Alec Hardy and the maths tutor

AU - Set before the events of Danny's murder, Rose Tyler gets offered a place at university to study to be a maths teacher when she meets Alec Hardy, who is looking for a tutor for his daughter. He is on the verge of divorce but they are drawn together and they realise they are falling in love but then a case falls apart and he has to move to Broadchurch.

This is just my version of events leading to Alec Hardy moving to Broadchurch and takes place in 2012. Rose is just an ordinary woman who never met The Doctor.

Chapter 1

Rose had been delighted to be finally offered a place in one of the best universities in the country after her college professor said she should apply. She had started her studies late after going in several directions and finally settling on wanting to be a mathematics teacher so she had enrolled at a local college and passed all the relevant exams to go ahead. Packing wasn't going to be easy, she had managed to get a room at one of the campuses but she had heard about how cramped and over-priced they were but when she finally arrived, it wasn't so bad.

Settling in on her first day having checked her schedule, Rose decided to go find the library since she couldn't afford all the extra books she needed so she was going to have to get a weekend job to pay for some and make do with borrowing them for now. The library was busy for a Monday evening, term started on Thursday, rather oddly Rose had thought but supposed there was a reason for it. She had opted to arrive early to find her way around the city and since she lived on campus, she wouldn't have to pay for transport unless she wanted to go somewhere.

Her first year went smoothly, she made some friends, had a couple of dates, nothing serious and went home for the summer holidays. Arriving back early again, she thought about the vast amount of books she still had to purchase and thought now she had one years experience behind her, she could offer her services to frantic parents whose children were struggling with their maths, since they would all be going up a class and the maths problems would get more difficult.

So she put an ad in the local shops and the university's library and waited to see if anyone wanted to engage her expertise.


Alec Hardy was tired of all the fighting at home, thinking he would be best just moving out, if it hadn't been for his daughter that was. He only stayed for her. He remembered what it was like for him, growing up with his parents fighting and hiding in his room or under some cliffs he remembered from a childhood holiday, somewhere on the south coast of England. He spent his off duty time helping his 13yr old daughter Daisy struggle with her maths homework, everything else she was really good at and at 13, she was virtually impossible to tell to get on with it and when he was there, he banned her from watching TV and then she would get her mother to take her side, which ended in another round of arguments.

When his wife deemed to be at home at the same time as he was, they avoided each other, Alec had moved into the spare room, well box room, just space for a bed and a wardrobe and Tess would always let her daughter off lightly for leaving any homework until the last minute and it was always him that had to go explain to the teacher why his daughter's grades were low. Daisy was about to start a new school year and her new teacher may not be as understanding as her last one.

His daughter's maths teacher, Mrs Adams turned out to be keen to help where she could but the school had a policy of no keeping pupils after hours to catch up so she suggested that he advertise for a maths tutor or look one up in the phone book or on the internet. Failing that, if they were too expensive, she suggested he looked up the ads in the university library or the papershop just near the building where the students often placed ads offering to tutor each other in exchange for being taught another subject or for payment.

Taking her advice, on one of his next days off, he decided to go to the library, which was quite near where he lived and seeing if anyone was offering maths tuition and saw a card on the crowded notice board and pulled it off to look at it and write the number down. The name read Rose Tyler and she was offering help with maths related homework and it said rates negotiable so he was very interested. He thought she would be the geeky type if she was a maths student but it didn't matter as long as she could get Daisy in the right frame of mind to catch up to her new class.

He had just noted the number down in his notebook when he heard a voice behind him.

"I hope you're gonna put that card back you know, I intended it to reach more than one person and if you walk off with it, I'll have to replace it."

Alec turned around, putting his pen and notebook back in his jacket. There behind him stood a very pretty five foot something blonde haired woman with hazel eyes and a grin that would melt a block of ice, staring at him.

"Excuse me? This is your advert? For your information, Miss Tyler, I did intend putting the card back once I had noted your details. Do you make a habit of keeping an eye of who picks your advertisement up?"

Rose tried not to blush.

"Not usually, I was just on my way to study. I can't afford the extra books, that's why I'm offering tuition. I'm in my second year, I reckon I can solve any secondary school maths problems."

"I've no doubt you can. What about 13yr olds with problems that they don't actually want to do their maths homework?"

Rose widened her grin.

"Oh, I specialize in those."

"Then you're hired Miss Tyler," Alec said, handing the card to her after scribbling his address on the back with the pen he withdrew back out of his pocket.

"Why don't you come along tonight around five and I'll introduce you to the guilty party? I'm Alec Hardy by the way and the reluctant pupil is my daughter, Daisy. Can you find your way there?"

"Sure, I know where that is," Rose replied, turning over the card and reading the address.

"So about your fees? Why don't you tell me how many books you need and we can work something out? You give Daisy lessons say, three days a week for an hour but starting at four, tonight you just come round and meet her and it will give you chance to change your mind."

"Why, is she really that bad?"

"You think back to when you were that age and then tell me."

Rose laughed. This was going to be a challenge.

"Well I'll make a list of books I need then and work out how much they cost, I can buy second-hand ones."

"Good. I'll see you at five then. My wife should be home by then, not that you need her approval."

Rose was rather relieved he was married, she didn't fancy having to fend him off. When she had seen him take her ad off the board, she thought he was one of those types that just did it to rile the person who had placed it and had no intention of making any use of it but she had been thankful that he was going to give her a job, one that might mean her work would be cut out for her if his description of his daughter was accurate. She remembered what a terror she and her cousins used to be at that age. She was now 25 and it seemed a long time ago.

Alec walked off, slightly pleased with himself that it had been so easy to find someone. She seemed smart and had a sense of humour and he was sure his daughter would relate to her. She seemed to be in her early to mid twenties and not at all the geeky type, not that he really knew what one actually looked like.

When he got home, his wife was still on duty and no doubt would take her time coming home as usual, when he had gone through all the usual persuasion methods to get Daisy to do her homework. He had strong suspicions Tess was seeing someone at the station, he had received a few looks like everyone knew apart from him.

He looked in the mirror. He needed a shave but it was one of his days off, to hell with it. He was no longer trying to impress anyone, certainly not his wife. He had taken to the spare room because she ignored him anyway and purposely hogged all the space in bed and he could no longer put up with it. They had both agreed to keep it to a minimum when Daisy was around but Alec suspected the girl knew there was something which was probably why she didn't want to do her homework.

Daisy came home from school and threw her bag in the hallway and went to see what she could find in the fridge. Alec got the usual, "Mum always had snacks for me," or "Mum always made me a sandwich," when she was perfectly old enough to be making her own. Alec had decided he was not going to pamper her.

"Daisy, what homework do you have tonight?"

The girl stopped in her tracks.

"Some English and some maths. I'm not doing the maths, you know I don't like it, I'm rubbish at it. Why do I even have to do it, it's not like I'm ever going to need that stuff anyway."

"You will if you want to go to college. Do you even know what you want to do yet?"

He got no answer.

"Well, I hired you a maths tutor, to help you catch up. It will make the subject less daunting."

The girl rolled her eyes.

"Are you kidding me dad? Seriously? Some old woman who will stand over me and rap my fingers if I get a sum wrong and I have to go to and from someone's house every night."

"For one, your new tutor is coming here and secondly, she's not old, she's a university second year student who knows enough about what you're being taught in your class. You can meet her in about an hour. Her name is Rose Tyler so be civil to her and don't be cheeky."

Rose had finished her class and went back to her room to get changed to go and meet Daisy Hardy, supposed troublesome 13yr old who didn't like maths and she hoped she would be able to present the subject in an enjoyable way but she wasn't going to put up with any nonsense with the girl and she was going to tell the girl's father as much. She might not be that much older but she was going to get some respect out of the girl.

Just before five, Rose was outside the Hardy family home, not far from the university and she rang the doorbell. A young brown-haired girl answered.

"Hi, are you Daisy Hardy? I'm Rose Tyler, your dad asked me to call and see you about tutoring you in maths."

The girl shrugged her shoulders, taking a bite out an apple.

"Dad, the tutor's here," she called, showing no interest.

Rose thought she may just be wasting her time here but she needed those books or it meant even more hours spent in the library and getting thrown out at closing time.

Alec came out of the kitchen to see his daughter had left the woman standing on the doorstep.

"Daisy, where are your manners? I'm sorry Miss Tyler, please come in. Daisy, get your maths homework and show Miss Tyler what sort of work you're doing."

"Whatever Dad."

The girl slouched her way up the stairs.

Alec showed Rose into the living room.

"I apologise for her, she's getting worse but I suppose it will get much worser. Now, about your rates, did you bring that list of books you need?"

Rose went in her shoulder bag and brought out a piece of paper and handed it to him. The total came to over £200. He thought at that rate, she would have to work two months to earn enough even if she came three times a week.

"Look Miss Tyler, why don't I meet you at the university book store and pay for these, then you'll have them and you can work it off? That way, you won't have to wait for them."

"But you don't know me, Mr Hardy and I may not get on with your daughter."

"You'll do fine. If it gets so bad, you can pay me off for the books then you're free to leave. Deal?"

Rose knew she wouldn't get a better offer.


Daisy came in with her homework and Alec left the two of them. Soon, he heard laughing coming from the living room and just hoped they were actually doing some work. He needn't have worried as Daisy came in to show him when she had finished.

"Rose is a lot of fun Dad, she showed me an easy way of doing it and then I did it all by myself. Can she come again? I need help with all the homework I never finished, then I can get my grade."

Alec smiled. Yes, Miss Tyler could indeed come over again, she had performed a miracle with her, she didn't seem like the same girl and he wondered what else the woman would be able to change in her. Daisy didn't have a lot of friends, well not that he approved of anyway. He just hoped Tess wouldn't object when she came home and Daisy told her. He could just imagine it now. His wife would use any excuse to get to him and having a young blonde woman in the house for an hour a day, three times a week was giving her ammunition. He just needed to get some proof that she was cheating on him then he would be out.

