Rose and Alec's first meeting

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Rose Tyler arrives in Broadchurch in search of a new life with very little money after she loses her job in a department store. She'd met a mysterious man who had somehow managed to blow up the store and he'd asked her to go with him in his time machine.  She said no and thought he was trying to pick her up.  She fell out with her boyfriend over it so she packed up and left.

AU - Rose Tyler arrives in Broadchurch in search of a new life with very little money after she loses her job.  She'd met a mysterious man who had somehow managed to blow up the store and he'd asked her to go with him in his time machine.  She said no and thought he was trying to pick her up.  She fell out with her boyfriend over it so she packed up and left and meets Alec Hardy.

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Rose just had enough money for the bus fare to the Dorset coast and a week in a bed and breakfast establishment then she'd have to find some employment, any employment or she'd be walking back to the Powell Estate admitting her failure. She'd cleared out her savings and had managed to get the week's pay she was owed after her place of employment went up in smoke but only after her mother went to the police asking how she got it and contacted the store's head office. She'd had to wait two weeks to get it.

All the way down on the coach, she'd been thinking back to the night the store was destroyed by fire, how she'd been attacked by shop window dummies, then attacked in her own home by a plastic arm and the fact that a strange man wearing a leather jacket and sporting a northern accent had somehow got her in the middle of a battle as more dummies came to life. He'd taken her inside an old fashioned 1950's Police Box and they'd somehow moved location and then he'd had the nerve to ask her if she wanted to go with him. Had he been serious?

To make matters even worse, her boyfriend, well her on/off sometimes boyfriend had fallen out with her over it, accusing her of leaving him to be captured by these 'Living' dummies and left to die and she'd gone swanning off with this bloke, which she hadn't. So she'd had enough of the accusations and her mother and gone off to seek a quiet life. Her coach fare would get her as far as a place called 'Broadchurch' because she'd researched that holiday accommodation was cheaper there than neighbouring seaside towns.

She did have one fall-back though, a friend of her mother's, Ellie Miller, who was a Police Detective no less, had heard what had happened and said if she got really stuck, she would help her out. Rose used to call her 'Auntie Ellie' when she was younger, she used to come up to London to visit every Christmas before she'd had her son Tom but she and Rose's mother had kept in touch and being in the police, she'd naturally known all about the invasion of the shop window dummies.

The coach dropped her off by the harbour and Rose checked her phone for the address of the B&B and set off with her two cases and a shoulder bag. She saw the Police Station and thought about seeing if Ellie was there but thought instead she'd call her later to let her know she'd arrived and she'd been invited to dinner, Ellie told her to get a taxi and she'd pay for it. She sat by the sea wall wondering whether to ask for directions, it was already after four and she was tired from the boring journey.

She'd just got out her phone to ring the B&B to ask directions when a man with a beard stopped in front of her. He saw her two cases and bag and she thought he must have assumed she was either lost or homeless. She was one and would be the other if things didn't work out. She looked up from her phone as he held out a Police ID card out to her but didn't notice his name. She'd only thought that uniformed officers stopped and questioned people if they looked like they didn't belong there and she certainly thought at the moment she didn't.

"Are you lost, Miss?" the man asked in a Scottish voice, not what Rose had expected, being in Dorset. "You can't sit there all night, it's a town by-law. Do you have somewhere to go?" Rose nodded. "Then you need to be on your way, it will be dark soon, I can't let you stay there."

Rose got up and picked up her shoulder bag and took the handle of one case to balance getting hold of the other when he stopped her and took it from her.

"Tell me where you're staying and I'll help you," he offered.

So Rose told him the address of the B&B and he knew where it was so she set off after him, struggling to keep up with his fast pace until they turned up a side street with a row of tall houses and found the one she wanted. He asked if she'd be okay now and she nodded again, not knowing exactly what to say apart from a 'Thank You' so he waited for her to go inside, probably making sure she was actually staying there and not going to take up residence on the nearest bench then turned and went on his way.

Rose got settled in her small but reasonably comfortable room, having negotiated a rate for just the room for seven nights, she saved money and could get a cheap breakfast out somewhere while looking for a job and unpacked her things and phoned her mum to let her know she'd arrived. Then just after seven, she ventured out of the B&B to find a taxi rank and gave them Ellie's address, saying someone would come out and pay.

Ellie came out and greeted her with a warm hug and paid the taxi driver and took her inside. Rose had never seen a photo of Ellie's younger son, Fred and he'd gone to bed but Ellie took her upstairs to see him as he was still awake and she remarked how Tom looked different from the photos she'd seen of him and asked him how he was doing at school.

They chatted over dinner, Rose filling them in on how her mother was doing and omitting the part where a madman in a Police Box had offered to take her away, otherwise she'd have got locked up in a padded cell. Ellie told her all about their last holiday and how she'd been disappointed she'd not got her promotion and it had gone to a bloke, from Scotland no less but she'd made her peace with him. He'd just solved the murder of her best friend's son and had been taken ill in the process and he'd originally been taken off duty but had been let back on light duties pending him going and having an operation.

Rose took a wild stab in the dark and asked if this Scottish bloke was tall, with brown hair and a scruffy beard. Ellie couldn't understand how she could have described him so accurately except she'd missed out the bit about him being grumpy with it.

"Rose, how on earth could you know who I'm talking about? You've just arrived or did you see him all over the news when the case was going on?"

"No, I didn't even know about that poor boy's murder, don't watch the news much then there was all that trouble the other week and I was sort of pre-occupied. Plus, my sort of boyfriend left me so I've been out of it. When did that happen?"

"The boy, Danny, was murdered a few month's ago but we only caught the killer 3 weeks ago. Hardy, that's the Scottish bloke to you, collapsed twice while on the case and our boss had suspended him the day he discovered who the killer was so he got a reprieve on the condition that he get himself sorted and was confined to desk duty, nothing too strenuous. Apparently, he has to go up to Glasgow for his operation, it's too delicate for the local surgeons. You still haven't answered my question if you didn't see him in the news. I'm surprised you didn't, they labelled him the worst cop in Britain when he failed to catch the killer after a few weeks. It took a lot out of him and he nearly sacrificed himself and they still won't leave him alone."

Her husband chirped in that even Ellie had been against him at first but had finally taken pity on him.

Rose was looking slightly guilty, this had to be the man who had wheeled her case over to where she was staying and he shouldn't have been helping her. Ellie looked at her, asking what was wrong.

"Ellie, he helped me with my case when I'd got off the coach. I was sat by the sea wall, about to phone the B&B when he came up to me and asked if I was lost. Then he asked me where I was staying and escorted me there. What's wrong with him anyway? He did look a bit off come to think of it."

"It's his heart, some kind of irregular heartbeat, he needs a pacemaker but it could kill him, he's only got a 50/50 chance."

Rose looked horrified at the thought she may have caused him to suffer further. He'd not said much on the way over to where she was staying. No wonder. Now she just hoped he was okay, he might not have been.

"Ellie, can you ring him and make sure he's okay, I feel really awful for getting him to help me. Please tell him I'm sorry."

Ellie saw she looked really worried and dialled Hardy's number, saying he wouldn't be happy to get a call from her at nine o'clock at night but said she'd risk it for Rose's benefit.

