If you missed Part one don’t worry click on the link and pop back after all time travel is what we are all about once more this week…
The Doctor stared down at the table in front of him. River watched with concern as he fought to bring his emotions under control, she knew that the Doctor was not one to face his emotions if he could avoid it, he would rather deflect with humour or anger than face the pain that was always there simmering beneath the surface threatening to consume him. With a exhalation he began allowing the story of his meeting with the waitress to flow from him. River sat and listened, resisting the urge to question him until he was finished. Only at the completion of his tale did he lift his eyes and look into Rivers.
“I failed her, she died to save me, like…” he left the sentence unfinished.
“Like who? Donna? Rose? They aren’t dead, they just couldn’t be part of your life any more, just like Sarah and all the others. Knowing you made their lives better, even if they had known how it would end they wouldn’t have changed anything,”
“No, not like them, it doesn’t matter what I meant, it doesn’t change anything, Astrid died to save me.”
“No! She died because she took a job she wanted and Max Capricorn killed her and all the other people who died on that ship. I love you but you are so damned infuriating at times. If you hadn’t been there they would all have died and as much as you would love to believe that you were the only person she saved, I do believe there were other survivors.”
“Don’t River me! If you want to make yourself feel better then do something to make it up to her but don’t you dare play God with her destiny, you have been there and you and I both know that it doesn’t suit you.”
River looked over at the waitress and motioned for her to approach the table.
“Are you ready to order?”
“Yes please, we will have half pound burgers with the works, side orders of fries and onion rings, a side salad, and diet coke for me and sarsaparilla for Mr Grumpy here.”
Astrid wrote their order down with a smile then turned and headed to the kitchen. The Doctor glared across to where River was now depositing coins into a table top jukebox.
“River! What do you think you are playing at? Do you seriously expect me to sit here and eat? Letting someone I know is dead because I didn’t save her serve me?”
“Yes I do! You brought me out for dinner, my choice remember? Well I chose here and we are going to have dinner, then while I eat dessert you are going to keep your promise and take her on a trip to see the stars. So right now you can stop giving me that look and pick a song while I pop to the bathroom to wash my hands, Stormcage is a little grimy you know.”
Astrid was in the bathroom when River entered, she turned and smiled but the red eyes gave her away.
“What’s wrong? Please don’t tell me the burgers are off?”
Astrid laughed, “No, just my boss being a pig, it’s my last shift, tomorrow I start my new job. I never intended staying here as long as I did, just wanted to get away from home and travel, so I took this job intending to save up money but the tips just never seemed to make it into my savings jar, and so I ended up stuck here.”
“What’s the new job?”
“A waitress still but on a cruise liner at least I will finally get to travel, just need to get through this shift, get my wage and then watch out here I come.”
“I think you are going to be amazing.” River gave her a knowing smile, “Trust me I think that you are about to begin a whole new life.”
“I hope so, the pay on the space cruiser is a joke but the chance to see the stars just once, well that has to be worth taking a chance for.”
River observed the wistful look on the girls face, sometimes one chance is all you have, but today is your lucky day.
Winding her way between tables River took the chance to get a lay out of the diner, the red black and chrome décor was straight out of a Fifties Earth Diner, only the clientèle gave away that they had travelled in space rather than time. Through a hatch she could see a man barking orders to the harassed looking staff, hmm the boss I presume or should I say dessert.
She had barely resumed her seat in their booth before Astrid was back with their order, the smell was heavenly and River allowed her eyes to roam across the dishes mentally tasting each one before reaching for the ketchup. The Doctor made no move to help himself to any of the dishes, he remained silent his gaze accusing River of insensitivity.
“Sweetie you may as well face it, you know I am right, I always am,” she smiled at him but it was a gentle smile her normal teasing absent, “come on eat up we have a very busy evening ahead of us.”
“Of course Sweetie, we are going to make sure your waitress friend has the time of her life.”