Before we start I have a favour to ask- please can anyone get me the exact words of all the things Mickey said about Trisha in Boomtown? Because I’m going to get to that part of the story eventually, and it’d come in very useful. :D
Rose left Earth, but her mother and friends remained there. Mickey meets another girl, Jackie tries not to think about her dying mother, and the Bad Wolf hunts them all.
#1- Not The End Of The World– Mickey after Rose
#2- So Are You– Jackie before Aliens of London
#3- It’ll Be Alright– Trisha during AOL/WWIII
#4- Coward In Your Own Story– Mickey visits Clive’s family
#5- The One I Love– Trisha and Mickey go on a date, as friends- they hope.
#6- The Escape– Shireen, Trisha, and Jimmy Stone
#7- Mother’s Day
Concrit: Yes please. :)
AN: It helps if you’ve read So Are You before reading this one.
Jackie avoided looking around the room she was in: it would make her cry again. She looked only at the carpet, which was blue.
“Anything else?” the man asked gently. “What would she have been wearing?”
“I…can’t remember…pink hoodie, maybe…” She shook her head then. “No…her purple jacket, I think, and jeans…”
The man nodded and made a note of it.
“Okay,” he said, and just that was enough to make Jackie cry again. The man waited until she’d finished and spoke again gently.
“Don’t give up hope, Mrs Tyler,” he said. “Only the other day some kid on the other side of the country went missing for a week, and then they found him safe and well with a girl in a flat. So…” He trailed off, and winced. “We’ll do all we can.”
“Thank you.” But she knew, somehow, that her daughter wouldn’t be coming back. It was just a feeling in the back of her mind, and it was making her give up hope.
She got up from her seat, said goodbye to the policeman, and went outside. She wanted a cigarette, but she’d been trying to give up smoking- Rose had insisted- and now she didn’t have any. She leaned against the wall, and nobody looked at her.
Her mobile phone rang. She didn’t realise it was hers at first. She fished in her bag and picked it up.
“Hello?” she said, keeping her voice steady.
“Mrs Tyler?” said the voice on the other end. “I’m afraid Alison is having a relapse of sorts. It’s nothing to get worried about, but she certainly seems a little…off. She says she’d like you to visit, sometime soon…”
The doorbell rang. Jackie considered not opening it, but eventually dragged herself to the door. It was Mickey. He was carrying a cardboard box.
“I’ve got this for you!” he said triumphantly. “It was really cheap, but it works. I can help you set it up…it’s got a modem and everything…” He then noticed she was still in her dressing gown, and trailed off.
“Jackie, it’s midday…”
“I know,” she said sullenly.
“But I’ve bought you a computer…”
“I just got a phone call,” she said. “Me mum is getting worse.”
Mickey looked blank.
“Rose’s grandmother. Alison. Me mum. Remember her?”
“Oh yeah…I think I met her once.”
“Yeah, years ago. She’s different now,” Jackie gave a snort. “And they’re saying she’s dying.”
“I knew she was on her way out,” Jackie said glumly. “Knew it was coming. Just wish Rose was here…she’d have liked to see Rose…” She glanced at Mickey as she said this; his expression was unreadable.
“Are you going to see her?” he said carefully.
“I suppose I’d better,” She wandered to her bedroom in a daze.
When she came out, dressed more properly this time, Mickey was still there. He had unpacked the computer and was setting it up.
“I can go with you,” he said. “If you want.”
Jackie thought about it. The white corridors, Alison’s black eyes…the story of the bad wolf.
“Yeah, okay.” she said quickly. “You come.”
Mickey drove her there, even though it wasn’t very far.
“Are you sure you want me to come in?” he asked nervously. “I mean, you’d probably rather it was just her and you…”
“No,” Jackie said firmly, and that was all she said. She felt a little bit sick, and wished Rose was here.
She’s run away with the big bad wolf, he wants to keep her now, you’ll be lucky to see her again, you should have told your mother-
She shook her thoughts out of her head. Rose had gone, but she was here, and she had to deal with that now.
“How come she calls herself Alison Darkwood?” Mickey asked all of a sudden.
“‘Cause that’s not your maiden name, but it’s what she calls herself…”
“She changed back to her old name when my dad left her.” Jackie said shortly.