He was gruff when he answered, thinking it was an emergency, which he shouldn't be getting calls about anyway. Ellie explained that the woman he had helped earlier was a friend down from London and wanted to thank him for helping her. She left the bit out about Rose being concerned. Hardy didn't like his personal business being spread to strangers. Satisfied he was his usual grumpy self, she ended the call and asked Rose if she was satisfied.

She asked Rose if she had enough money to last her a week, Rose said she'd paid for a room for seven nights in advance and that she had a roof over her head until next Sunday night and hopefully, she'd get a job and book another week and find somewhere more permanent but it was only £75 for the week with it being just after the season had ended so she might stay there a few weeks and save up. Ellie said it was a good idea and if she was careful and ate sensibly she'd make her money last.

Just as Rose was leaving, Ellie asked her to wait for a few minutes and went back in to talk to her husband. She came back out and said she'd talked it over and they insisted that if she could make her way to their house, she could have her evening meal with them and she'd drive her back. Rose thanked her and pulled her into a hug. That would save her a lot of money. Rose said if they did, she insisted she helped with the dishes so Ellie said it was a deal and if she ran out of money to get a room for the next week, she'd loan her enough to pay for the room.

Ellie drove her back and on the way, suggested a few places she might find a job but she'd left it late in the season and all the summer jobs were finished. Rose said she'd not exactly planned this, how was she supposed to know her workplace would be going up in smoke? They both laughed and Ellie wished her luck the following day and said she'd see her tomorrow night. She asked Rose if she'd be able to find her way back to her house and she said she'd manage, it didn't seem far. Ellie said it was quicker up the coastal path and across the field but not in the dark. Rose said she'd manage but was told if she got lost, to ring.

Rose settled down to her first night in Broadchurch, enjoying her new found freedom away from her mother. Tomorrow, she would have to start looking for a job. She was going to try some of the bigger hotels or some of the cafés, hoping people had gone back to university or college and there might be some vacancies. Failing that, try one of the agencies up in the town as a temp or something. The following morning, she was out early, deciding to go have a proper breakfast then wait until her meal with Ellie, that would also save her some money.

She tried some of the hotels, looking in the windows for staff wanted but had no luck so she walked up into the town to look in the shops and was just going to try the supermarket when she saw a newsagents window and looked at the postcards in the window. She made a note of a few flats that were reasonably priced, in case she did find a job and was just turning away when she almost bumped into the Scottish detective she had met the day before, who according to Ellie was called Hardy and had something wrong with him. He held his arms out to stop her and caught hold of her as she caught her balance.

"Are you okay, Miss?" he asked as she straightened herself. She nodded, something she was getting good at around him. "Did you settle into your accommodation?"

"Yes, thanks, sorry about nearly knocking you over just now. I didn't notice you behind me." She remembered what Ellie had told her, she really should have been more careful, given his condition but she couldn't let on what she'd learned. "I was looking to see if there were any jobs, I've come down here to live, hopefully, I'm not just on holiday."

"Right, that explains a lot, looking for a job can be so distracting that you don't look behind you before you actually turn," he said sarcastically.

Rose tried to get past him but he was blocking her way.

"So, listen, I'm really sorry, it's just I need to find a job in a hurry and I've been looking all day, not even had time for any lunch."

A slight exaggeration but it was worth a try. It was gone three and she was hungry but would have to wait until at least seven thirty when she got to Ellie's and she was going to have to do this for some time. She didn't think she was going to be able to do it.

He looked at her and pointed to the café a few doors down and said, "Then let's go get you something to eat, my treat, you need a full stomach for job hunting."

He led the way to the café and they sat down and he looked at the menu. Rose just picked a jacket potato with cheese and salad or she wouldn't eat at Ellie's and he ordered a ham salad.

"So, since we've not been properly introduced and you probably didn't read my ID yesterday, I'm Alec Hardy, Detective Inspector."

Rose held her hand out and said, "I'm Rose Tyler, nice to meet you."

They finished their lunch and he insisted on paying, saying for her to call him Alec, although he said he really hated the name but hated being called Inspector even more when he was off duty. He asked Rose what type of job she was looking for and she said any, she just needed one.

"Well Rose, I'm just moving into a rented house, up in the town and I need someone to help get it ready then look after it, I can't do everything myself, I'm waiting for an operation. I've got furniture arriving and the decorators have just finished but it needs cleaning. Are you interested by any chance?"

Rose couldn't believe her luck, not only had he bought her lunch but was offering her a job, well at least a temporary one, if what Ellie had said was true and he might not need anyone once he got well but it was a start.

"I'm moving in next week but I won't have it ready if I do it on my own. It's two bedrooms and a bedroom sized attic with a dormer window, not technically classed as three bedrooms but I've had that decorated too, I was going to use it as a study but if you take the job, you can live in, do the cleaning, cooking and shopping and I'll pay you as well. What do you think? I am a Police Officer, you can trust me and I know now you're friends with Ellie Miller, she told me this morning. She said you felt bad having me wheel your case over to where you're staying when she told you there was something wrong with me. Don't be, I try to pretend there's nothing wrong with me, it helps if you forget."

Rose didn't quite know how to thank him, he didn't even know her but had taken Ellie's word that she was trustworthy enough to secure her employment with him and if she couldn't trust someone of his rank, then who could she trust? She only knew the Millers and she didn't want to put on Ellie too much. She had a roof over her head until Monday anyway and she would have the rest of the week to clean his house and get it ready, much better than walking the streets. So she said yes.

He said he'd get another key cut and she could start tomorrow, giving her the address. He went to the cash machine and gave her some money to buy cleaning materials and a vacuum cleaner plus a wage advance so she could buy her own lunch and said he'd meet her there around ten tomorrow to give her the key then come back at three to see how she was getting on. He walked her back to where she was staying and said he'd see her in the morning and they'd discuss their working relationship and payment. She rang her mother to say she'd got a job as a live-in housekeeper for a Detective Inspector who worked with Ellie and Jackie said she'd been lucky she'd landed on her feet and was expecting her back when she'd run out of money. Sometimes Rose wondered exactly what she'd done wrong for her mother to turn against her since losing her other job.

Rose treated herself to a taxi to Ellie's feeling much better now she had a job and she was sure they'd get on together despite Ellie saying he was a grump. She told Ellie what had happened and asked if she'd had anything to do with it. She admitted some involvement, just putting the two of them together, Rose needed a job and he needed someone to look after him, simple. Rose said she was really grateful for what she'd done.

The next morning, she was awake early, had some breakfast and went to the supermarket to get her cleaning things and a lightweight vacuum cleaner and got a taxi to the address Alec gave her. She had just a few minutes to wait until he arrived and let them in, handing her the new key he'd had cut. There was nowhere to sit so they sat on the window ledge that looked out onto the back garden. He suggested she went back out and got a kettle and some cups etc and something to drink and he'd be back later. Before he left, he told her what to expect as his housekeeper.

She promised if she was working for him that even though he said for her to call him Alec, she had to remember who was the boss, which she had no problem with. He'd ordered extra furniture for the attic room anyway and so it wasn't a problem but they'd have to work out other rules such as personal space. She would be allowed to have the freedom of the house even when he was in but he was going to use one of the bedrooms for his study and not to disturb him if the door was closed but until his operation, she had to knock every half hour to make sure he was okay but he'd only go in if he needed some privacy.

He left to go to work, he said he only did four hours a day until his operation because he couldn't sit still behind his desk for any longer. Rose went back out to the store and bought the rest of the items and got on with the cleaning when she got back. She did the living room and kitchen and was about to start on the bathroom when he came back so she made some tea and they sat on the window ledge again.

