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Rose Tyler moves to Broadchurch

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Rose Tyler was a normal 27 year old from London who never met The Doctor.  She lost the love of her life in an accident and vowed she'd never love again but then she moved to a small seaside town called Broadchurch and learned to love again with Alec Hardy, not realizing he looked like who she had told Alec was her dead fiancée until her mother points it out.  What will she do?    




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AU - Rose Tyler was a normal 27 year old from London who never met The Doctor.  She lost the love of her life in an accident and vowed she'd never love again but then she moved to a small seaside town called Broadchurch and learned to love again with Alec Hardy, not realizing he looked like who she had told Alec was her dead fiancé until her mother points it out.  What will she do? 

Scroll down each chapter to read more!
Chapter 1

This one is a weepy so get your tissues out!

Takes place in the real world where Rose never met 'The Doctor' and it's a tale of sadness that turns into happiness in a short space of time until events threaten to tear them apart as Rose cannot entirely let go of her past.  Will Alec Hardy finally run out of patience with her?  How will he cope competing against her dead husband when he finds out her mother has told her he looks like him but Rose can't see it?  Does he confront her with it, does Rose fall out with her mother for telling him when she didn't want him to know?


The day Rose lost the love of her life was the day she lost interest in everything. They had been happy, looking for a house to buy, Rose had her qualifications and worked in a bank as an assistant small business advisor and John was a college tutor who she had met in her final year just a few weeks after the start of term.  She was nineteen and he was twenty six.  They had planned to wait for Rose to go on study leave before they had started dating properly in public, just appearing to be friends when they were out, until he had finally swept her off her feet and they got engaged on her twentieth birthday and they were saving to buy a house.  That had been seven years ago and now she was alone with only his memories.  She didn't need to keep working to stay in the one bedroomed flat they had been sharing because he had left her well provided for plus their savings but every day there were reminders of him.  Their laughter, the teasing as she tried to get him to let her out of bed and Sunday mornings when he'd make her breakfast and they'd eat in bed and she felt some comfort in it and couldn't bare to leave.

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Rose had been on her own for two years and no further from moving forward with her life.  Plenty of men asked her out and she would go out for the odd date but ran a mile at anything else and never go on a second date.  She would visit her mother every Sunday to take her mind off Sundays with him, her mother lived in the same flat Rose had grown up in and was proud when Rose did well at school and went to college.  She had been nervous about her daughter's relationship with an older man although John was only six years older but had accepted him in the end.  She knew Rose loved him.

Rose was doing well at work but was still only an assistant and really wanted to move on.  So she had asked several times and finally she was told the next vacancy to arise would be hers but she may have to move or travel.  She wasn't bothered, perhaps getting out of the flat would be better for her.  Two years had passed and still no nearer a promotion and she had even tried other banks but there were so few vacancies because people loved their jobs.

Then suddenly out of the blue, she was summoned to the Manager's office and was told there was a vacancy if she wanted but would have to relocate.  A place called 'Broadchurch' she was told, a small seaside town down on the Dorset coast.  She was told that the bank would keep her on full pay while she relocated and give her two weeks to move and find a place to live and in the meantime, they would put her up at a local hotel and pay half the costs plus make it easy for her to rent a place without all the usual credit checks.  She said yes.

Rose decided to go down for the weekend before she finally moved so she took her mum with her and they stayed for two nights, looking around and in the letting agents window but Rose saw nothing she really liked.  On the Saturday night they had sat down for dinner when a tall man with a scruffy beard sat down opposite and Rose thought there was something very familiar about him but carried on talking to her mum as the man was glancing at something on his phone.  She had seen him the night before but thought nothing of it, he was just another guest staying there.

Eventually everything was arranged and the wheels were set in motion.  She would drive down on the Saturday morning and set up in the hotel and start looking for somewhere to rent.  Her mother wanted to go with her but she refused her help saying she had to do this on her own.  She gave a month's notice on her flat and arranged for her belongings to go into storage until she found somewhere and since she was getting a promotion and property would be cheaper she would have more choice.

So everything was packed up and she moved out of her flat and said goodbye to her mum and drove down to Broadchurch but something was still familiar about the name but she couldn't quite put her finger on it.  She checked into the hotel and the woman on the desk asked if she had much luggage as she knew the reason Rose was staying and had remembered her from a few weeks ago.

"Can I leave these two bags here while I get my suitcases out of the car? asked Rose.  The woman nodded and said they'd be fine.

So Rose walked back out to her car and opened the back door and was not looking forward to lifting either of the cases out and was wondering which would be the lesser of the two evils.  Suddenly a voice behind her made her jump.

"Do you need some help there?" asked a man's voice that sounded Scottish.

Rose didn't even turn, she just froze.  She was not accustomed to asking for help. "No, I've got it thanks," she replied as she struggled to get to one of the handles as they had wedged together.

"Yes, I can see that," the voice said sarcastically.

Rose turned around to tell the owner of the Scottish voice she was quite capable of getting a suitcase out of a car and changed her mind.  It was the man with the still scruffy beard she has seen a few weekends back sitting at the table opposite in the hotel dining room.

"Oh, sorry, it's just I don't accept help from strangers" as she turned back and was just about to get hold of a tyre wrench in case he tried anything, when he spoke again.

"It's ok Miss, I'm a Police Officer," he said behind her.

"Oh yeah," she thought, "I've heard that one before" and picking up the object was just about to turn as an I.D card was thrust in front of her nose.  It read Detective Inspector Alec Hardy.  Rose dropped the tyre wrench, quietly and turned around to face him.

"Sorry, can't be too careful" and stood to one side, indicating the cases had wedged together and there was no room to manoeuvre them out.

He leaned down over the two cases and with one tug, pulled them apart, loosening one of them.  Rose gawked at him.  He looked kind of nice but his face looked sad.  He stood back, not offering to lift either of the cases out.

"Right, you should be able to manage now then," he said and stepped to one side, looking at her and indicated to the separate cases.  Rose continued gaping at him and wasn't aware her mouth was open.  He stepped away from the car and started walking off but Rose found her voice before he had got two steps away.

"Well, some help might be nice after all," she admitted quietly and wasn't sure he'd heard her.

He had.  He turned around and walked passed her and picked up the case from the back, put it on the ground then lifted the other one out and placed it alongside. Rose closed the back door and looked up at him and quietly said "Thanks."

He picked up the largest of the cases as Rose picked up the other one and he said, "Right, you'd be taking them into the hotel then?  It's a lot of luggage for one person on holiday, especially at this time of year." It was early March.

Rose never answered and started to walk off in the direction of the hotel entrance, thinking to herself, "I've picked a right one here.  Blooming Detective Inspector that's sarcastic and asks a lot of questions."  He followed three paces behind thinking he'd picked a right one as well.

Rose wheeled her suitcase and rested it by the reception desk and Alec Hardy placed the one he was carrying down beside it.  Becca Fisher eyed the pair of them and said slyly, "You making yourself useful, Inspector?  Since Miss Tyler is in the room opposite yours, perhaps you can give her a hand to her room?"

Alec Hardy just gave her filthy look.  Rose could see quite clearly they didn't get along, just quite why she couldn't figure.  Maybe they'd been involved and fallen out or maybe one of them had turned the other one down and it was sour grapes.

Becca turned around and picked up Rose's room key and handed it to her.  "Room 203 on the second floor.  I'd show you where it was but the Inspector's going your way and we've no porter on duty.  Oh, by the way, Miss Tyler, don't forget your other two bags," as she pulled them out from behind the desk.

There was one large holdall and one smaller one.  Alec Hardy just looked at them, then at Becca, then back to Rose who was picking up the larger one which was heavy.  Alec stopped her and took it from her and indicated for her take the smaller one then said sarcastically, "Right, this way then and I'll be charging this to the hotel Ms Fisher," as he headed for the lift with Rose following him.

Becca just said quietly, "Good luck with him love" and rolled her eyes.

Rose was wondering what she'd walked into the middle of.  It was clearly a war between the two of them.

Alec Hardy was holding the lift impatiently waiting for Rose to catch up.  She could tell by the way he had one finger on the hold button and one on the second floor button.  They rode silently, never even speaking when they got out and Alec indicated to Rose which was her room.  Rose stood there awkwardly and thought she would break the silence with a little humour as he put the suitcase and the holdall outside Rose's door.  Rose put her bags down and released the key pressed into her hand, which had left a mark.  "Well thanks, I suppose it's customary to offer you a tip then?"  It didn't go down well.

He grunted something she couldn't quite hear and he disappeared into his room, leaving Rose standing outside her room door with four bags.  "Well, so much for making friends with the natives," she thought as she dragged the bags in one by one.

She started to unpack the things she was going to need, there was no sense in unpacking everything and began organising the drawers and wardrobe.  It was when she realised she was hungry and looked at the time that she'd forgotten to ask what time dinner was and assumed it was the same as the last time she'd stayed so she checked her room was reasonably tidy and picked up her purse and room key and opened the door just as Alec Hardy was coming out of his room.  He nodded to her and they headed for the lift.  It was the same silent ride as they'd had earlier.  Rose was thinking he was the quite the frosty detective and couldn't imagine he had many friends but maybe he was only visiting.  What would a Detective Inspector from Scotland be doing in Dorset?  Was he grumpy because he'd asked Becca out and she'd turned him down?  Rose was smiling to herself.  "Can't say I blame her," she thought.

She followed him into the dining area seeing plenty of empty tables and asked him if she had to stick to any particular table.  He just replied that she could sit wherever she wanted but he crossed to a corner table by the window and she followed.

"Do you mind if I sit with you?  Only if it starts getting busy I don't want to take a table to myself."

Alec stood up while she seated herself and Rose could see this was going to be hard work to actually strike up a conversation with him.  She went for it, taking a chance.

"Listen Inspector, I know you might not be in a talkative mood and I don't want to seem ungrateful for the help earlier so I just wanted to say thanks."  She looked at him as he was studying the menu like he was reading 'The Times' newspaper with his rimless glasses and thought he looked kind of sexy in them.

The dining room was starting to fill up and she was glad she'd chosen to sit with him instead of complete strangers.  They had sort of been introduced and then three men came and sat down across in the opposite corner and were eyeing her so she felt some comfort in his company.

"That's quite alright, Miss Tyler.  I was just passing and saw you struggling.  I was just being polite but you insisted you were ok so I wasn't wanting to interfere.  I was waiting to be asked to help you."  He was trying to be as tactful as he could.

The waitress came over to take their orders and left.  Alec picked up the jug of water from the table and offered to fill Rose's glass.  She nodded.  He too had noticed the three men watching them, particularly at Rose and was watching them, at least the policeman side of him was and he was thinking there may be trouble as they were egging each other on.

"So Miss Tyler, what brings you to Broadchurch with so much luggage?  I gather you're not on holiday then?" he asked as their first course arrived.

Rose shook her head and started to attack the slice of melon she had ordered.

"Please, call me Rose," she insisted.  "No, I'm moving down here actually, from London.  What about you, you're a long way from home aren't you?  What's a Detective Inspector from where, Glasgow, doing in Dorset?"  She had finished attacking her melon and looked at him curiously.

"I hate being called Inspector but there again I don't like my first name either which is Alec.  Don't you read the newspapers or watch the news Rose?" he asked her, being careful to avoid her questions.

"Not really, been pre-occupied.  I don't read newspapers, they're full of sad stories."  She stopped and realised he was looking at her again.  "Sorry but somehow you do look familiar, like I've seen you before.  I noticed when I was here a few weekends ago."

Alec smiled, the first time since they had met a few hours earlier in the car park. "So much for remaining anonymous then.  So you do watch TV?"

Rose shook her head as their main course arrived.  She picked at her food hoping to avoid any further questions but he continued.  "Then why do I look familiar to you then?  Do I remind you of someone?  Or have you seen my picture somewhere, I was all over the news last year," he asked.

Rose was thinking hard, but his face didn't look that familiar.  Then it struck her what he'd said about being in a newspaper and it reminded her of that dreadful night and the subsequent story that followed and she dropped her knife and fork and scraped her chair back, bumping into the chair behind at she got up.  "Excuse me," was all she said as she grabbed her purse that was hanging over the chair and made her way though the dining room as people stared.

She took the stairs, not wanting to wait for the lift and fumbled with her room key, tears welling up in her eyes.  When she got inside, she flung herself on the bed and sobbed uncontrollably.  She must have been crying for about twenty minutes when a knock came on the door.  She dried her eyes on a tissue she grabbed as she got off the bed and went to the door.  It was Alec Hardy, standing with a bottle of wine  under one arm and two glasses held upside down in his other hand.  He smiled as she opened the door and he could see she had been crying.

"Thought this might cheer you up, Rose," he said, holding the items up.  Rose held the door open for him.

Just as he was standing in the doorway, the three men from the dining room came out of the lift and saw them.  One of them whistled at Rose and Alec turned and looked daggers at him.  The other two men were digging their elbows at the one who had whistled, daring him to do more.  Rose had seen them and taking no notice, took the bottle from Alec with one hand and with the other, grabbed his jacket lapel, jerked him forward and planted a kiss on his lips.  The man who had whistled said something garbled and went into his room, leaving Alec with a look on his face that was a picture.

Alec was still standing there, dazed at her sudden reaction.  Rose managed a "Sorry" and indicated for him to enter the room.  She put the bottle down and Alec put the glasses down next to it, wondering whether to say anything or not or if he was going to get thrown out.  Rose went to sit in one of the chairs.

"Why did you run off Rose?" he asked.  ''Do I remind you of someone?''  Rose nodded.  He crossed back to the table and opened the bottle of wine and poured two glasses, passing one to Rose.  "You never finished your meal," he said as he took a sip and pulled a sealed sandwich carton out of his jacket pocket that she hadn't noticed and handed it to her.  She looked surprised and accepted it.

She might have just met him a few hours ago but she was already growing fond of him despite her sadness and she needed a friend.  "No, you don't remind me of anyone, Alec but I lost someone and it was in the newspaper and when you were going on about you being in the news, I just snapped," she explained tearfully.

"I'm so sorry Rose, do you want to tell me about it?  Strictly confidential of course, I am a Police Officer," he smiled, pulling the other chair opposite hers and sitting down.  He took the sandwich from her and opened the packet, handing it back to her.  "Eat, don't mind me," he said.  Rose did as he asked.  He left her to finish her sandwich and then took the empty carton from her and went to put it in the bin.

"So, what was all that about in the doorway?  Not that I'm complaining but it seemed a bit extreme," he laughed, trying to cheer her up as he could see something was very wrong with her.

"They were horrible and I don't need jerks like that giving me the eye.  I could get plenty of that at home.  Sorry, but it was just the spur of the moment and I apologise.  I shouldn't have sprung that on you."  She looked guilty.

"Well, we could have had a drink first," he joked and Rose began to smile.  He noticed she had a beautiful smile and he didn't want to see her crying.  So Alec Hardy was going to make it his personal business to see she never did, whatever the cost.  He got up and picked up the wine bottle and refilled their glasses.

"I'm sorry, Alec, it's been a long day.  I'm just tired, it was along drive."  She drank some more wine and looked at him.  "So, you didn't mind then?  Being used as a scapegoat to get rid of those leeches?"  She put her glass down.

"No, as long as you tell me what bothers you.  You can tell me anything, it won't leave this room.  Think of it as a private interview but if you want to kiss me again, do it without any warning after I've had a few more glasses of wine," he joked.  Rose smiled again, something about her made him think she needed to smile more.

He'd some room to talk, DI Grumpy, his colleagues and DS called him, even though he'd been there the better part of a year and still wasn't settled, still refusing to set down roots and move out of the hotel and still wanting to get the hell out of Dodge. He was doing penance, he told himself, even though he'd been cleared of any wrong doing then solving a murder case, albeit, arresting the husband of his DS for it.  Then he'd had the nerve to survive several heart attacks resulting in him being forced off active duty until his nemesis, Ellie Miller had told him not to be a git and have a pacemaker fitted.  He'd told her she'd get his job, she'd said she didn't want it and she wasn't good enough and he told her no, she wasn't good enough and was surprised she'd not slapped him.

Rose was looking at him again.  Him, with the scruffy beard because he didn't need to impress anyone, even Becca Fisher had turned him down and that was saying something considering she'd had an affair with a married man who was almost arrested until she bailed him out but that had been when she'd thought he was going to die on her so she couldn't really be blamed but it had been sour grapes since.  On her part because she'd never offered again when he was well and his because he'd never asked again but he wasn't really interested in her, it was just spur of the moment, just like Rose had kissed him and now he found himself wanting to find an excuse for her to offer to kiss him again, unlike wanting Becca Fisher to offer again.

They sat staring at each other, Rose was drinking again and trying to think of something to say that didn't involve answering his questions.  Alec broke the silence.  "Rose, please don't think I'm being nosey, I hate nosey people but maybe it will help you to talk about whatever's bothering you.  If you bottle it up, it will only get worse.  Why don't you get some sleep and we can talk over breakfast, if you want?"

Rose nodded.  "Thanks Alec, I think it's just because I'm tired and I was just being silly and I can't apologise enough for putting you on the spot."

"No problem, I didn't mind, really, it was, well, nice."  It had been a long time since a woman had kissed him like that.  "I'll leave you the wine in case you want to drown your sorrows but believe me Rose, you won't find any comfort in the bottom of the bottle."  He opened her door and indicated to his door.  "I'm right there if you need to talk, any time.  I'll see you for breakfast then, say eight?"  Rose nodded.   "Goodnight then" and just as he left, he leaned down and kissed her cheek, feeling the tears.

He felt sorry for her and wished she would talk to him.  He walked the few paces to his door, turning to see she had closed hers.  What could he do to help her, she was clearly agonising over something.  She said she'd lost someone, a boyfriend, husband, fiancé, someone she had loved had died and she was trying to forget and she was moving to get away from being reminded of it but something had triggered her reaction.  He needed to know more and hoped she'd talk tomorrow when she'd had some sleep and felt better.

He tried to get to sleep but couldn't get her out of his head.  She was young, very attractive and vulnerable and he really didn't want to take advantage of her when she had been crying.  Some men would have done but not him.  He was awake at six fifteen and what was he going to do until breakfast?  Maybe he should check on Rose, make sure she was ok but she might get annoyed at being woken, or kiss him again.  He got out of bed and strolled into the bathroom, thinking a cold shower would be in order but instead, he washed his face, brushed his teeth and went back out and pulled on his jeans and a t-shirt, not bothering to fasten the buttons, some canvas shoes because he couldn't be bothered putting his socks on and picked up his mobile and room key and went to knock on Rose's door.  She could ignore him, tell him to get lost or invite him in.  He'd settle for the last option, even better if she kissed him again.  He knocked gently and waited.

Chapter 2

When Alec had left, Rose drained her second glass of wine thinking it had been a bad idea to drink so much after only eating a sandwich.  She would have had nothing if he'd not been thoughtful enough to bring her something.  Who was this Alec Hardy who had looked so familiar on closer examination?  Where had she seen him before?  She got out her laptop and connected to the hotel wi-fi and typed in 'Broadchurch Alec Hardy' and waited for the results.  Then she realised where she had seen him before.  She had not told him the truth, she has seen some TV news when she had been trying to find a film she had watched with John to get all sad again and had seen the tragic story of a young boy who had been murdered and now she remembered seeing Alec Hardy had led the investigation and eventually solved it.  Then something shocked her, he had almost died, twice while on the case from heart attacks and there she was, thinking it had been a good idea to snog him outside her door to get rid of those obnoxious blokes.

What had she been thinking?  The first man she had kissed for two years and there was something wrong with him.  This had to stop now before it had got started.  If he had been forced off active duty, what was he still doing living in an hotel?  He must still be working or he wouldn't have an I.D card so maybe he was on light duties such as a desk job?  No, she definitely couldn't get involved with him at any costs.  Maybe that's why he and Becca Fisher didn't get along, maybe he'd disappointed her or collapsed on her and she had let him carry her cases, she could have killed him.  Then he'd gone out his way to be nice to her, made sure she got something to eat after she had run out of the dining room, he not needed to do that.

No, she would be a friend to him, nothing more and forget the kiss.  She didn't know anyone and he had been nice to her so she shouldn't throw it back in his face but if he wanted more, she could use the excuse she wasn't ready to move on and spare him from being rejected by her.  Yes, that would work.  She wasn't ready anyway.

She rang her mother to let her know she had arrived safely and told her about the mysterious Police Detective she had just met, how he had helped her with her luggage and that it had been a man they had seen a few weeks before in the dining room but Jackie didn't remember him, which was unusual for her, she normally remembered any bloke wearing trousers.  She missed out the bit where she had fled from the dining room otherwise her mother would have been down on the next available train.  Rose wanted her to think she was finally getting on with her life.  Then she decided to get some sleep, she hadn't lied when she'd told him she was tired and the wine had made her even more so.  She got ready for bed, it was late but as much as she tried, she couldn't get Alec Hardy off of her mind.

Her mind finally wandered back to the first day she had met John or rather Doctor Jonathan Smith, tutor of Science and Physics.  He had asked if he could sit opposite her in the college canteen a few weeks after the start of term as she had her head buried in a business studies book and she didn't notice him at first then he'd told her she wasn't in his class and why not?  That had got her attention, he was being a smart-arse and she was about to tell him so until she looked over the top of her book then she was lost for words.  He was the most gorgeous bloke she had ever seen and he was talking to her.  They introduced themselves as he shook her hand and she told him she was doing business studies two days a week and working as a trainee in a bank the other three days.  Later that same day, he had seen her waiting on her own in a bus shelter as he was walking to his car and asked her if she wanted a ride home.  Rose knew he'd get into trouble if she accepted and politely turned him down, to which he looked disappointed but knew she was probably right, he couldn't afford any trouble, she was a college student.  She had told her friend, Suzie the following day who told her she had been right.

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Rose woke up and grabbed her phone to see what time it was.  It was six thirty and she had heard a tapping on the door that brought her back to reality.  She was hoping it was maybe Becca about something or maybe Alec had woken early but she was praying it was not that creep from last night.  She put on her dressing gown over her nightdress and switched on the bedside lamp.

"Who is it?" she called out, not willing to unlock the door.  She was relieved to find it was Alec after all.

"It's Alec," came a low voice she could just hear.

Rose unlocked the door and opened it slightly.  "Alec, it's only six thirty, don't you sleep in on a Sunday morning like normal people do?"

"Ssh, don't talk so loud, are you going to let me in or do you have to kiss me first? 'Cos if so, I told you not to give me any warning."

He stood there in a pair of tight jeans and a striped t-shirt that was unbuttoned all the way down showing his hairy chest and Rose just wanted to forget about what she had read about him last night and totally snog the life out of him in the doorway but she composed herself and let him in.

"So, why are you awake so early?  Don't even Police Officers need their sleep?"

She sat down on one of the chairs and he sat down opposite, not failing to notice her cross her legs and her nightdress was showing under her dressing gown, which she was doing her best to cover but failing miserably.  He put his mobile and key on the table, next to where the half bottle of wine now had the top back on and two unwashed glasses from last night.

"I couldn't sleep, I was worried about you, you were upset last night and I want to help Rose.  Please tell me about it."

"I really don't want to, no-one can help.  It's something I have to get over, I'm just not ready," she replied, hoping he'd get the hint and leave and let her go back to bed.

"Well, it didn't seem like that last night when you were kissing me and drinking wine with me, not to me anyway.  Do you want to talk about that?"  He was not going to drop this.

"I told you, I didn't want those blokes leering at me and when we were in the dining room, I saw you watching them, don't think I didn't notice you.  You were trying to make it look like you were giving me your full attention.  That didn't upset me.  You were going on about the news and it just all came back to me, that's all, you didn't do anything wrong so please don't think that you did.  It's me, I'm not ready to forget and I thought that I was, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to lead you on.  I know who you are now, you solved that boy's murder last year and it made you ill and you got taken off active duty.  I hope you're ok now and I'm sorry I made you carry my bags, I wouldn't have if I'd known."  Rose looked down at the floor, not wanting to meet his glance.

Alec got up and pulled his chair over and was directly in front of her.  Now he could see it wasn't really much of a nightdress she was wearing.  "Rose, I'm fine.  Yes, I got taken off active duty but I got reinstated two months later after I had an operation.  I had a pacemaker fitted."

He pulled back his t-shirt and pointed to the scar, then taking her hand, pulled out one of her fingers and put it over the fading scar.  Rose never flinched but allowed her finger to touch it and looked at him.

"Does it still hurt?" she asked, as her finger gently touched the scar and broke his grip on her hand but she stayed where she was, gently circling around it then put her hand over it.

"Only when I think about it," he smiled as he touched the back of her hand and pressed it down on him.  "Really Rose, I'm fine now."

He bent his head and kissed the back of her hand as he removed his then took her hand again and led it away from his scar directly over his heart.  She could feel it beating normally though maybe a bit more than it should be considering her close proximity to him and the fact she was wearing very little under her dressing gown which would probably have made him collapse by now.  He kissed the back of her hand again.

Rose started to move her hand slowly across his chest.  "Yeah, I can tell it's fine now but you did have me worried when I read about you though."

Suddenly on an impulse, she leaned forward and moved her hand lower as her other hand reached out for the bottom of his t-shirt and he grabbed her hand, pulling the t-shirt up as she leaned her head forward.  Alec angled his head slightly to meet her and with his other hand, brushed her cheek and whispered, "Rose" and their lips met slowly at first as she melted into him and kissed him deeper than she had last night.  Alec put his hand onto her bare legs, daring to move it further up and round the back of her thigh, kissing her deeper as he darted his tongue around seeking hers.  She responded by finding his tongue and moving her hands to take his t-shirt off as their lips parted briefly and once it was over his head, resumed their seeking of each others tongues again.

Alec stopped and said before they continued that she should know that he was probably older than her to which she said she didn't care.  He told her he was thirty eight and tried to guess how old she was tactfully without upsetting her.  He finally got her to admit she had just turned twenty seven a few weeks ago.

They kissed again then Alec pulled the belt tie of her dressing gown as he looked down to seen her breasts, not quite covered by her nightdress as she was leaning forwards and the hand that wasn't on her leg reached out to touch her breasts as they continues kissing.  Rose slid over to sit on him, putting one arm around his bare shoulders and one down on his back just above his jeans.  Alec's hand reached under the hem of her nightdress for him to discover she was wearing very skimpy knickers underneath.  Rose moved slightly on him as he felt between her legs and let out a sigh as their lips parted as he whispered her name again.  Rose was getting extremely turned on and was murmuring softly as he touched her again as she opened her legs wider and ventured under the edge of her knickers. 

Suddenly, she broke the kiss and got off his knee.  "Mmm, maybe we should just put this on hold, I'm getting way too ahead of myself, I'm really not ready for this yet.  I shouldn't have led you on again," she said as she fastened the belt of her dressing gown again.

Alec stood up and reached for his t-shirt, bewildered to say the least at her mixed signals.  No, he had done what he'd tried to avoid, he was taking advantage of her state of mind but she had responded or he thought she had responded and she'd been more than willing to reciprocate his advances.

"Rose, I'm sorry, things just got out of hand, forgive me."  He went to put his arms around her shoulders and kissed her forehead.  Rose responded by putting her arms around his still bare shoulders and rested her head on his chest.  He pulled his arms tighter around her and she lifted her head to meet his lips and kissed him again.  "I should go now and you should go back to sleep for an hour.  I'll come back and wake you so you don't miss breakfast."

"Alec, I don't want you to leave, please and I'm sorry I gave you mixed messages, I didn't mean to, it was my fault.  I just need someone and well, you were nice to me and I got carried away.  Please stay."  She reached up and kissed him again and ran her hand over his chest.

"Rose, please, just go back to bed again.  I'll stay, if you want me to but you get back into bed and I'll sit beside you."

Rose nodded and climbed back into bed again and Alec started to put his t-shirt back on but she stopped him so he sat down at her side and leaned down and kissed her forehead.  She put her arms around his shoulders and pulled him into a long kiss.  He leaned over her and fell onto her, separated by the bed covers.  Their kiss deepened and Rose carelessly pulled the covers back as he crawled towards her.  Rose reached out and unbuttoned his jeans as Alec tried to pull them down at the back as she helped him and he flung them onto the floor and crawled the rest of the way and unfastened her dressing gown again and pulled it off her shoulders, leaving the thin straps of her nightdress and her bare shoulders and him in just his shorts.

He lay just above her and looked down on her and said, "Rose, I'm not going to take advantage of you and I'm not going to do anything you don't want me to do."  He let go of her and lay on his back.  "Why don't you come and lay on me?"

Rose responded by turning over and positioned herself on his slim body as she spread out over him and he put his arm around her waist.  He could feel her through her thin nightdress which had suddenly become shorter now she was lying on him, could feel her on his chest and she could feel him through his shorts. His hands stayed where they were as they started kissing then started wandering up her back towards her shoulders and one by one he pulled the straps of her nightdress down and eased his hands down the back of it.  Rose had stopped kissing him and was enjoying feeling his hands on her and moved her head lower down and suddenly realised it was over his heart and his scar and moved it quickly.

"Rose, it's ok, it doesn't hurt, please stay there," he said as he stroked her back and she moved her head back where it had been.  "Try to close your eyes for a while, breakfast is served until nine, I won't let you miss it."

Rose just snuggled up closer to him, feeling contented.  It had been a long time since she had found comfort in a man and she was going nowhere, she was staying right where she was.  She closed her eyes as she realised he was talking to her but she was too comfortable to move, just kissing his chest and burying her head in it.  His arms gripped tighter around her shoulders then suddenly as she moved, the top of her nightdress slipped and he could feel her bare skin on his chest and he was just loving the feeling as she realised what had happened and glanced her eyes upwards at him and smiled as if to say "Oops!" but she didn't, she just lay there.  He smiled back at her, kissing her forehead.  That just made her move even more and it was driving him insane when she did it.

Her eyes were getting heavy and after another ten minutes she had closed them and drifted off.  He knew she had fallen asleep because she had stopped moving on him and lay still.  He reached an arm out for her mobile that she had left beside the bed and glanced at the time.  Seven twenty five, he could give her forty five at most to give them both time to get dressed and not miss breakfast but there again, they could always go out somewhere, it's not like the hotel was the only place in town.  He knew the café near the Police Station was open because he been there when he used to bury his head in paperwork instead of having a social life.  Now he was actually having sort of a social life, this young woman who he had met not even twenty four hours ago was lying on him in bed, with part of her that was uncovered on his chest and he hadn't even had sex with her.  He'd considered it, not a one night stand though.  No, this woman lying in his arms needed help, mentally and physically and he was prepared to do anything to see she got it.  If she just wanted his comfort, to just lay on him, he could do that but he was going to get to the bottom of what was troubling her.  He decided not to wake her, to just let her sleep.

It was nine thirty when Rose finally woke up all of a sudden and panicked.  She could feel a man's hairy chest under her cheek, warm and welcoming, two strong arms wrapped around her holding her close and she could feel his manhood through her thin nightdress and realised she like the feeling.  Then she remembered.  She was not with John, she was with Alec Hardy, the man she had met and had been taken in by not twenty four hours ago, he had sort of 'adopted' her and she was fascinated by him.  Feeling slightly guilty and enjoying the sensation slightly more than she should be, she stirred and said hello.
Chapter 3

Rose had been dreaming about John again.  After she had told her friend, who had warned her about the dangers of pursuing a tutor and he pursuing a student, to which Rose had protested she wasn't in his class so technically it didn't count, he came to sit with her again during the lunch break and started making her laugh, teasing her that she shouldn't be doing boring business studies and science was much more fun.  She had told him he was a science geek and he had called her Miss Boring and told her to live a little and he really wouldn't get into trouble if she accepted a lift home.  She had told him she'd think about it, next week as she was back to the bank again the next day, only being at college Wednesday and Thursday.  He'd asked her which bank it was and she told him not to dare to call and see her there.  He swore he wouldn't.  At home time, he'd seen her waiting in the bus shelter again but she was talking to someone so he had just walked past and waved but sat in his car so he could still see her.  Her bus arrived but she didn't get on.  He waited until the bus had gone and she was still there, she had seen him and had said goodbye to her friend.  It was raining but he opened the driver's window and beckoned her over.  She picked up her bag from the bench and walked over hurriedly and got into the passenger seat and he drove off.

