Never mind I'll find, someone not like you
Unsurprisingly, Alex was the last to find out. And Florian, the coward, wasn't even the one to inform her. No... Their daughter had to be the one to break the news...
He was getting married...
She was well over him. That wasn't the problem. That wasn't what had hurt.
Not marriage material...
That's what he'd said to her when he signed the papers.
He wasn't marriage material...
And now here he was... Engaged yet again...
Salome had told her all about Sarah. About how she tried so hard to be her mummy, but that Salome still didn't like her.
Alex sat through a whole hour long Skype, consoling her daughter as she begged to come live with her.
She called Florian the next day. As usual it began fairly quickly with shouting. He'd said she was just jealous, desperately trying to hold on to some piece of him. She'd scoffed and told him to actually listen to his daughter when she spoke.
They'd hung up, slamming the phones down on the receiver. She'd been in a mood the whole of the next day, snapping at people and only smiling when the script called for it.
She'd disappeared from set before anyone could even ask what was wrong.
Later that night, the phone rang. She'd expected it to be Salome, or Steven asking about that day, hell, maybe even Florian... She did not expect Sarah.
She apologized for her fiancé, citing 'you know how he is'. And she did. She did know how he was. Then, as if she expected Alex to agree, simply told her that she was sending Salome over on Friday, as 'they were making a new family, and that it'd be best for Salome to stay with her mother'.
She glared at the phone. Breathing deeply before she said something she'd regret. Because she did agree... It would be best for Salome to be with her. Clearly Florian didn't care, and was even more of a bastard than she thought.
She hung up, shaking her head and biting her lip. Her mobile buzzed, and she just knew it was her daughter.
Answering the phone only made her angrier. She was crying... Sobbing on the phone as her mother whispered in her ear.
She'd wanted to move in with Alex... That didn't mean she never wanted to see her father again.
Alex told her she was over-exaggerating, that Florian would see her sometimes, like she used to.
They both knew that was a lie.
She called Steven as soon as she got off the phone with Salome, telling him nothing but that she couldn't come in to work for the next few days, and that they should shoot the scenes she's not in until then. All she waited for was an 'Okay Alex, are you alright?' before simply saying 'No', and hanging up.
She crawled under the covers that night, tears streaming down her face. She cried for Salome, she cried for herself.
She’d worked it out. Why she'd been so upset. She was alone, while he moved on.
Don't get her wrong, she'd had offers. But she always saw it as 'Flo's single too'.
Maybe it was that as long as he was alone, she was content to be also. Neither had won... So to speak...
She'd barely had any sleep that night, tossing and turning. The next morning she felt like hell, and simply sat on her couch, staring pointlessly at the TV, not really watching.
She was going through a list in her head. What she'd need to do before Salome got here the next day. She already had a room, she'd have to call her school, change from temporary enrolment to permanent. She'd have to go shopping. She barely had any food in her cupboards for herself to live on. The life of an actor... It mostly consisted of take-out and coffee.
Before she knew it, it was just after one in the afternoon, and she was startled from her daze by a knocking at the door. Sighing, she stood, padding over to unlock it.
Pulling it open slightly, she frowned in confusion.
He stood at her door, a large tub of ice-cream held under his arm, a bottle of wine under the other, flowers gripped in one hand, and a pile of movies in the other.
"Hey." he said, squeezing past her to drop the ice-cream, wine and flowers on her kitchen counter before turning back to her.
"Horror or Rom-Com?"
He held up two of the DVDs he had, smiling softly at her as she gaped at him.
"Matt... What are you doing here?" She asked, stepping forward and wrapping her arms around her torso.
He shrugged, kneeling down at her TV to slip a movie in.
"I finished filming at twelve... The rest of my scenes are with River."
She gaped at him as he stood, moving around her to enter her kitchen.
"Matt... Now's not a good time."
He ignored her, pulling down two bowls and two wine glasses. He began to scoop some of the triple chocolate fudge ice-cream evenly.
"Steven told us you weren't coming in. Said something was wrong but you wouldn't tell him." He handed her a bowl, followed quickly by a glass full of red wine. "And I'm not here to find out. I figured you might need something to take your mind off whatever it is it's on."
She stared at him as he picked his own bowl up, carrying that and his wine to her couch to plop down as the main menu on the DVD popped on screen.
Standing where she was, she could already make out that it was horror. Some Zombie movie if the un-dead, flesh eating things on the screen suggested anything.
She smiled softly, not for the first time glad that Matt was her friend. He always knew just what she needed.
She sat next to him, as he started up the movie.
"Resident Evil: Afterlife... One of my favourite movies of all time."
She rolled her eyes, pulling her legs up to cross under her, as she turned to lean against the arm of the couch.
