Luke Smith’s fingers linked behind his head as he rested on the soft grass. Drawing in a deep breath, his eyes fluttered shut and a calm feeling swept over him as he lay on his black jacket beside Jenny. Her voice was melodic to his ears as she vividly described her adventures on distant planets revolving around stars glittering in the night sky. He could feel the warmth of her body on his skin each time she shifted on the lining of his jacket, putting her a bit closer to him each time. A smile tugged at his lips whenever he heard her bubbly laughter. He was trying to picture what it must be like to be that free, to travel the stars. Part of him wished he could travel all of time and space with Jenny.
When she leaned in his direction to point out a flickering red star whose solar system had ceased to exist 350,000 years ago, her forehead brushed his. Luke’s blue eyes snapped open, and the slight blush on her fair coloured cheek swam into view. Her warm breath tickled his face as he watched her blue eyes gaze at the starry night sky. But it was her glowing smile that captivated Luke. Something about it made him feel warm and safe.
A moment later, Jenny pushed herself onto her elbows, their eyes meeting. He felt his cheeks grow hot. Her head cocked to the side before Jenny rose to a sitting position. Her brow furrowed slightly.
“Are you listening to a word I’m saying, Luke?” Jenny asked with a raised eyebrow.
Luke pushed himself up on to his elbows and gave her a meaningful but amused look. “Every single word,” he responded, emphasising each word.
Jenny chuckled, her eyes fluttering shut. She shook her head from side to side.
“I am,” Luke insisted cheerfully, turning to rest his weight on one arm and beaming at her. “I swear I am!”
Her gaze rose to meet his, and she stuck her tongue out at him teasingly.
“I swear I really am listening. It’s just that I was just trying to picture everything you were saying. You are very good at describing all of these amazing places and people and events. I was trying to see if I could envision it in here.” He tapped the side of his head.
“And?” she asked with a mischievous grin. The end of her long blonde ponytail cascaded over her right shoulder, like a golden wave.
“Beautiful!” Luke expressed exuberantly, letting his beaming gaze wash over her slender form. She was beautiful, and amazing, brilliant, funny, and all sorts of things that Luke imagined there were no words for on Earth.
Jenny’s head dipped as deep red blush covered her face. She fidgeted with the hem of her dark green T-shirt. It took her a moment of deep breathing before she met his gaze again. In that time, Luke kept admiring her.
Jenny was like no one Luke had ever met. She was so human: inquisitive, caring, and sceptical. He could see it in the way Jenny approached everything she encountered on Earth. But she wasn’t just human. He also saw alien aspects. The way she reacted to the most common, everyday Earth items or events, reflected her extraterrestrial origins. But even that didn’t cover Jenny’s personality either. Luke saw aspects of himself in Jenny. There was a shared intelligence and unquenchable curiosity to name a few similarities. She was so different and yet so familiar to him.
Perhaps that is why he felt so drawn to Jenny when Clyde was flirting with her. Luke wondered if she felt it too. For him, it felt easy and natural to talk with her about everything. She was the first person who seemed to really understand him, understand what it was like to not be born but created. Of course, it helped that she also was created from another being’s DNA. In so many ways, Luke saw Jenny as the first person to be his equal.
At the shopping centre’s arcade after Jenny brushed off Clyde’s advances and Luke had gone out of his way to apologize for Clyde’s less than admirable flirting, Luke recalled how quick he and Jenny had connected, slipping into a casual conversation. He remembered how easily she accepted his apology and his offer of a free shake on him. Luke couldn’t remember exactly when it had happened, but the drink had quickly become an offer of spending the rest of the day with Clyde, Maria and him on their day trip in central London. For hours upon hours, Jenny and he chatted endlessly.
While they shopped, they got into talking about the changing trends of fashion and cultures throughout history and into the future. When they went to see the action movie Clyde had recommended, he and Jenny had gotten into the theoretical and technical aspects of visual production as well as how films were viewed by different cultures. Then when they went to a local chip shop to share that promised shake and some chips, they’d discussed the most trivial topics, such as human habits to more technical theories, such as why Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was flawed when it came to the universe. He remembered she even brought up theories about time travel, which at the time Luke had laughed at. He’d dismissed them as simple science fiction, as Clyde had put it when he overheard them.
