It's Pippa's birthday and unfortunately, she will not get her package until Tuesday.
However, I has a present for her! It is in fact,
Starring Katrina Newsome, Pippa Adams, and David Tennant
Katrina was late. It did not happen often anymore, but when it did (as in today’s case) she was spectacularly late. She tapped her foot with impatience at the Tube and grimaced at the polite voice. She raced up the stairs of Liverpool Street Station, huffing and puffing and generally cursing life. She flew through the turnstiles, paying no attention to the signs about her, intent on not being any later than she absolutely had to be; she suddenly crashed into what felt like a pole.
“FUCK,” Katrina exclaimed, disentangling herself. “I’m SO sorry. Are you all right?”
“Ow,” said the pole dolefully.
“CUT!!” a voice suddenly screamed. “CUT CUT CUT CUT. CUT!”
Katrina froze. A bohemian man with a surly expression was the one yelling into a bullhorn. “David! All right there?”
David Tennant rubbed his head. And then his elbow. “I think I’ll live,” he diagnosed himself.
“Oh good,” said the other man, his voice dripping with sarcasm. He turned to Katrina and said, “What are you, some kind of idiot? We’re filming here!”
She looked at him and said fatalistically, “Oh Christ. I don’t have time for this. I’m late.”
“Katrina!” David said, recognising her belatedly. “How’ve you been? I’m sorry I haven’t been round to see you…I’ve been busy…”
“It’s all right,” Katrina assured him. “So have we. Pippa had to start a new thesis and I’ve been … working…”
“What are you doing here?” David asked. “And how did you not see the signs?”
“I work over there!” She pointed at the great glass tower. She remembered suddenly: “And I’m late! I’m sorry, I have to go. Please come and visit some time! We haven’t made chocolate chip pancakes in a while.”
“Really, I have to go!” she said, fleeing.
David looked after her and then turned to the director. “Are we going to keep filming?”
“No, I need you to rest up for this scene. We almost had it! I’ll call you back in a few hours for a reshoot. Remember, this one is really emotionally draining so you have to be prepared for that, okay?”
“Yes, right,” said David distractedly. He ran to catch up with Katrina, who had disappeared into the London crowds.
Katrina sat behind the large white marble desk on the ground floor, wireless headpiece in her ear and typing madly at a computer. Everything about the building was sleek and professional, as was the smile Katrina gave him as he walked in.
“Welcome!” she greeted him, with the same passive disinterest she showed everyone. “Where may I direct you to?”
“So this is the Gherkin?” David mused. He looked slowly about the room, taking everything in.
“Isn’t it fabulous?” Katrina gushed, running her hands over the top of her desk lovingly.
“…Fabulous,” David agreed distractedly.
Katrina was beaming with pride and happiness. “This is the best the building in the world, isn’t it?”
Before David could answer, Katrina’s mobile rang, filling the room with the sound of the TARDIS’s engines. David shook his head in mock disapproval and Katrina stuck her tongue out at him as she answered.
“Pippa!” she said, delighted. “How are things?”
“Katrina,” Pippa replied, her tone indicating severe irritation, “what the hell.”
“What?” Katrina asked innocently, either blithely ignoring Pippa’s tone or not even noticing. “What are you making for supper?”
“Katrina.” This time Katrina could not mistake Pippa’s mood. “Why the hell are there eight napkin rings sitting in our kitchen and a hundred quid missing from our décor fund?”
“Um,” said Katrina, “I thought we should have some?” Instead of looking awkwardly away, David looked intrigued as to what could make Pippa Not Happy.
“When in God’s name would we need napkin rings?” Pippa was struggling to keep her voice even.
“For dinner parties,” Katrina explained. “…And when my parents visit.”
Sensing a looming date, Pippa asked, “And that would be…?”
“Next week.” Katrina gritted her teeth and looked sheepish, even though Pippa obviously couldn’t see it.
(ohshit) Katrina mouthed to David.
“Look,” she explained hurriedly, “they called and asked if they could come see us and I said, ‘Yeah, we can have dinner at our place’ and I didn’t tell you sooner because I was putting it off for as long as possible.”
“Katrina.” This time Pippa sounded very reasonable, as though she were dealing with an errant Brownie. “That gives us a week to clean our entire flat. Where are we going to find a cheap, huge bookshelf that doesn’t take up our entire space?”
“I’m sure we’ll find one,” Katrina said, “I’ll look after work.”
Just then, a blonde woman entered the foyer, dumped a pile of file folders onto Katrina’s desk and disappeared. Katrina looked after her escape to the elevator, bemused and slightly annoyed.
