Martha knew it was impossible this was the same Rose Tyler that the Doctor had always raved about, he hardly ever stopped talking about her, how she had been just nineteen when he'd met her in a department store basement and saved her when the shop window dummies had all come to life. Martha had been a young medical student and the hospital had been overcrowded with injuries at the time, mass hysteria being put down as the cause.
This Rose Tyler looked older but she had no idea who he was, if she did, she was hiding it very well or maybe she was playing a game, the same as she herself was, trying to get him to admit his feelings for her so maybe they hadn't actually been 'together' after all. Perhaps this Rose wasn't who she appeared to be, maybe it was just a cruel joke being played on her, just as she was about to get him to maybe admit he did have feelings for her but now, she would hardly see anything of him and this Rose would be taking him his breakfast, tidying his room and fussing over him – the job she was meant to be doing.
Martha could only guess what had brought the blonde to the school but she seemed quite at home there, had worked her way up and everyone knew her, several of the students had looked at her and said 'hello Rose' to her and merely stared at Martha. She would have to find out where Rose came from and try and remember what the Doctor had told her, since she'd not been paying attention.
John Smith and Rose were still giving each other the eye, Martha observed, making her feel sick and wanting to throw up.
''So Rose, you'll be attending my room then will you? I don't know if I can trust you to sort my laundry for me, maybe you'll need some help with that?'' he grinned, running his tongue on the side of his mouth and Rose looking like she was also drooling – already.
''Well yes Sir, you'll have to tell me what to expect, this will be the first time I've been a personal maid to a teacher, I don't want to overstep my duties, do I?''
''Oh no Rose, we don't want that, do we now?'' he slyly winked, thinking Martha hadn't noticed but she wanted the floor to swallow her.
''Rose, I thought you were showing me around?'' Martha finally interrupted as Rose fluttered her eyelids and John stubbed his toe against the door frame.
''What? Oh yeah, sorry Martha, can you find your way to the kitchen, I should really get Doctor Smith his afternoon tea.''
''Oh no Rose, you don't start until tomorrow, can't have you beginning your duties early, you must have already been working all day.''
''I can get it for you Sir, if you want?'' Martha volunteered hopefully.
Rose was having none of it, she had seen him first, he was fair game. ''It's no trouble Sir, if I can remember which study you've been allocated. I'll have to find it in the morning anyway, won't I? May as well find it now, don't want to be late with your breakfast, do I now?''
''Well if you insist Rose, if you're sure you can find my study? It's on the second floor, third on the right, has my name on it, Dr J Smith, you can't miss it.''
''I'm sure I can find it Sir, are you ready to take your tea now?''
''Ah, yes, I just have to get out of this gown, I'll have done that by the time you get to the kitchen and to my study, don't want you to catch me getting changed now, do we?''
He definitely winked at her that time, Martha noticed. Why was she even standing here watching him so obviously flirting with his new maid? Surely the school had to have rules about teachers and housemaids? There again, she herself had been contemplating exactly the same as Rose was clearly doing, since she was now leaning against the opposite side of the same door frame, their feet now mere inches away from each others.
Even if she were to report either or both of them for breaking the rules, the headmaster may dismiss her for stepping out of line or dismiss the Doctor, she wouldn't win. All she could do was try and talk Rose out of what she was now very clearly planning by telling her a teacher and a housemaid were never going to be socially acceptable in any circle.
''Hadn't you better go get his tea Rose?'' Martha reminded her, snapping Rose out of staring at him.
''Yeah, I'm on my way, won't be long Sir, I'll try not to get lost, with your afternoon tea. What will you be doing about taking dinner later Sir?''
''Oh, I was told where the staff dining room is, I'll make my way there for seven, will you be working in the dining room Rose?''
''I don't think so Sir, when I'm not attending to you, I was told I'd be working in the infirmary as I did last term.''
''Right, brilliant, see you soon Rose, with my afternoon tea then?''
Martha had to turn away, this was too much. To be with him several hours ago when they were running for their lives, watching him get his atoms ripped apart and turn into a human then when she'd finally turned away then back again, he was gone and all that had remained was a torturous device hanging down and a message blinking at her on the screen, telling her where he'd gone and telling her not to let him ignore her.
Great then, he was already doing that as he pried his way from the door frame, trying to avoid colliding with Rose Tyler and not doing it very successfully as they both laughed. Martha was wishing someone would have passed and question them but there were no signs of anyone, not even a student, worse luck.
After a few rounds of 'sorry' as Rose and John Smith went off in different directions, Martha carried on following the blonde and caught up with her.
''What was all that about then? You said you began your duties as his maid tomorrow.''
''Well like I said, no harm in starting early, is there? Come on Martha, he's a bit different from the other tutors but he's out of my league, what do you think's gonna happen? I do know my place but it was just a bit of harmless flirting. Look Martha, you're new here, the other staff would love to have the job of looking after him but I was chosen, I'm not gonna get myself dismissed for misconduct with a teacher, am I?''
''I suppose not but be careful Rose, he could try and lead you on and it will end in tears, just remember that.''
''I will, don't worry so much Martha, I can look after myself, ok? Thanks for your concern though. Maybe we can talk later, tell me where you come from, yeah?''