But when it came to facts about her, Jenny had been very quiet. She seemed more interested in asking questions then answering them. Many of her questions to them had been about Earth, which was one of the first tip-offs for him that she might not be from here. From time to time, Jenny had been willing to reveal bits and pieces about her: about travelling with her father to far off places and meeting different people, but Luke knew the pieces didn’t make any sort of logical picture. Particularly those stories about travelling with her father felt like she was just making it up as she went.
So that’s why after leaving Maria at her house, he’d talked Jenny into stargazing with him at the skateboarding park. He hoped that if it was just the two of them, maybe she’d feel more comfortable speaking about herself. She did. In fact, Jenny opened up to him about many things, including who she was and why she had come to Earth.
“There are many of more beautiful things in the universe than me,” Jenny pointed out, pulling his attention back to the present. She was absent-mindedly picking at his jacket’s ripped lining.
“Perhaps, but they aren’t here now,” he grinned, leaning closer to her. “So as far as I’m concerned...” He swallowed as the words caught got in his throat.
Jenny leaned in close. “As far as you’re concerned what?” she whispered in an airy voice.
Instantly Luke had a flash back to the action movie they had seen a few hours ago.
The hero had just finished bravely facing the evil henchmen to save the beautiful girl. He whisked her off to a safe and quiet place: a place where they could be alone. They started to talk, joking about their enemy’s faults. Then all of a sudden the hero started to lean in close to the beautiful girl. There was smug look on his face as he spoke the perfect words, causing her to lean closer to him. Then he pressed forward, kissing her. Of course, she immediately started to kiss him back feverously.
The only problem was that Luke wasn’t a hero, not really in his mind. So his smile fell away as he felt his heart pounding in his chest. Numbness set in all over his body as Luke felt an urge to run away, putting as much distance between them. Even as he prepared to push himself back, Jenny’s small, soft hand cupped his face.
His breath caught his throat as she gave him an intense, hooded look. Then in the time it took to whisper her name, Jenny swooped in and pressed her lips to his. A thousand supernovas exploded and millions of stars were born at that instant, Luke was sure of it. The romantic melody from the movie flooded Luke’s ears, and he felt sure he must be dreaming, but he didn’t care. Nothing else in the universe mattered.
Luke’s hand slid to the back of Jenny’s neck, tugging her closer. Jenny’s hand slid along his neck and then up into his thick brown hair. Shivers ran up and down his spine. This was brilliant! Nothing in existence would convince him otherwise. If only he hadn’t opened his eyes at the moment Jenny’s tongue played at his lips. If only he hadn’t turned his wrist in the direction that he could clearly see his wristwatch’s face. It said 11:30 p.m.
He swore under his breath as he pulled back suddenly.
Jenny glared at him as a pout played at her puffy, reddened lips.
“Sorry,” he said apologetically before explain. “It’s just that... well, it’s late and I didn’t tell my mum I’d be back so late.”
A sympathetic smile wafted over Jenny’s face as she nodded. “I understand,” she said before rising to her feet. She looked down at him, still giving him that warm smile that made his stomach do flip-flops. His heart did a drum roll with each flip.
“I suppose I should walk you home then, Mister Smith.” There was teasing look in Jenny’s eyes as she reached out a hand to help him up.
“Only polite thing to do... Miss Smith” Luke smirked back with a wink as he accepted the hand. She was strong and easily got him back on to his feet. For a moment, they just held hands, staring mesmerized by each other. Luke wished he could make this moment last forever as Jenny released his hand.
“Jacket?” she said, lifting the black item from the ground.
“Oh, yes,” he said, sounding dazed as he accepted it. He started shifting it on to his shoulders when he noticed the light from the local underground station. A thought struck him on how he might be able to just keep this moment forever.
Sarah Jane Smith stood in her kitchen, sipping her ninth cup of a tea in the last few hours. Her gaze was focused out her kitchen window, looking expectantly at the darkened neighbourhood. She could see the stars shimmering brightly. A sigh blew passed her lips as she looked down at the steaming cup in her hand.
