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Accusations and insinuations

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Rose Tyler has been with Alec Hardy for six months in the home they share by the river in Broadchurch and Rose is now 6 weeks pregnant. He has not told her he's been hiding Claire Ripley from her husband. As Rose is sat by the river one morning while Alec is off boring new recruits, Claire pays a visit and sparks fly. Can Alec convince Rose there was nothing between him and Claire?





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Chapter 1
A/N: Starts off mildly but gets more juicy later on. Will be a bit mature but not enough for an 'M' rating on here but you can read the unedited version under the same author name on AO3

It had started out innocently, well at least on Alec Hardy's part after he decided to stay on in Broadchurch after the funeral of Danny Latimer. Despite him telling Ellie Miller he was out of the police on medical grounds, he'd got himself together and was being faced with having to pay for the hotel himself and be constantly reminded he'd asked Becca Fisher to spend some time with him.

So when he found the riverside chalet was vacant and it cost a third of what the hotel would, he'd gone to see the chief superintendent and asked since he could no longer be on active duty, if there was something else he could do to stave off the boredom that would have sent him even sooner to an early grave than an operation for a pacemaker would.

"Alec, we've been through this a few days ago," Elaine Jenkinson had told him. "I can't let you back, not until you're fit."

"Not even to sit at my old desk?" Alec had huffed back.

"Alec, if I let you do that and you get the sudden urge to go on a call-out, I would be responsible for you. You would just go dashing off for goodness knows what and besides, you wouldn't be able to sit still, you know that. You should have declared your illness and I'm still mad at you for that."

"You know why I could not declare I was ill. I had to get away from Sandbrook."

"I know that Alec but even so? You had a choice of two jobs, you could have taken the other one."

"To teach new recruits? I know I failed in Sandbrook but that was a punishment, not a transfer. Can you blame me for not taking it?"

"I don't suppose so and I knew about the academy job, you were made a scapegoat and I didn't agree with how you were treated. Just because you took the responsibility for that other officer, whom you chose not to name, didn't mean you had to be punished for it. Let me see what I can do, the academy job may still be open. Would you be willing to give it a month's trial?"

"I suppose so, if I have no other option. The hotel owner was asking if I am still getting my room paid for?"

"You're on sick pay Alec, your housing allowance will be reduced. You'd best go see the personnel officer about how much you can claim. It may cover the cost of a rental place, the rates will have gone down until next spring."

"Fine, I will go see her then. Can you let me know soon about another job?"

"Are you sure you want one?" Elaine smiled.

"I can't sit in my hotel room all day, that's not me. I have something to do tomorrow but after that, I may as well just do a Jack Marshall."

"Alec, don't say that!" Elaine exclaimed. "I'm surprised at you, you told me only a week or so ago you were not giving up until you caught Danny's killer. Now, I expect you to give evidence if it comes to trial."

"If it comes to trial, well that calls into question a lot of things," Alec replied, feeling his mobile phone buzzing and hoping it wasn't Tess bothering him again.

"Well we'd better hope he pleads guilty, if he doesn't, well Ellie's been through enough and so have you. I'll call you, the superintendent at the academy is an old friend of mine."

Alec nodded and got up, slowly before he got another dizzy spell. Once in the corridor, he fished his mobile out of his pocket and squinted at the screen to see 'Claire' on the display.

"What the hell does she want?" Alec mumbled to himself.

When he'd agreed to stash Claire Ripley, the wife of the main suspect in the Sandbrook case, they'd agreed minimum contact because Alec had only been in Broadchurch a week before he got caught up in another murder. The last time he'd seen her was the week he moved her into the cottage he'd acted as guarantor for, since she had moved out of the house next to the Gillespie's when Cate threw a bottle at her one night.

"Alec!" Claire greeted him when he called her back. "Why were you ignoring my call? I thought you were out of a job? I read it in the paper."

"Only for now, I was in a meeting, grovelling for another one – satisfied? What do you want?"

"Your case is over now Alec, can't you come and see me? The only person I've spoken to is the old woman next door when she's passing by. You stuck me down here and just expected me to get on with it, I've been here over two months now."

"Claire, it's only just two months and you know why I could not come down there. Is that all you wanted?"

"I miss you Alec," Claire whispered.

"What is there to miss about me?" he asked, regretting getting into this in the first place but Claire could be very persuasive when she wanted to use men.

"You were kind to me when Lee was arrested, I trusted you."

"I know and I kept my word and got you out, what more do you want from me Claire?"

"Lee got angry the day he got out of prison, he knocked me around, told me I was cheating on him, with you."

Alec shook his head, not surprised at what she was coming out with.

"Claire, you had better not have given him reason to think it was true? Did you?"

Claire laughed and he knew she was toying with him again.

"Don't worry Alec, I denied it but it could have been true, all those times you came to see me, to make sure I was okay while he was locked up. I thought Lee was going to hurt me when he got back but he just packed his things and left. I lost everything that day Alec, I don't know how I kept working."

"Well you soon gave that up, didn't you Claire?" Alec sighed, wishing she would get to the point.

"Please Alec, just come down for an hour, or maybe longer? I'll make it worth your while?"

"Stop it Claire, you know I am ill."

"I can make you forget about being ill Alec. Anyway, I didn't mean it that way."

"Yes, you did and the answer is still no. Now, if there is nothing else, I have things to do Claire. Only call me if it's an emergency. I did my part and got you out of Sandbrook and if I keep coming down there, someone may talk and you will loose your benefits."

"I could have sold my hairdressing business if Cate hadn't got drunk again and threatened me. Maybe I should start again?"

"Why not give it a try? Then you won't get bored and keep calling me."

"You don't care about me Alec, you just left me here and told me to get on with it. Remember the time you stayed with me? When I woke up and you were smiling at me?"

"Stop it Claire, you know why I was with you. I get that you were scared what Lee would do if he found out you were pregnant but that was the only reason I took you. Now I really have to go."

He hung up and reached in his pocket for his pills, now he had a good supply of them and he didn't have to hide them any more. He knew he should make a regular time to take them and not wait until something got him going. Walking down the corridor towards the lift to go to the personnel department on the second floor, he came to reception where the desk sergeant was talking to someone and taking no notice, he pressed the button and waited.

Up on the second floor, the personnel officer, Rose Tyler, was looking through Alec's file since the chief had just called her when Alec had left.

"Rose, look into Alec Hardy's file for me please, see if you can help him out with some housing costs."

"Yes, I'll have a look but we can't keep paying for his hotel Ma'am, not now his pay is about to be reduced."

"Well do what you can, after all the fuss he made about coming here, he seems reluctant to move on."

Rose smiled to herself. In the two months or so she'd been there after she'd seen Alec on TV the night after Danny had died, she'd not really seen him to talk to, which she'd not minded since all she wanted to do was make sure he wasn't the Doctor playing tricks on her. The conversation she'd had with Pete and her mother about him had been strange to say the least.

"Rose," Pete had said when they'd watched the evening news together. "Just because this detective looks like him, well you can't just go tearing off to see if it is him."

"Pete's right sweetheart," her mother had tried to tell her. "The Doctor wouldn't go hiding himself away, he'd come and find you."

Pete was on his pad looking up Alec. "Says here he was in a place called Sandbrook, that case of the two cousins where the main suspect got off. It can't be him Rose, think about it. You never said anything before."

"That's because you two kept the newspapers to yourselves. Dad, send me down there, please?"

"Rose, I can't just let you go on the off chance, what will you do with yourself?"
Pete asked, getting a vicious look from his wife.

"Anything, just let me find a place to stay so I can check him out."

"I'll see if I can pull a few strings, get you a job or do you want to go on leave?"

"Can I take a week's leave to find a place to stay? Why can't I just work for Torchwood?"

"What would the police think if Torchwood came to town? No, go under cover and that way, you can see if it's really him or not and have something to do."

So Rose had driven down to Broadchurch on the Sunday afternoon, when her mother had finished making a fuss and raising her concerns and after hurriedly booking a room at a pub by the harbour, she had settled in. By the following Saturday, she had moved into a holiday apartment and been to an interview to be the personnel officer for the Broadchurch police.

Keeping her distance, she had followed the case and Alec very closely but the only time she'd actually bumped into him was when he'd been with Ellie Miller and she'd apologized for almost knocking him over in the stairwell.

"Oh, sorry," she had said when she'd been coming through the door and he and Ellie were about to go upstairs.

Ellie had just grinned at the blonde as Alec held his arms out to stop them colliding.

"Do you work here?" he'd asked, looking at her name badge.

"Yeah, personnel department, I've been here a few weeks," Rose replied innocently, trying not to let on she'd been dying to meet him.

"Well next time, don't come through the door in such a hurry eh?" Alec had told her.

Rose had just nodded and run off to go fetch her lunch and it had taken her twenty minutes to recover. She knew if it had been the Doctor, he would have grabbed hold of her and hugged her. After that, she'd made weekly reports to Pete that she still couldn't determine if she had the right person and Pete had just pacified her mother, telling Jackie if that's what Rose wanted to do, who were they to deny her?

Now Rose was waiting for him to come into the office she shared with two others, Darren, who had a boyfriend and did as little as possible in the way of work and Denise, who was still a bit cross Rose had come from nowhere and got the job she'd applied for. Her heart leapt when she saw him open the glass door and look around.

"Who's the personnel officer around here?" he asked, letting go of the door.

He knew whoever it was, he'd been told a new one had started just after he'd arrived and there were two woman who looked up as he entered. Then he saw Rose, the one who had bumped into him a few weeks back.

"I just bet it has to be you?" he asked, approaching Rose's desk.

Denise just sniggered and went to do some filing. Rose had told them he'd almost knocked her over as she was going out one lunchtime.

"DI Hardy I presume?" was all Rose could think of saying after all these weeks of wanting to talk to him.

"I was told to come and see you, about my housing allowance. So, the police won't pay for me to stay at the hotel after Friday?"

"Sorry but no, you're no longer on active duty. Everyone thought you'd be leaving after the case was solved."

"Well, I am still here so that makes me your problem at present. I want to stay attached to this station, the chief is trying to find me another position," he told her as he took the chair opposite.

Both Denise, who had just got back to her desk and Darren got up, knowing the detective's reputation and not wanting him glaring at them, since it was almost lunchtime.

Rose handed him a form to fill in and he looked at it. "Bring this back tomorrow and I'll put it forward for you."

"What am I supposed to do after Friday?" he asked, not bothering to get his glasses out of his pocket.

"If you pay for the hotel yourself, I'll try and get the costs back for you. Are you going to register at the rental agency?"

"If I must? That only gives me three days to find something though. Don't you help with that sort of thing?" he asked, not wanting just yet to let on he'd asked about somewhere already.

Rose thought he was almost as bad as the Timelord she'd wanted Alec to be.

"Not normally, I mean we arrange for temporary accommodation, such as when you arrived, well so I was told when I started here. Come back and see me on Thursday then."

"I will and I remember you from the other week when you almost knocked me over."

"Me? Huh?"

"Yes, you opened the door on me, remember?"

"Well excuse me for being there at the same time as you, Detective Inspector Hardy."

"You are excused, this time," he told her, trying not to smile or use her name. "So, I take it you are not from around her either?"

Rose knew when she was being chatted up. "You guessed right, what gave me away?" she asked, trying not to blush.

"Lucky guess? So what do you do when you are not bumping into senior officers?"

"I like to read and just stare out of my window at the boats on the harbour. I have an apartment just opposite."

"I hate going on the water, it reminds me of my last case."

"Sandbrook? I read up on it, well after that suspect got away. Sorry that had to be you."

"It's done with, it will never go away though. I am keeping you from your work. The others seem to have deserted you."

"Yeah, I'll have to wait for one of them coming back."

"Would you like to join me across the road? I mean, you don't have to, if you don't want to. Maybe that was my fault when you opened the door on me."

"The great Alec Hardy apologizing," Rose mused, putting his folder down. "Here, give me that form back, I'll do it for you and rush it through. I'll come over and join you when someone gets back but I can't stay long."

"Don't you get an hour or will the place fall apart without you?" Alec asked, handing the form back and their fingers touching.

"I guess I'm just used to grabbing something and bringing it back because the other two do the same and we've got someone off," she told him, twisting one of her hoop earrings.

"You can't be rushed off your feet surely?" Alec grinned.

"Well you never know when officers might want someone to sort out their accommodation, I was the one who had to sort out somewhere in a hurry for DS Miller. Have you seen her since she left?"

"Only the other night while they were lighting a bonfire on the beach for Danny."

"Didn't you go join them? I was there, thought I would pay my respects since I thought I'd be intruding at the funeral."

"I suppose you would have been welcomed had you gone? Or did you want to stay out of the media, Miss Tyler?"

Rose knew the game was up, that of no-one so far recognizing her.

"What gave me away?"

"My DS was always reading the gossip columns and she remarked you had gone off the radar some time back. Why here and this job?"

"I wanted to be independent, not the Vitex heiress who sat around playing on her phone all day and going to parties. My stepfather arranged this for me but Denise didn't thank me for coming in and taking her promotion."

"I know exactly how you feel, DS Miller was not too happy when I took hers," Alec smiled. "Rose, would you officially join me for lunch? While I still have the means to pay?"

"Aw, being on sick pay ain't that bad and you said you wanted to still do some sort of work."

"The chief may send me to teach over at the academy, she said she would get back to me."

"Well good luck with that, I hope you get another chance to prove you're too good to kick out. I was surprised when the chief told me to process your medical leave."