He had just made himself and Rose a cup of tea when the kitchen door opened and in walked his wife. Daisy had apparently told her that Alec was in the kitchen with her new maths tutor.

"So, who's this then Alec? Isn't she a bit young for a maths tutor? What else does she teach then? And she's drinking my tea."

Rose got up to retrieve her shoulder bag and held her hand out.

"Hi, I'm Rose Tyler, I was tutoring your daughter with her maths, she did quite well."

"Oh are you now?" the other woman asked. "Why didn't you consult with me before you hired anyone and does she have to be so young?"

Rose thought she had become invisible and decided to try to sneak out while she could. The woman she believed was Mrs Hardy, was glaring at her.

"Because I only hired her today. You're not helping Daisy do her maths homework, do you want her to fail all her exams again? Rose will bring her up to standard so she won't miss out on her grades. Rose happens to be a second year student at the university."

"Oh, so that's where you found her?"

"Oh come on Tess, be reasonable. Rose is coming here three times a week for an hour, that's all. She needs the money to buy books. I'm sorry Rose, perhaps it's best you leave now, I'll see you at five on Wednesday."

Rose was about to say she thought he had originally said four but wasn't going to argue. Maybe he was going to make sure she wasn't left alone with his jealous wife, not that there was absolutely anything to be jealous of, they had just met and he was employing her. He had said nothing about getting her books for her and she didn't even know what line of work he was in, whether he was well off or just struggling along like everyone else but he had offered to buy her books for her up front.

When Rose had left, his wife turned on him again.

"Well if you think I'm going to be here while she is, forget it Alec. I can find some extra work to do at the station. Oh and by the way, the chief wants to see you in the morning so you had better smarten yourself up, you look like you haven't shaved for two days."

"Well that's because I haven't. Can't I do what I please on my day's off? Geez. What does he want to see me for, have there been any new developments in the case?"

"Don't ask me, find out for yourself tomorrow and that Rose had better be gone on Wednesday when I get back. I don't want her influencing Daisy."

"If anything, she'll do her some good. I can't keep covering up for her with her maths teacher and Daisy actually enjoyed herself earlier."

Rose was there to tutor their daughter for three hours a week and Daisy would be there the whole time. He should be the one to be jealous if anything, her getting 'extra' work at the station? It was just an excuse to stay away from him and now he was even more certain she was seeing someone behind his back. His suspicions were about to be confirmed the next day.

Chapter 2

Rose was glad to get out of the Hardy house and hoped she hadn't caused any trouble. It was quite obvious things were not right between the two of them but it was non of her business, they would probably make up later. She was happy that Daisy had taken to her and could relate to being that age and not wanting to learn anything and it had been easy to gain the girl's confidence. She wished that the girl's father had said something about getting her books though so it was back to the library again.

She had just gone back for her notes when her phone rang, an unknown number and she didn't like not knowing who was calling.

"Hello, is that Rose?" came a vaguely familiar Scottish voice.

"Yes, is that Mr Hardy?"

"Yes, I wanted to apologize for my wife. It seems I neglected to inform her I was hiring a tutor. About your books though, I have to go back to work tomorrow but are you getting them from the university book store?"

"Yes, they have the ones I need though I don't know for how much longer."

"Well how about you meet me there tomorrow at five thirty and you can get them, is that ok?"

"Great and you don't have to apologise to me I understand. I'll meet you outside the store tomorrow then."

Hardy hung up, regretting he had let his wife get the better of him, he knew she did it on purpose, to get him to leave and leave her free to do as she pleased but if he did, who would look after Daisy? She was the only reason he was putting up with this and now he was a hit after employing this young woman but it seemed Tess had already decided he had an ulterior motive. Maybe she was just using that as an excuse.

The next day, Alec was deciding whether to have a shave, thinking how much it had annoyed his wife and it wasn't looking too bad, a few days growth and he wouldn't let it get too thick. He arrived at the station, hearing whispers again and knew something was definitely going on.

The chief was waiting for him.

"Alec, have a seat. I spoke with your wife yesterday, she wants to be moved off your team. I know you work slightly different hours but I tend to agree with her. She'll still be on this case and you'll still be in charge but things are dragging on and if we're not careful, the plug will be pulled so I'm putting her in the second team. Any objections?"

Alec was more relieved than anything, he wouldn't have to see her during the day except for the daily briefing.

"Fine, yes, whatever it takes." Then he thought about it. "Isn't Jim Hannah on that team?"

"Yes, why do you ask? Tess will be partnered with him. They're both DS's and she will keep the same hours that she's working now. I understand she has your daughter to see off to school and be home for, that's why she leaves early."

That was news to Alec. While Jim Hannah wasn't that good looking, well in his opinion, he was one for the ladies, having chatted up several members of the team and other sections and been reported for harassment twice, getting away with a warning, Alec wondered if he had been successful with Tess. Maybe that was why she was so keen to move. If she was leaving early, on the pretence of being home for Daisy, then where was she? He was worried now, he worked more or less his own hours, being in charge so he had made a point of starting early and getting home early and his wife had never been home before him except on her days off.

Rose had attended her classes and was itching to go get her books so she wouldn't have to spend all evening in the library. It wasn't like she had anyone to study with so she wouldn't miss anyone's company, well maybe except Martha, who was a second year medical student she used to talk to sometimes and she supposed it did get her out but now she could study in her own time and maybe have a bit of a social life for a change.

Alec knew he shouldn't have arranged to meet Rose Tyler on his own but he had promised her those book so he made his way to the university book store just before five thirty and parked up, just in time to see Rose crossing the car park.

"Right, let's get these books then shall we? After you," he said, opening the door for her.

Rose gave the list to one of the assistants and soon a pile of seven books were on the counter and being rung into the cash register. Alec couldn't believe that so few a number of books could cost so much but Rose explained they would cover her for the rest of her course and she could resell them when she was done with them. Some of the books looked quite heavy as they were put into three carrier bags and Alec took two of them, leaving Rose with the lightest.

"So do you have far to go with these Rose?" he asked, fishing in his pocket for his car keys.

Rose saw him struggling and offered to take one of the bags.

"No, just across the other side of the grounds, I can manage."

"Nonsense, some of these are heavy," he said, opening the back door and indicating for Rose to put the rest of the books in. "How do we get there?"

Rose put her bags down and Alec closed the door.

"Show me."

So Rose directed him around the campus road and indicated for him to park at the end of her block.

"I can manage from here, really. I'm just on the second floor."

She tried to balance the carrier bags in her hands but one was quite heavy despite it being in paperback. Alec took if from her and gave her the 'Don't be daft' look. Rose used her key code to enter the building and they took the lift to the second floor then leading Alec a few doors down. From the corridor, the windows looked out onto a grassy area with trees and he thought the surroundings were pleasant enough until Rose opened the door and the living room window faced onto another block, losing a lot of light.

He thought the architects had built the place the wrong way round. There was a small living room, a kitchen next to it and at the side of the entryway, a small bathroom and a bedroom but he noticed everything was neat and she was doing the best she could with it. He wondered how much rent she paid, whatever it was it was too much.

Rose led him into the living room and pulled the curtains over.

"I keep meaning to get some net curtain, you don't get much privacy around here. Just leave them on the table Mr Hardy and thanks for helping me."

"No problem Rose and while we're not in front of my daughter, call me Alec."

Rose wasn't sure that was a good idea but she owed him now. Alec looked around. He had been lucky when he had been in the police training college.

"Right, I'll be off then, I'll see you tomorrow. Did I say five to you yesterday?"

Rose was embarrassed to admit she thought she had heard him wrong.

"Yeah, thought you had said four."

"Well make it four thirty, since you have studying to do and you may want to go out with it being Friday night."

"Oh I just sometimes go to the student pub or the one on campus although they get a bit crowded but it saves travelling."

Alec felt sorry for her but being on a student budget couldn't be easy.

After thanking him again, Alec left. Rose didn't want to get too familiar with him since she had to face him the following night but she had just found room for her new books when she got a text message

"Do you want to meet for a drink at The Crown?"

Rose had to reply.

"Best not, have loads of work to do. See you tomorrow for Daisy's tuition."

She knew if she said yes it would lead to all kinds of complications and may get his wife even angrier. The moment she sent it she regretted it so she sent another.

"I'll let you make me another cup of tea afterwards though."

She was pleased to get a message back with a smiley face saying 'OK.'

Alec thought she was turning him down flat and quite rightly so, he should not be asking his daughter's tutor out for a drink but when she sent another text, he knew she wasn't offended or angry with him. What was he thinking of? Maybe it had something to do with his wife's insinuations yesterday.

The following evening, Rose made her way to Daisy's house and the girl let her in, practically dragging her through the door, a stark contract to the last time.

"Hi Rose, glad you're here. I have loads to catch up on, my teacher said I should go back on all the homework I never finished if I want good marks this year. Will you show me how to do them?"

Alec stood in the kitchen doorway and waved as Rose followed the girl in. An hour later, Daisy had gone happily to her room and Rose walked into the kitchen as Alec poured some tea.

"She seems happier today Rose, as soon as she got home she was hurrying with her other homework before your arrival. I've never seen her so keen, thanks."

"Well it's just how you approach things really. Her teachers are just doing their job, they don't have time for individuals which is a shame. That's why I want to be a maths teacher though it took me a while to get around to it."

"I wondered why you looked older than the average student," Alec smiled.


"I didn't mean anything Rose it's just some of Daisy's teachers don't look much older than you."

Rose drank her tea. Just how old did he think she was? More importantly, he was older than her and her pupil's father, not a good combination.

"I'd best go now, before your wife gets back."

She picked up her shoulder bag.

"Do I make you feel uncomfortable Rose? Because that was not my intention."

