“Susan, for the last time, pay attention, please!”
The girl startled and blushed when she saw that all her classmates were staring at her.
“Yes, miss Wright, sorry…”
The history teacher looked annoyed. It had been the second time she had caught her pupil daydreaming in class. It wasn’t like Susan to be distracted during a lesson and she wondered what was wrong.
She couldn’t know that the girl was worrying about her grandfather. They had gone into an argument the same morning and as the day passed, Susan had been increasingly worrying. She couldn’t wait to leave and go back to her grandfather to check on him. She bit her lower lip as she remembered what had happened.
“Why don’t you try to fit in?” She had asked while she was getting ready for school.
“Fit in? What do you mean, child?”
“Well, all my classmates’ parents have a job, you know. Whenever they ask what you do for a living, I tell them that you are a Doctor. They always ask in which hospital you work and I can’t answer.”
The old man looked at her:
“Well, you know that I’m not that kind of Doctor.”
Susan sighed: “I know, Grandfather, but I don’t know what to tell them! I wish I could say something!”
The Doctor thought about it for a moment:
“Tell them I’m your grandfather. That should suffice.”
“No, it doesn’t! They want to know where my parents are! They want to know about my past!”
“Then, don’t answer!”
“But I do want to fit in! I want to feel normal around them!”
The old man suddenly looked angry:
“Normal? You’re not from this world! Coming here was a bad idea in the first place.”
“No it wasn’t! I’m happy here, you’re the one making things difficult! Maybe I should say that you’re retired!”
The Doctor’s face expressed confusion:
“Retired? Like in I’m too old to do anything?”
“That’s not what I meant, Grandfather,” said Susan apologetically.
“I can fit it. I can find a job!”
His irritation grew worse when his granddaughter didn’t reply.
“I will find a job and prove you wrong!” He grumbled. “Now, off you go!’
As soon as the bell rang, Susan fled more than she left, anxious to go back to the junkyard. She pretended she didn’t hear Barbara Wright ask her to stay so that they could talk and she rushed out of Coal Hill School.
She reached the TARDIS in no time and burst inside.
The old man was fumbling with the controls. He turned and smiled broadly.
“I’m sorry! You were right!” Said the girl before he could speak.
“No, child, you were right. I should have given it a try some time ago. So I followed your advice.”
“My advice?” Asked cautiously Susan.
“Yes, I looked for a job.”
Susan’s face brightened.
“Did you find one?”
“I did,” replied the Doctor evasively.
“Tell me! Where? What?”
The girl was getting increasingly excited as she was already imagining a life on Earth. They were going to settle in, finally.
“Hmmm, I went to this private clinic… offered them my services and they hired me.”
Something in the Doctor’s voice didn’t feel right.
“And they fired me after a few hours. I was not was they were looking for… I mean, I’m a Doctor, right? Not a medical one, not really, but still I can tell when someone is pretending to be sick. They told me my job was to ensure some income, not dismiss people on the ground that they are faking being ill.”
Susan hugged the old man:
“I’m sorry. It was a bad idea.”
“What are you going to tell your friends?”
“Just that you’re a Doctor, and that you’re so good at what you do that I never understood what you were doing exactly… But I’m proud of you, Grandfather…”