She watched his train pulling away at the station. She knew it was for the best, but she couldn’t help shed a tear for him. His life had been torn apart four years ago, and she hadn’t done much to help. She always wondered if she had led him on. She hadn’t intended on doing that.
It had been a civil, but warm goodbye at the train station. But now she was fighting back the tears as Danny Lennon’s train took him away to his new life in Manchester.
She felt she would see him again, but she knew that nothing would be the same again.
But she had to continue. Hypersave awaited as did her new flat. She had a meeting with the landlord, Brian Cope, this afternoon and she didn’t want to be late.
Giving one last look at the train pulling out of the station, she turned and marched towards the future.
Caroline had done something she had promised herself she would never do again - fall in love. She had always had trouble meeting men, but it was partly her own fault. She was incredibly picky over the type of man she wanted. Her friends, Kate and Sarah, would always go off with blokes, but she’d be incredibly reserved. Even almost-gentlemen-like blokes didn’t stand much of a chance.
Kate had always told her that she thought it was because of Danny. Danny had had such an impact on her life that nobody would ever be able to live up to being a best friend and a partner.
Caroline had vehemently disputed this, but secretly thought that maybe Kate was right.
But one particularly warm spring night she broke all of her rules. Steve Pearson was a true gent. He was the DJ at the Pier nightclub in Yarrathorpe. She had seen him there before, but she had never paid him much attention.
But he had been paying her attention.
He had finished his couple of hours on the decks one night and had approached her. His eyes were dark, but his smile made Caroline’s heart melt.
“Could I buy you a drink, miss?” he asked, leaning against the pillar next her.
Caroline looked down at her drink. She still had almost a full glass. “No, it’s alright DJ Steve.”
“Haha,” laughed Steve. “Less of the DJ. I’m off duty now.” He looked around him and then back at Caroline. “Can I ask you a question?”
“I suppose,” said Caroline, sipping her drink and listening carefully over the thumping music.
“What do you want from life?”
She frowned. “That’s a bit of a bizarre question to ask when you’re in a nightclub.”
“Maybe. But not for me. I’ve seen you standing there, getting bored. You always look so sad.”
“I’m not sad,” said Caroline quickly.
“There’s no need to be,” said Steve. “You’re cute, you know.”
“Don’t make me laugh,” laughed Caroline.
“It’s true. You’re beautiful.”
Caroline almost spat her drink out. “The last time someone told me that, I was 16 and freezing on the beach below this pier.”
“You should hear it more often.”
“I’m heading towards being 30 now, Mr DJ. I’m sure it’s all downhill from here.”
“No way,” laughed Steve. “Never!”
And that was that. All it took was a little chat with a stranger and Caroline started to believe again. She believed that maybe there was someone out there for her. Maybe she could fall in love and be friends without their being any complications.
What followed was a whirlwind romance that only a lasted a few months, but the effects this relationship left behind had long lasting impacts.
Caroline knew something was wrong. She wasn’t exactly sure what, but something didn’t feel right. The bouts of sickness every morning, feeling dizzy…To anyone else it was obvious, but to her…
Caroline and Steve left the doctor’s surgery hand in hand. Caroline had a frown on her face and Steve stared ahead of him. The two of them then looked at each other. Both of them were waiting for the other to make a move. Finally Caroline broke into a grin and then Steve followed suit. He picked her up off her feet and span her around.
When he put her down she wobbled unsteadily on her feet and he stopped her from falling.
“Sorry!” he said quickly
“It’s alright,” she said, holding out a hand.
“Are you happy?”
“Of course I’m happy,” she smiled.
“It’s not too soon?” said Steve, looking a little worried.
“Who says there’s a law on how long you have to wait to have a baby?” smiled Caroline.
“But we’ve only been together a few months.”
“Again, who says there’s a law?”
Steve looked down at his feet and then back up at her. “You’re right.”
“Stop worrying about what other people think. I never have done.”
He nodded. “This is the most amazing moment of my life.”
Caroline smiled and then threw her arms around him. “Everything’s gonna be okay. Everything’s gonna be brilliant.”
Two months past. It was an uneasy pregnancy for Caroline, but she battled on through it. She hadn’t informed her parents. She hadn’t told Danny. They wanted to keep it to themselves for now. Caroline had spent so much of her life being controlled by those around her. She now simply wanted to live her life with Steve and build for her future under her rules.
And then that’s when it happened.
Caroline was lying in bed. Steve was lying next to her and snoring loudly. The blue-tinted night sky filtered through the gaps around the curtains in the dark room. And standing in the corner of the room was a shadowy figure. It was wearing a hood.
Caroline was half asleep/half awake. She was breathing heavily as though having a nightmare
The figure was shuffling closer and closer. As it approached the bed it’s arm began to rise. Caroline had started to hyperventilate, and Steve had stopped snoring. The thing was almost on top of her. The air had gone cold. Slowly the cloaked figure rose off the floor until it was horizontal and floating above Caroline. It lowered itself closer and closer to Caroline. She was now paralysed, her eyes staring blankly at the shadowy insides of the hood. It’s hand pressed down on her stomach. Slowly it’s icy hand somehow pushed down inside of her. It was feeling around for something. And then it found what it was looking for. It slowly drew it’s hand outside, it’s hand still clasped around whatever it had found.