"No, I don't feel uncomfortable with you, more like with Daisy upstairs and your wife walking in. She doesn't like me and Daisy, well, she's just placed her confidence in me, I don't want to spoil that."

"Then say you'll let me take you out for a drink, tonight?"

"It's not a good idea Alec, you're married."

"Don't remind me. Look, if it makes you feel any better, my wife and I don't get along, you've seen that. I already moved into the spare room, weeks ago. It's just a drink. What do you say? Meet me at eight?"

Against her better judgement she agreed. It had been a while since she had been out and it wasn't a student pub, no-one would recognise her anyway.

So she went to get changed, did an hour or so of studying and set off to walk the half mile or so to the pub. It was a pleasant enough evening and so she just had a dress and a cardigan on. Alec was stood at the bar, with a half pint glass in his hand and waved her over.

"Hi, glad you came, let me guess what you're drinking?"

Rose laughed. He ordered her a white wine but Rose said she wanted lemonade in it so he laughed as well.

"Close enough. Come on, let's sit over here."

He led them to a quiet corner and sat next to her. Over the next two hours they talked, Rose discovering he was a police detective inspector and was working an important case that he couldn't talk about but she could guess which one, a very high profile case of two girls that had gone missing.

They laughed and joked, Rose was on her third drink and Alec had cut to non-alcoholic because he was driving. Rose said he should have left his car and got a taxi.

"I will next time but I was hoping I could take you home."

"I'd like that but visitors aren't allowed in after 10pm, sorry."

Alec looked disappointed.

"You could have warned me you know."

"Sorry, I didn't know you were going to ask, did I?"

"How could you not think I was going to ask Rose? I asked you out last night and you tactfully put me off, which thanks for not flatly saying no and yet you agreed tonight. I thought I could at least take you home?"

"Alec, don't get the wrong idea. I like you but won't it complicate things? I mean if you keep asking me out and one night I do let you take me home?"

He looked at his half empty glass. It was after ten and he had work tomorrow. He finished his drink and put his arm around the back of the seat.

"I can't let you go home alone Rose, I'd be failing in my duty of a police officer if I didn't get you home safely."

Rose smiled. She could live with that.

"Ok, you can drive me home but it's not far."

"I can't have you walking home on your own. What if something happened to you?"

Just then, his phone beeped with a message – from his wife. He ignored it and left his arm where it was.

"I take it that was your wife wanting to know where you are?"

"Never mind that. I told her I was going out with a few blokes from the station, they always get hammered and wouldn't know if I was there or not. Come on, let's go. For your information, I'll be going back to the spare room so I don't even know why she's concerned where I am."

Rose believed him, he didn't really look like he actually wanted to go home but what could she do? Rules were rules and if anyone saw her sneaking him in or him sneaking out after ten, she would get a warning letter then she may be out and she couldn't afford the prices of some of the apartments in the town plus it would cost her in transport.

A few minutes later, Alec was pulling up outside Rose's block and she was about to open the car door.

"Thanks for the drinks and the ride home."

Alec was out of the driver's door before she had time to fumble around to open hers. Helping her out, he put his arm round her and closed the door, remote locking it.

"I'll see you inside Rose, I have my Police ID if anyone says anything."

Rose smiled and they walked to the door, looking into the CCTV camera and punching in the code, Alec making a note of it which he saw nothing wrong within his capacity as a police detective and showed his ID to the camera. Once inside, he called the lift and noted more cameras. They must have recorded him coming in yesterday evening. He hoped they would make nothing of it.

They arrived at Rose's door and he noticed they had passed another camera and Rose unlocked her door.

"A lot of cameras around here, has there been some trouble?"

"It's just for safety, there are a lot of women in this block, they don't want the male students to overstay their welcome. Not that you count, you're not a student," she giggled.

The door gave way and Rose stumbled in, followed by Alec, who was only intending to see she was ok. That's what he had convinced himself it was for until Rose closed the door behind him and he leaned down to kiss her.

Chapter 3

It was Alec that broke the kiss.

"I'm sorry Rose, I shouldn't have done that," he spluttered, stepping back.

Rose followed him, pulling him by his jacket lapels.

"Shut up Alec and kiss me again."

She pulled him into an even deeper kiss, ruffling her fingers through his hair.

Before he knew it, he was fumbling for the zip of her dress, letting it fall to the floor as Rose stepped out of it. He pushed her into the bedroom, Rose was unfastening his shirt buttons as they both tipped over onto the bed, Rose was giggling.

"I'll get into so much trouble for you being here Alec Hardy. Do you want to get me thrown out?"

"Oh come on Rose, surely they saw my Police ID badge? I'll say I was seeing you home after someone was following you out of the pub, what do they know? Now stop wasting time."

Rose giggled, only for him to tap her hand.

"Just you wait, I'm not finished yet."

He lay her on her back.

"Alec, that's very nice believe me but we haven't got time, the most you'll get away with being in my room is half an hour."

"Good point. I'll leave this for another time then shall I?"

Rose smiled and reached for his shorts and succeeded this time.

"What was that about this not being a good idea Rose?"

"Me? Never said a word," she replied with a big grin on her face.

"You do want this don't you Rose?"

Rose was reaching her boiling point and he was asking her dumb questions. She managed a nod followed by a very soft, "Yes, yes Alec, I want this, with you."

She hardly knew what had hit her as she then tugged on his hair. Rose was murmuring she wanted more but she knew she was already risking him being here. She had tried to tell herself she shouldn't get involved with him but her heart and her sexual desire had taken over from any kind of sense. After she had turned him down last night, she had already regretted it and resolved to give in if he asked her again, which thankfully he had.

Alec was getting out of her bed.

"You, Rose Tyler, are delicious and that, by the way was the shortened, rushed version so it will make you come back for more from me."

Rose widened her grin. He called that the shortened version, wow, what would the longer version be like?

"You need to get dressed then walk out into the corridor with me and say goodnight and thank me for seeing you home safely, then I'll say, thank you for the coffee. Ok?"

"I get the distinct feeling you have done this sort of thing before, Alec."

He shook his head and gave her a serious look as he tried to fasten his shirt buttons as she hindered him. She took the hint, putting her dress on. There was no way she was going to get over tonight that easily, he had been truly amazing. What was his stupid wife thinking of? More fool her if she didn't want him, she didn't deserve him.

When he was dressed, he fastened her dress zip, kissing the back of her neck.

"Well Rose, that was truly worth the risk getting caught leaving. If you get into trouble, tell them to call the station and I'll verify you needed help getting home. Now come here and snog me before I have to leave."

Rose put her arms around him.

"Mmm, that was more than worth it and I will get them to call you if I get a warning, it's almost eleven."

Both checking each other was presentable, Rose noticing he had missed a button and fastening it for him, she took the big smile off her face and first kissing him, opened the door.

He whispered to her, "Do the cameras record sound?"

"I don't think so but someone next door may hear you so make it sound good."

"Well Miss Tyler, I hope you're feeling better now, you had quite a scare. If you get followed again from the pub, go back inside or find a group of people and call the number I gave you."

"Yes Detective Inspector and thank you. Just press the buzzer downstairs to get out and thank you for seeing me home."

"It's no bother, have a good evening Miss Tyler and call me if you need anything and thank you for the coffee."

"I will. Goodnight."

"Goodnight Miss Tyler."

She watched Alec walk down the corridor and wait for the lift. He didn't turn round and Rose heard the lift bell and heard the doors close as she went back inside. She felt amazing and still giddy from the fantastic sex they just had. She knew she was treading on thin ice, starting an affair with a married man, even an unhappily married man but he was still spoken for and she knew her mother wouldn't approve so she couldn't even tell her and she couldn't tell any of her friends, not that she had many this term, a lot had either dropped out or graduated.

She had just got ready for bed when she got a message.

'That was amazing, will you meet me tomorrow at the same pub? Make it seven though.'

Rose replied with a 'Yes, I'll meet you there, bring your ID!'

Alec smiled as he sat in his car outside his house. It was after eleven, there were no lights on but it didn't mean Tess wasn't on the prowl, probably sitting in the dark waiting for him. No doubt she would ask around at the station to find out if he had been out with any of them.

Sure enough, his wife was in the lounge, watching TV in the dark. He tried to sneak past the door before she heard him.

"I checked with Bill and Steve, when they finally answered their phones. You weren't with them."

"Who said I went out with them?"

He knew which of his colleagues got too smashed to even know their own names, let alone who was with them and how they got home.

"You were with that maths tutor, weren't you? Don't bother denying it Alec."

"Don't be ridiculous Tess. You have a nasty suspicious mind. If you're so concerned, you be in on Monday when she comes to see Daisy. That's the only reason she's here. I just make her a cup of tea afterwards, what's so wrong with that? For crying out loud, stop being so suspicious over everything and while we're at it, where do you get to every evening hmm? I spoke with the chief, he believes you leave early to be home for Daisy but I'm always home before you so should I start accusing you of something?"

"I'm going to bed Alec, I'm not having this conversation with you when you've been out and why were you driving if you were going out for a drink?"

"Because I only had two halves of lager and the rest non-alcoholic, do you want to do a breathalyser test on me? Go ahead."

"Now who's being ridiculous? I'm going out shopping with Daisy then I'm going over to my mother's in the evening, my cousin is getting married in two months, are you coming to the wedding?"

"Seriously? I don't think so, it will be a bit hypocritical, don't you think? Remind her never to marry anyone she works with. Why would I want to go anyway, she's never liked me."

He could have sworn he heard her mutter a 'Can't imagine why' as she passed him in the doorway. She didn't even turn off the TV. Well she was going to be in for a shock because now, he was more serious than ever to move out and get a place of his own with enough room for Daisy to stay if she wanted. He had worked it out, she would be able to pay the rent and have enough money to live on if he did move out and he knew he would have to pay towards Daisy's upbringing until she was sixteen but if he put in for custody or even joint custody, his wife wouldn't get a penny for her.

