Rose Tyler, shop assistant, worked at a large London department store, fully refurbished after it had got blown up in what was thought to be a massive gas leak a few years back. She loved working in the ladies fashion department even though she couldn't afford all the latest styles that came in all the time, occasionally buying the odd item here and there. She had an on/off boyfriend called Mickey, who was off at the moment for sneaking to the pub to watch football when he should have been at her friend's party with her.
Donna Noble was one of her best friends but older and worked in the office. Donna had started off as a temp but had worked her way up with her typing skills and was the general manager's secretary but always made excuses up of going around the store gathering the latest gossip, especially since before she went to work there, someone had been playing a practical joke the night the store blew up and Rose had sworn the shop window dummies that were stored in the basement had started walking towards her after she went to give the lottery money to Mr Wilson, who had since retired.
So Donna had told Rose she was a dumbo and she should stop buying the two for one lagers at the off licence near the store on her way home and they had become good friends after that. Donna was always talking about her slightly older brother who was away at university in Exeter, never coming home much except for Christmas, always choosing to go exploring during the long holidays as he liked to travel and as Donna put it, had ants in his pants.
Rose had never really met him, only being introduced to him when Donna brought him to last year's staff Christmas party but she had been trying to get Mickey to dance properly with her instead of showing off as he always did. She had since announced that her brother John had finished his doctorate and was coming home to take up a post at a local collage as a history professor. Donna was aware that Rose had chucked poor Mickey out again and since she had been trying endlessly to get her brother a date with someone who wasn't into history like he was, had seen Rose as a potential candidate.
So when Rose had said this coming Sunday she had been roped into taking her two young cousins for a skating party for their birthdays that were close together, Donna had volunteered to go with her, thinking that she could bring her hopeless brother with her and introduce them. Things were not going to be all that easy for her as she was about to find out the day John was wandering through the department store trying to find the general office in search of his sister.
He had wandered into the ladies fashion department, having misheard the direction the woman on the ground floor perfume department, who had looked him up and down carefully, had pointed him. He could have sworn she said take the lift to the third floor and turn right, then over the other side of the floor, past the changing rooms and there was a door marked 'Office' but somewhere along the line he had gone in the wrong direction. Instead of finding the office, he was about to collide with one Rose Tyler, who was coming out of the stockroom with a handful of silk scarves wrapped in very slippery cellophane that she was gripping very carefully with both hands so they wouldn't slide onto the floor. Her efforts were about to be in vain as she came out from behind the dressing rooms in the corner, which was where John had gone wrong, there were dressing rooms on both sides of the floor, one for the ladies department and one for the men's, he had gone the wrong side.
Before Rose knew what was happening, someone had walked around the corner of the last dressing room and she lost her balance over a foot that was clad in a red and white converse shoe and the scarves were sliding one by one onto the floor. Rose tried to stop them, as did the hands that accompanied the foot that she had tripped over, the arms being covered in a blue suit with red pinstripes, a purple t-shirt underneath the jacket and as she bent down trying to stop the last of them falling to join the others, finally the head that belonged with the foot and the arms.
Glancing up as the figure in front of her also bent down to try and stop the now last of the scarves falling down, she starred into the most gorgeous pair of chocolate brown eyes she had ever seen along with the wildest hair that seemed to have a mind of its own that belonged to equally the most gorgeous man she had seen in her life. The pile of scarves now completely sliding all over the polished floor were completely forgotten about as Rose tried to stand up, the person who had caused all this now trying to gather up the slippery covers as fast as they were sliding down again back onto the floor.
The person was crouched down, balancing on his feet, hand on the back of his head, trying to find a way to retrieve the said scarves. He looked up to see who he'd had the misfortune to trip up and cause this disaster in the first place to see a blonde woman, with hazel eyes and her arms crossed, looking mad at him.
"Now look what you've done, you've made me drop them all now," the person he had collided with snapped. Then she saw him getting up and her mouth opened on its own accord.
The stranger managed to find his voice as he stood up. He was tall, way too thin and was just itching to make his retreat to avoid being scolded even further.
"I'm really, really, sorry for that, clumsy, that's me. My sister says I'm always such a clutz and she's right. Right, I'd best help you with these then, you hold your arms out and I'll pick them up. Right?"
Rose would have laughed if she had been able to take her eyes off him. Instead, she silently held her arms out as a few at a time, the scarves were laid carefully out so as they wouldn't fall back down again. The last ones were placed on top and the man looked pleased with himself.
"Right, there you go, no harm done eh? Good thing we weren't in the egg department!" He saw she wasn't laughing.
"Sorry. I hope I don't get you into trouble, for them being creased or the packaging getting dirty or for you being late back, Miss?"
Rose still hadn't found her voice yet, neither to tell him off further for being a clumsy idiot but he had already admitted he was or to say thanks for helping her but it had been his fault entirely in the first place.
He moved to one side to let her past. "Right, I'll let you take them to wherever you were taking them to in the first place before we collided or should I say before I collided with you, or you with me, since we were both coming around the same corner at exactly the same time. I mean come on, what are the chances of that? The laws of probability are astronomical on that one."
He still saw she wasn't amused. "Erm, I talk too much, that's my problem, my sister says my gob doesn't stop for anything. Anyway, can you point me in the direction of the general office? Well I don't mean actually point to it, when I say point to it I mean tell me which direction it is, I mean, well if the general office was where you just came from, you wouldn't be carry a bunch of silk scarves, would you?" He stopped for breath and put one hand on the back of his head.