“Poor little Caroline!” it hissed.
The thing then scuttled away into the shadows as Caroline screamed in agony.
Steve woke up, immediately went for the bedside lamp, switched it on and turned to Caroline. “What’s up?”
She was half sitting/half lying down and breathing heavily. Her eyes were full of fear.
“Caroline, what’s wrong?”
“I-I don’t know,” she stuttered. “Something…something feels wrong. Something feels wrong.” Her hands went to her abdomen. “Something’s wrong.”
Steve had tried to calm Caroline down but had been unable to. So after about thirty minutes had driven her to the hospital to get her checked out.
As the car pulled away, Caroline thought she saw a red-headed woman standing at the end of her street looking concerned, but she soon dismissed it as she was too worried about her unborn baby.
Caroline sat on the bed in A&E, confused and disorientated.
“I don’t understand,” said Steve, holding his girlfriends hand. “How can that be?”
“The readings aren’t wrong, sir. I’m sorry but your partner is not pregnant.”
“How can that be?” said Steve again, getting more and more frustrated. “She’s been bloody pregnant for two months. We went to the doctors!”
“I’ve got the records,” said the doctor, scratching his head, “but there is just no evidence of a baby.”
“Was it a miscarriage?” said Steve, struggling to understand.
“No. If there was miscarriage there’d be signs. No, this baby was just never there. Miss Parker was simply never pregnant.”
“But she was!” yelled Steve.
“Mr Pearson I’m going to have to ask you to calm down.”
“Calm down? Calm down!? You’re telling me that my girlfriend, who was pregnant, was now never pregnant at all. Someone has made a big mistake here. It’s either you or the other doctor,” he said, pointing at the grey-haired and slightly flustered doctor.
“If you want I can get a second opinion.”
“No,” said Caroline quietly. “I don’t need a second opinion.”
Steve knelt down in front of the bed. “But Caroline-”
“It’s not there. I can feel that.”
“But you were pregnant-”
“I know. But I’m not now, am I?” She closed her eyes. “I want to go home. I want to go to bed.”
The next few days were difficult for Steve and Caroline. Steve constantly searched for answers to what had happened, but Caroline didn’t know how to explain it. She was having difficulty coming to terms with things. The news of a baby had come as a shock to her, but it had made her happy. It had made her complete. Her friend Sarah had said that maybe she was only feeling so in love with Steve because of the baby, but Caroline knew different. She truly loved him. But right now she was having trouble showing any feelings other than complete despair for what had happened.
“I don’t know what else you want me to say,” said Caroline as she idly picked at the frayed edge of the arm of the chair.
“I want you to try and help me to help you,” said Steve, feeling exasperated.
“How?” said Caroline blankly.
“You just don’t seem to care.”
Caroline glared at him. “Don’t seem to care? How dare you!” She rose from the chair and Steve seemed to shrink under her fury. “All you seem to be bothered about is finding answers to what happened. You’ve never once asked how feel. How do you think it feels to have a life growing inside of you and then for it to be just…gone? How?”
“Don’t bother,” yelled Caroline, storming out of the room to the bedroom and slamming the door.
Later on in the night Steve dared to venture into the bedroom. Caroline was half asleep. He knelt down beside the bed. She had clearly cried herself to sleep. He stroked her arm and closed his eyes.
“What?” said Caroline sleepily.
“I’m going away for a while.”
“What?” said Caroline, edging up onto her elbows and squinting at him in the darkness. “Why?”
“I need to be away for a while. I need to think about things.”
“You’re leaving me?” She couldn’t believe what she was hearing.
“No. No,” he said, shaking his head. “But you need me away from you. We both need time to let this soak in.”
“And where are you gonna go?” she said as he got up and grabbed an already packed bag from the hallway.
“A friend in Yarathorpe. He says he’ll put me up for a bit.”
“It’s better for the both of us,” he said, hefting the bag onto his shoulder. “I need to work out how to be a better boyfriend to you.”
“Please, we can talk about this.”
“Love you, Caroline,” he said as he made his way out of the bedroom door.
“Steve…” she said again, her eyes welling up with tears.
Caroline never heard from Steve again. She tried his phone a number of times, but he never answered it. She never even found out where in Yarathorpe he was staying, but he never returned to his DJ job. It was like he had vanished off the face of the Earth.
Two months later she met the Doctor…
As Steve made his way around the corner of the street to wait for the taxi he had ordered, he thought he heard a sound behind him. He looked. There was nothing there.
Dismissing the thought he reached the bus stop.
And then he felt the cold hand on his shoulder and heard the voice.
“Poor little Steve…”
And Steve was gone.
Next: The TARDIS crew face up to what they have learnt. Coming Sunday 27th October.