The Dominique Family
Piper opened the blue wooden door and stepped into the open. She took a deep breath of the cool, autumn air and sighed. The Tardis had landed in a quiet, suburban neighborhood. The trees were colored cool shades of pomegranate red, monarch yellow, and pumpkin spice orange. The wind picked up as Piper sunk slightly deeper into her coat. This was the first time she had ever been to America since she was five. Her mother had called her less than two days ago announcing to Piper that they had been invited to spend a weekend with her relatives in Williamsburg. Not just any weekend, but Thanksgiving weekend. Thanksgiving was an American holiday, and the Dominique clan in England did little to nothing for it other than a nicer dinner than usual, despite the fact that Mr. Dominique himself, was American. Now Piper would experience the authenticity of Thanksgiving that her father would talk about this time of year; and she was not alone. A man in a brown suit, tie, and large khaki coat stepped out shortly behind her from the blue, public call police box.
“Well, here we are: Williamsburg, Virginia. November 23rd, 2008” he announced, “the birthplace of the American Revolution.”
Piper hissed through her teeth as and excited chill went up her spine.
“It’s just like I remembered it! It’s so beautiful out here!” she exclaimed.
“Not any different from London in the Fall” the man commented.
Piper playfully punched him in the arm.
“Oi! You’re ruining the fantastical whimsy!”
The Doctor shrugged. “Autumn in any place looks the same to me.”
Piper rolled her eyes and grabbed his hand.
“Come on Uncle Doctor, Grandma and Grandpa’s house is just a little down the road.”
Together, they started down the road as the wind picked up again and blew the leaves gently across.
When they got to the driveway, Piper eagerly ran ahead of the Doctor and up the stairs to knock on the front door. One of differences in her new regeneration, was that she was actually excited to see her family again. Before then, she would probably be dreading it. If having a reunion with her American relatives after nearly ten years wasn’t delightful enough, she would get to introduce the Doctor to her family. She hoped that it wouldn’t be a disaster. She had to do a lot of persuading to get the Doctor to come to Williamsburg, especially at Thanksgiving. He didn’t particularly care for family reunions. He insisted that he come with a cover. He didn’t want to have to explain that he and Piper were blood-related. So, he was going to pose as Piper’s (former) History teacher, and the two of them were already in town on a Historical field trip. It was a little sketchy, but they could make it work.
After waiting a few seconds, just enough time for the Doctor to catch up with her, the door was opened by an older lady, with silvery-white hair, a pink v-neck, and white pants. She grinned.
“Piper Ksenia Dominique!” she greeted, joyfully.
Piper beamed. “Hi Grams!”
“Let me look at you!” said the old woman as she cuffed her hands around her head. “Oh my goodness, you’ve got beautiful, long, red hair!” she observed, “So elegant! You’ve grown so much since I’ve seen you!”
Piper’s cheeks reddened at the compliments.
“Who’d you bring with you?” the old woman asked, sweetly.
Piper turned to the Doctor, who was silently standing behind her, trying to not be noticed. Piper gestured him forward.
“This is…Mr. Smith. He was my History teacher back in school” she introduced.
The Doctor smiled politely and shook the lady’s hand.
“Pleasure to meet you” he said, dryly.
“Well, it’s a pleasure to meet you too. My name’s Liliah Dominique, you can just call me Liliah. Come in, come in! Don’t want the two of you to freeze to death out here!”
As Liliah went inside, Piper glanced nervously at the Doctor, concerned about his thoughts of this trip possibly being doomed from the start. However, with a loving, encouraging smile from her uncle, she had the courage to continue forward inside the house.
The television was on in the living room when they walked in. There was one man in his mid-thirties sitting on the couch on the right side, two little boys sitting in front of the tele, and a woman in her fifties standing in the kitchen.
“Hey guys!” Piper announced.
Everyone’s heads turned to them.
“Piper!” The man on the couch exclaimed as he got up and embraced her, “My! How you’ve grown!” Then, he leaned in to take a closer look. “Didn’t you used to have black hair?”
Piper shifted her weight, a bit nervously.
Then, she replied, “That was a temporary color, Gramps.”
She turned to the Doctor for an indication that her excuse was valid. The Doctor nodded as he started leaning back and forth on his heels. He was growing restless. Though, from what, Piper wasn’t sure.
Then, she introduced, “Uncle Matthew, this is Un- My History professor, John Smith.”
The Doctor moved forward and shook the man’s hand.
“Pleasure to meet you, good sir. One of my sons’ name is John.”
“What a coincidence” the Doctor replied with a slight annoyed tone.
Piper glared at him. He only shrugged.
Then, he leaned in and whispered as Matthew left, “How long did you say it was since you’ve seen your father’s family?”
“Ten years. Why?”
The Doctor rubbed his chin.
“Hmm, that explains why no one’s concerned about your dramatic change in appearance.”
Piper said nothing.
Piper turned to the back of the kitchen. She saw a black haired woman, wearing a fancy purple blazer, long sleeve black shirt underneath, and black flannel pants.
“Aunt Leanne!” Piper exclaimed.
Leanne embraced her with a formal, gentle hug. Then, she quietly observed her.
“Wow. You’ve grown so much! Last time I saw you, you looked just like me!”
Piper laughed nervously, remembering back when she did have black hair and blue eyes.
Leanne looked up at the Doctor. Leanne carried an intimidating air about her. Not a wrinkle could be found on her clothing, and she had her hands gently folded in front of her. It made the Doctor the tiniest bit nervous.
“Who’re you?” she asked, firmly.
The Doctor quickly reached into his pocket and pulled out his psychic paper.
“John Smith. Teacher at Queen Anne High School in London” he announced.