She spent most of the day investigating a few local crime reports and human interest pieces. Happily she had finished writing early, so she could be back home 4:30 p.m., but she returned to an empty house. Not that she expected Luke or the others to be there, but it was late even for a summer day trip to downtown London. She’d brushed it off for a few hours, considering it was probably heavy traffic in the underground. Instead Sarah Jane focused her efforts towards cleaning the house, doing some much needed laundry, and preparing a meal for when Luke did come home.
Three cups of tea later, when Luke still hadn’t arrived home, Sarah Jane went up to the attic to perform a few overdue analyses with Mr. Smith. Between tests, Sarah Jane would glance out the window every time she heard a car go by or people talking as they passed the house. Another five cups of tea later, there still was no sign of Luke.
It wasn’t that Luke didn’t often spend time away from the house with Maria and Clyde. During the school year, Sarah Jane would often get a phone call from Luke saying he’d be out late studying for an exam or working on a project. Yet, it was the summer and she hadn’t received one phone call from him. She had kept her cell phone on all day, and when she got home turned it to full volume up.
“Oh, I’ve really become a mum with all this unnecessary worrying,” Sarah Jane groaned as she set her ninth cup of tea down. She stepped away from the window and went to the living room, but her mind kept pondering Luke.
“I shouldn’t be worried. He’s almost 16,” Sarah Jane muttered as she reorganized the pile of books and magazines on the coffee table. It didn’t need it but she couldn’t help herself. “People his age often stay out late. I use too when I was his age, but... but it just doesn’t sound like Luke. He’s not a normal human teenager. Yes, he is extremely smart and curious with a swift ability to learn, but he is also quite naive when it comes to people.”
Sarah Jane gave another glance around the clean living room as she pushed her hair behind her ears. She sighed deeply before heading up to the attic to see if Mr. Smith had finished the latest analysis.
“Perhaps they went to the skateboard park together,” Sarah Jane said as she got to the first landing. She glanced out the window overlooking the short driveway. “But it’s getting awfully dark out there to skateboard.” She left the window and continued up to the attic.
Sarah Jane was biting her lip in thought when she entered the attic. “Then again, Maria did mention wanting to go shopping a few days ago. I told her I won’t be able to go for awhile, so it is possible she dragged Luke and Clyde with her and they just lost track of time,” Sarah Jane said as she walked over to Mr. Smith’s console. The large screen showed the latest results, but as she read it her mind was still thinking about Luke. “But even that seems unlikely since the shops should have closed by 10.”
She started to pace the attic as she considered one more possibility. “Perhaps the three of them went to see a movie and it’s running late. Clyde had been going on and on about some action, comedy movie recently, and if it was a late showing they might be coming home somewhat late. Yes, that must be it,” she said to herself, tapping the console. She chewed on her lip as her brow furrowed. Her other hand fingered the cell phone in her jacket pocket.
Sarah Jane retrieved her cell phone, and just like a mum, she’d called up Maria’s dad to see if he knew where the three were. “Hello, Alan,” Sarah Jane greeted over the phone, taking a seat on the attic couch.
“Hello, Sarah Jane,” Alan said with a smile to his voice. He sounded slightly busy, and she thought she could hear the low rumble of the telly. “It’s nice to hear from you. How are you doing?”
“I’m good,” Sarah Jane replied before asking. “Alan, did Maria tell you anything about seeing a movie while she and the boys were in London?”
“Yeah,” Alan answered. “Since Maria got home she’s been going on and on about this movie….”
“Maria is home... now?” Sarah Jane asked as a shiver of fear ran up her spine. If Maria was home and Luke wasn’t, then that meant he could be alone somewhere. He might be in trouble. Several alarms went off in Sarah Jane’s head.
“Yes,” Alan said before inquiring. “Luke isn’t?” There was a concerned tone in his voice.
“No,” Sarah Jane said simply. “Did he come over to your place when Maria arrived?”
“Yes, actually he, Maria, and tall blonde girl... one of their classmates, I think,” Alan replied. “Let me ask Maria. One second, Sarah Jane.”