“Oh…I didn’t know about…”
“It’s not important, Mickey. It’s not important at all.”
They went through the corridors to reception. They went through all the various motions: giving their names and being given sad glances.
“Is Mickey allowed in with me?” Jackie asked. “He’s a friend of the family.”
“All right,” said one of the nurses. But she gave him a funny look: maybe she’d seen his picture somewhere, in the paper- still, he’d done nothing wrong, had he?
More corridors, and then they were shown into Alison’s room.
“Alison,” the nurse said gently, “you have visitors.”
Alison opened one eye, and Jackie could only stare at her. My God, she looks sick.
“Where’s Rose?” Alison asked.
That was what did it…made her want to run home. But she knew she couldn’t. “Rose isn’t here, Mum. But I’ve brought Mickey.”
“Rose is never here,” Alison said, as the nurse excused herself, leaving them alone. “Is she still in France?”
“No, Mum. She’s left.”
“Is she not talking to you?”
“No, Mum,” Jackie said, feeling close to tears. “She’s not talking to me.”
“Pity,” Alison said darkly. Then her gaze went to Mickey. “And you. You’re back, then. I remember you.”
“Yeah,” Mickey said, trying to look away. “Yeah…hi, Ms Darkwood…”
“Is Rose talking to you?”
“No…I don’t think so.”
Alison went motionless, although her eyes were still open. “Seems to have abandoned you entirely,”
“Yes,” Jackie said, and out of the corner of her eye she saw Mickey looking at her worriedly. She took a deep breath. “I’m sorry, Mum. I know you’d have wanted her here.”
“If she doesn’t want to be here,” Alison said, her speech slow and tired, “then let her be,” She looked exhausted, like talking was too much for her. Jackie moved forward.
“Mum, I’m sorry, I’m really sorry…” She tried to take her hand, but Alison jerked her hand away with what was probably the last of her strength, and Jackie felt like her heart had broken. She couldn’t help but start to cry.
“Jackie,” Mickey said quickly.
“No,” she said hopelessly. “Mum…”
“Don’t cry, Jaqueline,” Alison said dreamily. “It’ll be alright. Rose’ll be back.”
“How do you know?” Jackie cried.
“I’m your mother.”
Jackie thought. She remembered their last meeting: She’s run away with the big bad wolf.
There was truth in that.
She remembered their last meeting- every little detail of it. She remembered her husband, her friends, her ordinary life, her daughter, everything she took for granted- and suddenly felt a hatred that overwhelmed her.
“I’m sorry too, by the way, Jackie,” Alison said, breathing heavily.
Jackie went cold.
“Mickey, get the nurse,” she said in a voice that sounded nothing like hers. He ran for the door, pulled it open, and was gone. The door slammed shut on its own.
Jackie looked around the room, but not at Alison. Her mind seemed to have frozen in place.
…things are about to get dark…
Oh, it wasn’t fair, but she had to hold on.
The door swung open again, and Mickey was there with a nurse, a different one this time. The nurse took in the situation.
“You’d better get out, love,” she said to Jackie.
Jackie almost ran out of the door, and Mickey went with her.
Five minutes later, and Jackie already knew what had happened. The nurse, and a few doctors who had turned up later, exited the room.
“I’m so sorry,” the nurse said, going to Jackie. “Do you want to go in and say goodbye?”
“No,” Jackie said, surprising herself. “No, thank you.”
The nurse nodded slowly, and walked away. Mickey let out a breath.
“I think you should go in there,” he said.
“No,” Jackie said again. “Just…no.”
There was a long, long silence.
“Let’s go outside,” Mickey said, and he took her arm and led her- almost dragged her. She just went along with it, feeling like she was drugged. He took her through the nearest door, to a bench. They were in a small garden, clean and litter-free except for one solitary crisp packet on the floor.
Jackie sat down. Disconnected thoughts ran through her mind: Shit I’m getting really fat, what would Rose say, what would Mum say…when Rose comes back how do I tell her, will she even care…I don’t want to have to make funeral arrangements…I must look really hideous at the moment. I think I always looked really hideous. Too old, too fat, and too unhappy right now. Don’t let me cry on top of all of that…
“I can tell Rose,” Mickey said. “Unless you want to.”