“Well,” Pippa was saying, “they’re YOUR parents, you buy the bloody bookshelf. And stop using our décor budget for unsanctioned purchases!” She hung up abruptly.
“Shit,” said Katrina, “where the hell am I going to find a huge and amazingly inexpensive bookshelf?
“EXTERMINATE!” Katrina’s phone yelled suddenly. A text from Pippa reading: DON’T FORGET YOUR OTHER JOB!
“God, I’d be lost without her,” Katrina told David. “And I knew she’d react like that, that’s why I didn’t tell her sooner and now she’s super pissed at me.”
“About your parents coming?” David asked, clearly confused.
“Yeah. They’re not so bad…just, my mum’s very … critical.”
“All right, what’s your other job?” David asked.
“Well, you know those excerpts on the back of books? I write those. But my specialty is romance novels.”
“You must be joking,” David said. “That’s brilliant!”
“I’m working on probation for Raincoast Books. They gave me twelve manuscripts to read through and write the excerpts for, but I’ve only done ten and they’re due in three days.”
“Can I help?” David asked. “I always thought I could write those.”
“It’s harder than it looks, really,” Katrina said. “I thought I could do them better too, which is how I got into it. But really it depends on the novel. If it’s really good, then you can come with an amazing summary, but the last two that I have to do were so horrifically bad, I don’t think it’s possible for them to sound good.”
“Give me an example,” David grinned.
“One of them is called My Sultry Sultan and it’s about this Frenchwoman who gets kidnapped and sold by Turkish corsairs to this sultan, who is in actuality an Englishman in disguise. He was so disgusted with Europe after the Napoleonic Wars that he just decided to become an Arab.”
David’s face was a mixture of horror, amusement, and bewilderment. “But – how…?”
“Exactly,” she replied. “And the love story plot is the Frenchwoman trying to forgive him for betraying his Western heritage.”
“What have you got for a summary?” David asked, still looking dazed.
“So I’ve got
Young Frenchwoman Angelique de Barbarac is hardly an innocent, but she learns a lesson in sensuality when she is captured by Turkish corsairs and sold into the harem of a sultan. To become his favourite is to gain power and Angelique uses all her carnal knowledge to get under the skin of her mysterious master.
When she learns that her captor and lover is actually an Englishman on the run from the army, she’s devastated that she fell in love with a lie. Can he teach her that she fell in love with the man, not the powerful figure? Is she willing to learn? Can he ever be anything but…My Sultry Sultan?”
“Not bad!” David mused. “I still wouldn’t buy it though.”
“Calling it My Sultry Sultan does limit its potential readers,” she agreed. “I tried to make it sound more readable than it actually is.”
Just then, the elevator opened. Katrina stood a little straighter and attempted to look professional, but relaxed when she saw the blonde woman returning. The woman stopped in front of the desk and said, “You didn’t finish labelling these files?”
“Isobel,” Katrina said reasonably, “as I have explained to you before, I don’t work for your company. I can’t help you do your job without helping all the other companies.”
“It’s just labelling files,” said Isobel obstinately. “I can’t see why you can’t just label them.”
“Why can’t you label them?” Katrina replied shortly. “My job is reception and security on the ground floor of the Swiss Tower, not labelling files and assorted jobs for you.”
“If you have time for chat with your boyfriend, I think you have time to label files,” the blonde said.
“It’s not about what I have time to do! If I could, I would label them for you if you asked me nicely, but even if you did, even if I wanted to, I am still not allowed and I won’t jeopardise my position because you can’t label your own files.”
She turned to David and said, “Thank you for stopping by, David. Shall I see you tonight then?”
“Uh, yes. Shall we just go out for a pint?”
“That’d be fabulous. You can tell Pippa and me about your new movie.”
As David escaped, Katrina eyed the clock before turning to deal with Isobel, and wondering how much later she could have been without getting fired.
Katrina collapsed on the couch facedown. “Oh my god,” she groaned. Pippa emerged from the kitchen wearing bright yellow gloves.
“Did you find a bookshelf?” Pippa asked. “I cleared a space for us to put it.”
“I didn’t even look,” Katrina admitted. “It’ll have to wait until tomorrow.”
“Why?” asked Pippa, suspiciously.
“I ran into David today! …Literally.”
“Oh God! Is he ok?”
“HEY. Yes, he’s fine. I actually stumbled into the set of his next movie and he followed me to work. We’re going out tonight, so put on your dancing shoes, you sexy little swine!”
