Rose answered her shop’s phone. “Thank you for callin’ Bad Wolf Bakery. This is Rose. How can I hel-”
“He’s just left the hospital and he’s headed your way.” Martha, Rose’s best friend from uni, informed her.
Rose’s heart leapt up into her throat. “Ok. Thanks, Mar.”
Sensing her best mate’s nerves, Martha attempted to calm Rose. “Everything’s going to be fine. He’ll say yes. You have nothing to worry about. Do you hear me?”
Rose raked a flour coated hand through her fringe, pushing it out of her face. “It’s still scary, yeah?”
“Dr. Jones, you’re needed in triage.”
“I gotta go. Don’t forget to text me what happens!”
Rose didn’t even get a chance to respond. She replaced the portable phone in its docking station and went out to check the shop for customers.
Opening Bad Wolf Bakery three years ago had been the best thing Rose had ever achieved. From an early age, she could remember being in the kitchen with her mum singing along to Elvis and baking sweets for her Nan. Well, not only her, but for the other residents of the nursing home she lived in as well. Her Nan had passed when Rose was in culinary school, so the memories held a special place in her heart.
Growing up, it had just been Rose and her mum, Jackie. Her dad had been killed in a hit-and-run accident when she had been six months old. Raised by a single mum on a council estate didn’t leave you with many options in life, but Rose refused to let her status in society dictate her path.
Rose Marion Tyler busted her arse in school, making excellent grades, and winning scholarships. So, onto uni she went, focusing on business while she applied for culinary schools. She refused to be deterred. It was a trait that her new roommate, Martha Jones, found they had in common and they became inseparable.
The day Rose had walked out of the bank with her small business loan had been one of the scariest and most exciting days of her life. The first had been the day she had signed the lease to the building she currently inhabited: a brick, two-story structure that had survived World War Two and housed a flat (in which she lived) on the second floor. It was located in the middle of a bohemian area of London and the community had been kind to her and her bakery.
No customers were milling about and, with just forty-five minutes until closing, Rose decided to shut down for the day. She had plans for this evening.
After being open for almost two years, Rose’s life had changed, and definitely for the better. She had gotten into a fight with her musician (now ex) boyfriend in the kitchen of the shop. She’d known Jimmy had been cheating and wanted to break up with him. He had been drunk and angry, and she honestly hadn’t expected him to hit her. After the stars had faded, Rose had saw red and had whacked Jimmy upside the head with a baking sheet. (She still had the bent piece of metal as a souvenir to remind her to never be stupid over a guy ever again.)
After the cops had been called by a concerned neighbor, Rose had realized she’d literally seen red because Jimmy had split the skin above her left eyebrow open and she’d been bleeding.
It had been that fateful trip to the A and E that Rose had met Dr. John Noble.
Martha had been off that night, so Rose had been unsure who would see her. When John had walked into her room, she hadn’t been able to form a coherent sentence. He was the most gorgeous man she’d ever seen. He stood over six feet tall and, even in the generic green scrubs doctors wore, she could tell he was well built. His thick, chestnut hair stood up in wild spikes and when he had smiled at her, she’d melted on the exam table.
“Hullo, Rose Tyler, I’m Dr. Noble.” He’d walked over to where she sat and put on his glasses. “That must’ve been some fight by the look of that gash.”
She’d regained her wits and smiled with her tongue peeping from the corner of her mouth. “You should see the other guy.”
She hadn’t missed his eyes drifting to her mouth before he’d laughed at her reply. “Oh, I did see the other guy. My colleague, Dr. Harkness, is treating him.”
They had bantered back and forth as he had stitched her skin together, talking about books, music, and shows they’d used to watch as kids. Once done, he’d told her to come back in ten days so he could remove the stitches, but he’d gone the extra mile.
“Here’s my mobile number. You know, just in case, you need anything. I’d be happy to help.”
Rose had blushed, knowing exactly why he’d handed her his number. However, given what she had just gone through, she hadn’t wanted to get involved with anyone else, but she’d taken his number.
“Thank you. For everything.” And, in a move that Rose had believed to be sheer idiocy at the time, she’d given him her number. “‘S only fair if you have mine, too.”