"So I have you to thank for that? I know, you were only doing your job."

Rose's desk phone rang and Alec got up to leave.

"I'll be over when I can," Rose told him as she answered the phone.

Alec nodded and left, thinking this indeed may be his lucky day. He now wished he'd taken notice of the blonde who had almost knocked him over and taken a better look at her. The question was though, why was Rose Tyler working in the HR department of the Broadchurch police? He thought an even bigger question was, would she turn him down like Becca Fisher had done a few weeks ago if he made a few suggestions to her, such as casually ask her to have sex with him because if he was going to end up in hospital again or even worse, that would be his preferred way of going to his doom.
Chapter 2

When Alec had left the office, Rose sat back in her chair, looking at the blank form for his allowances.  She picked up her desk phone and rang her contact at headquarters, whom Pete had spoken to and arranged that whatever Rose asked about Alec to agree to it.  When she'd finished, she just filled in his details and stamped it as approved, pleased with herself.

He'd had no idea how she'd been helping him in small ways that he'd never noticed and she intended to keep it that way, well unless he got involved with her and now, it was looking like he wanted to get involved with her.  She'd made her mind up she was going to let him do all the asking, she couldn't tell him he was the real reason she was here.

The other two came back in, a little later than they normally did and had been talking on the way up.

"So, what do you think then, about Hardy chatting up Rose?" Denise had asked.

"It won't last," was the reply as Darren checked his fingernails. 

"She was pretty mad at him the other week when she collided with him though."

"Trust me Denise, they'll shag a couple of times and it'll all end in tears and if it does, she's not crying on my shoulder."

"What do you know about us women?" Denise laughed as they got out of the lift.  "Didn't you see him waiting across the road?  I bet she goes over to meet him.  Bet you a fiver."

"You're on, easy money she won't go for it."

"I'm off out," Rose announced as they got back.

"Going to be long?" Denise laughed.  "Hardy was practically trying to snog you when we left."

"Shut up Denise, no he wasn't," Rose scoffed back.

"He's a waste of time Rose, you know he's ill."

"Doesn't mean to say I can't let him buy me lunch, does it?"

"Well he buys you lunch, he's going to expect something in return.  You were complaining about him the other week," Darren butted in.

"Well that's not maybe how it happened, it might have been my fault."
"Now you say," Denise laughed.

Taking no notice, Rose made her way downstairs and checked the road before crossing, not that it was a busy road since it didn't actually lead anywhere except to the other car park, the holiday chalets and the parking bays.  Alec was sending a message to his daughter, asking her to call him when she had time, not that he expected her to but he wanted to tell her himself he was considering having the surgery after his last episode.
Rose saw him and waved, Alec just looking up and waving back.

"Sorry, they took their time coming back," Rose apologized as he got up.

"What can get for you?"

"Whatever you're having?  Do you have to be careful what you eat?"

"As long as I eat nothing fancy, I'm fine.  Tea or coffee?"

As he went off, Rose's phone rang and she saw it was her mother.

"Mum, can I call you back, I'm just getting my lunch."

"Well excuse me for not knowing Madam.  Call me back then but how are you getting on down there?"

"I'm fine, stop worrying."

"Well you just go off looking for some Doctor look-alike, how can I not worry?"
"I gotta go Mum, love you."
Jackie just shook her head and went back to watching a TV programme.  She had worried when Rose had just taken off suddenly to find this Alec Hardy and was surprised Rose had kept her distance so far but considering the man had revealed recently he was ill, she thought Rose would have already taken him under her wing.
Alec saw her putting her phone away.  "Boyfriend?"
"No, worse – my mum," Rose grinned.  "I don't have a boyfriend, not for a while."

"Because you moved down here?  Why are you here Rose?"

"It's as good a place as any to keep out of the media, they're all too busy with Danny's family to go after me.  You're the only person apart from the chief who knows who I am.  Even your DS never recognized me."
"She never said anything."
Their lunch arrived and Alec tried to keep up the conversation, since he was somewhat out of practice chatting up young, blonde heiresses.

"I have to get back now," Rose told him, now wishing Denise was right but not wanting to say anything since he'd so far not asked to see her again.

"You said for me to go back to your office tomorrow."
"Yeah, I'll have everything ready for you, just go ahead and find somewhere."
"I have seen a place, I will go back and express my interest.  So, where did you say you live?"

"Just past the amusement arcade, in those apartments but I don't like it much, apart from the view of the harbour."

"Well since I have to be out of the hotel by Friday morning, I had better go pay the agency a visit.  Thank you for having lunch with me, I will see you tomorrow?  Unless?"

"Unless what?" Rose had to ask, getting up.

"Nothing, I will see you tomorrow."  They walked away from the tables and Alec stopped her.  "Would you maybe have a drink with me later?"

"Are you allowed to drink?"

"In moderation.  Is that a yes?"

"Are you tired of hotel food?"

"My DS asked me that a while ago."

"I just wondered if you'd like a home cooked meal?  Nothing fancy."

Alec thought his luck was beginning to change and maybe he would get into her underwear at some point.  Not wanted to sound so keen, he pretended to think about it.

"Well, I do know the menu by now and Monday night is not the best.  You did mean tonight?"

She hadn't but was now considering it.  "Yeah, okay, how about seven thirty?  Bring some white wine."

"White wine it is though I may bring something non-alcoholic for myself.  You had best give me your apartment number.

"Oh, it's number 30, third floor but there's a lift in the middle, just use the buzzer and I'll let you in."

Going back to work, Rose smiled to herself at getting a date after all this time of watching over him.  Now she would have to rush up to the main supermarket after she finished at five and hope she could find something quick to make before he arrived.  Then while she put dinner on, she'd grab a quick shower and get changed and find something low-cut to wear.

The rest of the afternoon she spent going over other personnel problems but she wasn't very interested and Denise noticed though she kept quiet and silently wished her work rival good luck at managing to keep Hardy out of hospital if they even attempted to have sex.

Alec took a walk back up to the rental agency in the hope the chalet he'd had his eye on was vacant only to be told it wouldn't be free for another week or so.

"Can you let me know when it's vacant?" he asked the woman in charge.

"Well it will be free after next Thursday until the end of March, we don't normally get any bookings for it so you can have it until then but if you want it beyond that, you'd have to say."

"Six months will be enough, I have to stay around here for work and a possible court case.  Can you send the details to the personnel office at the station?"

That sorted, he walked down to the other supermarket at the end of the High Street to get some drinks then back to the florists to buy some suitable flowers for a first date.  If he was really lucky, he might get to at least kiss her and maybe see what kind of underwear she liked, hopefully the skimpier the better and that he wouldn't set himself up for another attack.  He thought though it may be worth it if he managed to get her bra off.

At least she knew about his condition beforehand, he thought as he walked into the hotel.  Becca noticed the white carrier bag and the flowers were a dead giveaway he had a date.
"Going somewhere later?" Becca asked him.

He thought about asking her if she had considered taking up a career in the police.

"What gave me away?" he asked as she handed him his key, which he'd left since it was cleaning day.

"Well since Ellie Miller seems to have left town, I'd say you had a date."

"What do you mean by that remark?" he asked.

"Oh come on, you lock her husband up and on the same night, she comes to visit you in your room."

"What?  How would you know that, don't you take any time off?"

"It's on CCTV, you let her in the side door but she was seen and I know what time she left."

"Spying on me?  Well you saw her leaving, why are you telling me?"

"She was in your room a good while."

"Meaning?  What are you getting at?"

"I'm saying nothing, what you two did is non of my business, as long as she didn't stay all night."

"We did not do anything Becca, what do you think was going on?  You know about my heart condition."

"Well why else would she stay that long?"

"She wanted to make some sense out of what had happened, that's all and for your information, yes, I do have a date tonight and I'm leaving on Friday, I have found a place to rent."

"Well it seemed a bit odd that Joe gets locked up and Ellie's here visiting you late at night.  I heard she left without Tom."

"I would not know about that, I've not even seen her since the night of Danny's funeral.  Now if you have finished with the accusations?"

"Well it seems odd to me she chooses to visit you late at night."

Alec shook his head, grateful he would be out of the hotel in a few days.  Now, with Becca being one of the town's gossips, he wondered how long it would be before she spread the rumour or worse still the information got to be used in any defense Joe Miller was going to offer.  He got to his room and put the flowers on the dressing table then went to smarten himself up a bit for his date and wondered if Rose actually thought of it as a date.

Just before leaving time, Rose was daydreaming as the other two got up to leave.

"Thought you'd be in a hurry to leave Rose?" Denise asked her.  "Did you get a date with Hardy?"

"None of your business who I have a date with, if I have one."

"That means she has," Darren joined in.  "I wouldn't brag about it though, it won't last."

"Says you."

"We'll know about it in the morning when she has a big smirk on her face and that 'just been shagged' look," Denise laughed.

After they'd left, she got Alec's form ready for him the next day and had put it with the details she'd received from the agency.  She was surprised he'd put in for that blue chalet by the river she passed twice a day, they would be practically neighbours.  She'd quite liked it herself but it was fully booked when she'd asked about it.  Alec must have got lucky but she'd noticed he wasn't able to move in until next week so she was going to try to extend his stay at the hotel, should he ask about it.

She wasn't going to say anything to him about it though, not unless he brought up the subject and she very much doubted he'd accepted her dinner invitation to discuss his living arrangements.  Well she hoped not anyway.  She'd not had a proper boyfriend in a long while apart from when she'd been desperate and gone home with someone after a party and that had been the last she'd seen of whoever she'd fancied at the time.  She doubted the men had even noticed who she was at the time, since she'd not seen any 'I slept with Rose Tyler' stories in the gossip columns of any tabloids.

Alec was about to leave for his date with Rose when there was a knock on his door.  He opened it to find Becca standing there.

"Hey, sorry about earlier, I know you're going out but I was wondering, do you really have to move out?  I mean the reporters are leaving town now after Danny's funeral."

"I have already got somewhere to go and you making insinuations earlier has not helped your cause in getting me to stay."

"I said I was sorry but now the press are leaving, I really need the rooms filling.  I was going to call your personnel department and make them an offer to carry on charging them half the rate."

"I really need my own space, now if you will excuse me, I have a dinner date."

Becca really needed him to stay but she could see he'd made his mind up.  Now she just hoped the rooms would be filled by those who wanted to see the crime scene so she would have to talk to Paul about how she could manage until then.  Alec gave her a few minutes to go back downstairs before going down to the side door so he could avoid her.  She was obviously desperate for him to stay but doing so now would ruin any chances he actually had with Rose because he really needed his own place to invite her back to, since the hotel owner watched all the CCTV footage.

He couldn't believe Miller had been caught entering and leaving the hotel and dreaded to think if it was kept, the recording could be used against them.  Still, that wasn't the problem just yet, it would be months before the hearing, plenty of time to explain his DS's visit.  He decided to walk down the side of the hotel onto the seafront, since he was still a bit early as he didn't want to seem too keen even though he was.

If he played his cards right, he could get her to have a few drinks, get her relaxed and make his move and if it got beyond the kissing stage, well at least she knew what she was up against and he would tell her about his medication.  He was fairly sure she would understand his situation better than anyone else so as he passed the police station and continued to cross the harbour, Rose was putting the finishing touches to the meal she had prepared and had put some candles on the table for later and they would get lit at some point if Alec wanted to stay.

As he pressed the intercom for her apartment, he thought he'd be nervous but having some fun and relaxation was long overdue but he hoped Rose didn't know Becca Fisher and she'd revealed he'd asked her to spend some time with him to which she had flatly refused.  Rose heard the buzzer and went to answer.

"Is that you Alec?" she asked, hoping Mickey wasn't paying a surprise visit.

"You were expecting someone else?" he asked jokingly.

"No, it could have been someone trying to sell me something, you'd be surprised even in a block of holiday apartments.  Come on up."

Rose went to open the door and a few minutes later saw him coming out of the lift and waved to him.

"Hi, you're right on time," she greeted him as he followed her inside.

"For you, I hope you like them," he told her, handing her the flowers.

Rose held them close to smell the mixed bunch.  "They're lovely, thanks.  Do you want to open the wine, dinner's just about ready.  Hope you like chicken and rice?"

"I am sure it will be fine.  You want me to light the candles?" he asked as he saw them on the table by the window.

"Well if you want to pull the curtains over?  I don't think anyone would be looking up though."

"What would they see?" he smiled, seeing that she was grinning at him and holding out the lighter she'd picked up.

"Well that would depend, wouldn't it?  I'll go put these flowers in a vase then I'll serve dinner.  Did you walk down?"

"Yes, I thought I would get some exercise and some fresh air.  Do you need any help?" he called after her as he opened the bottle and poured more in one glass than the other and sat down.

"No, I have everything ready thanks.  I hope I didn’t seem too forward earlier, inviting you round?  I didn't think you'd accept, let alone come around tonight."

"You expected me to be as grumpy as everyone says I am?  I put on a gruff exterior to stop people trying to make friends with me.  I learned my lesson where I worked before."

"Well you were a bit grumpy with me but that didn't last long," Rose smiled as she carried out the vase and put it on the coffee table.

"I did not mean to appear grumpy but I never realised you were the personnel officer.  I have been somewhat distracted from meeting anyone other than those in the squad room.   So have you made any friends while you have been here?" he asked as she put the plates on the table.

"No, not really, I think everyone was scared of welcoming newcomers to the town in view of what had happened."

"Then why come here Rose?"

"Honestly?  I wanted to help, in some small way so I got my stepfather to pull a few strings and get me a job here."

