Part 1: Guests
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
February 14, 2007
1406 hours local time
Barry Henderson walked out of the divorce court and into his car, a 2005 Mazda 3. He hadn't come off too badly this time, a straight 50% split. He got the apartment in Broadbeach, she kept the house in Kenmore. Of course, that was this time around. As he eased into the mid-afternoon Brisbane traffic, Barry let his mind wander over his marriage history. Four divorces in twenty years. Where the hell was he going wrong? Every relationship he'd been in had ended in tears. No, that wasn't entirely true. There was one girl he'd dated, back when he'd been in his final years at Brisbane State High School. They'd dated for eight months or so, then they'd just sort of...fallen apart. What had her name been? His name for her had been Tegs, he remembered. Tegan, that was it. Tegan Jovanka. Once he remembered the name, Barry realised that he'd heard of her recently. It had been a couple of years back, connected with some resort on the Gold Coast. He hadn't really paid much attention at the time, being in the middle of his third divorce. Well, he was moving to the Gold Coast, after all. He might as well look her up.
Broadbeach, Queensland, Australia
February 14, 2007
1834 hours local time
Keith Marsh wasn't as nervous as he should have been. On the other hand, this wasn't exactly the first time he'd proposed, either. He'd proposed thrice before. As for his current girlfriend...
He'd dated her before, in their final year of high school. He'd arrived at the Braveheart Resort a couple of months ago, and had been surprised to find her running the place. One thing had led to another, and now here he was. They were in the classiest restaurant in town, one with a live band. Keith was in the men's room at the moment, preparing to propose. He pulled the box containing the ring out of his pocket, and left the men's room, nodding to the band as he passed. The band abruptly changed tune, starting to play Can You Feel the Love Tonight. Their song. Keith reached the table where they were sitting. Instead of sitting in his chair, he knelt in front of his girlfriend and opened the box, allowing the light to catch the emerald in the 24-carat gold ring.
"Tegan Jovanka, will you marry me?"
A momentary look of surprise was replaced by pure delight.
"My God, of course!"
A grin crossed Keith's face as he rose and kissed his fiancé.
The Eleventh Doctor was a young woman who appeared to be in her mid-thirties. She had short, dark-reddish hair and was about the same height she had been during her seventh lifetime. She was wearing her usual outfit, a pinstripe business suit with a white blouse underneath. Her two companions, Ray and Mike, had just joined her after she and three of her other selves had defeated a coalition of Daleks, Cybermen and Vampires. Ray, whose real name was Rachel, came from southern Wales in 1959, and had first met the Seventh Doctor. Mike Reilly was an FBI Inspector from 2006. Right now, the Doctor was standing in the TARDIS console room, wondering where she would take her companions first. No matter where she seemed to go, trouble always seemed to follow her and whatever companions she was traveling with.
She might check her messages, first. She'd given all of her former companions a space-time telegraph set, to contact her if they needed. The Doctor brought up a list of stored messages. The TARDIS computer scanned the messages as they came in, then brought the ones containing key words to the Doctor's immediate attention. Messages that didn't contain any key words were stored for later perusal, something the Doctor had yet to do. There was only one non-urgent message listed, surprisingly enough. It was from Tegan. The Doctor selected the message and played it. Tegan's voice began to speak from the speakers set into the console.
"Doctor, it's Tegan. I'm getting married. The wedding's on the second of March, 2007. You're invited, of course, and your companions too. Come along a couple of weeks early, if you want. I'm sure you could do with a holiday."
Tegan was getting married? 1,247 years old, and the Doctor was still being surprised by humans. Maybe that was why she liked them so much, the Doctor mused. Another thought struck her. How long had that message been there? The TARDIS systems were set up to automatically direct incoming messages to the appropriate Doctor. A quick check gave the Doctor her answer. The message had been there since she'd visited Sarn. Oh, well, better late then never. Still, she'd better check with her companions first.
The Doctor looked up as Mike stepped into the console room. The central column was moving up and down, and Mike gestured to it.
"Does that mean we're moving?"
"Yes. We're in a holding pattern at the moment. Do you fancy going to a wedding?"
"An old friend of mine is getting married, and we've been invited."
"I'm game. What about Ray?"
"I haven't asked her, yet."
"What haven't you asked me?" Ray asked as she entered the console room.
"We've been invited to a wedding. One of the Doc's friends."
"Ooh, sounds great. Who is it, Doctor?"
"Tegan Jovanka. You might have heard of her, Mike?"
"Some hotel big-shot, right?"
"The Braveheart Group."
"That's the one."