"If it's too scary Mathew, I will hurt you."
He rolled his eyes, leaning down the couch to stretch his legs out.
"I'm here if you get too scared Kingston... Besides... You'd never hurt me." He said, puffing his chest out comically.
She smirked, suddenly very glad for his distractions. She kicked out her right leg, laughing at his startled yelp as she made contact with his thigh. He narrowed his eyes at her, shuffling sideways out of her reach. Poking his tongue at her, he scooped some of his ice-cream and tried to fit it all in his mouth.
She rolled her eyes, sitting up on her knees to lean forward, picking up a tissue as she did.
"You are such a child." She said, wiping his mouth as he grinned at her.
"Part of my charm love."
She grinned, jumping in shock as something screeched from the TV. Matt threw his arm around her shoulders, chuckling quietly at her startled expression.
They stayed like that, Alex leaning against Matt with her feet tucked under her, while Matt kept his arm slung along her shoulders. Occasionally, she would duck her head down, hiding her eyes from the blood and gore.
They were nearly at the end of the movie when she spoke, softly mumbling in to his shoulder.
"Florian's getting married."
He glanced down at her, eyes soft and a small, sad smile on his lips. She looked up at him, eyes watering slightly.
He nodded, tugging her closer.
"Friend of mine in America. Her husband knows the girl."
She closed her eyes tightly, leaning her head down on his shoulder.
"She’s sending Salome here. I don't know what they said to her... But she was crying last night."
He stiffened next to her, his grip tightening just a little. Looking up, she smiled at the tightness in his jaw. He'd always been so enamoured with her daughter.
"Whatever you two need... I'm here. So's Karen, and Arthur, and Steven, and Sue, and Keeley and..."
He made to go on, no doubt about to name every crew and cast member on Doctor Who, her new friends on Upstairs Downstairs... Hell, probably Sherlock too. Benedict was particularly protective of the little girl Matt took to meet him one day.
She stopped him, speaking up instead of letting him rant.
"This helped... It might help Salome too... Just spending time with everyone."
He smiled, nodding at her as the credits began to roll.
They were half way through Bridesmaids, which although hilariously funny, was not a movie she'd normally watch. She spoke quietly again, more to herself than Matt.
"I should probably start dating again. God, it's been so long."
She looked up as Matt tugged on her shoulder, smiling at him as he did her.
"I can help with that."
She raised her eyebrow, leaning her head back to look at him properly.
"You know someone who would want to date an almost fifty-year old?" she asked sceptically.
"When it's you? Sure. Karen would have a few ideas too."
She shook her head, smiling as she leant back down.
Tomorrow Salome would be here...
And tomorrow came fairly quickly. Matt had left at ten last night, leaving everything but the movies with her. She'd kissed his cheek goodnight, closing the door with a tired smile.
He always knew how to make her feel better.
Now, she was standing in the airport hugging a sobbing ten year old.
They stopped to get groceries, Alex letting Salome get whatever she wanted. Normally so much junk would be left out... Now she just didn't have the heart.
When they got home, Salome helped her carry the bags in before disappearing to her room. Sighing, Alex unpacked, coming across the ice-cream in the freezer. Pulling it out, she packed the rest of the stuff away, pulling two spoons out and knocking on her daughter's door. A soft 'come in' had her opening it.
Salome stood at her dresser, placing the clothes from America in. Smiling sadly, Alex cocked her head to her bed, plopping down as Salome sat. She held out a spoon, twisting the lid off and watching as Salome dove in to it.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
Salome shook her head, shoving the ice-cream into her mouth.
Like Matt, Alex thought with a shake of her head.
Nodding, Alex glanced around the room as she licked at the ice-cream on her spoon.
"We'll need to get you more furniture... You've got too much stuff now."
"Can't we just get rid of it?"
She turned back to Salome, her heart breaking a little more at the sad, teary look in her daughter's eyes.
"You don't want it?"
She shook her head, taking another bite of the ice-cream.
Alex nodded slowly, sighing as she swallowed.
"We'll have to go shopping then. You'll need more clothes. You growing out of the one's here."
Salome nodded, not speaking as she looked around the room.
"We could invite Karen if you want. You know how she and shopping go so well together."
Salome looked up at her, a small hopeful light in her eyes.
"Can Matty and Arthur come?"
Alex nodded, grinning wickedly at Salome.
"Who else would carry our bags?"
She smiled, the first real smile Alex had seen all day.
Leaving her daughter to her own devices, she picked up her phone and sent a text to her three friends.
Shopping? Salome needs clothes...
Karen was the first to reply, the younger woman never going anywhere without her phone. She said she'd be over first thing tomorrow, as she was currently still one set.