"As a personnel officer?" he smiled, tasting the food.

"That was all I could get, I had enough of working in a shop before I became his stepdaughter and besides, I did a similar job before."

"For Vitex?" he smiled.

"No, for Torchwood but don't tell anyone."

"So you did earn your keep rather than attending parties and getting your name in the gossip columns?"

"Yeah, don't believe everything you read in the papers Alec, you should know that?"

"Ouch!  You read it?" he smiled, taking a sip of the wine that he knew he shouldn't be drinking and wishing he'd brought the other bottle with him.

"Yeah, she was a bit of a bitch writing that, what did you do to upset her?"

"Just be in the same town as another murder victim, she held a grudge over Sandbrook."

"Oh, I never realised, sorry.  Maybe everyone's forgotten about it?"

"Aye, they had until she brought it up again.  Forget it Rose, I had."

"Sorry, I didn't mean to bring up bad memories.  It's over now anyway, at least until the hearing."

They finished their meal and Alec offered to help clear the table but Rose objected.

"You're meant to be taking things easy," she told him.

"I can still be useful Rose, don't shut me out, please?  If the chief can get me that other job at least I will feel like I am doing something and not sitting around feeling sorry for myself.  After it was all over, I thought about leaving here but where would I go?  My daughter won't have anything to do with me even after all this time and the case, well it gave me a purpose to prove I could still catch a killer."

"Maybe you should look at your old case again?  I could help you?"

"No, I am not going to let that get to me again and I don't want you getting involved, it ruined too many lives.  Neither of the girls' parent want anything to be dragged up, it would re-open old wounds.  As for the main suspect, he left the country."

"Torchwood have a lot of resources you could use?"

"No, it's over Rose, that's the end of it.  There was only the suspect's wife and she went into hiding, my ex won't reopen the case anyway, not unless Lee Ashworth comes back, I have someone watching out for him."

How could he tell her he had stashed Claire away?  If Claire decided she was tired of hiding away, wouldn't he be better warning Rose she may come looking for him?  He hoped he'd given Claire a warning and that she would stay away but if she bothered him again, he'd have to reconsider.

He picked up the wine glasses and followed Rose into the kitchen as she put the dishes in the sink.  He picked up a drying cloth from the holder and leaned back on the counter.

"Just leave them to dry Alec," Rose told him.

"I insist on helping, the meal was enjoyable but now I am going to be leaving the hotel, I will have to learn to fend for myself and I will have to watch what I eat."

"So, do you have medication you need to take?"

"No, I took it earlier but I can take more if I really need to."

After they had finished, Rose went to choose some music to play as Alec lit the candles.

Before either of them knew it, they were dancing closely and Rose's hand wandered to his shirt buttons and he reached under her pink top she was wearing and slid his fingers under her bra fastener.

"Am I moving to fast for you?" he asked as she unfastened another button.

"No, am I?" she asked as she revealed his bare chest and put a finger on his belly and ran it across slowly, making him smile.

He continued to run his finger under the strap and at the same time, leaned down to try to kiss her.  Rose put her other arm around his neck, under his loose shirt, a tingling feeling coming over her.  She was way past having some fun.  He moved the hand that was on his chest to get her to put her other arm around his neck then whispered in her ear.

"Care to take this to the sofa?" he asked her.

Rose managed a 'Mmm' as he led her over to it and sat her down, leaning her against the cushion and like he'd just suddenly remembered how to unfasten the offending article that was getting between him and her cleavage, he fumbled around the back and unclasped it in one movement, putting his other hand up the front of her pink top and pulling the bra down.

Rose was trying to get the shirt off his shoulders but the cuffs were still fastened so she had to be content with rubbing his bare shoulders while admiring the hairs on his chest as he leaned over her, having pulled the bra away.  He let out a low whistle.

"This isn't too much is it?" Rose asked him, touching his chest with her index finger.

"Not yet but you know I am somewhat limited?"

"Why's that?" Rose smiled at him.  "Are you gonna let a little thing like a heart problem get in the way or are you going to relax?"

"You don't mind there is something wrong with me?" he asked, leaning down to kiss her cleavage, Rose supporting his shoulders

"Alec, it makes no difference to me if there's something wrong with you, don't let it worry you.  Tell me what to do if you get over-excited."

"Just get some water and my pills, they are in my top pocket.  Are you planning on getting me over-excited then?"

"I hope so, I fancied you when I first saw you on TV."

"Is that the reason you came here?"

Rose knew she still had to be careful she didn't reveal the real reason, that of finding out if he was the Timelord she'd missed so much.

"Well, maybe a little?" she admitted, to throw him off the subject.  "I just wanted to help in some small way."

"You could have come down here as a Torchwood agent."

Rose smiled at him.  "My stepfather wouldn't let me.  When I heard you were given DS Miller's job, I thought it was just as well I didn't come as a Torchwood agent."

"Well we would have got to meet sooner," he smiled.
Chapter 3
Rose was really enjoying the attention Alec was giving her but she was worried he may try something stupid, get ahead of himself and have an attack so, she was going to have to curb his enthusiasm at least until she established he could keep up.

"Alec, this is really nice," she hummed, raking her fingers through the hairs on his chest. "Are you sure you're okay?"

"I am fine, no need to worry yet although I may be a goner if you go for my zipper."

"I'll bear that in mind shall I? Seriously, how far can you go?"

"I won't know unless I try and I have not done so for a long while. I was planning on trying with you, if you want?"

"Is it that obvious?" Rose teased him, putting a finger on his chest.

Alec looked up from what he was doing, reluctantly. "Maybe we should just take a bit of time if you are going to tease me?"

"Aw, it was just getting interesting but maybe you're right? I mean if you want to see me again?"

"I would not have made a move on you if I did not want to see you again. Since you unfastened my shirt, you can have the pleasure of fastening it again."

Rose nodded but took her time, making sure she remained in contacted with whatever bare skin he was still showing while he went around her back and found fastening her bra was not nearly as exciting as unfastening it but he took the advantage of kissing her shoulders while doing so.

"So when can I see you again Rose?" he asked as they both finished their tasks.

"In my office tomorrow?" she grinned.

"You mean while your colleagues are there?" he grinned back.

"No you plum, I meant for your housing costs and your other benefits, I got them sorted before I left. Did you find somewhere?"

"Yes, I went for that riverside cottage."

"Yeah, they got back to me over it, I was gonna tell ya tomorrow. I wanted to rent that."

"Well maybe if you still want to see me by next week, you can visit eh?" he asked as he helped her put her pink top back on. "Rose, I am not playing games with you, I am serious about you."

"Yeah, I gathered that Alec, it's just that I never found anyone I wanted to get close to, well not until I bumped into you. When I told you that I wanted to help, with the case, I was hoping I'd get to meet you sooner, not just colliding with you."

"You stayed in your office too much then?"

"When I first arrived, I had to deal with all the extra staff that had been brought in. Are you getting a cab back to the hotel?"

"Yes, may I see you tomorrow, apart from in your office but if you want me to take you over your desk, maybe we had best wait until we are alone?"

Rose swatted his hand that was now on her rear. "Are you trying to end up in hospital?"

"No, I learned my lesson last time," he just grinned.

Rose had been appalled when she'd heard about it the morning after and wished she had got closer to him than just almost knocking him over.

"Alec, come around tomorrow night, we can get a take-out?"

"I could come and cook for you, if you give me your key when I visit your office tomorrow," he offered as he let go of her ass and went for his jacket.

Rose went to the dresser drawer. "Here, take my spare key and let yourself in but I'll be back just after five."

"Well if I get a cab down here when I have been to the supermarket, I can have it all prepared for you?"

Rose nodded and put her arms around his waist from behind, going for his belt, Alec wishing she hadn't done that.

"Tomorrow eh?" he asked, trying to turn around.

Rose let him face her and looked in his brown eyes that hid the pain he was going through.

"Alec, we have people at Torchwood that could help you."

"With alien devices? The hospital will send for me now, let them see to me."

"How long will ya have to wait though?"

"As long as anyone else, I imagine?" he asked, going for her neck.

"Well if you won't do anything, at least let me help you?"

"You already have, you made me feel wanted again. I will see you tomorrow, I will call in your office when the others have gone out and maybe we can do some more of this?" he grinned as he grabbed her rear again.

"So you got a degree in groping then?"

"Top of the class. Let me call a cab before I change my mind and stay."

"I'm not stopping ya."

"No, I am stopping myself, we should get to know each other."

He knew she would let him stay but it would seem like he was taking advantage and tomorrow night, he would bring some protection with him but he doubted she never thought about covering herself in that department. Still, they could have some fun seeing if he still remembered how to put one on, it had been a while and he remembered vaguely about his youth when a packet passed it's use-by date.

Maybe if he'd not gone off the idea of wasting another packet, he and Tess would never have got married but he didn't regret having Daisy, she was the one good thing that had come out of their marriage. He called the cab company and turned back to Rose, who put her arms around his neck.

"Thank you for a pleasant evening Rose," he told her, kissing her cheek.

"See you tomorrow and think about what I said, about getting help."

"I will, goodnight Rose."

Pocketing the key Rose had given him, she let him out. While he waited for the lift, he wished it would hurry before he turned around and went back to ring the doorbell, grabbed hold of her and pushed her on the bed and heart condition or not, make some sort of attempt to have sex with her.

He shook his head as the lift arrived, it had been too long since he'd given in and had a one-night stand, narrowly missing out on Becca Fisher but the hotel owner would have probably told the whole town afterwards and she had given an alibi to the boy's father. The cab was just pulling up in what passed as a car park as he walked outside and he looked up at Rose's window and waved when he saw her standing there.

She was beautiful, young and he had no business hooking up with her, he was a lot older than she was but he had read an article about her and how she had lost her real father at a young age so he supposed she felt safe with older men. Rose was watching for him to appear outside and waved when she saw him getting into the cab.

If she got chance tomorrow, she would call Pete and ask him to get hold of someone from medical and see if they had any cures for Alec's heart condition, without the use of any alien devices, since it seemed he was against it. Then she had a big decision to make – to tell him about herself or to keep it quiet and hope no-one brought up the subject if he ever met everyone.

The next morning, her two colleagues were looking for all the signs Rose had got Alec Hardy into her bed or her into his, they weren't bothered which, it would give them something to talk about.

"Well?" Rose was asked as the other two watched her.

"Well what?"

"Just ask her Darren," Denise egged him on. "Oh never mind, I'll ask her. Did you and Hardy shag last night?"

Darren burst out laughing, then saw the look on Rose's face.

"It's none of your business but no. You know he's been ill."

"Wouldn't take much for him to get in your underwear Rose," Darren laughed.

"No work to do? I can find you both some," Rose told them. "You two seem to forget I'm in charge around here, you've not seen me when I start throwing my authority around. You do know where I used to work?"

"So you keep telling us, so why come here?" Denise asked her.

"You mean why did she come here and take your job more like," Darren joined in and asked her.

"Well if you had such a high profile job at Torchwood, I'm surprised you wanted to come to a backwater town like Broadchurch," Denise retaliated.

"I had my reasons," Rose huffed, wishing it was already lunchtime and they would both go away.

She stared at Alec's folder and wished he would storm in, pull her underwear down and push her over the hastily cleared desk but she could live in hope. If Alec was keen to get to know her, she could go for him. He looked like the man she had lost and even though the Doctor was so far away and probably regenerated a few more times the way he always got into trouble without her, he couldn't blame her for being a human woman with needs when his could-be twin was offering sex or at least insinuating her wanted sex with her.

Alec had got back to his hotel room the night before, taken some more pills because the way Rose was making him feel, he needed to take them as a prevention rather than wait for something to happen to him. If he were to fall asleep and use his imagination that Rose was lying naked under him and making wonderful moaning sounds that she was contented with what he had to offer it would be just as well.

The big question though was would she be disappointed if he made her go on top to even attempt to let his growing bulge loose inside her? She didn't seem like the type of woman who would complain if he only got so far. Maybe she would help him by whispering in his ear that she wanted him.

Would he survive though? Maybe if she did all the hard work but first, he had to agree to stay the night. He could hardly bring her back to the hotel if the nosy hotel owner was going to watch them grab each other outside his door, which if he had anything to do with it, he'd make a grab for Rose's first, if she was wearing a short skirt anyway, it would be irresistible. What man in his right mind wouldn't want Rose Tyler and himself in the same bed or if it became absolutely necessary, the sofa or at a pinch, the floor or a chair.

After having breakfast and avoiding the ever questioning Becca, he wandered down the High Street to find a suitable gift for who more than likely was a prime candidate to be his new girlfriend. Should he get her an expensive box of chocolates they could perhaps share later after dinner, which he hoped he wouldn't make a mess of or something more personal, such as some expensive very sexy underwear but would he be embarrassed going in a shop and asking for something?

Well if numerous other men could go buy their girlfriends sexy underwear, why couldn't he, well apart from him being branded the worst cop in Britain and most of the town knew who he was. He came upon such a shop and stopped outside, considering his options. Maybe on the second date it may seem a bit presumptuous that he was keen to see her in it and even more keen to get her out of it.

He carried on until he reached the florist, he'd taken flowers last night but his eye caught some orchids in boxes and he thought maybe one of those and some chocolates would be more suitable than a black lacy bra and matching knickers at this stage in their new relationship. His mission complete, he had time to walk back to the hotel, using the side door so Becca didn't want to know what he'd been buying and half an hour later, he left by the same door and walked down to the esplanade.

