Chapter Eight


The bathroom door was flung open and Lindsey ran in followed by the Doctor and Rose.

“Oh God!” Lindsey said as he fell to his knees beside her. “Stevie? Stevie, baby, wake up!”

The Doctor knelt down beside him while Rose lured the yorkies into the bedroom. To their relief, Stevie let out a groan and slowly opened her eyes.

“Stevie? Are you alright?” Lindsey asked.

“Yeeeah, I think so,” she muttered.

“What happened?” the Doctor asked.

Stevie struggled to think but she couldn’t remember anything except coming into the bathroom and turning on the shower. She glanced over at the running shower and frowned.

“I musta slipped on a wet patch or something,” she muttered as both men helped her to her feet.

“Do you need to go to the hospital?” Lindsey asked.

“No, I’m fine,” Stevie said, shaking her head.

“How’s your hip?” the Doctor said.

Stevie was taken aback for a moment and then snorted.

“I see Blabberbutt told you about it,” she said as the Doctor chuckled.

“Just making polite conversation while you were napping,” Lindsey said, quickly turning off the water before he helped the Doctor escort her back to bed.

While they were doing that, Stevie gave them annoyed looks.

“I’m 61, not 81, for Christ’s sakes,” she said. “I’m fine, honestly. I can walk on my own.”

“Back to her usual cheerful self, I see,” Lindsey said dryly as they let go.

Stevie eyed him.

“I wouldn’t talk if I were you, Buckingham,” she said as she sat down on the side of the bed. “I realize you boys are concerned for my well-being, but I’m perfectly fine.”

She had a thought and looked at the Doctor.

“You are a boy, right?” she said, pointing to him.

“Um, last time I looked,” the Doctor said as Rose bent over laughing.

“Hey, you’re an alien so I’m just checking. For all I know, females have penises on other planets.”

“Only the Kajunga but they’re warlike like the Greek Amazons and make war on their neighbors, the Dagunda. They use the penises to impregnate each other to ensure the purity of their race.”

Stevie stared at him for a moment and looked over at Rose.

“Is he for real?” she said as they laughed.

“Most of the time, yes,” Rose replied.

Stevie sighed.

“Well, anyway, I’m fine, my hip is fine and don’t you think about cancelling the show tonight, Buckingham. I’m well enough to go on.”

“Yes…Ma’am!” Lindsey said, doing a crisp salute.

Stevie shook her head.

“Love em, but he can be a total sarcastic pain in the ass sometimes,” she said to the Doctor.

“I wouldn’t talk if I were you, Nicks,” Lindsey said in a sing-song voice.

He coughed nervously when Stevie gave him a look of death.

“And on that note, I think it’s time for another beer,” he said.

The Doctor chuckled as he quickly left the room. Stevie shook her head.

“Like I said, I love em but I can’t be with him because I would be constantly punching his lights out.”

“Are you sure you’re alright, Stevie?” the Doctor asked, concerned.

“Yes, yes, Doctor, I’m fine,” she said, amused. “Men. Always rushing to help me like I’m some helpless little waif. I’ve slipped and fallen before. It’s nothing.”

“Stevie, you said you slipped on a wet patch?” the Doctor said.

“I guess so. I’m really not sure what happened in there,” Stevie said.

“Because I don’t see any wet patches,” the Doctor said, hooking his thumb back at her bathroom.

Stevie looked in and saw he was right. She frowned.

“Maybe there was something on the floor. I thought I passed out but I really don’t know,” she admitted.

The Doctor turned her face to his and studied her closely. Stevie raised her eyebrows.

“You know you have pretty eyes?” she asked him.

Stevie chuckled when the Doctor blushed at that. She watched as he pulled his sonic screwdriver out and scanned her.

“What’s that?”

“My sonic screwdriver. I’m running a scan to make sure you really are okay.”

Stevie looked at Rose.

“He just doesn’t give up, does he?”

Rose laughed.

“No, he won’t stop until he’s sure you’re okay.”

“Hey,” she said, tapping him on the head, “cutie pie. For the hundred zillionth time, I’m fine.”

They giggled when the Doctor blushed again and put his screwdriver back in his pocket.

“Yes, well, better safe than sorry, you know,” he said.