He had smiled shyly as he’d looked down at the digits.
The two had talked on and off in between their initial meeting and when she’d returned to have her stitches removed. He’d been stuck in a room with a patient, so Martha had removed her stitches. She’d been disappointed and Martha had picked up on it.
“So, John, yeah?”
“We’ve just been talkin’. Nothin’ more.”
“That blush says otherwise, Miss Tyler.”
Evidently, John had been disappointed as well that he’d missed her and told her as much at Martha and Mickey’s engagement party the weekend after she’d gotten her stitches out.
Rose had been arranging a display of cupcakes around the main cake when he’d approached.
“Sorry I wasn’t able to see you the other day. I tried, I really did.”
“Hey, it’s alright. Other people needed your healing hands. I understand.”
He had taken her hand, their fingers automatically entwining, like they’d been made to do so. “Wanna dance?”
Rose had set down a cupcake she’d been about to move, giddy with the feel of his hand in hers. “Yeah. Let’s dance.”
Van Morrison had just started to sing about crazy love when they’d joined the throng of dancers at the rooftop party. John and Rose had swayed, looking at one another like lovesick fools. She noticed his eyes drift up to her new, barely perceptible scar.
“It’s healed quite nicely. Can barely even tell I got hit.”
John had preened. “Must’ve been one helluva doctor who stitched you up.”
“Nah,” Rose had teased, “Dr. Harkness was off that day.”
“Har, har. You’re sooo funny, Rose Tyler.” The pair had chuckled softly before John’s mood had sobered. “But, seriously… Are you alright? Are you safe?”
“Yeah, ‘m fine. Jimmy’s long gone.” She’d been touched by his concern for her. “Thank you for askin’.”
They had settled into a comfortable silence as they’d moved to the music. Near the end of the song, John had squeezed her waist where his hands had rested, causing her to look up at him.
“I know we’ve been texting, but this isn’t something I wanted to do over the phone.”
“What’s that, then?”
“I’d like to take you out. On a date. I’ve not been able to stop thinking about your smile since the moment I was graced with it.”
He’d looked adorable with his wide, hopeful eyes. “I’d really like that.”
And just like that, love was in the air.
Rose and John had been together a little over one year. One glorious year.
Now, she faced another scary and exciting day. Today was the day she was going to ask John to move in with her.
He currently lived with his sister, Donna, but the ginger woman was getting married soon. Flat hunting wasn’t going well for John. He’d found fault in every one he’d viewed and Rose was secretly grateful. She knew he was the one and wanted to spend all her time with him.
Rose peeked at the biscuits she’d put in the oven just before Martha had called. She had found a recipe for peanut butter, banana oatmeal biscuits. Knowing her boyfriend’s love of all things banana, she had decided to surprise him with the special treat.
She readied her double boiler to melt the chocolate she was going to drizzle over the finished product. As the water boiled and the chocolate melted, Rose removed the sheet of biscuits and moved them to the cooling rack. She returned to the chocolate, stirring as she thought about how she would ask John to live with her.
Would he want to live with her? What if he said no? Or worse, what if he said yes even though he really didn’t want to, and he moved in and grew to hate her? No! What if he said yes and, after living with her for a bit, he wanted nothing to do with her?
Rose had worked herself up into a proper fit and was actually talking herself out of asking him when she heard him knock on the back door to the shop.
“Come on in!” She yelled as she picked up the pot with the melted chocolate, ready to put in on the still warm sweets. In her nervous state, her hands shook making her extra clumsy. The handle slipped, sloshing melted chocolate over the rim and onto her hand.
“Bloody hell!” Rose swore as she tossed the pot onto the counter and frantically began to wipe off the burning substance.
John was at her side in an instant, leading her to the sink. Turning the cool water tap on, he gently coaxed her hand under the flow of water. Rose hissed at first contact, but soon began to feel the soothing effects on the tender flesh.
“There now.” John pressed a light kiss to the top of her head. He held her snug to his body, the arm not holding her hand under the water wrapped around her waist securing her back to his front. “The water should help.”
Rose managed to catch her breath and leaned back into his solid frame, relishing the comfort and peace he brought her. “Thank you. It’s helpin’.”