Rose had been distracted all morning, daydreaming she had gone up behind him, put her arms around his slim waist and unbuckled his belt and was about to go for his zipper when her phone rang.

She looked around sheepishly and hoped the other two were taking no notice of her but Denise had recognized the look on Rose's face and knew her rival was fantasizing about ridding Alec Hardy of his shorts.

It was the chief on the phone.

"Ah, Rose. Have you sorted anything out for Alec Hardy yet?" the chief asked her.

Rose wanted to say she was hoping to sort him out later that day but not in the way the chief meant. After saying it was all in hand, she tried to get some more work done but he was still on her mind. Now she was cursing herself for not getting to know him before he'd been stupid enough to land himself in hospital after chasing Joe Miller but was him pursuing her any different? Would she be responsible the next time if he collapsed while having sex with her?

If they were very careful and she did all the moving around, all he had to do was lie there and let her guide him where she wanted him and an old friend of hers had told her to be more adventurous and use her imagination as to the different ways for a man to get inside her underwear with the end result being achieved.

She was thankful for her regular injections she had sent from Torchwood every month but if Alec wanted to use protection, she wouldn't object to helping him putting it on. From what she'd seen, he appeared to be quite large in that department and she also wouldn't mind him to show himself off to her.

The other two in the office were about to go to lunch and having Alec's file had enabled Rose to sneakily make a note of his mobile number so she sent him a message to say the others were leaving. Alec though was now sat on the wall opposite and clock watching so when the message tone went and it was an unknown number, he guessed Rose was taking advantage of her job and had got his number, which he should have given her last night had he thought about it.

He squinted at the screen and smiled. 'Hey sexy, come on up, I'm alone now – Rose. xxx'

He got his specs out of his pocket and typed back 'Want to try it over the desk then?'

Rose smiled at his reply and sent another one back – 'Any time you want lover'

Alec got up slowly so as not to have a dizzy spell and crossed the road as Denise and Darren were coming out of the station. He nodded to them and Denise stifled a laugh, going down the steps.

"Wish we'd stayed now?" she asked Darren, who was checking the road was clear. "Think we'd best stay out and eat today, we wouldn't want to interrupt anything."

"Speak for yourself Denise, it may be worth watching them I suppose."

"You changed your tune from yesterday," Denise replied.

"That was before Rose came in with that stupid look on her face earlier. Let's go find a table and give them time to get on with it."

Alec took the lift and arrived outside the personnel office door, feeling a little nervous at making such a suggestion to her. He didn't bother knocking on the door since he'd just seen the other two outside. Rose smiled when he opened the door.

"Hey, sorry, I cheated and got your phone number," Rose greeted him.

"We should have exchanged numbers last night but you insisted on making sure you gave me your spare key."

Rose picked up his folder. "There you go, do you wanna check the details?" she asked him.

"I would rather be checking out your cute ass," he replied, going in his pocket for his specs again.

"You're welcome to do that later Alec. Everything's been approved for your housing allowance and you're to go on half pay, not sick pay so you get more benefits. Anything else I can help you with?"

"Maybe but not here eh?"

"Aw, I'm disappointed now, I've been daydreaming about you flinging everything off my desk and pulling me down on it all morning."

"Really? Well definitely later then? Seriously Rose, I do want something with you but I am worried it will not be enough for you."

"Alec, you have a heart condition, I know that and I'm not gonna do anything to make it worse for you. I want to help you manage with it, it you let me?"

"I think you already are Rose but sending sexy messages does not help," he smiled.

"Well you were the one who suggested the desk Alec," Rose smiled at him.

"I was thinking about it last night when I was leaving, I mean about going back and asking if I could stay."

"You should have done, I would've asked but I thought you might think it was too soon?"

"Rose, I may not have all that much time, I want to be honest with you. The hospital implied the next time I have a big attack, I may not be so lucky."

Rose got up and went around the desk to him. "Then I want to help you Alec, you need someone to take care of you. Should you really be thinking of moving by the river, on your own?"

"I wanted somewhere quiet."

"Not that quiet that no-one would find you if you took a turn for the worse. Are you trying to punish yourself? Look, I have a spare room, it's small but until you get the keys next week, you can have it."

"Maybe I don't want to be on my own?" he asked, putting an arm around her.

"Then move in with me and when you get the keys for the chalet, we'll see where we are?"

They kissed briefly and Alec had to admit it may be a bit stupid to move to such an isolated place on his own.

"Yes, we will see how long you can put up with me eh? Do we have to do the 'dating' thing?"

"Well you cook for me tonight and take me out on Saturday nights?"

"That sounds fair. Do you pay for your place yourself?"

"It's a bit out of the station's budget Alec and besides, I'm not an officer, am I?"

"Well, you said you wanted that chalet, do I have to fight you for it?"

Rose smiled, putting her hands under his jacket.

"I might be persuaded to share? Let's see what happens?"

Alec left her after they had lunch together and went back to the hotel and packed a small bag then got a cab to the supermarket. Was he rushing into this he thought? Maybe but he still didn't know how long he had left and if Rose wanted to take care of him, who was he to argue? Once back at the harbour, he let himself into the block of apartments and took the lift and began to wonder how many times between now and moving he could at least snog her senseless and get his hand down the back of her skirt on the way to the third floor.

When Rose got back home, she opened the door and shouted his name.

"Hey Alec, where are you?" she asked from the small entryway.

He popped his head around the kitchen door. "Just preparing dinner, come here."

They kissed for what seemed to Rose like ages and the best kiss they'd shared so far and it could even top the way she'd kissed other men. Alec was getting carried away as he tried to get his tongue in her mouth, Rose battling at first but giving in and touching his with her own.

"Mmm, that was quite a greeting Alec."

"Well, you had best get used to it. I have something for you," he told her as he let go of her waist.

"You don't have to keep buying gifts for me Alec."

"Just this once? We could share these?" he asked as he got the chocolates out of the bag. "Oh, I hung a clean shirt up in your wardrobe."

"Oh. Yeah, so that means you're staying tonight? Brought some clean shorts?"

"Am I going to need them?" he grinned as he brought out the boxed orchid with a pink bow around it out.

"Aw, it's lovely Alec, thanks and no, you won't be needing your shorts tonight, unless you get carried away before we get to the bedroom?"

"Ah, then I brought some just in case but I do not wet my shorts Rose."

"I'll take your word for it then? I think you should wear them before you go to sleep, just in case. I mean if you have an attack, I'd hate to be trying to get them on you before the ambulance arrives."

Alec looked at her as she burst out laughing and saw the funny side.

"Yes, that could be embarrassing for the ambulance crew, they may think you were the cause of my latest attack?"

"Well I probably would be so we need a few rules."

"Seriously?"

"Yes, I'm worried about you Alec, I mean attempting to have sex is one thing but I don't want to cause you any suffering. You don't have anything to prove to me, well apart from how big you actually are but we can have some fun without it causing you to end up in hospital."

"Then I will take your word on that? I at least insist on trying though and if I feel any discomfort, I will back away so don't go taking it the wrong way."

"I won't, I'm not like that Alec, I'll be happy with what you can manage. I take precautions but if you have anything else in your pocket, I'm willing to help you."

"Really? That would be pleasant. Maybe we can wait until we have eaten though?" he smiled.

Rose pretended to swat his hand as he went under her skirt so she went to put her arms around his neck, raising her self up slightly as he continued.

"How long will dinner take Alec?" she whispered, kissing his cheek.

"About forty minutes, once I light the stove."

"I'm not hungry yet, are you?" she smiled at him as his other hand went around to her rear.

He continued then he felt her pulling his shirt out of the back of his trousers and she was trying to get her hand down the back but his belt was in the way.

She stopped what she was doing and brought her hands away and he felt her reaching for his belt. He made a small gap between them both to give her room without letting go of her ass but Rose remained with her fingers on his belt, pulling it loose.

"I hope no-one can see in through the window Rose?" he whispered into her neck as he rested his head on her shoulder.

"Not unless they have a telescope but there are a lot of boats out there."

"Then maybe we should take this into the bedroom?"

Still with his hand on her rear, he steered her towards the bedroom he'd assumed was hers, since her clothes were hung up and he'd found a spare hanger for his shirt. Then he'd looked through her underwear drawer, fingering each article carefully and imagining seeing her wearing it.

"Alec, let's leave the bedroom for later? This is nice, let's just go to the sofa?"

"If you insist? Let me pull the curtains over first eh? Your anatomy is for my eyes only."

Rose giggled as he let go and he remembered to fasten his belt before going to the window.

"You find this amusing?" he asked.

The curtains drawn over, he walked back to the sofa as Rose sat on it and lay back.

"You may have saved me the embarrassment then?"

"I'm glad to hear it. Speaking of such things, I can't wait to see you in just your shorts."

"Later. Now where was I?"
Chapter 4
Eventually, Rose said she was hungry and Alec reluctantly let her up, squinting to try to fasten her bra, which he'd slung over the back of the sofa since it was getting in his way of kissing her cleavage.  Rose had got his trousers halfway down his legs and was teasing him by going for the gap in his boxers but not putting her hand in.

"Why do you tease me Rose?" he asked, staring at her chest as she reached for her white blouse she wore for work.

"Who said I was teasing you?  You were the one teasing me, running your finger on me like that without actually doing anything."

"Well maybe if you had reached your hand into my shorts, you might have got a rather pleasant surprise?"

"Show-off," Rose giggled as she glanced down at the rather obvious bulge.

"That's because I thought you were the one going to do something?  I should go put the food on, since I am meant to be cooking dinner for you?  Maybe we should wait until we go to bed eh?" he asked, trying to pull up his trousers and calm himself down.

They finally got into the kitchen though Alec couldn't resist putting his hand on her rear as they walked.

"Got any shorter skirts?" he asked as he lit the stove.

"Yeah but I don't wear them for work, you may have some competition if I did," she smiled, poking her tongue out of the side of her mouth.  "I'll go get changed shall I?"

"That would be nice.  Rose, are you sure you want me to stay here for now?"

"Yeah, I wouldn't have asked ya otherwise, would I?  I mean it Alec, you need someone to take care of you.  Do you need your pills?"

"After I have eaten, am I going to need them?" he smiled, stepping forward.

When they had eaten, he suggested they went out for a walk, just across onto the pier that was lit up with white string lights.

"So, have you settled down here then Rose?" he asked her as they sat down and he put his arm around her.

"Yeah, it's a lot less stressful than being in London, despite the recent events.  What about you, were you gonna leave?"

"I thought about it but where would I go?  They would not welcome me back in Sandbrook, the young girl's father had a lot of influence around the town, he was making life difficult.  Rose, there is something you should know about the main suspect's wife."

"What about her?  Did you have an affair with her?"

"Hell no Rose, I promised her protection if she turned on him but it all went wrong, now they are both hiding.  As far as I know he went to France somewhere and I have someone who will tell me if he comes back and when he does, he may come looking for me."

"Why, because you arrested him?"

"He thinks I encouraged his wife to turn on him and yes, I did but if a certain officer had not screwed things up, they would both be behind bars."

"She had something to do with it?" Rose asked him, putting her hand on his leg.

"I suspected her since she could not come up with the same story twice when asked but I had nothing on her.  Her husband will think I tried to get her to tell by sleeping with her."

"You were ill though, she may not have been as understanding as I am," Rose smiled, fingering his beard.  "Forget it, if nothing happened, I don't need to know any more."

"Good because I really want something with you Rose, you are the first woman to understand and not demand I have sex with you even if it kills me."

"I want to have sex with you Alec but I'd never want it to harm you.  We can find other less strenuous ways of getting close."

"Then I look forward to discovering them with you.  Shall we go back and make a start, I think something is stirring in my shorts."

Rose giggled as they walked the short distance back to what was to be their apartment for the next week or so.  As they got to bed, Alec insisted she didn't have any underwear on to save him time, making Rose tingle with anticipation.

"Mmm Alec, are you gonna tease me again?"

"I will, when you go for my shorts."

"Want to play games Alec?"

"Oh yes Rose, I want to play games with you, why don't you start eh?"

Rose moved her hand down to the waistband of his shorts.  "I have a better idea, why not just take these off?"

Alec moved onto his side to let her take them down and as she did, he grabbed her hand, Rose squealing.

"You were right, something was stirring in your shorts Alec Hardy.  Maybe next time you go shopping, you can get some tighter underwear?"

"Meaning?" he asked as she touched him.  "Oh, you want me to show off to you?   Why did you not say so?"

"I thought I had?"

"Then stop talking Miss Tyler and make me forget there is something wrong with me?"

He moved around to kneel over her, placing his hand on her, then moving it as she guided him.

"Alec, don't even attempt to think about going on top, you'll get too far gone."

"You think I do not know that?  I was just making a start love, let me then you come and lie on me?"

"Yeah, seems sensible to me lover."

He leaned down to kiss her, pressing himself against her that she could feel he was about to give in.  She pushed on his shoulders gently to remind him to move onto his back then as he took the hint, she put her arms around his neck.  He grabbed her rear as he moved, landing on the mattress and Rose landing with him, she was feeling the excitement building.

As they touched, Rose thought it was the best feeling she'd had in a long time as she felt but she really hoped he wouldn't try too much at once but she needn't have worried as he gently explored how far he dared to go.

Still reeling from the sensations, she moved away slightly onto her side.

"Something wrong?" he asked, moving to face her.

She reached out and touched his beard.  "No, it was perfect, I was just worried about you."