“Yes, but I am capable of diagnosing myself without an alien doodad,” she said. “I do know when to stop myself from performing and this is not one of those times. Honest to God, I…am…fine, okay?”

The Doctor nodded and Stevie smiled.

“If you don’t mind though, I’d like to investigate your bathroom and see if I can determine the cause of your fall.”

Stevie shrugged.

“Knock yourself out…ooo, wait, bad choice of words considering what just happened. Sorry.”

The Doctor chuckled. He rose and went into the bathroom while Rose sat down next to him.

“Your friend is very tenacious,” Stevie said to her.

Rose chuckled.

“You have no idea,” she said.

Stevie leaned in.

“And he’s handsome if you don’t mind my saying so.”

Rose nodded.

“That he is.”

She leaned in further into Rose’s ear.

“You and him make a very cute couple,” she said.

Rose blushed at that. Stevie chuckled.

“You’re in love with him. I been writing love songs for nearly forty years now so I know the signs. Have you and he…”

Rose shook her head. Stevie had a sudden idea.

“Listen, Doctor, Rose and I want to get a cup of tea while you tear apart my bathroom. So go ahead and tear it apart. We’ll be downstairs if you need us.”

“Go right ahead,” the Doctor said, looking up as he kneeled on the floor beside the shower.

“Come on, Rose, let’s talk,” Stevie said to her as they got up.

They and the dogs went downstairs to the kitchen. On the way, they passed by Lindsey who was watching a football game on her TV. He waved to them and smiled and they passed by on into the kitchen. Stevie declined Karen’s offer when she asked if she could help make the tea.

“That’ll be all, Karen. Rose and I can take it from here,” she said. “Just let me know when we have to leave for the Staples Center.”

Karen nodded and walked away while Stevie rummaged in her cabinet for a box of tea. Rose sat down at a nearby table and looked around.

“Your house is gorgeous,” she said to Stevie.

“Thanks but frankly, it’s a little too big for me now. I have a smaller condo and I love that. With my condo I can walk into it and feel like a big international superstar. Here, I feel like an old woman who doesn’t know what to do with herself.”

Rose laughed.

“You’re not that old, Stevie,” she said.

“I’m old enough. Herbal tea alright?”

Rose nodded and she got down two ceramic mugs.

“Anyway, as I was saying, according to the entertainment industry, I’m practically a dinosaur. They all want younger people nowadays that can prance around and show off their bodies like Britney or Christina. People like me and Cher and Madonna, we’re yesterday’s news now. Not to mention the whole industry is style over substance. No place for me anymore. But I and the band still have our dedicated fans who stay with us year after year and that’s who we’re doing this tour for. And as for prancing around and showing off my body, I prance around but I refuse to make myself look like a whore in order to sell records. I wear long dresses on stage and I still get men screaming that they want to fuck me…pardon my French,” he said as she filled a tea kettle up with water.

Stevie gave Rose a sideways glance and gave her an impish grin.

“Let me guess, parents had the Rumours album when you were growing up but you don’t listen to my stuff or Fleetwood Mac.”

“Um…well…yeah,” Rose said embarrassed.

“Not a fan? Shame on you!” Stevie teased.

Rose giggled when she winked at her.

“I’m guessing your alien friend dragged you here then?” she said as she put the kettle on the burner.

“Well…no. I mean this was his idea but I love going wherever he goes.”

Stevie raised her eyebrow and Rose chuckled.

“Which brings me back to the reason why we came down here. I mean, apart from the fact he’s not your species, why aren’t you and him in a relationship? And if I’m prying, tell me to go to Hell. Don’t let the fact that I’m a rock legend keep you from cussing me out and calling me a nosy old bat.”

Rose laughed as Stevie leaned on her kitchen island and grinned at her. With each passing moment, she liked her more and more.

“I do fancy him and I would like to have a relationship. And I think he fancies me and we have kissed and hugged. But I don’t think he’ll ever take it to the next step.”

“Why not?” Stevie asked.

She noticed Rose’s eyes misting over. Concerned, she came over, pulled up a chair beside her and sat down.

“A few months ago, I met a former travelin’ companion named Sarah Jane and it shocked me because he never mentioned takin’ anyone else along with him and I got angry, you know?”

