Marion woke and knew she was alone in the bed. But that was all right. She was accustomed to that now. Except for the very first morning of their married life, Kristoph had left the bed each morning all through their honeymoon.

She turned and looked at his pillow. There was a white rose lying on it as usual. A token of his love. She sat up and put it in the vase by her bed with the fresh flowers that were there when they went to bed last night for the first time as master and mistress of Mount Lœng House. Then she slipped her silk kimono gown on and went quietly to the door to the left of the bedroom.

Kristoph was in his meditation room, kneeling there in his robe. She watched him quietly for a moment, then closed the door again and crossed to the other door which led to the huge bathroom, almost as big as the bedroom. There was a shower cubicle and an ordinary bathtub, and also a jacussi set into the floor. She turned that on and it filled with warm water. She added a few drops from one of the bottles of essences Aineytta had left in the bathroom and dropped her gown. She soaked in the effervescent water for a long, luxuriant time. She was still there when she heard Kristoph enter the bathroom and go to the shower. She climbed out of the bath and stepped into the drying cabinet, a delicious Gallifreyan luxury that she felt should have been developed on Earth, too. Warm air dried her body. Hotter blasts blew her hair as she combed it through. Then talcum powder wafted over her body and she put moisturiser from a dispenser on her fingers and massaged it into her face. It was a very pleasant way to prepare for dressing.

She dressed in the bedroom, selecting underwear and a day gown from her wardrobe. She was sitting at the dressing table finishing her light make up when Kristoph, fresh from the drying cabinet came and selected his own clothes for the day. He had less choice than she did. He was going to spend a day at the Magister’s sessions. He wore a black robe with silver fastenings, suitable for the solemn dispensation of justice.

First they had breakfast together in the private dining room where the table, though still a huge, highly polished one, was not so ridiculously out of proportion to the needs of two people as the one in the grand dining room. They lingered as long as they could over the coffee and then Kristoph said he had to go. Marion walked with him to the front door and he kissed her on the lips before walking down the steps to the car that awaited him. It hovered over the driveway and was gone.

Marion smiled. It was all perfectly normal. He was going to work. She was at home keeping house. Just as it should be.

Just as it never had been in her life. She never had parents that did that. But all the same there was a perfect feeling about it and she kept smiling as she turned towards her private rooms.

The private rooms had been a surprise to her. She had never expected it. But if she had been given a choice then she could not have decorated these four rooms in the east wing of the house any more to her own tastes. The drawing room was delightful. It was papered with a cool, cream paper and there were paintings of Victorian Liverpool on the walls. There were two big sofas and a set of armchairs so that she could have any number of her lady friends to take tea with her.

Next to that was the luncheon room where she could have lunch with those same friends, or on her own, quietly, if she wished. It was a bright, airy room with a big French door that led out onto a patio. It was winter yet and although under-floor heating melted the snow on the patio, the trees and bushes around it were covered in white. It was warm inside with a log fire burning in the fireplace, as was the drawing room.

The third room was a day bedroom with a comfortable bed that she might lie down on in the afternoon if she wanted a nap. There was a small bathroom leading from it and a dresser and wardrobe if she wanted to change her clothes and make up.

Finally there was the library. It was much like the main library that was on the other side of the house, except more brightly decorated and with mirrors and pictures between the bookcases. The books were a wonderful mixture. There were books of Gallifreyan history and literature, including commentaries and essays on her favourite works. But there were also Earth classics like her favourite gothic novel and all the Romantic poets she liked, WB Yeats who she liked in parts but found too heavy going at times, and a complete set of encyclopaedias and atlases should she want to look at them. There was a music library, too, with all her favourite CDs. On the table by the soft chairs where she could sit and read were two globes, one of Earth, the other Gallifrey. Her dual citizenship of two planets was fully recognised in this room which she knew she would love to spend the quiet hours in when she was home and Kristoph was working.

What more could she wish for?

She selected a book, the first of the Chronicles of Narnia, from her bookshelf and sat and read it. Her own life had been nearly as fantastic for a long time, but she was happy to sit, composed and quiet, and have a colourful fantasy from Earth entrance her for a while.

She forgot the time altogether until her personal maid, Rika, came in and brought mid-morning tea. She thanked her and reminded her that she was expecting visitors for lunch. The girl nodded politely and called her madam and left her to her tea. She selected another book, this time a book from the Gallifreyan shelves and drank tea while she lost herself in another delightfully colourful world until she looked up again. Now it was twelve thirty and Caolin, the butler came in to tell her that her guests had arrived.