"Rose, if you are going to go easy on me like that every time we have sex, I think I will last a bit longer.  Just how did you do that?"

"Do what?" she asked, touching his belly which Rose thought he was well toned to say he was ill and wouldn't get a lot of exercise, well maybe he'd get some now.

"Know what to do to stop me over-exerting myself which although was tempting, you knew it would be too much.  Rose, if I had any doubts about us, they have now all gone."

"Good, guess you're stuck with me?"

He pushed her onto her back and began kissing her tummy then moved the vest top she was wearing

"So when did you say I could move in?" he asked kissing her cleavage.

The next morning after just kissing, Rose had to set off to work and Alec said he would go pack his things and move out of the hotel.  They kissed goodbye in the lift, since he wanted to move out of his room before ten.

"Do you want to meet for lunch?" he asked as they exited the building and a cab was waiting for him, at Rose's insistence.

"Yeah, meet me across from the station then, if ya wanna be seen with me?"

Alec stopped her as he was about to open the door, seeing people walking past and turned to kiss her.

"Yes, I want to be seen with you, we are not going to hide this."

She watched him get into the cab and saw the driver grinning, Alec waving to her and Rose thinking it must have been the same driver from the other night.

By the time it came for Alec to get the keys for the blue chalet a week later, Rose had decided to move with him.  He had asked her two days earlier when they'd laid on the sofa when she had got home from work.

"I never really liked this apartment, it's like something out of my nan's house.  I'd much rather move in with you babe," she told him, grabbing his rear.

"You wanted to rent the place before I came here, sure you are not playing me?" he asked, going under her skirt again.

"I think it will be good for us, being able to sit outside in the evenings."

"You mean having people watching while I go under your skirt?" he smiled.

"No, that's for you only lover.  I've given notice today, there's only a week to go anyway, I'll just move out early."

"Well I will do the packing for you while you are at work," Alec insisted.

"Don't you go overdoing it Alec, I want you in a fit state to celebrate when we move.  I'll just leave the rest of my things here until Saturday.  Don't go enjoying going through my underwear drawer too much though," she teased.

"Speaking of which, you put a pair of yours in with mine.  I know you like me to take them off you, you don't have to give me a hint," he grinned.

"Yeah, I know you enjoy that activity, thought you'd get a kick out of finding a pair in with yours, I know you like to finger them while I'm out."

"Only when you're in them love," he smiled, going for a kiss.

"You can imagine I'm in them babe," Rose smiled back at him.

The day they were moving, Rose decided to work the morning and take a few hours off in the afternoon, telling Alec to get a cab to the rental agency.  When he got there, the woman handed the keys to him.

"There you are inspector, it's all ready for you to move in to.  The personnel officer got that sorted quickly."

"Yes, she's my girlfriend, she had an incentive.  Did she tell you were are both moving in?"

The woman smiled.  "She did mention someone else was moving in with you."

"She's still a bit shy."

"Well I hope it's suitable for the two of you then.  Just remember if you move, there's a two week notice period."

"I think we will be staying there, she wanted to rent it when she arrived in town."

"Oh, you mean Miss Tyler?  She's your girlfriend?"

Alec grinned back at her.  "Yes, lucky me eh?"

"What's she doing working at the police station?"

"To prove she can hold down a job I expect and lose her reputation of being out on the town every night."

"Well if she's settling down here, she'll soon lose that, Broadchurch is hardly the entertainment capital of Dorset."

"We don't go out a lot and she came here to get away from all that."

"Seeking the quiet life?" the woman asked.

Alec thought Rose may well have been but instead, she'd chosen to come to Broadchurch and give him a hand behind the scenes in solving a murder.  Had he known that before they'd got together, things could have gone differently, he would have had someone to go home to and someone to take all his sexual tension away.  Rose would have been there for him despite him not daring to show her how far he could go in bed just yet but he may start to try.

As they moved into the chalet over the weekend, Rose having taken care of all her belongings by stashing them in what passed as the spare bedroom, they'd gone out shopping to get a canvas wardrobe and a few other things they needed.  Alec had been back to see the chief and he was to start at the training academy on the Monday morning.  So as it came around, he was sat on the doorstep waiting for Rose making breakfast and had booked a cab to pick him up from in front of the pub the three mornings he was due to give lectures.

"Don't go boring those new recruits grumpy," Rose called from the kitchen.

"You have no confidence in me, I can deal with a few new recruits sweetcheeks."

The sweetcheeks he was referring to were not her face as she went up behind him and put her arms around his neck and he reached to her rear as she tried to sit beside him.

"Ah, watch out, we have an audience now and I have to go rescue your toast.  No post this morning?"

"Not yet but who is going to send any post?" he asked as she tried to get away on hearing the toaster.

"I forwarded your mail and mine last week when we moved in and besides, you said the hospital would be sending for you."

"They may do but who said I was going to go?" he asked, squinting at the time on his phone.

"Alec, you said you'd at least go see what they had to say, I'll get the day off.  I'm gonna go see the chief this morning, tell her I'm looking after you now, we said we wouldn't hide."

"Aye, we did love," he told her, trying to get up to follow her.  "The woman in the letting agency last week said you did not let on you were moving in with me."

"That was before I decided I was.  Anyway, she was lucky I didn't cancel it and you moved into my apartment.  Did you put her right?" Rose asked as she buttered the toast, with his hand on her rear.

"Aye love, I told her you were shacking up with me because you could not stop groping my ass," he smiled.

"She'll spread that rumour all over town now," Rose grinned as he sat at the table.

"Good, the town needs some juicy gossip after what happened.  If we have to reveal our sex life to the paper to do so, how do you feel about it?"

"I'm okay but try convincing my mother.  By the way, she'll want to meet you."

"Maybe we could go up there one weekend?" he offered.  "Unless she wants to come down here?"

"Tony's back at school now, we'll go one Friday afternoon, I'll take some time off."

"Why do you work Rose?  Stay off, with me?" he asked, reaching for his mug of tea.

Rose sat opposite him.  "So we can stay in bed in the mornings and do some ass groping?" she smiled, looking out of the window.

"Well that would be pleasant.  I mean it Rose, think about it.  You said you get a generous allowance from your stepfather."

"I just wanted to work to earn my keep, I can quit.  I know Denise was upset when I took her job.  Maybe I'll give my notice in and do a bit of work for Torchwood?"

"Aye, why not ask about it eh?  Then when I get home, we can have more time together.  Once I get that hospital appointment, I may have to wait a while though."

"I told ya Alec, let Torchwood help."

"I am not having them use alien machinery on me Rose, forget it."

"I never said you should, grumpy ass.  Geez Alec, they do more than piece alien technology together, they do other research and besides, Pete could get you a top heart surgeon any time you wanted."

"I am not taking advantage by jumping the queue Rose, I will wait my turn, which I would have done had I not met you."

"You take advantage of me in bed," Rose smiled.

"That is entirely different, I am not having sex with you so you will get me to see a specialist earlier.  I will be fine now the case is over and I will do something if I get any worse, I already told you that."

"I know, you can't blame me for trying to get you to bring it forward though.  I just want you to be well again."

"I know love, maybe you want me to hurry up so I can go on top eh?"

"That would be nice but I'm happy with what we do.  I told you there were plenty of easy ways,"

"Yes, you did and we've tried most of them this past week or so."

"Well maybe we can invent a few more?" Rose smiled.

"Give your notice in at the station and we will discuss it," he replied.

Rose still hadn't worked out when he was being serious or not.  They kissed goodbye and he walked her to the gate to cross over the footbridge.

"Bye love, have a good day," he told her, not caring they were in full view of the harbour.

"You too, don't overdo things.  I love you grumpy."

"Aye, I love you too sweetcheeks.  Maybe when you get back I can see how sweet they are eh?"

"Mmm, you bet, it's much more fun in that smaller bed."

"That it is.  Don't be late eh?"

Rose went off to work and decided to see if the chief was available.  Just let those two in the office talk about her staying in bed with Alec, she'd got past the caring stage after a few days of her and Alec being together.

"Yes Rose, what can I do for you?" the chief asked her.

"Sorry to bother you Ma'am but I thought you should know, now it's sort of official.  DI Hardy and I are in a relationship, we moved in together."

"I see.  Well since he no longer works here, I see no problem with that and even if he came back, you're a civilian.  Thank you for letting me know.  How is he now anyway?"

"He's fine, I'm getting him to take things easy and now he's got someone to look after him, he's not in as much a hurry to get himself fixed and trust me, I've tried to get him to jump the queue and go private."

"He's stubborn Rose, that I do know and if anyone can get him to give in, then it's you.  Well good luck with that, you may get him to give in."

"Yeah, I have my ways but I'm not sure they'll work.  He has an incentive now to get well and we're hoping he'll get a letter from the hospital soon.  While I'm here, well Denise in the office, she was in line for the job I got, right?"

"Yes but your stepfather asked me to give it to you though I still don't understand why you wanted to come here?"

"I had my reasons.  I wanted to help in some small way with the case that was going on."

"Well I'm glad Torchwood didn't just march into town.  Why do you ask anyway?"

"If I were to hand in my notice, would she get it?"

"I believe so, she was qualified.  Are you giving notice?"

"If Alec gets a letter from the hospital, I might do, we talked about it this morning.  It might encourage him to go along for an assessment."

"From what I heard the last time he was in hospital, they gave him an assessment that said the next time, he may not recover."

"He told me but I already knew after it happened.  I know I can trust you Ma'am, there was a reason I chose this place, I felt sorry for what happened to Alec over Sandbrook and when I saw him on TV, well I knew I had to help him."

"Does he know that?"

"No, only that I wanted to help with the Latimer case."

"I see.  Well he won't hear anything from me Rose but you should tell him."

"I will, I just didn't want to make it so obvious that I've been following his rather disastrous career."

"Yes, I can understand that."

Rose thought it was just as well since no-one could know the real reason, she had no intentions of telling Alec who he looked like and neither would her family or friends.  When she'd admitted she was involved with Alec to Pete, he'd asked if she was going to tell Alec.

"No Pete," she'd told him.  "Neither you, mum, Mickey or Jake can ever tell him, he's been through enough.  If I tell him how I got here, he might think I'd go back the same way and leave him, he needs me."

"Well he won't hear it from us," Pete had assured her.  "If you change your mind Rose, I can tell him for you."

"I don't think I will, it would break his heart even more if I told him he looks like someone I cared about.  I can't bear to think how it will affect him, what with his divorce and his daughter not talking to him, I can't put him through any more."

"I know love but if he ever did find out, well don't go blaming me for it.  When are we going to meet him?"

"Soon, we'll get moved first and can you ask in medical if they've got anything that'll fix him that doesn't involve alien tech?"

Pete let out a laugh.  "I'll ask Owen but I doubt it.  He may know of someone but if Alec's on medication, the only answer is a pacemaker and he already knows that."

"Yeah, he said he's not ready to face it yet, I think that last attack he had really scared him.  I wish I'd got to know him sooner."

"You did the best thing Rose, you let him solve the case on his own so he could redeem himself."

"Well he knows I helped in the background, he says he can live with that.  Maybe if I'd said something when I first saw him, we might have got together sooner."

"You mean if you'd not almost knocked him over?" Pete reminded her.

"Yeah, some way of meeting him huh?"

Rose left the chief's office and went to the personnel department where she was being talked about, as she'd suspected.

"What's wrong with Rose this morning?" Darren had asked Denise.

She shrugged her shoulders.  "Probably tangling with Hardy in bed," she huffed.  "What does she see in him?"

"Each to their own Denise, she must see something in him, she comes in with a grin on her face every morning since they shacked up together, he must be keeping her satisfied."

"Him, with his bad heart?"

"Maybe she does all the hard work, how would I know?" Darren replied.

Rose was just walking towards the office when her phone rang and trust it to be her mother.

"Rose, how's the new place?"

"It's fine Mum, we like it, it's very peaceful and relaxing for Alec."

"When he almost drowned in another river?" her mother asked her.

"He's trying to get over that Mum, I told you.  He's nothing to worry about, he's got me."

"Well when are you coming for a visit?"

"Soon as we can.   He wants me to give up work."

"What for?  To look after him?"

"Partly and he's right, I only took the job to get close to him and now I have, well I was gonna ask Pete if I could work remotely for Torchwood."

"You'll have to ask him then.  Tony still misses you."

"I know Mum.  I have to get back to work."

She walked into the office to see them staring at her.

"What?  Got nothing to do again?" Rose asked them.

"Geez Rose, chill," Darren told her.  "Did Hardy kick you out of bed?"

"He was starting his new job today, not that it's anything to do with you two.  In case you're interested, I'm thinking of giving up work to look after him.  That means you'll get my job Denise, pleased?"

"I don't blame you for taking my job Rose," Denise tried to tell her.

"No, not much.  Anyway, you'll be the first to know if I do."

Denise was indeed the first one to know a week later.  Rose discovered she had three days leave due so she took it and left the following Tuesday so on the Wednesday morning, she decided to drive Alec to Exeter and look around the shops while waiting for him.

"I don't expect you to take me every morning," he told her as they walked to the car, the cab being cancelled for the day,

"I know but it'll be nice kissing you goodbye in front of your students," Rose smiled.

"They will all be jealous of me when they see you," he smiled back.

"Yeah, maybe you can give the lecture about sexual harassment at work?"

"I did not harass you at work, did I?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.

"No but it would give you chance to give them some examples."