Sarah Jane’s mind ran with many horrible scenarios as she heard Alan continuing to call for Maria. The gnawing discomforts of earlier flared back to life with revenge. She was terrified that something had happened to Luke. She’d never forgive herself if... if...
Then Maria’s voice came through phone, bringing Sarah Jane’s attention immediately back. “Hello, Sarah Jane!”
“Hello, Maria,” Sarah Jane said just managing to keep her voice from quivering. “I was wondering, Maria, do you know where Luke is?”
“No,” Maria answered. “Last time I saw him was when he and Jenny left to go over to your place about two hours ago.”
“Oh,” Sarah Jane said, biting her lip. “Who is Jenny?”
There was a deep uncomfortable sigh from Maria’s end of the line. “She’s a girl we met at the shopping centre next to the theatre. Well, a girl that Clyde was hitting on, but she seemed more interested in Luke.”
Sarah Jane thought she could hear a grumble from Maria. If Sarah Jane hadn’t been extremely worried about Luke, she would have laughed at the obvious jealous dripping from Maria’s words. “Is she a student from your school?” Sarah Jane pressed for answers. If someone had taken Luke, she had to learn all she could to find him or her.
“No, I don’t think so,” Maria said, sounding thoughtful. “Jenny didn’t seem that familiar with London despite her accent. She did say she was from Cardiff, but I don’t believe that either.” She slightly chuckled to herself. “Clyde actually joked that he thought Jenny sounded like another archetype by the way she would go on and on with questions about the Earth and London and yet she seemed to know everything about the stars and physics. Silly, huh?”
Sarah Jane managed a faked puff of laughter. “Yes,” she replied, but her mind was already pondering the Bane.
She had never really checked to make sure Ms. Wormwood and all her followers were really dead. It hadn’t seemed important enough at the time. She had taken UNIT’s report as proof enough. As she pondered the possibility of another archetype or some of the Bane’s people coming after Luke, Maria gasped on the other end of the line.
It made Sarah Jane jump to her feet. “What?!” she questioned, hoping for the best, but expecting the worst.
“Oh, you know they might have gone to the skateboard park,” Maria said suddenly as if the idea just struck her. “Jenny was going on and on about the stars. Luke seemed pretty interested in it. He even mentioned that there was a great view of the night sky from the grassy end of the park. Perhaps that is where they went before heading home.”
“Yes, perhaps,” Sarah Jane said, sighing.
“Would you like me to find them for you?” Maria offered.
“Ah, no thank you, Maria,” Sarah Jane said, taking a seat back on the attic couch. “I can...”
“If I see him, I’ll tell him you called,” Maria said.
“That’s fine, Maria,” Sarah Jane answered.
“I can give you a call too, if you’d like me to,” Maria continued to cut in.
But as the words came across the phone, Sarah Jane could suddenly hear two people laughing outside.
“That’s okay,” Sarah Jane said quickly. “Goodnight!”
Then Sarah Jane closed her phone without waiting for a reply. She hurried down the stairs, going straight to the living room, but instead of heading to the front door, she glanced out the window near the couch. She pushed it open slightly.
Peering out, Sarah Jane spotted Luke and a tall blonde girl coming down the sidewalk. They were both grinning widely. Luke was saying something to her but it wasn’t completely clear from this distance. Looking closely, Sarah Jane noticed that they held hands, their fingers intertwined.
After a moment they stopped at the end of the driveway. Sarah Jane strained her ears at the open window, trying to hear them.
“Thank you for showing me the stars, Jenny,” Luke said with a huge grin on his face. His blue eyes sparkled at her as he gave her hand a gentle squeeze.
“Well, thank you for showing me Earth, Luke,” Jenny said also grinning at him. There was a slight blush on her cheeks. “It was wonderful! I can see why my dad likes it so much.”
“I know,” he said cheerfully. “I’ve grown to love it too.” Then he drew in a deep breath, his smile falling away. He felt tears prickling in the corners of his eyes. “Are you sure you have to go, Jenny?”