Matt replied next, just as quickly as Karen did. He texted something along the lines of 'Arthur and I are there to carry bags aren't we'...
She smiled as she began dinner, texting back with an 'Of course... For Salome...'
She knew they wouldn't say no now. And he knew she knew that.
'Cold Kingston... Right, we'll be there'
She smiled as she put her phone down, hoping time with the three would lift Salome's spirits.
As she had hoped, they'd had Salome laughing by lunch time. Bags weighed the boys down, and they weren't shy in letting them know. They sat in a café, bags surrounding them an the boys slumped in their seats. Arthur turned to Matt, exclaiming in a staged whisper,
"We need to even the odds. Get another guy in the group."
Matt simply nodded, pulling faces at Salome as she did to him.
"We could ask Steven next time?"
The group looked at each other, before bursting out in laughter.
"God! Could you imagine Steven standing with a heap of bags full of clothes?"
Matt shrugged at Alex, pursing his lips.
"I'm sure he'd do it for Sue."
Alex rolled her eyes, smiling down as Salome laughed, flicking a balled up napkin at Matt.
She'd told Karen and Arthur that morning as Salome was getting dressed. They both promised that their mission was to get as many laughs as they could from the girl. They even made it in to a competition.
Stumbling back in to her apartment later that evening, they dumped all of Salome's new clothes in her room, collapsing on Alex's couch as Karen and Salome bounded around, unpacking everything.
"How could they possibly have do much extra energy?" Arthur complained, watching wide eyed as Karen ran in to the room, picked up a stray bag, and ran back.
Alex shook her head, slumping in her seat with her eyes half closed.
"Sugar? Caffeine? God only knows. I just hope it wears off Salome before she has to go to sleep."
Matt harrumphed, closing his own eyes.
"I just hope it actually wears off of Kaz. She might still be like this on Monday."
Alex smiled, before remembering she'd told Steven she'd come in on Monday, as long as Salome could come with her.
"Oh god! Salome's coming with me on Monday."
Matt and Arthur groaned, now positive the energy the two have now will make a return in two days time.
By the time Karen and Salome left the room, everything unpacked, colour-coordinated and folded neatly, the other three were sound asleep in the living room, Matt half on the couch half on the floor, Arthur spread out with his mouth hanging open on the ground near the TV and Alex curled in to a ball in the corner of the couch.
"Amateurs." Karen whispered to Salome as they both giggled.
When they didn't wake by midnight, Salome dragged Karen in to her room for a 'sleep over', which traditionally meant absolutely no sleeping until necessary.
The next day, Alex awoke to find her head on Matt's chest, and her legs flung over the arm of the chair. Looking around, she giggled softly at the image of Arthur spooning the TV cabinet.
Swinging her legs over the arm, she stood, stretching out the kink in her back. She padded down the hall, opening Salome's door slightly to peak in. Karen and Salome were asleep on the bed, Salome spread out, taking up most of the room on the bed. Karen was lying at the bottom of the bed, her back arched with her legs dangling off the side.
Sighing, she carefully shut the door, returning to the lounge room and entering the kitchen.
Arthur was the first to wake up, the smell of coffee, bacon and pancakes rousing him from his sleep. Walking in to the kitchen, rubbing his face and staring blearily at Alex as she flipped a pancake.
"Morning." She said tiredly, smiling at Arthur as he plopped down in the seat at the counter.
She laughed, shaking her head as she pushed the pot of coffee toward him.
Matt woke up next, Alex and Arthur's hysteric laughter causing him to fall flat on his bum as he slid of the couch.
He joined Arthur, sitting down to watch as Alex served up the food. They grinned at her, Matt leaning forward to pick at the bacon when she slapped his hand away.
"Go wake to girls."
He pouted at her, but stood to go and rouse the girls.
Alex was pouring Salome some orange juice when a shriek caused her and Arthur to turn to the hallway. Arthur leant back on his stool, watching as Matt sprinted out of Salome's room with Karen hot on his heels. They passed the two standing and watching them, running in to the lounge room where Matt hid behind the coffee table, moving to the left if Karen moved right. Salome appeared at Arthur's side, smiling tiredly at her mother. Alex kissed her in the forehead as she carried the food to the table, Arthur standing to help.
They left around twelve, returning to their own apartments just down the hall from Alex's.
Salome spent the next day watching movies with her mum.
Karen had left a message written on paper in Alex's bedroom.
'Next Friday, 6pm... Heard you were looking for a date...'
Alex sighed, unsure if it was such a good idea to start dating now, when Salome was only just getting settled.
Monday she appeared on set with Salome in tow. They were shooting in a warehouse today. It was River's big reveal.