"When's the wedding, then, Doctor?"
"March second, 2007. Tegan's asked us to arrive a couple of weeks early, and I'm sure she'll appreciate a hand with the preparations."
"Fair enough, Doc."
The Doctor set the coordinates, and the TARDIS began to land.
Broadbeach, Queensland, Australia
February 17, 2007
1048 hours local time
Tegan had moved to the Gold Coast a few years ago, taking one of the Braveheart Resort's four penthouses. Right now, she was in the middle of planning her wedding. She had her four nieces as bridesmaids, and she was going to ask Sarah Jane Smith to be her maid of honour. Sarah was due to arrive in a couple of days, and the Doctor was coming up to give her a hand with the arrangements. Tegan had been surprised at first, to find that this incarnation of the Doctor was a woman. But, once she'd got over that little detail, Tegan was glad that the Doctor was able to make it. Tegan laid her thoughts of the new Doctor aside for the moment, and returned to the wedding preparations.
Tegan had laid aside several rooms for the wedding guests, and knew that Keith's sister was due to arrive today from Western Australia. Tegan had also asked her assistant, Mark Williams, to take over the supervision of the running of the resort until after the wedding. Tegan knew she'd have to outsource the catering. The resort's kitchens were stretched to the limits providing for the hotel guests, let alone catering for any special occasions. No, Tegan decided, she would have to get the catering done externally. Then there was the wedding dress, the wedding cake, the invitations... the list went on and on.
There was a knock on the door of the apartment, and Tegan answered it, glad for the distraction.
The Doctor entered the penthouse and looked around, taking in the view from the resort's 34th level.
"Haven't seen a view like this since I visited Platform 1. Now, I believe you said something about wedding preparations?"
Tegan nodded and led the Doctor over to the coffee table, which was covered with pages of notes in Tegan's handwriting.
"There's still so much to do. I've still got to get the catering lined up, then there's the wedding dress, wedding cake, location, and God knows what else."
"Who have you got in mind for catering?"
The Doctor picked up the list of possible caterers and glanced at it, then placed it back on the table."
"You know, Tegan, I could deal with the catering. I don't suppose you've heard of the Androgums?"
"No, who are they supposed to be?"
"They're chefs, the best in the Universe. They've raised cooking to an art form, and are always looking for new...recipes."
"You've met them, haven't you?"
"One or two...extremists."
They were interrupted by a knock on the door. An expression of delight crossed Tegan's face as she answered it.
"Keith. Come in, darling."
Darling? That got the Doctor's attention. She'd never heard Tegan call anyone that before.
The Doctor looked over as Tegan led two people into the penthouse. The man appeared to be one or two years older than Tegan, about 46 or so. The other woman was younger, by a good few years. The man smiled as he saw Tegan.
"This is my sister, Shelia. Shelia, this is Tegan."
Shelia nodded to Tegan.
"Pleased to meet you, at last. Keith's told me so much about you."
Tegan indicated the sofa, on which the Doctor was sitting.
"This is the Doctor. She's an old friend."
Keith nodded to the Doctor.
"Pleased to meet you."
Tegan indicated the sofa.
"Sit down, I'll get some tea."
"I'll help you," Keith said as he followed Tegan into the kitchen. Shelia joined the Doctor on the sofa, and the Doctor shot her a welcoming smile.
"You only just arrived?"
"Yes, from Perth."
There was a loud giggle from the kitchen, and both the Doctor and Shelia looked across. Keith had his hands on Tegan's hips, and she was playfully trying to get him off. As the Doctor looked away, she caught the expression on Shelia's face. Just for a second, her face showed a mix of jealousy and annoyance. The Doctor pretended not to notice, but it worried her.
About ten minutes or so later, there was a knock on the penthouse door, and Tegan answered the door.
"Mr Purvis. I'm sorry, I forgot you were coming. Come in, please."
Tegan ushered into the penthouse a middle-aged man, who was wearing a black business suit and tie. She introduced him as Neil Purvis, lawyer, explaining that he was the lawyer she used for all her personal business. The three guests took their cue, leaving the penthouse. Tegan had told the Doctor that rooms 45, 47 and 49 had been set aside for her and her companions.
The Doctor strode into the lobby, deep in thought. She had a feeling, nothing more, than that, that something more was going between Tegan's fiancé and his sister, than there appeared to be. However, if the Doctor investigated and Tegan got wind of it, well... The Doctor knew what Tegan could be like. It could lead to the end of a long and beautiful friendship. On the other hand, if she was right and did nothing, then Tegan might get hurt. Which was it to be?
To be continued