“When? Thanks for the notice, Katrina!”
Just then, their flat ringer buzzed. “Delivery for ‘Pippa Katrina’!”
They looked at each other. “Did you order something?”
“No. Did you?”
“No…COME ON UP!”
They waited several minutes before two burly men heaved a huge box into their flat. “Where do you want it, loves?”
“What is it?”
“We just deliver.”
“How about we open it first, and then we can decide where to put it,” Pippa suggested.
“All that’s filled out on the waybill is the title box ‘Doctor’,” Katrina reported. “So mysterious!”
The two girls found scissors and quickly reduced the large box to shreds. They started bailing Styrofoam balls out of it before a large blue box appeared before their eyes.
“Katrina,” said Pippa, in a reasonable tone of voice, “is that an extremely large but strangely thin Tardis?”
“Yes, it is,” Katrina replied, equally calm.
The replica’s doors opened to reveal several long shelves. “Oh! It’s a bookshelf!”
“How much was this, Katrina?” Pippa asked.
“I didn’t order it, I swear! I only told David about how we needed…”
The two girls stared at each other with dawning realisation: “…WHICH IS WHY THE DOCTOR BOX WAS TICKED!”
“Right, loves. That’s glorious. Where can we move it?”
Pippa pointed vaguely at an area somewhat devoid of books and the two men picked up the gorgeous blue bookcase and deposited it there easily. “Ta, loves.”
“Cheers,” Katrina said. She started picking up books and shoving them onto the shelves. “Holy Christ! I can see the floor!”
They started with the books in the immediate area: old books, new books, a lot of textbooks, and more romance novels than they’d care to admit.
“Sweet merciful …” Pippa breathed, looking at the shiny hardwood, “It’s a miracle!” In no time, the case was stuffed full of books. They closed the doors, and stared at the Tardis in their living room. Suddenly, moving in unison, they both wrapped their arms around it.
“Oh noes, now we’re quantum-locked!” Katrina giggled.
“What time are we meeting David?” Pippa asked, checking her watch. “It’s half seven now.”
“I thought nine, but I think he’s supposed to call.” As if on cue, her phone rang. She moved to answer it, but Pippa grabbed it from her hand and tossed it into bookcase.
“Perfect, we’ll be there.”
An hour later, they were dressed and ready, and they walked arm in arm down to the Hawley Arms. “So, this place makes me really awkward,” Katrina whispered. “Last time we went, I thought Amy Winehouse wanted to kill me.”
Pippa laughed. “I know what you mean. And remember when Pete Doughty threw up on our table?”
“Yeah, I thought we were never going back there again?”
“David Tennant rings! We must follow!”
They caught sight of David in the back. “There’s someone with him,” Pippa noted.
“If it’s his girlfriend, we’re going to the Roxy,” Katrina said. “I don’t need to deal with that right now.”
“I hope it’s not,” Pippa said under her breath, “I don’t feel like dancing.”
“Oh hi David!” they said in unison and then glared at each other.
David grinned at them. “All right, girls? I’d like to introduce you to my friend, Jonas Armstrong.”
“All right, all right, sit down then!” David said, indicating the empty side of the booth. They sat, and Pippa mentally kicked herself for not wearing something with more cleavage.
“How’s it going?” Jonas asked, before taking a swig of beer.
“Well, Pippa and I and just got the most AMAZING present ever,” Katrina said, grinning happily. “Where did you find it?” she asked David.
“I’m not at liberty to say,” David replied.
“What was it?” Jonas asked.
“IT WAS A TARDIS BOOKSHELF,” Pippa burst out. “We have a Tardis in our flat!”
Jonas laughed. “Doctor Who nerds? I shouldn’t be surprised, I guess.”
“We’re not just Who nerds!” Pippa replied. “We’re more like general nerds. We loved Robin Hood and Battlestar Galactica! We can even appreciate the occasional math joke!”
“Speak for yourself,” Katrina replied and then affected a London accent. “Math jokes are for looosers.”
Just then a waitress appeared, looking a bit stressed. “Drinks, girls?”
“Strongbow for both us,” Pippa answered.
Katrina twisted in her seat, awkwardly. “Shit,” she said to Pippa, “he’s here.”
“Who is?” David asked, craning his neck.
“Uhh, no-one!” Pippa lied, brightly. “Certainly not Pete Doughty. And he certainly never threw up on our table last time we were here.”
“Certainly not,” Katrina affirmed. Their lips twitched.
David laughed, delightedly. “Really? Aren’t you lucky!”