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"What time is it?  Have we missed breakfast?  You said you wouldn't let me," she said as she raised her head to look at him, raising her body slightly off him, her breast now fully out of her nightdress as she moved but she didn't seem to notice. Alec did though, he could feel them touching his chest and it was taking every ounce of strength not to just have sex with her and damn the consequences.
Alec just smiled at her instead and pulled her towards him and kissed her.

"It's ok, it's just gone half nine and we can go to the café down the road for breakfast.  I really didn't want to wake you and I liked the way you lay on me."  He pulled her into another kiss.

Rose leaned more into him, pressing into his chest as he put his arms even tighter round her and moved one hand round to touch them.  He could feel her tremble at his touch then he realised he could feel something slightly wet further down and wondered if it was him or her.  It was him as Rose realised the same thing and parted from his lips.  She now looked embarrassed and started giggling and scrambled to pull up her nightdress but it was already wet and so were her knickers as she pulled it up over her tummy and sat up slightly and pulled it over her head.  Alec just stared as she did so and his now free hands reached out to touch her as she sat up straight.  Her knickers were still wet and so were his shorts and Rose just smiled at him.  She could have asked him what the hell was wrong with him and to control himself but she didn't.

"Um, Alec, I think we have a slight problem.  I think I'd better get cleaned up and dressed then go get you some clean shorts, you can't go across to your room like that," she grinned and got up off of him and walked to the bathroom and cleaned herself up, leaving him laying in bed.  Then she crossed to the dresser and opened the top drawer and pulled out some clean underwear.  "Unless of course you want to borrow some of mine," she laughed, holding out a pair of blue floral skimpy knickers on the end of her finger and twirling them around and aimed then in his direction.

He caught them and put them to his nose and smelled them then held them up and said, "I don't think they're my style" and tossed them back, hitting her face and trying very hard to ignore the fact she had now taken off her wet knickers and was standing naked in front of him.  Most men wouldn't have remained laid in the bed, he was thinking he was somewhat out of practice with this type of situation, something he was determined in the very near future to rectify.

Rose retrieved them off the floor and stepped into them as he watched.  Then she took a matching bra from the drawer which she would have normally fastened herself but she held it in front of her and walked back to the bed and sat down and asked him to do the honours which he willingly did although he would have rather her stayed as she was.  She finished getting dressed, choosing a pair of tight jeans and a pink v-necked t-shirt.  She slipped on her flat heeled canvas shoes and combed her messy hair, Alec all the while not even attempting to get out of her bed and was enjoying the show.

Rose picked up his jeans and said, "Well, you could just put these on and dash into your room I suppose if you don't want me rummaging through your underwear drawer," she teased.  "You'll have to come and get them first though," she added as she stepped further away.  It was her turn to watch him and waited for his reaction.

He had been attempting to keep the covers off his wet shorts and had only two choices, get out of bed wearing his wet shorts and retrieve his jeans from a tormenting Rose, who he knew full well was waiting to see what he would do or let her go get some clean ones for him.  Decisions, decisions.  He had things he didn't want her to see in his room.  He'd not yet told her he was divorced and had a fifteen year old daughter, the subject had not come up for debate and he didn't want her to see his wallet and decide to pick it up or accidentally drop it on the floor, not that he thought she was one for prying into other people's business but sometimes it was tempting.

He was going to tell her, she had just fallen asleep and it didn't seem right last night when she was upset enough plus the fact she thought he was still quite ill.  No, he would tell her tonight, take her out to dinner, not at the hotel and he'd tell her then.  If then she still wanted him, fair enough but if not, well he'd enjoyed the time with her and would just be a friend if that was all she wanted, he wasn't going to force her, he wasn't like that.  She would have to come to him willingly and so far everything was pointing in that direction, that she would overcome what was wrong and be with him.  It had been such a long time, too long and he needed her as much as she needed him and he had never met anyone like Rose Tyler before and she was far two young for him.

He opted for the first option although it was slightly embarrassing with a wet patch on his shorts and he was glad he'd taken his jeans off now.  He got out of her bed and crossed over to her, reaching his arm out for them.  She held on to them tightly.

"Come on Rose, give them back to me, I'll go across and get changed but first I'll go get cleaned up and take these off and just put my jeans on."

He looked at her as she wasn't about to just hand them back.  Then he knew what she wanted, payback for him watching her get changed.  OK, if that's how she wanted to play it, he was game.  He turned around and went into the bathroom and gingerly removed his wet shorts thinking he'd been a complete prat and had behaved like a schoolboy on his first sexual encounter that had not gone quite to plan.  He cleaned himself up, saw Rose's washing in a pile on the bath and added his shorts to it, thinking he'd take them back to his room later to send to the laundry and hoped they didn't notice whose they were.

He wrapped a towel around his waist and opened the door and asked for his jeans back as he intended to dash back in the bathroom with them but Rose had other ideas.  She still held onto them teasingly, like she was enjoying it.  "OK, she asked for it," he thought, slowly unwrapping the towel from around his waist but at the last second he turned away from her and held his arm back for her to hand him his jeans.  Rose reluctantly handed them to him, giggling and tapped his behind and left him to struggle into his jeans, very carefully considering he wasn't wearing any shorts and decided they were uncomfortable to say the least but it was only for a few minutes, or so he thought.

"Right, I'll go grab some clean underwear then we'll walk down and get some breakfast," he said, as he put his t-shirt back on.

Rose nodded, disappointed he'd dared to turn away at the last minute but she wasn't going to just let him get away with it.  She put her arms around his waist and pressed her body close to his and kissed him again.  She finally let him go and he went back to his room, promising he would be back in ten minutes so she started to tidy the bed and hoped there wasn't a wet patch on the bedclothes, she was in luck.  Five minutes later, there was a knock on the door and she thought Alec had been faster than he'd promised but she asked who it was but got no answer or she hadn't heard one.  She unlocked the door and opened it slightly but didn't see anyone at first then suddenly the door was knocked open and she fell back with it to see the jerk from the night before forcing his way in and before she could do anything, he had his hand over her mouth telling her to keep quiet.  Rose however had regained her wits and wasn't having any of it.  She was from a council estate in London and knew how to look after herself.

As the attacker was about to drag her over to the bed, trying to kick the door to close it, Rose bit into his hand and made a run for the door but he caught her again and grabbed her by her hair and put his uninjured hand over her mouth again as she was halfway out of the door.  Alec was mere feet away from her, so she struggled free again and elbowed his stomach causing him to double up at her blow and as he let Rose go, she was yelling "Alec" at the top of her voice.  Two seconds later, fortunately for Alec that he'd managed to get changed but still in his canvas shoes, came out of his room to see a man grab hold of her by her waist and try to push her back into her room as she kicked out behind her and kicked his leg as she again struggled free and the man from the night before falling against the opposite wall.  Alec just took one look at the scene and smiled at her.

"You really know how to handle yourself, Miss Tyler," he said as he walked over to the man and told him to stay where he was for his own safety then told Rose to go back to her room and he would handle it but she refused.

Alec left the dazed man slumped against the wall and went back in to get his I.D and saw Rose standing over the man daring him to try to get up again before Alec and she were finished with him.  Alec hauled the man to his feet and stood him against the wall and shoved his ID card into the man's face.  He asked Rose if she was ok and she nodded.  He then turned to the man as he had him pinned to the wall.

"I saw you looking at my girlfriend last night in the dining room and then out here in the corridor and I just let it pass but you've gone over the line this time.  Show me some ID."

He let the man go as he fumbled in his pocket.  By this time, his two mates had come out of their rooms but Alec flashed his ID at them and they retreated back to their rooms, not wanting to have a brush with the law while on holiday and they deserted their friend.

The man got out his driving licence then held his hands up, thinking Rose was going to elbow him again.  Alec took the driving licence and dialled the Police Station on his mobile and told them to send uniformed officers to the second floor of the hotel and asked Rose to go call Becca to tell her to send them right up and to come up herself.  Five minutes later, two officers came out of the lift with Becca and they of course knew Alec and he told them to take the man to the station for questioning after describing what had happened and that he would take a statement from Miss Tyler at the station.  Alec planned to give the man the full works for daring to touch Rose but instead, he rang his DS, who was on duty and told her about what had happened, that two uniformed officers had the man in custody and that he was involved in it and both he and Miss Tyler would be down to the station shortly.

As the lift door closed on the officers, Becca wanted to know what had happened and so did Alec as he had only seen part of it.  Rose told how she'd heard a knock and thought it was Alec and that the man forced his way in but she had struggled free and yelled for Alec but the man had grabbed her again which was what Alec had seen.  Becca couldn't apologise enough, saying she didn't normally let a group of single males stay in the hotel but she was still trying to recover her losses from last year and was just managing to stay afloat.  She agreed to have the man's room cleared and tell him to leave but Alec said his mates didn't have to leave unless they wanted to.

Alec went back into Rose's room, telling her to go into his, he'd removed anything he didn't want her to see.  He picked up her room key, mobile and her purse, locked her door and went his room and put his arms around her, pulling her close.  Rose just clung onto him and reached up to kiss him.

"Rose, are you sure you're ok?  He didn't hurt you did he?" he asked as he saw her rubbing her hair where it had been pulled.

"No, he just pulled me by my hair after the first time I tried to get away, after I bit his hand," she replied.  She continued to describe what happened next and when she had yelled for him, knowing he was just a few feet and seconds away from her and that he would come straight out.

Alec just held her tighter, kissing her forehead.  "We have to go down to the station to give a statement.  My DS will have to interview you because I'm involved in this and she will ask you questions about our relationship.  I didn't plan for this Rose but I'm not going to hide the fact that am involved with you so if you want to back out of this now, say so and I will tell her that we just had dinner last night and I was in the room opposite so you naturally called out for me.  No-one needs to know our personal lives so don't feel you have to answer any of her questions about our involvement.  She doesn't like me so she will probably dig deeper than she needs to get the juicy bits so don't tell her any more than you need to.  She's dying to pry into my personal life and I don't want to give her anything to fuel the fire, so to speak.  If she makes you feel uncomfortable, then tell her the interview is over and ask to leave."  Rose nodded her understanding, not wanted to let go of him.  "So much for breakfast," he added.

They got in the lift and passed Becca, who was back in reception and made their way down to the Police Station.  The desk Sergeant nodded to Alec and he asked Rose to wait while he went to find DS Miller.  Rose hadn't been inside a Police Station since she had gone with her mother to collect John's things after he died.  They had taken his car to a secure yard but she had a car dealer pick it up whom she had sold it to, she didn't drive then but she wouldn't have kept it though.  She had only learned to drive to better her chances of getting relocated in any possible promotion at work.

A uniformed Policewoman came out of a room and asked her to go with her to see DS Miller.  Rose entered the room and the DS nodded for her to sit.  She asked Rose her name and where she was currently staying and a few other questions about herself.  Then she asked her to slowly describe what had taken place in the hotel.  Rose just wanted to crawl into a hole but she knew it had to be told or the man might try it again with her or someone else.  She related the events of the previous evening in the dining room and outside her room and what happened a short while ago to DS Miller, who was recording the interview then she was asked if she wanted to press charges against the man.  If she did, there was a possibility she wouldn't have to appear in court since DI Hardy had given his statement and was a reliable witness to what had taken place and it was quite clear the man in question was guilty of attacking her.  If she didn't want to press charges, the man would more than likely be let off with a warning even though DI Hardy had witness most of the events, having been present the previous evening and part of the recent events.

Chapter 4

Rose didn't know what to do, she didn't want it getting in the newspapers and her mother getting to know about it but she didn't want to let him get away with it.  He had attacked her in no uncertain manner and the Tyler women didn't let anyone get away with anything.  She so wanted to see Alec right now but was afraid to ask, she didn't want to incriminate him after what he had said.  Just because they had spent some personal time together didn't mean the world had to know about it.  She made her decision and would just have to risk being called to testify.  She told DS Miller she was going to press charges because she had been threatened and had felt threatened last night.

DS Miller had a few more questions for her however, asking her why she had grabbed DI Hardy by the collar and kissed him outside her hotel door and Rose could only say that she was using him to get rid of the unwanted advances of the accused who had been staring at her in the dining room.

Rose was asked to wait outside and the Policewoman escorted her back to the waiting area but was told she couldn't yet speak to DI Hardy until the attacker had been questioned again as he had requested a solicitor.  She was brought a cup of tea and had to just sit and wait.  Meanwhile, Alec was furious he wasn't allowed to speak to Rose but the DS pointed out that it would jeopardise any conviction until the accused had been charged with an offence and he would be able to speak to her afterwards.  He was pacing the interview room, itching to get his hands on the man in question and ask him what the hell he was doing.  Alec knew he had already made a big mistake by telling him Rose was his girlfriend but it had just come out without him thinking.  Was he right though, they had just met and he was already considering Rose as his girlfriend but she hadn't contradicted him when he'd said it.

DS Miller began asking Alec more questions.  Was Miss Tyler a friend or his girlfriend?  What was he doing at her hotel room door last night when the accused had seen them together?  How had he responded so fast when he had been called? He really didn't want to answer those questions, wanting to tell her to mind her own business but he knew he couldn't.  He would have asked exactly the same ones.  He knew Miller had already questioned the accused once his solicitor had arrived but wasn't a party to the story he had come out with or the answers he had given and Miller wasn't about to tell him because he was a part of it.  Then she came right out and asked him the one thing he'd dreaded.

"DI Hardy, are you involved with Miss Tyler?" she asked.

"Miss Tyler and I met at approximately 4pm yesterday afternoon when she arrived at the hotel and I helped her with her luggage and even I couldn't get 'involved' with a woman that fast," he replied, trying to evade the question directly.

"That wasn't the question because when Miss Tyler had fought back and the accused was slumped back against the wall, you told him she was your girlfriend," Miller continued.  She watched his reaction carefully.

He wasn't giving anything away, he had more experience than her of questioning suspects and he had learned a thing or two in the process.

"Miss Tyler said she was just using you to get rid of the accused," she added for good measure, trying to make him think that was the actual case but he knew better, especially after what had happened earlier that morning.  Rose may have started out with that intention last night but not now.

"I told him she was my girlfriend to protect her.  She only arrived in town yesterday and doesn't know anyone apart from the hotel owner.  She shared my table at dinner last night and we talked.  She wanted to thank me for helping her in with her luggage.  She left the dining room early because she was tired.  I went to see if she was alright and was taking a bottle of wine to her.  I was off duty, there are no regulation that say I can't share a bottle of wine with a woman I've just met." Now he was being sarcastic.

"The accused said he was coming out of the lift last night and saw Miss Tyler grab you by your jacket collar and kiss you," she smirked, trying to get him to admit to it.

"Maybe she was but it was none of his business.  He had made rude suggestions to her by whistling at her so in an attempt to get rid of him, she did kiss me but only to give him the message she wasn't interested in him.  He was staring at her in the dining room and it had made her feel uncomfortable.  I was only watching out for her.  Before he came out of the lift, she had already invited me into her room, what he saw was only a part of it and meant for his benefit to make it perfectly clear to him.  DS Miller, I am not the one accused of attacking Miss Tyler, he is.  Now I would like very much to speak to her unless kissing a woman in a hotel corridor is now a crime."

Miller couldn't answer that.  "The accused states that he was acting out of jealousy. He had seen her in the dining room and wanted to meet her but saw her talking to you.  He said he had gone to her room in an attempt to talk to her but had heard her talking to someone which he has identified as your voice at 0940 and heard two people laughing.  He went back to his room but didn't close the door properly and saw you leaving so he went back to try to talk to her again.  He said he was only fooling around but it got out of hand when Miss Tyler fought back, he wasn't expecting it to go as far as it did and admits when she bit his hand he got angry and pushed her back in her room.  Then she called someone's name and you came out, identifying yourself as a Police Officer."

"Well that's a funny way to get someone to talk to you by threatening them and pushing them towards a bed, she told me what happened and there were signs of a struggle, I saw him grab her and push her back in her room.  What was she supposed to do?  He attacked her, intentionally or not and that's serious."

Eventually, having not got Alec to admit his involvement with Rose, DS Miller reluctantly said she had finished with the two of them and so Alec went out to where Rose was waiting.  She was glad to see him but didn't show any signs outwardly for fear of DS Miller asking her awkward questions again.

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While Rose had been waiting for Alec to come and rescue her, she had been drifting back thinking of her beloved John again.  How that night she had got into his car and changed her life, for the better.  It had started with a few innocent dates where they knew no-one would see them, meeting for coffee, going to the cinema, where he would sneakily hold her hand after taking her to see a scary movie on purpose.  It had been November and it was cold so they would mainly go somewhere indoors. Rose would tell her mother she was going to her friends but never gave her a hint as to who it was.

Then they started meeting at weekends so one Sunday in December, he'd asked her if she would like to go on a Thames river cruise down to Greenwich to go do some Christmas shopping to which she had readily agreed.  She had met him, he was late and she thought he'd chickened out but they caught the boat, sitting inside and then walked through the Christmas market together.  He'd gone off for ten minutes to buy her a present while she went to get one for him, buying him yet another t-shirt to add to his growing collection she had seen him wear, mostly of The Beatles as they were his favourite band but a lot were silly ones and she especially like the one of Hong Kong Phooey, it made her laugh.  She had chosen one she thought he didn't have, a black one with a silver star in the middle because she thought he was a star.  They had met back up in a café and had some lunch.  They held hands all the way back on the boat and he asked her if she wanted to go back to his flat.  It was starting to get dark and she hadn't wanted to go home after a great day out so she had agreed.  Sitting in his kitchen drinking tea they had talked about what their plans were for the holidays and John had announced he was going to visit him mother in Brighton.  Rose had expressed her disappointment in the realisation she was not in his plans but he explained he went to visit every holiday and he would be back on January 2nd but after seeing her looking upset, suddenly changed his plans and told her he would spend the new year with her but tell everyone he was going to be away and she said she would tell her mother she was going to a party and then to her friends.  That was the first time he kissed her.

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When Rose and Alec finally walked out of the Police Station, they walked across to the café and were grateful they were still serving an all day breakfast as they were both famished by this time as it was gone noon.  They ate in silence, only because they were both so hungry, Rose not having any dinner last night.  They walked back to the hotel and were greeted by Becca who said the police had been back and collected the man's luggage and taken it to the Police Station.  She asked what had happened there but Alec said he couldn't tell her.  They went upstairs but Rose didn't want to go into her room right away after what had happened so instead, she got Alec to retrieve her car keys and they used the back staircase that led to the car park and let him take the driver's seat.  He drove them down the coast to a small bay about two miles away and parked on the side of the road and they walked onto the rocky beach.  There were two giant rocks side by side so he sat her down on one then sat on the other, facing her.

There was no-one around which was why he had chosen it.  He took her hands in his and kissed the back of them and Rose had felt for sure their new found friendship was over after what had happened and that DS Miller had certainly taken pleasure in telling him what she had said about using him but she had already told him that and he had still come into her room last night and again this morning.  He then leaned forward and kissed her tenderly, not heated and rushed like before, more slowly like he was trying to assure her nothing had changed between them.  In his mind, nothing had and he was more determined now to look after her after this morning.

Alec's mobile rang and it was DS Miller to say they had formally charged the accused with aggravated assault and that Miss Tyler did not have to testify as he had admitted everything in return for leniency and would more than likely get a suspended sentence since it was his first offence.

Alec informed Rose of the conversation and she was relieved she didn't have to go to court and hoped the newspaper didn't print her name, it was a fine way to start a new job, being involved in a hotel altercation and told Alec she hoped the man had learned his lesson of how not to chat up a woman.

They sat there, Alec with his arm around her as he had moved over and he was sat at her side.

"Rose, we are just going to sit here and you're going to tell me now what it is that's bothering you and why you ran out of the dining room last night.  But first you're going to explain to me why you are giving me mixed signals because last night and this morning, one minute you're responding to my advances, then say you're not ready and then you let me back in your room and let me into your bed.  I'm confused to say the least Rose.  Then Miller told me you admitted to her you were using me last night so that man wouldn't bother you but it didn't put him off despite your efforts, so come on, tell what's really going on, were you just only using me?  If so, what was all that about this morning then?"

Rose just looked at him.  She had just kissed him on the spur of the moment but found it a pleasant experience.  She would have to tell him eventually but only part of it, just what he needed to know because come tomorrow, he would look her up anyway and see the truth about her and John so she could at least put him off until she was really ready.

"Alec, I did kiss you on the spur of the moment, that's true but as I did, I found it enjoyable to say the least.  I told you someone I loved had died, two years ago and you are the first man I have met that had been kind to me and not wanting to take me out just to show me off to their mates.  That's why I reacted to that creep because that's what he was doing, being coerced by his mates.  They probably had a bet with him to see if he could get me to go out with him and when it backfired last night, he got desperate.  I've had plenty of 'dates' the last six months because until then I couldn't even go out of my flat after work because I was devastated and it took me eighteen months to get over it and even then I only went out on dinner dates because I was finally going crazy stuck in the flat where I lived with him."

"Then tell me who he was Rose, tell me what happened, please.  I can help you. Please let me in Rose." his eyes were pleading with her, he needed to know.

"I was at college doing business studies when we met, he was a tutor but I wasn't in his science or physics class."

She proceeded to tell him how they had started dating, leaving out certain details she didn't yet want him to know that really didn't make any difference as she told him that they had got engaged and moved in together and were saving to buy a house.  Then she told him what had happened, how she lost John and Alec just felt so sorry for her.  He turned her around and took her in his arms and just held her as she finally broke down and really cried.  The first time she had really been able to let go in all that time because although she had cried herself to sleep every night, she'd had no-one to comfort her, not the same way Alec was doing now.

They sat there for what seemed like hours and Alec never got an answer to how she had acted in the other matter but he didn't care because he knew why now.  She was trying to move on and balance her feelings for the man she lost and for him so no wonder she was confused.  He was sure though she wasn't telling him everything, he was a trained police detective.  It was getting cold and starting to get dark so they got back in Rose's car and drove a bit further down the coast and came across a country pub in a small village and ordered something to eat.  Alec only had non-alcoholic drinks but Rose ordered wine.  They drove back to the hotel and went into the bar for another drink but Alec had to go back to work the next day and Rose to start her flat hunting but had a drink.

Alec escorted Rose to her room but once she was inside she really didn't want to be on her own and asked him to stay.  Alec got close to her and put his arms around her then he kissed her.

"Rose, I know you're confused and I don't blame you.  You need time to sort out your feelings and things have got escalated between us.  When you have sorted them out, I'm here.  I'll stay tonight if you want but just to sleep, nothing else.  This morning was more than just nice but I can't go for anything else until I know for sure you are ready to move on."
Chapter 5

Alec went to get some things from his room after the events of the morning and came back ten minutes later, saying he'd have to leave early in the morning to get ready for work.  Rose was tired anyway, she'd not had much sleep with him waking her up early and the incident that had happened that morning.  She just wanted him to comfort her and he'd been right, he was moving way too fast but for her, it had been two years and she had to overcome it and she had to face the fact that John was never coming back and it was time to move on and maybe Alec was what she needed.  They kissed for a while but no items of clothing were removed and Rose just fell asleep with his arms around her.

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Her dreams continued as John was laying heavy on her mind.  The night he had told her he was going away for Christmas was the night she realised she loved him after they had kissed for hours before he had taken her home and she had wanted to be with him because she had been devastated she wasn't in his plans but they had only met three months before and he had told her he goes to his mother's every holiday.  He had make an exception for her this year and they would spend the new year together.  She had to devise a cover story to justify her being away from home but her mother was going out anyway so it would be easy, she said there was a college party then she was staying with her friend.  The night before John was going away was the last day of college and they had sneaked off as usual and met then gone to his flat.  They were still only kissing because they had agreed nothing else would take place until Rose was twenty the following March.  Rose gave him his present and was amazed he handed her a small package in return so she shook it but it didn't rattle and wondered what it could be.

They'd agreed he would call her on Christmas morning and he had told her to open his present before she opened anything else and that it was special.  He'd said he'd be back on the 27th and would call her when he arrived home.  They had kissed goodnight as he took her home and he'd told her he'd miss her so much.  On Christmas morning, she had woken up at seven thirty, eager to answer John's call on the first ring and open his present.  It was an mobile internet device with twelve months or the equivalent in data usage with a message telling her how to set it up and open an account so they could talk face to face.  He'd finally rung her and after wishing her happy Christmas she had told him it was all set up and then connected the call they and could see each other.  She was so happy to be able to see him she thought she'd used up the data allowance in one go but she didn't care, it was worth it to see him.

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Monday Morning, Alec's alarm went off at seven and he tried not to wake Rose but she was laid on his arm so gently, he moved her so he could get out of bed.  He kissed her forehead and got dressed and picked up his things and set the door so it would lock behind him.  Then when he got back to his room he got ready for work and was downstairs having breakfast at eight, wondering if Rose was going to join him but he'd decided to let her sleep after the events of the day before.  His phone rang with the desk Sergeant telling him that the man from the attack on Rose Tyler was appearing in court at 11 o'clock and he needed to be there to give evidence but Miss Tyler did not have to attend at this time and DS Miller was informing her.  That was when he realised that due to their haste over the weekend and his own stupidity he'd neglected to get her phone number so before he left, he asked the girl on reception for some paper and an envelope and wrote his phone number down, asked her to ring when she got it and he'd ring her back if he couldn't answer and wrote her name on the envelope and told the girl to be certain Rose got it.  Then he set off for the Police Station to prepare for his court appearance, ignoring the funny looks he was given as word had spread he was involved in an incident at the hotel and a woman was caught up in it.  He was thinking what was so alien to them that he couldn't be involved with a woman, did they think that badly of him?  Well his DS obviously did for a start as she'd found it amusing to question him yesterday.

He arrived at the town's court before time and was briefed about what charges were being brought against the man who had admitted he'd over-reacted when he'd seen Alec with Rose and the Crown was pushing for a suspended sentence.  Once inside, Alec gave his version of what has transpired, omitting the parts of his involvement with Rose that were not relevant to the case and the Judge gave the man a two year suspended sentence and was told not to set foot in Broadchurch again and that his was despicable behaviour even if it had gone wrong, to force his attention on a young woman and he'd been lucky to get off so lightly.

Alec thought that Rose would be pleased with the result but couldn't ring her so he checked his phone for missed calls and saw a number he didn't know and hoped it was her.  It was and she had answered right away as she had put his number in her contacts list as they both laughed how they had forgotten to get each other's phone numbers.  He told her what had happened and asked how she'd got on and arranged to meet her at the café at one to give him time to get back the station and get across to the café.

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Rose had woken up at eight to find Alec gone but knew he'd had to go to work so after getting washed and dressed went down for breakfast but she had just missed Alec when she'd asked at reception but was handed a note containing his phone number and a message.  After breakfast she went back to her room to get a jacket and left a missed call for Alec to show him she had got his number and had a quick look at the letting agent's website for properties to rent.  She didn't have to worry about a deposit, she had some savings left and the bank was rushing things through so she didn't have the usual wait and she had two week to find something or just pay for the hotel herself which would put a dent in her remaining savings as a week at the hotel was two weeks rent.  She had been paying the rent on her flat in London with part of her savings over the past two years despite him leaving her with no debts and she got a small amount from the college every month and from the insurance but living in London had been extremely expensive but she'd not had an option to move on her own.  She had managed to keep afloat without really struggling but now she'd moved, things would be quite a bit easier.

She had toyed with the idea of renting a two bedroomed flat or house and getting someone to share after she had checked it was permitted and that would halve her bills.  She didn't really see anything she liked and thought they'd have more when she went to see them.  She also had to introduce herself to the bank manager at some point even though she had done a video conference with her before she'd moved.  So after she had received a call from DS Miller to say her attacker was in court later but Rose didn't have to attend, she ventured out into the High Street to find the letting agency and as it was really her first time out, stopped to look in a few shops, discovered an indoor market next to the hotel and the Tourist Information Office.

She spoke to a woman in the letting office who had been told to expect her and that the usual checks weren't necessary but didn't really have anything suitable in but was expecting some to become vacant within the next day or so as people left or gave notice before the end of the tax year or went off to take up new posts.  Rose had decided to increase her budget slightly and asked about sharing and was told it wouldn't be a problem with sharing as long as she didn't sub-let and she actually lived there nor would there be a problem putting another name on the rental agreement but it would take longer as checks may then have to be made.  She then went to introduce herself to the bank staff and found them quite friendly, unlike some of her old colleagues although they had been sympathetic at the time of John's death.

Alec rang her back just after twelve when she was wandering around the indoor market and agreed to meet him in the café and when she arrived, she told him there had been no luck with the property search.  They sat outside and talked for a while after they had eaten and Alec told her what had happened in court and said he'd take her out somewhere to cheer her up and for her to be ready for six thirty and they'd go for a drink and a meal up in the town and he would drive them.  She agreed but said he was driving her car more than she was since she'd arrived.  Rose wandered around the shops again and made her way back to the hotel to get ready for going out and decided to ring her mother with an update on the flat hunting. She never mentioned what had happened yesterday and was hoping to keep it that way.  Rose still had over an hour before Alec was due back so she lay on her bed for a while, lying on the pillow Alec had slept on.

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Rose closed her eyes but started thinking about John again.  Two days after Christmas, John was back from Brighton and she'd rushed around to his flat and they just fell together, she just wanted to be with him.  When it had been time to leave she had been reluctant but they had planned for her to stay over on new years eve.  On the night of 31st December they had met at a coffee house near Trafalgar Square at 8pm, she had taken a shoulder bag with a few clothes, telling her mother she was going to a party and staying out.  They had celebrated the new year with the crowds and at midnight, they had kissed for the first time in public. He was wearing the t-shirt she had bought him with the star on and a black velvet jacket and jeans with his black converse shoes and she had thought he looked gorgeous as he had changed his hairstyle and it was a bit flatter and had made it look longer and she'd told him he should keep it like that instead of combing it back although he'd kept his sideburns.

They had got a taxi back to his flat and she was apprehensive about staying the night for the first time but he'd told her there was nothing to be nervous about, they would take it slow and see what happened.  She had gone into the bathroom and changed into her nightdress and had come out, shyly to see him wearing boxer shorts and a purple t-shirt.  He'd held out his arms to her and she had fallen into them as they kissed.  He had already pulled the covers over to one side and he had lifted her up in his arms and carried her over to the bed.  Then she had slid into the bed as he had got in with her, pulling the covers over and they had starting kissing.

Then he had pulled the straps of her nightdress over her shoulders and was kissing them, working his way to her neck then down the other shoulder as she had put her arms around his slim waist.  As she had put her arms up towards his shoulders, she discovered he had a mole and thought it cute that he had one.  She had pulled his t-shirt up and over his head and he had pulled her nightdress up, feeling under the hem at her bare legs.  She had been bold and wasn't wearing any knickers which he had discovered quite quickly as his hand moved and he had pulled away but she had guided his hand back.  Slowly they had discovered each other, taking their time as he had kissed every inch of her body that was uncovered until there had only been a small part he had not covered in kisses and he had looked at her, longing to take it further as it was inevitable and she had given him her consent. He had moved her nightdress and pulled it over her head and she had pulled down his shorts as they finally made love because neither of them could wait any longer.

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Rose was woken from her light sleep by a tap on the door.  She checked the time and knew it would be Alec but was more cautious than the previous morning.  Alec was indeed standing there with a single red rose with the stem wrapped in silver foil in his hand as he kissed her on the cheek and entered her room.  He had changed into another suit but wasn't wearing a tie as he gave her the flower and took her in his arms and kissed her properly.  They went to a small restaurant up in the town and Alec told Rose she looked beautiful and he was proud to be seen with her.  After their meal, they sat for a while talking then he drove them back to the hotel, having another drink in the bar before going upstairs.  Alec insisted Rose got some things from her room and sleep in his room that night and they would just sleep again if she wanted.

Alec still hadn't got the rest of the story from Rose about John's death and had decided to let her tell him in her own time.  He knew what had happened and had been surprised that very little had been done about it but didn't know what his name had been or when it had happened so he couldn't do anything about it for her.  He really needed for her to open up more about it.  As Rose was getting ready for bed, something she was no longer shy with but he still never forced her to do anything she didn't want to, he sat on the edge of the bed looking at her.

