“Here you go, chocolate strawberries, hand dipped.” Jackie handed the plate to Rose, who took one look at it and burst into tears.
Jackie heaved a sigh, sat on the edge of the bed, and hugged her. “What’s wrong, sweetheart? You love chocolate strawberries.”
“They aren’t right,” came the sobbed answer, “there’s supposed to be sprinkles on them and he always puts cinnamon in the chocolate and….” The list went on, all the things the Doctor did differently that no one else could do right.
Jackie really didn’t mind caring for Rose. Since her obstetrician had confined her to bed for the last month of her pregnancy someone had to stay with her, and the first week had gone smoothly. Jackie dropped Tony at school and then went to Rose’s house for the day. After she arrived, the Doctor left for work. Pete or the housekeeper picked Tony up after school. After the Doctor got home, Jackie headed home while he made dinner for himself and Rose. It made for a busy schedule but it wouldn’t be for long and they were all glad to do it. Then the Doctor had to go to Kiev with one of the Torchwood field teams.
Even though he taught physics at the University of London and only consulted with Torchwood, he’d had to be gone other times over the past few months and Rose had handled his absences okay. This time, however, Rose, bored with staying in bed, was inconsolable. The strawberries were only the latest in a long list but Jackie has had enough.
Grabbing the phone, she called Pete. His secretary answered, explaining that he was in a meeting, but Jackie cut her off. “I don’t care if he’s with the bleedin’ President, get him on the phone now!”
Three minutes later, Pete was on the phone. Six hours after that, Pete was picking up the Doctor at the airport.
On the way home, Pete filled him in on everything Jackie had said.
“Strawberries?” the Doctor said in disbelief.
“Yeah,” Pete answered, “and you are, as of now, on paternity leave.”
“But my projects, the team…” the Doctor sputtered.
“The projects can wait and the team can get caught up on paperwork. You are going to stay home with Rose and maybe Jackie won’t skin either of us alive,” Pete said firmly.
“Why are we in trouble with Jackie?”
“You have been spoiling Rose, and I sent you to Kiev. That puts both of us in jeopardy.”
After Pete and Jackie had left, the Doctor sat propped up in bed with Rose snuggled against him. He was almost sure she was asleep and was thinking about getting up to unpack when he heard her murmur something.
“What?” he asked.
”I said, don’t tell Mum you never made me chocolate strawberries.”