“Hello, darling. Are you finished at work?” Rose asked James. She had him on speaker phone as she packed her suitcase.
“I am. All I have left to do is drop my notes and tests off at Professor Song’s office and I’m yours for the next two weeks.”
“And after our honeymoon, I really get to go to Switzerland with you and your grad students?”
“Of course! I may have to work with the students, but we can consider it a honeymoon two-point-oh.” The outside noise surrounding James’ movements became muted, telling Rose he was now in his car. Her heart started to beat faster, as it always did now when she knew she was going to see him.
She zipped up her hastily-made wedding dress in one of the garment bags she kept on hand for the dresses she made. She was proud of her unconventional dress and just hoped James liked it as well.
“I’m gonna have to find a book or somethin’ to read while you’re workin’.”
“Weeeelll, I do have a surprise for you that might help with the down time.”
It had been two days since the dinner with Mickey and Martha, two days since Rose and James had seen each other. Rose had spent that time finishing her latest bride’s dress while simultaneously making her own. James had been working to map out his classes for his teaching assistants for the two weeks he’d be away.
“A surprise? I thought we weren’t getting each other anythin’,” Rose whined playfully.
She gasped in mock horror. “Oh, for shame, James McCrimmon. But I’ll forgive you since I got you a surprise too.”
He laughed. “I guess we’re both dirty liars. Just one more sign we’re perfect for each other.”
“I do believe you’re right. Guess what?”
“What, my second heart?”
Rose surveyed her packed suitcase, make-up case, and garment bag, smiling as she did so. “I’m all packed and ready.”
“Molto bene. I’ll there soon.”
“Alright,” James said as he closed the doors to his ship. He had set her suitcases to the side and now he stood in front of her. “Close your eyes and no peeking!”
Rose’s bounced on her toes in excitement, much like James would do. She loved how they each had adopted some of the other’s little quirks, even after such a short time of knowing one another.
She closed her eyes and sensed James draw closer, and then… his lips brush lightly against hers.
“C’mon.” His large, warm hands enveloped hers, tugged gently, and off they went deeper into the magnificent ship. Slowly, but surely, Rose had been learning her way around the ship. So, when they turned left where the bedroom doors should have been, she furrowed her brows in confusion. “James, where…?”
Her question trailed off when she heard the click of a door opening and James came to stand behind her, hands on her shoulders. “Rose Tyler, open your eyes.”
Much as she had when she’d first step foot on this impossible ship, she gasped. Both hands flew to cover her mouth and her eyes, wide with shock, glittered with tears.
“Do you like it?” James whispered in her ear.
Rose took in the room, which she knew had not existed before, with awe. The space was at least half the size of her flat, with lavender walls that were lined with shelves and bins of fabrics, pearls, sequins… anything she could have ever dreamed possible to put on a wedding dress. There was a drawing table in the far-right corner. Her heart swelled at the sight of a cozy little seating area to the left of the door with couches that matched the wonderfully comfortable ones in the living room. James had quickly determined her love for that particular piece of furniture. Opposite the seating area were several mannequins, all different heights and sizes.
“J-James. I… How did you do all this?” Rose couldn’t get her voice to stay steady. “When did you do this?”
James wrapped his arms around Rose’s middle and rested his chin on her head. “Oh, I’ve worked on it the past two nights we’ve been apart.”
She spun in his arms, gripping his biceps and said, incredulously, “You did this in two nights?”
He shrugged, rubbing at the back of his neck. “I don’t sleep much.”
She stepped away from him and ventured further into the room, taking in every little detail. “God, James! I don’t know what to say! This is, this is brilliant! Puts the one I have in my flat to shame, it does!” She looked over at her fiancé, who stood in the doorway with his hands in his suit pockets grinning from ear to ear. Overcome with love and affection for him, she leapt into his arms. He caught her against him with an ‘oof’ and a chuckle.
“Thank you, my darling. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome, my Second Heart.” He pecked her temple as he pulled out of the embrace. Rose was just about to pout about not being done hugging him yet when she caught the elation on his face. “Come see what else I did.”
“There’s more?” she said, incredulous. Then, mirroring his enthusiasm she beamed. “Okay! Show me!”
Holding her hand, he led her over to a door, to the left, next to the seating area. He looked back to make sure she was watching him before opening it with a loud, “Ta da!”
Rose looked into a tiny hallway that had another door on the other side. James gave her a nudge to her back, encouraging her to go farther in. A door to her right opened up to a half bathroom and she laughed. Her life was never going to be dull ever again living with James. The door opposite the one they came through opened up to his workspace. She took in the organized chaos and leaned back into him.
“That way we won’t be too far from one another while we’re working.”
Rose knew she had to have had the most ridiculous smile on her face. She was brought out of her fantasy of a day in their life, working side-by-side, by James.
“Didn’t you say you had a surprise for me?”
Rose laughed as they made their way back to the living room. “You are worse than a child, you are!”
“Not sorry either!”
“I know you’re not. Go on and have a seat, yeah?” He did as he was told, and she bent down to open her suitcase. Doubt churned in her stomach. Compared to his gift, hers was… woefully inadequate. But she had already told him she’d gotten him something, so she had to give it to him now. She sighed as she stood, hiding the gift in front of her. Glancing over her shoulder, she saw James trying to catch a peek. “Oi! Close your eyes.”