Jenny sighed too and looked him with a furrowed brow. “I’m afraid so, Luke” Jenny said. “I don’t belong here. I actually don’t know where I belong yet, but maybe once I find my father...”
Luke’s gaze dropped slightly. Part of Luke wanted to hate her father for abandoning her and being her excuse to leave, but he also loved the man because he brought Jenny into existence. He drew in a deep breath before he felt Jenny’s grip on his hand tighten. His gaze rose to meet her intense one.
“He’s all I have, and if I’m ever going to find him, I’ll have to keep searching,” Jenny told him. “Please understand.”
“I do understand,” Luke breathed before pausing to find the right words.
“What is it, Luke?” Jenny asked.
“It’s... just... I hope you know that you have me too now,” Luke piped, running his thumb along the back of her hand.
A wide smile curved her lips as she beamed at him. “I am glad to know that, Luke,” she said. “It means a lot to me that no matter what happens I’m not alone anymore.”
Luke beamed back at her as he reached a hand, brushing a few loose strands of blonde hair behind her left ear. “Will you ever comeback to…” he asked, biting his lip as the word ‘me’ played on his tongue. Despite the earlier kiss, he still was afraid that saying such things would be wrong in Jenny’s eyes, perhaps a bit too needy. “... to Earth?”
Jenny shrugged as her gaze dropped toward their joined hands.
“Possibly, I don’t know,” Jenny admitted. “I suppose time-wise... anything is possible.”
“It’s just that today… since I met you, has been the best day of my life,” Luke said, cupping her face, guiding her gaze back to meet his. “I wish it would last forever.”
“Forever is overrated, believe me,” Jenny chuckled softly as her moist eyes met his. “You’re still so young, Luke. There are so many things you haven’t even experienced. I’m sure you’ll see and do more fun things then what we did today.”
“Perhaps,” Luke conceded, “but it wasn’t what I did that inspires me to say so. It’s who I spent it with.”
Jenny’s face tinted an even dark crimson colour. She shook her head slightly and she looked at him with such adoration. “I enjoyed your company too, Luke,” she said with a sigh. “But every day has an end, and there’s always a choice in the end. I’ve chosen to go on searching.”
Luke ran his thumb along Jenny’s cheek. “I understand, Jenny. I just hope you won’t forget me,” he whispered. Then he cocked his head to one side and leaned forward before pressing his lips to hers.
Jenny arms rose to wrap around his neck, pulling Luke’s head closer. Luke put his arms around her waist, tugging her close to him. It was an intense kiss that made their previous one seem like nothing. This kiss lingered and sent waves of warmth up and down Luke’s body. He wanted to hold on to her for as long as he could. In the end they only parted due to a lack of oxygen. Their foreheads were resting against each other as they panted.
Jenny spoke first. “I’ll keep that promise, Luke,” she told him softly. “Just remember to keep your promise. Don’t tell anyone what I said in the park... about not being from Earth, not even the others. I don’t want to cause any trouble on Earth, especially not for you.”
Luke chuckled recalling his own adventures over the last few years and all the trouble he’d gone through, but he still whispered, “I promise, Jenny. It’s just between you and me.”
“You and me,” they said together. Then Luke leaned in for one more kiss.
It was just at that moment Sarah Jane’s cell phone went off, full blast. It was loud enough to startle the two outside. They pulled back from one another and looked at Sarah Jane’s house a second after she jumped out of sight and on to the couch. Quickly, she silenced her cell phone. She saw in the display screen it was the Jacksons’ phone number.
In a hushed voice, Sarah Jane answered, “Hello?”
Maria said in a far too loud voice, “I’ve seen Luke! He’s in the front of your house, Sarah Jane.”
Sarah Jane groaned but put on her best polite voice as she cupped the receiver end of the cell phone. “Thank you, Maria.”
“No problem,” she chimed happily. “Do you want me to tell him to come in?”
“No,” Sarah Jane said harshly. Despite her franticness of earlier, now she didn’t want to interrupt Luke in his private moment. He was after all coming back from his first date. It would be inconsiderate to do that to him, and Sarah Jane wasn’t going to be like that kind of parent ruining those few precious moments of innocence.
