Marion laid her head against the leather back of the car seat and watched the man by her side as he skilfully manoeuvred the hired car through Harrogate’s afternoon traffic.

“We left so quickly,” Kristoph said. “We never had tea. I think we’ll just carry on the six miles to Knaresborough and stop there for tea. It’s a very pleasant little town. Did you ever see the Dropping Well?”

“It was on the itinerary for local trips,” Marion said. “But I’ve not actually got around to going on any yet.”

“This Summer School isn’t exactly what you expected it to be,” Kristoph observed.

“No,” she admitted. “But….” She blushed before she even said it. “Meeting you, has been something pleasantly unexpected.”

They had to stop at traffic lights at that point. After applying the handbrake his hand reached out and touched hers.

“Marion, I could say the same about meeting you,” he answered in a strangely constricted voice. Then the lights changed and he had to concentrate on the driving. She watched his face as he drove. His mood was hard to gauge. He was looking straight ahead at the traffic. His eyes didn’t seem to blink as often as they should. Watching made her own eyes water in sympathy. At the next set of lights, though, he turned and looked straight at her. “I’m glad I met you, Marion. I think… you might have changed my life.”

It was such a surprising comment. She could hardly begin to know what he meant. As they drove on, he made small talk. She responded intelligently.

They stopped for tea in a little tea room near the famous attraction that brought people to the otherwise unremarkable village. Afterwards they walked along the river.

“Such a lovely river has such a silly name!” Kristoph laughed. “The Nidd. That actually means somebody with no breeding or manners where I come from.”

“Gallifrey?” Marion said without thinking.

“Yes,” he said after a short pause. “Gallifrey.” He ventured no more information. She decided not to press it.

He held her hand as they walked. At first she didn’t even realise it. When she did, at first she broke the hold. Then when his hand reached for her again and she knew he WANTED to hold it, she let him.

“That gives me the creeps a little,” she said as they stood with a half a dozen tourists watching the limestone saturated water fall down the sheer side of the rock into a fenced off pool. Where the rock formed a natural overhang, people for centuries had hung scarves and articles of clothing and soft toys to become ‘petrified’ by the deposits of the same limestone.

She looked at the row of little baby bootees and teddy bears. They all looked DEAD. Of course, none of them were ever alive, but even so, being turned to stone was a sad fate for such a thing.

“Why?” Kristoph asked.

“The baby things,” she said. “Remind me of the life I never had. These were brought by happy couples who were proud of their baby. I don’t think anyone was ever proud of me. My mother… I was born out of wedlock as they used to say. No idea who my father was. My mother and her parents did their best. But after she died, when they were too old to look after me, I just went from one foster home to another. They weren’t bad. People who do that CARE for children. But they care for ALL children, not one in particular. I was never special enough to anyone for them to do something like that.”

“You ARE special, Marion,” Kristoph assured her. He clenched her hand a little more tightly. “Do you believe in wishes?” he asked. “Let’s go and make a wish in the well.”

Do I believe in wishes? She thought about it as they climbed the stone steps that brought them to the top of the rock formation that resulted in the strange ‘magic’ of the petrifying falls. The well was simply a natural basin where the same water accumulated before overflowing into the waterfall. But a mythology had built up around it.

“Put your hand in the water and make a wish,” he told her. She smiled nervously and did so.

“I wish he would tell me he loves me,” she thought. “I know it’s silly. I know it would be like something out of a Mills and Boon romance. But just for once, I want that. Even if it is over after the weekend.”

Kristoph looked at her and smiled. That was not a difficult wish. His own one was harder.

“I wish she would still love me when she knows the truth about me,” he said to himself.

“Let’s go back to the car and carry on up to Whitby. Now that the teatime traffic is easing we shouldn’t be more than two hours. In time for a good supper before bedtime.”

She nodded. The idea sounded fine to her. He took her hand as they descended the steps. At the bottom, though, he put his arm around her shoulder. An even more intimate gesture.

“Oh no,” she whispered. “Oh, Kristoph. That woman who walked past. Is she looking at us?”

“Yes,” he said, glancing back. “Or she was until I looked. Now she’s concentrating on a petrified woolly hat.”