"Rose, I'm not trying to rush you but maybe it's time to tell me the rest of what happened.  Was there an investigation and if so why was nothing ever done?  I just want to help you Sweetheart," he said, leaning over and kissing her.  "Why are you reluctant to tell me.  You have to tell someone, why not me?"

Rose looked at him, she knew he wanted to help and maybe he could.  Nothing had been settled about John's death and both she and his mother, who she had kept in touch with and even thought about going to see now she wasn't really that far away, had found any peace and were disappointed nothing was ever done to give them any closure.  It had been hard on his mother, especially at Christmas time as they had been going every year since they had been together but she hadn't wanted to go on her own yet.

Rose just got into bed, trying the avoid his questions by changing the subject.  "Alec, you know I'm not shy now about getting ready for bed in front of you or getting dressed but you either creep out before I wake up or you go in the bathroom to change out of your shorts, " she laughed, remembering the previous morning.

Alec just smiled back at her and said, "That's because I had to get out of the bed before you this morning and yesterday morning, well we had only just met and it was partly your fault my shorts were wet.  You're avoiding my questions and changing the subject, Rose.  Please, let me help you."  He stripped down to his shorts and got into bed, if she wanted to be just held again, he could do that but not for much longer but he knew he had to be patient with her to get her to talk.  They talked for a while about how Rose was going back to the letting agents the following day and she told him she was thinking of getting a place big enough to share.  Then they just kissed for a while as Rose lay on him again, both of them seeking comfort in one another, eventually falling asleep in each other's arms.

Chapter 6

Rose drifted off to sleep thinking of John again and was hoping if she went through all the events it would clear her mind and help her open up to Alec and she desperately needed him right now even though they had only met two days ago, he was becoming her anchor and she so needed some stability in her life after what she had been through.  She had to work all this out or she would lose Alec as well. Maybe she should just come clean after all and tell Alec the rest and fill in the gaps she had not wanted to tell him.

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When Rose had woken the following morning after making love with John on new years eve over seven years ago, she had felt like a new person.  She had been happy as it had been her first time.  He had been unsure and had asked her consent.  She had said she wanted her first time to be with him and that there had never been anyone else she had wanted to be with.  They had then spent the early hours of new year's day just kissing and making love again until her phone had rung and it had been her mother wanting to know where she was.  She had made her excuses and said she was staying until the following morning and had actually got away with it.  They had spent the day with him driving them around London and had gone to see Tower Bridge and the gardens nearby although it was cold but they hadn't cared as they had walked hand in hand.

She had stayed with him on new years night, making love again just as slowly as the night before and he had told her he loved her and she'd told him she loved him and it was well past midnight when they fell asleep in each others arms.  After that, they had been inseparable but every night, he took her home and she had finally had to admit to her mother she had a boyfriend but hadn't taken him to meet her.  Finally she was on study leave and they had relaxed around the college when she went to collect her assignments and soon her birthday had come around and she'd had a party where she had introduced him to her friends, her family and her mother.  Her mother had not been keen he was older than her when she had told her but when she'd met him, she started to come around.  Just before everyone had left the party, John had taken her into a side room in the pub and had gone into his pocket and had brought out a small square box and inside was a beautiful solitaire diamond ring and he had got down on his knees and asked her to marry him.

That had been the start of the most wonderful time of her life as they had moved in together and planned their lives together, saving to buy a house or a flat.  They had got married a year after their engagement at the local registry office, just family and a few friends and they had been very happy together.  She had decided to have Rose Tyler-Smith on their marriage certificate.  Then one morning after they had kissed goodbye, tragedy had struck and while she was at work, she'd got a phone call in the manager's office to say John had been knocked down by a hit and run driver and had been rushed to hospital.  Her manager had called her a taxi to take her to be with him and she had called her mother on the way to meet her there.  She had got into where they had taken him but was told there was little chance he would survive as he had multiple internal injuries and he'd not regained consciousness.  She had asked to see him as she was his wife and they had allowed her in but she could hardly see him so she had just gone to hold his hand and she had stayed there until they'd told her he had passed away.  She had heard the heart rate machine beep that his heart had stopped again as they had restarted it twice in an effort to save him.  She hadn't understood what they had been saying but she had known they had done everything possible to save him.  A kind nurse had finally led her out into the corridor where her mother had been watching and waiting and she had just collapsed into her waiting arms as she had tried to comfort her.

They had to answer a few questions given to them by a Police Officer that had been waiting and then they had driven them home saying they'd be in touch.  They had never found the driver, the few witnesses didn't get a number plate, just the make and colour of the car and that it had a sticker in the back as it drove off.  They had given up after a week.  She had been fortunate they'd had a joint bank account and savings and he had left an insurance policy and she had received a small amount from the college board every month, with both of having funeral plans and everything was taken care of.  He'd wanted a cremation and his mother came up from Brighton for the funeral.  That was when her world had fallen apart and she'd lost touch with reality for such a long time, living day by day knowing he was never coming back to her.  Then she had come to Broadchurch and met Alec Hardy.

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Rose was restless during the night and Alec had noticed it as she had woken him twice and he was worried about her.  After the events of Saturday night and Sunday morning he had been increasing worried she was still bottling things up despite her telling him what he'd known was only a part of it.  He still hadn't brought himself around to telling her he was divorced with a teenage daughter but she would find out eventually so he planned on telling her before she discovered it for herself.  Still, at least he wasn't still married and having an affair with Rose and she would probably accept it since his divorce wasn't exactly amicable, quite the opposite.  He had been glad when it was all over and he'd never have to see his ex again but he was bitter she had turned their daughter against him and he could never forgive her for that but he'd had to accept it, she was old enough to make up her own mind and was adamant she wanted nothing to do with him, no-one could make her see him.  After numerous futile attempts to contact her he had resorted to sending a text message once a month which he was certain were instantly deleted without being read.

Tuesday morning, Alec had woken again for the third time as his alarm went off and trying not to disturb Rose again, slipped out of bed and was just changing his shorts when he heard a giggle from behind him.

"See, I told you," she said as all she could see was his behind, again.

He was tempted not to turn around again but since she was goading him, he decided she was going to get her wish and just as he was about to pull up his clean shorts, he turned around to face her and threw his others at her.  Rose just sat up in bed and if she hadn't been fully awake when she had teased him, she was now as she sat upright staring at him.  It was all so fast as he'd stood for a few seconds then continued pulling up his shorts with a smile on his face.  He was thinking that until this point in time that since she hadn't wanted to take their relationship any further that she might just change her mind now.  She had.

"Satisfied?" was all he asked as he put on his socks and then went to the wardrobe to get out his suit and a clean shirt.

Rose just sat there with a grin on her face beginning to wonder just what she had been missing out on.  She had to admit to herself it was too tempting not to just get out of bed and jump on him there and then but she had been keeping secrets from him and the air needed to be cleared once and for all before that happened.

"Very, but you could have taken your time about it," was all she replied as she flung his other shorts back in his general direction, missing him and hitting the floor.

"Are you coming down to breakfast with me this morning or are you going to stay in my bed until I come back?" he asked.  "Only we've not actually had breakfast together in the hotel yet."

"Well don't be a grump about it and I'll consider it," she replied as she got out of his bed slowly and went into the bathroom.

He answered her when she came out, standing in the way of where she had left her clothes last night.  "I'm not being a grump, I was asking a simple question."

Rose tried to get passed him but he kept getting in her way then grabbed her by the waist and pulled her up close into a passionate kiss.  When he finally let go, she slipped passed him and he grabbed her from behind and pulled her back, just an arms length away from her clothes as he put his head on her shoulder and kissed her neck and was just about to bite her when she pulled away just in time.

"Don't you go biting my neck, Dracula, I've got to go flat hunting again today," she laughed as she ducked out of his grip and made a dash for her clothes.

"So which am I then, Grumpy or Dracula?" he asked as he watched her take off her nightdress, something he was liking very much.

Rose responded by pulling her clean knickers on and then putting on her bra, turning for him to fasten it for her.  She squirmed around to face him and told him to finish the job, saying nothing as she was choosing which pet name to use on him.

When Rose had finished getting dressed, she dropped her things off in her room and they went down to breakfast.  Becca was not surprised they had come down together as she had noticed the pair of them on Sunday morning after the incident in Rose's room that the two of them looked more than cosy together.  She was silently wishing Rose good luck with him.  Over breakfast, he brought up the subject of her mentioning she was going to look for a place to share with someone and asked what she was going to do about it.  She said she would have to think carefully about it as sharing a flat with someone was a big decision and if you were going to be stuck with someone you had to be sure about them first or it would be a living nightmare.  It was then that Alec decided to take the plunge and ask her outright where he stood with her when he got back from work.

"Rose, when I get back tonight, I need to talk to you about something.  I know mostly about you but there are things about me you don't know.  I do know you read up about me because you were concerned about my health but there were things not on the police website and I need for you to know about them before you read about then on some trashy news site.  So please promise me you won't go looking me up on the internet again before I talk to you.  Agreed?"  Rose nodded her agreement.

Rose walked out into reception with him and was saying goodbye to him when her phone rang so she kissed him on the cheek as he left, much to the amusement of the girl on reception who had passed notes between them both the previous day.  It was the letting agency saying some new properties had become available and she was being given first refusal on them as they suited both her budget and her requirements.  So she sent a text to Alec to say she was going to see about some new properties and made her way to the agency and was given first choice of three new properties that had just come in as the usual checks were not necessary and she could sign in a short time.

The first was a two bedroomed fully furnished second floor apartment with sea views in a new complex, the next was a two bedroomed house almost on the beach and the third was a house on the cliff top.  The first two were in walking distance of the bank so she ruled out the third but kept it in reserve in case the other two didn't work out.  The new apartment was the most expensive but if she was going to share, it didn't matter and she could afford a couple of month's rent until she found someone.  So she made arrangements to see the two she was most interested in for 2 o'clock that afternoon as they were quite close to each other and she and the agent would meet at the apartment then walk across the harbour to the house.

Rose sent a message to Alec to say she was interested in two properties and did he want to come and have a look with her?  It never occurred to her that he might be the answer to her wanting to share the costs with someone and her question was quite innocent.  He sent her a text back to ask where and what time and agreed to meet her, telling his DS he was going to look at some properties to rent as he was tired of the hotel.  Miller gave him a funny look, shrugged her shoulders and went back to work and he was thinking he would just take a look and if Rose had found somewhere to rent then why couldn't he?  He considered taking one if she didn't want either of them but fancied the house rather than the apartment, thinking that would suit Rose better.

They all met outside the apartment building and Rose fell in love with the sea views and the spacious apartment which was newly decorated and furnished but thought she might have to remove some decorations that weren't to her liking but wondered what she would do with her stuff back in London.  Alec on the other hand hated it as soon as he walked in apart from the views but said he couldn't live there.  Rose had informed the agent her friend would be coming with her but she had no idea he was looking for somewhere, thinking he had just come along to help her choose.  The agent wasn't sure what he was doing there as she knew of the Detective Inspector and didn't think he was the type to tag along house hunting and was really hoping he wouldn't be applying for any of the properties she was showing unless he was serious and actually signed up for one then she would kill two birds with one stone and get a bonus.

Then they walked to the house across the harbour and even at a distance as the agent pointed it out they had both fallen in love with it.  Rose and Alec walked behind the agent hand in hand talking, which Alec didn't think was a good idea for her to see them holding hands as it would be all over the town by the morning but people would have to get used to seeing them together if he was going to have any sort of relationship with Rose.  The agent opened the front door and already they were both imagining living there although neither of them said.  They wandered into the two bedroomed terrace house which was painted white on the outside with freshly painted interior walls and newly laid floor tiles, a through living room and fitted kitchen with the staircase in the kitchen area, a stove fire with back boiler, a gorgeous bathroom and Rose had already decided which would be her bedroom, the biggest facing the sea.  There was an enclosed garden to the back and room at the front to park her car.  Alec was concerned as to it's close proximity to the sea but it was slightly above the beach and was assured the tide never came that high and the chance of storm damage was minimal and was far enough back.  The agent was getting the idea they both liked it and assumed they'd be moving in together so there went her bonus but she would take great delight in telling her colleagues that the town grump was renting a house with another client of hers.  She wasn't one to gossip but it would be a feather in her cap if Miss Tyler didn't want the property and he took it.

Rose and Alec asked the agent if they could have a few minutes and went upstairs to talk, looking out at the sea.  Rose told him immediately she wanted it but he was disappointed as he too was about to say the same but he didn't show it to her though.  He thought he would be the bigger man and allow her to take it, trying to hide his disappointment as he knew she needed it more than he did and resigned himself to staying in the hotel a bit longer but would look for something else.

Chapter 7

Rose went back downstairs and told the agent she would take it.  It was getting late in the afternoon so she agreed to go sign the following morning and arrange when she could pick up the keys so she could have her things collected from storage and brought down.  The agent left them both sitting on the low wall outside the house thinking that she may not have anything to brag about after all as the detective hadn't liked the apartment and clearly Miss Tyler said she would be signing tomorrow.  She had thought though that he might be interested in the house Miss Tyler hadn't viewed and made a note to enquire when she came to sign for the house.

Alec took Rose's hand and pulled her up and they started walking down the coastal path and stopped at a bench a bit further down and he called the station to tell them he wouldn't be back since it was already getting late then he turned to her. "Rose, I'm really happy you've found somewhere.  I'll help you move in once your furniture arrives and help you settle in.  I must admit, I really liked it, especially the sea view."  He turned to her and put his arm around her shoulder and pulled her close.

Rose could now see the disappointment in his eyes and realised what had just happened.

"Alec, I'm so sorry, I didn't make myself clear when I phoned you earlier.  I should have told you I wanted you to come and help me choose a place and I never thought you had believed I meant for you to look for one for yourself.  I mean, you've been in that hotel for quite a while and maybe it is time for you think about moving out.  You didn't like that apartment did you?"  Alec shook his head and made a face.  Rose touched his cheek.  "There was another house I didn't want to look at, up on the cliff top, maybe you could look at that tomorrow?"

Now she could see the sad look in his eyes.  Then it dawned on her.  "Alec, you wanted that house didn't you and you were disappointed when I said I'd take it because you thought I'd liked the apartment better and was hoping I'd take that so you could have the house."  She looked into his eyes and kissed his cheek.  "Did you really think I'd have taken that apartment if you didn't like it?  Really, DI Grumpy. I want to continue our relationship, do you think I'd let you stay with me in a place you hated?"

Then it dawned on him.  She had taken the house because they both liked it although she had initially liked the apartment until he'd said he hated it.

"Come on Grumpy, I'm asking you if you want to share with me.  I already asked about sharing with someone and they said it wasn't a problem but if you want your name on the rental agreement, you'll have to come and sign with me tomorrow and pass all their usual checks," she teased as she pushed a strand of his hair back and touched his nose with her finger.

Alec just looked at her as it was sinking it what she was saying and leaned forward to kiss her forehead.  "So, what you were saying earlier about being sure of the person you're sharing with, was that meant to be directed at me then and less of the DI Grumpy, I get enough of that at the station."

"Actually, Grumpy, I'll ditch the DI bit, it didn't hit me until we were in the house that I didn't need to go looking for someone to share with me because I should have asked you first and now I realise I've hurt your feelings by not doing so, haven't I?"

"Rose, it never even occurred to me you would actually want to share with me and I was genuinely going to look for a place to rent because I am tired of living in that hotel.  I was disappointed though that you would take that lovely house just to stop me getting it," he teased back.  "Although, I may have eventually got the message that you wanted to share with me and it didn't make any sense for both of us to rent, I'm just a bit slow at catching on, I'm out of practice.  Did you mean it when you said you wanted to continue our relationship Rose?"

Rose didn't answer.  She got up and pulled him up with her, looked around to see if anyone was in sight, which there wasn't, grabbed him by his coat collar and pulled him into a deep kiss.  When she finally let him go she just said, "Does that answer your question Grumpy?  I was joking about looking at that other house you know," she added as she dug her elbow into his side.

Alec looked down on her and smiled.  "Are you sure about this?  I mean, it's all happened so fast and we've only known each other for four days, there are still things you don't know about me and I'm certain there are things I don't know about you.  Why don't we go back to the hotel, have something to eat then we'll talk, I mean really talk and if we can both accept each other after that then yes, we'll share but I pay for all of it, I earn more than you do and I've had nothing to spend my money on living in that hotel.  You have your furniture sent down and we'll get new stuff where needed."

Rose nodded her agreement but was now worried he wouldn't accept she had been married to John after she neglected to tell him and exactly what had happened on the day he'd died.  Alec was thinking Rose wouldn't accept him after he told her about his divorce and teenage daughter plus the reason for him being in Broadchurch in the first place.  If they could both survive being told about each other's past then they could both finally move on together.

So they walked back to the hotel and both went to get changed and Alec was about to take his stuff into her room for the following morning to save him time but thought it best to leave that until they had talked.  This would be make or break time for both of them and if it was break, then Rose wouldn't want to see him any more and would move out of the hotel anyway and he'd never see her again but even if she didn't, he would still find out what happened the day John had died because if she told him what his full name was then he owed her that much.

Alec knocked on her door and told her how beautiful she looked in the dress she had chosen to wear.  They kissed for a while, maybe their last, Alec was thinking and Rose was thinking she hoped it wouldn't be their last but was losing any hope of their relationship lasting.  The last four days had been the best she'd had in two years and she was ready to put everything behind her and start again with Alec Hardy.  They went down for dinner and before they went back upstairs, Alec got them a bottle of wine in case they did have something to celebrate after they had come clean with each other.  Otherwise he would take it back to his room and drown his sorrows and try and forget about Rose Tyler.  It would be easy to avoid her for a few days until she moved out.

Alec poured some wine once they were back in Rose's room and they sat on the chairs so there was no temptation to not have this conversation because if it didn't go well and they did something before they started talking they would hate each other.  Alec said he'd go first and get it over with and asked her to hear him out and if she accepted him then he would listen to her and if either of them had any doubts and they couldn't work them out they would agree never to see each other again and not cause a scene.  If she didn't accept him after what he said and asked him to leave then he would do that for her.

Alec told Rose all about the failed case in Scotland, how the DS that lost the evidence was his wife and that to protect his teenage daughter who now wouldn't speak to him, he had taken the blame but was later cleared and how they had got divorced after she'd admitted having an affair with a male DS on the same team, about how he'd never even noticed his ex wife and he had drifted apart years before any of it happened, then about his ill health and how the Latimer case nearly killed him and his subsequent surgery.  He filled in all the gaps then told her how he had felt the day he'd met her and how he felt about her now and if she would have him, he'd be more than happy to share a house with her, that it would make him the happiest he'd been for a long time and he wanted to start a new life with her.  He also told her if she would give him all the details about John's death, he would have the case re-opened and try to find out who had run him down and killed him and he'd do that even if she walked away and never wanted to see him again or if he decided he couldn't accept her past, he would still do it for her because she hadn't deserved to be left with not knowing who had killed him.

Rose sat and listened to him, never saying a word until he had finished and when he stopped and looked at her to tell him about her past, she had a split second to decide if she was willing to go through with it and accept him so she took his hands to show she had listened and hoped he'd give her a minute to think .  He had been completely honest with her and she'd never even asked him about his past when they had met and he had been so good to her, taking her under his wing and being a friend to her when he didn't have to, just being with her and wanting to help her, never judging her and asking nothing in return.  He had just held her, been there when she went to sleep and woke up with her, never forcing himself on her, only doing what she'd asked and she would never find anyone else like that.  In a lot of ways he was so much like John had been, kind, compassionate, loving and understanding and she had loved John from the moment they had met and she was beginning to feel the same about Alec.

She squeezed his hands and just went with her feelings, she was falling in love all over again with Alec Hardy.  "Alec, I'm willing to accept your past.  You had a really rough time and I've been selfish, I never even asked about you.  You're the one that's been strong for me when you needed someone as well.  We've both helped each other.  I'm sorry I led you on at the beginning and you've been more than patient with me and I didn't deserve you.  If you can accept what I didn't tell you about my past and the reason I held back then I want to start a new life with you because I never thought or dared to believe I could ever be happy again but you've shown me that I can."

So Rose started from the beginning, how she had fallen in love with John, who she now told Alec his name was Doctor Jonathan Smith and that they had started out as friends because she was enrolled in the college where he worked and had eventually had to keep their relationship a secret until she left college to go on study leave because she was only nineteen and he was twenty six.  How they had spent the new year together and got engaged on her twentieth birthday and married a year later when she was twenty one then how they had been saving to buy a house, choosing not to start a family until they did.  Then she told him in more details the facts of that dreadful day she had lost John and her world had come to an end.

How she had barely coped with the loss then never getting to find out who had killed him.  How in desperation to get over it, she had waited for a transfer because their flat contained all memories of John that made her unsure if they helped her or made her worse and then she'd arrived in Broadchurch and met him.  How he had made her feel better and how she had started to believe she could fall in love again but was torn between the memories of her husband and him and she was walking a tightrope, not wanting to betray John's memory as she had felt herself being drawn more and more towards him over the past few days, wanting to be with him, to feel him close by and how she had thought back about her time with John, trying to convince herself to finally let him go, that he was never coming back and she wasn't betraying him by wanting to be with someone else.

She told him how she felt about him and tears were now pouring down her cheeks as she tried to tell him that she was ready to make a fresh start, with him, if he could accept her past and how she was so reluctant to tell him about it because it was just too painful but he'd helped her so much over the last few days, some of the pain was going away.

Alec sat and listened to what she had to say, feeling so sad for her as she told him everything and was not surprised in the least to learn they had been married because he had suspected it, that was why she had been reluctant to tell him, reluctant to actually have a more physical relationship with him because she felt she was betraying John.  If he had felt sorry for her the first time she had told him, he was feeling even more sorry for her now.

He broke the silence a few minutes after Rose has stopped talking.  "Rose, I am so sorry.  I knew there was something more and I half suspected you had been married because of the pain it had caused you.  I now know why you were so reluctant to tell me and how you were walking a tightrope between your feelings for him and for me.  Rose, I can accept your past but I need to know that you will be able to move on with me.  I'll help you, we can both help each other.  We've both been on our own for around the same length of time, you know he's never coming back and I'm not asking you to forget about him completely because you never will it's only natural but I'm over my ex-wife, she betrayed me and I never want to see her again but you, you haven't betrayed his memory by wanting to be with me because you still love him deep down inside and that's fine, I can live with that.  I can help you forget all the pain it caused you because I was hurt too only it seems not as badly as you.  Let me into your life, Rose Tyler-Smith and I'll let you into mine, if you want."

They both looked at each other and Alec pulled his chair right up to hers and put his arms around her and kissed her cheek that was still wet with her tears and brushed them away.  Rose just buried her head in his shoulder and cried because she had thought he'd never accept her after what she had just told him and they were tears of relief that it was all going to be finally over and after the past few days of remembering John, she was now going to be able to move on with Alec, the kindest man she had met since that dreadful day.

Rose lifted her head and looked into his brown eyes that reminded her of a puppy dog and said to him, "Alec Hardy, I want you to be in my life but I need for you to be a little more patient with me if you can.  I know I've asked a lot of you but I can't let go all at once.  I know you're angry with what your ex-wife did and she hurt you but John didn't do that to me, he had no choice, he would never have left me and now I have to settle this in my mind, with your help.  I'm not asking you to convince me over anything, I want to be with you and now I can start putting my past behind me but I can't do it overnight.  Will you help me Alec?"

That was all he needed.  He kissed her tenderly and said, "Rose, take all the time you need.  There's no need to rush, I'm not going anywhere.  Let's open that bottle of wine to celebrate, eh?  I'm glad I didn't buy it to go drown my sorrows on my own," he smiled.  "We can just continue more of what we've been doing over the last few days, taking our time.  If you want me to, I'll sign that rental agreement with you tomorrow, that way we both have something solid and like I said, you have your furniture sent down from London and we'll go and buy the rest of the things we need.  So, you're having the bedroom facing the sea are you?" he teased, pulling her back closer to him.  "We'll just have to see about that since I'll be paying the rent.  Maybe you'll convince me to let you share it with me?"

Chapter 8

They had a few drinks to celebrate not only deciding to rent a house together but the fact they had accepted each other.  Only a few short days ago, neither of them could have believed they would be able to move on with their lives.  Alec had been right, they had both been alone roughly the same amount of time.  So Alec went to get his things to save time in the morning and they spent the night together again with more or less the same as they had been doing except Rose let him take her knickers off eventually on the condition he kept his shorts on as they kissed and touched each other and Rose allowed him to touch more of her.  They both fell asleep and it was the first night Rose didn't drift off thinking about John.

Wednesday morning, Rose was awake before Alec and wasn't sure what had woken her.  Maybe it was because it was the first time in over two years she had slept properly without the dreams and the guilt.  She was laid over Alec, a feeling she really liked and she woke him as she tried to move and so she murmured a quick "Sorry."

The alarm on Alec's mobile sounded and so she grabbed his phone but it was different to hers and she couldn't stop it.  She handed it to him with a miffed look on her face saying that she couldn't do it and Alec thought it was amusing saying since she was younger than him so she should be more technically minded than he was and after turning it off, pulled her back onto him and kissed her.  Rose just sat up on him then remembered she was wearing nothing underneath and moved his hand inwards, just enough to make her smile.

She moved over to let him get out of bed and told him she'd be disappointed if he was so fast at changing his shorts again so he obliged by taking it more slowly as she sat and watched him take his time over them, first taking the one's he was wearing down and turning around to get his clean one's which he'd put on the chair then turning back and slowly putting his clean one's on.  Rose was now smiling and wishing she could finally overcome her fear of being with another man.  She was beginning to question why she was still holding back.  Men like Alec didn't come along every day, especially now she had seen him naked.

She waited until he went into the bathroom and got out of bed, knocked on the bathroom door and told him to hurry as she suddenly realised she was desperate to use the loo and hoped he wouldn't be long.  It was five minutes before he cracked the door open slightly and asked why.  Standing crossed legged in front of the man she was thinking of sharing a house with and eventually giving in to him was not an ideal way to start so she just pointed to the loo and squeezed past him.  As she passed, he pinched her bum which made her worse and said she was the one that was a grump this morning.  She retaliated when she came back out by trying to make a mark on his neck which he only just managed to stop and said he was going to start calling her Drusilla, what with the long blonde hair and the London accent and assumed she knew who he meant.  She did which made her want to bite his neck even more and said she'd get him later.

They went for breakfast, Alec managing by a narrow margin to get away with a bite mark and Rose said she'd meet him at noon to go sign for the house and would if ask the agent if he needed to go through the usual checks.  If so, they agreed Rose would just sign and have his name added later to avoid delays.  They both told Becca they were moving out and she gave them a knowing look as if she had already suspected something of the sort but not quite so fast.  Rose had initially booked for a week with the option for longer since it wasn't really the busy season but Becca had held Alec's room for him while he was in hospital and he had become a permanent fixture.  Still, she said it wasn't a problem and could easily fill the rooms.  Rose went back to her room to ring her mother with the good news she had found a house to rent, right by the sea and that she had decided to share with someone to keep the costs down.  She wasn't ready to tell her that the person she was sharing with was Alec, just that she was going to look for someone after she moved in.  Her mother said it would be the perfect opportunity for her to come for a visit but Rose persuaded her to wait for the Easter holidays before she came down to give her time to get sorted and to prepare Alec to meet her.

Then Rose looked up removal companies on the internet and since she had left the key to the storage unit at the actual place, all she had to do was contact them when she had chosen who to do the job and when.  That depended on how soon she could get the keys but maybe they could be moved in by the weekend.  She stopped for a moment and realised, this was all part of moving on altogether and she was actually moving in with Alec, the man who she had only met a few days ago but was certain that was what she wanted to do.  Now she thought about it, it had been the same with John.  She had fallen in love with him so fast but because she was so young, had been forced to be just friends with him but she knew already that she had loved him and could tell he loved her.  This time she was older with only one thing holding her back and it wasn't Alec, it was her.  Her fear of being with another man like she had been with John.  She made her mind up she was going to get over this once and for all.  She was going to tell Alec tonight that the first night they spent in their new house she would be with him completely, no holding back.  She needed to give herself a kick start.

The time came to go meet Alec to sign for the house.  She had rung the agent and said there would be two of them signing and since the agent knew who that other person was, said there was no need of any extra checks with him being in the police and they could both sign right away.  Rose wasn't really surprised the agent knew who Alec was but hoped she wouldn't spread the word just yet that he was renting a house with her as she didn't want to gain a reputation before she had even started work.  Rose was now able to use her full name in front of Alec which was a relief as her debit card and other items had her full name on it and she'd used her maiden name when booking the hotel room which she couldn't think why she had done it.

Alec was waiting outside the letting agents when she arrived and they went in together and he got a few more stares as people recognised him.  He resigned himself to having to get used to it if he was going to be seen around the town with Rose, something he was looking forward to now their awkwardness was out of the way and there were no more doubts.  He was thinking back to Saturday afternoon when he had seen Rose struggling with her luggage and thought he could have just left her after she'd said she didn't want any help but he'd waited anyway in case she changed her mind and he was glad that he did.  He was also glad he had taken the time to get her a sandwich and take it to her or he might never have got that first kiss.  Well at least they hadn't been awkward about that and as first kisses go, that had been the best one he could remember.

They had soon both read and signed the rental agreement although Alec insisted on taking time to actually read the list of do's and don'ts within the house but since they had no pets and they didn't smoke it wouldn't be a problem.  The initial agreement was for twelve months minimum, renewable with one month's notice after that but Rose wasn't planning to move out any time soon, she loved the place.  Alec had noticed though when reading the terms that it never mentioned the fact that small pets were not allowed or that it didn't state no children.  They were then told it would take 48 hrs to process and check the property but they could collect the keys before 5pm on Friday.  Rose was delighted and was already making plans to send for her furniture and other items she had left behind in London.

Alec paid the deposit and bond and after thanking the agent, with Alec sort of giving her a warning look that was saying don't you dare tell anyone I'm renting a house with a young woman, they walked to a nearby café and had some lunch.  Alec was taking a longer break than usual but had told his superior he was moving out of the hotel and renting a house which pleased her no end because now, the police were no longer require to pay half his hotel bills and it meant he was staying.  He knew she hadn't wanted to force him off active duty when he'd been hospitalised but she was responsible for him so he had seen her point in the end.  She had let him back after he'd had his operation and it had been her who had taken him on in the first place after his last disaster of a job when he'd wanted to lay low.

After lunch, Alec said they would go out and celebrate again but they would get a taxi so they could celebrate properly and Rose said she was going to arrange for her furniture to be collected and was going to go to the nearest town looking at window blinds and other furnishings but asked if he wanted to choose with her.  He told her whatever she wanted would be fine as long as they weren't pink or floral and went to the cash machine and gave her some money.  Rose protested at first but after his insistence and not really wanting to make a scene in the lobby of the bank, she took it reluctantly and said they'd discuss it later.  She went to pick up her car to go shopping for things that didn't need measuring but would have to wait until she got the keys to get the window blinds.  She had a great couple of hours and managed to get most things she needed.

She drove back to the hotel and struggled to carry up the things she had bought, leaving the heavy items in the back of her car for Alec to bring up and store in his room since he didn't seem to have as much as she did.  She wondered if he'd left anything behind when he'd come here in such a hurry.  She still didn't know all the details of his sudden haste to move but understood he could never had stayed there under the circumstances.  She was going to have to get all the details out of him, she had poured out her troubles to him, it was her turn to listen.  She still had to tell him that she wasn't going to hold back anymore and had treated herself to some new underwear for the occasion but kept it in the bag and wasn't going to wear it until they moved into their new house.  Their new house, she thought, how did that happen so fast?  She was cursing herself for confusing poor Alec, letting him think she was cutting him out of her plans after what he had done for her.  Letting him think she was being selfish taking the house she could clearly see he'd wanted and especially for not thinking the answer to her house sharing was staring her in the face.