He asked her about where she came from and what had led her to Broadchurch and he laughed when she told him what had happened with the shop dummies because he'd heard about it but had never believed it but here was Rose, living proof that it had all been true. His admiration for her increased and he told her how he'd nearly died and that he was faced with having an operation or losing his job permanently and maybe losing his life in as little as a year or even less. Then his chances were pretty slim of surviving having the pacemaker fitted which was why he was going to have to go to Glasgow where a new technique had been tested which would give him a 60/40 chance of survival which was better than 50/50. Rose agreed that he had to at least try.

He said he had every intention of surviving now he'd got the house and it had given him something to live for, something substantial, rather than staying in the hotel he was in and he had planned to advertise for a housekeeper before he moved in but Ellie had made him see that Rose was more than deserving of the post. They discussed payment which included her full board and food and he said he'd draw up a contract for her to sign and his accountant would sort everything out.

Rose spent the next few days getting the house finished and had just done her room when she heard Alec come in and he shouted for her. He came upstairs and said he couldn't believe how much better it looked now it was clean. Everything was being delivered the next day, he'd brought it forward and asked her to go with him to get soft furnishings such as bedding so they got a taxi to the supermarket and got everything they needed, getting a few funny looks from some of the locals. They got some food on the way back and ate off the new plates they'd bought.

They agreed to meet at eight the next morning and soon the furniture arrived and directed to where it needed to be. Alec had employed a handyman team for the day to put up wardrobes and the beds and move things around if they got in the wrong rooms. Engineers arrived to install the phoneline and internet and the digital TV service and Rose was putting the bedding on as the beds were made up. Alec went back to his hotel for the night, he was moving everything out the next day and Rose was moving in Monday morning, getting all the food shopping and anything they'd missed after she'd brought her things from the B&B.

Sunday morning, Alec came back in a taxi with his belongings, Rose hung everything up for him in his wardrobe and tidied his room then she started vacuuming the carpets as Alec was watching the news on TV, when he asked her to stop a minute and come and sit down and asked how she was getting on. She said fine, she was actually enjoying herself keeping busy and didn't realise housework was a full time job. They both laughed and Rose said she should finish the cleaning and start getting lunch ready but Alec stopped her.

"You've been working hard these past few days, I couldn't have moved in without your help so, I'll treat us to Sunday lunch down at the pub by the harbour. We can walk down and get a taxi back."

"Are you sure you should be walking that far, I know it's all down hill but you should be resting. I can easily make us something."

"Rose, I'm fine, really. I need the exercise if I'm to have my operation in a few weeks time. I'm taking regular medication now, unlike I did before when I only took it when I needed it and it helps. Why don't you go get changed then we'll go out?"

Rose did as he asked and they set off at a slow pace, talking and Rose said she hoped she didn't seem too familiar with him and for him to put her in her place if she did. She said she wasn't used to working for anyone in a situation like theirs. He assured her he'd tell her to back off if he felt uncomfortable with anything and told her she had to do the same if she thought he had made her feel uneasy. After lunch, he told her she might as well go collect her things from the B&B while they were nearby, she was leaving in the morning anyway and he'd come and help her and they'd get a taxi back.

She let herself into her room, Alec staying in the doorway when he got a funny look from the owners because he'd been recognised and assured them that she wasn't in any trouble, he was helping her as a friend, not wanting to say too much, then they got a taxi back and he told her to take the rest of the day off and sort her room out and have some time for herself. She agreed but only if he allowed her to make him a snack later on and could she watch a programme on TV she liked to which he agreed and said she should buy herself a TV and she could get a link to the TV service for it and he asked if she had a laptop. She said yes so he gave her the code for the internet access.

She got up early the next morning, Alec said he got picked up at ten thirty by a police driver and had said he'd have his breakfast at nine on the dot so she had everything just about ready when he came down. She'd popped out to get him a newspaper and he told her it wasn't necessary but it had been welcomed just the once. By the time Alec came back just after three, she'd got the kitchen properly organised and was preparing a casserole dinner that would take a few hours. Something they hadn't discussed was their eating arrangements. Rose wanted to eat in the kitchen and leave Alec to eat in the lounge but he insisted they ate together. He said he was tired of eating alone at the hotel and welcomed her company.

Over the next few nights as they ate dinner, they relaxed a bit more around each other and Rose told him all about her upbringing on the Powell Estate in London and he told her about Glasgow and how he'd got to be a senior officer and how in the end his problems with his heart had started. Rose felt sorry for him that he'd had no-one to look after him. On the Friday night, Alec told her to come and have a drink with him, he was allowed one glass of wine a night and he'd not had any all week. So they sat talking and he said he needed a serious talk with her.

He was going for his operation a week on Monday and was travelling by train up to Glasgow next Sunday. He said he'd paid for the house for three months in advance and given instructions to his solicitors to keep Rose employed looking after the house for that time in the event he didn't survive the operation. Rose looked shocked at such a suggestion, that he wouldn't make it was unthinkable. He said that they had instructions to take care of everything and gave her their card and she was to contact them right away if he died in the operating theatre or while in hospital and they'd do the rest. He said he thought he'd got everything covered.

Rose had tears in her eyes at this point. She knew he was ill but never thought he'd be talking this way to her. They'd only known each other a short time but they had become friends as well as employer and employee.

"What are your chances Alec?" she asked. "Ellie said it was 60/40 so that's good and you have a house to come back to and.." She trailed off, wondering whether she dared count herself as a friend. "You have friends, Ellie and me," she finished as she drank the rest of her wine.

Alec moved over onto the sofa where she was sitting and took her empty glass from her and took her hand.

"Thanks," he said, kissing the back of it. "I'm off to bed now, stay and watch TV if you want. After breakfast tomorrow, you can have the day off until dinner."

He'd got up and said goodnight when she spoke up.

"Do you have anyone in Glasgow to be at the hospital with you?"

He turned around. "No, I don't need anyone anyway. I'll either survive or not. If I survive I'll have to spend a few days in hospital and a few days in a hotel until I can travel, if not, you know what to do. I'm only taking what I need and my things will be collected from the hospital. I'm only booking one night at a nearby hotel, I'll find something if I make it through. I'll give the hospital your name and phone number to contact you one way or the other."

He was making it cold and impersonal and Rose didn't like it. He'd been good to her, taken her in and befriended her and he was talking like he didn't mean to come back and like he wasn't bothered whether he did or not. She couldn't just let him die, couldn't let him be on his own with no-one to care about him. She was supposed to be looking after him so she put their working relationship to the test, thinking he'd either agree or terminate her employment on the spot, either way if he didn't make it, she'd be out of a job in less than three months.

"Let me come with you."

"I told you, I don't need anyone."

"Yes you do, you need someone at the hospital with you and you employed me to look after you and you never said it was restricted to this house so take me with you. I can keep your hotel room for you and look after your stuff while you're in hospital and come and visit you every day and take care of you on the journey home because you are coming back," she said tearfully.

He looked at her and saw the tears and the determination on her face as she said it like it was an order and he realised she really cared about him, she was actually willing to take her duties as his housekeeper to such a length. If someone he had met and taken in not two weeks ago could care about him, he had to care about himself.

"You might be coming back on your own you know."

"No I won't, you're coming back with me," she replied.

"Okay, you can come but don't say I didn't warn you."