Leanne raised an eyebrow.
“Um…you don’t have to do that” Piper muttered.
Before Leanne could read it thoroughly, the Doctor put it back in his pocket.
After a couple seconds of awkward silence, Piper cleared her throat.
“Um, Grams? When’s the parade coming on?” she asked.
“Parade?” The Doctor echoed.
“Yeah, the parade. Dad said his family watches the Kasey’s Thanksgiving Day Parade every year. That was my favorite part. I haven’t seen it in years!”
“More of a favorite than the turkey?”
Piper playfully nudged him.
“At around nine. Which is about-”
Piper’s grandmother paused to look at her wrist-watch.”
“-10 minutes; and don’t forget to remove your shoes.”
Piper nodded and walked back into the front room.
“Erm, Piper?” the Doctor said, once they were alone.
“I think I might…Just step out for just a few minutes.”
Piper sighed, annoyed.
“Come on, Uncle Doctor, we just got here! Can’t you stay just a little longer?” she pleaded.
The Doctor shifted his weight. “Family reunions just aren’t my thing.”
He then cupped his hands around her face and smiled, hopefully.
“I promise I’ll be back in time for supper, yeah?”
Piper sighed again.
“Alright. But don’t you run off for too long, okay?”
The Doctor chuckled.
Gently, he kissed her on the forehead, before exiting out the front door. Piper walked to the door to watch him leave, walk down the street, and step into the ominous blue box standing on the street corner.
“Where’d he go off too?”
Piper jumped as she whirled around. Leanne was standing there, leaning on the doorpost.
“Um-! He…He had some errands to run. He’ll be back by this evening for dinner” Piper explained.
Leanne looked at her with a strange look. Did she see? What would she think?
Then, she heard her cousins in the living room cry.
“Daddy! The parade’s about to start!”
With that statement, Piper smiled nervously, and slipped past her aunt, and into the living room. Piper sat quietly next to her Uncle Matthew on the couch as the speakers began to talk above all the noise of the people watching on the sidewalks behind them on the television.
A little over an hour went by as the parade on the tele continue to walk gracefully through New York. Snacks were now being passed around between the kitchen and the living room. The boys were promptly getting popcorn all over the floor and Uncle Matthew quickly rebuked them and demanded they clean up their mess.
Piper slouched slightly in the seat, ignoring them and continued watching the parade. As the watched the Spider-Boy balloon go by, her mind drifted back to the Doctor. She checked her watch. Eleven o’clock. She forgot to mention to him that the Dominiques had their Thanksgiving dinner early! She pulled out her flip-phone and started to dial his number, but stopped when Uncle Matthew asked:
“So, how’s school been, Piper? Your dad tells me you’ve started homeschooling.”
Piper canceled the dial and quickly flipped her phone back so he wouldn’t see the Doctor’s number. She cleared her throat.
“Yes, I have!”
“Do you…like it?”
“Oh! Most certainly!” Piper exclaimed, “No more annoying classmates throwing erasers in the back of your neck! You can just simply mute them; and the teachers are very reasonable. They can see all conversations and can easily ban it! It’s very refreshing!”
“Do you ever get to go anywhere? You couldn’t possibly be invited to many parties I presume?”
Piper laughed dryly. “Trust me, I go out plenty. Besides, I’ve got all the people I need in my life. I don’t need silly-”
Piper stopped. As she glimpsed at the telly, she noticed something strange. They cut back to a float passing by who then paused, and some American pop artists began singing. But that’s not what got Piper curious. What did, was the fact she saw the float behind it being climbed on by little, fat, men, covered in brown mud and twigs for hair. It looked nothing like the theme of the float, which had a bright, colorful, almost sugary candy theme. She felt a different presence sit next to her.
“Piper…” Said a low, firm, but gentle voice.
She turned around and saw Aunt Leanne. For whatever reason, Uncle Matthew had got up, and Aunt Leanne seized the opportunity to ask Piper some questions about her strange History teacher.
“Yes?” Piper asked, half distracted.
“That man you invited, who is he?” Leanne imposed.
“I told you. He’s my school teacher” Piper brushed off.
“But you just said you’re homeschooled now; and I’ve seen how Online Schools work. You couldn’t have possibly won a trip to Williamsburg, let alone on Thanksgiving weekend.”
Piper bit her lip. She kept watching the television, but she could hear and understand very well what Leanne was implying. Busted. She should’ve known that her Aunt wouldn’t buy it. She was the intelligent and methodical one of the family.
“I’m asking because I’m worried, Piper. Your parents seem to trust him, but they won’t say who he is or where he came from.”
Piper’s hearts began to race a little. What could she tell her? There was no other lie she could think of that would work! The whole parade was stopped at this point. There was no word on what was going on, but it looked like a surprise performance. Then, Piper saw something interesting. She saw two figures suddenly run up beside the float. One had what looked like to be a sprayer in his hand. She recognized them instantly. It was the Doctor and herself!
Piper suddenly lept off the couch.
“I’ll be right back!” She announced as she raced out of the living room, grabbing her coat along the way.
“Piper!” Leanne called.
But Piper ignored her, and jumped out the door and into the yard.
“Look daddy! Trolls are attacking the Candyland float!” One of the boys exclaimed, excitedly.
Leanne turned back to the TV. Sure enough, trolls were attacking the float, scaring off the volunteers standing on it. Leanne peered closer. She saw Piper and her “History teacher!” Right there, smack dab in the middle of the Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City.
“But that’s impossible!”
Leanne rushed out of the room to catch up to Piper. As the chilling breeze blew, Leanne rushed out the door. But there was no one there. Piper had vanished.