16. IT RAINED THAT DAY
It was raining, and they were fighting.
Really, Amy knows, they are only fighting because it’s raining. They’d been planning on a picnic and Rory had seemed particularly enthused by the idea, buying up what seemed like every single cocktail sausage and petit fours M&S had on their shelves and making absolutely sure that everything was perfect.
“I don’t see what the big deal is Rory, it’s just a picnic! It’s raining, we can’t go, get it over it, we’ll go another day.”
Rory is sitting on the sofa, hugging a cushion and sulking.
“You don’t understand,” he mutters, “It was going to be perfect.”
Amy sighs dramatically.
“I’m sure it was but it’ll be perfect next weekend as well.” He shakes his head, burying his face in the upholstery.“No. We can’t do it next weekend. There’s stuff.”“Stuff?” she asks, querulously “What ‘stuff’? If this picnic means that much to you can’t you just reschedule ‘stuff’?” There’s no reply and Amy flings up her arms in exasperation.“Whatever Rory. Seeing as this picnic isn’t happening I’m going into town, I’ve got to pick up my new costume. See you later.”Suddenly Rory jumps to his feet.“No!” he gasps “No, don’t go! You can’t go! We were, we were going to spend the day together!” “Yeah, we were, when the picnic was happening. But it’s raining Rory! It’s chucking it down. We can’t picnic in the rain, I thought we’d established that. And I’m not sitting inside all day, I need to get out. So I’m going into town.” She picks up her jacket, starts pulling it on.“Amy, please. Please, don’t go. Stay, today. We’ll…we’ll have an indoors picnic!” He suddenly looks excited again. “Yes, we’ll have an indoors picnic, like when we were kids. We can put the rug on the floor and it’ll be fun. It’ll be really…” he trails off as Amy raises an eyebrow at him.“No, Rory. I’m not sitting on the floor and pretending I’m not still stuck inside. God, will you stop being so clingy? I don’t know why I ever agreed to go out with you, you’re so needy all the time.”
With that she storms outside, not even bothering to grab an umbrella. It’s raining much harder than she thought it was and her hair is plastered to her head in a moment. She’s sorry already for flinging Rory’s neediness in his face – deep down she knows it’s all her fault for tying herself to him so tightly, but she’s not going back in again.
Determinedly she buttons her jacket and hugs her arms to herself, hurrying down the path.
“Amy!” Rory has followed her. In his pyjama bottoms and a t-shirt with no shoes on, he’s followed her. “Amy, wait!”
She sighs, carries on walking, heading for the village green and the bus stop. Behind her she hears the spatter of Rory’s bare feet on the wet ground.
“Amy, please. Don’t go. Not like this.” Inexplicably Amy feels tears in her eyes and she huffs, frustrated with herself for being so weak as to care. She keeps going, over the bridge into the village.
“Amy! Look, Amy, I’m sorry okay but I can’t help it. I love you Amy!” It’s suddenly too much for her; she spins on her heel and yells at him through the sheeting rain.
“Rory! For god sake, just go home! You’ll get pneumonia or something and I would have no idea how to deal with that. Just…go home.”
He stops. Finally, he stops. Forlorn and pathetic in his sodden pyjamas, rain-slicked hair sticking to his forehead and looking at her like his heart is breaking.
“Amy…” he croaks it out and she closes her eyes, takes a deep breath and then turns away from him.
She’s almost at the bus stop when she hears the slap of his running feet. The chain around the green clatters and he’s obviously trying to take a short cut across the grass but she is not going to look at him again, she’s absolutely not…
There is a huge and spectacular splash which she can hear even over the hammering of the rain.
Rory, ridiculous, mad, pathetic Rory, has slipped and fallen into the duck pond.
“Rory!” At once Amy is running over to him, heels sticking in the mud. “Rory you complete idiot what are you playing at?”
He’s floundering in the pond, trying to get to his feet. The water’s only waist high but it’s obviously slippery and there’s water weed in his hair and if she thought he looked wet and bedraggled before…
Amy reaches the pond and grabs the lamppost to secure her footing.
“Take my hand then Rory, I’ll drag you out you stupid, stupid man.” But Rory, having finally gained his footing, shakes his head.