He made his mind up to seek legal help to see what his responsibilities were in a separation then he may even start the divorce proceedings himself but not before he had spoken to his daughter. He had to explain to her that she was not the cause of this and that sometimes, even though you try to get on for someone else's sake, there comes a point when you just can't do it any more. He hoped she was old enough to understand that but how would she feel if she found out he was seeing Rose?

Perhaps he had best not get too tangled up with her just yet but that was going to be easier said than done. There was still the question that Rose might get a warning for him leaving her flat after he left late, especially if he was to go back there the next evening again, he couldn't justify being there in an official capacity two nights in a row. It probably would amuse the security team watching that she was seen being escorted home late by a police detective then letting him in the following evening and him staying longer but he had made a mistake of showing his name and hoped it wouldn't get any further than the university campus.

Alec couldn't settle when he finally got to bed and he had to be up at seven for work. He regretted now not taking the option of working Monday to Friday and opting instead to do five shifts then two off and thought about changing it but it would mean having to put up with Tess every weekend so he thought he may as well leave it until after he moved out, then if Daisy wanted, she could come over. He thought how this would affect his new relationship with Rose, at least he wouldn't have to sneak out of her building after ten at night, presuming she still wanted to see him. He was presuming an awful lot really.

Rose was also having trouble sleeping, thinking about Alec. She had only known him a few days and she was already sleeping with him, well not that he stayed overnight, that was impossible. All logs were checked and if someone didn't go out that were meant to, she would get questioned about it, him being a police detective or not, they wouldn't get away with that twice.

Alec went off to work the next morning, Rose decided to have a trip into town and the supermarket to get her weekly groceries, cursing that her flat only had a small fridge with an even smaller freezer compartment so she could only fit a few items at a time instead of saving some money and fresh meals were more expensive for some strange reason she could never work out.

Alec was sat at his desk, his rimless glasses hanging off his nose and wondering what Rose was doing. Really, he shouldn't have let himself behave like that last night but it had been months since he'd last had sex with Tess, well not even properly for a long time before that, she had kept coming up with excuses or saying she wasn't really in the mood, which was why he'd taken the spare room. He had been angry with her after trying to understand what he'd done or not done to turn her away.

They had only been married for 15 years, she was a year younger than he was but Rose was a lot younger, probably about 10 or 12 years younger and why would she want to hang around with him? Maybe she just liked older men and felt more secure with them. There must be plenty of male students lining up to date her.

Rose got herself ready for her date with Alec. Should she really be doing this? Morally no but there were a lot of buts, he was unhappy in his marriage, he had asked her out and she had turned him down the first time and maybe been too readily agreeable to go out the second time and she was his daughter's tutor plus his wife didn't seem to like her and had already singled her out as a threat, maybe rightly so but not on the first time she had been in their house.

She hadn't even contemplated it being anything other than a friendly chat after tutoring his daughter and it had been completely innocent hopefully on both sides last Wednesday evening but when he had taken her to get those books and driven her home, maybe he had been going to ask her then and waited to send the text instead. She should stop it now, before it went any further.

Once was an excuse that they had been desperate for some physical contact but a second time would be inexcusable, it would be intentional and she may be responsible for really breaking up his marriage that could possibly still be salvaged. She arrived at the same pub they had met the night before and Alec was sat at the bar again, with a drink waiting for her. He kissed her cheek and they crossed over to a table in the corner, Alec carrying the drinks.

"Hi, you're looking really nice tonight Rose. Have you eaten yet? We could get something here or go down to the Chinese just outside town, I brought the car, mainly because then I can take you home to save getting taxis."

"Well I had a snack before I came out, around six but we can eat here if you like?"

They ordered some food and Rose began to tell him of her humble upbringing with her mother being a single parent and them muddling through and Alec told her how he had worked his way up quickly from being a PC to becoming a detective constable in less than five years by studying hard and his ability to get himself established. Rose laughed when he said he hadn't done it by stepping on anyone's toes so he said maybe he had, just a little bit but he had got on well at the station he used to be at until he had transferred to his present one.

Now he was in the middle of a complex investigation which was why he was unhappy at home as they were working on the same case but his wife had moved to another team a few days ago.

"So why do you choose to work weekends sometimes Alec?"

"To avoid being at home at the same time. I'll be honest with you Rose, we just don't get on any more and I'm not just saying that to get sympathy, I'm sure she's seeing someone but I have no proof. She told me she was going to her mother's tonight but I only half believed her. Daisy has gone to stay with her friend for the night but she probably thinks I'm sulking at home or she suspects I'm out with you. She had her mind made up on Wednesday night I was seeing you and we'd only met the day before."

Rose smiled and took his hand. "Alec, I don't want to be the reason you two can't make up. I never knew what it was like, having my dad taken away from me, I was only a baby but I can't imagine what Daisy will think if you really do split up."

"Rose, she's almost fourteen and she knows we have problems, she's seen how we react around each other and until you came along last week, Daisy hated me because I didn't do things for her like her mother does and she wouldn't do anything for me, especially her homework but now, she thinks I'm the best dad ever. That's because you came along and I don't think it was just to do with you helping with her maths, you were more like an older sister that could relate to her when I couldn't. You made an impression on her."

"Well I'd hate to shatter that if she found out about us. Anyway, I'm just going to the ladies room then you can take me home, it's already eight thirty and you won't get away with sneaking out again."

Alec smiled. They had spent longer than he had wanted in the pub and he really wanted to take her home again. He was just finishing his drink when he was sure he saw his wife come in, holding onto non other than Jim Hannah and laughing. Alec couldn't see her face, she was facing the bar but it was definitely her. His suspicions had been confirmed and he thought it would hurt but it didn't, he no longer cared and no longer felt guilty about taking Rose home again.

Come Monday morning, he would be consulting a divorce lawyer about separation and starting proceedings. Now he was more determined to get a place of his own and would be no longer putting money into his wife's bank account to pay the bills so she would get another shock next month when payments were due. If he already had somewhere to go, he wouldn't even bother going back, he'd get his stuff and move out but he couldn't afford a hotel if he wanted to put a down payment on a place to rent and Rose couldn't put him up even if he were to ask her, which he wouldn't yet.

They had only slept together once, he was assuming because he was taking her home she wanted to have sex with him again. He wouldn't say anything to her yet and see how things went over the weekend because if she wanted, he would sleep with her again tomorrow night. If his wife wanted to play around, she wasn't the only one who could do that.

Chapter 4

Rose came back and Alec led her out of the rear exit into the car park, not wanting to mention he had just seen his wife being pawed by another man, a work colleague at that. He drove the half mile back to Rose's student flat and they got out, not wanting to make a public display of themselves and Alec tried not to look into the security camera.

Once in the lift, Alec still mindful there was a camera in there, Rose giggled and kissed his cheek on the short ride and purposely stopped to kiss him outside her flat. Alec was amused she was taking this all lightly but why shouldn't she? He had almost forgotten what it was like to sneak around and avoid being caught snogging outside someone's house or flat. Once inside, they wasted non of the little time they had, Alec knew he had to be out before ten so clothing was swiftly disposed of, being strewn over the bedroom floor until they were in bed.

"Mmm, Alec, let me go on top tonight, I want to return some of what you gave to me last night but only some, you'll have to wait for the rest, we have less than an hour."

"Then why did you keep me in the pub for so long?" he teased as she pushed him onto his back and she raised his arms above his head and began kissing across his chest, noting the smattering of hair and admiring it.

She hadn't had much time to notice last night, they had been in a desperate hurry to get to each other and tonight wasn't going to be much different. Rose giggled and carried on, getting lower until she daren't go any lower without his approval and even then, they were only just getting to know each other and she was a bit shy in that department but him doing it to her was a different matter.

He sensed her hesitation.

"It's ok Rose, I understand if that's not your thing, really I do. Now stop wasting time."

Rose had soon melted to his touch and was at her tipping point as at the last second she stopped him from turning her over. The things he wanted to do to her were not attainable in the short time they had been together.

He pushed her onto her back and checked the time. They had just over half an hour for him to get dressed and be out. It was like being back in his late teens and one of his girlfriend's mothers' checking what time he left. Now he really had to get his own place, this was not to his satisfaction, being on a time limit.

Rose was smiling as he made a mark on her breasts and she so wanted to mark him but daren't, just in case his wife checked. She had to ask herself how she would feel if her husband was cheating on her and vowed she would never get herself in the situation where she couldn't keep a man interested in her enough to want to stray in the first place.

Ten minutes later, Alec was getting dressed and Rose put on her robe distracting Alec from what he was supposed to be doing. He remembered when Tess used to make him feel like that, not wanting to leave her when she was still living at home but they hadn't moved in together before getting married because they were waiting to get a house, he was staying with a friend.

Rose sat on the side of the bed, her blonde shoulder-length hair pushed back behind one ear and falling over her face on the other side. She was beautiful and she wanted him, still wanted him as her eyes were telling him. She had watched him fasten his shirt then put his jacket on.

"Rose, you know I want to stay, don't you?"

Rose nodded.

"I know Alec. I'm free tomorrow, if you want to go out somewhere or are you busy with Daisy?"

"I'm sorry Rose, I can't, I have to work, remember? I don't work every weekend but I'll try and come over tomorrow when I finish. Why don't I bring some food over? I'll tell Daisy I have to work late and I'll make it up to her. I'll come by around six or is that too early?"

Rose shook her head, letting her hair fall from behind her ear. Alec leaned down and pulled her up, pushing her hair back behind her ear, kissing her cheek.

"You're beautiful Rose, I wish I had more time, there are so many things I want to do to you."

He leaned forward to kiss her.

"I wish you didn't have to go so soon but I can't risk getting thrown out of here, I can't afford the prices in town."

She put her arms around his neck and sank her lips into his, she could feel his tongue wanting access and let her lips part to allow him for a few moments. He wanted to tell her he was thinking of moving out very soon but thought not to get her hopes up if it took him longer than he anticipated.