“He’s also with that girl,” Maria hissed, the sound of jealousy dripping from her voice once again. Then she paused. “Wait, no... No, it looks like she’s walking away and Luke’s coming inside.”
“Thank you, Maria” Sarah Jane said exasperatedly. She heard footsteps approaching the front door. “I better go.”
Again she hung up and quickly looked about something to pretend to be busy, instead of snooping at the window. She quickly picked up a magazine from the pile and flipped it open.
Just then the door opened and in walked Luke. He glanced in her direction and smiled as he shut the door.
“Hello, Mum,” he greeted, removing his grass stained, black jacket.
She lifted her gaze and grinned back, pretending to not have noticed his entrance. “Oh! Hello, Luke,” she said. “I didn’t hear you come back. I was busy reading.”
“Reading upside-down?” Luke said sceptically with a raised eyebrow as he made his way to the hallway closest. Sarah Jane looked down and saw that the magazine was indeed upside-down. She blushed and put it back on the table before beaming at him again.
“You were out late. Doing anything interesting?” she asked innocently, pushing her hair behind her ears nervously.
Luke shrugged as he put his jacket on a hanger. “Nothing much,” he answered. “Just hanging out with a few friends.” He toed off his shoes and put them in the closet before closing it.
“Oh?” Sarah Jane said, trying desperately to not sound like she was pressing for more specific answers. “Didn’t meet anyone new?”
Luke paused at the archway into the kitchen. He glanced inside the kitchen with a furrowed brow, then looked at her with a thoughtful look before he snapped his fingers and hurried back to the closet.
“Luke?” Sarah Jane said, rising from the couch. She watched as he dug through his jacket pocket, retrieving a slender piece of thick material paper. It looked like a sheet of multiple photos from the photo machine from one of the underground stations.
“No, Mum,” Luke said, grinning at the small sheet of photos, “no one of importance.” He drew in a shaky breath before carefully putting the photo paper into his jean pocket.
He snapped around and gave Sarah Jane a big grin. “If it is okay with you, Mum, I’m going to skip dinner tonight. We had some shakes and chips after the movie, so I’m not really hungry. I’m going to go take a quick shower and turn in for the night.”
Sarah Jane looked surprised but nodded at him with her approving smile. “Sure, that’s fine. It just means there will be plenty more for lunch tomorrow.”
“Sounds good,” he said, heading upstairs to his bedroom. He walked a few steps before stopping and gazing at her. “And thank you, Mum, for not interrupting Jenny and me sooner.”
Sarah Jane’s face fell.
“Good night, Mum,” Luke said with a wink before continuing upstairs.
Jenny set the final the coordinates for her time ship. She secured her belt and gave a slight tug on the pilot’s wheel. The ship slowly lifted off from its hidden launch area.
A sigh blew past her lips as a look of disappointment filled her face. Yet another stop had produced no sign of her father, the Doctor. Earth in the early 21st Century was showing no sign of any of his activities mentioned by space travellers of this time period. Jenny was sure the information she had gotten about his continual visits were correct. She trusted her sources, but still nothing.
“Well, maybe, I should try further into Earth’s future this time,” she sighed as she activated the temporal drive. It just started to hum as the temporal bubble formed around the ship. Her sights flashed over the control board, checking out all the readings. She adjusted the chromatic speedometer, the spatial scanner and a few other ship readings before her sight fell upon a small set of four photos tapped to the control board.
It was of her and the Earth boy, Luke Smith. She touched the photos affectionately, running a finger along the curve of Luke’s face. A blushful grin spread over her face as she saw how closely their faces had been pressed together. In three of the photos, they were laughing with their arms wrapped around the other. They looked as if they were joined at the side. While in the fourth photo they were kissing with Luke’s left hand cupping her face. She couldn’t remember the photo being taken since her eyes had been shut and her mind focused on the sensations of Luke’s touch.
Even now she could still remember the feel of his soft lips and the consuming, spicy smell of Luke. Jenny sighed deeply, “I promise, Luke, I will never forget you, and one day I know I’ll see you again.”
A moment later, Jenny’s ship jumped out of normal space and into the time stream.To be Continued?