“Maybe it’ll make her come home,” Jackie said, and burst into tears. She tried desperately to stop, but she couldn’t. It hurt to cry, it really did…it hurt. She felt like she’d be sick, collapse, die right where she was sitting. It wasn’t fair, it wasn’t fair, it wasn’t fucking fair.
Mickey patted her arm awkwardly.
“Stop it,” she said, and hugged herself. It was really cold out here…why? It hadn’t been this cold in the morning.
Maybe it’ll make her come home. Anyone eavesdropping would think Jackie’s daughter had run off with her boyfriend, gone abroad, was keeping away from a mother she hated…but she wasn’t…she was out with a strange man, strange thing, running into danger, saving the world…
“I hate him,” she said suddenly and furiously.
“I hate him. I hate the Doctor. He took Rose away.”
“Jackie,” Mickey said worriedly, “Jackie, that’s not going to…”
“He’s ruined my life!”
Mickey said nothing, then. He just let her cry. He rummaged in his pocket for a tissue, and then groaned and stood up.
“Let’s go find some tissues for you.”
“No. I’m fine. Stay here.”
“You’re not fine.”
“Sit down, for God’s sake!”
He sat down, and waited in agonizing silence while she sobbed. He looked furious, although with who or what she couldn’t be sure. Eventually she ceased to cry, more for his sake than for hers.
“I’m sorry,” she said, and knew she sounded like a child.
“No, you’re allowed to cry,” he said, and stood up as if desperate to go away. They walked back inside in silence, and one of the nurses was waiting.
“Mrs Tyler?” she said nervously. “I’m very sorry.” She handed a leaflet of some sort to Jackie, and hastily went away. Jackie looked at it. Suffered a recent loss? it said. We can help. Just call…
Jackie put it in her pocket, irritated. That was good. She could deal with irritation.
“Let’s go,” she said to Mickey.
So they went, Mickey in the driver’s seat again.
Jackie did not cry.
“She was…she was always acting funny…said weird things…”
“And she was really sick. I mean…being around, her being around any longer…it wasn’t going to happen, I should have guessed…”
“Jackie,” Mickey said.
“Do you really hate the Doctor, or were you just saying that?”
Jackie could think of nothing to say. Her mind had gone horribly blank again.
“No, you weren’t just asking…I dunno, Mickey.”
“What d’ya mean by that?”
“I dunno. I don’t care. An’ I don’t suppose if he cares if I hate him. I just want him to bring her back, safe,” She felt tears in the back of her eyes again. “An’…I dunno if he will…he wants her, you know? Wanted her. I mean, he might figure she can come back anytime, but she won’t, or…or…she might come back two years ago, and…I wouldn’t know or anything…” Oh, she was making no sense. But the world made no sense either, and it was the world’s fault. “He doesn’t care about me, whether I want my daughter back or not. The whole world, Mickey…” And she was really crying now. “The entire world, five billion people, all of them alive because of him…an’ he didn’t think that I might not want her to go…” She put her head in her hands. Mickey’s eyes kept sliding from the windscreen to her.
“She chose,” he said in a very small voice.
There was a great deal more to say, of course, but neither of them said it. They reached the horrible empty flat, went in, and sat down.
“I want something to drink,” Jackie said, purposely toneless.
“Water,” Mickey said.
He got her some water. Jackie drank it without a word. It was funny to think that this morning her mother had still been alive. Funny and pretty horrible.
Mickey stared fixedly at a picture of Rose on the mantlepiece. “Maybe you should get some food, too, Jackie.”
“I’m not hungry.”
“I can get you some chips.”
“I don’t want chips, I’m sick of them. I don’t want anything, Mickey, alright?”
He said nothing. He just got up and went to the fridge. “There’s a salad in here,” he said. “Looks about two weeks old. And some yoghurt.”
“Mickey,” Jackie said, and she sounded like a ten-year-old again…not a grown woman who had once had a daughter.
“I don’t want to stay here in the flat on my own. I hate it. I hate staying here in the dark every night with nothing to do except watch TV. I hate it.”