"Very amusing sweetcheeks.  That reminds me, now you have given up working, we will have more time in bed every morning eh?"
Chapter 5

As the months went by, Alec seemed to be coping with his condition, Rose making sure he took his medication regularly and forever trying to persuade him to do something other than wait his turn at the hospital but she always got the same answer.  She had though got him to agree to spend Christmas at the mansion and everyone was under orders not to say anything about who he looked like or bring any pink paper hats into the house.

They drove up to London in the early hours of Christmas Eve and arrived just after nine, Tony all excited to see his big sister.

"Rose! You're here," he greeted her, almost colliding with Alec.  "Hello, sorry," Tony added as Alec held onto him.

"That's quite alright young man, since you have not seen your sister for a while."

"Are you Alec?" Tony asked, looking at him.  "You're her boyfriend?"

"Yes, I am.  Maybe we should all go inside?" Alec asked as Jackie stood in the doorway.

"Mum, Rose is here with her boyfriend," Tony shouted from behind the car.

"Tony, what's mum said about shouting?" Rose asked him as he tried to see what was in the large Christmas carrier bag.

"What did you bring me Rose?" Tony asked her.

"You'll have to wait until tomorrow.  Let's go get some breakfast, I'm starving."

"You could nibble on me love if you're hungry," Alec grinned as Tony left them.

"Thanks for the offer but I don't think mum would like it if you're on the menu."

"Maybe not?"

"Come on, she doesn't bite," Rose encouraged him, looping her arm in his.

"I should hope not."

After the Christmas party, where Mickey had spent all evening sulking and Rose had been showing Alec off to her friends, Alec wanted her to open one of the presents he had got for her while they had gone off shopping on their own a few days before.

"Well just one or have you got a certain one in mind?"

"One I do not want you to open in front of your mother, she may yet throw me out.  She did not look happy when you told the staff to put everything in your room."

"Chill Alec, she knows we're together, it's not like we've not been together for over three months.  We live together, we never hid that from her."

"Well she was looking at me all night like I was going to disappear at the stroke of midnight.  What was all that about?"

Rose knew what it was, it went back to the Christmas the Doctor regenerated right in front of them and Alec was now a constant reminder.

"She's just gettin' used to having you around grumpy.  I told ya, someone left me, she's a bit suspicious."

"I still do not understand how someone could leave you."

"It happened, it's over.  I'm not gonna step in a time portal and leave ya."

"Torchwood has time portals?" Alec joked.

"Near enough, stand in front of a device and get zapped to another dimension, call it what ya want.  So, which present to ya want me to open?  Would that be the small one wrapped in red glitter paper?"

"How did you guess sweetcheeks?  Unwrap it and then I can unwrap you."

Rose picked at the sticky tape carefully.

"Are you going to re-use the wrapping paper Rose?" Alec queried, raising an eyebrow.

"I thought only Scottish detectives did that?"

She unwrapped the paper to find a more skimpy than normal red bra and panties set, that Rose thought she would never get into but that was probably the idea.

"Aw, thanks Alec, I'll go put these on then you can take a photo."

"Rose, I have photos of you wearing all the underwear you possess but I prefer the ones where you are only wearing your knickers."

"If you ever got caught with those on your phone, you'd get locked up," Rose grinned, throwing the wrapping paper at him.

"I cannot re-use that now," he complained, putting it in the waste bin.  "If I got caught with those photos Rose, I would make a fortune from selling them to the trashy Sunday papers, it would keep them all going for a month and they would each have a different set."

"If ya used the money to pay for a pacemaker, I wouldn't even mind," Rose replied as she turned for him to unzip her grey sparkly dress.

He leaned down to squint at the tiny hook at the top and kissed her neck.

"I may take you up on that sweetcheeks.  Are you going to put that underwear on in the bathroom?"

"Yeah, don't get too excited when I come out wearing it, I'm not spending Christmas Day in the heart unit of the nearest hospital."

"I have survived seeing you semi-naked for three months.  I think I will survive a little longer eh?  No making noises tonight."

"Huh you can talk, mister," Rose grinned, holding up the knickers and twirling them on her little finger.

Alec went to grab them but she pulled them away. 

"I could also help you into them?" he offered.

"That would just get you going."

"Why do you always make it so easy for me?  Honestly Rose, I have never known a woman like you before, you know exactly when to stop me.  Is there something you are not telling me?  

"You mean you can't tell lover?"

"You are?  Well I have not had the pleasure of being a woman's first.  I was thinking you must have a reason for stopping but you do it so well, I thought it was to stop me killing myself in the process.  Mind you, with you on top I am hardly likely to give out on you that I won't recover.  Rose, you should have told me."

"Me and Mickey only fooled around, he didn't even get as far as you have and I mean that literally.  I thought you'd have guessed after three months.  Well if ya want me properly, the next two nights are the best time, I'll be on my monthly a few days after that and that injection I get might be good but it'll lessen the effects.  I have to go get another one soon."

"Then don't bother?  What are the chances I will actually get you pregnant?  If I do, then I will pester the hospital for an appointment or even sell those naked photos of you."

"You would as well , wouldn't you?  Aren't you glad Pete keeps us out of the papers?"

"Rose, we never go anywhere to get in the papers," he told her, finally unzipping the dress and Rose stepping out of it and wearing the underwear he liked to tease her about.

"You are wearing your black underwear Rose," he observed, since she'd got dressed in the bathroom after her shower earlier and he'd missed it.

"Yeah, I know you like these, how was I to know you were getting a reputation in the lingerie shop of buying bra and knickers sets?"

"They all know me in there now, no-one bothers me any more, they just nudge each other and ask if you liked the last lot I bought.  I will have you know I chose that set myself with no help," he told her proudly.

"No help?" Rose teased him as she picked up her dress and he saw his chance to put his hand on her rear.

Rose tried to straighten up, putting her hand behind her to get him to let her, the dress in her other hand.

"Hang this dress up for me babe, I'll go freshen myself up for you and put these on, you'd better hope they fit, did you get a size smaller this time?"

"You are a size 10-12?"

Rose looked at him.

"No, a 12-14, I should write it on the back of your hand or anywhere else you're always looking at in the mirror, don't think I've not seen you while I'm putting my clothes away."

"Only getting ready for you sweetcheeks," he grinned back, going for her with the hand not now holding her dress.

"Well go get some practice, you still have your trousers on, I want them off by the time I come back in from the bathroom."

Alec let go of her and gave a mock salute.

"Yes Ma'am, got it."

"When you've got your clothes off, you might want to open that small present wrapped in the blue paper?  Then I'll call you when I'm ready and you can catch what I'm wearing now."

"This has turned out to be one hell of a Christmas Rose.  I never thought I would survive another one but if anything will finish me off, then I would rather it be with you, come here."

Tossing her dress on the chair, he took the underwear from her and gathered her in his arms and kissed her senseless, one hand on her rear and the other hand under her bra fastener, trying to get the clasp with two fingers and his thumb.  He whistled while she was still recovering.

"Do I have a photo of you just wearing those love?" he smiled, holding the bra out to her.

"Probably, you should catalogue them all and put them in different folders."

"You mean like you organize your underwear?  Makes sense I suppose?  Let me take one before you go in the bathroom, I can check later."

Rose smiled and picked up the new red underwear as he got his phone out of his pocket and posed for him, the red underwear in one hand and the black bra in front of her.

"You will be the death of me Rose Tyler, the way you wear just a pair of knickers around the bedroom.  So, I open the small blue present?"

Rose nodded and giggled.  "Want me to wait while you open it?"

He unwrapped the present carefully and brought out the contents, a very brief pair of cotton shorts, the tight fitting kind.

"Now you can show yourself off to me," she teased as he held them in front of himself.  "I could help you if ya want?"

"Are you really tryin' to finish me off?  I still have to survive Christmas dinner with your family.  I don't think your ex boyfriend likes me very much."

"He'll come round, forget him.  Mum will sort him out if he starts."

"Is that why your last one left you?"

"Mickey put him off, yes.  It took him some time to even realise I wanted him to be my boyfriend instead of just a friend."

"Well he can think again if he tries to put me off, I will have him arrested for obstruction."

"Aw, I love it when you get all protective.  Well take your trousers off then?"

"Oh, you want me to put these on while you go get changed?"

"You know I do lover."

Ten minutes later, Alec was doubting he would fail to impress his girlfriend, well his partner, she was much more than his girlfriend and while Christmas shopping, he had sneaked off to do something about her becoming his partner more permanently, well as long as he had anyway.  She was his friend, his lover and his reason to get himself fixed and he would, as soon as he got up the courage to have the stupid pacemaker fitted.  Why was he still putting it off even when he had the letter tucked inside his jacket pocket?

He sat on the edge of the bed, wondering why she was taking so much time when she'd only gone in the bathroom in a skimpy article and she'd had a shower earlier but then he thought she was probably giving him time to get undressed.

"Rooose, why are you taking so long sweetcheeks?" he called to the bathroom door when he'd had enough of waiting to see her in the underwear he'd bought her.

He was getting quite a reputation in the lingerie shop on the High Street and thought it must surely be the talk of the town that he regularly bought his young blonde girlfriend sexy gift sets but thankfully, not too many people knew who she was.

"Keep your shorts on Alec, I'm coming," she called back, looking at herself in the tight underwear and wondering how she'd stuffed herself into a bra that was a size too small.  He knew what size she was, he was forever buying her something and he'd seen the labels when he'd taken her bra off.

She opened the bathroom door slightly and held her other knickers on the end of her finger.  Alec was still standing nearby, thinking he had never been teased as much in his life as Rose did.  She made him feel ten years younger and a lot fitter than he really was and when he got a letter from the hospital other than to say he'd get an earlier appointment than the one he had in March if one came up he'd take it.

He'd not even got around to telling Rose he'd been offered a date for his surgery, he'd caught the postman while she was busy and put the letter in his pocket, she never went through his pockets.  He was convinced though she got a kick out of fingering his shorts while sorting them for washing and putting them away again.

He took the black knickers from her and her bra followed.  Then she held one leg out and Alec smiled.  He went to get his phone as she switched off the bathroom light and posed for him.  The photo added to his growing collection, he went up to her.

"Very impressive Alec," she smiled him.  "How did ya manage to fit in those?"

"I was tempted to call for assistance but I can see you were having the same problem?"

He stared at her clevage heaving over the top of the red bra then at her hips.

"Did you mean it, about me not taking anything?" she asked.

"Yes Rose, I meant it, we will take our chances and I have something to tell you.  I got a date for surgery, in March and I was going to keep it as a surprise.   Did you find my other surprise?"

"You mean these being a size too small?" she pointed to her lower half.  "You really got a date for your surgery?"

"Well besides those and yes.  Rose, there was something else at the side of that present, I thought you would ask what it was?"

He crossed over to the dresser where there were a few more presents and pulled out a blue velvet pouch.

"Oh, I thought that was to cover you?" Rose smirked.

"Very amusing sweetcheeks, maybe I could get some use out of it when I have shown you what is inside?"

He thought about leaving her wondering, she must have realised by now it was a ring.

"Maybe we should just leave this for tomorrow?" he continued, going to put it back.

Rose grabbed his hand.  "You've told me about it now Alec."

"Yes but now I come to think about it, perhaps now is not the right time, since we are both in the very briefest of underwear."

"I don't care Alec, show me."

Rose stared as he brought out an exquisitely cut diamond ring and took her left hand.

"Marry me Rose?"

When they finally crawled over each other to get into bed, Alec thought to hell with his condition.  If Rose want him to be her first, then he was going to go all out to make sure he was and if he suffered afterwards, it would be well worth it.  As they lay afterwards, Rose on her front and Alec laid over the top of her, kissing her shoulder, he whispered how much he loved her.

"I love you too Alec but one more time of having sex like that, you won't see our wedding day."

"I know love, I wanted to make the extra effort for you and I hope it was satisfactory, since you did not stop me this time?"

Rose was still getting used to the feel of the ring on her finger.

"Maybe we should have waited until tomorrow before you asked me to marry you?"

"I did say that Rose," he told her, moving her hair to kiss her other shoulder.

"Yeah, you did but I can imagine the look on my mother's face in the morning when she sees my ring."

"Yes and I can see the look on your ex boyfriend's face when he arrives for Christmas dinner."

Rose started to giggle.  It was way past midnight but neither of them cared too much.

"That was amazing Alec, see, I told you we hadn't tried every way yet."

"That you did love.  Since you are going to be off limits, we will have a repeat tomorrow night."

"Just you be careful you, we go home the day after."

"Rose, we need to think about moving you know?  It may take us some time to find a place we both like."

The next morning, they fooled around until they heard voices in the hallway.

"But I want to go in and see Rose," Tony was protesting to his mother.

"You can't go barging in any more Tony, you're gettin' too old now."

"But Rose used to let me."

"Yes, I know.  Go see your father while I go see if breakfast is ready and no sneaking any presents from under the tree until we all get there."

"Yes Mum.  Where's Alec?"

"How do I know?  In one of the guest rooms probably."  Then she thought to herself, "Fat chance of that if Rose has anything to do with it," which was why she didn't want her young son running into his sister's room and interrupting something or worse still, catching Alec in there and telling Mickey and Jake over Christmas dinner.

Over breakfast, Jackie was trying to get over the fact Rose had gone to bed without an engagement ring and come down wearing one.  Well, she thought to herself, at least they got engaged and shared a room.

Mickey was sulking all through lunch, especially when Tony asked what an engagement ring was.

"It means I asked your sister to marry me," Alec tried to explain as the staff cleared the table to bring in the Christmas pudding.