She still had time to get ready for going out and went for a much needed shower after her shopping trip, then got her laptop out and made enquiries about getting the phone connected in the house but decided to wait to see what Alec wanted.  She still didn't know if he watched that much TV and she already had a digital set-top box and a decent sized TV but if he like watching sports and things, she would have to think about getting subscription TV.  She had noticed a satellite dish on the back wall so that wouldn't be a problem.  Then she would have to change her address on everything as she'd waited until she had found somewhere but there again so would Alec and thought they could do them at the same time.

Alec came back and got changed and knocked on Rose's door.  He had yet another red rose for her and this time kissed her properly in the doorway as she let him in.

"So, I've booked us a table at a new Italian restaurant up in the town for seven thirty and a taxi outside for seven fifteen so, we have half an hour to ourselves, " he said hopefully as he put his arms around her.  Rose had other plans.

"Sorry but there are still things in my car that I bought that I couldn't carry on my own so you'll have to come down with me to get them, I don't want to leave them overnight.  Oh, I didn't quite spend up so I bought something special for our first night in our new house but you're not getting to see it just yet.  By the way, I've arranged for a removal firm to bring my things from London first thing on Saturday morning."

He was disappointed but went to help her with the items and they managed them in one go.  They just had time for a few kisses before they went back down to get the taxi.  The new restaurant was quite busy so they were glad they had booked and got a nice quite corner table so they could talk.  Rose was still quite annoyed he'd insisted on paying for the house and given her money to spend on the things they would need for it and they hadn't discussed the fact he wanted to pay the monthly rent and all the bills and she told him so.

"Alec, I would have had to do all this on my own if you hadn't been sharing so why have you insisted you pay for it all?  I have some savings left that I was going to use for it and I wouldn't have gone for a more expensive place if I hadn't thought I could managed until I'd found someone to share or I would have found a cheaper place."

Alec looked at her and reached for her hand over the table.  "Rose, I'm more than willing to pay for everything.  For the last two years I've lived in hotels or rented a cheap place and I've had nothing else to pay for.  We can discuss this properly later but I want you to know right now that I want to take care of you and that means taking care of everything so you have nothing to worry about.  Let's just leave this for now and enjoy our night out." Rose nodded her agreement.

They enjoyed the rest of their evening, making plans and got a taxi back to the hotel and Rose went to get her things for the morning although she thought they would be better in her room since he had boxes stacked in the corner now as she had brought all the other things she had bought that day into his room.  She was getting ready for bed when Alec came up behind her and put his arms around her waist and kissed her cheek.

"You wanted to know why I insisted on paying for everything?  Well before my divorce, she went to live with the man she'd been having an affair with and took our daughter with her, I contributed towards her expenses until she was fifteen then I wasn't responsible for her and I was told to stop.  I didn't want to, I had no choice.  So I've had nothing to spend my money on really, just saved it up and I was getting half my hotel bill paid because they didn't know if I was staying or not.  I didn't know myself but the alternative was going back which I didn't want to do even when I was cleared.  So now I've got something permanent, with you.  I would never have believed I could actually settle here, it's not like I was welcome when I arrived.  My DS was starting to talk to me before I arrested her husband for that boy's murder now she barely gets through the day.  I have no choice, there's no other DS that will even get in the same car with me.  They just tolerate me but all that doesn't bother me as long as I have you now.  Although, since Sunday, DS Miller has actually been tormenting me about you which seems to amuse her but until now, I had nothing to tell her.  Maybe now she might stop viewing me as the town grump who stole her job and put her husband in jail.  I think I've lightened up over the last few days."

Rose turned herself around and looked at him.  "I don't know, you can be grump in the morning, you wouldn't let me bite your neck and you kept me from getting into the bathroom when I was desperate to go," she smiled.  "Actually, that's what I'm going to call you, Grumpy since you called me Drusilla this morning."  She reached up to kiss him and put her arms around his neck.  "Although I do call you Grumpy with great affection," she added and kissed him on the cheek.  "Did you actually pinch her job?  No wonder she's miffed at you then."

Alec prepared his defence.  "No, I didn't pinch her job.  She was promised a promotion for the next available DI job but I had already been put in for it, they just didn't tell the Chief Super here that I was coming.  After what happened I needed to get away eventually as it wasn't going away, they wanted me to lie low but after a few days I walked into the middle of a murder investigation and things didn't go down well.  Anyway, I told you all that.  It wasn't my fault they sent me somewhere that was going to become the most infamous place in Britain."

Chapter 9

After they finally got to sleep, with Alec getting a little bit further with Rose, who seemed to be about to finally be worn down and give in, Alec was woken by his mobile ringing and just managed to squirm out from under Rose.  He went into the bathroom so as not to disturb her to find it was the Duty Sergeant who had tried to get hold of DS Miller or one of the other DS`s but couldn't.  It seemed there was some trouble at a housing estate just outside town with several reported break-ins in the last hour and units were already out there but a senior officer was required.  He told the Sergeant to get on of the DS's, it was their job, not his and there would be trouble when he got to work in the morning.  He hold the Sergeant to call a DC if he couldn't get anyone else or to get a car out to wake one of the DS's and hung up.  He was now regretting staying in the town where there were three DS's and two DC's who were capable of doing the job and he swore blind someone had put the desk Sergeant up to it by calling him. 

He wasn't a DI for nothing, he'd done more than his fair share of callouts during his time in the police.  Someone was going to suffer in the morning and it wasn't going to be him.  Then they wondered why he was such a grump.  He stood in the bathroom in just his shorts, looking in the mirror.  Just what exactly did Rose actually see in him, he wondered.  He was quite slim, in fairly good shape as he like to run a bit now and even been to the gym a few times, the one out of town but hadn't been on Sunday morning because he had stayed to comfort Rose but as he looked at his scruffy beard, he wondered when he'd got passed caring how he actually looked but Rose seemed to like his beard or she hadn't said that she didn't.  Maybe he could trim it a bit more, not let it get so thick and maybe get a haircut a bit more often.  He liked to go out of town for as that well though,  he didn't want the locals gaping at him.  Maybe he and Rose would go shopping for more things for the new house and he could go to the barbers there, he thought.

He waited a few more minutes then put his phone on silent and went back to bed.  Just how was he going to get back under Rose again without disturbing her?  He just managed to squeeze in beside her as she moved slightly at his presence and without thinking, put his arm around her.  That's how comfortable they had both got with each other over the last few days.  She looked so peaceful now, like a great weight had been lifted from her and it had.  This must have been the first time for her in over two years she had been able to let go of what was haunting her.  He thought about when he had said he'd look into John's death and decided he'd start in the morning and get all the details and re-open the case although he'd better not tell the Superintendent it was a personal matter or she might stop him.  He'd told her he was moving but not in with someone and not with the wife of the man he was re-opening the case about. 

Still, Rose was in Broadchurch under her maiden name so that would cover it for a while and if it came out and he'd succeeded, it wouldn't matter.  He would have proved a wrongful death by dangerous driving and failure to stop at an accident so if he found the driver he didn't have a leg to stand on, he was guilty without a doubt.  It was the very least he could do for both Rose and John's mother who must also still be grieving.   He could give closure to both of them.  He was going to suggest to Rose to go down and visit her and was going to offer to go with her.  He drifted back to sleep just as she moved again and was almost all the way over him again like he'd never even got up.

Thursday morning, Alec woke to his alarm and checked his phone to see if someone had rung back from the station, they hadn't so he was going to give them all a lecture on procedure as to who attended an incident first and who was the last one to be call.  He qualified for being called next to last, only the Chief was called last if absolutely necessary.  Great, that would make him even more popular than he already was, he still swore someone had put the Sergeant up to it.  He looked at Rose as she was still sleeping and managed to get his other arm from under her where she had moved during the night.  He loved waking up with her and wondered why he'd ever been on his own for so long now.  Even when he'd still been with his ex wife, things had started to go sour long before they split up which is probably why she had cheated on him.  He knew now that he was no longer alone as he looked at her, tucking a strand of her fair hair away from her forehead and leaning forward to kiss it.  She stirred slightly, moving her arm over him and he moved his free arm across it.  He was going to tell her how much he felt about her, had started the night before last but since then, his feelings were getting more intense, like he needed to be with her all the time.  Being at work all day and coming back to an empty hotel room had been arduous but now, coming back to Rose had made it worthwhile.  Only last Friday, the day before he had met her, he'd been thinking of taking a break and looking to see if any other police force would take him.  Now he had someone to stay for, someone who cared about him and it had been a long time in coming. 

He hadn't yet admitted to her that he did remember her from a few weeks previous, she had remembered him though why she had he didn't quite know.  He had thought at the time she was quite beautiful although he had only seen her twice and the second time he had been trying to send his monthly message to his daughter so hadn't taken much notice but at the time he had thought she was only on holiday and would be going home and she was with an older woman, probably her mother, who seemed to talking at sixty miles an hours, never giving her daughter room to get a word in.  Even then it had struck him that Rose seemed quiet and hardly talked.  If he'd known then she was coming back, he might have done something about it back then but chatting women up was something he'd been bad at, hence Becca Fisher turning him down so that had put him off.

Rose was still asleep and would be disappointed she'd missed him changing his shorts again.  He made a note to ask Rose if a washing machine was amongst her belongings and to remember to pick up his and Rose's laundry from reception on Friday, he was running out of clean shirts and shorts and Rose might not quite be ready for him to sleep without any.  Not just yet anyway although he was nearly there.

He couldn't wait any longer to get changed but while he was in the bathroom, Rose woke up and put her hand where he should have been.  She smiled to herself as she was thinking he'd probably thought he'd got away without changing his shorts in front of her.  She was disappointed though and was determined to tell him what she had planned for their first night in the new house but maybe she should just surprise him and if all went well, they could be staying there on Saturday night, Sunday at the latest.  Alec came out and greeted her before she had to run into the bathroom as she had waited too long again.  Before they went down to breakfast Alec asked her for all the details about the day her husband had died and that he was going to do his utmost best to find out who had caused it by looking at witness statements and hospital reports and details that may have been missed or disregarded previously.

“Rose, I need to know everything you can remember about that day.  I know it's painful but you need to know what happened Sweetheart and I think you should call his mother and let her know I'm going to re-open the case and maybe you should go down and see her.  I'll come with you if you want, it's not too far away, I'll drive you.”

Rose looked at him and she could see in his eyes he really meant it, he wasn't going to let this rest even though it had been over two years.  Alec was determined, that she did know.  “I can do better than that, I have all the details from the investigation.  I wrote every single thing down, every phone call and every time someone came to see me about it and received a copy of the coroner’s report with all the witness statements recorded on it.  I insisted I received a full report.”

“Rose Tyler-Smith, you are not only beautiful but brilliant,” he said as he kissed her forehead.  “Do you have it with you?”

“It's in my room, I have a folder that I couldn't just leave with my furniture, it's all I have.”

“I'll take great care of it, I'll make copies and bring it right back to you but if I succeed, you won't need it again.  I'm sorry to say that sometimes in big cities, resources are stretched and they need to clear things up quickly and despite witnesses, with no car registration or details, it's just one of those things.  I'll not ask you any of it, I'll get it from your folder but if I succeed and they catch the person responsible, you will need to attend any court appearances and I'll have to hand it over the police authority where it happened, I can't pursue it, I can only present them with any new evidence to re-open it.  You may have to make a few trips to London but I'll try to minimize everything, tell them you've moved and they'll have to come down here.  There's just one thing though, I won't be able to move in with you officially until I've handed it over to them or they'll take it the wrong way.  I'll just have to keep my room here for a bit longer to make it less obvious that I'm involved with you.  You do understand that don't you?  Once I've handed it over then it will be ok.”

“How will you explain why you want to re-open the case if you can't tell then it's personal?  I don't want to get you into any trouble, Alec nor do I want everyone in the police to know you're involved with me because if you find out who it was and I have to go attend the court, they'll know if you come with me.  I can't do this without you Alec, I just can't.  Even if I go to John's mother and ask her to get the case re-opened….” Rose stopped as they both realised the answer.

“Rose, you could go visit her, tell her you've talked it over with someone and they think you have a good chance of getting it re-opened, she could go to her local police with it and they'll have to send it to London but they'll investigate first to see if there is anything that's been missed.  You'll have to tell her though why you can't do it, if you want her to present it.  How would she react if she knew you were involved with someone else?”

“I don't know, maybe she won't want anything to do with me or maybe she'll be happy for me.  I could ring her after breakfast, tell her and she what she thinks about the idea.  There is another alternative, my mother but you will have to meet her, she'll understand why I'm moving on.  I could send her the folder, get her to go to the police station that dealt with it.  I can imagine her going in, throwing on someone's desk and demanding to find the killer of her deceased son-in-law.  To be honest, it hit her as hard as it did me and John's mother, like all the fight had gone out of her, which is saying something but I think she did it mostly for my sake, she didn't want to drag it on when they told us they were closing the case.”

“Then that might work, Rose because I sure as hell want to move into that house with you at the weekend and if I re-open this then we'll have to put it off.  I can't use police recourse for personal reasons.   When I get back tonight, we'll go through everything, use your laptop, I can get into police files, no problem but you'll have to do the rest.  Ring your mother and see what she thinks.  If she doesn't want to do it there might be another way but you won't like it and neither will I.  You could go to DS Miller and ask her to investigate.  Take the folder to her and show her it, ask if anything can be done.  I'm not going to change my address with the personnel department yet so she won't know I'm moving in with you but even if she does, as long as I'm not involved in the case, she can't turn you away without even looking at it.  Whatever you decide to do, I'm with you 100% on this.  Come on Drusilla or we'll miss breakfast,” he said as he kissed her cheek.

Rose was feeling a lot brighter over breakfast, two days from moving into a house with Alec and the prospect of getting John's killer caught because the more she thought about, the more it seemed that she shouldn't have just left it like that, she should have taken it further but she had been too distraught and now she was coming to terms with starting a new life, she could do this now. 

So she kissed Alec goodbye in the foyer and went back upstairs to phone her mother and John's mother.  She spoke to Mrs Smith first who was glad to hear from her and was delighted when Rose told her she had moved nearer and asked her to come and see her.  She was honest with her ex mother-in-law and told her she had made a friend in the police since she arrived who had told her there was a really good chance they could get the case re-opened.  She asked if Rose could handle it, she still wasn't that strong and she'd not been well so Rose had to agree she would see to it but asked if she could bring her friend when she visited and she said she would like to meet him.

She rang her mother next, hoping she'd have more luck.  She had to admit to her that she was spending time with Alec but her mother wasn't surprised and was glad she was moving on.  The crunch came when she told her that Alec had said they had a good chance they could get John's case re-opened and her mother was all for it – if Rose did it.  She tried to explain that it would be easier if she did it, she was still in London but her mother said it would have more impact if Rose did it herself.  Her mother now wanted to meet this Alec Hardy who had caught her daughter's attention and Rose pointed out that she should have been paying attention in the hotel dining room a few weeks ago and she would have seen him.  So Rose had to settle for her mother coming down at Easter unless she had to go up to London to get the case re-opened. 

Rose was down to option three, asking DS Miller for help because she didn't want Alec to get in trouble and wanted nothing to spoil them moving in together at the weekend but before she did, she would let Alec know she had struck out with the first two options.  She sent him a text asking him to meet her at lunchtime and got out her folder containing everything she knew about John's accident case and got her laptop out to see if she could find anything out.  She was planning on telling DS Miller that she had been too distraught at the time to argue for the case to be continued or had it re-opened sooner but was now starting a new life in Broadchurch and wanted some finality.

She didn't find anything new on the internet apart from what she already had, she had saved all the newspaper articles about his accident but decided to go to the newspaper websites in case she had missed something.  Then she typed in ‘Doctor Jonathan Smith accident’ and waited for the results.

She wasn't expecting what appeared on the screen as she saw one of the results.  There were interviews with witness who had come forward that were never actually interviewed by the police because as far as she knew, only four witness statements were followed up but there were another three who were interviewed by the local paper and their names were printed, it would be easy for the police to find them and one of them had said he had seen the car driver and got a partial number plate but was never asked for his statement and said in the interview he was sorry he couldn't help because the driver had been at fault as he had come speeding around a corner as the victim had checked the road before crossing and never slowed down when he'd seen him.  The witness said people were calling out and some were waving after the driver, who only looked young, to stop but he didn't.

Rose had tears in her eyes as she rang Alec who told her to tell him the name of the website and what page it was on and he would go see DS Miller.

Chapter 10

Rose sat in her hotel room waiting for Alec to call her back or for DS Miller to call her.  She didn't really like the woman but if Alec could get her to look into it, his involvement would be a bare minimum and they could still move in together. While she waited, she remembered she hadn't asked Alec about phone and TV so she sent him a text saying did he wanted the full works so she rang about getting the full package and had noticed the satellite dish and the phone point so she went back online and was about to get signed up when it asked for her details as Alec wanted to pay for everything so she'd have to wait until he got back.  Alec had mentioned he didn't like signing up for anything online so she'd have to phone them later but she could see to having the utility services changed to Alec's name as she just put on the form they would pay the bills directly with the option to change it.

She had not heard anything by noon so she went off to meet Alec in the café near the Police Station, who were getting to know her by now and waited for him, hoping he'd have some good news for her.  When he arrived, he said he'd told Miller about it and she had requested all the details from the officer who had been in charge of the case and was still sifting through everything but she actually seemed pretty interested in it because she wasn't one for letting things rest and she believed an injustice had been done by not pursing the case.  Alec had told her that it was Rose's husband and that he had befriended her since her arrival but had to say there was no other reason why he was helping her other than he thought she deserved some sort of closure to it after all this time and he had her permission to chase it up.

"Rose, if Miller gets this re-opened she'll be pleased with herself for doing it and she might ease up on me a bit but also it will mean my name isn't mentioned so she will call you when she gets to know anything.  Tell her we're just friends, I have enough trouble with her as it is, I don't want anything to spoil things between us because well, there is something I want to discuss with you tonight after we've sorted the house out.  I know there are things to do because I want all the bills in my name and this afternoon I'm going to follow something else up but I'll tell you later.   How have you got on this morning, did you get anything done?"

Rose nodded.  "I got some things done by saying we would pay the bills directly with the option to change it but I couldn't get the TV and phone done without you.  I did the Council Tax in your name and they will send a bill which we'll be able to pay monthly.  I can change all my things and then you can do yours but I was going to find out today about going back officially to my maiden name.  Alec, I don't want to cause any embarrassment between us by people referring to me as Mrs, they might get the wrong idea and I don't want to explain all the time I'm a widow."

"That was what I wanted to discuss with you.  I was going to find out for you but if you go to the Town Hall to the Registrars office, they'll be able to tell you.  It might be really easy and it might not take anything legal form if you just go back to being called Miss, you could still keep the Tyler-Smith if you wanted to but just check it out first before you change all your documents and bank.  You still have a week to get it all done before you start your new job so you should be able to do it before then.  I curse the internet sometimes but it can be useful for some things."

Rose just smiled as he told her about how the internet was mostly the cause of his problems with his last case before he'd come to Broadchurch and hadn't helped his popularity in the town, that and the newspapers.  He agreed though that now, he was forced to change his mind since it was helping to re-open John's case and if Rose could resolve this once and for all, he would be quite happy to spend the rest of his life with her, if she would have him.  Even if nothing came of this, which he doubted now because he had told Miller more than once she was like a dog picking at a bone that it wouldn't let go of, something would come of it.  With new witnesses it would increase the chances and also put into question why they were not approached, especially in light of the newspaper article.

He was surprised though that Rose didn't have an actual copy of the newspaper from that time or if it was the fact she didn't live in that area and was not aware of it.  It was only a weekly paper so she might not have known about it.  He didn't want to say anything but she had a very good chance if the driver was caught she would receive a substantial amount in compensation for the whole sorry affair, for the police failing her and the actual accident and she wouldn't have to do anything to get it, they would be all over her with it.  He would have to keep a very firm grip on it though and make sure she wasn't exploited over it which was why he was going to suggest to her go back to her maiden name permanently before she changed all her documents over.

"Rose, I have to go back to work now but please, go get some advice about your name and I want you to know that it's no embarrassment to me if you want to keep the Tyler-Smith or even use Mrs if you want.  I don't care much about what people say, I'm more concerned of how it will affect you when we are seen together, I don't want people thinking we're having an affair or for you to have to prove otherwise but it's up to you in the end, whatever you decide, I'm with you."

They left the café and Rose asked him for directions to the Town Hall and since it was up in the town itself, went back for her car, thinking she could go back and do some more shopping later where she went yesterday.  She had some luck at the Town Hall and found out it was quite a common question.  She really wasn't quite ready to let go of her surname just yet but considering she was now involved with Alec and the fact she knew in her heart now she was not betraying her husband's memory, she resigned herself to start making the change back to Rose Tyler but in her heart she would always be Rose Tyler-Smith because John had been the love of her life, the only man she had ever loved until she had met Alec Hardy and it was inevitable now she was moving in with Alec that society at large would make something out of nothing and make life difficult and she couldn't put that on him.

She would make it plain she was a widow if asked any awkward questions by any authorities but she sure as hell wasn't going to explain it to the nosey-parkers of the world.   She was finally admitting she was actually falling in love with him.
She drove back to the shopping centre and bought some soft furnishings and chose some window blinds but would have to go back since she didn't have any measurements.  She wished now she had asked to borrow the keys since it was mostly cut and dried the place was theirs but measuring on your own isn't much fun and she wanted Alec to be involved in as much as possible.  No doubt there would be a few arguments but they would be able to make up later.  She also went to look at beds thinking that maybe Alec wouldn't want to sleep in the bed she had shared with John and they would need one for the spare bedroom and rang him to ask him about it but he said it was fine, maybe just get a new mattress for it later when they had got settled but agreed they'd need bedroom furniture for the spare room and said he'd take the day off tomorrow and they'd go back and choose.  He said they could try and get the keys early and measure things and he might get some of the blinds up before they moved in but would have to go to the DIY store to get tools.

Rose got back to the hotel and dragged her shopping in with her again, much to Becca's amusement as she had thought Rose had come in with enough stuff the day before and had seen her dragging Alec out to bring more things in and wondered where they had put it all.  She caught Rose just as she was waiting for the lift and asked her if she had time for a coffee and a chat.  Rose agreed and Becca showed her into the sitting room and went to get the drinks.  They talked for a while about where they were both from and why they'd moved but Becca became sorry for her as Rose came to the part that she was a widow as she was going to make some catty remarks about Alec but as Rose was telling her how Alec was helping her move on, she kept them to herself and thought she was just being catty herself about it because he'd not asked her again after she had turned him down last year.

Rose asked Becca if she and Alec had ever got together because she's got the impression something had happened between them at some point.  Becca just laughed when Rose came out and asked her and said he'd asked her once and she'd turned him down because he'd just come out of hospital after she and another resident had found him unconscious of his bathroom floor and she had called an ambulance and gone to the hospital with him and she was scared of it happening again if she had taken him up on his offer.  She did admit though that she suspected he was only asking her because he was lonely and it would have only been a casual fling and that Rose had nothing to worry about, she never pursued him and wasn't interested in him and he'd never asked her again and she had never see him bring anyone back to the hotel and he always came back every night except when he was in hospital.

Becca then asked her if she and Alec were involved or was it just friendship but Rose declined to answer just saying there were a bit more than friends and that he really had helped her get over her husband's death and that the reason why they were both moving out was because she had found a house she liked but it was too expensive for just her and he was sharing the costs with her.  Becca sort of believed her but after seeing the two of them together over the last few days doubted Rose was telling her the entire truth.

Rose said she would see Becca later and went back upstairs to get changed for Alec getting back and still had a few minutes so she called her mother and told her she had got things going about re-opening John's case and that it was someone who worked with Alec who was looking into it, explaining to her that he couldn't get involved in it but if things went well they could get to know something soon.  Rose told her she was getting the keys tomorrow and Alec was helping her move in on Saturday and putting some blinds up for her when her mother asked the multi-million dollar question – was she sleeping with Alec Hardy?

Rose couldn't answer without incriminating herself so she pleaded the fifth amendment but her mother wasn't having any of it.  "Rose, I'm not judging you but you've only just met him.  I know you need to move on but Sweetheart, don't you think it's a bit quick?"

"Mum, it's been over two years, Alec is helping me, he's been a real comfort to me and no, we're not having sex if that's what your asking.  We have just been spending a lot of time together and he's been there for me.  I've told him everything because I didn't want to keep any secrets and he's accepted that it's taking me some time to get over John's death because I thought I was betraying his memory but maybe I'm not after all.  He wouldn't have asked me not to move on if I lost him, we never even talked about it.  We were never jealous of each other, we had no reason to be.  We loved each other deeply and I thought no-one could ever replace him but Alec is the first man who has understood that.  He went through a really bad divorce and he was hurt because his ex wife cheated on him so he knows what it's like to be alone, to think no-one else cares but we're helping each other to move on and maybe we'll stay friends and we'll take it from there."

"Rose Tyler, I don't know what you mean," her mother laughed.  "Anyway if you share with him at least I don't have to worry about you being alone, what with him being in the police but I'll only judge him once I've seen him, it's your life but be sure it's what you really want so you might as well tell me if that's what you've already planned."

Rose had to finally admit that she had already ask Alec to share.  "OK, you'll find out anyway when you come down, yes I am going to share with him but I told you the truth about the not having sex part.  We are romantically involved but never gone too far.  He accepts I'm trying to get over John and he's been so patient about it.  Maybe if I finally get his accident resolved I'll be able to move on with Alec.  I'm sure you'll like him, he's a lot like John in some ways.  Don't worry, there will be somewhere for you to stay when you come down but if I choose the share with Alec, I don't want you slapping his face if it's in the same room.  He's very protective and he's insisted on paying the rent deposit and all the bills for the house but if he thinks he's paying it all he's in for a shock."

It was nearly time for Alec's return so she said goodbye to her mother, promising she would let her know one way or another about the case.  A knock came on her door and she made sure it was Alec and greeted him, letting him lift her off her feet as she clung to him in a long kiss.  They had time before dinner to sort some of the things out for the house, Rose having to ring about TV, phone and broadband, handing the phone to him to give his details but because they were in a quiet area were told it could all be installed the following Wednesday since the dish and phoneline were already in place.  Rose told him she was going back to her maiden name and was going to make all the changes online as far as she could and would make a start in the morning then they would go choose furniture for the spare bedroom and see if they could collect the keys early to get the measurements.  She also told him she wanted to pay for some of the things though, it wasn't fair he was paying for it all to which he reluctantly agreed but only the food and other household items they needed then he told her what he'd been wanting to say to her earlier.

"Rose, after I asked DS Miller to look into John's case, which by the way is looking extremely good as she's now been in touch with the officer who was in charge and he's agreed to find the witnesses who weren't interviewed at the time so we could hear something soon.  Anyway, she told me you could claim compensation for his death which wouldn't involve you having to do anything, you should have been told that when it happened plus my Super got hold of it, which I was trying to avoid but I left my involvement with you out of it, said that you wouldn't have to do anything but sign a form.  What do you think Rose?"

She couldn't say anything because all the money in the world could never compensate for losing him, all she wanted was the person who knocked him down to be stopped from doing it again.  She had been bitter when it happened, why should the person who knocked him down be allowed to just go about as if nothing had happened?  Had that person been living two years knowing they had run someone over with a clear conscience?  If they felt guilty they would have come forward, knowing that the person they had knocked down must have had a family but if they hadn't cared, been selfish that they had robbed someone of a boyfriend, husband or a son because they didn't want to be caught, why should they have their freedom?  She realised she still felt the same, having tried to forget it but now she had a chance to bring them to justice, them feeling guilty or not, they should be made to face the consequences of their actions.

Alec was looking for her answer, did she want to be compensated?  Alec was going to take care of her, she knew that but if it was due to her, the authorities would just get it if she didn't claim it.  She hadn't exactly suffered but it hadn't been easy either.  If she'd had the money she would have never gone out to work, would have locked herself away, going to work had given her a purpose.  Alec was getting worried when she didn't reply but gave her chance to think.

"Rose, just think it over, even if they never find the driver, you are still entitled to it.  The other thing I wanted to say was, I want to take care of you, Sweetheart, I want to look after you, it's not about finance, it's about looking after you and I would rather you turn down the compensation because I don't want people thinking it's about the money, you know it isn't.  We can live comfortably without it but it's up to you."
Chapter 11

Rose knew she had to think about this, it was totally unexpected and she didn't want to rush into this.  Alec was right, people would get the wrong idea if she accepted it, think he was after her money.  How could he be, he had made his affection known before he even knew about her husband's death so how could it be about that?  She was more concerned about it's effect on him than herself.  There had to be a way for both and the only way was for them not to move in together and she didn't want that.  Either that or Alec couldn't change his address on anything and keep his room at the hotel to keep up the pretence.  She had kept John a secret from her mother for five months, they could do this, at least until it was over.  She could just refuse the money but why should the authorities keep it?

They went down for dinner and she asked Alec what he thought about the colour of the window blinds they should get, she didn't want to discuss anything else in public so they just talked about getting the keys early if they could so they could measure the windows and get started.  Maybe they could get some of their things moved in as well during the day.  She had bought some scatter rugs and lamp shades as well as other items such as new cushions as she had got rid of a lot of things before she'd moved.  They just went straight to Alec's room after dinner to sort things out and he asked her if she had thought about what he'd said.

"It doesn't seem fair, Alec.  If I go for the compensation and you're with me they'll think we're doing it for the money to set up house together.  If I don't claim it, it goes to waste.  I don't care about the money though, it won't bring him back and you were with me before all this came up.  DS Miller suspected we were involved on Sunday, maybe you should just tell her she was right but it won't stop others from judging us.  I'm sorry I dragged you into this, there seems only one logical way out.  I kept my relationship with John a secret from everyone I knew, including my mother for five months so I think I can keep us a secret, I've had enough practice.  This is a smaller town and you're not exactly Mr Popular but no-one knows me and only DS Miller and your Super will know I've gone for it so why don't I just say I already have money and no-one will be the wiser.  No-one knows John didn't leave me enough to live on so if we're careful and don't make it obvious, we should get away with it.  Plus if you don't change your address officially it won't draw any attention.  Anyway, you don't strike me as a gold-digger."

Alec crossed over to her and put his arms around her, he just wanted to look after her.  He could have just walked away after the first morning, just left her after she wasn't interested in having sex with him but he didn't.  It wasn't about that, it was about caring for someone for the first time in a long while that he had wanted to. He could have settled for a one-night stand with her or Becca Fisher or indeed any other woman who didn't know who he was, there had been plenty staying in the hotel while he'd been staying there.  He'd even noticed Rose a few weeks ago when she'd been there but he'd not seen her alone.  What would he have done if she had been?  Would he have asked her to just spend a night with him?  He didn't know but if he had, he would have found out she was coming back and would have felt guilty. Either that or she would have turned him down, or would she?

No, she was definitely interested in him now so maybe she would have if she knew she intended to come back then technically it wouldn't have been a one night stand.  He looked at her as she was close to him laying her head against his chest. Tomorrow they would get the keys to their own place and it would be the fastest he had moved in his life.  He had never known a woman for just a few days and knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her, even now thinking back over his first marriage, he had gone out with her for a few years before getting engaged and then got married more or less right away.  Rose was different, she was special and he knew it, she was that one in a million chance of starting afresh and he was going to do everything necessary to make sure he didn't stuff it up this time like he had before.

After bringing everything from her room into his, he took what he needed for the morning, just a pair of jeans, shorts and a t-shirt plus his coat into Rose's room so they could get an early start and see if they could get the keys early but Alec was going to go to the DIY shop in the High Street to get some tools to save time then they only had to get the window blinds.  Rose was going to call the removal company to see what time they could get there on Saturday morning so they decided to leave everything else in the hotel until everything was in and arranged where they wanted it.  Hopefully they were going to go back to the shopping centre to look at bedroom furniture for the spare room and get it ordered.  She still had the following week to get sorted but her mother's visit was imminent and it needed to be ready although she was hoping her mother wouldn't actually slap a Police Officer even if he was sleeping with her daughter.