Karen of course had only just been told then what the real ending was. Well... Her, Arthur and Matt had only been told that morning. But Karen had literally bowled her over in excitement as she spoke a mile a minute into Alex's ear.
Salome took to calling Karen and Arthur Grandma and Gramps after that. Not in public though.. Spoilers and all...
She didn't tell Salome about the date she had. Matt offered to 'babysit' that night, telling her he had plans that would need Salome's assistance. Despite her better judgement, and all the while very suspicious, she agreed.
She took her over to his apartment, returning to her own to get ready.
She returned at ten-thirty... Flopping down on Matt's couch as Salome slept in his spare room. She stated at the ceiling, shaking her head and muttering.
"What was she thinking? That was horrible! The most boring man I've ever met!"
Matt chuckled, sitting at the edge of the couch and twirling a curl of hers around his finger.
She glared up at him, scoffing.
"What gave you that idea?" she said sarcastically.
He shrugged, smiling at her.
"No idea. But hey, I think I know someone great for you."
She sighed, taking a deep breath and closing her eyes.
"I don't know... Maybe this isn't such a good idea."
Despite her doubts, she let Matt set her up, setting a date for next week on Thursday. Matt carried Salome down the hall to her apartment, placing her in her bed before leaving, once again with a kiss to the cheek from Alex.
Filming continued, and she’d switched over from Doctor Who now, working on Upstairs, Downstairs. It was a great distraction… Certainly what she’d needed…
Especially with the date’s Karen, Matt and sometimes Arthur would set her up on. Steven attempted too…
But every single one of them was wrong… Whether for her, her daughter… Or just in general…
Arthur had even set her up with a bird watcher…
If she didn’t know any better, she’d say they were deliberately setting her up with men not suited to her.
But they weren’t… Right?
She’d found out during the wrap up party for Doctor Who. Matt had been constantly calling her wife, and the others were taking great pleasure in calling her either Mrs Doctor, or Mrs Smith. She’d rolled her eyes at them, smiling and laughing along.
A lot of people were there. People from Who, people who’ve worked with Steven… It was Benedict who’d brought it up, freezing Alex and those around her in their spot.
“So, Ms Kingston, fallen for Matt’s charm yet?”
She’d stared wide eyed at the Sherlock star, the man the only one not to notice Matt’s wild arms gesturing for him to stop speaking.
“I mean, his little plan must’ve worked by now right?”
She raised her eyebrow at him, pursing her lips.
“What plan would that be dear?”
He grinned, shrugging his shoulders. Clearly, the man had a little too much to drink. Everyone here but Alex had.
“His ‘Set-Kingston-Up-With-Bad-Dates-Until-She-Realizes-He-Loves-Her’ plan.”
She gaped at him, staring wildly around the room only to find Matt had disappeared. Karen and Arthur stood there though, wincing as Benedict spoke.
So that’s why every date she’d been on had been crappy.
“Gillan, Darvill and Moffat were in on it too, you know. That daughter of yours as well. Right genius she is.”
She blinked at him, stuttering as she tried to speak.
Excusing herself, she strode out of the room in search of Matt. She found him outside, sitting on the fence staring at the sky.
As she approached, he began to speak.
“That was not how I had hoped you’d find out. Remind me to kill Cumberbatch when he’s sober.”
She leaned on the fence next to him, looking down and sighing.
“Why didn’t you just tell me?”
He shrugged, looking down at her.
“At the time? You were upset about your ex, and Salome. I didn’t think it was such a good time.”
“And when we moved on from it? Why didn’t you tell me then? For god’s sake Matt, you told Salome.”
He turned to her, dropping from the fence to stand on the other side.
“I asked her if it was okay, actually. I didn’t want to start something that she wasn’t comfortable with.”
She sighed, licking her lips and closing her eyes.
“And after that?”
Opening her eyes, she saw him shrug, looking down at the ground and shuffling his feet.
“I don’t know… I didn’t want you to reject me.”
They stayed quiet, him staring at the ground and her staring at him.
“I wouldn’t have.” She whispered softly, watching as he looked up at her.
She shook her head, thinking back on every moment she had spent with him. She had been so stupid… Blind…
She’d been looking for someone to be there for her, for Salome… When there was already someone there.
She leaned forward, meeting him in the middle. He kissed her softly first, leaning over the fence, before deepening the kiss. His tongue dragged along her bottom lip, darting in as she parted them. She moaned in to his mouth, eyes fluttering shut as she leant against the fence, her knees going weak slightly.
Sighing in to his kiss, she smiled softly.
All she needed was her daughter, and the man kissing her now… Florian may have married, but she’d found someone a whole lot better than he ever was.