Chapter 2

Rose took the day off after breakfast the next morning. Alec was quiet, like he was a bit annoyed with her that she'd taken her duties a bit too seriously so Rose said she was going down to Dorchester on the train for the day and asked if he wanted anything bringing back and to call her if he could think of anything.

She walked around the shops and had some lunch, enjoying the fact she actually had some money to spend. While she was in the café, she was thinking about Alec, how good he'd been to her since her arrival and that he didn't deserve to have been dealt such a cruel fate. She couldn't have let him be on his own, her dad had died on his own after being knocked down by a car when she was only six months old and she'd never known him, her mother had told her he died on his own. Alec had been the kindest person to her in a long while and she wouldn't let him die on his own if it had to be that way. Maybe if she was with him, he'd have a reason to fight to survive.

While she was out, Ellie called her to see how she was getting on. She told her she was great, the job was interesting and that not to tell Alec she'd told her that she was going with him. Ellie asked her why she was doing it and Rose reminded her of her dad and she said she could understand now. Ellie invited her for Sunday lunch and Rose said today was her day off and she'd be cooking for Alec but Ellie said they could both come and she'd ring him about it. Rose said fine if he wanted to go.

Rose got back just before four and Alec said Ellie had rung him and invited both of them to lunch if Rose wanted to go. They didn't talk much over dinner but Alec said he'd booked two open return tickets from Broadchurch to Glasgow Central changing at Exeter, saying it was just as cheap to book returns as it was one return and one single anyway, for next Sunday leaving at nine in the morning. He said it would take most of the day to travel and he'd booked two rooms in a hotel near the hospital for the Sunday night, keeping one room for another five nights if needed and they would be all paid for however many nights she stayed if he wasn't coming back with her.

Rose couldn't believe how well organised he was, he'd thought of everything but if the worst happened, she resolved that she would stay and attend his funeral, she could at least do that for him even if she had to pay extra herself to stay, she wouldn't let him be on his own with no-one attending.

He told her he had an ex-wife who had remarried and his solicitor would inform her if the worst happened, Rose wouldn't have to contact her or anything and not to worry if she turned up at the hospital, Rose was to tell her she was his housekeeper and tell her to contact his solicitor if she didn't believe it. He didn't want it to cause Rose any problems.

They watched some TV after dinner and he noticed Rose wasn't her usual cheerful self and thought he must have depressed her with all this talk of his impending demise so he said they'd go to lunch at Ellie's the next day and if she wanted, they'd go for a walk on the beach down the coastal path from her house and go have a drink at the harbour pub, trying to cheer her up. Rose agreed and said if he didn't need anything else, she'd go to her room and said goodnight. She got upstairs and sat on her bed and found herself crying. She didn't know now if she could actually go through all this with him, he was her employer but he had become her friend and she had to face the fact that he may not be coming back from Glasgow with her. She told herself she had to, she couldn't let him do this alone after everything he'd done for her.

They went to lunch at Ellie's the next day, telling her nothing about his plans for if something went wrong and while Rose was helping Ellie clear the dishes she asked her if he'd said anything else about his operation. Rose said no but he'd provided for her if he wasn't coming back and his solicitor was taking care of everything. Ellie took her out into the garden as she could see Rose was getting upset and didn't want Alec to see them.

"He's starting to grow on you, isn't he?" Ellie asked. Rose nodded. "You shouldn't let him get to you like that. I didn't like him at first but we've sort of become friends and I now hate the thought of him not surviving but if he doesn't, I'll miss him too. He told me that if he doesn't have the operation, he's finished in the police, he'd be put on forced retirement and he'd go nuts, it's what he lives for, being a DI. His Doctor gave him six months, perhaps a bit more but his condition will worsen and he'll have to go into hospital. He told me he has no-one, his ex-wife remarried. If you go with him Rose, at least he'll have someone with him if he doesn't make it and not be on his own, I wouldn't wish that on him."

They went back inside, trying not to make it obvious they'd had such a serious talk and Rose and Alec left, thanking Ellie for the lunch. Ellie took Alec to one side and said she'd better be seeing him again for more Sunday lunches. He was taking the week off before they went to Glasgow and Ellie wasn't sure she was going to see him again. She told him to go before he set her off and called Rose over telling her she'd better bring him back with her. Rose said she was and that he'd have her to answer to if he didn't. Alec just told Ellie not to get too comfortable in his office, he wanted it back. Rose smiled, thinking he was now sounding more positive about it and he'd survive just to stop Ellie getting his job.

They walked slowly down the coastal path towards the harbour, it wasn't far but they stopped at a bench as Alec said he wanted to talk to her. He asked her what she'd been talking to Ellie about. Rose brushed it off, not wanting him to know they'd been getting all soppy about him. He didn't believe her when she said it was nothing and said he wanted to know if had been about him.

"We're both just worried about you," she said. "We both want you to come back. If you don't want Ellie getting your job, you have to come back and take it from her. If anything, that should make you determined to get through it, just to spite her."

He smiled, something he'd not done much of except when they'd gone out to lunch the previous Sunday and they'd laughed at something but not really smile, not for no reason in particular. They got up and Alec took her hand asking if it was okay if they walked like that down to the pub. He said it was to reassure her that he was going to do his best to come back and stop Ellie getting that promotion. They both smiled.

Over the next week, Rose was taking extra special care of Alec, he'd been told by his doctor he needed 100% rest which included no work, no alcohol, no physical assertion, a daily walk of no more than an hour at most and that would increase his chances by at least 10%. So from Monday, she was taking him breakfast in bed and he'd get up late and watch some TV then when Rose had finished the housework, they'd get a taxi down to the harbour and go for a walk and they'd both sit outside the pub drinking lemonade or something similar and get a taxi home.

Rose put him on a healthy diet and so he wouldn't get jealous, she ate whatever he was having. If she stayed up watching TV, she had his permission to check on him before she went to bed, he would leave his door open so she'd hear him if he called out or if he got out of bed and collapsed. She was taking no chances, she wanted him to be okay for the long journey up to Glasgow.

On the Saturday, Rose checked all their packing was done, they had their train tickets and he had his admission letter and where he was going in the hospital. He was being admitted on the Monday morning and his operation was first thing Tuesday. Rose planned on staying with him right up to him being taken to the operating theatre and was going to wait there until it was over, no matter what happened. She knew he'd want her to go once he got settled in but she was going to defy him.

They had to leave early on the Sunday morning so a taxi had been ordered and their bags were in the kitchen ready to go. She made a light breakfast at seven, cleared the fridge of anything that would spoil while they were away and checked all the doors and windows. Ellie said she'd stop by every day and check on the place and would phone Rose on the Tuesday to see how he was doing if she didn't ring her first.

They got on the train to Exeter and would have a forty minute wait for the Glasgow train, allowing for any possible delays. When they arrived at Exeter, they found the platform and Rose checked their train was on time and went to get some hot drinks. The train was on time and they got their seats, which Alec had reserved in the quiet compartment to avoid any noise of crying babies or screaming kids or 'big kids and loudmouths' he'd said and they settled for the long journey. They talked occasionally in a low voice, had a few hot drinks and Alec closed his eyes for a while but Rose didn't dare even though the journey was tiring, she fought to stay awake. She had made it her job to get him to the hospital and bring him home and that was what she intended to do.