"I'll see you tomorrow then, around six? If it's too early to eat, we can warm it up later in the microwave. You have got one, haven't you?"

Rose smiled.

"I'm not that badly off Alec. The flat came fully equipped. You'd best go, unless you want to put on a show like last night?"

Alec smiled back.

"Best not, the neighbours might start to talk."

Rose walked to the door with him and he kissed her once more.

"Goodnight Rose, see you tomorrow and we'll have all evening."

"You might get called out for work," she smiled.

"Not a chance, the junior officers will handle it, unless it's an emergency."

They kissed again, with Rose whispering, "Goodnight Alec and keep the beard, it makes you look dead sexy."

Alec was smiling all the way back downstairs and when he got into his car. She thought he was sexy. A young blonde twenty something student thought he was sexy. It made his day. Then he came back down to earth with a bump as he had to go back and face his cheating wife. At least he had left Rose more or less alone in the pub and not groped her in public but he would from now on. It made him feel ten years younger.

As he walked into the house, Tess was in the kitchen, making tea and some toast. She never even asked if he wanted any. She was wearing the same dress he had seen her in when she came into the pub. He wasn't even going to ask where she had been. She might have been at her mother's earlier but he'd seen her in the pub at eight thirty. They were going to have to talk but without fighting and arguing and maybe shouting until they were blue in the face, he didn't know how to so he did the only thing he could – he told her he had seen her with another man.

"You accused me of seeing Daisy's tutor and you were out with Jim Hannah. Really? He's asked half the women in the station out already and probably slept with the other half. I saw you, I was sat in the other room and he was groping you. Do you have to make an exhibition of yourself in public?"

"Oh, so you saw did you? I'm surprised you had time to notice with that blonde bimbo probably groping you. She's barely any older than Daisy. And while we're at it, I don't want her tutoring my daughter, she's not coming back into this house."

"Well Daisy's maths will suffer again, do you really want that? She's finally doing her homework without complaining and going back on her old maths homework to catch up with what she missed. Do you want her to fail her exams again?"

"I'll find her someone else and from now on, I'll be home when she gets home and I'll be going out later so you'll have to stay in."

"Not if I don't come back Tess. This is as good a time as any to say I'm moving out as soon as I find another place to stay so you'd better stop spending money on things you don't need because I'm not paying the rent on this place any more. So if you're going to carry on your affair, I suggest you keep to the arrangement we already have and Rose stays as Daisy's tutor until other arrangements can be made."

Just then, they realised Daisy had been listening on the stairs as they heard footsteps and a door slamming.

"Now look what you've done Alec. You'd better go and explain it to her, I'm not. You're the one that said you're leaving her."

"I didn't say I was leaving her, I'm leaving you Tess, I'll be ringing a lawyer on Monday so I suggest you get one for yourself."

"You'll never do it Alec, you haven't got the nerve to let Daisy go and I'll get custody of her since you'll probably get a pokey little flat and move that blonde in with you."

"Oh, do you think so? Seeing as you are already having an affair, long before I saw you out with him in public. The whole station knows about you and Jim so don't be too sure about that. Now I'm going to calm Daisy down and don't you go poisoning her mind against me. I'm not the villain here."

He left the kitchen and knocked on his daughter's door.

"Daisy, talk to me please. Open the door."

"Go away, you don't care about me."

"I do darlin', I know you heard your mum and I talking and it wasn't over you. You have to believe that. It's been happening for a while, me and her just can't get on any longer and it's nothing you've done. We both want you and when I move out, you can come with me if you want or come and visit me when you like. It's just I can't live here any more."

Daisy opened her bedroom door, tears were streaming down her cheeks. This was not how he had wanted to do this. He had wanted to sit down with her and talk properly.

He went into her room and closed the door.

"Look. It's getting late and I thought you were staying at your friend's tonight?"

"I was but we fell out over a boy and mum came to get me."

That was why his wife was in a bad mood, she'd had her evening ruined but he was surprised she hadn't had the nerve to bring the man back with her.

"Are you going out with Rose?"

How could he lie to her? He wanted to tell her he wasn't involved with her but they had slept together twice and while he'd tried to convince himself the first time had been unintentional, this evening wasn't. This time it had been planned.

"Daisy, I'm not going to pretend I don't like Rose enough to go out with her. We've been out for a drink, that's all. It doesn't mean that I don't want you any more, if you feel uncomfortable with it, I won't have her tutoring you any more."

"Mum has a boyfriend, I heard him on the phone when I rang her to pick me up. He was telling her to say for me to get you to pick me up and I heard her saying she couldn't. I don't know if they've fallen out over it but he came with her to pick me up, he'd just left before you came home. She told me not to say anything."

"Daisy, I'm really sorry about that. I already knew but didn't have the proof. I know you feel caught in the middle of this but it's not your fault. What your mother and I choose to do has no bearing on how we both feel about you but sometimes, when people drift apart, they seek other people's company, that's all. It doesn't mean they don't care about their children and sometimes it's better to get it all out in the open and decide what to do together."

"Are you going to move in with her?"

"No, not yet, Rose lives in a student flat and I'm going to look for a flat or a house with two bedrooms so you can come and live with me or come over at weekends. Your mother won't stop me from seeing you, I'll make sure of that. You do like Rose, don't you?"

"I did but that was when she was my maths tutor. I'm not sure about her being your girlfriend though."

Daisy managed a smile and Alec put his arms around her and kissed her forehead.

"Well do you want me to tell her not to come around on Monday, until you have time to think about it?"

"No, it's ok, I need to get my maths sorted out but I'll think about it tomorrow. I hate that you and mum were fighting and I know you've been sleeping in the spare room for months but I thought you'd make up. Some of my friends parents are divorced or separated and they're ok with it."

Alec knew things were quite different from when he was growing up. His own parents had fought until the day his mother had died and never divorced, even though he was older. They had both been set in their ways but as far as he knew, no-one else had been involved but this was different, they both had someone else so jealousy didn't enter in to it now although he hadn't been that jealous when he had suspected Tess was seeing Jim. He knew he should have been outraged and fought to get her back but it was just the way he was. He had sat back and taken it but now he was fighting back.

"Then get to bed young lady, it might be Sunday for you tomorrow but I have to go to work. I've got loads of work to catch up on so I'll be late home," he winked at her.

"You're such a bad liar Dad. Just promise me you'll come home tomorrow night at some point, I'm not ready to lose you just yet."

Alec smiled. She was older for her years and had grown up fast and he knew he couldn't fool her, she took after him.

"Aye, I'll be home after ten, I get thrown out then."

Daisy giggled. She did like Rose but how had her dad got so involved with her so quickly? She had only met Rose twice but she liked her but was she ready to accept her maths tutor as her dad's girlfriend? She had really hoped the two of them would make up, her dad and her mum would make another go at it but when her mum had picked her from Katie's house after she had sobbed down the phone that Katie said she like that boy Rob at school and they had sneaked around the back and they had kissed, she had thrown her things back in her holdall and told Katie's mother she was calling for her mum to come and get her because they had just fallen out, not saying why.

Then when her mother had arrived in a car and not a taxi and some older bigger guy had been driving and her mother was sat in the front, they had driven home and he had followed them in and she had been told to go to her room but she had heard them laughing. She had prayed her dad wouldn't come home and find them, she was scared of losing him and hated how she had been so mean to him after he had started coming home early when her mum had told her to go to her gran's house because she was working late but she bet that all the time, her mother had been with who she knew now as Jim.

She knew she shouldn't have thrown those tantrums and done her homework because now she knew her dad had been struggling to cope with her and her mum and him bringing Rose in to tutor her in maths had shown he really did care about her and wanted her to succeed at school but now it had opened a whole new can of worms if he was going out with her. It had brought a whole new set of arguments but they wouldn't last much longer if he moved out and she knew her dad wouldn't just abandon her, even for Rose.

"Aye and you make sure you are home. I love you Dad."

"I love you too darlin' now get to bed."

Chapter 5

After Alec had left, Rose cleaned herself up and got into bed, lying under the covers they had both just been under and touching the pillow he had just been laid on. How was all this happening so fast? She just hoped that it wouldn't come between Alec and his daughter, she knew he doted on her although when she had first met Daisy, things had seemed strained between them but that was teenagers all over, rebellious was not a strong enough word for it. Even the second time she had been there she had seen a difference in her pupil's behaviour towards her and her dad but would Daisy hate her if she found out about them?

She wondered what had been wrong with Alec when they had left the pub and why they had gone out the back way but his car had been there so she had thought nothing of it. Maybe someone from his station had been in the pub and he hadn't wanted to be seen. She could understand that. He had to be careful his wife didn't find out, she didn't want to end up being named in divorce proceedings even though she had nothing to hide but her mother would surely disown her and she still had to tell her about Alec anyway but wasn't going to say anything about him being married.

The next morning, she faced the music and called her mother after having her breakfast.

"Hi Mum, sorry I've not called for a bit, how's things?"

"So and so, I'm going to be an auntie again, this time it's Chrissie and she's getting engaged. She's only just turned 22. When are you going to settle down Sweetheart?"

"Mum, don't start all that again, I've still got my course to finish and besides, I settled for a career, not having a family and a house full of kids. I want to get my degree before I even think of that. Anyway, for your information, I am starting to see someone."

"What? Not another student?"

"No, he's a police detective."

"Won't he be a bit old for you?"

"He's older but so was Mickey, remember?"

"Rose, he's not married is he? Please tell me your not seeing a married man?"

Rose incriminated herself by hesitating to answer.

"Rose, what are you thinking of? Honestly, aren't there enough male students around without you picking up a married man?"

"It's not like that and he's not with his wife, well he still lives there but their not together."

Jackie Tyler laughed down the phone.

"Oh come on Rose, he told you that? Who is he kidding? He's just using you to have a bit of fun with. You don't expect him to leave her for you, do you?"