"What's marry Mum?" Tony turned to his mother.

"Tony, it's like mum and dad, they're married," Rose tried to tell her young brother.

"Oh.  Does that mean you're having a baby?"

Everyone burst out laughing, all except Mickey, who didn't seem to be finding any of this amusing.

"Not yet Tony," Rose smiled.  "Give us a bit of time, yeah?"

They all went into the larger family room and Tony wanted Alec to help him with a puzzle Mickey had got for him.  Mickey looked a bit put out, since he'd intended putting the 3D model of Tower Bridge together with the young boy.  Mickey took the chance to excuse himself but Rose got up and followed him out.

"I didn't know he was gonna ask me to marry him last night Mickey."

"It's nothing to do with me Rose, I've not been your boyfriend since we came here the first time.  It was always you and the Doctor and now, you've got Alec."

"I really love Alec, he's so different but he needs me as much as the Doctor needed me."

"And I never needed you?" Mickey asked her.

"Me and you were pushed together by the estate and my mother's expectations Mickey, we never really stood much of a chance of it lasting more than a few years."

"So you'd still have left me even if the first Doctor's hadn't come along?"

"We'll never know, will we?  You will come to the wedding?"

Back in the family room, Jackie was thinking of asking what had prompted her now almost as old as her future son-in-law to suddenly propose on Christmas Eve, or had it been the early hours of the morning?

"So, are ya gonna get yourself fixed Alec?" she suddenly asked him.

"I told Rose last night, I have a date for the surgery.  I was waiting for the right time to tell her."

"So she said yes because you told her?"

Alec was not used to being drilled by his future mother-in-law.

"I told her first, then I asked her to marry me.  I intend to get through the surgery."

"I should hope so as well, Rose has had enough of men leaving her."

"She told me but never went into great detail.  I expect she will confide in me once we are married."

Pete was listening with interest and hoped if Rose ever did tell the detective who had succeeded where both Mickey and the Doctor had failed, despite being ill, he would accept Rose wasn't who she appeared to be.

The festivities were coming to an end on boxing day and they were preparing to travel back down to Broadchurch late afternoon.

"Can I come with you?" Tony asked as he sat on her lap.

"It's cold down there Tony and we really don't have the room.  All my things are in the spare bedroom.  Maybe in the spring?  Me and Alec are gonna look for another place anyway."

"I thought you liked it there Rose?" her mother asked, still staring at Rose's engagement ring.

"We do but we only got it until March.  We have to start looking sooner or later."

Alec came to her rescue after taking some luggage out to the car.

"Rose and I are planning on starting a family soon Jackie."

"Already?  You just got engaged."

"Yes and I also got a date for my surgery so we need to move.  Rose did tell you the pacemaker may not work?"

"Then whatcha doing planning on starting a family for you plum?" Jackie had to ask.

He put his arm around his fiancée.  "So she may have something to remember me by."
Chapter 6
Six weeks later

Still not having found a place they both liked and to save arguing over the colour of the bathroom or 'tacky' decorations as Alec called them, they had stayed in the blue chalet by the river and Rose was now six weeks pregnant, Alec still wondering how that Christmas morning he'd managed to actually get her pregnant.

There was still over a week to go before Alec's scheduled surgery, he'd been told if his symptoms got any worse, he was to call the hospital right away and get to the emergency department and they would do an assessment to see if it was urgent enough to bring it forward. He and Rose were just having breakfast one morning in February when Alec got a call.

Rose was listening to his side of the conversation.

"That was the chief, they got a date for the Joe Miller hearing."

"Wow, just like that?" Rose smiled at him.

"Yes, this coming Monday at ten. It will just be a formality, he will enter his plea then be held over for sentencing."

"Well you'd better hope Ellie going all Bruce Lee on him doesn't go against you?"

"The tape got accidentally erased," Alec smiled back at her, since she was still in her silky dressing gown and her blue silky nightdress with the low-cut top.

"I'm surprised at you grumpy shorts, trying to keep your DS out of trouble?" Rose giggled.

"Yes and no, I should not have ever let her see him, let us hope that does not come up eh?"

"So, you want me to go to the court with you?" Rose asked him.

"Want to show off that you're pregnant?" he smiled, raising his eyebrows.

"We get seen all the time Alec."

"Only by the locals, maybe it's time everyone else knew eh?"

"You're such a show-off Alec Hardy, I remember your reaction when I told you about the test, I'm surprised you didn't take out an ad in the newspaper."

"I did, the editor never published it," he grinned, getting up then kissing her cheek.

"Get out of here, you'll keep the taxi driver waiting again. I bet he knows you're tryin' to get me back in bed again."

"He probably does. Doing anything special today love?" he asked.

"Nah, we'll go shopping when you get back, I might even let you drive."

"Well I will be doing all the driving as soon as I have had my surgery."

"They'll let you drive so soon?"

Alec put the breakfast plates in the sink and poured hot water and liquid in. He felt his mobile buzzing but didn't bring it out of his shirt pocket. He couldn't tell Rose that he'd been getting messages from Claire again, she would go crazy. They had talked about the suspect from Sandbrook's wife but she still didn't know he had her stashed away a few miles up the road.

"I'm going love, are you getting dressed or are you waiting until I come back eh?" he winked at her.

"You'd just love that. No, I'll get dressed, tidy up and maybe go for a walk. You'll have to tell the superintendent at the college about next week."

"I won't need much time off. When I get back, we need to discuss a few things."

"You mean Tony coming down?"

"No, about finding another place and soon. Are you putting it off?" he asked, fastening his tie.

"No, you keep pulling faces at the bathroom or the decorations grumpy. I liked that house on the way out of town, there's no reason why we can't get it decorated."

"Who is going to do that eh?" he asked, feeling his mobile vibrate again and hoping Rose wouldn't notice it as he put his jacket on.

"Not putting your mobile in your jacket pocket lover?" Rose smiled, getting up.

It had stopped so he got it out of his shirt pocket.

"Thank you for reminding me. So, ask about it again, if it is still for rent, ask your friends to come down, they can bring Tony with them."

"Really? Blimey, what's come over you?" Rose laughed.

"We have only a few more weeks, remember? It's that or a caravan and they don't open for another few weeks. Come here before I have to go."

As they kissed and cuddled for five minutes, Claire Ripley was about to try Alec's number again. He'd already been ignoring her and she didn't like it. She'd done as he asked and kept away from him, doing a little hairdressing for the locals who were housebound between the ghastly little place he'd put her in and Broadchurch but now, she was getting messages and missed calls from withheld numbers and she'd convinced herself it was Lee.

She'd seen Alec on TV during the investigation and in the local paper but nothing since the last time she'd called him but if Lee was back and trying to contact her, was he out for revenge or did he miss her as much as she missed him? Still, there was no harm in paying a visit to Broadchurch and trying to find Alec, if he was there?

She made her mind up to catch the bus and get off at the harbour and see if she got lucky so as Rose was sat on the doorstep with a drink, Claire was across the other side of the road waiting for any signs of Alec. She only had to wait an hour as he got out of the taxi and walked across the footbridge to a waiting Rose, who greeted him with a kiss as he went through the gate but Claire moved to get a better view.

"Hi grumpy, had a good morning?" Rose smiled as she put her arms around his slim waist as she'd been told not to stretch too much.

"I think they may be glad when I leave," Alec smiled back, resting his arms on her shoulders. "I can go fetch the groceries."

"Nah, I need to get out, I was going through your case files again."

"Leave them Rose, you should be resting."

"I was laid on the sofa. I called the agency, we can go look at that house again, it seems it's a bit too expensive to rent around here."

"Well you will have to pay towards it," he smiled, snuggling into her neck and kissing it. "Come inside, we are in full view of the harbour here."

"It never bothers you when we snog on the footbridge," Rose grinned, putting her hands up the back of his jacket and trying to pull his shirt out.

Claire was sat on the wall at the other side of the river and saw what Rose was trying to do. So that was why he'd not wanted her to contact him all this time? He was quite literally shacked up with a blonde who looked suspiciously like that rich bitch Rose Tyler to her. So that was his game? He goes on sick and takes up with the blonde who had more money than sense to make up his pay loss, a woman who had to be at least ten years younger than him.

She watched Rose keep one arm around Alec's waist and trying to get her hand down the back of his trousers and Alec had one arm around her shoulder, kissing her cheek and running his finger down the other one. They stopped in the doorway of the blue chalet and kissed again then she saw Alec pull the curtain across the door and a second later, the wooden blinds in what Claire thought must be the bedroom were pulled closed.

Claire got up as she saw a bus making it's way to the shelter by the amusement arcade and decided to come back the next day a bit earlier and give the Vitex heiress a hard time by laying it on a bit thick that she'd been involved with Alec and had come to claim him back. As Claire boarded the bus back, Alec had laid Rose on their narrow bed and had parted her thin purple hooded jacket and pulled up her vest top and was kissing her tummy, talking to the growing baby inside her.

Rose was ruffling his hair with one hand and unzipping his trousers with the other, reaching to his shorts before trying to pull them down with his trousers. Alec looked up from what he was doing to help.

"You have no patience Rose Tyler," he grinned.

"Geez Alec, just get on with it. I don't know how much longer it'll be before I either go off sex or it gets physically impossible without having to invent a whole new way."

"I am confident if anyone can find a way sweetcheeks, it will be you."

"Yeah and don't you know it grumpy shorts?" she grinned.

When they were both satisfied, Rose was still giggling to herself.

"Shush Rose, they will hear you across the harbour," Alec teased her, helping her pull her knickers up so she didn't have to strain.

Rose smacked his arm playfully as he was pulling up her vest top.

"Hey, be careful, I'm gettin' sore there now," she warned him.

"Sorry love, I keep forgetting. Guess I have to take more care where I kiss you?"

"Yeah. So, you wanna go look at that house again?"

"If you want and if it's not a holiday rental, maybe we could redecorate the bathroom?"

"I'll call them in the morning and we'll go look on Friday, since that's your day off?"

The next morning, Alec was in the bathroom when he felt faint but he didn't want to worry Rose. He took his pills and waited for it to pass then got his phone out to try and call the consultant. Since the bathroom was out of the way, he reckoned Rose wouldn't hear him as the consultant's secretary answered.

"I'm sorry Mr Hardy but Doctor Green is in consultation, can I get her to call you back?" she asked, having been told if he did ring, it would be fairly urgent since they'd tried for months to get him to agree to have the pacemaker fitted.

"Well I want to report a change in my symptoms, I keep getting dizzy more often," he told the woman, trying to fasten his tie while holding the phone under his chin.

"Sorry, can you speak up a bit?" he was asked.

"No, I don't want my girlfriend to find out, she gets worried about me and she's pregnant."

The woman thought that was a miracle that he could get his girlfriend pregnant in his condition.

"I'll get her to call you back as soon as she's free. Do you want to come in for an examination?"

"No, I will wait and see what she says, I only have just over a week before my surgery."

He hung up and went to find Rose, who was making tea and toast, going up behind her and unfastening her dressing gown.

"Hey sexy, you took your time in the bathroom," Rose smiled.

"I was debating to have a shave or not," he admitted, hoping to get her to drop it. "You should have gone first."

"I'm not that bad yet, mum was terrible when she was having Tony. If we get to look at that house, I'll call Jake and see if he can help us move."

"It will be expensive love, we have to furnish it," Alec told her. "Sure you don't want a holiday let?"

"We must have seen all of them and they're more expensive than buying furniture," Rose smiled, trying to retrieve the toast. "Anyway, Pete will help with the cost. Get your breakfast and give me a proper snogging before you leave."

"For you," he told her carrying the plates to the table.

He put his jacket on then sat opposite his partner. If all went well, he was going to suggest a date for the wedding since they argued over that almost as much as bathrooms in the houses they'd seen. Rose though had other ideas.

"Alec, we should set a date, for the wedding."

"I thought we were waiting?" he asked, drinking his tea and wishing he had trimmed his beard now.

"My mum was going on about it again Alec. Where are we gonna have it anyway? Here or in London?"

He was about to answer when his phone rang, since he'd forgotten to put it on 'silent'. It was the hospital. He got up and went outside, Rose looking at him. He was just explaining to the consultant as Rose watched him from the kitchen window.

"I don't think it's anything to worry about Alec," the consultant was telling him. "Just go easy and have a rest, I see you soon anyway."

"I just thought you should know," Alec replied, not seeing he was being watched.
He went back inside, putting his phone away.

"Are you gettin' worse Alec?" Rose asked him.

"No love, no more than usual, it's fine. I was just asking my consultant something, she says it's normal. Right, I should be making my way to the taxi but I think I will make today my last day, I did warn the superintendent I would need some time off."

"Best news I've heard," Rose smiled, thinking back to when the Doctor had told her he was on his way up from the pit on that planet.

They kissed goodbye and Alec walked across the bridge, just as Claire was getting the bus to Broadchurch to pay a visit to Rose. She was staring out of the window, thinking what she could do to split them up, she was convinced the call she'd had earlier was from Lee and now, he'd actually sent her a text saying he was close to finding her.

She knew she should talk to Alec, maybe she should go after him rather than his girlfriend or was she his fiancée? She couldn't be sure but she thought something had sparkled in the afternoon sunshine when she'd seen the two of them making out on the decking. If they were engaged, all the more reason to break them up, he had split her and Lee up, getting her to turn on him.

After Alec left, Rose got dressed and was about to call the letting agency but decided to make another drink and sit outside and watch the birds on the river. She had just sat down when she heard the gate catch and put down the mug, thinking the postman was late but a woman with brown hair opened the gate, letting it close behind her.