He knew he should just quit while he wasn't ahead but he was determined to get more out of her than a telling off. "I mean, if you've just come out of that corner with a bunch of scarves, then that must be the stockroom yeah?"
Rose managed a nod, careful so as not to disturb her loaded arms and start the process all over again.
"Can you just tell me if the general office is in the other corner by the other dressing rooms? Someone downstairs told me it was in the corner, past the dressing rooms and since I obviously got the wrong dressing rooms, it stands to reason she must have meant the other ones. Dressing rooms I mean. Am I right?"
He had finally run out of steam, huh, he'd show Donna he could find his way to her office although by now she had probably sent a search party out for him, he had called her from downstairs twenty minutes ago.
Rose finally found her voice. "Follow me, if you can avoid tripping me up again."
He smiled and followed her, noticing her rather cute bum in her shaped trousers that he swore designers made them like that for men to go around ogling women's posteriors. He kept his distance for fear of her stopping suddenly and he fell over her. Then he laughed to himself, Donna would have killed herself laughing at what had just happened, him, getting all tongue-tied over tripping a young blonde woman up and her literally falling for him.
Rose stopped by the next set of dressing rooms. "Behind the last one, the door that's marked 'General Office' and not the one marked 'Staff Only' not that you'd get in, it's coded."
"Thanks. I'm really sorry about what happened back there. Perhaps I can make it up to you?"
"It's ok, no damage. I have to get back now. Good luck."
"Good luck?" he asked, confused.
"With your interview, for the men's department? That's why you want the general office, isn't it?"
He didn't want to contradict her, seeing he was responsible for the incident that just occurred. "Right. Thanks."
Rose watched him walk to the corner and disappear. If he got a job in the men's department, he would be a walking disaster but there again, he had a cute bum and it would be something pleasant to stare at all day when she was supposed to be tidying the displays instead of that creep Roger ogling her every time she went in his direction. She had seen him when he was supposed to be doing something and positioning himself to get a better look, hence why she had taken to wearing trousers and why he had been banned from going anywhere near the stockrooms after he had followed some of the other girls in.
Donna had told her of the pleasure she'd had typing his warning letter on behalf of all the girls concerned and she had elaborated a bit from what Mr Jenkins had initially told her to type. She said well what was the point in being a secretary if you couldn't sway a bit?
Rose went and deposited the scarves onto the counter where she was going to sort them out back into the designs, which she had started out with them being in the correct order until that moron had made her drop them all. As she was laying them all out carefully, making sure no dirt had got on the wrappers, one of the other girls came over.
"Rose, why are you sorting them? Didn't you get four out of each box and put them all together?"
"Well yes, I did but some idiot going for an interview mistook the stockroom for the general office and came around the corner as I was coming out and made me drop them. Heaven help us if the prat gets a job."
"Wait a minute Rose. Was he tall, thin and his hair looked like it had been stuck up with invisible gel by any chance?"
"Yeah. Why, do you know him?"
"Rose, that's Donna's brother, John. She rang just before you came back to see if anyone knew where he was, he called her twenty minutes ago and seems to have got lost."
"Are you kidding me Sandra? That was Donna's brother? No way. Mind you, he talks as much as Donna so it probably was him. Anyway I showed him where the office was, he should have found her by now. He's still a prat though, he walked right into me and sent these scarves all over the floor."
Sandra laughed. "Don't you remember him from the Christmas party?"
"No, I was too busy getting Mickey to stop showing off. Why?"
"Oh nothing except all the girls were trying to chat him up and get a date with him but he turned them all down, said he was going back to Uni. I mean come on, that was a poor excuse if ever I heard one, he's too old to be a student."
"Donna said he was doing his doctorate or something."
"Oh well, that explains it then. There was another reason he turned them all down," Sandra sniggered.
"Oh please tell me he's not on the other bus or something? Is he married, engaged?"
"Why would you care? You said he was a prat."
"Yeah, well he is and I've just dumped Mickey for the umpteenth time so I'm not in the mood for Donna's matchmaking. They always end up being a disaster, I've not forgiven her for trying to get me to out with that bloke from the electrical department, he was a moron."
"Rose, the reason why he turned them all down was because he was staring at you all night."
Rose almost let all the scarves slide onto the floor again, until Sandra slammed her hand onto the counter to stop them.
"Still think he's a prat?"
John had just gone around the corner of the dressing room, carefully in case anyone was coming out and opened the door to the office. He was racking his brains trying to think where he had seen her before, that young blonde he had been a complete and utter idiot in front of, then it hit him. She was the blonde from the Christmas party he had not been able to take his eyes off all night and had been with that show-off trying to make an impression on the dance floor and she had looked like she had wanted the said floor to swallow her.
He'd been trying to get up the courage all night to ask her to dance, when the bloke she was with was getting drinks or talking to someone and ignoring her. How could he have forgotten about her? Every woman at the party had been trying to get him to dance or get his phone number, all except her. She hadn't looked like she had been having much fun.
He opened the second door and saw a room full of people at various desks and saw Donna's office door open and the fiery redhead stood with a cordless phone in her hand and pressing some buttons, who stopped mid-dial when she saw him.
"Where have you been dumbo? I've been ringing around the whole store looking for you."
"Erm, nice to see you too Sis."
He wasn't about to say he had been getting tangled up quite literally with the blonde of his dreams he had been pining after at the Christmas party. Donna would have a field-day with that.