A lost love returns

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Six months after Danny Latimer's death, Alec Hardy had been trying to cope with life after the investigation and the loss of his love – Rose Tyler when she leaves him behind in Broadchurch to go back home when she can't bear the fact he won't do anything about getting his operation. The trial is over and as he is packing to leave his chalet when he finds her on his doorstep.

 Six months after Danny Latimer's death, Alec Hardy had been trying to cope with life after the investigation and the loss of his love – Rose Tyler when she leaves him behind in Broadchurch to go back home when she can't bear the fact he won't do anything about getting his operation.  The trial is over and as he is packing to leave his chalet when he finds her on his doorstep.

Inspired by a deleted scene in episode 8 where Alec is staring out of the window
Scroll down each chapter to read!
Chapter 1
Alec's POV

Alec was taking down all the items from the wall of his rented riverside chalet that suddenly seemed a whole lot tidier now he had sent all the case folders from Sandbrook back to South Mercia Police and all that remained was to seal up this box and wait for someone to collect it before he left.  Was he going back though?  He thought he might just apply for his old job back now he no longer had a health problem and he had proved he was no longer a failure, well maybe he was, Joe Miller had just got away with murder despite standing in his garden shed and confessing, then confessing on tape at the station.

Wherever he went, he wanted to see his daughter again, he'd missed so much of her life but the one person he really wanted was back in London with her family and whom he'd not heard a word from since she left Broadchurch and him behind.  He was just as much to blame, being his usual stubborn self and not letting a case get away from him again to the extent his health had been put on the back burner until it had got too much for her.

She had told him she loved him but it was destroying them both, she had cared too much for him, begged and pleaded with him to take the time to go get his operation but he had refused time after time to the point he had collapsed twice, once just after he had met her and he had never told her despite him eventually confiding to her what was wrong with him that he had to go easy with his love life and she had been happy to accept what he had to offer, saying it was enough for her.

He should have known though that he would have to give in eventually and he had, just before the end of the trial after yet another near miss, this time on the decking outside which had prompted him to go knock on the door of the Latimer's prosecution lawyer early one morning to write his will.  Of course he blamed Miller, he always blamed her especially when she had told him he was a complete ass for letting the love of his life walk away and for not telling her he had got himself fixed.

Ellie had left a while ago, to go do what the jury wouldn't do – dish out some justice for Danny Latimer and this time, Joe Miller wouldn't be able to change his plea to not guilty because he may have had a fancy lawyer to drum up facts and figures to steer the blame away from him in court but in front of half the population who were now probably running him out of town, there was no escape.

He had of course warned Miller that she was not to contact his ex-girlfriend under any circumstances but she had admitted she would have informed the young blonde woman who had captured Hardy's broken heart and tried to make him better that Hardy had not made it after opting to finally have the surgery he had so badly needed and even a short while ago, Miller had nagged his ear off arguing he should at least call her and tell her he had survived.

"Miller, for the last time, I'm not calling her, she doesn't need to know."

"Yes she does Hardy, you're still an ass.  Two months she was with you, she loved you and you wouldn't do a stupid thing like get yourself fixed.  Then you wondered why she went off and left you.  Did she even know you collapsed that night you were chasing Joe up on the cliff top?"

"No she was gone when I got back, drove back to London I expect.  What would someone like her want to know about me?  Leave it Miller, she's gone for good, she won't come back now, not after all this time."

"They watch the news in London you know?"

"Now who's being an ass?  So what?  It proves I was a failure."

"Well we both failed on that point as did the Latimers, well Mark and half of Broadchurch Police Station but you reprieved yourself on Sandbrook, that counts for something.  Lisa's family have found out the truth as has Cate Gillespie, think what she's going through?  Then they said I should have known what Joe was doing."

"Leave it Miller, shouldn't you be running him out of town by now?"

"I'm waiting for Beth to ring.  When are you leaving?"

"Tonight or maybe in the morning, I've not decided.  I'll have to call Daisy first, let her know I'm coming then I'll have to go give the key back.  Can't say I'll miss this place, I don't know how I let myself get talked into taking it or why I stayed after she left, I still hear her laughing sometimes, now I don't wake up feeling like I'm drowning any more, I just hear her voice."