“She’s on the same landing as me at the halls. And she is a GOSSIP. It will be all around the kitchen that you and I…”

“Were enjoying a pleasant outing to a well known tourist attraction,” he finished. “Don’t worry about it. Let her talk. WE shall talk about far more pleasant things in the course of this weekend.”

“I hope so,” she said. But Kristoph didn’t seem concerned. He talked cheerfully as they got back into the car and set off on the longer leg of their journey. He put a cassette into the player, commenting that he liked CD’s much better, but a hire car with a player was impossible yet. It was another Vaughan Williams piece. She was getting to like his music.

“The Sea Symphony,” he said. “First performed in 1910 at the Leeds Festival. So we are in the right part of the country for it.”

“And we’re heading towards the sea.”

“Yes,” he said. “Sadly we won’t get there until after dusk. I love to watch the sun go down over the ocean. Sunsets are beautiful things. But there is always tomorrow night.”

Marion was too engrossed in the music and the sound of his voice to take in the words at first.

“But…” she began when it dawned on her what was wrong with that statement. “Kristoph, your geography is not so good as your music appreciation. We are heading to the EAST coast. The sun sets in the WEST. We should have gone back to Liverpool for sunsets over the sea.”

“Yes, of course,” he said with a soft laugh. “The sun RISES in the East and sets in the West!”

“You surely don’t have to remind yourself of that?” She joined his laughter. “Whatever kind of country Gallifrey is, the sun still rises in the same place as it does in England.”

“Just call me an absent minded professor,” he said, covering himself. “Well, we shall have to get up early and watch the sunrise instead. Sunsets and sunrises, both equally wonderful.”

“Yes, I suppose they are,” she admitted. “I have never really thought about it. A bit too Mills and Boon.”

“A bit what?”

“Well, you teach literature, don’t you. You’re not supposed to know about those. Mills and Boon are the publishers of cheap, easy fiction about ruggedly handsome men and shy young women who fight and hate each other at first but slowly fall in love. Usually there’s a sunset involved.”

“Were any of them called Kristoph and Marion?” he asked. She laughed.

“My most recent foster mother read them. I could never be bothered. They all looked the same. I would rather have something like… Oh, I don’t know. Zachemon and Carona.”

“Ah,” Kristoph smiled. “The Pazzione Gallifreya!”

“Yes, that’s what it was called. A beautiful poem.”

“Very beautiful. A myth, of course. And an old one at that. I’m afraid modern Gallifrey is too set in its ways. Nobody has that kind of passion any more.”

“To write that sort of poetry?”

“To make that sort of sacrifice. Zachemon means great warrior. Carona means daughter of the winds. The legends goes on to tell of her becoming a warrior in his place, after he gave her his soul. He lived within her and they were never truly separated.”

“Two souls in one? That’s… that’s a beautiful idea.”

“Yes, it is. My people have beautiful ideas from time to time. So do yours. Perhaps we have something in common after all.”

“You don’t have Mills and Boon.”

“No, we don’t. But if we did…. Marion and Kristoph already like each other. We’re ahead on points, cutting out the hating and fighting. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a scenario I could live with for now.”

“Me too,” she agreed. She lay back in the seat again and although they were passing through some very lovely English countryside at a time of day when the light caught the valleys and the hills in wonderful ways, she was content to watch the face of the man by her side as he watched the road ahead. She was sure that he didn’t blink enough. But it didn’t worry her too much.


He was right when he said the sun would have set when they reached Whitby. He was right, too, about having a good supper. They sat at a window seat and looked out at the lamplit seafront as they were served their meal. The restaurant was officially closed to guests, but Marion discovered that Kristoph had made arrangements for a meal to be served to them when they arrived.

“They do that?” she asked.

“They do if you tip them generously enough.”

“You’re a university professor. How can you afford to tip generously? There was a strike the term before I started because of wages.”

“The university is not my sole income. But I have always been told that it is vulgar to talk about money with a lady. Be assured I can well afford this weekend treat.”

She was assured. After the meal he insisted that she got an early night. She had been ill recently, after all. She was happy to comply. She WAS tired.

“Tomorrow,” Kristoph said to himself as he drank a single malt in the lounge alone. “Tomorrow we will try to make your wish come true, Marion. And perhaps mine, too.”