"Can I help you?" Rose asked without getting up.

"I'm looking for Alec, he does live here?" Claire asked, trying to sound innocent.

"Who are you then?" Rose asked as the woman kept her distance.

"I'm Claire, has he told you about me?"

Rose had read the reports, how Alec had got the woman to testify against her husband but the reports had said she'd just disappeared. She'd not asked Alec if he knew where Claire had gone.

"Not really, why should he?" Rose asked, getting up.

She was just starting to show she was pregnant when she wasn't wearing baggy clothes and Claire noticed, also seeing the ring on Rose's finger.

"So, this is why he told me to stay away?" Claire sneered.

"Excuse me?" Rose asked, forgetting her mug of tea on the doorstep.

"Last time I called him, he told me only to call him if necessary, no wonder. How long have you been with him?"

"Long enough to get pregnant. What do you want Claire?" Rose asked her, trying to pick up the mug without bending.

"You kept him away from me, I know who you are."

Rose stood in the doorway. "Doesn't everyone? What do ya mean? He wasn't with anyone when we met."

"That's because he dumped me. I was pregnant, he made me get rid of it."

Rose was beginning to get worried, why would the suspect's wife come to pay Alec a visit if some of it wasn't true?

"If he did, why is he having this baby with me?" Rose asked.

"You're Rose Tyler, he wouldn't dare tell you to have an abortion. I was only three weeks, he told me to get rid of it or he'd find Lee and tell him I cheated on him. Lee was already mad I turned on him in court. Alec came round to see me, the night Lee was arrested, he told me he'd protect me if I said I wasn't home that night, like I'd already told the police."

"Why would he do that?" Rose asked.

"He told me if I slept with him, he'd stop Lee coming after me if he got out and I believed him. I told him three weeks later I was pregnant and he hit me. He hurt me, physically, told me he'd take me by force if I didn't have sex with him that night."

Rose thought back to the first night he'd stayed with her but he must have been completely different when he'd been well. Now, his surgery was due soon, would he go back to how Claire had just said he'd been like? Why was she even thinking this? A man couldn't change so dramatically because of an illness, could he?

"I think you'd better leave Claire, he won't be back for a while but maybe you knew that?"

"How would I? He's not been taking my calls. Oh, he didn't want you know about me, did he?" Claire laughed, seeing it was working.

"Like I said, I think you'd better leave," Rose repeated.

Claire tried to look serious. "Just one more thing, Rose, he won't change because you're pregnant. He's supposed to have something wrong with him, how did he even get you pregnant?"

"Well he did."

With that, Rose went inside and left Claire on the decking. She felt sick and locking the door, went to the bathroom and leaned over the sink. She washed her face and looked in the mirror, hardly believing Claire had called after her as she'd closed the door that she bet Alec was sleeping around now Rose was pregnant. She'd already told him she may go off sex, if he got well, he may not be all that happy about it and go seek other female company, even though they were engaged. That was if Claire was to be believed.

Rose tried to calm down, Claire had gone thankfully but she couldn't shake off the accusations and insinuations that Alec had hid the fact from her he'd done those things. Had it just been his way of getting Claire to turn on her husband or was he really like that in the past? She knew he had a break around this time at the college so she sent him a message to call her when he could.

Over at the college, Alec had broken the news it was to be his last day, which hadn't gone down as bad as he'd expected so when he got Rose's message, he sat in the empty lecture hall and called her back.

"What's wrong Rose?" he asked when he'd got a word in when Rose had said she hoped he was on his own. "Yes, I am on my own, why?"

"Why didn't you tell me about Claire?" Rose asked, trying to hold back the tears.

"Hang on, you mean Claire Ripley? I've not heard from her for a long time Rose, why?"

"She just paid me a visit, looking for you."

"How did she find out where I lived? Rose, whatever she told you, she's a compulsive liar, I told you she kept changing her story about that night."

"What about the night you arrested her husband?"

"What? I locked him up and went home as far as I can remember, it was some time ago love," he answered, wondering where all this was coming from all of a sudden.

"She said you went to see her afterwards, she said you made her change her story, under threat."

"What? Rose, we will talk about this when I get home. Have you called the letting agency? If not, when you do, if you want that house, we will go for it, get your friends to come down and we'll even let Tony help during the holidays."

"It's not about the house Alec. It's about you and Claire."

"There is nor ever was any me and Claire, what's brought this on?"

"Does sleeping with her ring any bells?" Rose asked him angrily, surprised he was stalling.

"I never touched her, what's she been telling you?" he asked, somewhat puzzled Rose was asking him such things.

Maybe he shouldn't have ignored Claire's missed calls and texts, if Rose saw his phone, she'd have reason to think it was true.

"Plenty, how you made her get rid of the baby when she told you she was pregnant, after you forced her to have sex with you."

"Oh, so that's what she told you eh? I should have known she would bring that into it," he replied, not thinking how it sounded to his fiancée.

"So, you don't deny it then? Are you gonna make me get rid of mine?" Rose asked, now sobbing.

"Rose, calm down love, it's not how it sounds. I finish in an hour or so and we'll talk about it, calmly," he promised.

"How can I be calm? I'm not getting rid of this baby Alec," Rose sobbed.

"I never meant for you to but Claire has just been trying to get her revenge, because I was ignoring her calls," he tried to explain.

"So, she's been in contact with you? Have you been seeing her?" Rose had to ask.

"How could I, I've been with you all the time or at the college."

"Have you been at the college? She said she's been getting ignored, that's why she came and how did she know where you lived, unless you told her?" Rose asked.

"Rose, anyone could have seen us outside, she could have asked around."

"Yeah and someone just told her?"

"She could have told them anything Rose, calm down love, it's doing you no good," he told her, rubbing his beard and seeing a few students coming back in. "I have to go, we will discuss this and call the agency."

"Why, what's the point?" Rose asked.

"There is every point Rose. Just don't throw all my things into the river before I get back?" he smiled to himself as students took their seats.

Rose would have laughed if she'd not been so upset and angry with him. He'd sounded reasonably calm over it, maybe Claire was playing games with her but it had hurt, thinking that was what he might turn out to be again once he was well.

Alec's mind wasn't on his lectures, he could see the students yawning so he called time early and told them to study instead. Then he went to the superintendent's office.

"So, why are you quitting so soon Alec?" she asked him, though she should have been thankful he was since she'd stopped in the doorway of the lecture hall earlier.

"I am having my surgery soon plus my girlfriend needs looking after, she's pregnant."

"Well congratulations, that must have been quite an achievement, with you having a heart problem," she smiled.

Alec didn't think luck had anything to do with it, it was a miracle and had doubted Rose was telling the truth, since she'd not shown him the test result but why would she lie about it and pretend she was? She had nothing to gain, they were engaged and he loved her like he'd not even loved Tess back in the day.

The things they'd done in bed had been experimental for both of them, he could have sworn Rose had an over-active imagination to come up with the ways they had sex before she got pregnant and as for that night, or was it the early hours of Christmas morning, he'd had a feeling he'd hit the jackpot. He was still gob-smacked when she'd told him three and a half weeks later when they'd been out one night and she'd refused a drink, saying she was driving.

They could have taken a cab that night but she'd insisted on driving and he'd not questioned it. So he got his things from the locker and went outside to wait for his cab, there was no point in calling the cab company to get the driver to arrive ten minutes early, he had plenty to think about now, such as how he was going to calm Rose down.

As he sat in the back of the taxi, all he could think about was getting her into bed, making her squeal with delight and him laughing as he dived down to kiss. Rose would be ruffling his hair until they could wait no longer, Rose still moaning softly for him.

He shook his head as the taxi pulled in front of the pub and he paid the fare, looking around to see if Claire had dared to stay nearby. Claire had seen him get out of the taxi and throwing the polystyrene cup into the bin, crossed over the road and shouted his name.

"Alec," Claire called as he headed for the gap in the low wall to cross the river.

Alec knew that Welsh voice anywhere and stopped.

"What are you still doing here Claire?" he asked, going through the gap onto the narrow footbridge.

"I thought that was obvious Alec," Claire laughed, trying to keep up with him.

He stopped in the middle of the bridge and turned, slowly since he'd felt dizzy earlier.

"You've done enough damage Claire so don't play games with me. You upset my girlfriend with your lies."

"Who's to say that wasn't your baby that I got rid of Alec?" Claire asked, trying to look serious.

"Because we never slept together Claire, it won't work."

"I told you it was Lee's, how I'd gone home that night to tell him but I could have lied to you, after you forced me to have sex with you," Claire continued, hoping Rose was outside and she could hear the conversation.

Alec tried to calm himself down, the last thing he wanted was to get dizzy and fall into the river that was slightly swollen, he'd had enough of raging rivers before.

"How many more times Claire? I took you to that clinic because I felt sorry for you, if Lee was found guilty. Now I have to go explain to my fiancée that you are a liar."

"Am I lying Alec? She didn't seem to think so, Miss Rose Tyler. I know who she is, her stepfather could ruin any chances you have of going back to work if he finds out."

"Stop it Claire, it won't work, Rose won't believe you."

He turned to walk off but Claire grabbed his arm.

"You left me all alone Alec, dumped me in that awful cottage while you were sleeping with Rose Tyler, you told me to stay away and all because you were sleeping with her every chance you got. I should have known I wasn't the only one, now she knows she's not the only one you screwed."

"Claire, go home, I never screwed you and you know it. If I see you again, I will call Tess and get her to reopen the Sandbrook case, Rose and I have found out plenty in the last few months and things are not adding up."

Claire looked at him and let go of his arm.

"Now who's lying Alec? Tess won't do you any favours, not when she was seeing that other DS behind your back," Claire laughed.

"Won't she? What did you do to Pippa? Did she see through your little game of grooming her and Lisa for Lee and threatened to tell her father?" Alec asked her, seeing the look on her face.

Claire was about to strike his cheek with the back of her hand but he grabbed her arm.

"I told you Alec, I had nothing to do with what happened to Pippa that night. Call Tess then, I'll tell her she wasn't the only one sleeping around," Claire threatened.

"Like she'd believe that?" Alec sneered, knowing anyone could see them at this point, including Rose if she opened the gate since he was due back.

Rose was sat on the spare bed, her clothes all over it and the only thing stopping her from packing was the fact her cases were on top of the old wardrobe where Alec had put them. She had debated whether to call her mother but Jackie would have demanded Pete brought her down to slap Alec into the middle of next year but she didn't want him to end up in hospital when his surgery was so close.

Alec had walked off, leaving Claire standing in the middle of the footbridge after giving her a final warning.

"Stay away Claire or I will find out where Lee is and tell him where you are living," he told her angrily, just wanting to see Rose and everything would be okay.

"You don't even know where he is," Claire shouted after him.

"Don't I?" he shouted behind him.

Claire stood for a moment, wondering if all the private and 'unknown' numbers were actually from Lee? Could she chance Alec was telling the truth and would tell her husband where she was hiding?

Rose heard a noise at the door, forgetting she'd left the key in when she'd walked away from Claire, wishing now she'd walked off before what she'd been told about Alec.

"Rose, let me in," Alec shouted, tapping on the glass door and trying to peer through the gap in the curtains.

He saw movement as Rose came out of what passed as the spare bedroom, Rose trying to dry her tears as she unlocked the door but left Alec to turn the handle. Rose went to sit on the sofa and Alec locked the door behind him.

"Rose, what's been going on?" he asked, going to sit next to her.

"Why don't you ask Claire? Why didn't you tell me she was in the area?" Rose asked tearfully as she shrugged his arm away.

"Rose, whatever she told you, I never slept with her. I went to the clinic with her, yes, when she was too afraid to tell her husband she was pregnant. I swear that was it Rose, there was never any Claire and me. I love you Rose, like I have never loved anyone in my life, you made me think there was nothing wrong with me, you made me come to my senses and realise I did not have to be alone and with you, I can beat this heart problem once and for all but I can't do it without you."

"She was so convincing Alec," Rose finally gave in and let him put his arm around her.

He kissed her forehead and looked at her. She was beautiful, smart and made him feel he was the luckiest man alive to have met her and Claire Ripley was not going to spoil that.

"I know love, let's just forget it eh? Let me show you how much I love you."

"I got ready to leave Alec," Rose confessed.

"I can't blame you for that love, want me to help you put everything back in the wardrobe?" he asked, trying to get a kiss out of her.

Rose nodded and leaned back against the cushion.

"I'm sorry but she made me so angry with you Alec," she told him as she helped him off with his jacket.

"I know love and I was doing some thinking on the way back, well between thinking of you naked under me once I get well again and you won't have to remind me not to attempt to stay on top. I think I should hand all those case files back to Tess and tell her I think Claire was involved that night."

"No, we'll do it together after your surgery Alec, you owe me that now," Rose replied, going for his zipper.

Alec smiled. "Ah, so you have forgiven me have you?"

"What do you think sexy?" she asked.

"I am sorry she felt she had to call and see you, she must have been watching me coming home then decided to try her luck. Why did you believe her?"

"I don't know, I think my hormones are all messed up, I felt sick earlier."

"Well, you will have a lot more of that to come love, a lot more and I will be here every step of the way. I will stay off work as long as you want after my surgery."

"Nah, you'd go crazy rubbing my back and my feet when I get bigger."

"Never, Rose Tyler. Now, how about setting a date, before your mother comes down here and tells me not to wait until I'm either dying or you are about to have our baby?"

The End!

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