Gently, he rocked her from side to side, placing soft kisses to her head, ear, neck, and shoulder. How she loved him! Thinking about her plan to surprise him with the biscuits and asking him the all-important question to the downward spiral her thoughts had taken just before he’d arrived, Rose uncharacteristically broke into tears.
John turned her towards him, concern plain as day on his face. “Rose? Is the pain that bad?”
She shook her head through the sobs.
“Tell me what’s wrong, love. You’re crying. You never cry.” Rose hid her face in his chest, attempting to get herself under control, all the while keeping her hand under the water. “Talk to me, Rose.”
Emotions completely spent, Rose began blubbering. “It’s not supposed to be this way!”
Tucking her fringe back behind her ear, John was the epitome of worry. “What’s not supposed to be this way?”
Rose wiped at her nose with her sleeve. “This! I was supposed to surprise you with biscuits an’-an’-an’ ask you to move in with me! B-but I ruined the biscuits and burned my bloody hand and now you’re never gonna want to live with me because I’m absolutely rubbish at this!”
In her uncensored rambling, Rose noticed two things: she’d unintentionally asked John to move in with her and he’d gone ramrod straight. She closed her eyes in mortification and waited for the inevitable rejection.
“You—” John cleared his throat, “—you want me to move in with you?”
The sound of awe lacing his voice gave her hope and she chanced a glance at him. His eyes were damp and he was smiling.
She sniffled. “Yeah.”
She giggled, turning to him fully, burned hand be damned. “Yes! I love you, John. We both have crazy work hours and long days an’ sometimes we go days without seein’ each other. I don’t want that. I want to see your face everyday. Even if it’s comin’ home to you passed out on the couch or in our bed… I want to be able to kiss your forehead an’ cover you with a blanket to keep you warm. If you have a bad day at work, I want to hold you as you tell me about it and give you all the comfort I can. I don’t want to wait until you get to my place or I show up at Donna’s with a new recipe. I want you to taste it as I’m creating it so I can get your input on what to change or not change. I want to live my everyday life with you.”
The moisture that had built in John’s eyes spilled over.
“That’s a relief.” He laughed, reaching into his front jeans pocket and pulled out the most gorgeous diamond ring she’d ever seen. Her heart stopped. Was this really happening? “I was coming here to ask you to be my wife, my forever friend. So, Rose Tyler, what do you say? I know my answer to your question is yes. What’s your answer to mine?”
Rose’s laughter mixed with her sobs. “Yes!”
John slid the diamond onto her left ring finger, his grin stretching ear to ear. “Good thing you didn’t burn this hand.”
“Huh?” She tore her gaze away from the ring to ask him what he meant when she remembered she’d burned her hand. “Oh.”
“Come on, love. Let’s get you upstairs and get some aloe vera on that.”
Rose stopped him by gripping his button-down shirt in her hands. “Wait just one second.”
John was unable to ask why because his fiancée had pulled his mouth to hers, snogging him silly.
Needing to breathe, Rose eased out of the kiss. “I love you, John Noble.”
John licked his thumb, wiping a flour smear from her forehead. “I love you, too. Even if you are the world’s messiest baker.”
“Oi!” Rose poked him in the ribs, making him jump back and hold his side. “The messiest baker who made her future husband peanut butter and banana oatmeal biscuits is not amused.”
His eyebrows shot to his hairline with glee, his overreaction to being poked forgotten. “I thought I smelled banana. You know, once I got past the burning flesh stench.”
Laughing, Rose leaned over the counter and picked up the pot she’d dropped. “You’re such a drama queen. You’ve been hangin’ out with Jack too much. Give me a second to clean this up and reheat some chocolate and I’ll fin—”
Turning to the sink near the cooling treats, Rose was not surprised to see John already stuffing a second banana confection in his mouth.
“Wha’?” He asked, reaching for more as he tried to swallow. “Um, Wose, can ah haff sum mill?”
“Sure, love. Chocolate milk okay?”
“Oh, yesh!” He nodded, bits of chewed up biscuit flying from his lips.
Rose laughed, a full-bellied sound. There would never be a dull moment at Bad Wolf Bakery. She was absolutely certain about that.