"I told you, it's not like that. I wish I'd never even told you now."

She went quiet. Her mother was not going to put her off and sow the seeds of doubt in her mind. Alec would not have been with her the last two nights and acted like he did if he was still sleeping with his wife. He had assured her it was all over between them and she believed him.

Her mother broke the silence.

"Rose, Sweetheart, get out while you still can, believe me. Married men are all the same."

"Maybe in your experience but Alec isn't like that. I'll talk to you later, I don't feel like discussing this now and we'll see who's right."

"Well don't come crying to me when he dumps you and goes back to her. How do you feel, being the other woman?"

"Mum, stop it. I don't feel anything and I don't feel guilty. He wouldn't be with me if he was going to stay with her, I've met her, she's a right cow. She accused him of going out with me the first time she met me, more or less. I've been giving his daughter maths lessons so I could afford to buy the extra books I need for my course and I'd only met him the day before."

"He's got a daughter, how old is she then?"

"She's nearly fourteen so no, I'm not breaking up a home with small children involved if that's what you think."

"Well I'm really surprised you would let yourself be taken in by him luring you into be his kid's maths tutor."

"It wasn't like that. He saw my ad when I was looking for a job. Anyone could have seen that ad and he's a respectable police detective."

"Aren't they all Rose?"

She said goodbye to her mother and since she had the rest of the day to herself, she loaded the washing machine and decided she would go for a run around the campus grounds and clear her head. If her mother had planned in planting doubt in her mind, it wasn't going to work. She knew Alec was different, he had told her he wasn't sleeping with his wife any more and she believed him, especially after they had made love last night, he had been even more amazing than their first time. She thought that taking precautions herself had been a bit pointless but she was glad she did. Being at Uni broadened your mind, apparently and a few girls she had known had dropped out because they had been careless after a drunken night out or two and she wasn't going to be one of them.

In the afternoon, she went on her laptop for a while, looking up Alec's police career, there was nothing much personal except he was married with a teenage daughter, that much she knew but he had quickly risen through the ranks like he had already told her. So she waited for his arrival and tried to put what her mother had said out of her mind. She was going to have to ask him where she stood with him, to be reassured he wasn't just using her but she would have to be tactful about it, she didn't want to put him off.

He was using her as an escape from his dreadful home life and if that was what he only wanted, she could live with that. She hadn't expected it to be long term anyway, he had his career to think about and Daisy. She really didn't want to face the girl tomorrow but Alec had bought her books for her, she had to pay him back by continuing the lessons. It wouldn't be so bad as long as the girl didn't know about them but what if his wife was there tomorrow?

Would she cause a scene and throw her out if Alec wasn't there? Would she throw them both out if he was there? She couldn't remember if Alec had mentioned if it was a house they both paid a mortgage for or if they rented. They hadn't exactly had time for much pillow talk the last two nights and he'd mentioned very little about his home life but she had seen the reaction of his wife the first night she had been there.

Just before Alec was due to arrive at Rose's student flat, he called her from the local Chinese takeaway and checked what she wanted to eat. He had spent all day practically going over the same old reports about this seemingly endless case they were stuck on. Nothing had happened for weeks, they had started off well but with one of the girls still missing, most of the enquiries were down to the uniformed officers to conduct, he was just interviewing witnesses and suspects with his new DS, Bill Turner, who hated the fact that Hardy was asking most of the questions and not letting him get a word in and interrupted him when he did.

They didn't interview at weekends so all he could do was see if they had missed anything, which he supposed saved time during the week but if he was contemplating getting a place of his own, that was going to change, he was going to take the weekends off and hopefully, Rose would want to spend them with him but he had to spend some of his time with Daisy to prove he was not leaving her.

He had thought about Rose all day and was looking forward to spending some time alone with her without them going out. He had got the name of a good divorce lawyer from a web page and was going to call tomorrow to arrange a free appointment on his next day off, which was Thursday and he had registered online with two property letting agencies for furnished apartments or houses with two bedrooms, a few which he had already looked at and would have to check his finances and contact the personnel department to get his portion of the housing allowance back from his current address when the time came but that would have to wait until tomorrow.

He was not going to wait to see the lawyer on Thursday to make plans to move out, that was going ahead as soon as he could. He would ring the agencies tomorrow as well and arrange to see a second floor apartment, not far from where he lived now and a terraced house about ten minutes away. They would cost about the same as his current three bedroom house anyway and they were partly furnished and hopefully, in view he was a police detective, the usual tenant vetting wouldn't apply.

His wife was going to have to stop her needless spending sprees if she was going to manage but that wasn't his concern. He had some savings and would use them as the deposit and first month's rent on a new place. He would have a fresh start and not rush into anything with Rose just yet, have some time to himself and Rose could stay over when she wanted to, he was putting her under no obligation to spend all her time with him and Daisy could stay over, maybe continue her lessons with Rose there and not put Rose through the ordeal of facing his now more than angry ex.

Now that Tess knew she had been seen, she maybe would be keen to get rid of him anyway but he was going to fight to keep Daisy, no matter what. She was his life, his reason to stay as long as he had done or he would have left long before this. Getting out of his car outside Rose's student flat, he got the Chinese food out and couldn't remember her flat number, even though he had been three times, twice he had his mind on getting her into bed rather than concentrate which number flat they had gone in to. So he put the food on the car roof and dialled her number.

Rose answered.

"You're not still waiting at the takeaway are you? They can be a bit slow sometimes."

He didn't want to admit he'd been too busy trying to kiss her that he had neglected to note which flat he was trying to drag her into in order to accomplish his mission, so he improvised. Something he was rather good at.

"No, I'm downstairs but how do I get into your building?"

Rose laughed.

"Really Alec, you being a police detective, I would have thought you'd know that. Don't you police usually have ways of getting in?"

"Maybe. Anyway, the food is getting cold, are you going to let me in?"

He had balanced the food carrier bag in one hand and his phone in the other and had walked over to the door, seeing a keypad and a call button.

"You press the flat number then the call button but if you're by the door already, I'll buzz you in. You do know what number I'm in don't you?"

Alec was not going to let on that he didn't.

"Of course I do Rose but have the door open for me, I'm carrying food."

Rose knew why he was stalling. He didn't have a clue which number she lived at. The first time he had just been carrying her books for her and the second and third times, he had been trying to get inside in a hurry.

"I'm buzzing you in now but you are such a poor liar Alec Hardy."

What exactly was it that his own daughter and now Rose thought he was so bad at covering things up? Once up in the lift, he could see her waiting at her door, number 23, he would have to remember that for next time. She greeted him with a kiss as she let him in, taking the food from him and into the kitchen, plates already waiting and a bottle of red wine she had splashed out on yesterday for the next time he came over.

"Do you want to eat now Alec? Then we can have the rest of the evening to ourselves."

*He had hardly eaten all day and he really did want to have as much time with her as he could. He went across to the living room and pulled the curtains over. He noticed there wasn't much of a gap between the two blocks of flats and thought she must spend half her time with them pulled over anyway but it dimmed the room. He switched on a small lamp and sat on the sofa and Rose brought the two plates in, then went to get the wine and glasses.

"I can only have one glass Rose, you know that."

"Don't remind me but I'm having more than one. Have you been busy at work?"

"Not really, did some internet browsing of my own. I had a blazing row with my wife when I got home last night. I didn't say anything to you but I saw her come into the pub with someone she works with and I confronted her about it. I did have my suspicions but now I know for certain. She had accused me of going out with you, that first evening you were there but now, I turned the tables on her. She didn't deny it. Daisy even said she had the nerve to turn up with him when she asked her to bring her home because she had fallen out with her friend. If she has the nerve to turn up and collect our daughter with him, I'm not going to bother denying I've been seeing you. How do you feel about it? Does it bother you that my wife knows?"

She knew it should but it didn't. She had proved her mother was wrong. Things had clearly been going wrong since before she had showed up anyway, she had just spurred him on to do something about it.

Rose finished her meal in silence, hoping he wouldn't take it the wrong way. When they had both finished eating, Rose took a sip of her wine.

"Alec, I know things are difficult for you and I really didn't want to be the cause of your marriage breaking up but since it already was, I'm okay with it. She made it quite clear she doesn't like me but what about Daisy? Have you spoken to her?"

"Yes, she heard us last night though she wasn't too impressed I was shagging her maths tutor at first but she seemed okay with it. I told her we were just going out for a drink but I don't think she believed me. She's thinking it over if she still wants to continue having lessons from you. Don't worry about Tess, she'll keep out of the way. I told her I was leaving."

That surprised Rose.

"Oh, well maybe it's for the best Alec, you can't stay there now. What will you do?"

"I'm already doing it Rose, my day wasn't entirely wasted today, I'm seeing a divorce lawyer and going to look at some places to move to. I'm going after somewhere furnished or if not, I'll get the minimum furniture I need for now and get the rest later, I'll get help with the rent anyway. You could come and look at some places with me, if you want to? It gives a better impression than a man going on his own to look at two bedroom properties, they'll think you're moving in with me."

He smiled and lay her back on the cushions of the black leather sofa. Rose pulled him down and began unfastening his shirt buttons.

"So that's your grand plan Alec? Tut tut, you being in the police as well. Renting a place with two bedrooms under false pretences?"

He began unbuttoning her jeans.

"Alec, let's take this into the bedroom, please?"

"Not yet Rose, I've not finished doing all the things I want to do to you yet."

Rose smiled. He was certainly doing more than last night, now they weren't in a hurry, he was being most unfair. She started giggling and was more determined.

"No cheating Rose. Wait your turn."

He went back to what he was doing, he was doing even more to her, she felt like she would have nothing left once they got to bed if he kept this up. She ruffled his hair and held onto his shoulders, wondering if she dare make a mark on them.