Mickey goggled at her, then said, “You’ve got that bloke of yours, Rodrigo- invite him round.”
“Eh? He doesn’t want it that way. He wants some time, he said.”
“Not…oh, for God’s sake, Jackie, you’re hopeless.”
“Don’t I know it.” The word hopeless threatened to make her cry again. She didn’t hear it like how Mickey had meant it: it meant you have no hope. She had very little right now. “I don’t want some bloke! I mean, I like him and all, but I want Rose back. That’s what I meant- she was always there, in the house- most nights, anyway- and now she’s gone and you can’t even hear her.”
Mickey looked away, unable to hold her gaze. He looked at another one of the pictures- a family shot of Jackie, Pete and their new baby- and Jackie saw.
“It’s not fair.”
“Life’s not fair.”
“I wish people would stop saying that. All the bloody time. Like it’s an excuse or something.”
“It’s not an excuse.”
“It sounds like something he might say.”
Mickey flinched. “No,” he said carefully. “I don’t think so.”
Jackie leaned back on the sofa, very tired all of a sudden. Surely today had been one of the worst days of her life? And the worst thing about it was that it wasn’t the worst.
“Doesn’t matter anyway,” she muttered. “You can go if you want, Mickey.”
“I don’t think you ought to stay here alone.”
“Don’t you trust me?”
Jackie considered that, and didn’t like what she came up with. But she couldn’t quite bring herself to care. “You go. I’ll be all right,” she said. “And thank you, Mickey.”
The funeral took place a few weeks later.
Jackie met Mickey at the church. There was a girl with him- a plump brunette girl, dressed in black- and it took Jackie a few seconds to remember who she was. It was odd, and not nice, to see Mickey with another girl.
Although he had to get on with his life, presumably.
“I’m sorry, Mrs Tyler,” Trisha said nervously. She was wearing a dress similar to Jackie’s- maybe they shopped at the same place. She extended her hand, and Jackie shook it.
Shireen was also at the church- one of a very small number of attendees. She was also wearing black- Jackie had wondered, briefly, in the back of her mind, if she’d just show up wearing ripped jeans- but she had a black dress instead. It looked like it’d been at the back of the wardrobe for years and dug out specially for this occasion. Jackie appreciated it all the same.
When the funeral was over- Jackie had prepared a short speech, and it had been short- just a few minutes of talking about how Alison would have appreciated everyone turning up- everyone gathered outside. Jackie observed them all. Mickey, in his black suit, just looked thoughtful; Trisha looked nervous again; Shireen looked decidedly unhappy.
Mickey came to her. “Hey, Jackie.”
“Hey,” she said quietly.
Mickey looked around, clearly not sure what to say. “Rodrigo turn up, then?” he asked at last.
“He doesn’t like funerals.”
“Says it’s too short a time since ‘e was at his son’s funeral…commited suicide, you see.”
“I don’t like funerals, either.” Shireen said flatly.
And none of them said much more.
“There’ll be food at my house, if anyone wants it,” Jackie said. “Not much, mind. And not a proper party. Just food.”
There were various mumblings of ‘yeah’ and ‘okay’. A couple of other people nodded their agreement, too- they weren’t anyone Jackie knew very well. A woman from the estate who Jackie had considered a friend a while ago, but had drifted off after Rose had gone missing (didn’t people do that much too often?)- her name was Beth, and an old friend of Alison’s.
They headed off to the flat. Jackie didn’t feel like making conversation, so she listened to the others instead.
“Is this- was that the church were…you know?” she heard Trisha whisper to Mickey.
“Yes,” Mickey said, “It was,” And he cast a glance at the playpark as they were going past.
At the flat, everyone sat around awkwardly.
“So,” Beth spoke up, “Jackie…I read in the paper…”
“Rose came back. She went travelling.” Jackie said, more sharply than she intended. Beth flinched.
“Does anyone want chocolate fingers?” Mickey said. He had taken a box of them from one of the cupboards. Jackie felt stupid of a sudden, like she was hosting a kid’s party.
Alison’s friend (her name was Jill, Jackie had remembered) took one, and so did Shireen. The others merely huddled on the sofa, Mickey and Trisha in particular. Jackie still thought they looked wrong together.
It took a while for people to start talking.