They got things sorted and they decided to have an early night with Alec still trying to persuade Rose to let him sleep without his shorts and she told him to wait until they got into their new house then she'd think about it but said she'd split the difference and sleep without her nightdress but just her knickers so he settled for that.  He enjoyed feeling her laying on him without having to do so through the thin material and kept his word he wouldn't try anything.  Rose had trusted him so far, he wasn't about to spoil that when they were so close.  Maybe she would finally give in when they spent their first night in their new house.  He was also enjoying they way bit by bit he had broken down the barrier between them.  She was much more comfortable seeing him without clothes and wasn't shy about getting dressed in front of him but she was slowly driving him over the edge and he wasn't sure now she was lying almost naked on him if he'd be able to control himself much longer.  Just tomorrow night, he told himself, then she might break.

Friday morning, Alec had set his alarm for the usual time so they could leave a few clothes they wouldn't need to save time the next morning and pack everything else.  Rose was going to ring the agents at nine to see what time they could get the keys.  Alec went off to do some packing, something he hadn't envisioned himself doing any time soon except to leave the town while Rose hadn't unpacked a lot of her stuff was sorting out what she would need for the following day.  She made a note to collect their laundry when they got back later, after hopefully getting some or all of the blinds up.

They were hoping it would be their last night in the hotel but they put everything of Alec's into her room and would hand his key in on the way out after breakfast. Rose complained that they wouldn't be able to get in her room but Alec said all they really needed was room to get into bed, hopefully after a productive day.  They were in luck with the agency, they could go pick the keys up after ten so Alec made a stop at the DIY store and they found some blinds they liked so it would be easier to go back there and get them.  They went together to get the keys and then straight to the house.  Alec said they'd need to get an extra front door key later and opened the door then just as Rose was about to enter, he checked to see there was no-one around and lifted her up to carried her through the door.  Rose just giggled as he carried her into the small entryway and put her down.

"Alec, you're supposed to do that when you marry someone, really.  I can't believe you did that," she said as she kissed him as he put her down.

"I just wanted to welcome you to your new home, it's a big step.  You don't have to married to care about someone and I care about you and well, Rose Tyler-Smith, I'm more than ready to start my new life with you, if you'll have me?"

Rose kissed him again.  "Alec, I wanted to start my new life with you and I'm sorry I've made you wait but if we get to stay here tomorrow night then I promise I won't make you wait any longer."

They started making their plans and Alec measured the windows and they went to the DIY store to get the window blinds.  Rose went back to the hotel and picked up the scatter rugs she had bought, the lampshades, a new kettle, cups and spoons, mirrors and a picture of the beach she had found for their bedroom while Alec was going to carry the blinds back to the house as it wasn't far away.  Rose got a call from Alec to say he was waiting outside the DIY store as he had also bought a step ladder and the blinds plus some tools so she loaded everything up and stopped a little way down the road to pick him up.  He had got more than a few stares waiting in the doorway of the store, the residents finding it amusing to see the Inspector being domesticated.  When Rose saw him she had to smile.  He was holding four roller blinds, one Venetian blind, had a four rung stepladder propped up plus a bag of tools and various fixings and she apologised for leaving him with it all but told him he did look cute standing there with it all.

They got back to the house and got everything inside, Rose put the scatter rugs on the floor and arranged the kitchen then walked back up and got some milk and some coffee while Alec was marking where the blinds would go.  They were fortunate that wood had been put on the walls so the plaster wouldn't be ruined. Alec had got Rose to help him with the lounge area Venetian blind and that was now pulled shut to give them some privacy.  Rose went to make some coffee and just as she turned around with the cups, Alec was perched on a step reaching over with the drill in order to put up the blind at the kitchen widow just behind her and she could see his bare middle as his jeans slipped down slightly and his t-shirt was up so she quickly put the cups down and reached out and gently put her hand on his stomach as he pulled the power drill away and was just about to move when he felt her.  With his free hand he grabbed hers and held it against his stomach, passing the drill to her to put down on the counter top and stepped down the ladder slowly with her hand still in place.

Still with her hand on his stomach, they got closer and Alec's other hand was now up the back of her pink t-shirt as he held her tighter and they kissed.  He let her go and pulled her towards him and started to pull her down onto the floor on one of the rugs she had put down earlier.  Rose lay on top of him, pulling his t-shirt off and he was pulling hers off then her bra and pulling her leggings down and she unfastened his jeans, pulling them down, not realising he was wearing some tight fitting shorts that came away with his jeans and pulled them both down in one go.  Rose just gasped as she felt him for the first time, laying on top of him as she could feel him so close to her he was getting aroused and she could feel him start to stir, their lips parted as he looked into her eyes begging him to go further as he asked her if she wanted this, here on the floor but she was getting so turned on she didn't want him to stop completely and just managed to whisper she wanted him to stay where he was as they were both now getting aroused.

They stayed like that for a while, Rose was moving on him, sending a jolt of ecstasy down them both as they came so close, closer than they had ever been as Alec moved his hands on her bottom, pulling her directly onto him as they were both moaning softly.  They kissed again, finding each other's tongues as Rose's hands were on his shoulders and around his neck then when their lips parted, he was kissing her cheek as her head was cradled in his neck.  They stopped after what seemed like an age and smiled at each other, now fully relaxed and the tension that had been between them was almost gone.  Alec helped her to sit up as she scrambled to pull her leggings up and he fastened her bra, then she was trying to get up, just in time to see him pulling up his shorts but seeing her, he took his time while Rose put her t-shirt back on, then he scrambled to his feet, catching Rose's arm for support.

Now stood up, he pulled her to his still bare chest and held her close, kissing the top of her head as she clung to him tightly.  Alec broke the silence, looking down at her.  "Now that was just perfect," he said, smiling down at her.  "If that's a small taste of what to expect, I can't wait for the rest."

Rose just smiled at him and looked up, feeling slightly embarrassed, not meaning to actually pull his shorts down as well but had been pleasantly surprised and wished she'd done it sooner.  It had just felt right, a natural progression in her slow journey to get over her past.  She hadn't wanted to spoil it fully by reducing their special moment by doing it on the floor, she wanted to wait until they spent their first night in their bedroom but now they had come close, she was beginning to think maybe not to wait as she now wanted more.

"Alec, that was very special, I think we both needed that, you were so gentle and the feeling you gave me was electrifying, it gave me a sensational feeling that ran right through me.  I still feel rather turned on actually, I think it may take a while to wear off and I like the feeling.  I still think we should wait until we give in fully to each other, until tomorrow night when we've moved in because I want that to be extra special.  I was planning on telling you I wouldn't hold back any more when we move in but I guess you know that now.  I had something really special planned for tomorrow night so you'd best get your act together and fit that bedroom window blind today because nothing's going to get in our way of spending our first night together in our new house."

Alec gave a mock salute and kissed her forehead as his arms slipped from around her and went to put his t-shirt back on.  "Best have no more distraction then," he said as he slipped it over his head but not before Rose ran her hand over his bare chest again.

Rose went to make fresh coffee, laughing and Alec took the rest of the roller blinds upstairs and said he'd just concentrate on their bedroom and the bathroom in case they got distracted again.  He asked Rose to help but she declined saying she couldn't possibly keep her hands off him and should stay a safe distance from him and should go get some more of their new things from the hotel but he told her not to bring the heavy things, they'd get them later.  Before he started doing the bathroom blind, they walked across the harbour to a fish and chip stand and sat on the sea wall eating and laughing, making more plans.  As they were sat on the wall, it was unfortunate that someone Alec knew walked past.  It was Beth Latimer, the mother of the boy who had been murdered the year before and she was pushing a small child in a buggy towards them.

Alec tried not to notice her but she saw him, he was teasing Rose about the bottle of juice she was drinking at the time as she was trying to tempt him to drink it as he said he didn't like it and preferred his own.  When he saw her, he stopped and handed the bottle back to Rose as Beth stopped in front of him.  She still was very cagey with him after what had happened but had been thankful he had caught her son's killer even though it had been a friend of the family.

"Good afternoon, Inspector, don't often see you down here.  Are you on your lunchbreak?" she asked, trying with some effort to keep it pleasant seeing he was quite clearly with a woman she didn't recognise.

Alec acknowledged her and replied, "No, actually I'm having a day off, I'm moving out of the hotel finally, I've decided to stay here after all so might as well get a place of my own."  He looked into the buggy at the small boy, remembering that Beth had found out she was pregnant after her son had been killed.  He was thinking maybe he should introduce her to Rose since they had become an item and maybe her and Beth Latimer would get on well since they had both lost someone they loved.

"This is my friend, Rose Tyler, she's just moved here from London.  Rose, this is Beth Latimer, remember I told you about her.  She lost her young son last year, it was the case I was working on when I became ill."

Rose remembered all too well the revelation that Alec had become very ill and had nearly died, something she didn't want to think about.
Chapter 12

Then it struck Alec that this was their opportunity to get around the compensation problem so people wouldn't think he was after her money, not that he was really bothered about what they thought about him, he was more bothered how it would affect Rose.

"Well, actually Rose is my girlfriend and we met while she was waiting for a transfer at work a while back, she's starting at the bank on the High Street in a weeks time.  Say hello, Sweetheart."  He put his arm around her and turned to Rose, who held out her hand, playing along as she got what he was trying to do.

"Nice to meet you Mrs Latimer," she said as she put her other arm around his back, knowing he had devised a plan.  "I was so sorry when Alec told me about your son, please accept my sincere condolences.  I know what it's like to lose someone.  I lost my husband two years ago then I met Alec and he's helped me move on.  I won't bore you my problems but if you ever want to talk we could meet up sometime.  We've just rented a house down on the other side of the harbour, we've been waiting for everything to get sorted."

She glanced up at Alec, silently telling him she was game for playing along as it also struck her this was the answer to their problem, that if everyone believed that they were together prior to her arrival, no-one could judge them for accepting the compensation but it would mean Alec would have to admit to Miller that he was just trying to protect Rose and didn't want anyone to know he had a girlfriend, which would come as a shock to the rest of the staff in the Police Department as they probably found the concept of him having any friends at all, let alone a girlfriend, was inconceivable.

Beth held her hand out to Rose, looking at the two of them and was already convinced.  "Nice to meet you Miss Tyler, although the Inspector kept you quiet but it's only to be expected under the circumstances.  Being in charge of a murder investigation isn't exactly the right time to bring up the subject that you have a girlfriend in London.  When did you lose you husband?"

"Just over two years ago, it was a hit and run accident and they never found the driver but I'm confident they will eventually," she said, glancing at Alec, who just smiled at her.  "Oh, we only met a few weeks ago when I was looking around the town, I just came down for the weekend while I was waiting for everything to be sorted with my transfer," she added, looking up at Alec for him to catch on, not wanting things to get too complicated.

Beth hadn't seen him smile before, never thought she would and was surprised how different he looked with a smile on his face, dressed in a striped unbuttoned t-shirt, jeans and canvas shoes and his jacket.  She had only ever seen him in a suit and tie.  She thought that this Rose Tyler had certainly brought a transformation over him and that it was a pity she hadn't put in an appearance earlier.

"I'm sorry to hear that, you must have been devastated.  I know I'll never get over my son's death, it's still painful to have someone you love taken away like that.  Yes, I'd like to get together and talk to you, if that's ok, when you get settled.  Have you been here long?"  She looked at Alec.

"Since last Saturday, I'm staying at the same hotel I did the other week.  My things are arriving from London tomorrow, we've been getting the house ready," pointing at the state of her clothes.  "I don't normally dress like this but there was cleaning to do and blinds to put up."  She had to stifle a giggle as she remembered Alec putting the blind up earlier and their sexual encounter on the floor.  "I'd very much like to meet up with you.  I know it's still painful but I've found Alec and he's made some of it go away.  What about you, you have a new baby now, how are you coping?"

Beth looked at her son and said, "He was what we needed to fill the gap in our lives, he came along just when we needed something to hold us all together."

Rose and Beth swapped phone numbers while Alec went back to the last of his meal, which was going cold so he got up and threw it in the bin, pointing to Rose's who indicated for him to throw hers in too.  He retrieved their drinks, pretending to put hers in the bin until she shouted "Oi" to him and even Beth laughed.  It was just gone three so they went back to put up the bathroom blind, Alec managed to get it fixed up without any interruptions from Rose, who went to busy herself cleaning the kitchen area then were going to call it a day and go back to the hotel for dinner then just relax ready for the following day which was going to be hectic.

After putting up the lampshades, they were just about to leave the house when Alec's phone rang and it was DS Miller.  She had been trying to call Rose but she had left her phone in the hotel room charging the battery and Miller enquired if he had seen her.  He handed the phone to Rose, saying he was with her because he was fixing her window blinds for her as she was moving into a new house.  Rose was given some good news that the police in London had contacted the other witnesses and between their statements they now had more information including a partial number plate that was being traced and the driver at the time of the accident would now more than likely be able to be traced and she should have a result by Monday as she had asked to be kept informed and had now passed her details to the officer that had been in charge and told him to contact her, not Rose with any developments to save Rose from further upset.  Rose thanked her for what she was doing and gave her the new address as she told her she was moving out of the hotel and apologized she'd not answered her phone as the battery had been flat.

Rose told Alec what Miller had said and he was quite pleased despite having to face Miller on Monday now with the thought of explaining why he was with Rose.  They hadn't discussed what he'd said in front of Beth Latimer since they came back because they just wanted to get finished but now was the time for Alec to tell Rose his plan that would save their plans to move in the next day.

"Rose, I hope it was ok to tell Mrs Latimer you were my girlfriend?  Only it seemed that it was the perfect opportunity to get us out of the spot we were in, solving all our problems.  So, if it's ok with you, I tell Miller that you were my girlfriend before you came here, like we've just said, that I was just trying to protect you from the media circus, keeping you a secret, with you staying in London, waiting to get a transfer, which you were so that's not a lie.  It doesn't matter about the details but if comes across that we were already involved before you asked for the case to be re-opened then no-one can judge us.  Don't you get it Rose?  You gave me the idea when you said you had kept John a secret for five months, the only thing we have to do now is get your mother to play along because she knows you've only just met me because you told her but then there's Becca Fisher but she already suspected there was something between us when you arrived so we just stick to the story I was protecting you and didn't want you involved because the press still think there's a story here somewhere.  I know it's a lot to ask but we don't have to discuss it with anyone unless it comes up.  I'll just tell Miller and my Chief and you tell your mother.  What do you think?"

Rose was just annoyed she hadn't come up with the idea in the first place, she had kept John a secret from every single person she had known, including her own mother for five months so doing this was like ten times easier.

"Actually, I'm surprised at you, being a Police Officer, that you could invent such a story but since you got the idea from me, I can't blame you for it.  It's a good plan except, I don't have to get my mother to go along with it, I told her I'd noticed you when we were here a few weeks ago and she wasn't taking any notice of you so since we both had separate rooms, she doesn't know if I sneaked off to the bar after she'd gone to her room, had a few drinks with you and went back to your room and spent the night and Saturday night with you does she?"  Rose was grinning now, wrapped in the idea how this was going to be nothing compared to what she had done seven years ago.

They both began to laugh at the thought.  Rose confessed she had thought he was cute when she had seen him a few weeks ago and regretted now she'd not had the opportunity to get to know him back then but she told him at that time, she had too much on her mind but if he'd asked her for a drink she would have accepted and maybe tempted to spend some time with him but not alone in his room and also confessed she didn't know quite how they both ended up in her bed the previous Sunday morning but was glad they had now.  Alec confessed he had seen her on the Friday night and wished she had gone to the bar and he'd met her then but would never have asked her for a one night stand unless she had suggested it first.

Rose was now even more sure about him and was on the verge of breaking her promise to herself to wait until the following night until she gave in to him completely and tell him that she loved him.  Instead, she just put her arms around him and told him he was the most kindest man she had met in two years and said she might just have asked him because she had been instantly attracted to him for a second time even when she thought she would never see him again the first time. They went back to the hotel to get changed and having a bit of time, just lay on the bed together with Rose's head on his shoulder and Alec just holding her, occasionally kissing her neck.

They went to eat, deciding to confess to Becca they had got involved a few weeks ago to back their story and she wasn't surprised, especially after her little chat with Rose and her reluctance to admit anything.  Rose just said that Alec didn't like to be the subject of gossip, which was true and Becca said she could understand that.  With that taken care of, Alec just had to face Miller and the Chief and Rose was going to confess to her mother later, there was no rush.  Alec suggested taking a bottle of wine to their room but Rose insisted they would need a clear head for the following day.  They both slept without any clothes that night, just doing more of what had occurred in the house on the rug, Alec never going for any more than Rose wanted and just as Rose fell asleep she whispered she loved him but never heard his reply, she didn't need to, she knew he loved her.

Saturday morning, Alec's alarm went off and there was no time for lingering like there had been.  The removal van was arriving at nine or maybe just before so they had to hurriedly get dressed and had asked Becca if they could have breakfast early so the were down for seven forty five, leaving everything they didn't need in their room.  Rose was getting excited at the prospect it was all happening so fast.  Just a week ago, she had left home, no friends, no house and barely able to face moving on her own and forcing herself to go through with it.  Now she had a friend, no Alec was more than a friend, he was her boyfriend and she had a house she was going to share with him and with Alec she was now able to face the world again.  The decision to take the job and move had paid off, it had helped her in more ways than one.  She had fallen in love with Alec when she never thought it was possible to get over her husband's death.

They arrived at their new house, relieved the removal van hadn't yet arrived so they took a few things into the house that they thought they'd need and Alec drove the car round to the public car park out of the way of the removal van.  He had just walked back as the van was arriving so Rose was directing where she wanted everything while Alec was carrying some of the smaller items.  Then Rose realized that they were going to have trouble fitting two wardrobes into their bedroom when the set of six drawers was in and the dresser so one had to go in the spare room and they would have to get another smaller one as it was going to be a squeeze fitting Alec's suits and jackets and her things in.  The removal men carried the bed frame upstairs, which Alec somehow had to put up, one of the friends of Rose's mother had taken it down when her mother went round to help her get things into storage.  Finally, most things were roughly in the right rooms although she didn't really have that much, a leather sofa and two matching chairs, a TV on a stand, a wall unit, kitchen table and chairs, a glass coffee table, bedroom furniture and boxes of assorted items and the removal men were gone before eleven.  Alec just wanted to get the bed put together so they went to do that first and it wasn't as difficult as they thought with two of them although they did fool around a bit, once Rose had pulled the blind down.

Once it was all put together and the mattress was put on, Rose put the new sheets she had bought and the new duvet, having to get help putting the cover on and Alec fooling around again, they just lay back on the bed and a dreadful feeling suddenly overwhelmed Rose as she sat up on the bed.  Alec sat up too, wondering what had come over her as they had been so happy all morning getting sorted and finally get the bed put together.

"What's wrong, Sweetheart?  You're not having second thoughts are you?  If you are, I can stay in the hotel until you get settled in.  We don't have to do this right now if you're upset.  Tell me what's the matter."  He put his arm around her as she put her arm up to take his hand.

"It's nothing Alec, it's just I'm worried that, well this was our bed, mine and John's, then I slept alone for two years and every night I thought about him and when I came here, I never expected anyone would be sharing it with me again.  Alec, I think tomorrow we should go down and get a new mattress and stay the night at the hotel, I just can't do this, I'm so sorry because I know we wanted to stay here tonight but I promise you tonight, I won't hold back any more because I love you and I want to be with you but not in this bed.  I can't do that do you Alec, it's not fair on you."

Alec turned her to face him as she curled her legs under her then he pulled her close and kissed her, then looked at her and said, "Rose, it doesn't bother me, really.  I know you'll have reminders, you always will and they won't go away overnight but they will over time.  Sweetheart, we are staying here tonight, in this bed unless it's so upsetting for you we have to leave and we will even if it's the middle of the night or we're in the middle of being together, just one word and we'll leave because nothing other than you saying you want to leave will spoil it.  Please Rose, I want this and we will go order a new mattress tomorrow when we go order a new wardrobe and another bed but tonight I insist we sleep here.  I love you Rose Tyler and I want to be with you tonight, no more waiting because you've been driving me mad and I can't wait any longer."

They kissed again and Alec lay her back on the bed, lifting her t-shirt then pulling down her leggings and touching her bare skin.  He placed his legs either side of her and pulled his t-shirt off and lay on top of her, kissing the uncovered part of her  then kissed her again.  Then he looked down on her and told her he loved her.
Chapter 13
After most things were sorted in the house, it was getting late in the afternoon and they realized they'd missed lunch and it was too early for dinner, they walked up to the car park and Alec drove them up into the town to find some pub food and then back to the hotel to collect their cases that they needed and were going back the following morning to clear out the room and hand in the key.  They kept the room just in case Rose panicked again but Alec didn't think that she would, he was going to make it as special as he could for her and put her at ease.  Rose remembered to collect their laundry on the way up that they had forgotten the night before and also collected the special items she had got to celebrate their first night in their new house.

They got back, unpacked their cases, just squeezing everything in, they definitely needed another wardrobe and then Alec switched some music on since her radio was now plugged in and set on her favourite radio station that played all the music from the 60's, 70's and 80's and they danced for a while, Alec lighting some candles Rose had bought mostly for decoration and he uncorked a bottle of wine he had picked up earlier.  Then Rose was getting hungry again around eight and he went to get some Chinese food for them while Rose was unpacking the plates she'd forgotten about.  They sat at the kitchen table in just the candlelight and Alec poured some more wine but Rose didn't drink it all, she wanted a very clear head. Alec asked what was in a large storage box in the spare room that he'd put there earlier, he said it looked like some clothes and did she want to hang them?  Rose explained they were John's t-shirt collection that she couldn't bring herself to part with and she wore them but thought they should be kept in storage while she moved.  Alec said she should hang them back up but she said she would put them in one of the drawers.

Alec made sure all the doors and windows were locked and followed Rose upstairs to find she had put a small bedside light in the shape of a flower on the bedside table and it gave a coloured glow to the room.  She said it had been a present from her mother and although she had got rid of a lot of things, she wanted to keep that.  Alec said it made her face light up.  While he was in the bathroom, something they were going to have to get used to, going out of the room to it, Rose got undressed and put on the new black lacy underwear she had bought and a see-through nightdress showing off the underwear that didn't exactly cover anything and was sitting in the middle of the bed with her feet tucked under her when he came back in and he just whistled at her, she looked stunning.

"Just a house warming present I got for you, DI Grumpy," she said.  "It's my sexy vampire outfit.  Do you like it?"  She moved onto her knees and pouted at him and blew him a kiss.

"Like it?  Are you joking?  You look gorgeous in it, Drusilla," he said.  "So, you're my house warming present are you?  Then do I get to unwrap it or is it just for show?"

Rose just curled her finger and beckoned him closer as she crawled to the edge of the bed, just out of his reach.  Alec took off his t-shirt and kicked off his shoes and was soon within her grasp.  Still kneeling on the bed, she unbuttoned his jeans and pulled down the zip, then reached down the front to feel him first through his shorts as he looked down and smiled at her,  clearly showing her cleavage out of the top of her bra through the thin see-through material.  Then she pulled his jeans down as he stepped out of them to reveal he was wearing another pair of tight shorts that made her grab him again to which he flinched at her touch.  She looked up to see a big smile on his face and she knew then, they were staying there the night.  All her fears were forgotten as finally she pulled his shorts down and she reached up to kiss him.

Rose moved back a little so he could kneel in front of her as he touched her  through the thin material, reaching around the back to unfasten her bra, leaving it loose then pulled down the lacy knickers over her legs as she moved to let him pull them off.  Still both kneeling, he touched her through the see-through material, touching her then kissing her and then laying her gently back on the bed, kissing her all the way down, still through the clear material until he got as low as he could go without permission.  He looked at her, not saying a word, silently asking her.  She responded  and pulled his head towards her until his lips were a millimetre away from her then he moved his tongue to touch her through the material as she pushed his head lower as he kissed her.  Slowly he brushed the nightdress away upwards then all the way over her head, taking her bra with it as she lay in front of him on the bed.

Alec shifted slightly to pull back the duvet as they edged their way under it, turning out the lamp as the moonlight was shining through the blinds and Alec said she looked beautiful as the light crept through the edge of the window blind onto her just before he lay on her and pulled the duvet over them.  Both of them were now fully relaxed with each other as he lay on her.  They made love by the moonlight, Rose murmuring softly, holding onto each other it gently washed over them.  Slowly he came away and whispered her name softly in her ear, kissing her neck as she clung to him.

He moved off her and lay on his back, Rose lying by his side still trying to catch her breath then rolling onto him, spreading herself over him as she lay in his arms.  No words were needed now as they clung to each other, both fully satisfied as he was still whispering 'I love you' in her ear as she whispered it back to him.  Rose buried herself deeper into him, wanted him to do more of what they had done the night before but more intense as they both gasped at the excitement of it, laughing quietly and really letting go as the excitement grew until finally they were both exhausted after the moving in itself and their love making that seemed endless.

Rose and Alec were now officially a couple and had both moved forward in their lives after so long.

The following morning, no alarm had been set but it was already 7am, his internal clock had woken him and Alec tried not to wake his partner, that was what he now considered Rose to be and hoped she would feel the same.  He felt happier than he had in years and he knew Rose did too.  He was glad they had not rushed into anything, they had been leading up to it for a week, slowly.  He so wished now he had said something to her the first time he saw her and now he was going to tell those who needed to know that he did and she was so willing to go along with it keep their relationship intact so they could live together, never doubting him for a moment.  Technically, they had sort of met, it wasn't a lie, it was just not the way they were going to tell it but it was only so Rose got the compensation she deserved after what she had gone through.  He would only tell Miller and his Chief what was necessary.

He slipped out from under Rose and put his shorts and t-shirt on as it was still a bit cold in the bedroom after getting out of the warm bed, he knew he had to find out about the open stove with the boiler and get it going.  They hadn't felt it the night before but Rose was going to feel cold when she got up.  He went into the bathroom and heard her saying it was freezing and imagined she was staying under the duvet until he got back.  When he got back, she was peeking out from under the covers, having pinched one of his t-shirts that was nearer than hers and pulled her knickers on and hurried back into bed.

"Alec, we need to do something about the heating, it's still only March you know. Come back to bed and warm me up.  Oh and I pinched one of your t-shirts, you can come and get it back if you want."

He didn't need to be asked twice as he went to reclaim the item she had taken, with a lot of giggling from Rose as he tickled her into giving it back, losing her knickers in the process as they tumbled beneath the duvet until they were both warm.  An hour later, the sun was creeping through the window and the room began to warm up a bit.  Alec got out of bed, pulling a sweater out of the wardrobe and got her dressing gown and wrapped it around her shoulders and told her to go get a hot shower to warm her up while he went down to make some coffee then they'd go collect the last of their things from the hotel, get some breakfast, go food shopping then go choose furniture in the afternoon.  He also said he'd see if there were some instructions about the stove to get the hot water and heating going.

He got dressed properly and went downstairs, cursing he hadn't done something about the heating last night but they had both been eager to go to bed in their new home together, it seem it was the last thing on their minds.  He found the instructions for the stove, it was only a fake one and was run by gas and he turned it on, made sure the radiators were turned on at the correct temperature and after about fifteen minutes he could feel they were working and the hot water was running.  Quite pleased with himself, he took coffee up to Rose to get her to hurry up before they got charged extra for keeping the hotel room but she was already getting dressed and grabbed the coffee gratefully from him and kissed him on the cheek.

They set off for the hotel, just managing to hand the key over in time and said goodbye to Becca, well at least Rose did.  After finding some breakfast, they took everything back home and went to the supermarket, much to the amusement of some of the locals, taking their time choosing what they both liked and getting the essentials and after putting everything away, went to choose the furniture they needed and arranged delivery for the following Wednesday, deciding not to get a new mattress just yet as Alec said it was more comfortable than the hotel one anyway.

Later in the afternoon, they went for a walk on the beach, Rose wearing some warmer clothes this time, walking hand in hand with no shoes on, Rose was gathering seashells in a bag she had brought with her and was going to buy some wicker baskets and put them on the bathroom window then get some deep picture frames and put some in then hang them on the bathroom wall.  Alec said he was sorry he was going to have to go back to work the next day, he'd only been able to take Friday off for moving but Rose said she understood and she'd be fine, sorting everything out and unpacking the cases and was going to put everything into the wardrobe in the spare room for now.  They would only just get another smaller wardrobe in their room, behind the door.  She asked Alec if there was anything personal in a small bag he had with him that he didn't want her to see, he said he had no secrets from her.  There were just some photos of his daughter and he showed her the one in his wallet of when she was about thirteen, he'd had no recent ones of her since.  He told her to leave the bag if she was uncomfortable unpacking it and took the bag of seashells from her hand and carried it back home.

They made something to eat together for the first time that evening, then they chose a film to watch together, curling up on the sofa, Alec put the heating on so she wouldn't be cold but ended up turning the temperature down a few degrees after they got cosy together.  He asked her what else she was going to do the next day but Rose said she'd have a busy day unpacking.  Before they went to bed, he showed her about the stove and made sure she was ok with it then had an early night, even more exciting than the night before now they both knew what they wanted.

Waking up to a warm bedroom the following morning, Rose went to make some breakfast while Alec got his shower and when he came down said when he got back he'd fix the washing machine in and get something to stack the tumble dryer on top as it was blocking the back door, not good, he said.

After delaying Alec's departure as long as she could, they finally kissed goodbye and he said he'd be home just after six and they arranged to meet for lunch.  Rose went to start unpacking and sat on the edge of the bed, wondering where she was going to put everything, not realising she had so much and decided to go find some multi hangers to save some space.  While she was sitting, she put her hand on the pillow Alec had been sleeping on, she had bought all new bed linen and pillows but she couldn't help but think back to when John had slept there despite trying to push the thought to the back of her mind.  The way she and Alec had messed around the previous morning reminded her of the mornings John used to bring her breakfast in bed and she would complain about the mess he made, making it up to her under the bedclothes.

Then a sudden fear came over her again she hadn't felt for a long time, the man she had loved had gone to work and never came home and now the man she had just fallen in love with had gone to work and told her he'd be home at six.  She had to trust that he'd keep his word, that the same thing wouldn't happen twice, that would be like lightning striking in the same place twice.  She sent a text to Alec asking if he wasn't busy to call her.  She was doing some more unpacking when he rang.

"Is something wrong, Sweetheart?" he asked.  He wasn't expecting her calling. "Are you ok?"

"I'm sorry Alec, I don't know why but I started panicking again, it's just with you going off to work, it brought memories back of the day John never came home.  I really thought I was over that.  Last week I was fine when you went off to work but now we're really together this feeling just came over me.  I know I'm just being silly, just tell me it's nothing."

"Rose, it's only to be expected but you should just try to put it behind you, I'll be fine.  To start with, I'm with someone when I go out or I'm in my office.  I promise I'll come straight home and if you want to go shopping, we'll go together.  Please promise you'll calm down Sweetheart, I don't want to see you getting upset.  Why don't I bring some food home then we can talk?  Meet me at lunchtime and I'll go get something to sort that dryer out, it really shouldn't be by the door.  By the way, I told Miller and the Chief about us, told them I know it was wrong to keep you a secret but I was only trying to protect you, you know that, don't you?" he said, knowing she would get that he could be heard.

"Yeah, I know that.  What did I ever do to deserve you Alec?  I'll see you for lunch and I'm sorry for bothering you."

She went back to unpacking and was ok until she took some things to the spare room when she saw the box containing John's t-shirts.  She really couldn't bring herself to getting rid of them, especially her two favourites, the one of Hong Kong Phooey and the one she had first bought him with the star.  She picked the black one with the star and remembered buying it the first time they went Christmas shopping together to Greenwich and the Thames boat ride.  She took the t-shirt back to their room and took off the top she was wearing and put it on, looking in the mirror at herself.  She often used to wear it at home when she was on her own but was it fair to wear it in front of Alec?  Was any of it fair, breaking down in front of him the night before they were moving into their new home, calling him earlier with her fear he wasn't coming home.  She had to get her act together once and for all or she was going to lose someone else through it.  She needed help, she realised that and made her mind up to go and get it.  Taking the t-shirt off, she hung it in the wardrobe, got her coat on and walked up to the Tourist Information Office to find out where there was a counsellor  who dealt with her problem, she still had time before she went to meet Alec and could tell him she was getting help.
Chapter 14
Rose walked up the High Street to the newspaper office where the Tourist Information was and was surprised to see Beth Latimer sat at a desk talking to someone.  Beth acknowledged her so she decided to wait for her.