“Don’t be stupid Rory, just take my hand and we’ll get you home and then I can tell you what a complete idiot you are.”
He shakes his head again. He’s standing in the duck pond up to his middle, covered in slime and weeds and the rain is still splattering all over him, the most pathetic looking person imaginable, but he’s defiant.
“I love you Amy Pond.” He’s shouting and somehow Amy knows not to put him down this time. “I love you and there’s nothing you can do about that. I know…” he spits out a mouthful of mud. “I know I’m not the smartest or the most handsome or the greatest guy in the world. I know- I know I’m not the Doctor. But I love you.”
There’s a pause, and Amy hears the rumble of the bus behind her.
“Rory…Rory I’m sorry I yelled at you. We can have our picnic soon, I promise. But I have to catch the bus.”
She turns to go.
“This is not about the picnic!” He explodes suddenly. “This was never about the picnic! This was about you and me and the fact that I love you, Amy. I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you! I wanted to have the picnic because I was…” he sighs, shakes pondweed from his wrist, “I was going to propose today!” Amy falters, suddenly unsure in a way Rory hasn’t seen her for years. Hesitantly, she glances back at him.
“You…you were going to propose?” He nods.
“Yeah.” His head drops for a moment and then suddenly he’s looking back up at her, and even though the bus is slowing to a stop she keeps staring at him, rain running down the back of her top and one heel buried in the mud.
“Amy, I love you. I can’t say it enough. I love you. And I want to marry you and live with you and have babies with you and grow old with you. And the ring’s in the picnic basket and this isn’t how I wanted to do this at all but Amy – will you marry me?”
There’s a slightly hopeless tone to his voice, a little shrug in his shoulders that she can tell means he is expecting her to say no, to run scared from the idea and jump onto the bus and never come back to Leadworth. And for a moment, she thinks of it.
Amy looks at Rory, wretched, sodden Rory. She looks at the bus, doors open and waiting to take her away from making a choice, waiting to take her away from ever having to commit to anything or anyone. She looks back at Rory.
Then she lets out a little sob, a sob she will vociferously deny ever happened later, and runs towards him. Her heels stick and she kicks them off, letting the mud squish between her toes.
Rory realises what she’s doing only a second before it happens, and then she’s flung herself into his arms, right into the pond with him. He stumbles under the sudden weight and they both go under, resurfacing a moment later to spit out dirty pond water and scramble to stand on the uneven floor of the pond.
She’s laughing, clutching onto his arms and he steadies her, hands on her arms. The rain falls in heavy drops between them and she looks into his eyes.
“Of course I’ll marry you Rory you idiot.” It takes a second for the words to compute and then he gives a little half-laugh of shock.
“Really? Even though I’m clingy and needy and you don’t know why we’re even in a relationship?” She shuts her eyes, wincing at the words she flung at him less than half an hour ago.
“Yes. Obviously. Rory…you drive me crazy, but I love you.”
“You terrify me.” He tells her baldly, and then she wraps her legs around his waist and he hoists her up as they kiss.
An immense rumble of thunder brings them back to the real world. Amy drops back to her feet and leans against him.
“I can’t believe we just got engaged in a duck pond.” He laughs into her hair.
“I can’t believe we just got engaged. I hoped, but I never really thought…” she looks up at him with warm eyes and raindrops spattering on her nose.
“Suppose you don’t know me as well as you thought then. Now can we please, please get out of this pond and get out of the rain? God knows what we’re going to do if we both get pneumonia.”
They struggle out together, Rory pushing Amy up and then clambering out himself, and squelch back home. Amy starts getting excited about the engagement ring waiting for her ‘Is it a diamond one? Am I going to love it?’ and Rory shakes his head at all her entreaties ‘You’ll see, it’s got to be a surprise’.
As they reach the top of Amy’s road, she stops suddenly.
“Rory, now we’re engaged, we’re going to be together forever aren’t we?” He pulls her into his arms so that her face is inches from his.
“Yes.” He says firmly. “Now that I’ve got you, I’m not letting you go. We’re going to be together until we die.”
Then she tilts her head and their mouths meet and they kiss, one last time, in the pouring rain.