“Right, lucky, definitely.”
“He tried to fight me once,” Jonas said. “We were here, actually.” His voice was lilting and possibly even sexier than on the telly.
“What?” David exclaimed. “You never told me that!”
“Was it epic?” Katrina asked. “I bet it was epic. Did you actually fight him?”
“No,” Jonas said, with a laugh. “He was too shattered.”
“That’s so brilliant,” Pippa said. “I can’t believe that actually happened.”
“Hey, David, you should go start something with him,” Katrina said. “Tell him that his music is only marginally better than Girls Aloud’s and Kelly Jones is better looking.”
“Oh, sure, I bet the paparazzi would love that,” he snorted, just as the waitress returned with their drinks.
“Ahhh, Strongbow, the nectar of the gods,” Jonas said, watching Pippa savour hers.
“Is that what you’re drinking?” she asked.
“…No,” he replied. “But I like it.”
“David, I want to hear about your movie,” Katrina interrupted. “Who is that bitch of a director?”
“He’s … all right, really. It’s just been a bad week for him. Besides, his leading man was almost injured when some mental person bashed into him.”
Katrina stuck out her tongue at him. “I was late. The Gherkin is more important.”
“What happened?” Jonas asked with confusion, his brow furrowing adorably.
“Well, I was in the middle of filming a very emotionally demanding scene, when I was suddenly knocked to the ground by this one, for absolutely no reason,” David complained good-naturedly.
“The Gherkin waits for no-one!”
“Well, it’s a good thing she did,” said Pippa mock-angrily. “We give you chocolate chip pancakes and vodka and orange juice and then don’t hear for you for weeks? Not on.”
“Next time we’ll just give you PAIN-cakes,” Katrina said, smacking her fist onto her open palm.
They laughed. “But you did give me pain-cakes!” David protested. “I haven’t been that hungover in years!”
“We had to give you something to remember us by,” Pippa quipped.
“We can give you something else to remember us by,” Katrina said, flagging down the waitress. “Hi, can I get two rounds of Jager bombs? Thanks.”
“You know what would be awesome right now?” Katrina said an hour later, her words slurring together slightly. “THE ROXY. Let’s GO.”
“NO,” Pippa replied. “No dancing.”
“No dancing!” David repeats, trying to pretend that the very thought didn’t strike fear into his heart.
“…Yeah,” Jonas adds with slightly less conviction. “No dancing.”
“BUT WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?” Katrina whined. “Dancing is a positive experience that allows me to sweat out this alcohol that will give me a hangover.”
“I just can’t deal with your dance moves right now,” Pippa told her gently. “You have far too much energy.”
David’s face hadn’t lost that stricken look. “No dancing,” he said again.
Katrina slumped in defeat. “Fine,” she said, “but tomorrow we’re having a techno dance party for two.”
“Really? With the strobe light?”
“WOW GREAT IDEA,” Katrina said, happily, “you guys should come back to ours and we can have a techno dance party there. That way you don’t have to deal with the paparazzi and stuff, right?”
Jonas looked at David. “I could go for that,” he said.
Pippa patted David’s arm encouragingly. “Don’t worry, the idea is to look as stupid as possible.”
They paid their bill and left, walking back up the street. Katrina looked around happily, “Pippa, I don’t know if you know this, but we’re living in London.”
“WHAT?” Jonas said sarcastically.
When they made it back to their flat, it was like a halo of light surrounded the Tardis bookshelf. “Isn’t it glorious?” Pippa asked, with a sigh.
Jonas grinned at their rapture. “It really is.”
Katrina was trying unsuccessfully to shove the couches aside.
“Hey Katrina,” Pippa said, “can we break into our emergency stash?”
“Do we have to?” Katrina replied. “I thought we had some.”
“No, you finished it with your root beer last week, remember?”
“Right ok, go ahead then.”
Pippa disappeared and returned with an insanely large bottle of Jagermeister. “Ok guys, who’s up for shots?”
The next morning found David and Jonas sprawled on their couches, Katrina was curled up on the rug and Pippa was passed out on the bathroom floor. Jonas was awake first and promptly tripped over Katrina on his way to the bathroom.
“Oh God,” Jonas said, holding his head in his hands, “you really did give me pain-cakes.”
“Shut up,” yawned Katrina, “sleep…”
When Pippa and Katrina woke up four hours later, they were both gone. They found a note (inside the Tardis) expressing thanks for a great night and hope to see them again soon.
“Pippa,” said Katrina, when she’d finished reading it, “where’d this Tardis come from?”