"Miss Tyler, nice to see you again.  Have you moved into your new house yet?"

Rose nodded.  "Please, call me Rose, yes, it's lovely, you must come over for coffee if you're not busy, I'll give you the address.  I'm here because, well, I need help about what I told you the other day.  Is there a counsellor I can see in the town?  How did you cope?"

"I didn't.  I fell to pieces but my family were there, especially my husband, you had no-one.  What about your mother?"

"Yeah, she helped, she's still in London though given half a chance she would have come with me but I had to get away from everything.  I just need someone to talk to other than her."

"Well, when we lost Danny, the local Vicar helped us, he's the one to go and see, he can put you in touch with a grief counsellor.  He's the best one to ask.  I'll be more than happy to call him for you unless you want to walk up to the church on the hill, you can't miss it.  He'll be around somewhere but I'll give you his phone number.  How are you getting on with DI Hardy, he didn't strike me as one for having a girlfriend.  How did you meet him?  I'm just curious, you don't need to go into details."

Rose looked around at the busy office and said, "I'd rather not discuss it here, come round for coffee and I'll tell you.  Have you got that number, I have to go meet Alec for lunch soon, thanks."

Beth gave her the number and they agreed she would call around and see Rose the following morning as she wasn't working.  Rose went off to meet Alec, not mentioning until she had found someone to talk to that she was thinking about it. They walked down to the DIY store, getting another set of keys cut and a fixing kit for the dryer which she then took back home then went off to find the church.  She found the Vicar outside the church and introduced herself.  She didn't mention her involvement with Alec, just saying she had met someone and wanted to be able to get over her loss.

"I can help you, do you mind if I call you Rose?  I do know I saw you the other morning in the café with DI Hardy, not many secrets around here anymore, not since last year.  I'm Paul.  Do you want to tell me what the problem is, it's not him is it?  He's not exactly the most popular person in town although he redeemed himself by catching the killer.  Have you got involved with him?  He had secrets of his own you know."

Rose didn't want to hear this, she knew about his past and had accepted it. Obviously the town had not welcomed him but they hadn't even bothered when he was cleared regarding his previous case let alone when he'd almost died solving the murder.  She was beginning to wish she hadn't moved there now if people didn't accept strangers.

"That's not what I came about, you've got the wrong idea.  I came here to get over the death of my husband two years ago that I thought I was putting behind me but I still can't.  I've already seen a grief counsellor but I need more help.  I'm trying to move on and Alec Hardy is helping me but I'm afraid I'm going to lose him if I don't do something.  I can't bare to lose him as well and now every time he leaves, I think he's not coming back like my husband.  He was killed by a hit and run driver in London two years ago and I never thought anyone could replace him until I met Alec, he's helped me get over some of the pain and we've just, well, I shouldn't say this in front of you but I know you won't judge me, we've just moved into a house together.  We met a few weeks ago when I came down here for the weekend and we got together again when I came back the Saturday before last, I was waiting for a transfer with my job.  I don't want to drive him away if I can't get over my loss.  Can you help me?"

Tears were now forming in her eyes as she admitted to herself she still needed help.  Paul looked at her and could see her anguish, she was torn between her dead husband and a new man in her life and it was tearing her apart.  He felt really out of his depth, he didn't know her and he really just tolerated Alec Hardy after what he had put him through but his job was to help everyone regardless of his personal feelings.

"Rose, only time will heal this, you've not giving yourself proper time.  You were over it until you met someone else and it will go away again.  I'm sure Alec Hardy is the one you should be talking to.  If he loves you, he can help you and seeing all the counsellors in the world can't do as much good as he can.  He's the only person that can do anything if he feels the same way about you as you do him.  It's written all over you that you love him or you wouldn't be getting torn apart again.  If you want, you can both come to me to talk if you feel he will agree to it although we don't exactly get on but if it helps you, I can listen while you talk to him.  It won't be easy, you will have to tell him everything you are feeling and he might not like it but if he really does love you, he'll stick by you.  I take it you've already told him most of it?"

Rose nodded.  "We told each other about our past the night before we signed for the house.  I was going to take it on my own but it was too expensive for me.  My husband left me some money but it was expensive living in London.  It's much cheaper down here but the rent was a bit high on my own so he offered to pay half the bills if we both agreed we could live with each others pasts.  He doesn't know I still have all this bottled up but I had to call him earlier to tell him that my fears were coming back and he was really good about it.  I really don't want to lose him over this, he's all I have now to keep me going."

"Then talk to him, tell him what's going on, ask him for his help.  Then if you want to see me, both of you come back.  Don't leave it too long because it will only get worse, maybe drive a wedge between you.  It's clear you need help and the fact you realise you need is all that counts.  Let me know what you want to do and I'm here.  I won't judge you, it's your lives, yours and Alec Hardy's.  From what I gather, he needs your help too, you're both helping each other.  You do know he nearly died when solving Danny Latimer's murder, don't you?"  Rose nodded.  "I don't know how he got through it but he's been through a lot too, maybe I misjudged him at the beginning, no-one knew there was anything wrong with him which explains why he was so miserable when he arrived here.  No-one had the chance to get to know him, he'd only been here a few days when he was stepping it to handle the case. Maybe the whole town misjudged him but you can make him better Rose, you can tell him he's hurting as much as you and get through it together.  You'll both heal each other in the end, you both have to give it time."

Rose thanked him for his help and said she would talk to Alec about it and would contact him again.  She drove back home, remembering Alec was bringing food home with him later, sorted a few more things out and went to get changed, choosing a dress he'd not seen her in before, a red one that was very low cut and tight fitting with a black belt hanging loosely around her waist.  She put her hair up and went back down to watch a bit of TV until it was almost six then turned it off to wait for him, a sickly feeling coming over her which she was forced to dismiss as she saw him pass the window and opened the door.  She was up off the sofa in a flash, standing in front of the door as he came in and closed it behind him, throwing her arms around his neck and pulling him into a long kiss.  When she let go, he had a puzzled look on his face, clearly not expecting such a reception from her.

"Wow, where did that come from?  I hope I'm going to get greeted like that every night when I come home or is this just a special occasion?" he said, looking at the way she was dressed then realising he was supposed to bring some food home but had been eager to get back since he got her call earlier in the day.  "I'm sorry Sweetheart, I forgot to bring the food but I'll go up and get some.  You set the table and I'll go back up then I'll light the candles when I get back or do you want me to fix the dryer first?"

"No, the dryer can wait, you must be hungry.  Why don't we just walk across to the harbour pub and get something there?  I want everyone to get used to seeing us together.  I was in the tourist Information office this morning, talking to Beth Latimer.  I invited her over for coffee tomorrow morning, I think it might help if I talk to someone.  She must know how it feels.  She suggested I go see the local Vicar, which I did and he can put me onto a counsellor.  He saw us together in the café last week so he knows we're together, he also suggested I talk everything out with you and that I need to listen to your problems too and he's right, Alec, I've been selfish it's all been about me and I've never listened properly about yours.  So let's go out and when we get back, we'll talk and I want to know everything, DI Grumpy, no missing anything out."

"Hey, I thought you were ditching the DI bit?" he laughed, putting his arms around her.  "Sweetheart, it's not about me, I'm over it, the only thing that bothers me now is the fact my daughter won't talk to me, everything else doesn't matter Rose, my only concern is you.  You can't seem to move on in spite of you telling me you were and it's troubling me.  I want to make you happy Rose, that's what it's all about.  I hated being here until I met you, you make it worthwhile staying.  I want to look after you and take care of you, not just financially but in every way possible.  I love you Rose, nothing that happened in your past can change that.  Now let's go get something to eat then I want to tell me about your life with John.  I can be strong enough for both of us, you don't have to leave anything out.  I'm not one to get jealous over someone who is no longer with us.  Let me go get changed then we'll walk over."

He kissed her forehead and looked at her then traced his finger along the v-neck of her dress, stopping in the middle just long enough move the dress down to see the top of her cleavage then moved his head down and kissed her there then whispered in her ear, "You're so beautiful Rose."

He went to get changed while Rose put everything away off the table and retrieved her coat from the hooks on the wall by the door and sat on the kitchen chair just opposite the stairs watching for him coming downstairs.  He was down five minutes later, seeing her waiting for him, smiling to himself.  It had been a long time since a woman had been eagerly waiting for him, let alone one as beautiful as Rose, even his first wife, who had been pretty enough wasn't comparable to her, Rose looked stunning in red.  She got up and he helped her into her coat, then grabbed his own on the way out.  They held hands all the way over the harbour and even when they got to the pub, she was reluctant to let him go place their order on his own.  He thought it was like she afraid he was going to disappear and in view of her panic earlier he wasn't surprised she felt that way.  He decided to try to assure he wasn't going anywhere by sitting next to her instead of across from her and held her hand until their meals arrived.  They got some stares from the locals and visitors alike as they never parted until they left.  Alec was enjoying showing her off, especially to the locals, some of them he recognised from being in a fury over the Latimer case and the prolonged nature of it and some had driven the local newsagent to his death with the help of the media.

When the got back home, fixing the dryer on top of the washer wasn't something Alec was going to be able to do on his own, not without doing some damage to himself lifting it so high.  So he said she should call a plumber to come and fix it properly or buy a combined machine but Rose said that the combined one's were rubbish and the dryer part made the clothes smell and held her nose while Alec was laughing at her.  She said she would look one up but didn't have internet access until the phone was connected so Alec used his mobile to find local plumbers then remembered Mark Latimer had his own plumbing business but wondered if it was wise to let him know where he lived but he wouldn't be there when he called and Rose had made friends with Beth.

"Rose, did you say Beth Latimer was coming over in the morning?  Her husband's a plumber, why don't you ask her to call him for you?  He might come right away if she's here"

Rose thought it was a good idea so they settled on that and then taking off their shoes, they curled up on the sofa.  Rose had put a throwover onto it to match the cushions she'd bought so Alec laid down flat and Rose slipped down the side, holding onto him, their legs curled around each others.  They just kissed for a while and got comfy then he told her to tell him everything about her life with John, the parts she had missed out before.

Rose wasn't entirely sure this was a good idea but Alec did and so had Paul, the Vicar and she was going to have to get over this once and for all.  She tried to stall but Alec was having none of it, telling her to come out with it.  She made him promise he wouldn't stop loving her if she told him, he promised he wouldn't, he was going to listen because he wanted her to move on with him now they were together.  He tried to put her mind at ease, asking her if now she wanted for them to refer to each other as their official partner to which she readily said yes, then asking her other questions about their relationship like his responsibilities to her and taking care of her.  He hoped it would prompt her to start talking but he could tell she was stalling.  What was so bad she didn't want him to know?  He couldn't figure it out.  Finally he had to turn on his side to face her and gently kissed her.  Then he looked at her, the gap of her low cut dress revealing her cleavage was now driving him mad with her so close, he wanted to forget about her talking and take her right there on the sofa but he had to do this for her, to listen.

"Rose, you're stalling, Sweetheart, come on it's time to tell me.  What happened when you first met him?  How did you know he was the one for you?  I want to know, I know you fell in love with him when you first met him so tell me, when did you know you were in love with me?  I'm not leaving you Rose, I'll never leave you, why are you afraid I will?"

Rose tried to get past him but he blocked her way, putting his arms around her and holding her close until she sank into him and sobbed.  He let her cry for some time, rubbing her back, letting her hair fall loose, his shirt getting wet from her tears.  He whispered in her ear it was ok, he loved her, to just let it all out and tell him.  She tried to hold back the tears, looking up at him as he leaned down to kiss her, for her to take her time.  Held safely in his arms, she couldn't hold out much longer, he deserved to know she was afraid he was going to leave her too, to go away and never come back.  It was all getting too much.  She looked up at him and suddenly began to pour her heart out to him.

"Alec," she sobbed, looking at him through her tears, "That's what John told me, he said we'd be together forever and he left me, Alec, he left me and he's never coming back, not ever and I can't forgive him for leaving me alone for two years without even saying goodbye to me and the person who killed him is still out there and I hate them for taking him away from me."  She broke down again, sobbing into his shoulder as he held her close, kissing her forehead and he was filled with sadness for her and trying to comfort her.
Chapter 15
He let her carry on crying, he couldn't expect her to say any more, she needed this, to tell him in her own time.  All he could do was be there for her now, he knew she wanted him to.  He was so sad for her and knew now why she was so afraid.  He'd had his own scare when he'd been taken ill the second time then had survived to solve the case but had admitted himself into hospital after the killer was caught.  He didn't know then what had made him go through with that.  It had been a 50/50 chance of survival but if he hadn't taken the gamble he would have died anyway but he hadn't and now he knew why.  It was because Rose Tyler needed him, he was meant to survive to get her through this, her darkest time, like he'd been waiting for her.  She needed help and he was it.  He kissed her forehead again and cupped her face in his hands, kissing her lightly on her lips.

"Rose, listen to me, can you do that?" he asked.  Rose nodded.  "I'm going to find who did it Sweetheart, no matter what it takes.  Miller is so close now, she's been on the phone nearly all day to London and they're going through the driver database for the date of the accident, looking at matching partial number plates and following enquiries.  There's a lot to go through.  She won't let it rest and neither will I so tomorrow, involved or not, I'm going to my Chief and Miller and telling them I want to take this over.  I will do this for you my love, I promise, it's what I do.  If the Chief makes a big deal out of it so what?  I don't care, all I care about is getting justice for you and John's mother.  I want you to come and meet me tomorrow at the station, I'll call you and you can meet with them.  We're not telling lies when we said we met a few weeks ago because you were here, the hotel records prove it, no-one is any the wiser because we could have met and spent the weekend nights together and I wish we had have done now.  If I'd had the courage to speak to you on the Friday night we would have been and you'd have told me you were coming back.  I'm so sorry now that I didn't.  You do believe me don't you?''  He kissed her again, pulling her back into his chest, his shirt now even wetter with her tears.  He unbuttoned his shirt and lay her head on his bare chest, wanting to feel her tears on him.

He helped her off the sofa and Rose started to make her way up the stairs, Alec went to check the heating then made sure everything was locked up.  Rose was in the bathroom when he went up so he pulled the blind down, took of his shirt and trousers and waited for her.  She didn't come out after he'd waited for over five minutes and she had gone up before him.  Giving her time was one thing but her state of mind when she had come upstairs was cause for his concern.  He ran out of the bedroom and knocked loudly on the bathroom door yelling "Rose" at the top of his voice.  He heard water running and tried the door, it was locked so he was panicking but kept a calm voice.

"Rose, open the door Sweetheart or I'll have to break it down," he called loudly.

He heard the door unlock and breathed a sign of relief, not realizing he was holding his breath but the door didn't open.  He turned the handle and opened the door to see Rose sitting on the edge of the bath, tears still pouring down her face because she hadn't wanted him to see her looking a mess.  He went over to her and knelt in front of her, taking her in his arms, her head on his shoulders and they just stayed there until her tears subsided, telling her repeatedly that he loved her while kissed her cheeks, trying to stop the tears.

"How can you love me Alec, I'm a wreck, look at me," she sobbed, her eyes red with crying.  "How can you love me when I can't let my dead husband go?  I've tried Alec, you have no idea how hard I've tried.  You are the best thing that has happened to me in the last two miserable years I've spent on my own and I've ruined it because…"  She stopped as he interrupted by putting his finger her on her lips and kissing her.

He pulled his lips away and said, "Rose, you haven't ruined it, not in any way and I am looking at you, you are so beautiful and it's me that doesn't deserve you.  I know how hard you've tried, I really do, I see it in you every day, I see you struggling and I've really tried to help you Sweetheart, I really have but you've got to let me, you have to trust me, please say you love me Rose, I love you so much and I don't want to lose you.  You lost your husband, the love of your life and I lost my daughter, the one person that kept me going when I knew my marriage was failing.  Can't you see Rose, we need each other more than ever.  I nearly didn't go through with that operation because I didn't care, my world had ended, I had no-one left but something made me do it, I didn't give in and you know why?  Because now I believe I was meant to be here for you Rose, here to help you get through this and I also believe you came here to help me and be helped yourself.  Something has drawn us together."

He pulled her back onto him and held her tighter, not giving her a chance to speak and both now kneeling.  He didn't want to hear her say she had ruined it, she hadn't.  Rose just clung onto him like she had been all night since he got home.  All the way back across the harbour she had never let go of his arm for a second and when they had got back she never let him out of her sight like she was afraid he would vanish in front of her eyes.

She pulled away telling him, "Alec, I do love you, I really do and I know you've been hurting too.  I've been so wrapped up in this and you've never complained, never wanted it to be about you when it was.  I never asked about how you were feeling.  It's because I'm scared, I'm scared you'll leave me alone and that you didn't want to talk about what happened to you.  How could you stay in a town full of people that didn't like you?  I would have left but you're still here, Why?  Why did you get so low in your life you became ill and nearly died twice?  How do I know you're really ok and you're not going to leave me?  It's not about you going out to work every day and being knocked down, it's about the first night I met you and found out about your heart."

"Rose, I told you, I'm fine now.  You feel my heartbeat every time you lay on me although it does tend to go a bit faster at times, that's what the pacemaker's there for and it's working overtime since I met you, believe me, you don't know what you do to me."

She tried to wipe her tears away.  "It wasn't about that creep who was watching me, it was just an excuse to kiss you, he just happened to come along because I really wanted to snog you right there in the doorway.  I was going to walk away from you when I found out you were ill, tell you I wasn't ready because I didn't want to hurt your feelings after you were so good to me.  Then when you came to my room the next morning and we started kissing again and you told me you were alright I realised I did fancy you because you're the only man I've met in two years I wanted to get close to.  I never thought I'd see you again when I was here the other week, I thought you were on holiday because I fancied you then but I was too scared to get close to someone that wasn't going to be here when I came back.  Then when I turned around in the car park and it was you, I knew I'd made a big mistake before and I should have talked to you then."

"Rose, is that what it's all been about?  You thought I was going to die on you because of my heart problem?"  She nodded.  "Sweetheart, you asked my why my life got so bad, it was because I had nothing left, I let myself go and I stayed here because I had nowhere else.  I couldn't go back even after my name was cleared.  I thought I was here to solve that boy's murder but it wasn't just that, I realise I was here to give myself a wakeup call into doing something about it, to shake myself up. I stayed here because something made me stay and I was waiting for you.  I love you Rose, please, don't do this, don't take the blame.  I love you because you admit you can't forget your husband and because you're now fighting to get his killer caught and I am confident that he or she will be, we're so close now, it just takes time going through everything.  When it's all over, you'll have some peace and I'm right here by your side all the way.  Please, don't be afraid for me Rose because now I have something to live for, you gave me a new lease of life.  Now what do you say about going to bed?"

Rose nodded and they slowly got up together, Alec helping her up then he lifted her into his arms and carried her into the bedroom.  He told her to get undressed while he went back to the bathroom and returned a few minutes later to find her wearing the underwear she had worn under the see through nightdress on Saturday night.  He was thinking it was no wonder he could see right down the front of her dress earlier before they had gone out and on the sofa, she looked so stunning.  He closed the bedroom door and put his arms around her and carried her over to the bed and laid her down then got in after her and turned out the light.  The moonlight was once again shining through the window onto her, making her what Alec thought was even more beautiful if it was possible for her to be.

Leaving her extremely skimpy underwear on, he worked his way down her, kissing her all over then finally took off her bra then with his free hand, pulled down the skimpy knickers as she took his shorts off, tossing them over the side of the bed and he lay gently on her asking her if she wanted him.  She never hesitated in her answer pulling him further onto her as they made love by the moonlight again, both moving as one.  When they both came together, they both let out their moans as they sealed their love again as Alec lay fully on her as he gently came away from her, whispering her name and kissing her.  He moved over and laid on his back taking her with him as she laid on top of him, calling his name and laying in exactly the right spot where she could feel him.  After they both told each other how much they loved the other they finally fell asleep, Rose spread across him with his arm around her.

Tuesday morning, Alec woke to his alarm and Rose stirred at the same time.  It must have been gone midnight when they'd finally got to sleep.  They kissed each other saying good morning before Alec moved himself from under Rose and told her to stay in bed for a while and he'd bring her tea and toast and they'd eat together after he got dressed, which she enjoyed watching.  So Rose put on her dressing gown and a clean pair of knickers, she decided she had to do the laundry today even if it meant leaving it to air if the dryer wasn't sorted.  Alec came back up with a tray of two mugs of tea and two plates of toast and put them beside Rose and both of them sat on the edge of the bed at her side.  Alec was making excuses to put his hand on her legs as he reached for the toast and she was laughing and saying she should just hand him the plate.  They kissed with a mouthful of toast each and both started laughing as Rose had bet him he couldn't do it.  Since he didn't have to walk far, he didn't leave until ten minutes before he was due to start so still with some time, he asked her how she felt this morning and if she had slept ok.

"I feel much better this morning, it really helped so much last night and I'm so sorry for doing that to you.  I know I've been selfish because I did actually feel that I'd moved on but never asked about you.  I almost lost you before we even got started, that's what was really bothering me.  I wasn't feeling strong enough to get involved with you because you'd been ill and I couldn't go through getting left behind again.  That's why I was going to back away and it's been stuck in my mind ever since.  I know you're ok now but I never asked how it affected you.  Can you forgive me?"

"Sweetheart, there's nothing to forgive.  To me, it's always been about you because I wallowed in self pity for the best part of a year and now I've got you to look after, you are just what I need in my life Rose."  He kissed her cheek and brushed away some crumbs of toast from the side of her mouth and smiled at her.  "So, is this all over with now?  If you want to me talk about what happened to me between the discovery my wife was having an affair and meeting you, we need more time than we have now, say about another 100 years?  You ready for that?"

He smiled at her again as she took the last piece of toast and he pretended to take a bite out of it and so she offered it to him so he did and she took the rest.  She dared him to kiss again when he was eating which resulted in crumbs on the floor and they fell back onto the bed again laughing.

"You," he said as he went to tickle her, "are going to make me late for work and today is the day we catch the person who killed John, I'm more than confident because now, I have an extra reason for doing so.  It's my job.  Don't forget about getting the dryer fixed Sweetheart, will you?  I'll arrange for you to come into the Chief's office say, eleven?  Give me time to talk to them and find out exactly where they are with the investigation.  If you put on your best tearful face, they'll take pity on you."  He smiled at her, kissing her nose.  "I have to go now but you do know I'm coming back tonight don't you?''  Rose nodded.  "I'm going to say that to you every morning now when I go out from now on and I meant the part about taking another 100 years to tell you everything so you're stuck with me."

"I knew that when I met you, Grumpy," she teased as she straightened his tie and brushed some crumbs from his shirt.  "If I can't get the dryer fixed, I'll go to the laundry, you're going to need some clean shirts and that's my job, looking after you."

They kissed again and he left her to get dressed and called her before he went out to say see you later and she watched him out of the bedroom window as he walked up the little road to work.  She had arranged for Beth to call at ten so she got dressed, sorted the laundry and put it into the machine, she could use the dryer but would have to open the back door which since it was quite warm she decided she would.  She had a man to look after now and if he insisted on paying all the bills and taking care of her, the least she could do was provided clean clothes for him and a passionate greeting when he came home to her.  She thought back over the events of last night and realised she was feeling a lot better than she had been.  Most of her anxiety had disappeared thanks to Alec, he was so much like John in a lot of little ways but there again, men like them didn't come along every day so in the cosmos somewhere there were bound to be two men who were almost identical in their ways although they looked nothing like each other.  What she didn't know was just how much alike Alec was going to turn out to be, in more ways than one.

Just on ten, a knock came on the door and it was Beth, minus the baby which Rose was disappointed about but Beth was there to talk and explained her mother looked after him while she was at work anyway.  Rose made coffee, making a note to get a coffee maker because Alec wasn't keen on instant and the two of them sat down.  Rose asked Beth to tell her from the beginning what had happened, explaining she had sort of been out of it over the past two years but told her not to get upset about it.  Rose sat and listened patiently as Beth spoke, feeling for the woman whose son had been cruelly taken from her.  Beth explained her bitterness towards Alec but assured Rose she meant no offence to her in her choice of men and that he had caught her son's killer but admitted the town was prejudiced against him from the moment he arrived as he was firstly an outsider and secondly his failed case before her son's.  Beth said she was so angry with everyone, including her husband who she had blamed for not checking on him the night he disappeared.  She went on, relaying all the events and how long it had gone on for until she had finally finished.

Rose thought her problem was bad enough until she heard what Beth had gone through.  She put a comforting arm around Beth as her memories came flooding back, telling her she knew exactly what she had gone through, to have her husband taking from her, how both cases were so closely alike, both of them being taken without a goodbye.  Beth had received the comfort of having her son's killer caught, by Rose's now partner, she told Beth they were now officially a couple and Alec was now her 'other half' relishing the idea herself as she was just getting used to it and Beth was the first person she had told, she'd not even dared to tell her mother.
Chapter 16
The two women talked for over an hour, each saying they felt exactly the same in the aftermath.  Rose told her that she had gone to DS Miller and requested that the case be re-opened after she had discovered new leads herself in her quest to come to terms with starting a new relationship with Alec and that she had regretted losing all the fight in her when she had let the police in London close the case after a very short time and that it was Alec who had given her a wake up call into getting it solved.  As they were talking, Rose excused herself to take a call from Alec who wanted her to be at the Police Station at twelve for a meeting.  So Rose explained to Beth that they were going to discuss the case and Beth said she was pleased for her and hoped she would finally get some justice.  Rose almost forgot to ask her about the dryer, asking Beth if she could ask her husband to take a look and she said she'd be more than happy and get him to call her later in the day to arrange it.

So they said goodbye, arranging to meet again and Rose went to make herself presentable and took the laundry out and put it on the airer, hoping the two shirts of Alec's wouldn't be too difficult to iron once they dried and set off for her meeting, something she was both dreading and anxious to get out of the way at the same time.  She went up the steps and was asked the nature of her visit by the desk Sergeant who said she was expected and asked her to wait.  The second time she had been in the station and was hoping it would be her last, it brought back too many memories.  A uniformed Policewoman came out and escorted her upstairs to the Chief Superintendent's office and Rose was shown in.  Alec and DS Miller were already there and Alec offered her his chair and got another one from the corner of the office.  Alec did the introductions to his superior and since he had to admit his full relationship to both her and DS Miller, Rose was expecting them to be judgemental but they weren't.

The Chief was very sympathetic, Alec had explained that Rose had been too distraught to argue for the case to be re-opened sooner and that the police in London should have had a responsibility to her to ask her if she wanted them to continue, not just close it after such a short time and they had failed her.  His superior and his DS both agreed it had up to the officer in charge, saying big city police were understaffed and had more pressure on them to drop cases.  Not their fault, it came from higher up and was all down to finance but now Rose had brought them new information they had it narrowed down to a few possibilities and it was looking extremely good and they could hear very soon.  DS Miller left the office and the Chief wanted to know how she and Alec had become involved, saying it wouldn't leave her office because she knew Alec had not known her when he first came here and had noticed a radical change in him over the last few weeks.

They stuck to their story, which by now had become even more believable even to them after both admitting they now wished something had taken place.  The Chief listened and much to Alec's surprise, he was not chastised for getting involved in the case and was put in charge on the condition that he didn't reveal his involvement with Rose when he spoke to his counterpart in London which he readily agreed to keep it professional and if successful, he would accompany Rose to any subsequent hearings in London also on a professional basis.  The Chief asked Rose if she was willing to co-operate and keep their relationship in the case on the same professional level if she was require to attend any hearings to which she agreed.  That settled, the Chief told Rose she would make it her personal goal to see this was resolved and no amount of protesting from London would get in the way.

Rose thanked her for all the help she had given and for not making them talk in front of DS Miller but the Chief knew the two of them didn't get on anyway.  She told Rose that she had been the only one who would take Alec on after he had to leave his previous job and had taken him back after being forced to make him leave due to his ill health.  Rose could see him squirming when she was talking about him and smiled at him.  They left the office together and Rose waited downstairs and asked to see DS Miller.  She came down and Rose thanked her for taking up the case and apologised for misleading her the previous Sunday but that she hadn't wanted anyone to know about her and DI Hardy.  DS Miller said she could understand that as he wasn't the easiest person to get on with but she had noticed a change in him over the last week.  Alec joined them then they went out to lunch, inviting DS Miller to join them which to their surprise she did.

On the way over to the café Rose told him she was getting the dryer sorted and about her talk with Beth then over lunch they all chatted and DS Miller, who she insisted to Rose to call her Ellie said she used to be best friends with Beth but since the murder last year, she had stayed away.  Rose felt sorry for her and could understand why she was still so bitter towards Alec.  Rose thought she would ask Alec if they could invite her over to dinner one night but knew she had two boys so thought about maybe going out for a pub lunch one weekend so she could take them with her.  Ellie went off and Rose and Alec sat outside the café for a while talking and holding hands, much to the amusement of the locals passing by and some actually nodded to them, seeing the Detective Inspector in a new light that he was actually human.

Rose went back home, kissing Alec goodbye on his cheek, still to the amusement of the passing public after getting a call from Mark Latimer to say he and his mate could come over at three to fix the dryer.  After they had managed to stack the dryer on top of the washer and the venting kit was fixed, Rose offered the two men a cup of coffee and she told Mark she had become friends with Beth and told him they had been in similar situations and he said Beth had mentioned her to him.  He said his assistant would send her the bill but would give her discount as she was new to the area and she was a friend of Beth's.  Rose didn't much like his mate, Nigel because she had trouble understanding his accent and found Alec's was easier to understand.  Nigel seemed to be getting a bit friendly and she could see Mark was trying to back him off.  That was the last thing she needed and decided it was time she got a few photos of her and Alec around the house so she started talking about him, saying her partner Alec was going to fix the dryer but it was too much on his own and why she'd had to get them to do it but that Alec had fixed the blinds on his own.

At the mention of his name, both men realised who she was probably talking about so Mark asked if she meant Alec Hardy, a man Mark hadn't been keen on since he has suspected him of being involved in his son's death but Rose didn't know that. Mark explained what had happened but said he didn't blame the Detective Inspector, he'd only been doing his job after all and Nigel, himself and half the town had been a suspect in the case but Mark said he had been grateful he had solved the case in the end but he was sorry it had almost killed Alec at the time.

They left about four and ten minutes later, Alec opened the door followed by DS Miller and Rose asked what was wrong, why was he home early with his DS in tow? He told her to sit down and said they had some news and thought it best they both came rather than call her.  Alec sat next to her, holding her hand as his DS sat on the chair.

"Rose, we have something to tell you.  Do you want a cup of tea first?" he asked as he got up to make some.

Rose let him make tea for them, DS Miller looking impressed that Rose had got him so domesticated as he never offered to make tea at the station.  He came back with three mugs, giving Rose hers in her favourite mug with roses on that he'd bought her and handing his DS hers.  Miller noticed his said 'Grumpy' on it as Rose had bought him as she now called him that as his pet name.

"We've just had word that a man has been taken in for questioning regarding your husband's death.  Police in London where the accident took place matched the partial number plate from the date and have been eliminating drivers that no longer own the cars and they narrowed it down to a few and now they have someone who can't account for his whereabouts on that day and he matches the description given by one of the new witnesses.  They are contacting all the witnesses again to see if they can put together a bigger picture of the events.  We should hear very shortly now." Alec said.

Alec put his arms around Rose's shoulder, not caring Miller was there.  "It's just a matter of waiting now, I'm having all my calls diverted to my mobile.  If it is him, he'll be charged with a number of offences, they'll probably throw the book at him."  He waited for Rose to say something but she couldn't.

Miller spoke up instead.  "It's just taken some time, there were a lot of matching partial number plates plus they didn't know the make of the car, just the colour but the new witnesses statements have been processed which made it easier.  They're very confident they have the right person."

