny. “But we still need to find her.”
Lisa took a sip from her water and then nodded to the Doctor. “Is he any good at singing?”
“What?” frowned Danny.
“This weekend we’re starting up a karaoke night,” said Lisa. “Maybe we can get him up there. Put a bit of life into him.”
Danny laughed. “Maybe.” But he doubted the Doctor had anything on his mind, other than finding the TARDIS and rescuing Caroline.
The Doctor scratched the top of his head, coughed and then stuck his tongue out again, frowning. He took a gulp of luke-warm water that had been sat there for the past few hours, cleared his throat and continue to work on the circuit.
Danny simply stood and watched him. It wasn’t like him to not talk and explain what he was doing. He had never seen him be so quiet and engrossed in his work. And that frightened Danny. It frightened him a lot.