They had about another hour before they got to Glasgow, Alec had moved and was leaning on her arm, she didn't mind. He opened his eyes and noticed and took her hand and squeezed it and smiled at her. He sat up straight but kept hold of her hand and Rose just squeezed his back, telling him it was going to be okay. After they got off the train, they got a taxi to the hotel and checked in and said they'd meet for dinner but Alec still had to be careful what he ate. They talked while eating and Alec said he needed to talk to her before she went to her room so she went to his and he sat her down on one of the chairs and sat across from her.

"Rose, please don't come to the hospital with me tomorrow."

"No chance, I'm coming, so fire me. I said I was coming with you and that means to bring you home too so I'm staying. You're not getting rid of me that easily." He took her hand and started to protest but she started crying as she said, "So don't you dare die on me Alec Hardy."

He got up and pulled his chair close to hers and put his arm around her shoulder.

"Hey, come on, it should be me that's upset, not you. Don't cry Rose, please. If it makes you feel better than yes, I do want you to come to the hospital with me. I'm too stubborn to admit I need someone and I'm scared Rose, I really am but if I don't take this chance it will kill me anyway, six months, that's all. My condition is not getting any better, the medication can only do so much and it will stop working. I promise Rose, I'll fight this now, I had no-one to care about me until you came to work for me. Will you promise me something?" Rose nodded. "Be there when I wake up Rose, please."

Rose was crying freely now, he pulled her close so her head was on his shoulder and they just sat there while she cried. Then he looked at her said, "If you promise to be there, I promise to wake up, deal?" He held her close again and let her continue crying. "Please Rose, please stop crying, I don't want to cause so much pain. Look at me." She looked up. "You're the first person in a long time that's cared about me. When I saw you that day when you'd just arrived, I thought you were the brightest thing I'd seen since I got there and when Ellie told me who you were and that you desperately needed a job, I'd asked for your phone number and was going to call you when I bumped into you."

Rose looked up and didn't know what to say.

"I know you've been through a rough time lately, Ellie told me what happened in London was true, I shouldn't have doubted you, I'm sorry and she told me your boyfriend dumped you and your mother more or less turned against you. I'm going to get through this." He kissed her cheek. "I need to get some rest if I'm going to get through this. Will you do something for me? You can say no and I won't hold it against you, no comeback." She asked what it was. "Stay with me tonight Rose, I don't want to be on my own. Just stay and hold me, please?"

Rose looked up at him, he was pleading with her, how could she leave him alone the night before his operation? What if something happened to him and no-one was there.

"On one condition," she said.

"Anything," he promised.

"That you wake me at the slightest sign of feeling ill, promise? I'm going to get you to that hospital tomorrow then I'm taking you back home in one piece."

"Okay, I can do that. Why don't you go get your things?"

Rose was back in five minutes with what she needed, Alec was already in bed wearing his t-shirt and shorts. He just didn't want be alone, he was genuinely scared but was putting a brave face on for her. If all went well, he didn't want any complicated mess by having sex with her but if she just slept in the same bed, just being there, they could talk about it and put it down to comforting each other the night before his operation, she'd understand that, surely? If he didn't make it, well at least she wouldn't have left him alone and she'd have a clear conscience. Anyway, his doctor said no strenuous activities and that must surely include having sex.

Rose went in the bathroom to get changed and crossed nervously over to the bed. He asked if she had a preference which side she slept on, she said no. She got into the bed and turned towards him and asked if he was okay.

He put his arms around her and pulled her close and kissed her forehead and whispered, "Thank you," as she lay on his shoulder.

He turned out the light, his alarm was already set, he was allowed breakfast but they'd have to get it early.

He was just falling asleep when he heard her cry softly and felt his shoulder getting wet. He whispered for her not to cry, he'd be ok and kissed her forehead again.

"Please try to get some sleep Rose, we both need to be ready for tomorrow. How can I convince you I'll do everything I can to make it?"

She didn't answer but she stopped crying, pressing deeper into his shoulder, trying to avoid the wet patch on his t-shirt.

She lifted her head and whispered, "Sorry, I'm scared too Alec, you're the first person that's been kind to me without wanting anything in return. I've wet your t-shirt sleeve."

He moved his arm and pulled his t-shirt off and pulled her back on his shoulder only further round. She raised her head as he leaned down and their lips met.

Rose pulled back, feeling she'd done something terribly wrong but he just said her name and kissed her again, telling her it was okay. They kissed over and over again as he pulled her onto him until Rose resisted and moved back over.

"Rose, it's okay, you won't hurt me. Please, I want to feel you lying on me, nothing else, I swear, I'm not asking you to have sex with me, that's not fair when I don't know what's going to happen because that would only make it worse for you, remembering me for having one night with you then leaving you, I don't want you hating me. If I make it, we'll decide whether or not to take this any further. If you feel you can't work for me any more then fair enough, we'll just go back without any real harm being done and put this down to us both being scared and seeking comfort in each other."

Rose wasn't sure what she wanted but he deserved to have some comfort if the worse were to happen but how would she cope? It wasn't about her, it was about him, not being alone of his last night before he went into the hospital, maybe never to come out again. She thought back to how her mother must have felt when her husband had died on his own, wishing someone could have at least been with him and she had already decided she wasn't going to let Alec die on his own if it did happen so what harm was there in giving comfort to him? She did actually fancy him in a strange way, always keeping her distance since he was her employer but it wouldn't matter if he was gone. If he survived, she'd have to resign because it would be too embarrassing for both of them but there would only be one outcome to his operation, he'd come out or he wouldn't, there was no in-between.

She made a split second decision as he waited to see what she would do. She lay back on him and kissed him again as put his arms around her and said she was okay with it. Rose moved to get comfortable and they fell asleep. Alec woke when the alarm went off, nudging Rose as she'd slipped off him but his arm was still around her. They got dressed, Rose going into the bathroom and went to get an early breakfast then got a taxi to the hospital after Rose emptied his room and put his things in hers and handed in his key.

Alec handed his letter into the department he was directed to and was called into a room to take all his vitals and extra information they needed and went back to wait with Rose. He was called in to see the doctor and asked her to go in with him. The doctor was an old friend, one who'd been covering for him while he'd been on the murder case in Broadchurch and hadn't wanted anyone to know about him. They shook hands and Alec introduced Rose to him, saying she was his friend so not to be asked any awkward questions during or after the surgery.

Alec insisted that Rose be given 24 hr access to his room so she could come and go as she wished and told him that all necessary arrangements had been made in the event he didn't recover and that Rose had all the details and she was to be regarded as his next of kin and he didn't want his ex wife informing unless it was absolutely necessary and Rose would make any decisions for him.

Rose was horrified when he said it, they hadn't talked about that. How could she make such decisions for him? He saw the look on her face and explained that if they had to switch off any machines or life support, saying he wouldn't make it, she had to tell them to go ahead. Rose got up and ran out of the room, how could he ask such a thing of her? She sat outside until he came out and said he was sorry, he shouldn't have sprung that on her and said his doctor had given him a form to sign that would give the necessary permission in such an event and he couldn't apologise enough to her.

She forgave him telling him he had a lot of making up to do for it so he'd better survive. He was shown to a private room and got undressed behind the screen and then given an assessment and was told he could have a light lunch and another light meal around 5pm but nothing after that and they would be starting him on some drips for fluids and something to help his breathing. They talked for a while, trying to take their minds off things until Rose came back after he'd had his afternoon meal, then the nurse came in to start treatment in preparation for his operation so Rose checked at the nurse's station that she'd been given free access to his room and asked what time they'd be taking him down in the morning. She was allowed back into his room and asked if he wanted anything. He said just to survive this now because he had something to live for and said he wished he'd met her before. Rose said she wished so too.