Rose looked at her, then at Alec, wanting to just collapse into his arms but was afraid of showing him any affection in front of the DS but he saw what she wanted and she rested her head on his shoulder.  Miller indicated she was ok, silently telling him to comfort her.  Even she could see they were in love and had suspected as much the weekend before last.  She looked at Rose as if to say as much.  Rose now had tears in her eyes again at the prospect of settling this once and for all.

"So, if it is him, there will be another inquiry, there won't be another inquest will there, I can't go through that again.  Do I have to go?"

"Yes, you will.  You need to do this, to see justice being served.  I'll be with you representing Broadchurch Police.  They will want to know why you came to us and why you didn't insist on them re-opening the case sooner but we will be reports that you weren't in the right state of mind to pursue it back then.  You saw a number of counsellors plus your mother can attest your state of mind at the time.  The more distraught you were will prove that's why you waited.  Then all you need to do is prove you asked for a transfer at work to get away, which can all be backed up.  You told me you had been waiting some time for the transfer.  We can do that by video conference with the DI in charge of the case, no need to travel to London these days but if the man is charged and a court date set, you need to be there so you had best inform your new manager you may have to take a day or two off.  If they know your situation, you shouldn't have a problem but DS Miller can clear it with them if there is with no comeback on you."  Rose nodded her agreement.

"You can come back with us now if you want, I know you've got a busy day tomorrow."  Alec knew the phoneline and TV were being sorted plus furniture was arriving the next day.

Rose got her jacket and they all walked back to the Police Station, going into Alec's office and closing the door.  The others there probably thought she was a suspect as no-one hardly went in the boss's office, no-one dare for fear of being shouted at.  DS Miller had to set up the conference and did the introductions to the DI in London who Rose remembered.  She didn't speak until he asked her why she had left if for so long.  She could have retaliated by asking why he'd not caught her husband's killer but she didn't.  It wouldn't have done any good, she just told him the truth, how she was too upset.  Then she was asked why she had suddenly gone to DS Miller with new evidence.  Rose said it was because she was trying to start a new life in the town and finally wanted some closure.

He actually accepted that, mainly because he knew he had failed her but orders from above on a case with very little evidence rarely was seen all the way through and very few actually came back to haunt him.  This one had and he was glad it had because Mrs Tyler-Smith had not deserved to be deserted and left wondering for the rest of her life who had knocked down and killed her husband.  He told her he could understand and when he'd been contacted he had gone all out to re-open the case and while he was talking to them, he was handed a folder and asked to be excused for a moment.  The camera went blank for a moment and they were all looking at each other, Alec smiling at Rose and even Miller was giving her a reassuring look.

The camera came back after a few minutes, Miller taking advantage and bringing three drinks back in just in time.  The DI in London spoke again and said he'd just been told the man had been charged in connection with death of Doctor Jonathan Smith on the date of the accident and had made a full statement on the advice of his solicitor.  He thanked Rose for bringing the new evidence to DS Miller and said he would notify her when the man was due in court and asked Rose and DI Hardy if they would be attending.  Alec said they would be, he would personally see that she was escorted there.  They all said goodbye and the camera went blank.  Rose just broke down, Miller pulled all the blinds down in his office, including the door one that had never been pulled down while he had been occupying it and Miller left.  Alec got up and locked the door then leaned down over Rose and took her in his arms and kissed her cheek, leading her over to the sofa by the door and sitting her down, she cried into his shoulder with his arm around her, telling her it was all over now and he had kept his promise.

He tried to comfort her, not wanting them to stay in there too long.  He got up and closed down his laptop and asked if she was ok to leave.  She nodded and he led her out.  Miller had warned everyone not to say anything when they came out, just telling them that she and DI Hardy had been helping the woman find out who had knocked down and killed her husband.  Alec grabbed his coat and jacket and told Miller he was leaving for the night and said he might be in late tomorrow as new furniture was arriving at his new house.  Miller put two and two together and got the correct answer that he had indeed moved in with Mrs Tyler-Smith and thought he was a human being after all.  She had suspicions earlier but when he had let himself in, she didn't know if it was his house and the woman just happened to be there but the way they had been talking and seeing them both together all made sense.  She was now even more impressed.

Rose thanked Miller for everything she had done and she and Alec left.  They got home, Rose hardly speaking on the walk across the harbour.  Alec asked if she wanted something to eat but she said no and could he go get something later?  He said of course he could and they walked with his arm around her shoulder and hers around his back, craftily slipping her hand down to his pocket which made him smile.  Alec knew now that Rose really was his because she didn't care who saw them walking like that.

He was impressed that the dryer was now stacked up and asked Rose to show him how it worked as he was wary of drying his work shirts on the airer and wanted them tumbled dried before they got really creased.  Rose also showed him how to work the washing machine and he said it looked like something from Star Trek and they both laughed with Rose saying she bet him he wouldn't use it anyway.  He took the bet saying the first time he used it, the following night when he came home she was to wear a low cut dress with no bra underneath and she told him the bet was on.  They talked a while about the good news they'd received and could now start making plans together.

After fooling around on the sofa with a lot of effort on Alec's part to show her how much he loved her, he went up into the town to get some Chinese food then they listened to some music as Rose had plugged the stereo in and she played some Beatles CD's because she hadn't liked them much until John introduced her to them.  She told Alec he'd had loads of t-shirts of them and they were in the box upstairs and he said he'd like to see her wearing some of them and might even pinch one or two himself.  She agreed but said he wasn't having the Hong Kong Phooey one and he said he'd see about that.  They went to bed and made love in the dark as the moon wasn't full that night but he told her how much he loved her no matter what as they fell asleep, Rose for the first time without any tears in her eyes.
Chapter 17
Wednesday, Alec had set his alarm for the normal time and he gently woke Rose by kissing her neck as she lay across him, her now favourite way of sleeping, waking up feeling him underneath her.  Alec loved the way she lay on him, he'd never experienced anything quite like it, waking up with Rose spread naked across him gently tracing his fingers across her.  After kissing her good morning, he said he was going to take the morning off to help with the furniture and let her stay in bed a while.  Rose insisted it was her turn to make breakfast but didn't argue with him.

It was fortunate the furniture arrived first thing, everything was brought upstairs, Rose told them where she wanted everything, she and Alec had emptied the wardrobe and Rose was putting everything in the new wardrobe, Alec's in one, hers in the other.  Alec brought the storage box of t-shirts in and Rose showed him the one with the star she had put in the wardrobe.  He said she should wear it.  There was a bit of spare room and Rose was going to go try to get some multi hangers.  Alec said she needed a wardrobe the size of Narnia so she threw the t-shirt at his head, he ducked and it landed on him and they both laughed.  He took his own t-shirt off and put it on, Rose told him to keep it on and he knew it had been John's and she had bought him it, another sign she was finally letting go.  He kissed her and said they should get finished in case the engineers came to do the phone and TV.  He was just about to leave for work, Rose making him a sandwich before he left, when the engineers arrived.

Rose finally had internet access so she could get some of her documents changed to her new address and she changed her name back on them to Miss Rose Tyler, yet another sign she was ready to move on.  She had been given their new phone number so she rang Alec to give him it and he said he was going to ring her anyway.  They had received a court date for the trial of the driver who had killed John and it was next Tuesday so Rose needed to go to her new manager and tell her she couldn't start work as they would have to go Monday afternoon and stay overnight as it was set for 10am.  He asked if she wanted DS Miller to approach the bank about it but she said she'd go and see her new manager and call if she had trouble.

So she put on a brave face and went to the bank.  Her new manager knew all about the reason Rose was moving and was quite understanding saying for her to take all the time she needed, that she still had some leave due as the moving period hadn't been taken into account.  She wished her luck and said she was glad it was being settled.  So Rose took the time to change all her bank details and new address and informed them she was going back to her maiden name but asked to keep her savings account she'd had with John in the same name to avoid complications.

Alec came home and said they would go out so they went to get changed, delaying each other as much as possible.  Rose had got the extra hangers she needed and had hung some t-shirts up in her wardrobe and asked Alec if he wanted any as long as it wasn't her favourite.  He kept the star one, a couple of Beatles ones and he rather liked the black and white striped one.

The next few days they spent talking about the prospect of finally putting everything behind them and being a proper couple.  Alec had to work but was having the following Monday off to travel with Rose to London, he was driving them but borrowing a police vehicle as it wouldn't look good driving her car and a hotel was booked for them within easy walking distance as there would be limited parking outside the court.  Two adjoining rooms were booked for them, both of them hoping they'd be able to open the door in-between.  Rose had to call her mother with the court date and she asked John's mother if she would like to attend and that they could collect her and arrange for her stay in London but was still not entirely well to travel all that way and said she would be more than happy for Rose to represent her and let her know what happened.  Rose promised she would visit soon and bring down the Police Detective who had helped her get the case solved.  Rose reminded her mother of the story they needed to stick to the story that Alec was only involved professionally and they couldn't indicate they knew him well, only that he'd helped with the case and also reminded her that when she came down for a visit, if anyone asked her to say the two of them had met when she had been here a few weeks ago, hoping it wouldn't confuse her too much and told her they would meet outside the court half an hour before the case was being heard as Alec had to talk to the officer in charge and they had to call him DI Hardy, not Alec.

Monday morning, they packed an overnight bag each, Alec went to borrow the police vehicle, a black SUV that after he'd driven it for an hour wanted to keep it and was going to have words when he got back.  Rose said they'd nowhere to keep it but he said they could keep it in the police garage since it was easy to walk there. They arrived at the hotel just after three and booked in under separate names, Alec showing his official ID since the police were paying for the rooms.  They politely went to their separate rooms since Alec spotted CCTV in the lift and the hallways.  He left Rose at her room door saying he would meet her for dinner and they would go over what she could expect at court and he would knock on her door to escort her to the dining room.

Once they were inside however they both looked for a key to open the adjoining door and were very disappointed it wasn't there.  So Alec had to go knock on Rose's door and stand talking to her, standing in the doorway so they couldn't be seen and said they must only be given a key on request.  Rose said she couldn't sleep without him, especially tonight, she needed him and what was the point in having a doorway if you couldn't get through?  Rose said she was going to see if she could pick the lock, Alec said he hadn't heard that.  She said if she wasn't successful she was going to reception and complain it had been left open and could she have the key to lock it? Alec said she wouldn't dare so she took the bet.

Sure enough, ten minutes later, Rose was downstairs saying she wasn't sleeping in a room where the adjoining door was unlocked when a man she had only met recently, a Police Detective, who was escorting her to the hearing of a man who had knocked down and killed her husband was able to have access to her room.  She was still in grieving and not able to think straight if he decided to pay her a visit.  The manager apologised, handing her the key and asked if there was anything else he could do for her.  She said she would let it pass and not put in an official complaint to the hotel owners but would return the key upon her departure.

Ten minutes after that, she was unlocking the door with a big grin, catching Alec in just his shorts as he was rather hoping she'd win the bet, the price being if she'd won, he had to standing there with just his shorts on.  He soon had her clothes off, not that she was wearing much under her black trousers and black top and they were soon on his bed, passing the time until dinner was served.  They left the bed unmade for authenticity, planning to spend the night in her bed.  They talked about the court hearing over dinner as planned, Alec advising her not to say anything unless she was addressed by the judge and to call him 'Your Honour' and to stress she was still grieving only if asked.  He gave her other advice in the event she was addressed but doubted she would be.  She hadn't been present at the scene of the accident and he would be appearing representing Broadchurch Police since she had approached DS Miller, and he was her superior and so was representing the victim's widow on DS Miller's behalf.

They both went into their separate rooms but were instantly reunited once inside. Alec lay Rose on her bed, leaning over her and told her how much he loved her, tracing his fingers over the v line of her top, dipping down.  Rose unbuttoned his shirt, running her fingers down his chest.  He slowly undressed her, taking each item off carefully, Rose helping him take his shirt and trousers off, then taking his shorts off on her own as they crawled into bed.  Alec said he wanted to take his time tonight, she agreed they both needed to be relaxed the following day.  Finally, justice would be served, just as Alec had promised her.

They had an early breakfast, checked out of their rooms, Rose handing back the key and put their bags in the car, Alec informing the hotel he was now on official police business and would be leaving his car.  They had planned to go take Rose's mother back home, stay for a while and drive back later but if needed, they would check into another hotel, just one room this time, Rose reluctant to stay with him in her mother's flat.

They easily found the court building, Jackie Tyler was waiting for them anxiously. Rose introduced Alec as Detective Inspector Hardy and Jackie was about to say something when the DI on the case came over and asked Alec if he could have a word.  Rose was astounded what her mother came out with next.

"Rose, you never said he looked like…" then stopped and pulled her to one side where no-one could hear.  "Rose, he looks like John if you take the beard away." 

Rose stared at her in disbelief.  "What do you mean Mum, he looks nothing like him, how can you even say that?"

"Rose, you're not thinking straight, he does, you just can't see it because you've been so upset.  You told me he'd moved in with you, don't you see why you were attracted to him?  He could be his double if he had a shave.  Think about it."

Rose didn't want to think about it, she just didn't want to go there.  She had seen no resemblance to John whatsoever since she'd first met him a few weeks ago and her mother had said nothing then.  There again, Jackie hadn't noticed him, she too busy talking to her.

"Mum, you can't say anything to him, promise me.  If he gets the wrong idea, I'll lose him.  I don't think there is any resemblance but if you say something to him I don't know what he'll do.  We've been through so much, he's helped me move on."

Jackie was just about to tell her the reason she'd moved on was because she was seeing her dead husband in front of her when she looked at Alec Hardy but didn't have time since Alec was now coming towards them.  It was nearly time to go inside.

"Mrs Tyler, Mrs Tyler-Smith, we can go inside now, the usher will show you where to sit.  I'll join you in after I've been called to give evidence."

He gestured for them to go inside and they were shown into the courtroom.  There were a number of people inside, some were probably at the scene and she so wanted to ask them.  She knew any witnesses that had given statements would be kept outside until called, the same as Alec.  She was hoping to ask him if she could speak to them, ask them if he had said anything before he'd lost consciousness and other questions and to thank them for bringing her husband's killer to justice.

The court was brought to order, the Judge entered and they were allowed to be seated.  Then the man who had caused John's death was brought in.  He looked about Alec's age, clean shaven, sullen face, a blank stare like he wasn't even interested.  Rose was thinking this man had been roaming around for two years while she had suffered and John had lost his life due to his negligence and arrogance of not coming forward and had caused her heartache.  She wanted to let go, lay into him, ask him why but she couldn't.  She had promised Alec she would keep control and let him and the court handle it and she loved Alec and wouldn't let him down.  So she sat in silence, holding her mother's hand.

The witnesses were ask one by one to repeat as far as they could the events of the accident and Rose was getting a picture of what had gone on.  John had been innocently crossing the road, fully aware, no distractions such as being on the phone, she knew she hadn't been talking to him when the car had come around the corner and headed right for him.  He never stood a chance.  Rose had tears streaming down her face as Jackie had her arm around her.  She so wanted Alec to come in and hold her but she knew it wasn't possible, it would destroy everything they had worked for if he acknowledged her in any other way than in a professional manner.  It would put the conviction and Alec's credibility and possibly his job in jeopardy.  She could do this, she kept her relationship with John a secret from everyone for five months.

The Detective in charge of the case took the stand, recalling the case had originally been dropped due to lack of evidence and that it had been the victim's widow who had brought new evidence to his attention through Broadchurch Police and that they were present in court.  Alec was called next, showing no emotion towards her, he was doing his job, something apparently he did very well by the professional way he gave his evidence, giving full credit to DS Miller in pursuing the case of the victim after his widow had found new evidence.

Alec came to sit next to Rose, just nodding to her then at last, after nearly two hours, the court was adjourned for lunch to reconvene in 90 minutes.  Rose and Jackie went out, Alec spoke to the other DI and came back and said it was permitted for him to join the two of them for lunch so they found a café across the street and ordered something, just keeping talk to a minimum about the case so far.  Rose so wanted to get him into the restrooms to snog him but didn't dare.  She tried by making her excuse to go to the ladies but Jackie insisted on going with her while Alec politely waited, made his own excuse then settled the bill when he came back. They were back in the courtroom five minutes early, Alec saying what would happen next, that the judge would deliberate and give his verdict.  Early indications were the man would receive a heavy sentence given that he had failed to come forward and the length of time since the accident.

They all stood when the Judge came back in, asking the defendant to stand.  Alec had been right, the Judge was intent in making an example of the man and got a stiff sentence on each count that had been brought forward with no remission and banned from driving for life, one that Rose could now live with.  He was particularly intent in showing the court he was sympathetic towards Doctor Smith's widow, who he had been notified was in court and addressed her personally and that he would expect no less than she be offered compensation for her husband's loss of earnings and the trauma she had been put through and the court would also be recommending a substantial payment in the delay she had suffered due to the case being close prematurely when evidence had been left uncollected.

The court was dismissed and the guilty person was led away.  Rose, Jackie and Alec remained seated as the rest of the court cleared, Rose asked if she could meet the witnesses to thank them.  Alec led her out and spoke to his counterpart who managed to catch up the witnesses who she had helped identify and he introduced her to them.  She thanked each one personally and the one who she had seen the interview with in the newspaper article said he was so happy he could have helped give her some peace at last and that he was the first to go over to him but he was already unconscious and never spoke and would have told her if he had been.  Rose thanked him again and Alec led her and Jackie out of the building and he thanked his counterpart and they said they would keep in touch.  They walked back to the hotel to pick up Alec's car and took Jackie back home via the crematorium, Alec buying some flowers for Rose to put where John's ashes had been scattered and a dedication stone had been laid as Rose wanted to show Alec where her husband had been put to rest.
Chapter 18
Once back at Jackie's flat, after driving in relative silence, Alec having used the inbuilt satnav despite Jackie contradicting it several times from the back seat, Rose asked her mother if they could have five minutes alone so Jackie went to her room, telling them to take their time.  As soon as her door closed they were in each other's arms and Rose bursting into tears as she'd had to sit through the entire hearing without being able to have Alec's physical support and he'd had to practically deny her any sort of personal acknowledgement other than address her by her title.  She had known what was expected and had just managed it with a great deal of effort.

Alec managed to stop her tears by kissing her and comforting her, sitting her on the sofa with his arms around her.  They heard Jackie's door open and her saying she was going to make some tea, trying her best not to make eye contact with Alec but staring at his back as he turned round to comfort Rose.  Jackie brought out a tray of drinks and put them on the table and asked Rose if she was ok.  Rose managed a nod, still leaning on Alec's shoulder.  He passed her a drink and took one himself, Jackie noticing he didn't take sugar, the same as John.

Jackie was having very strong suspicions about him now but had promised Rose she wouldn't say anything.  Rose would just have to discover it for herself despite her personal feelings on the subject.  Her daughter was finally moving on, albeit with what looked her dead husband's double but it was still moving on and she needed to so who was she to deny her?  So she had to be content Rose had found some comfort.

They all talked for a while, Jackie telling Alec about how proud she was of her daughter with her job and asked her what she would do if she got compensation? Rose didn't know, she hadn't been 100% certain she would get any but it had come from the judge and the DI in charge would keep Alec informed as Rose probably wouldn't need to do anything apart from accept it now it had come from the court.

It had taken longer than they had thought so Alec said they'd stay overnight again at a different hotel.  Jackie said they could stay there but Rose wasn't keen saying now they had a lot to talk about.  They arranged for Jackie to still go down for Easter on the following Friday and Rose would go pick her up from the railway station.  Before she left, she retrieved a few items from her old room that she hadn't wanted to put in storage including her wedding album, some framed photos and another album of various photos of her and her mother and some of her and John.  She'd planned to show them to Alec when they got back but her mother had planted the seeds of doubt in her mind so she just took the storage box they were in and told Alec she was ready to leave, she was going to have to think very carefully and also have some taken with her and Alec to put up in the house.

They said goodbye to Jackie, Alec having found a nearby hotel using his phone and had made a reservation while she was sorting out what she was taking, they headed off and got there in time for dinner.  Once they were back in their room they were able to relax and spend several hours just kissing and enjoying themselves, Rose finally free of the burden of her husband's killer still being allowed to roam free.  It had been a great weight lifted from her shoulder and now she could melt into Alec free from any guilt that had been lingering for the last few weeks.

As they woke up the next morning, Alec was getting dressed when he said that they would still have to be cautious when they got back, especially since the judge had said a substantial amount of money which he knew would be determined by the court and would just be handed to her without signing any forms.  He said she would probably be sent a cheque by courier in her married name and asked if she still had an account in that name and she said she had kept her joint account in her married name.  He also said to be wary of telling anyone who didn't need to know about it but was afraid the press might get hold of it if they had been in court but he didn't think anyone had been there or his counterpart would have spotted them.  He said she should get some proper financial advice from the bank as she only dealt with business, not personal accounts.  He asked if she was going back to work and she said she'd have to think about it seriously.  He said he could support them both and told her to explain to the manager her situation.  She would probably be able to take the moving period as holiday time and be able to leave.

They arrived back home and Alec had to call into his office for a few hours to fill his DS and Superintendent in on what had happened but would be back soon and they'd go out for dinner.  Rose asked him if he'd have some photos taken with her to put up in the house and he said it was a good idea but he'd take them and they'd choose some frames together.  She rang John's mother and told her what had happened and they both cried over the phone together with Rose saying they would all come down on Easter Sunday and said goodbye, planning on asking Alec's advice if she should give her some of the compensation she would be receiving.  They went out to dinner and later, moonlight was once again shining through their bedroom window that night as they made love, back in their own house, the nightmare for Rose of loosing Alec as well was going away as he reassured her he was going nowhere.  Alec said they couldn't have chosen a better location if he was going to get to see her bathed in moonlight nearly every night which added to his excitement every time as she lay there for him.

Thursday morning, Rose went to face the bank manager and couldn't apologise enough for delaying her start but she was assured it was just one of those things she had no control over.  Rose had accepted the job before all these events took place, she had no idea when she came that her husband's killer was going to be caught and after Rose told her she'd met someone who now wanted to take care of her and didn't want her to go out to work, it was only sensible to give her notice and take the time she had been given to move as part of her holidays and the rest of the time she would take in lieu of pay so the manager cleared it with head office and she was given the ok.  They had plenty of others seeking Rose's job.  Rose thanked her for everything and made an appointment with a personal finance advisor and said she would be expecting to come into some money, not going into too much detail.

She told Alec when he came home and said now she could concentrate on looking after him for a change.  He said after work the next night, they'd drive down to Weymouth for the weekend so she said she'd be ready and it would only take them an hour or so to drive down and she would book a hotel.  When they went to bed, Alec asked her how she felt now she wouldn't have to work again.  She said it would take some getting used to.  They decided they would probably stay in the house for a while, they'd just got settled and no amount of money would change how they felt about each other.

Rose kissed her partner goodbye the following morning, Alec telling her as now usual that he would be coming home to her and not to worry about him and said for her to be packed and ready and have the address of the hotel she booked and they would set off and have a meal when they got there.  So Rose soon found a hotel and booked it and went to pack.  Beth paid her a visit, bringing her baby with her as Rose had expressed she'd like to see him and made a big fuss over him and told the woman she had regretted not having any children with her first husband but now she was with Alec things could be different.  Beth asked about the hearing, had she been to it and Rose told her what happened, leaving out the compensation at Alec's advice and said she now thought justice had been done and could now fully move on with her life with Alec now the killer was behind bars.  Beth said she had thought the same way but still grieved in her own way and Rose said she expected there would be a part of her that would never fully let go and he would always be there.

After Beth left, Rose went to the spare room, making sure it was all tidy for her mother's visit in a weeks time and got out the storage box she had brought from her old room, not sure whether to show Alec or not.  She'd not have time to think about what her mother had said, she didn't want to as she saw no resemblance whatsoever between the two men and her mother must have been mistaken.  Alec would ask to see them eventually, she knew that and hopefully he wouldn't notice any likeness either.  She opened the box and got out the album with different photos in it, some of her and John he had taken from the first new years eve they spent together and some with them and her mother and a tear crept into her eye so she closed the book, determined she was going to wait until she was with Alec before she looked at any more.  She'd had of course, photos on her phone which she had taken the memory card out and it was in a plastic holder and the police had handed John's phone back to her and the memory card was also stored away.  She hadn't been able to bring herself to ever download them onto her laptop in over two years, they were untouched.  Maybe it was time so she took the two cards and slotted them into a card reader and transferred the contents to her laptop and one automatically came up after they were downloaded from her card.

It was one she had taken of him as he'd come out of the shower the first night after she had moved in with him and she had teased him about it.  The one that came up when she downloaded the other card was one of the pair of them on the new years eve as they'd celebrated, the first night they had made love.  Now she remembered that the moon had been shining that night and explained why she was so fond of making love to Alec by the moonlight.  She wasn't liking these feelings she was now getting, how many other coincidences were there going to be?  She closed her laptop, made herself forget and sent a text to Alec asking if he could meet for lunch and left the house.

She got to the café before Alec and had just ordered when he came in and also ordered and sat down next to her.

"Come on, I know there's something wrong so tell me," he said, taking her hand and rubbing his fingers over it.

Rose was just about to answer when their orders arrived.  The waitress was used to seeing them together now and smiled.

"It's nothing, really, I'm just being silly again, you shouldn't take any notice of me when I'm like this.  It's just I brought some photos over from my old room, that box had albums and framed photos and there were two memory cards that had been in our phones and I downloaded them onto my laptop, I was going to show you them after the weekend and two of them came up when the viewer automatically opened and it just got me thinking again, that's all.  I'm sorry, I keep doing this all the time, how do you put up with me Alec?  Why don't you get cross with me every time?  You never loose patience with me, the only time you ever raised your voice to me was when I locked myself in the bathroom and I know you thought something had happened to me, I heard the panic in your voice."

"Rose, you did have me worried that night and yes, I was panicking, you've no idea how much but Sweetheart, you shouldn't go looking at the photos on your own, we'll do it together, promise you won't look at them again and when we come back after the weekend, we'll look together.  You want to know why I put up with you? Because you are my personal responsibility now, Rose Tyler, whether you like it or not.  Now finish your lunch, I have to get back to work and no more worrying or I'll have to deal with you in a rather pleasant manner when we get to that hotel tonight."  He smiled and squeezed her hand tightly.  "You're not getting rid of me that easily, you agreed a 100 years remember?"

Rose nodded and finished her lunch wondering what on earth she had done to deserve someone like him or indeed why he did put up with her.  Any other man would have run a mile at the start, let alone put up with all this.  Alec was indeed that one in a million but what would he do when he saw the photos?  There was only going to be one way to find that out but they had the weekend to look forward to.  She went home, packing a few last minute things and waited for him coming home.  It was customary now for her to be looking out of the window for him, he would wave, then being at the door to greet him with a passionate kiss, giving Alec something to look forward to.

He went to get changed and they set off, taking them just over an hour to get there and were still in time to catch dinner, leaving their bags unpacked.  They had a few drinks in the bar but an awful singer started up so they left.  Rose unpacked their things while Alec was trying to send his monthly text to his daughter.  Rose felt really sorry for him and asked if he wanted her to try to make contact.  He said absolutely not, she was old enough to stop being a spoiled brat and answer him herself and that she hadn't even been concerned when he'd had his operation.  He said that just after it, he had contacted his ex wife who had at least sent a reply saying she was glad he'd at least survived, assured him that she had told their daughter and yes, she still had the same number but had heard nothing at all since.  He didn't want Rose getting involved and had no intention of telling his ex that he had found and was living with her.

No moonlight, only light from the streetlamps outside as they made love that night, Rose forgetting about the photos she'd been looking at, wrapped up in Alec's arms tightly where she wanted to be after they had both expressed their love.  Rose woke the following morning to find Alec had slipped out of bed and he was standing in just his shorts, looking out of the window at the sea.  He turned as he heard her say his name and she slipped on her dressing gown and went over to him, putting her arms around his waist and kissing his back.  She didn't often do that, they were usually too busy kissing or having their hands all over each other but this morning, just to be different, he slipped his arm around her shoulder.  She looked up at him and noticed for the first time he didn't have a mole where John had one but he had one in a different place and supposed most men had one somewhere, she had only ever been intimate with two and Alec was the second.

He turned around to face her, their lips meeting as he let go of the curtain and put both his arms around her.  Then he picked her up and carried her back to the bed, taking her dressing gown off and then his shorts as they crawled back into bed again.  They finally stopped and got dressed, with a bit of hindrance on both parts and went for breakfast.

Alec had asked Rose to pack his camera so they went down to the beach and he took some photos of her and she took some of him, then he put the camera on a rock and set the timer so it took one of them kissing, one with their arms around each other face to face and one with Rose kissing his cheek while he was brushing a strand of her hair, their love for each other shown to the world.  They took a few more of each other then went to seek a photo printing machine and put the memory card in and had some made large, the one of them kissing and one each of them, one with Rose sticking her tongue out at him and him blowing her a kiss.  They printed them out and went in search of some frames, choosing matching ones in silver with a tiny heart in the corner and a photo album.

They looked around the shops and Rose bought a painting of the harbour to add to her collection she was going to eventually put on the stairs and Alec bought her a silver bracelet with two hearts.  After lunch they walked on the beach, Rose wanted to go on a boat but Alec had to finally confess his hatred of the water to her, telling her the reason why, which up until now he had never told another living soul, only his mother had known why and Rose promised she would hold his hand every second if he'd go with her and just go on a short trip, that wasn't actually going past Broadchurch and so he agreed as long as he wore a life jacket and she never let go of him.

It was early evening when they got back so they just kissed in their room until dinner, forgoing the hotel's entertainment again in favour of another walk around the harbour then back to their room to give Rose some more sparks and fireworks as Alec called it.  The fireworks lit up their room as there passion flared once again.
Chapter 19
They left after breakfast on the Sunday morning, parking the car and looking around the town again before driving back via the supermarket to get essentials. The rest of the afternoon was spent with Alec putting the photos in the frames and Rose putting the rest in the album they had bought and she decided to get him to put some picture hooks on the stairs and hang the two pictures they already had. They curled up on the sofa watching a film with Rose falling asleep so he had to carry her upstairs, something he loved doing.  She woke just long enough to enjoy another night of passion now she was liking what he'd done the night before to her. He said tomorrow they would look at the photos she had stored so she agreed but admitted to him he might not like them.  He assured her he would be ok, no matter what, even if there were some where she and John were kissing or looking happy together.  He said he'd had similar photos taken with his wife when they'd first got married and that it was nothing, it was part of life and they had both accepted they'd had lives before they'd met and there were bound to be things that would crop up.  Rose was dreading him seeing the photos but she had put it off long enough and now they had their own photos together.

Monday morning and she was regretting now that she'd agreed to give up work altogether and wondered now how she was going to fill her time.  She needed a hobby and after discovering the shells she had gather previously in a bag in the kitchen, thought she'd go into the town and find some deep frames and fill them then when Alec came home she would get him to hang them in the bathroom and they'd go looking for more in the evenings as it was staying lighter for longer.  She might even turn her hobby into job and get some of the local shops to sell them for her.  Not that she was going to need to earn living with Alec looking after her aside from the compensation.  She was going to have to be at home more if the cheque was going to be hand delivered or maybe they could send it to Alec's office.

She went up into the town and bought some frames in different shapes in the market then arranged to meet Alec for lunch who asked if Miller could come with him as they were out and would only just get back in time.  They all had lunch, Rose showing him the frames she'd bought and what she intended to do.  Miller suggested a few places that might sell them for her and said she'd buy some.  Rose offered her a free sample but she said she wasn't allowed to which Alec smiled.  She took Alec on one side and asked if he could contact the court and have the cheque delivered to his office so she didn't have to wait in so he said he'd contact the DI in London and ask him.  Rose spent the afternoon making up the frames and was quite pleased with herself.  When Alec came home, he put them up in the bathroom for her and told her she had a flair for it.  After dinner Alec went to fetch the photo storage box, saying they'd look at them first then the ones on her laptop.

Rose was dreading it as he opened the box and brought out the general album showing pictures of her and her mum then he came to the ones she had looked at last Friday that had got her upset, the ones from new years eve.  Alec looked at them all then at the wedding photos where they dancing and where friends and family were throwing confetti over them and signing the register.  Then he saw the framed photos and asked to see the ones on her laptop including the one of John coming out of the shower.  After viewing the last ones Rose turned off the laptop and looked at Alec and after seeing all the photos at once still saw no resemblance between them.  Neither did Alec apparently, he just turned to her and kissed her then held her tight.