“I’ll see them in my drawing room,” she said, and she put away the books and went through to the other room to greet Aineytta and Lily. Rika was taking their Lapin-lined winter coats from them as they smiled and greeted her warmly.

“Please sit down,” Marion said. “I’m so glad to see you both. Rika, please tell cook we’ll have lunch for three in the white dining room in fifteen minutes.”

“Yes, Madam,” Rika said with a bob of a curtsey to her that Marion wasn’t QUITE used to yet. Then she sat with her mother in law and her dearest friend on Gallifrey. She smiled widely.

“I’ve not seen EITHER of you since the wedding,” she said. “It seems ages.”

“A month, of course,” Aineytta commented. “That’s a traditional honeymoon here on Gallifrey. And you look like you enjoyed it.”

“More than that!” Lily laughed. “My dear girl, you look positively glowing. Aineytta, don’t you agree? She looks like a woman who has known the complete love of a Time Lord.”

“She does, Aineytta agreed. “My son takes after his father in that respect, I think.”

Marion blushed but she could not disagree with either of them. It had been a very passionate honeymoon.

“Yes,” she said. “It was wonderful. But now it is time to begin my new life in earnest.”

“You seem to be doing very well, so far,” Aineytta said to her.

“I hope I am. It feels strange yet. Like playing house. It hasn’t quite sunk in, even with these beautiful rooms to call my own. And it IS strange to meet you as a visitor to this house, Aineytta.”

“It is how it is meant to be. You ARE Lady de Lœngbærrow now. This is YOUR home. Next week, you will come to lunch at the Dower House and you will be more than welcome.”

“Yes, I shall. But I start teaching at the Caretaker school tomorrow,” she said. “I have arranged it. I will do two half days of the week and Saturday morning.” She paused. “No, I should get it right. Stón morning. I must use the proper names for the days of the week. But anyway that still leaves plenty of time for receiving visitors and for visiting others. And for all the balls and parties and dinners.”

“You’re working the morning after you have a dinner party here for the Lord High President?” Lily queried her.

“I don’t see why not,” she answered. “It’s not as if I have anything much to do in preparing the dinner. I have an army of servants doing the work. My only role is to select the menu and decide which gown to wear.”

“Don’t wear yourself out doing too much,” Lily cautioned her. “Kristoph would not be happy if you made yourself ill. None of us would be.”

“I can manage,” she insisted. “It’s not as if we’re going to have a baby yet, after all.”

“You’re not?” Aineytta looked a little disappointed. “I thought that you would…”

“Kristoph decided… Well, we both decided. But he said we should wait a little while. Because I DO want to teach for a while, and even though it does take sixteen months, I would have to give up working.”

“It is up to the two of you, of course,” Aineytta assured her. “Though I shall so look forward to holding your child in my arms. My grandchild.”

Aineytta was already a grandmother, of course. But she had never even seen Remonte’s child. Idell had withdrawn completely from society since her last humiliating attempt to prevent their Alliance. Besides, of course, Marion’s child would be the blood heir of the family. The first born of her first born.

“We’ll do our best,” Marion promised.

“Just so long as you ARE happy,” Aineytta told her. “That’s all that matters to me.”

“I am,” she answered. “Very happy.”


And she was. It was wonderful to have her dearest friends lunching with her as a new snowfall melted on the patio outside the window. It was pleasant to sit with them in the afternoon and talk about the lessons she planned to teach to the children tomorrow. She read to them from the book she was reading, and played cds of the music she and Kristoph had loved to play in their home on Earth. She enjoyed tea with them before they departed. She sighed happily and went to her daybed to rest for a few hours before Kristoph would be home from his long day and they would take dinner together. Then they would relax together in the main drawing room until bedtime.

She took another Jacuzzi bath before bed and this time Kristoph joined her in it. They embraced lovingly in the warm water and enjoyed the sensation of the bubbles on their bodies. She told him of what his mother had said.

“I knew mother would be disappointed,” he said. “I think she hoped I would bring you back from our honeymoon already pregnant. But there is plenty of time for that. Until then, our love-making will simply be for pleasure. And it IS pleasurable. Very pleasurable.”

Marion sighed happily and submitted willingly to the demands his body was making, remembering that it was the one part of her Alliance vows she wholeheartedly assented to.

The first day of the rest of her life ended just as she hoped it would.