She stayed until after nine, Alec was getting tired and he said she should go, get some rest and asked if she'd be there when they took him to the operating theatre.

"Of course I will and I'll be outside while you're having it. I'm not leaving until you come out, alive. You're going to get through this so don't you dare leave me sitting there waiting for you."

She was getting tearful again as he took her hand and kissed the back of it.

"Come here," he said, patting the edge of the bed.

She got up from the chair at his side and sat on the edge of the bed, leaning towards him. He had a drip going into his left hand and a breathing tube so he took that out and laid it to one side.

"Just one more kiss before you go, please Rose, do that for me."

She leaned down and kissed him and he put his arm around her neck as their lips parted and she began to cry.

He wiped her tears away with his hand saying, "Rose, you are the sweetest person I've met in a long time, no-one has ever cried over me before, I don't deserve your tears. Go and get some sleep, I'm going to need you tomorrow. Promise you'll be waiting for me when I wake up before they take me down and hold my hand on the way there."

Through her tears she managed to say, "I promise, Alec," then kissed him again.

She got up and let go of his hand saying she'd see him in the morning. She went to the nurse's station and said she'd be back in the morning, checking again what time they were coming for him and what time they'd be waking him. She got a taxi back to the hotel and tried to get some sleep after she rang Ellie to say he was comfortable in his room and she was going to stay outside the theatre while he was having his operation. Ellie said to tell him she wished him luck and asked how she was holding up.

"I'm not really, I'm just being brave for him. My dad died on his own and I vowed I wouldn't let that happen to Alec if it came to the worse. I've not even told my mum about it, only you. He's getting to me Ellie, what do I do if he doesn't make it?" she asked her friend tearfully.

"Rose, he has you by his side now, he's got every reason to fight now. Have you told him how you feel about him? If you haven't, then you need to tell him before he goes tomorrow, give him even more reason to make it. If he doesn't, then he'll go knowing someone actually cared about him, you can do that for him, you can make a difference to him. Tell him you care about him."

Chapter 3

They said goodbye with Rose promising to tell her as soon as the operation was over. She didn't sleep much, she'd set her alarm for five thirty to get back to the hospital for six, she'd promised she'd be there when he woke up and she had to tell him how she felt about him, to give him a reason to fight. She was awake before her alarm went off so she got dressed and waited for a taxi to take her to the hospital. She got a funny look from the night staff when she headed for his room but made them check it was okay for her to go in. She was sat at his side when he woke up, holding his hand and said, "Hi."

"I said I'd be here when you woke up and there's something I need to tell you Alec. I care about you," she said, leaning over and kissing him despite his breathing tube.

He kissed her back then she rested her head on his shoulder and he kissed her cheek and whispered, "I care about you too Rose."

They clung hold of each other until they heard a tap on the door. Rose opened it and a nurse and two orderlies came in to take him for surgery just before eight. Rose had picked up her purse, having collected Alec's valuables the day before and she followed them out of the room and walked by the side of the bed and held his hand wherever possible until they reached the operating theatre. He was left a few minutes while they checked they were ready for him and Rose took the opportunity to kiss him one more time.

"This isn't the last one Alec, we'll talk about this when you come round after your operation. You might as well fire me because I'm not going back to just being your housekeeper any more."

She saw him smile and he kissed her hand and replied, "Well you're fired then if I make it and if I don't, well you know, everything's been taken care of and if I don't get chance to say goodbye, promise me you'll look after yourself and remember me, Rose Tyler, you've made a big difference to my life the last few weeks."

Now he was trying to hold back the tears to be brave for her.

Tearfully she kissed him again just as a nurse came out and saw them. The nurse just smiled and said they were going to get him prepared and told her there was a waiting area just around the corner outside the other entrance to the theatre. She said he'd be taken to the recovery room afterwards and all the extra care he'd been taking over the past few weeks and his rest in the hospital had dramatically improved his chances. Rose seemed much brighter at this news as he was being taken in, taking one last glance at him with a tear in her eye. The nurse asked what her relationship was with him as it was on the form she was his next of kin and Rose said she was just his friend and he had no-one else.

Alec's doctor came out and explained to her the risks because Alec had asked him to tell her what was involved. He said his chances had significantly improved since he was examined a few weeks ago and he suspected she was something to do with it. He'd just spoken with Alec who had asked him to tell her if he didn't make to tell her he loved her but couldn't tell her. Rose said if he spoke with Alec again to tell him she loved him too. He assured her they'd do everything humanly possible to get him through this. She said she knew they would.

It was going to be a long wait, she knew that. She'd turned off her phone already and walked across to the drinks machine just a few feet away and got some coffee. She paced up and down, waiting for news every time someone walked past. No-one came out of the doors she was sat across from. She thought of closing her eyes for a few minutes but she didn't want to miss any of it. No-one went in and no-one came out, it was all quiet. She supposed the other operating theatres were further down the corridor. She checked the time, he'd been in over two hours. Rose had no idea how long and complicated these things were and was hoping the longer it took, the more chance he had. She'd settle for any kind of news right now, that they were still operating on him or it was all over and he was okay, she didn't want to hear the operation had failed, that was now unthinkable. She'd told him how she felt about him and he couldn't bring himself to say it directly but she knew if he survived it would be because she had told him.

She thought back to when she'd arrived in Broadchurch, it could have been anyone who had stopped that day but it was him and he could have ignored Ellie's suggestion about employing her and got anyone but no, he'd chosen to employ her after they'd only just met. He'd not even asked for references or checked her work record, he'd taken Ellie's word for it that she trusted her. He had to survive but if he'd taken it the wrong way when she said he'd have to fire her, that he really was going to dispense with her services but then he'd said he loved her so he must have meant it the same as she had.

She got up again and was just going to get another drink when one of the doors opened and a nurse came out but she didn't stop to talk to her, she just walked down the corridor. Rose went to the machine and just sat down again when the nurse went back through the door again. She was getting anxious, it was almost three hours but she knew procedures had to be followed, they couldn't give her any news until there was some, one way or the other, they had to be sure. They couldn't tell her he was okay just for something to go wrong. Even if he survived the operation, she knew the next 48 hrs would be critical to him and she was going to stay 24hrs if she needed to, she couldn't go back to the hotel until she knew he'd stabilized. She was going to sit by his bedside even if he insisted she should go. She'd put a few things into her purse in case she needed to stay, just a change of underwear and some toiletries, she could get a shower when he was finally out of the woods.

No news is good news, she thought as she got up to go to the ladies room for the umpteenth time as she'd been drinking too much coffee, hoping they wouldn't come looking for her while she was gone but they'd come back out if she wasn't there, no-one was around to tell. She was back two minutes later, the doors were still closed. If someone had come out there would be signs, more people coming out. This was getting unbearable, why wouldn't someone tell her something, anything. If this was a taste of what it would be like for the next 48 hrs she was going to go crazy, especially if he didn't come round straight away, they might keep him sedated to minimise any risks.