“Quit whinging an’ do it.” She waited until he’d closed his eyes and tiptoed over to him, holding the gift in front of her. She hadn’t been able to wrap it, but she did put a bow on it. “Alright.”
His eyes flew open before she’d finished the word and his face lit up like the London Eye at night. “Ha! Is this what I think it is?”
“Yep,” she said as he took the gift. “It’s the same arm that you hit me with when we first met.”
“This is brilliant!”
“It was one of the ones they were gonna throw out, so I snagged it. Thought it’d be a good conversation starter in our home. It’s not much, but-”
“Hush, you.” He pulled her to sit on his lap and rested the plastic arm across their bodies. “Any gift from you, whether bought or homemade, is the only gift I’ll ever want. Besides, this is steeped in meaning for us. I love things that have stories. It signifies the day we met, but it also embodies the idea that we will always be each other’s hand to hold.”
Rose let the tears fall at his poignant words. “Better with two!”
“Will you stop fidgeting, Spaceman. You’ve already messed up your tie. And why on earth are you wearing this pinstriped get-up for your wedding?”
James batted Donna’s hands away from his tie and took over straightening the silk strip. “Because Rose wanted me to. You know, the woman I’m marrying. I’m glad you and Grandad came, but you need to go sit down now, you ginger heathen.”
Donna Noble smiled at her cousin and ran her hands down his jacket sleeves. “I’m so happy for you. At first, I thought you were completely mad for doing this. I mean, it hasn’t even been two full weeks the two of you have been together, but Rose… she’s good for you.”
James hugged Donna. “Thank you, Donna. That means a lot.”
James and Rose had made it to Gretna Green that morning and after meeting their family for a breakfast at a local café, they checked into the Gretna Hall Hotel and went their ways: James to his room and Rose to Martha and Mickey’s room.
Donna and Wilf had driven him over to the Registrar’s Office and he’d spent a few minutes filling out his part of the necessary paperwork. Now, he stood in at the alter, in the wedding room. He thought it was a lovely room to be married in. The carpet was a soft maroon, but it didn’t darken the area, not with the cream walls and the multitude of windows letting sunlight through. Light oak chairs with cloth seats were set up to form an aisle which his love would hopefully be walking down on Mickey’s arm soon.
His heart sped up at the sight of the officiant coming to stand before the grand, circular window behind the oak alter. They were starting!
Pachelbel’s Cannon in D began flowing from hidden speakers when the doors opened, and Martha entered in a short, strapless mocha dress with her hair piled on top of her head. She cradled a modest bouquet of red roses.
James kissed her cheek and walked her to her designated matron-of-honor spot. “You look lovely, Martha.”
She beamed at the compliment. “Thanks! But wait til you see Rose!”
The doors began to creak open and James held his breath.
Martha had disappeared through the door when Rose turned to Mickey, fear in her eyes. “I’ve never been so sure of somethin’ in my life, Micks, but what if he isn’t. What if after livin’ with me for a week, he’ll realized what a mess I am?”
“Rose. Listen, babe. That man adores you. But, if you don’t wanna go through this, the car’s right outside. We can leave right now, and I’ll send Martha a text tellin’ her we’ll be back for her.”
Rose stamped her foot like she did when she was a little girl and Mickey had teased her. “Absolutely not! I could never hurt James like that.”
“I know, Rose. You just had to get that last bit of jitters out. Remember when me and Mar did this? You had to talk her down almost the same way. It’s nothin’ serious. Now, are you ready?”
Rose smiled affectionately at her brother. “You look so handsome in this suit.” She took a deep breath. “Ready to give me away?”
Mickey huffed a laugh. “No, but I will.”
Rose wrapped her arm around Mickey’s, tightened her grip on her roses, and nodded to the young woman at the door.
It was time.
The doors open and James bounced up and down on his feet, cackling with joy at the sight of his beautiful Rose. Her matching giddy laugh told him she’d gotten the reaction she’d been hoping for.
The little minx wore a dark blue lace halter dress that flowed to the floor and matched his oxford exactly. Wrapped around her slender form, just below her breasts and forming a bow at her back, was a strip of the pinstripe trousers he had been wearing the day they’d met.
That’s what she had wanted them for!
Before he could blink, she was standing next to him, beaming. Just as eager as he, it seemed. When Mickey handed her over to him, James made short work of picking her up in his arms and twirling her in a circle, much to the amusement of their audience. James set her down but did not release her.
“I take it you like the dress?” She inquired giving him her tongue-touched smile.
“Rose Tyler, I love the dress. And, I love you.”
“Yeah? Prove it,” she challenged with mischief in her eyes.
“I will.” He turned, facing the officiant. “Good sir, I do believe we are ready to get married!”
Later, as the newly weds posed for a picture in the famed wrought-iron Kissing Gate, James whispered into his wife’s ear. “How long are you going to stay with me?”
With her love so visible on her gorgeous face, she answered her husband with what would become one of his favorite words to hear her say: “Forever.”