His wife would no longer be checking up, he was leaving, not necessarily for her but they could work up to that if they both wanted. So she dug her fingernails into him and he let out a 'Mmm' like he was trying to say it was about time. He thought she was never going to mark him.

Chapter 6

Finally, Alec let her up and they changed places.

"You're amazing Rose, you're far too young for me."

"How old do you think I am Alec?"

"I don't want to get my face slapped guessing," he smiled.

She went to tickle his ribs but he caught her arms and flipped her over.

"I don't care how old you are Rose but as long as you know what you're setting yourself up for."

"I think I know Alec and I know it won't be easy for you if you go ahead with your divorce. If you want, we can stop seeing each other until it's sorted out, I don't want your wife to bring up the fact we're together."

"Rose, I don't want to stop seeing you and I've got her on that score anyway, she started her affair before I even met you and if she brings that up then I have more right to start proceedings than she does. Don't worry about it Rose, I'll try not to drag you into this if it can be helped. I don't think she'll contest it."

She leaned down to kiss him and he flipped her over, holding her arms above her head.

"I think we should stop talking."

Rose smiled and pulled him down on her.

"I want you Alec. I don't care how old you are, you just make yourself look older by dressing in stuffy suits and not shaving, although I like your scruffy beard but you act older than you are. Be young again Alec, for me."

He felt young again, there was no reason why he had to always dress in a suit, even on his days off or wear a jacket and trousers with a shirt. He could act young if he wanted to. Daisy was always saying the same.

"Then help me Rose, help me act younger again. Do you want me Rose?"

She cried his name as he continued, Alec was supporting his weight on his arms so as not to crush her, dipping down to kiss her neck so she could feel his breath on her. She flung her arms around him, pulling him down that his arms gave way, he really didn't want to put his weight on her even though he was slim, it was all lean muscle and she was only small.

They continued their kiss, Alec rolling onto his side and Rose turned to face him. She stroked his cheek, then his scruffy beard that was being kept trimmed to about two days growth, Alec caught her hand and put his fingers between hers, kissing the back of her hand.

Still with plenty of time, Rose eased her way to push him onto his back and they kissed again, then she snuggled into his neck and began kissing it, wanting to make a red mark but dare not, not just yet. Alec stroked her cheek, pushing her hair back.

"You're beautiful Rose. I wish I could stay with you."

"I know Alec, I want you to stay. I'd love to wake up with you in the morning."

Alec laughed.

"Maybe you'll change your mind when you see me."

"Never but I'm not a morning person, just ask my mum. She warned me to stay away from you and not to get involved with you. I tried to tell her Alec, I tried not to say you were married but she guessed when I didn't answer her."

"It's ok Rose, maybe she's right, always listen to your mother."

Rose playfully hit his arm.

"It's too late Alec, I'm already involved with you so if my name comes up in your divorce, I don't care."

"Rose. I'll do my best to keep you out of it, I promise."

They kissed again as Rose lay on top of him. He reached for his phone, it was eight thirty, they had just over an hour. Rose got out of bed and went to make some tea while Alec was getting dressed. He came up behind her as she waited for the kettle to boil after she cleaned the dishes from earlier.

"Mmm, maybe we could wait for the tea? Come back to the sofa."

Rose playfully removed his hands that were now fondling her breasts.

"I'll make the tea first, we've only just got out of bed Alec."

He pretended to battle with her hands that were keeping him at bay then he whispered in her ear.

"I'll make it worth your while."

"I've no doubt about that but I need a drink, I had too much wine earlier. Seriously Alec, I love the way you can't keep your hands off me but maybe it won't be such a good idea if you do that in public."

They moved back into the living room.

"Why not? My wife didn't seem to mind another man doing that to her, she never used to let me, said I was showing myself up. Can you believe that?"

"I'd rather not talk about her, if you don't mind, I may still have to face her if she's there tomorrow if I come over to tutor Daisy. You'll have to let me know if she doesn't want me to tutor her any more."

"I will and tomorrow, I'll get things sorted, I promise. I don't think she'll be there anyway, not now I've confronted her. Come over and see Daisy, she may as well get used to us being together then if she can't accept it, we'll just have to cancel her lessons but don't worry about the books, I was glad to get then for you."

She put her arms around him and lay back on him, putting her cup down on the coffee table. He kissed her forehead and folded her in his arms, rubbing her back. Just before ten, they were kissing goodbye and Alec said he would see her at his house at the usual time the following evening. When he got back home, Tess just ignored him when he came in but he suspected that Jim had only just left, no doubt Daisy would report it to himself, she didn't seem to like him much.

Alec had a busy day, thankfully there was only yet another witness to interview who had suddenly had the idea they had seen something in the woods near the missing girl's home and he was able to make an appointment with the divorce lawyer for Thursday morning and go and see the house the following afternoon at two and the apartment on Wednesday afternoon at four and was told that since he was in the police, he should have no problems waiting for references. So he went to the personnel department and got sorted with his rent allowance and arranged to have it applied to where he decided he was going to move to.

He knew he had enough savings to pay a deposit plus the first month's rent if he got the furnished house or apartment, they were a bit pricey but with his allowance he would be ok if he had no furniture to buy but it depended on the landlord's taste in furnishings. He hoped Rose would be able to go with him but she may have to skip some classes.

The day dragged for Rose, the little gap in her lectures didn't give her much time to do anything. She got a message from Alec saying he was going to see some properties and could she meet him, he would give her the addresses when he saw her and if Daisy didn't want her to stay, he would come round later. She didn't know what would await her as she walked around to Alec's house, well it wouldn't be his for much longer she supposed, it was a shame he had to be the one to have to do the leaving but he couldn't just throw his daughter out and maybe she wouldn't even want to live with him if she had to choose.

Daisy opened the door when she rang the bell.

"Hi Rose, come in. I've got more homework to catch up on."

That was a greeting Rose hadn't expected, she thought the girl would go running upstairs and refuse to see her. It must be either a novelty to a young teenager for her dad to have someone he didn't fight and argue with or it was an everyday occurrence amongst her friends and she wanted to know what it was like. Daisy seemed to have accepted the fact that she was her dad's girlfriend and would still help her with her maths. The lessons went quickly, while Rose never told her the answers, she pointed her in the direction of how to solve the questions.

Rose thought she heard a door go somewhere, probably his wife storming in, it was nearly time for her to leave anyway, she wouldn't stay for a cup of tea, Alec had said he would be round later anyway, she would just say goodbye before she left but she wondered if there was any point in hiding it now but would leave that up to him.

She wasn't prepared for what she saw when she walked into the kitchen though. Tess was sat on Alec's knee, ruffling his hair and kissing him and Rose just stormed out, tears in her eyes. What she hadn't seen of course was Tess coming in, pushing him down onto the chair and planting herself on his lap and he was taken by surprise and was not kissing her back. He was aware Rose had come in, he saw her out of the corner of his eye and tried to get away but Tess was determined to keep him there long enough to have an effect.

Alec had never hit a woman in his life but as soon as his wife let go, he slapped her face. He knew she had done it on purpose and that Rose would be coming in after Daisy's lesson.

"You bitch, what did you do that for? Did Jim dump you or can't you stand the fact I have someone else?"

He didn't have time to let her answer as she rubbed her face but saw she was smiling.

"You cow, if you think that's going to stop me then think again. I'm going after her and I'm not coming back except to get my things."

He grabbed his car keys, passing Daisy in the hallway.

"Dad, what happened? Rose just ran out and slammed the door behind her. Is she ok?"

"Ask your mother Daisy. Look, this is nothing you have done but I'm moving out and I have to go after Rose to talk to her. You understand, don't you?"

He looked at his daughter, who seemed all grown up all of a sudden.

"It's okay Daddy, go after her."

He kissed her forehead and headed out of the door.

He knew she would go straight home and if she didn't, he would wait for her. He also knew his wife was a piece of work when she wanted to be and must have been planning this since their last argument. She had another bloke, why would she care? It wasn't like she wanted him back. He hoped that slap had taught her not to mess with him but it would go against him unless he admitted he had lost his temper.

He drove the half mile or so but there was no sign of Rose and wondered if she had taken a short cut. It was almost six, it would be getting dark soon and he had no idea how many different pathways led onto the campus so he drove to her block and waited to see if she turned up. He was hungry, planning on taking her out after she finished Daisy's lesson but that cow had come in and ruined it, he was going to have to grovel to Rose to convince her he had wanted nothing to do with it. He had been taken aback when Tess had just walked in and without a word, got him into a compromising situation, just in time for Rose to see them, that scheming bitch must be pleased with herself but she wouldn't be when he didn't come back.

Even if Rose wouldn't believe him, he wasn't going back now. He would go in the kitchen door, pack his suitcase and go find a hotel for the night. If Rose would forgive him, he would go get enough things for morning and still go to a hotel, with her because he was now going to stay with her all night – if she would let him.

Rose had run down the street, her shoulder bag getting in the way and falling down. She should have listened when her mother had said he would never leave his wife for her and that he was just having some fun. She was just a reason to get him out of the house but of course, if that bitch wanted to make up, he would do so, even if it was just for Daisy. She would have thought about carrying on seeing him if there was no chance he was going to go back with his wife again and he still lived there, she could cope with that but he knew what time she finished Daisy's lesson and she would be going in.

Perhaps she should have knocked on the kitchen door but it was already half open and she would have seen anyway. If he was going to make up with Tess, why hadn't he just waited until she had left to do it and not insult her by doing it in front of her? Then he could have just explained he was going back to her and it was all over between them but no, he had to let her see the last few nights had meant practically nothing but an escape in the hope his wife would finish her affair and they would get back. Maybe if she had finished her own affair, she would expect Alec to do the same and they would forgive each other. Well that was what it had looked like to her anyway.

She took her time walking through the campus grounds, there was no rush to get back, he wouldn't care enough to come after her, Tess would make him see it wasn't worth it and even if he did, how could she believe him now? She should have asked him last night where she stood with him but he had asked her to go look at some places with him, why would he do that if he had been thinking of staying with his wife? She had been too afraid of losing him to ask how he felt about her.