Martha agreed and they went into the kitchen as other maids were coming out carrying trays containing teapots, cups and saucers and plates of cream teas so Rose picked the last remaining one, assuming it was for the rather dishy doctor she had just been flirting with and walked back out again, following the other girls.
Martha shook her head and walked out, knowing it was still too early for eating but was already feeling hungry and headed for the back stairs she had used earlier, staff were not permitted normally to use the main staircase that Rose had brought her down.
Back in the study of Doctor John Smith, he had taken off his gown and his tweed jacket and unfastened his tie that seemed somehow out of place, like he'd only ever worn a black one before and wished it was permitted to wear an ordinary tie, a striped one or one with swirls on it maybe and wondered where that idea had come from.
He crossed over to the fireplace and picked up his fobwatch, why he kept it he had no idea, it never even opened but it was a family heirloom and after he'd unpacked earlier that morning, having got a taxi from the nearest town's railway station, he'd placed it there along with his shaving kit and gone to take his first lesson after a light lunch.
Why had he had forgotten about Martha, the serving girl from his parent's home back in Nottingham and she had been his maid at the last school he'd worked in. He had arrived by train and she had taken a bus, they never travelled together, an unwritten rule going back to when she worked for his family so of course she had arrived after him. He'd already informed the headmaster he was bringing his personal maid with him but Mr Rocastle had told him it was up to the housekeeper as to who was assigned where but Martha would be at least given a position elsewhere in the school.
He had barely thought about it after that as he'd gone to his classroom, noticed one of the youngest in the class, Latimer, was avoiding answering questions when he clearly knew the answers, looking around at his classmates as if he was afraid to speak up. John decided he should keep an eye on the young lad and see if he was being bullied. John couldn't abide bullies, the main reason he had left his last position he recalled.
What John didn't know was that the Tardis, upon insertion of the fobwatch now on the fireplace and seemingly stuck, on purpose so he would think it had always been that way and not open it and become The Doctor again, which was rather the point of hiding in the first place, the ship had integrated him into the school, invented a whole life story for him and deposited him at the entrance to the school, a taxi just driving away and a recollection of a train journey and a ride in the said taxi. The Tardis had not been able to do the same for poor Martha though except find her employment in the same school but Martha was mostly on her own and now, she had to contend with a rival for his affections.
What Martha didn't know, nor did Rose, was that there was likely to be another contender in that department as the arrival of a new teacher had not escaped the attention of Nurse Joan Redfern, the school's matron in charge of the infirmary and that being widowed for several years, had been rather shy with men since her husband and childhood sweetheart had been killed in battle but catching a glimpse of the new arrival, she was having second thoughts about remaining alone.
Rose was on her way upstairs, being allowed to use the main staircase, not that she didn't already use it when she knew full well she wasn't supposed to but she always had an excuse ready she was running an errand for matron and got away with it, no-one wanting to bother the frosty nurse with such matters or question why she had sent a servant to check on something. Rose had been in the infirmary during the afternoon, two boys had already been in, one with a grazed knee when he had been knocked over, Rose had thought probably on purpose by his classmates and the other with a headache.
Rose had been allowed to attend the scraped knee, cleaning it with disinfectant and putting a bandage on it, she had worked there last term and the matron now trusted her. Now Rose would be spending less time in there since she would be finding all kinds of excuses to attended Doctor Smith, whether he asked for it or not. Rose remembered the last term, dividing her duties between the infirmary and her given job of cleaning the science room when it wasn't in use, since the girl before her had upset an important experiment and had been dismissed.
Rose couldn't remember much about her life before her arrival at the school. She remembered her mother struggling to bring her up on her own in a tenement building in London, Jackie Tyler had been a hairdresser, trained before she had married Peter Tyler, who had died when Rose was barely six months old but had left them a bit of money, him being a salesman for a soft drinks company but it had all soon been used up as Rose got older and her mother could only work part-time when Rose was at school and school fees had to be paid but Rose had indeed grown up and unlike others her age, had not been sold to a family but sold to a school in the countryside.
She had been there nine years then last term, the school had closed down and she was found alternate employment at the neighbouring military academy where she now was, having been sold on. She was now twenty six and single, not that there was much chance of meeting any man who would want to buy her from the school and marry her, well maybe apart from an older man at the butchers who always tried to get her to go for a drink with him at the village pub but she'd turned him down on numerous occasions. She did have some standards.
What Rose was totally unaware of was the fact that she and the Doctor had been exploring a planet where the Doctor had got himself into trouble, as usual and telling Rose to lie low for a few days and he would sort it out, having his sonic screwdriver and psychic paper confiscated and Rose had gone back to the room they'd innocently (to her dismay) shared and by sheer accident had got caught in some sort of temporal flux and had a whole new life invented for her, finding herself with past memories of a poor upbringing and being a servant for the last nine years and no memory whatsoever of the Doctor or her real life.
Rose had reached John's study, knocked, waited for him to call out, "Come in Rose" and opened the door.
John stood with his back to the fireplace, his shirt sleeves rolled up, the top two buttons undone and a big smile on his face. ''Hello Rose, I've been looking forward to your visit, care to join me for afternoon tea?''