“Are you going to be alright, Jackie?” Mickey asked her quietly.
“You keep asking me that,” she answered. “I…I dunno, I’ll invite Rodrigo around.”
“Ooh, I know him,” Beth said. She was quite perky now. Nothing like food after a funeral to lighten the mood. “He used to work next door to my nail place…gorgeous, isn’t he?”
“Yeah,” Jackie said, ice dripping off her voice. Mickey almost smiled at that.
“I heard about his son, though…awful, isn’t it?”
“Yeah,” And whatever happiness she had felt in the past few minutes vanished without trace. “People shouldn’t lose their kids.”
Beth looked uncomfortable, and said. “Jackie…Rose, ur…”
“She’s fine,” Jackie said cooly. “Off enjoying herself.” Oh, this was breaking her heart, but she couldn’t cry in front of near-strangers. Beth shot a look at Mickey- he just met her gaze.
“Mind you,” she said, clearly desperate to salvage the conversation, “he likes his truck better than he likes women.”
Jackie had not yet heard of his truck fixation- if she was honest, she didn’t know the man at all. “That’s nice.”
“Used to drive them. He keeps one in his garage. Calls it Susan.”
Jackie wasn’t sure how much more of this she could take. “Mmmm, yeah.”
“In fact, I’d be careful of him if I were you…he’s a bit…well…they say he’s not too nice.”
Jackie didn’t care. “Whatever,” she muttered.
“I’m gonna go,” Shireen said, shooting to her feet. “I…well, I’ll see you all around, alright?”
“Alright,” Mickey and Trisha chorused.
“I…er…thanks for the food, Jackie, and I’m sorry.” She fled. Barely a minute after the door had closed, Jill also stood up.
“It’s about time I left- thank you so much for the food, dear, Alison would be very proud of you-” She had eaten by far the most of any of them. Jackie shook hands with her, and wondered if the last thing she’d said was true. Quite possibly not.
But hell- she didn’t know.
Beth, Mickey and Trisha sat on opposite sofas, all of them looking throughly uncomfortable.
“So…are you two dating?” Beth finally asked cheerfully.
“Sort of,” Mickey said, at the same time Trisha said, “Er.” They looked at each other. Beth grinned. Jackie decided that that was it. She frantically mimed at Mickey from behind Beth.
“It’s time I left,” Mickey said promptly, proving his acting skills. “You coming, Trish?”
“Yeah,” Trisha said. “Okay.”
“Thanks, Jackie,” Mickey said. “And…I’m sorry. Seriously, I am.”
She only managed to smile at him. The pair of them went down the stairs- Beth stayed on the sofa. Jackie closed the door wearily.
“So he didn’t kill her, then,” Beth said.
“No.” Jackie said coldly. “He didn’t.”
“You were the one convincing everyone he did.”
Jackie glared, and Beth stood up quickly.
“Okay, okay, I’m sorry- I can take a hint. I’m sorry for everything, all right? And I hope Rose contacts you soon.”
Jackie’s heart leapt to her mouth. “What?”
“Rumor has it that she went off with a forty year old,” Beth said, “and she’s not talking to you.” And she was gone, without even giving Jackie time to respond.
Jackie watched her go downstairs.
“He’s not forty,” she said to herself.
She phoned Rodrigo that night- she didn’t ask about ‘Susan’ or anything of the like. She felt more lonely than she had ever been. Rodrigo was not much help.
Unable to sleep, she went to the window and looked out. The world was very dark- the lights below her flickered- and she wondered what Rose was doing right now, and if she was thinking about what she’d left behind.
Her mobile phone beeped.
She almost gasped out loud- maybe it was Rose. Rose did have her phone with her, after all. She picked up the phone and looked at it.
It wasn’t from Rose, it was from Mickey. It said If you want to talk, Jackie, I’m right here. And so are Trisha and Shireen and Maggie, if you want them.
Don’t hate him, Jackie.
It occured to her that Mickey didn’t normally spell that well. He must have made a effort…and wasn’t that just petty of her.
Don’t hate him, Jackie.
And oh, perhaps she didn’t…perhaps hate was something that could be turned off, after all.
She returned to the window, and watched for any kind of shooting star.