The door opened again and two nurses came out, one went off and the other came over to her so she stood up. This was it but they wouldn't send a nurse out to tell her if he hadn't made it, his doctor would come and speak to her. The nurse asked if she was Rose Tyler. Rose said she was. The nurse said the operation was over and they had taken Mr Hardy into the recovery room and said she'd take her to him. She fell backwards onto the chair and the nurse steadied her. Rose picked up her purse and followed her a few doors down. There were a few patients lying on beds and one had a curtain around which she assumed was Alec. The nurse pointed and said he'd be out for an hour or two and that they'd come and check on him but she could stay with him. Rose thanked her and went behind the curtain.

He had a bandage where they had inserted the pacemaker, his chest was bare and he was still attached to a heart rate monitor but the drip was gone. The monitor was beeping steadily as he lay with his eyes closed but he had more colour in his cheeks than she'd seen before and his breathing was steadily. She leaned forward and kissed his cheek then sat down away from the monitor, held his hand and waited for him to wake up. She never took her eyes off the display, wondering what it all meant and after about half an hour, a nurse came to check on him and she asked if everything was okay. The nurse said that his doctor would be coming in when Alec came round and to call them if he woke up or if she was worried but they would hear the monitor if anything went wrong. She thanked the nurse, sat back in the chair, still holding his hand and closed her eyes.

Rose was half asleep, she could hear a loud noise like an alarm, her hand was wrenched away from Alec's and someone was asking her to move out of the way. She scrambled to her feet, still not fully aware of what was going on as people came in with a crash cart, shouting orders and telling everyone to stand clear. She was near the curtain, someone was talking to her but she couldn't answer, they were asking if she was his next of kin and she was saying she was. Then she was being asked what arrangements had been made and she couldn't understand how one minute he'd been fine, then she'd fallen asleep and he was fading as the alarm continued and more shouting going on until someone said he'd gone. She was standing there in a daze, people were leaving, a hand was on her shoulder, it was his doctor and she was asking him how this could happen but he wasn't answering her, he was telling her what a fine man he was and he was sorry he couldn't save him but his condition was too severe.

Rose's own heart was pounding, everything was a haze, it was unreal. She was asking again how it could happen, she wasn't getting anywhere with her questions but she was being asked what relation she was to him, was she his wife? Did she know who to contact? She was led to a chair and more questions were asked but she wanted to see him and was told he'd been taken away but she'd not seen anyone come in. She demanded to be taken to him to say goodbye, she'd promised him he wouldn't die alone but was told it was too late. She wanted to cry but she was angry, angry with him for leaving her when she'd just told him how she felt then she remembered something and asked his doctor what Alec had said before he went into surgery. He didn't answer at first like he was thinking. She was saying for him to tell her everything Alec had said when he'd asked him to speak to her but he couldn't answer.

Rose was getting hysterical, she wanted to see Alec, to say goodbye and they were telling her it wasn't possible, his ex wife was there but Rose knew that Alec had requested for her not to be contacted and left no details for her, only Rose's. More and more things were not adding up in her mind as she stared at the curtain that was still pulled across and she could hear a noise. She looked around and everyone was gone as she dashed to the curtain and flung it open to see Alec, laid on the bed, still attached to the monitor and it beeping steadily.

She woke up in a cold sweat, her hand still holding Alec's as he lay there looking at her, wide awake and sort of smiling.

"Hey, I thought I was the one who had been knocked out, I've been awake for ten minutes, a nurse just popped her head around the curtain and I shushed her and pointed to you. She's coming back." He lifted her hand and kissed it. "You were well out of it Rose," he added.

She got up and leaned over him and kissed his cheek.

"Hi, you made it then? I was so worried, when they brought you in here I must have dozed off and I was dreaming that…" she trailed off, not wanting to tell him.

"Tell me Rose, were you dreaming that I didn't make it?" She nodded, a tear falling down her cheek. "I feel fine apart from my head's still a bit foggy so we need to talk when I get back to my room and you can tell me what you were dreaming about. Now come here and give me a proper kiss before I go crazy."

Rose obliged and kissed him like never before, carefully avoiding his breathing tube, it was more like a proper snogging.

"We have a lot to talk about. I vaguely remember firing you before the anaesthetic took hold of me. I can't have you working for me now. You stuck by me Rose, you didn't have to, you could have stayed at home or just dumped me in the hospital and I'm really sorry, it wouldn't be right for you to carry on being my housekeeper, I don't want any gossip, a DI and a housekeeper, I won't win any popularity contests as it is. I wouldn't have made it without you, you looked after me, went above and beyond your housekeeping duties and I'm truly grateful but when we get back you'll have to find another job."

Rose took her hand back. Didn't he remember any of it? The kissing before he went in, staying in his bed the night before he came in? Promising she'd be taken care of if something happened to him? Her anguish during the operation? Then getting his doctor to tell her if he died to tell her he loved her? Had he not intended to survive when he'd made all these provisions? Was it all for show, them getting close just days before he came here? Some sort of feeling wanted and cared for before he'd resigned himself to the inevitable? So many questions went through her mind at the same time. He'd kissed her just then because he was just happy to be alive, nothing more. He'd said they could just go back to the way things had been and it had been nothing more that making him feel wanted.

She found her voice after swallowing hard and letting it sink in that he hadn't meant what he'd said.

"So your doctor gave me a message from you before he started the operation and I gave him one back. You didn't mean it did you, you were just trying to make me feel better if you died? I'd better go then, you don't want me hanging around while you're trying to get well. I'll wait in the hotel until you're ready to go home then I'll travel back with you and make sure you're okay while you advertise for a new housekeeper," she said tearfully and picked up her purse."Do you want me to leave your phone and wallet for when you go back to your room?"

"Rose, you've got it all wrong," he said.

Rose stood up and took his things out of her purse and put them on the chair and turned away as he grabbed her arm.
"I said you've got it all wrong, I meant that I can't have you working for me because I'm in love with you, what did you think I meant?"

He looked at her as she freed her arm.

"Then what was that just then?"

He was about to answer when someone came in to move him back to his room so Rose picked up his things and followed them down the corridor, keeping her distance until he called her to his side.

"I think we got our wires crossed Rose."

They got to his room and the nurse checked everything and hooked him back up to the heart rate monitor and said he could have a light meal and suggested Rose went to get something to eat herself while he was having his, there was a café on the next level so she reluctantly agreed. The nurse left saying she'd be back in half an hour and closed the door behind her. There was an awkward silence between them as Rose sat in the chair beside him.

"I'm a prat Rose, I could never convey my feelings properly which is probably why my ex wife left me. I'm sorry. I can't have you working for me, I want you to move in properly with me, as my girlfriend, if you want. I meant that message I gave to pass on to you and was told what you'd said. I was still a bit groggy, I wasn't thinking straight and it came out all wrong. I do care for you Rose, from the day I first saw you sitting by the harbour and I kicked myself for walking away when I saw you go into the B&B because I thought you were just on holiday. I want us to start again when we get back. You don't have to look for another job if you don't want to, I can support you but you might get bored. I need you Rose, please stay. I love you."

She got up, she was now holding his hand and she leaned down and kissed his cheek.

"Yes, you are a prat for making me think you didn't care, that you had just put on a show the last few days so you wouldn't be on your own and…" she stopped as he pulled her towards him and kissed her, awkwardly since wires were in the way.

He let go. "I'll make it up to you, I promise. The last few weeks I really wanted to get through this because while you were working for me I realised I wanted more but didn't know how you'd react, I didn't want to scare you away. That's why I took it slowly, to see if you felt the same way then when you told me you couldn't go back to just being my housekeeper, I knew I had to make it through."

