Marion enjoyed her morning shopping in the Capitol much better this time. There seemed much less pressure on her, and she found that all of the staff in each of the fashion houses she visited knew exactly who she was and that her presence in their establishment was an honour. They looked at fabrics and designs for a wedding gown, of course. But this was an important decision and she did no more than take some samples and preliminary designs away this morning. She did order a whole selection of new clothes for every other occasion. Everything from lingerie to a new coat – not a lapin fur one yet. The fabrics were not yet available. But a selection of day gowns and evening gowns, tea dresses, gloves, hats, shoes.

They lunched at the Conservatory and the waiters addressed her as Madame de Lœngbærrow. That surprised her.

“I’m NOT…. At least not by Gallifreyan law,” she said to her luncheon company, Lily, Thedera and Aineytta. “I mean, Kristoph and I were married on Earth. But that isn’t recognised at all here. And besides we didn’t… haven’t…”

She was talking to three married women. They understood that last part.

“Quite right, too,” Aineytta told her. “It will be worth the wait. But my son has had a hand in this. He booked the table here for luncheon. And he gave your name as Madame de Lœngbærrow. After your Alliance anybody who calls you anything but Lady de Lœngbærrow will be committing a terrible breach of etiquette.”

“What will they call YOU, then,” Marion asked.

“I will still be Lady de Lœngbærrow,” Aineytta explained. “But YOU will be THE Lady.”

“Ok…” she started to say, then remembered something. “I should stop saying that. It is terrible Earth slang. Kristoph always corrects me. Very gently, of course. It doesn’t feel like a rebuke. I think he just hates that expression. I suppose he’s right. It’s a lazy kind of word.”

“You don’t have to change who you ARE just because you are going to acquire a title,” Lily told her. “Kristoph doesn’t want that.” Marion noted that they used the form of his name that she was accustomed to using. Even his mother. They seemed to have adopted that form in her presence. She HAD learnt to pronounce his name in the proper Gallifreyan way – Chrístõ Mian – and she was starting to learn the full version of it – Chrístõdavõreendiamòndhærtmallõupdracœfiredelunmian de Lœngbærrow. She would need to know that for the Alliance, after all. But when she thought of him, when she dreamt of him, he was Kristoph.

“Quite right, too,” said the voice of her betrothed and she turned in her seat to see him standing behind her. She stood and embraced him fondly and he kissed her gently on the lips before sitting beside her and ordering a large black coffee from the waiter. The ladies were all drinking latte at the end of their meal.

“Have you enjoyed your morning in the fashion houses?” he asked Marion, and she smiled and said yes, and meant it.

“But it will be a few days before you get to see what I am having made,” she added. “And you can’t see the most important dress of all for another twelve weeks.”

“Indeed, not,” he replied. “But I am sure it will outshine every Alliance gown ever made.” Then he reached into his pocket and gave her a beautifully wrapped package. “I had this made for you,” he said. And she slowly unwrapped the gold paper and the box inside and gasped with surprise to see the beautiful wristwatch. The wristband was a gold torc, an open ended bangle, flattened where the face of the watch was inlaid. The face of the watch was ruby red and the hands were themselves gold. The numbers on the dial were studded with tiny diamonds. And there were thirteen of them.

“How beautiful,” she said. “My first Gallifreyan watch.”

“It’s a strange thing,” Kristoph said. “We are the Lords of Time, and we are born with an innate sense of time. we know instinctively how much of it is passing. And yet, we still make clocks and watches that measure it no more accurately than our own souls do. Anyway, it is fitting that you should have one. A little more of the gold and diamonds of Lœngbærrow for you to own for yourself.”

“Thank you,” she said as he slipped it onto her wrist. “It is so sweet of you to think of that.”

“You are my Lady. You must have the best.”

“I loved you when I thought you were just a literature professor,” she told him. “Don’t ever forget that.”

“And I loved you when you were afraid to look me in the eye and didn’t believe that you were a beautiful woman,” he answered. “That’s why I don’t want you to have any doubts about that ever again.”

The waiter brought his coffee and he sipped it and watched her as she talked with Lily about some small matter. Lace patterns, he thought it was. And then his mother asked him what he had been doing with his morning.