Stevie nodded and Rose swallowed before going on.

“I confronted him in the car park outside this coffee shop and told him that I thought I was the only one and why he never mentioned Sarah Jane to me before and he told me…”

Rose took her hand and squeezed it. Rose smiled gratefully and swallowed hard.

“He told me what he told Lindsey. He doesn’t age physically, he regenerates. Um…he does it, I s’pose, when he’s fatally injured because it happened about a year after I started travelin’ with him. There’s this light and it shoots out of him and he changes his whole body. Here…”

She went and got her purse, came back and sat down. Stevie watched while she pulled out a little black photo album, thumbed through it and found a photo of her and the Doctor’s ninth life. She showed it to Stevie while she explained about him being the Doctor and finished her explanation of regeneration.

“He was handsome in this life too,” Stevie said when she finished and paused for a moment. “So…regeneration is kinda like reincarnation while you’re still alive.”

Rose nodded.

“Yeah, that’s a good way to put it.”

Stevie smiled and handed the photo album back to her.

“More I learn, the more I’m glad you two decided to see us in concert,” she said.

The kettle whistled and Rose waited till Stevie had fixed their teas and brought them to the table before she went on.

“Anyway,” she said, after taking a sip. “He told me that since he doesn’t age that he would watch as I aged and died and it was too painful for him. He said to me, imagine watching that happen to someone who you…”

“Love,” Stevie finished.

“Yeah, except he didn’t say it. He cut himself off but I could tell that’s what he wanted to say. But he calls it the Curse of the Time Lords. He thinks that he has to be alone because he’s the only one of his kind now and he’s gonna outlive everyone else.”

“Yes, but very few people who are in love die at the same time. Invariably, one’s gonna outlive the other in a relationship. It’s just a part of life. It would be nice to both go at the same time but that’s not how the world works. So I don’t understand his fear. I love Lindsey. I love him with all my heart and I’ve known the man since I was eighteen years old and in that time I’ve watched him grow old and it hurts to see him get gray hairs and wrinkles and know that he’s slowing down and he’s not the youthful man he once was and I understand the Doctor’s fear of that and losing someone to death because as close as Lindsey and I are, if he goes first, I’m gonna go out of my mind because he’s been so much a part of my life for forty plus years now. But I’m not gonna stop caring about him just because he might die one day. I would rather see him die and know that he was a part of my life than to never know him at all because as frustrating and as aggravating as he can be, he’s one of the best things that has ever happened to me and I thank God every day that we met and we’re still together, even if it is in a platonic sense. But you know, Rose, when you said he called it a curse, that hit home for me because that’s how I view Linds and me. We love one another so very much but we can’t be together because God made us both headstrong, independent, temperamental people. We can’t live together or be married because of that but we can’t walk away from one another either because neither of us can’t live without the other in our lives. And believe me, Rose, we’ve tried since we split up in 1976 to stay away from each other but fate always brings us back together in some way or another and eventually we stopped fighting it. That man in the living room is the love of my life, my soulmate, the only man I’ve ever truly loved but he and I are doomed to be apart because we just can’t…compromise and submit when it’s needed. We both want our own way all the time and we fight tooth and nail to get it and believe me, we’ve had monumental, knock down, drag out, everybody clear the room fights and you’d think that would be it for us but we just keep getting drawn back to one another. Anyway, what I’m trying to say in my long winded way is I know where you’re coming from, Rose, and it hurts me inside that you love this man and he loves you but there’s this unspoken barrier between you that won’t allow you to be together. And I don’t claim to know him or you, this is just from what I’ve seen and heard with a little intuition thrown in but he’s gonna end up alone someday, Rose, I just know it.”

Stevie squeezed her hand and gave her a hug when Rose teared up at that.

“I’m sorry I made you cry, Rose,” she said when they broke apart.

“No, I’m glad you’re here talking to me. I mean, I’ve wanted to say this to someone for a long time now, ever since he told me that because I also have the same fear that he’s gonna end up alone and I don’t want that. He lost all his people, Stevie. There’s this Time War that he fought in and in order to end it, he had to destroy his entire planet.”