He was running his fingers in-between hers as she sat on the edge of the bed.

"Go get something to eat, then we'll talk again, I'm not going anywhere and if they need you, they'll call you but I have you to live for now, if you'll have me?"

"Alec, I love you too, you're the first man who's really been kind to me and I wanted to get closer to you after the first week, before we moved in but I was scared you'd fire me then because you wanted to be on your own. I know it was awkward but I should have said something, talked to you about it when you'd take me out for a walk or for lunch and when we just sat and watched TV together. I thought when you came round you didn't want me any more."

"Rose, I do want you, if you'll give me a chance to make it up to you, please? I want to know all about you and more about your recent experience with those shop window dummies and where you grew up but first, you need to go get something to eat, go get some rest and come back later. You promised me you'd look after yourself and I'm holding you to that promise. I need you."

Rose rested her head on his shoulder as he kissed her forehead.

"Okay, I will but I'm only getting something to eat then I'm coming back. I'll get some rest later." She kissed his cheek and got up. "I'm going to call Ellie to let her know you're okay. Do you need anything before I go?"

He shook his head and pointed to his cheek so she leaned down again and at the last second she caught his lips and they both smiled. Rose went to find the café while Alec had something to eat and she called her friend.

"He's okay Ellie, he made it I've just left him in his room. I told him how I felt about him and he fired me, said I couldn't be his housekeeper any more."

Ellie interrupted her before she could tell her the rest. "Oh Rose, I'm so sorry, I wouldn't have said anything if I'd known. That's not fair, let me talk to him."

"Ellie, I didn't mean he'd fired me because I told him I cared about him, he said he didn't want me to continue working for him because he wanted me to be his girlfriend, not just his housekeeper. I love him Ellie and I know it seems crazy because we've not know each other long but he told me he loves me."

Ellie went quiet. She was finding it hard to believe that her for the time being ex-boss was capable of such a thing, Rose must have left a deep mark on him indeed. Rose said goodbye to her and told her they'd come and see her when they got back. She was going to have a full-time job making sure Alec behaved and got better so he could live normally again.

She went back to his room but he was resting so she sat in the chair holding his hand, waiting for him to wake up. She was dozing off when he squeezed her hand.

"Hi, how are you feeling now, you're looking much better."

"I feel better though I still feel a bit sore but it will pass. Come and sit over here," he said, patting the bed and moving his legs over.

Rose sat on the edge and leaned over to kiss him. She had a lot she wanted to say but not until he was better, it could wait.

"Tell me one thing Rose, why didn't you stay at home? Why did you insist you stayed by my beside and outside the operating theatre? Last week before we set off, you never left my side and even when I talked about not going back with you it didn't put you off. Why were you so persistent?"

"I grew up without my dad, he died when I was six months old. My mum told me he died alone, no-one was with him and she wished someone had been with him to hold his hand. So when you told me you wanted to go on your own for your operation and you didn't know if you were coming back, I decided I wasn't going to let you do it alone. I couldn't be there for my dad so I wanted to be there for you."

Alec couldn't say anything, he was lost for words at this young woman who had come into his life from nowhere and turned it around. He'd never met anyone as selfless as Rose before. She cared about him. They talked about what they would do when they got back, he'd have to be off work another few weeks at least while he got better and then see the police medical officer so he said that they'd go away for a week, maybe a relaxing cruise, he didn't like small boats but said he'd be okay an a cruise ship. He said she could book it when they got back and they'd find a last minute one.

Rose stayed until late then reluctantly went back to the hotel. She stayed all day the next two days and Friday morning when his doctor came around, Alec was told he could go back to the hotel on the condition he rested and could travel on Sunday when it was quieter but he had to check in with the local hospital for a checkup on Monday and the arrangements were made. Rose extended the hotel room for another night and he was discharged.

When they got back to the hotel, Rose made him relax just lying on the bed with him, talking and kissing properly without all the wires and the breathing tube in him, making their plans. Rose reserved two seats in the quiet compartment on the train back to Exeter for Sunday morning, checking for connecting trains. Alec wanted to show her around Glasgow on the Saturday but she wouldn't let him go far and then only by taxi to the main area of the city for an hour. Saturday night, Alec was feeling much better so they very gently made love for the first time, Rose taking the lead, she didn't want him back in hospital again.

When they got back to Broadchurch, Rose moved her things from her old room and moved them into Alec's and called her mum to say she was okay but didn't tell her about their new relationship. She booked a 12 night cruise leaving the following Saturday from Southampton and they set off by train, getting a taxi from the station to the docks and getting settled into their cabin and watching the port fade away in the distance. During the cruise, Alec repeatedly told her how much he loved her, what a difference she had made to his life. They stayed mostly on the ship during the cruise, some of the ports were hours away from the main destinations, they just visited the local villages and towns nearby, getting taxis.

On the last night, they went on deck in the moonlight and he asked her to marry him, just six weeks after they'd met and asked if it was too soon. She said it wasn't, she would love to marry him and said she'd go find another job when he was well enough to go back to work but he said he'd prefer her not to but if she did, just for a few hours a day because he wanted nothing to change with them. He wanted her to kiss him goodbye every morning and be there when he got home so she promised she'd do that.

They didn't have a long engagement, they travelled up to Glasgow for the new year and got married in the small town where Alec grew up. Rose wasn't speaking to her mother by this time, every phonecall was finishing with an argument when she found out Rose was living with an older man so she was effectively on her own apart from having Alec. Now she was Mrs Alec Hardy and they had settled down in Broadchurch, Alec was back at work full time and he was back on full duties and Rose had found a part-time job in a book store.

Rose often joked with Alec about the time she was attacked by the plastic dummies and finally told him the entire story and how the man in the blue Police Box had tried to take her with him. Alec was alarmed at the prospect of her going off with a stranger and she said he had room to talk, she'd gone off with him two minutes after meeting him and he jokingly said that was because he was a real Policeman and not pretending to be travelling around in a Police Box. He wanted to go to London to find this man and charge him with attempted kidnapping and Rose thought he was joking again but he wasn't.

Rose was glad she'd decided not to go with that man with the northern accent and had the sense to walk away but if it hadn't been for him, she and the entire population would have been turned into plastic or worse so she did owe him that much. She wouldn't have lost her job and so she'd never have met Alec, the best thing that had ever happened to her and if her dad was looking down on her, she knew he'd be proud she had stood by Alec when he needed her the most and had been prepared to stay with him even when he thought he was going to die and hold his hand and be even prouder how she'd grown up and married a Police Detective Inspector and probably saved his life, something she'd never been able to do for her dad.

Alec would tell her of reports coming in from London about strange goings on like a spaceship crashing into Big Ben which had turned out to be a hoax and how people had reported seeing an old fashioned Police Box in several locations but near disasters had been suddenly averted except for an earthquake in the Cardiff Bay area that was unexplained. Rose told him she wondered if it had been anything to do with that man she'd met and told Alec he'd said he was called 'The Doctor' and that she could have easily been lead into going with him when the box had moved locations and although she'd been in a state of shock after her ordeal, he had mentioned about it travelling in time which was when she'd walked away thinking he was nuts and should be locked up. A strange man though did pick up the Olympic torch when it had been dropped in 2012.

Alec said she'd done the right thing walking away and a year later, Rose had their first child, a boy and they named him Peter Alan after her dad.

The End