"She was good for you, you know that?  What about now, can't you bring yourself to send her a text even?"

"No and don't you dare do it for me, it's over, didn't even get a Christmas card from her."

"Why would she send one?  She probably didn't know if you were alive or not, you left her in limbo and you talk about giving closure to the victims of those two cases and you can't give her peace of mind you're still annoying the hell out of everyone?"

Alec pulled a face, something he did when he was losing an argument to Ellie Miller.  She knew she had him there.  Her phone rang, it was Beth.

"I'm on my way."

Ellie looked at Hardy.  "So are you going to stay in touch with me?"

"You have my phone number, you'll probably call me at inconvenient times and call me names."

"You deserve it and I still think you were a fool not to follow her.  Call her, if it's just an hello and hang up, she'll want to know you're still around."

"Will she?  Goodbye Miller, say goodbye to Tom and what's his name for me."

Ellie smiled.

"You still don't know his name and you've been pushing his pushchair and looking after him?"


"I should think so and no, I'm not hugging you, you have someone else who needs that more than I do, go find her."

Ellie held out her hand and shook his and then she was gone.  He knew despite losing the woman he had loved, he wouldn't hear the last of Miller.  She hadn't succeeded in getting him to choke on the grape seeds yet.  So now he was looking out of the glass door, it was raining, what a surprise.  He looked across the river at the caravans, where his lost love had stayed with her family and she had stayed after they went home.  Her stepfather, being ultra rich still liked to spend time with his family and had brought them down last summer, a few days before Danny had been killed and he had just arrived and had seen the man's stepdaughter with her young brother, getting him an ice-cream across from the station and he had thought she was the most beautiful woman he had seen in his life.

Then he had crossed the road, just missing a car and almost knocked the said ice-cream out of the boy's hand, getting him a telling off like he'd never had in his life until he had asked her out for a drink then that had been it, he had fallen for her in a big way and the night she was meant to go home, he'd asked her to stay and she had said yes, on the condition he rented the blue run-down chalet across the river from the caravan site and he'd said yes without hesitation.

That was when he had known he loved her and they had been happy and the one night he hadn't been with her before they had moved in, he'd collapsed on the hotel bathroom floor and had told her he had slipped in the shower and unlike Miller, she had believed him and kissed it all better.  He had warned Miller not to tell her.  Then she was gone, after she lost yet another argument when he'd refused to go get his heart fixed.  She hadn't even said goodbye properly, she had driven off while he was interviewing two suspects, just after his almost fateful run from the cliff top hut.

No wonder she hadn't come to the hospital.  All her things were gone when he had got back.  No note, nothing so he had assumed she was well and truly pissed with him and that had been that but he could never love anyone the way he had loved her – Rose Tyler.

Rose's POV

The last six months had been hell.  She had buried herself in her work, gone out to charity functions with her parents and even tried to start going out with friends again but nothing could compare with the blue chalet she had shared for almost two months with Alec Hardy, the impossibly, irritating police detective inspector who had almost collided with her younger brother that afternoon then have the nerve to ask her out for a drink and she had surprised herself by actually saying yes to him.  What a nerve he'd had and trust him to wait until the night before she was going home to ask her to stay and tell her that he loved her.

He'd even rented that adorable blue chalet for them that they had looked at for a few days while eating a quick lunch the two days he'd had time to meet with her during the difficult case but when she had found out what was wrong with him, she was glad she had told him she would stay.

Now her mother was staring at her over a late breakfast when she had announced she felt sick again and hadn't gone to work.

"Rose, you need more than toast you know, now there's two on ya.  At least have some eggs or some cereal, yeah?"

"I'm not that hungry, just a bit sickly.  You do remember what it was like don't you?"

"Don't I ever?  Don't you think you should call him?"


"Well at least you know he's still around, we saw him on the news though if I got my hands on that Miller bloke, he wouldn't know which earth he was on, what sort of a jury would have acquitted him?  I reckon they were bribed."

Rose smiled, her mother meant well.  "Go to him Rose, he deserves to know."

"Does he?  If he's not got his heart sorted, how can he cope?  No, it's for the best."

"For who?  Are you even going to tell the baby who its father is?"

"What do I tell he or she?  Anyway, I go for another scan soon, I'm gonna find out, I've decided."