"Rose, thanks for showing me.  I can see why you were so upset, you seemed very happy together and now I'm going to do everything in my power to see I make you just as happy as he did, if you'll let me?"  He kissed her again then she lay her head on his chest.

"Alec, you do make me happy.  I was worried about showing you the photos and that's why I wanted you to take some of us and put them up in the house, to show everyone I am happy with you.  My mother thinks I'm still not ready to let go but I am, she thinks I'm still seeing him everywhere so when she comes down this weekend, I'll have the photos to show her to prove it's you that I'm with.  Alec, do you have any other photos you want to show me?

He shook his head.  "No, they all got left behind except the last photo I had of my daughter and even then she'll have changed in two years.  I don't think you're seeing ghosts Sweetheart, you're just still remembering and it will go away, we have our own memories now in the photos.  Come on, let's watch some TV, then you can fall asleep and I can carry you to bed."

Rose put her laptop away and they settled on the sofa, finding something they both liked and she managed to stay awake and they both went upstairs together.  Alec said in the morning when he got his shower, she had to take a photo of him getting out – before he put the towel around his waist and bet her she wouldn't.  She said if she did, he had to snog her, standing naked for ten minutes, with her just in her vest top and no knickers without having sex with her.  He said she was on but bet her she couldn't keep to the no sex bit.

Tuesday morning, after Alec posed for Rose coming out of the shower and winning their bets, she told him she was going down to the shopping centre just for a look around.  He told her to look in the travel agents and see if there was anywhere she wanted to go, he was long overdue a holiday and they'd go back and book it as long as it didn't involve going on a boat.  Rose said that narrowed it down a bit since it cut out a cruise and travelling by ferry.  She said he'd be fine on a cruise, he wouldn't even notice but he said the trip around the harbour had been enough and he'd only done it for her.

She walked around the shopping mall and stopped for coffee, texting Alec she had seen a few holidays depending on when they were going, bought some new underwear for Alec to see her in then made her way back home.  She thought she would wear it that night for him so she went to get changed and waited for him. They had just curled up on the sofa around nine with her just in her new underwear when Alec looked alarmed.  He said he had a pain in his chest all of a sudden but said it would pass so Rose got dressed and sat beside him, making him stay lying down and checked his forehead.  He was a bit hot and his face was all screwed up like he was waiting for the pain to pass like he said he used to do when he took tablets before he had his pacemaker fitted and he was finding it difficult to talk.

"Rose, you need to ring an ambulance – now, I think there's something wrong with my pacemaker."

Rose was immediately dialling 999 and told the operator about his condition and the ambulance was dispatched while she was still on the phone, giving his details and explaining he felt the same as before he'd had it fitted.  She gathered her keys and mobile in her purse just as the blue light appeared in front of the house and she had opened the door before they knocked.  Alec was still laid flat, colour now draining from his face and he was getting short of breath so the attendant put a breathing mask on him and they helped him into the ambulance and put him on a heart rate monitor and the driver radioed the hospital to say they were bringing him in and gave all the details.  While they were seeing to him, Rose locked the house and got into the ambulance, taking hold of his hand but he was closing his eyes.  She was panicking but the attendant said he was ok, he was on the monitor but his heartbeat was irregular but they would stabilize him at the hospital and asked her who she was and some more details about Alec.

They arrived at the hospital and he was taken into a cubicle and Rose was asked some questions then told she would have to wait outside while they stabilized him but he would be ok and the surgeon who had fitted his pacemaker had been called in.  She was then allowed in after she told them she was his partner and Alec was going to be prepped for surgery and was waiting for the surgeon the nurse told her in a private room and showed her where he was.  His eyes were closed but he was breathing with help and the monitor was showing his irregular heartbeat but Rose was assured he'd been given medication that he used to take before the pacemaker had been fitted and it had improved his condition.  She was told the surgeon was on his way but was still travelling but that Alec would be ok until he arrived and they suspected the pacemaker had developed a rare fault as they would normally last a lifetime.  She was told she could stay with him and they would be alerted if there was any change and for her not to wake him, it was best he was rested for the surgery.  The nurse said she would let her know when the surgeon arrived but it could be several hours.  It was now after ten so Rose settled in the chair at his bedside, pulling it up close so she was facing him and took his hand.

"Alec, I know you probably can't hear me but you promised me you'd never leave me so don't you dare break that promise.  You promised me 100 years and you're not getting out of it Grumpy, I love you, you can't give up.  I took a chance with you, I can't be left alone again, you have to get through this."

She turned the chair back round so she was level with his hand and took it into hers, stroking it, every few minutes telling him she loved him, waiting for him to squeeze her hand to reassure her.  He was the only man she'd ever loved beside John and he'd been taken from her, Alec was still here and so was she.  She wasn't leaving without him, not like she'd had to do with John.  There was no choice in that.  She had risked everything to be with Alec, trusted him to take care of her and to help her through the roughest of times, holding her every night while she cried, just being there.  She fell asleep just after the nurse came it to check his vital signs and told her it shouldn't be much longer, the surgeon would be there soon.

She had no idea what time it was but she woke up with a blanket over her, a nurse must have come in but she was woken when they came to prep Alec for surgery and they told her she could wait there if she wanted or wait outside the operating theatre.  She opted for the theatre, following the orderlies down the corridor and finding a seat.  She asked if she could squeeze his hand one more time before he went in so they let her and she kissed his lips and whispered that she bet him he'd be waking in the morning demanding to go home.  He always won his bets.

She glanced at the clock, it was just after four, it must have been nearly an hour after he'd gone in.  She knew he was in good hands, it was the same surgeon who had fitted his pacemaker and something had clearly gone wrong with it, he was the best person to fix it.  A nurse came out just after six and asked if she was ok, that they were almost finished and he was doing fine and would be taking him into the recovery room shortly and she'd be able to go in until they took him back to his room.  Rose heaved a huge sigh of relief, now having to pay up for the bet that if he woke up in the morning asking to go home, she had to climb on the bed with him without getting caught but he hadn't known that, being unconscious at the time and she couldn't exactly say it out loud but she knew he would have accepted the bet.

Fifteen minutes later she was shown into the recovery room.  There was a curtain around his bed and a nurse was just coming out.  She said he was still unconscious but should come round within the next hour and if not she could wake him if she wanted or one of the nurses would do it.  She went in, leaving the curtain around and sat next to him, holding his hand as she kissed his cheek.  Another nurse came in and offered her a drink which she gratefully accepted.  She was exhausted, only getting a few hours sleep but she didn't intend leaving until he was fully awake, no way.  She had her drink and was just closing her eyes when Alec squeezed her hand.  She was leaning over him a second later saying 'Hi' to him and went to fetch the nurse.

Just before he was taken back to his room, they were talking quietly so not to disturb any other patients and not to get Alec too stressed.  Rose had told him about the bet but it wasn't valid since he'd not heard it but he said she still had to keep her part of it.  She said she'd only bet him because he always won.  She was just saying to him that he'd promised her 100 years and he told her that wasn't enough, he wanted forever when they came to take him back to his room.  Once settled, the surgeon came in to see him and explained that the pacemaker did indeed develop a very rare fault which had been replaced and it had been a very delicate job given the severity of his condition because it had been 50/50 the last time but because he'd been in better health this time, they had decided it was worth the risk and replaced it rather than try to repair it.

Alec said it was because he had someone to live for now, nodding at Rose.  The surgeon asked her if she was his wife and she replied she was his partner.  It was then that Alec corrected her.

"Actually she was just my partner, she's my fiancée, if she'll have me?" he said, looking up at Rose and holding her hand.

Everyone stared at him.  Just out of heart surgery and he was asking Rose to marry him.  Rose didn't know what to say.  There was a roomful of people so there was only one thing she could say and that was yes.

Alec continued saying, "She gave me a reason to live so now she's said yes in front of everyone, she can't back out now.  Not that she would."

Everyone in the room congratulated them and the unusual proposal in a hospital bed just before eight in the morning, with the patient recently out of heart surgery and just regained consciousness.  They left the couple alone and Rose told him he should get some rest and she was going to go home and get changed and grab a few hours sleep.  He told her to sleep on the bed, part of the bet she'd made with him so she said she'd just go to the ladies and come right back.  While she was gone, he was allowed some tea and toast but was still hooked up to the monitor and told he would have to stay for 24 hrs and no discharging himself this time, the nurse remembered his reputation for leaving against medical advice so Rose assured them he'd do no such thing.  So she left after he'd eaten, not before he made her lie beside him and kiss him, saying she would let DS Miller know and would be back later and she planned to talk to him about their sudden engagement which still hadn't sunk in yet.

So she called DS Miller then her mother, telling her he was ok.  Her mother said she could have lost him, then what would she have done?  Rose said to leave it, she was tired and been at the hospital all night and said she'd see her on Friday, that she could still come down but Alec wouldn't be able to do much as he'd need to rest and that she would have something to tell her.  She laid on Alec's side of the bed and closed her eyes, imagining laying on him and him kissing her.  She looked at her finger, thinking there would soon be another ring there and knowing this what she wanted, being engaged to Alec.

She woke up just after two and got changed and headed back to the hospital.  She nearly had an argument with the nurse on the desk because she'd been told she had 24 hr access and wasn't going to be let in until the nurse who had been on earlier came back and said it was ok.  Alec was asleep so she pulled the curtain round and just managed to lie down at his side so she'd be there when he woke up.
Chapter 20
Alec woke up just after four, opening his eyes to see Rose looking at him and smiled as best as he could.  She kissed him carefully as he still had wires on him and a breathing tube.  He said he was hungry so she got up and went to ask if he could get something to eat.  He asked how long she was staying and she said at least until he went to sleep for the night and although he wanted her to stay all night he realised she'd have to go home.  A nurse came in to check on him then said she'd arranged for him to get something to eat so Rose said she'd pop out and get something herself while he was eating.  She came back and they starting talking and Rose suddenly realised they'd not talked about their engagement and wondered if he'd actually not realised he'd asked her and had still been under the anaesthetic so she carefully approached the subject.

"Alec, you know when you came round this morning and we were talking to the surgeon?"  Alec nodded slowly, holding her hand as she sat on the edge of the bed. "Well, he asked who I was and I said I was your partner.  Do you remember?"  He nodded again.  "Do you remember what you said to him?  I mean you were probably still groggy from the anaesthetic."  She was hoping he'd been fully aware when he'd spoken.

"Yes, I remember him asking you who you were, you said you were my partner. Why wouldn't I remember that?"

Rose was thinking she'd been right and was about to brush it off that he'd not been aware of anything else.

"There was one other thing I remember," he added.

Rose was getting more hopeful.

"I said 100 years was not enough.  I want forever."

"That's good then, so do I," she replied, squeezing his hand.  "Anything else?"

"I don't know, was there anything?  I was a bit groggy when I came round.  I know we talked for a while, well you did, I was just listening, my head was spinning a bit," he grinned.

He took her left hand into his as she was realizing he'd not meant what he'd said after all.  There had been a room full of people but they all knew he'd just recovered from surgery and she couldn't ask them anyway.

Taking her ring finger he then said, "Well there is something missing from here and I never did ask you properly, I just sprang it on you.  This isn't really the best place to ask you something really important.  I'll ask you when I get out."  Now she knew he was teasing her.

"Ask me now Alec, I can't think of a better place and you did say it before in front of loads of people so say it again, properly."

"Rose, will you marry me?  I know it's a bit soon but after last night, there's no time to waste.  I'd get down on my knees but I'm tied up to this hospital bed and if they don't let me out in the morning I'm going to defy you and them.  I love you Rose Tyler, will you spend forever with me?''

Rose kissed his cheek, avoiding the two breathing tubes that were in his nose.  "Yes, Alec, I want to spend forever with you, if you'll have me.  I know I've been causing you nothing but trouble but I can get over that now with you helping me.  If I had any doubts I wouldn't have kissed you that Saturday night outside my door, I love you.  Hopefully they'll let you out in the morning if I promise you'll rest and you will Grumpy, or you'll have me to answer to.  I can put my mother off coming down, you don't need her full attention."

"No, let her come down, you'll only put off the inevitable, she needs to know and if I've got to rest, she can keep you company.  I might have to stay at home while you go see John's mother though and I really wanted to go with you Sweetheart.  Maybe if you wait until Monday, I might be able to go with you if you drive."

Rose stayed the rest of the day and left just after ten at night, saying she'd be back at eight to see if he could go home.  She didn't know how she was going to be able to sleep alone again but he had to.  She'd kissed him goodnight properly before she'd left, giving him her assurance she'd be back first thing.  He asked her to leave his mobile but he wasn't allowed to have it anyway and it was turned off.  When she got home, she tossed and turned, laying on Alec's side of the bed, not that he had one really, more like he lay in the middle when she was spread out across him. Sometimes she would find herself on one side of the bed if he'd got up without wanting to wake her but mostly he did disturb her then they'd fool around.  She wished he was with her now and thought about him lying on his own in that hospital bed, she wouldn't be there when he woke.  She hadn't known him when he'd had his first operation but if she had, she would have always been by his bedside.

Finally giving up on getting any sleep, she got dressed and was downstairs drinking tea just after four.  Almost 24 hrs after his operation and it was all she could think about.  She could have lost him, she knew that.  Her mother was right, what would she have done then?  Losing two men she'd loved, would she have been able to go on?  Alec had helped her over the worse, who would have helped her if she'd lost him?  She hadn't, he was in the hospital and although it was only half past four, she had 24 hr access so she was going back.  Twenty minutes later she was back in the ward, sneaking into his room so as not to wake him, asking the nurse on duty to leave them and she would let them know when he was awake.  The nurse got the idea.  Good, he was still asleep, he'd be surprised when he did wake so she pulled the curtain round and squeezed beside him.

He woke up just after seven, his internal clock again, Rose had her eyes closed, the most she had slept all night.  He kissed her and she woke, kissing him back.  He took the breathing tube out and kissed her properly.  He said he was hungry so she went out to let them know he was awake.  They waited for the doctor to do his rounds and Rose was keeping her fingers crossed she could take him home.  They asked her to leave but Alec insisted that she stayed so they gave him the all clear to go home on the condition he rested.  Rose said there would be no argument on that point, she just wanted him home.  He was told he could get dressed and for him to wait for his discharge papers, something he wasn't accustomed to doing prior to his last operation so Rose wanted to use a wheelchair to take him to the discharge area and Alec said he was having nothing of it, he'd walk.  So they walked slowly and didn't have long to wait.

They got home and Rose made him lie on the sofa and put the TV on for him while she made them a drink then she squeezed in beside him and they just lay together, falling asleep after about an hour.  She was woken by her phone ringing but answered it before it woke Alec.  It was DS Miller wanting to know how he was and that an envelope had just arrived for her, care of DI Hardy and she had signed for it.  She asked if Rose wanted to call in for it or for her to bring it round.  She said she would call in and see her, Alec wasn't up to having visitors just yet and thanked her for all her help.  Before she hung up, DS Miller said the Chief had told her he would have to see the medical officer before he could go back to work and Rose said she'd tell him and that he was still asleep.

Her compensation cheque had arrived but she didn't know how much it would be. She would go collect it when Alec woke up.  She didn't want his DS to see him like that, she knew they didn't get on and he wouldn't have wanted it.  She would open it with him, it might not be for all that much really, they might have been worried about nothing, not telling people they were together so they wouldn't think he was after her money.  There was no doubt in her mind that was not the case.  He hadn't even known her for that long and he didn't know about John the first time he'd stayed with her so she that was quite clear in her mind about him.  He was willing to support her, she had stopped working because he said he could provide for them both.  Even with the money, it wouldn't make any difference.  She wanted to stay where she was with now, they had just chosen the house together, maybe they'd take that holiday she was looking for.

She crept back on the sofa and lay beside him, waiting for him to wake up.  He stirred and nuzzled up to her, putting his arm around her, then opened his eyes slowly, smiling at her.

"Hey, what time is it?  I feel like I haven't eaten in hours but first, we have some catching up to do, come here gorgeous," he said, leaning nearer and kissing her.

She was about to protest but he began snogging her and she gave up, figuring no harm could come from that and she'd missed him.  She managed to tell him that was as far as they were going today.  He pulled a face, then contented, carried on with what he was doing.  Rose finally escaped with a bit lip and a bite mark but reckoned she could live with it.  He deserved some pleasure after what he'd just gone through and she had to keep him from getting over excited for now, something that was clearly going to get difficult later that night.

Rose made him a drink and a sandwich then after making sure he made it to the bathroom and back, set off to the Police Station to meet with DS Miller.  When she arrived, she was shown into Alec's office again, Miller had set up a temporary camp in it and Rose was thinking she looked too cosy for her liking, half tempted to tell her not to get her feet under the table but thought better of it, she had after all helped in John's case.  She invited Rose to have a seat and picked up the envelope off the desk, handing it to her and asking her to sign for it.  Miller already knew that Rose was due compensation but wasn't a party to know exactly what the court had awarded her.

Miller asked how DI Hardy was doing and Rose said he was up and about and she'd left him having a late lunch and she really should get back to him as she had taken responsibility for his early hospital release and to keep him quiet.  Miller joked that he'd twice discharged himself and wished her good luck with keeping him cooped up, he'd twice come back to work against medical advice and Rose assured her she wouldn't allow him to make it a third.  It was the holiday weekend anyway so it would be at least Tuesday before he could see the medical officer.  Rose said goodbye and walked back home, calling for a few things on the way back, she was going to go shopping on Saturday with her mother.

The moment of truth came when she sat down next to Alec, lifting his feet up and sitting back with him.  She assured him this was not going to affect them in any way.  If it was a small amount, they would just have a holiday and that would be it. If it was a large amount, she would get some advice and use the money to just live a normal life with him and use it for luxuries like getting him a car and maybe giving some to John's mother.  She was just about to open it when she handed it to Alec, saying she couldn't look.  He took out the cheque, not looking at it, saying he didn't want to know and showed the amount to her.  She clasped her hands to her face as she looked and thought she was seeing things.  She just stared at Alec, not wanting to tell him how much it was for in case he ended up back in hospital again. The amount was a six figure number.

She just took the cheque from his hand and put it on the coffee table, face down.  He insisted he didn't want to look but asked how many figures were written on it.  She told him six and it wasn't in pounds and pence, it was whole figures, enough to live more than comfortably.  She said it wasn't going to make any difference, they couldn't show they had money anyway, due to their new relationship and everything they'd told people and trying not to let the police in London and the court know they were together.  She couldn't even put it in a joint account and now Alec had proposed to her, they would have to delay actually getting married for a reasonable time.  That didn't matter, he had asked her and that was good enough for her.  She would stay engaged for as long as it took, it was only making their relationship official, in their hearts they were already committed to each other.

Alec said she had better go to the bank before it closed and deposit the cheque as they would be closed until next Tuesday and to make an appointment for them to open a joint account so he wouldn't have to keep transferring money into hers, so making sure he was ok, she walked to the bank, just in time to ask to see the manager again, explaining the cheque was compensation.  The manager said there was no need to ask then how the hearing had gone.  That all settled she went back home to find Alec was watching the news and told him to stop keeping up with the world and lighten up a bit, he did, starting with her.

She made something to eat and they talked about their engagement and how they were going to break it to her mother when she arrived since Alec wasn't allowed to go out and no way was she getting a ring without him so he said if they went down to Brighton to see John's mother on Monday instead of Sunday, they could go look around and see if there was a jewellers shop open and find one she liked.  Rose said as long as her mother didn't tag along so they'd have to find her somewhere else to go.  They also discussed about giving some money to John's mother but Alec said despite Rose's good intentions, she might take it the wrong way and she may inadvertently tell someone where the money had come from.

She supposed he was right, they were trying not to attract attention to themselves after all and splashing out giving money away wasn't going to help.  Rose said instead, she would donate some of the money anonymously to a charity for relatives of accident victims because she could relate to them and to a heart research charity because of Alec's condition.  He asked what time her mother was arriving and Rose said she'd ring when she was on the train, probably around lunchtime so they'd bring something back for lunch, not fish and chips, he wasn't allowed them just yet.

They both felt sleepy, having not slept properly since his hospital admission so they had an early night, Rose telling him to behave himself to which he'd just said there was a fat chance of that happening but was persuaded to let Rose take the lead as they had both missed each other the nights they were apart.  Rose was almost too scared to go to sleep but had to, for his sake, she had to look after him and she had four days of her mother's visit, hoping Alec was really up to it.

Alec woke her just after seven, who needed and alarm clock with him around?  They lazed in bed for a while, just kissing and making up for being apart.  He had a fresh scar, still covered up so she had to be extra careful where she lay on him, having to swap sides before she'd gone to sleep so she wouldn't hurt him.  She had still sprawled all over him though, the way she liked to sleep, with his arm wrapped around her.

After getting a phonecall from her mother, she left twenty minutes before her train was due in and kissed Alec goodbye, saying they might call for extra groceries on the way back and had tuna salad for lunch.  He told her to hurry back and she made sure he had everything he needed before she left.  She only had five minutes to wait before the train arrived.
Chapter 21
She greeted her mother and wheeled her cases to the car, telling her she had more stuff than she'd had when she was moving here.  Her mother said she still wasn't too old for a slap and they both laughed when Rose said then she'd have to get Alec to arrest her.  They called at the supermarket and then went back to make a late lunch.  Alec was laid on the sofa watching an old film he'd found and was grumpy when he was interrupted near the end so Rose showed her mother to her room, showing her the bathroom and their bedroom.  She was thinking that her mother would say something but she didn't.  Jackie knew Alec had just come out of hospital so she had let it go.  While they were upstairs, Jackie closed the bedroom door so Alec wouldn't hear.

"Rose, I know he's been ill again but it still doesn't alter the fact that I really do think he looks a lot like John."  Rose put her hand up in protest but her mother insisted she heard her out.  "I know you can't see it and I did notice you had photos of you and Alec downstairs but what if he sees your other photos of you with John?"

"He's already seen them Mum, we looked through them and he never even suggested I thought they looked alike and that's why I'm with him.  Why can't you just accept I've moved on and I'm not with Alec for that reason.  I'd never even thought about it until you brought the subject up.  Please, just accept Alec for who he is, a caring, hard working man who loves me and wants to take care of me.  I love him, just be happy for us because we've just…"  She was just about to say they were engaged but they'd wanted to tell her together so she just added "moved in together."

Jackie suspected she was going to say something else and Rose thought she'd covered her tracks well but her mother kept her silence saying she'd unpack while Rose checked on Alec and got lunch ready.  Rose was really hoping she wouldn't bring this up in front of Alec, especially now, he really didn't need it.  They had both had a major scare and now she was regretting still letting her mother visit she decided to plead with her not to bring the subject up until Alec was over this at least and preferable not at all.

"Mum, please, promise me you won't say anything to him, not now.  We don't need this.  I think you're wrong, this is all about me finally moving on with my life, with Alec so please just accept it.  I thought you'd be pleased.  I'm going down now but if you bring this up again in front of Alec and he leaves me, I'm going away and I'm never coming back because no matter who I choose, you'll always say the same.  I'm moving on with Alec, so I need you to let the past go too and accept him, for my sake, please."

Rose opened the door and went downstairs.  Alec had wondered what the two women were up to, thinking they were maybe plotting to keep him cooped up all weekend.  He was going to ask Rose if she'd go for a walk with him later, just down the coastal path for ten minutes, it was driving him crazy.  He heard footsteps and hoped it was Rose.  It was as she came up behind him and put her arms around his neck and kissed his cheek asking if he'd missed her.  He grabbed hold of her and pulled her down and kissed her asking if that answered her question and he'd show her how much he'd missed her later.

Jackie didn't come down until they were already eating, Rose had bought a folding tray for Alec though he protested he wanted to eat at the table with her so she brought hers over and shared.  They were laughing as Rose was trying not to tip the table over when they heard Jackie on the stairs.  Rose had left her lunch covered up in the fridge so she got up and put the kettle on, retrieving the plate from the fridge.  She looked at her mother as if to say sorry but she just sat down at the table so Rose made her some tea and put it down then went back to sit next to Alec.  He immediately knew there was something wrong because she had said she was looking forward to really catching up with her mother since she'd only seen her for a few hours the week before at the court.

"What's wrong Sweetheart?" he whispered in her ear, so Jackie wouldn't hear.

"Nothing, it doesn't matter, we had a bit of a disagreement, that's all, please leave it Alec," she replied in a low voice.

"I can hear you, you know," came Jackie's voice from the kitchen area "and it wasn't a disagreement either.  I had something to say and she doesn't want to listen.  So I'm keeping quiet."

Rose was not going to start an argument in front of Alec, he didn't need all the stress so she left it and went to take their plates away then sitting back down with him as he put her arm around her and pulled her close.

"I fancy going for a little walk, will you come with me?  I know I'm not supposed to go out but just for ten minutes?  Please Rose, I'm going crazy in here.  We can just walk slowly down the coastal path."

He gave her a kiss on the cheek and a sad look so she'd feel sorry for him.  She did. He really now just wanted to get her out of the house to find out what exactly was going on.  He knew the two of them were close so something had gone wrong somewhere and he really wanted to know what it was and if he was the cause of it. Before she had chance to answer him, her mother broke her silence.

"If you're going out to talk so I don't hear you, don't bother on my account.  Rose knows what I think."

Rose was afraid her mother was going to come out and say the one thing she didn't want her to, to come right out with the revelation about Alec looking like John and she wasn't known for being tactical.

"Alec, has Rose you shown the photos she brought from London yet?  Have you looked at them carefully?  Seen anything unusual?"

Rose stared at her in disbelief, she couldn't believe she was doing this to her.  She recovered, took Alec by the hand and said they'd take that walk now and headed for the door with him, picking up her purse on the way out.  Once outside, they walked slowly for a few minutes up the path and stopped at the same bench where they had committed to sharing the house together.  Now all that was about to be shattered if Alec took this the wrong way as he was already showing signs of asking her a million questions.  They sat down and Rose didn't know where to start but Alec saved her the dilemma.

"Sweetheart, what exactly did she mean by all that?  Did you tell her I looked at those photos you had?  Why would she even ask me that unless there's something else to it.  Is there something you haven't told me Rose?  Because if there is then you need to tell me now.  I love you, nothing will ever change that because without you, I wouldn't be here this time.  I would have been on my own and might not have been able to call for an ambulance or been too late."  He took her left hand into his and put his fingers inbetween hers until they were intertwined.  "You really need a ring on that finger you know but I don't want you to have any doubts and we'll have to be careful who you tell about that cheque and we can't make it public, not yet.  I asked you to marry me Rose and I meant it otherwise I wouldn't have asked.  If you want to wait to get engaged then fine, I'll get you a ring to wear on your other hand and or we can just get married.  How does September sound?  It gives a reasonable period of certain people not associating the fact you've got compensation.  What do you thing, my love?"

Rose was astounded he was so calm over it all with what her mother had just come out with.  "Alec, don't you want to know what she was getting at before you finalize our wedding plans?"  He shook his head and looked at her.  "You might change your mind when you hear what it was."

"Never, Rose Tyler, nothing will make me change you mind not even if what she was trying to say was that she thinks I look like your dead husband or that I look like a certain Scottish actor or I'm marrying you for your money.  I don't care what she thinks, I'm marrying you because I love you, you're my life now.  So tell me what it was and it had better be that I remind you of John because that proves you have good taste in men and not because I look like some skinny Scottish actor you had a crush on at some point because then I'd really have to think again."  He smiled at her, brushing her hair back over her face and kissing her cheek.

"Alec, I don't even know where to begin and I can't believe you're so calm about it. Mum told me when we arrived outside the court last week that the reason I've been able to move on with my life is because I see John in you and that's why I was attracted to you but I don't, I never have and never even thought about it until she pointed it out and I still see no resemblance, you're totally different.  I can't explain why she'd even think such a thing.  She's not normally like this and she'll get over it.  I didn't want to tell you because I was afraid you'd leave me.  I love you, Alec Hardy," she said, as tears fell down her cheeks.

Alec pulled her close and whispered in her ear "Tha gaol agam ort Ròs" he said in Gaelic as he wiped them away with his hand.  "It means I love you Rose.  Now let's go back home then later, we'll walk across to the harbour pub for dinner and in the meantime, we'll talk it out with your mother and tell her we've set a date.  Did you even tell her we'd got engaged?'' Rose shook her head.  "Then she'd best know that nothing she says is going to get rid of me.  How about the first Saturday in September?  That ok with you?"

Rose smiled at him and said, "I can't think of a better time, Grumpy."

"Well, now I have no reason to be grumpy, do I?  You can still call me that if you really want to but I'd rather you called me 'Sexy' when we're in bed.  Speaking of which, I feel fine now and I don't want to go easy any more because I've missed you and I want to make up for it tonight.  The worse that could happen is that I end up in hospital again but it will be more than worth it to have a night with you."

Rose laughed.  "Well, be careful what you wish for, Mister but I might have to go easy on you, just for tonight and see if you can keep up with me."

They both got up and walked arm in arm back down the path and went back inside to find Jackie with her bags packed standing at the door as they walked through.

"Mum, where are you going, why have you got your cases packed?  Don't be like that, we want you to stay.  I've told Alec what you said and he's fine with it and he thinks you're wrong."  Rose looked at Alec who took her hand and squeezed it.  "We're getting married Mum, in September, he asked me when he came round from his surgery the other morning and yes, I thought it was just him coming around from the anaesthetic but he asked me again later so now we've set a date.  We're not going to get officially engaged because we don't want certain people thinking he's marrying me because I got the compensation because we all know that's not true, you know we met before that even came up but it's a small town and word gets around, only a few actually know I received it but not how much for."

Jackie looked at them both holding hands and realised her daughter really did love Alec.  She walked up to Rose and pulled her into a hug with Alec just watching until she pulled him in too and said she was sorry.  They talked for a while then walked across to the harbour pub for dinner and they were laughing and joking by the time they'd eaten.  After they got back and watched TV for a while, Jackie went to bed saying she'd better not be able to hear them in her room across the landing. Alec said he'd try his best to keep Rose quiet to which Rose had replied there was no chance.  They had a few nights to make up for but she made him promise to keep it relatively low key until he'd been back for his check-up next week which he said he'd reluctantly agree to for now, just to be with her again.

Saturday, Jackie and Rose went shopping while Alec said he was going to look online at honeymoon destinations and promised not to go out and put Rose's number on a shortcut on his phone and she said they'd be back in a few hours.  Rose showed her mother around town and they bought a few things each then went back to make lunch.

Sunday, Rose drove them up the coast to another seaside resort and Monday morning, they drove down to Brighton to see John's mother.  She was happy to see them and Rose introduced Alec to her, saying he was the reason they had caught the man who had knocked down and killed John, that he had encouraged her to get the case re-opened.  Rose also told her how she was moving on with Alec and that they were living together but they talked about John all the time and Rose would never forget him and that Alec had helped her over the worse time of seeing John's killer put to justice.  John's mother said she was pleased for them and asked them to keep in touch which they promised they would.

They managed to find a jewellery shop that was open in one of the town's shopping centres and Alec bought her a ring, for her right hand but he made her promise when they were at home to wear it on her left hand which she always did.  They opened a joint account at the bank and went the following Saturday to the next town and booked their honeymoon for the first Saturday in September and also called at the registry office and set the date, telling Rose's mother to come up the day before and she could house sit for them while they were away if she wanted to. Alec told no-one at work he was getting married, didn't see it was any of their business but planned to tell the personnel department after they got back from their honeymoon so Rose was his next of kin for any benefits he was due.

The next few months were hectic for the two of them, Rose thought she would be bored at home but she wasn't, making her shell pictures after a few local shops were interested in selling them for her so in the evenings, they would go out looking for shells and every night, they would show each other their love and Alec told her he wanted them to start a family.  Their wedding day arrived, Alec spending the night before in a local hotel at Jackie's insistence and they flew off to their honeymoon and that night, Rose told him she had done a pregnancy test and she was four weeks and he was over the moon.

The End!

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