“Oh my God,” Stevie said, horrified.

“Yeah, so he’s the only one left of his kind and I’m worried about him. He pretends not to need anyone but deep down inside he’s like a fragile little boy.”

Stevie snorted and nodded as she jabbed her finger towards the living room.

“I think you and I are a lot alike,” Stevie said, taking her hand. “I think we both are dealing with men who are a little neurotic who think they don’t need anyone and have to put up a brave front when in reality they’re like little man children who need their mommies to comfort them.”

Rose nodded and brushed a tear away from her face.

“Yeah, I agree with ya about that. The Doctor pretends he doesn’t need anyone but there’s been a few times when I’d have to come and hold him because he was upset about something and wouldn’t tell me what it was.”

Stevie nodded in understanding.

“Done the same for Linds,” she said. “Not so much after we broke up since he ran to other women for that but when we were living together before we became famous, there were many times when I would have to hold and soothe him because one thing or another got to him. His father died on Valentine’s Day during the gas shortage of 1973. He was in a long line waiting to get gas and had a heart attack and died in the car.”

“Oh God,” Rose said while Stevie nodded.

“We were living together at the time and it wasn’t pretty when Lindsey got the news. He clung to me pretty much the whole day and night while I comforted him. Is that sorta like what the Doctor would do?”

Rose nodded.

“He wouldn’t cling the whole day and night but yeah, he was a lot like that. Thing is, most of the time he’d never tell me what was wrong, he just wanted to be held. Lindsey too?”

“Yup,” Stevie said. “But like I said, after we split up, he started dating other women and they pretty much filled in for me when that happened.”

“And you didn’t do that with other people?” Rose asked.

Stevie smiled.

“Maybe my dad a couple of times. Me, I journal. I have tons of journals and I write everything down. So when I got that way, I’d journal or write a song or draw a picture and that helped me cope. Well, that and a big old dose of cocaine but that headache ended in 1986 when I finally got clean.”

She smirked.

“Then I went to see a shrink who put me on Klonopin to help me sleep and I started taking that like vitamin C and got hooked on that for eight years and went into rehab a second time. So my life has been one big barrel o’ fun, that’s for sure.”

She smiled when Rose giggled at that.

“And trust me, I don’t even touch aspirin now because I’m one of those addictive personalities and I found that out the hard way. But in all seriousness, Rose, I really do hope you and he can get past this whole Time Lord barrier thing and make it work because it’s not often you find someone like that. Someone that you know you’re meant to be with and there shouldn’t be any reason why you should be together. Course…God has a strange sense of humor I found out but in my opinion,” she said as Rose laughed. “I, personally, think there should be no barriers between soulmates. But what do I know, I’m old and crusty.”

“You are not,” Rose said as she laughed with Stevie.

“No, I do try to impart what I’ve learned to the younger generation, particularly the female singers out there who should never go through what I went through and make the mistakes I did but occasionally I help the odd non-singer who’s in love with a time traveling alien too.”

Rose chuckled and smiled warmly at her.

“You know, you’re right, I never was a fan of yours and now I’m sorry I wasn’t because you’re wonderful, Stevie. You’re down to Earth and kind and gentle and funny as hell.”

“Why thank you,” Stevie said. “I like you too, Rose. You’re also all that and courageous and intelligent. You have to be if you’re going to go travel planets and time periods with an alien man child basket case.”

Rose laughed at that and she gave her hand a squeeze. She glanced over when Lindsey came in the kitchen.

“And speaking of alien man child basket cases,” she said loudly.

Lindsey froze and flipped her off as Rose laughed.

“Up yours, Nicks,” Lindsey teased.

“Yes, Dear, I love you too,” Stevie said as Rose laughed harder.

Lindsey looked around.

“Where’d My Favorite Martian get to?” he asked.

“Oh, he’s probably dug a big hole in my bathroom floor by now searching for what made me fall,” Stevie said as Rose nodded in agreement. “And I think it’s nearly that time so why don’t we go get him so we can go back to the arena and get ready for the concert tonight.”

Rose nodded and Stevie gave her hand one more squeeze while she winked at her. Getting up, they and Lindsey walked out of the kitchen and headed back towards Stevie’s bedroom.

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