Alec had been sat outside Rose's apartment block for twenty minutes and was about to try and call her or text her. Tess had ruined everything. He got his phone out, mainly to look up the nearest and the cheapest hotel and he would stay there a couple of nights if he had to, he was not going back to give that bitch the satisfaction of him sleeping under the same roof. He saw Rose come round the corner of the block and he hurriedly put his phone away and got out of the car, remote locking it and hurrying over.

She pretended to ignore him and began punching the code into the keypad.

"Go away Alec, if you want to make up with her then do so but I'm not going to see you any more if you do."

"Rose, will you let me explain? Not out here, I'm not having a conversation out here."

Rose opened the door and he stepped through after her but she didn't call for the lift.

"Go on then Alec, explain. I'm not going to plead for you to leave her for me, it was quite plain you want her back, even after what you said. Has she dumped her boyfriend then? I'm not going to make a fuss Alec, just go if you think that's what you want. I'll pay you back for the books when I have the money, I'll leave the money at the station for you."

"Can I talk now?"

Rose nodded and looked down at the ground.

"I don't want the money for the books Rose, I want you."

He tried to put his arm around her but she shook him off.

"Rose, please, not here, we're giving the security staff a free show. Can we just go to your flat? Then you can throw me out if you still want to."

Rose didn't say anything as she called for the lift, which for some reason always defaulted to the top floor. When it arrived, they rode in silence then Rose led the way to her door and opened it, allowing him to follow her. Once out of view of the camera, thus cutting off the evening's entertainment for the campus security staff, Alec confronted her.

"Go on, slap my face and call me any choice names you want because I deserve it. She came in the kitchen Rose, she pushed me down on the chair, seconds before you came in. She was kissing me but I wasn't kissing her back, she took me by complete surprise and I was shocked. I heard you come in and when I realised, I slapped her and told her I wasn't going back. She's a bitch Rose, she hasn't left Jim, she just can't stand the fact I have someone as well, she's been seeing him for months but I ignored all the rumours and stares at the station. Please Rose, say something?"

Rose looked at him.

"I should have listened to my mother, she said all married men are the same."

She wasn't laughing or crying.

Alec looked at her and couldn't tell which way it was going to go. Rose continued.

"I told her maybe in her experience. I thought you were different Alec but if she can trap you just like that, what's to say it won't work the next time?"

"Rose, it won't, I'm not going back except to get what belongs to me and I'm stopping in a hotel tonight. Come with me? Daisy told me to come after you, you know."

"So would you still have come after me if she hadn't?"

"Yes, I would. I love you Rose." He moved forward and took her face in his hands. "Come with me tonight Rose, I want to wake up with you in the morning."

"You might not say that when you see me," she replied, remembering he had said exactly the same thing.

"You should always listen to your mother. Do I have to meet her?"

"Yes, she's also prone to slapping my male friends, regardless of if they are actually going out with me."

"I might have to arrest her if she does."

"Alec, shut up and kiss me."


They spent the next two nights at a reasonably priced hotel and settled for the three bedroomed house, taking the large attic bedroom for themselves and leaving the other furnished bedroom for Daisy, who came to visit on weekends after Alec filed for his divorce and the family court ruled she could spend the weekdays with her mother and weekends and school holidays with her father and his girlfriend but she could also spend up to two hours with Rose for maths tuition three times a week and since she had to go to her dad's house for them, they were all quite pleased, except for Tess, whose little ploy to split Alec and Rose up didn't go the way she had planned.

Daisy spent Christmas Day with her mother and Boxing Day meeting her future step-grandma, Jackie had come down to finally meet Alec after she caved in to agree to at least meet him, they had since furnished the box room with a bed and a wardrobe so Daisy had that while Jackie was there. Daisy wanted to call her grandma Jackie, which pleased everyone.

When Alec's divorce was made final and despite having no fresh leads in the case he had been working on, he got through because he had Rose and his daughter to support him and they became a happy part-time family until the day Tess got her revenge. They had a breakthrough in the case but she was so spiteful, Tess left vital evidence in her car as she was taking it back to the station and stopped to celebrate with Jim Hannah and whether it was intentional or not, had made her car attractive to local thieves who broke into it, taking the only lead they had connecting their main suspect to the murder of a young girl and the disappearance of another. Alec believed she had done it on purpose and so did Rose but Tess's plan to put the blame on Alec backfired on her because the time when Tess was in the hotel 'celebrating' then trying to say it was Alec's car, he was at home with Rose, who was tutoring Daisy.

Despite that though, the case had fallen apart and Alec had to take some of the blame for letting his ex wife take the evidence back when he should have overseen it. Tess got a reprimand and had it noted on her record but Alec couldn't face the families of the two girls even with the love of his now fiancée Rose so at the end of the trial and the dust had settled, though not in Alec's mind, he booked a two week caravan holiday in a seaside town called Broadchurch at the end of May when the chief there had agreed to take him on when he applied for a transfer when he found out Rose had just discovered she was pregnant.

Daisy was to go down for one week now she was fourteen and since it wasn't really that far, Alec had agreed to take her there and back. They still had to go back and pack all their belongings after finding a nice cottage by the beach to rent although Rose would have been happy staying in a caravan again but Alec pointed out it wasn't practical bringing a baby up in one when there were plenty of houses to rent.

They had settled into their cottage in the last week of July, Daisy was coming down to spend the six weeks with them when she finished school at the end of the week and Alec had just started his new job, not yet meeting his new DS who was still on a family holiday and who he was told, would not be happy she didn't get a promotion when she got back.

Rose and Alec were walking along the beach, hand in hand on the Wednesday evening before Alec was to drive up and collect Daisy on the Saturday when they sat down on a rock and Alec had a question for Rose.

"Darlin' we should really think about setting a date you know, before the baby comes. What do you think?"

Rose leaned over to kiss him.

"Why don't we have a Christmas wedding? We have to arrange it so Daisy can be here, I want her to be my bridesmaid."

"Well we may as well make it as close as we can to Christmas Day although I don't know about you going on honeymoon."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Rose laughed.

"Well the whole idea of going on honeymoon is to consummate the marriage, it's rather a bit late for that."

Rose spluttered.

"Well that was partly your fault, I did tell you to wait another night if I remember rightly."

"Well you didn't do much objecting as I remember it, did you?"

Rose stuck her tongue out at the side of her mouth like she always did when she knew he was right. She hadn't done any objecting at all the way she remembered it, every four weeks for a few nights was like a form of torture for both of them, now it would be months although they were still managing quite well at the moment, she was determined not to give that up until she absolutely had to and Alec was only too happy to oblige.

They walked back down the beach and reached their cottage, which was within easy walking distance of his new police station, across the other side of the harbour. They had a quiet night in, before Daisy was supposed to come and join them and went to bed. Alec's DS was due back at work the next day and Rose had discovered she had two boys and thought they might become friends, since she hadn't made any yet.

After they had fooled around and Alec carefully made love to her, Rose turned onto her side.

"I do love you Rose, you know that don't you?"

"Silly, of course I do. I wouldn't be here, carrying your baby if I didn't know that and I know your ex tried to ruin it that night but I have forgiven you. I should never have run out like that and I'm sorry I jumped to the wrong conclusion but it looked very convincing Alec, you have to admit it. I thought I was the only one allowed to ruffle your hair and I was quite upset about it."

Alec looked up.

"Hang on, you were only upset she was ruffling my hair and not the fact she was trying to snog me to death?"

He tried to look indignant.

Rose was trying to keep a straight face but was close to losing it.

"Well yes, Alec. I mean snogging you to death is one thing but ruffling your hair is my job."

She made a point of raising her arm and running her fingers through his hair, looking at her handiwork as it was all messed up and sticking every which way.

Alec knew she wasn't being serious but wasn't going to spoil her fun.

"So I can go around snogging any woman I like as long as they leave my hair alone?"

Rose moved her hand to his beard.

"Well, yeah, anything apart from touching your hair and your beard. Their mine."

Alec smiled and pushed her back onto the pillow. He would show her she didn't appreciate his snogging techniques which he had now perfected on her.

Rose giggled. "Oh lighten up Alec," she said, stroking his beard that she had grown to love as long as he kept it back to a day or so in length. "Stop messing about and snog the life out of me."

Alec smiled. "Your wish is my command."

He leaned down to prove he could still do it, leaving them both breathless then falling asleep in each other's arms as they always did, something that Rose might not be able to do in the coming months but they could both live with that.

The next morning, Alec's alarm had just gone off when his phone rang. Rose woke up as he listened to the caller and replied.

"What? Why are you calling me out for a farm break-in? Oh for goodness sake, haven't you got any junior officers to send out? They're already down on the beach? Well I already live on the bloody beach, why didn't you call me to go down there? I could have gone down in my pyjamas, I practically live on it."

He looked at Rose, who was already getting out of bed to get him a clean shirt.

"Okay, send a car for me in ten minutes and find out what's going on near me."

He hung up.

"Sorry about that darlin' but those bloody morons are not very good at geography. They're sending me up to a farm and sending junior officers quarter of a mile up the beach. Can you believe that?"

Rose smiled. He didn't wear pyjamas. Then he wondered why she had heard one of the officers calling him DI Grumpy while she had been waiting outside for him yesterday to meet him for lunch just across from the station in the outdoor café area.

Alec carried on as he got dressed.

"I mean come on Rose, what's more important that needs a DI? Something going on up the beach or a farm break-in?"

Rose just sat on the edge of the bed, distracting him as usual, leaning back on her arms and looking at him.

He leaned down to kiss her.

"You are gorgeous, do you know that?"

Rose kissed him back. Alec then wondered if that was what she had meant when she had said he should see her in the mornings. Was she joking?

We all know what happened when Alec went up to the farm!

The end!