“Much duller things than you have been doing,” he answered. “I was talking with Remonte and the Castellan. They have asked me to take up the post of Southern Magister.”

Marion noticed that Lily and Thedera and his mother were all surprised and impressed by that. Marion wondered what it meant.

“It is a judicial position,” he explained. “Like a magistrate, except I would preside over trials ranging from minor land disputes to major criminal cases. I would be responsible for the dispensing of justice on the Southern Continent.”

“Oh,” Marion said. “That’s a very high position, then.”

“Yes, it is. I told them that for the foreseeable future I would not return to the diplomatic corps, and so they offered me that position instead.”

“Why not the diplomatic corps?” Marion asked.

“Because you and I need stability in our lives,” he answered. “Diplomatic posts rarely last more than a few years. That is the nature of them. You need to learn to call Gallifrey home, to be comfortable here. Our children need to be born on Gallifrey, in the same house I was born in for preference.”

“I should hope so,” Aineytta said. “I am glad there are reasons for you to stay here. You have wandered the universe too much, my dear son. Time for you to come home and claim your heritage. Take your Earth Child as your wife and let me be the first to bow my head to you and call you My Lord.”

“You DO that?” Marion asked in surprise. “To your own son?”

“When he is Lord and Patriarch of the House of Lœngbærrow, yes, I will,” Aineytta answered. “It is how it is. And I have looked forward to that day since he was born. My son. The seer told me he would be a warrior and a wanderer, but then he would come home in glory and he has done so.”

“I don’t believe what those people say at all,” Lily said. “I think they make it up as they go along.”

“No,” Aineytta insisted. “It is true. He HAS been a warrior and a wanderer. And now he is here, at last, with us.”

“Well,” Marion said. “I think it is good that Kristoph will have a job to do and so will I. Just like when we were living on Earth and he was a teacher and I was at my studies. We will neither of us be idle.”

“Quite right,” Thedera answered her. “Kristoph will be Magister of Southern Gallifrey and Lord and Master of the House of Lœngbærrow and its estates. And you will be the most popular teacher at the school.”

“Have you thought how you will GET to the school?” Kristoph asked her. “You realise it is nearly twenty miles away from Mount Lœng House.”

Marion looked at him and realised he was right. She had never thought of it. Of course, the family owned several cars. She had seen them in the garage beside the house. And they employed at least two chauffeurs. But she couldn't go to work as a teacher in a chauffer driven car. And Kristoph had his own duties. Besides, she had to be herself, not dependent on him.

“I shall have to learn to drive,” she decided. “I could learn, couldn’t I? A hover car is… well, just a car, after all.”

“Didn’t you learn to drive on Earth?” Lily asked her. “I thought Earth people had cars.”

“Never got around to it,” she said. “Kristoph used to drop me at the train station and I went up to the college on my own. Mostly in the evenings he would meet me in the car, or in the TARDIS at the weekends when we would go away somewhere. The idea of driving myself just never occurred to me.”

“Well, now it has,” Kristoph said. “I can teach you.”

“No,” Marion answered with a laugh. “On Earth they say never teach a lover to drive or you fall out of love.”

“Well, then,” Thedera settled it. “I will teach you to drive, Marion. And when you have learnt, you can take Kristoph away for the weekend, and he will have to learn to be a passenger.”

“Well, at least let me take you to buy a car,” Kristoph said. “That at least is something a man should do for his wife.”

“Not mine,” Thedera answered. “He doesn’t even know how the front part of a car works, Rassilon bless him. He has never been anywhere without being driven. He has never understood why it is that we women like to drive ourselves.”

“Women’s equality is still not quite there on Gallfirey,” Kristoph explained to Marion with a conspiratorial wink. “I suspect there may be a revolution one day, when the women will storm the capitol by car and capture all our chauffeurs and we men will be helpless.”

Marion laughed at the idea. So did everyone at the table. She didn’t notice that people at other tables looked around wondering what the joke was. Kristoph did. He heard them asking each other who the young woman was at the centre of all the joyfulness and being told that she was the wife-to-be of the Lœngbærrow heir. And he heard at least one of them say that they must invite her to luncheon, or tea, or to the soirée they had planned.

Yes, Kristoph thought. Just as it ought to be.