"I'm glad you're doing one sensible thing Rose Tyler.  The other one would be for you to get in your car or have Jake drive you down there."

"I'm sure he's left by now."

Jackie hadn't told her she knew for a fact he was still in that silly run-down shack that Rose had liked so much and that Alec Hardy would have to be prised out of it. Pete had even arranged to keep the rent low so he could afford to stay there.  They had liked Alec, he'd been so good for Rose and once she had found out she was six weeks pregnant, the week after she had come home, they had been overjoyed, well except for Rose herself who had cried herself to sleep almost every night since.  Rose knew it was all her fault, they had been out, Rose had one too many and Alec had seemed to conveniently forgot what time of the month it was for her and she had conveniently let him.  It had got too much though and no matter how hard she had tried and gone on at him, no, he was finishing the case then he would get sorted and she had stood by and let him until one day, he had been out all night working, not a phone call and he could have been lying dead somewhere and it had been too much.

She had packed and was on her way back to London and he'd not even called her. She had been so mad before she left, she had never even noticed her monthly was late, until she felt sick one morning and Jackie had called in the family GP who had smiled and congratulated her, asking who the father was.

Pete had kept the news extremely quiet, nothing had been leaked to the press and it wouldn't be, even when she gave birth in around another three months.  Rose had made it plain she didn't want Alec to know it was his baby she was carrying.  She had seen him on TV, he looked well but she had only seen by accident when changing channels last night.

She got up from the table and made her way back to her room, staring at her wardrobe.  Suddenly, she grabbed a holdall and began throwing in loose t-shirts, larger sized trousers, she refused to buy maternity clothes saying they were too 'Frumpy' then she grabbed her laptop and charger and the charger for her phone and caught one of the maids to carry her bag downstairs.  Jackie stared at her.

"You're right Mum, he does deserve to know. I'm gonna drive down and if he's still in town, I'm gonna tell him and if he's left, I'll call Ellie and find out where he is or I'll call him.  If he's left, I'll get a room at the hotel for the night."

"Let me get Jake to drive you down Sweetheart."

"I can still drive Mum, I'm not an invalid.  The seatbelt doesn't hurt now I've got that pad on it.  I'll take my time, make a couple of stops and don't you dare go calling him to tell him I'm coming down. Promise?"

"I promise.  Just make up with him Rose, I'm sure he's been just as miserable as you have.  He did look better, maybe he got himself fixed?"

"Maybe but if he hasn't, if I tell him about the baby, I'm sure he will.  Tell dad for me when he gets home and tell Tony I've gone away for a bit.  If Alec doesn't want anything to do with me, I'll be back tomorrow."

"Don't be so daft Rose, of course he'll want you and the baby.  Go on, get going and call me when you get there.  You hear?"

Rose gave her mother a final hug and one of the staff carried her bags out, covering them up in the back.  It was almost twelve, it may take her over four hours in current traffic and she would need to stop at least once, maybe more if the baby decided to move and set her off going to the bathroom at frequent intervals.

It was almost five when she was pulling into the field behind the blue chalet, driving right down as far as she could go and parking just behind.  The blinds were pulled down but they had always been like that, Alec wouldn't have changed his habits.  It was raining, of course it was and her coat was in the back seat and she didn't want to twist around so getting out quietly and closing the door softly, she put her jacket on and locked the door, she could come back if he was in, if not, it was up to the Traders hotel for the night or she might stay at one of the others.  She was tired and still feeling a bit sickly though she shouldn't be really.

She walked through the gate that led to the chalet, too many times they had hardly got through without stopping to fervently kiss and almost have sex where they were standing, they had been so in love with each other.  She had laughed when Alec had chased ducks off the decking at seven in the morning when he'd looked out of the bedroom window to see a family of them had taken up residency overnight, then he'd gone to chase them in just his t-shirt and shorts then got the hosepipe out and cleaned up so neither of them would slip and fall into the river, given Alec's frame of mind about large bodies of water.

She wondered if that had changed now?  Closing the gate quietly, she approached the door – to see Alec staring out at the rain and the river.  She blinked, he came out of his daze and their eyes met.  Alec hardly registered the sight of his lost love staring back it him like she was some kind of mirage, a trick his mind had been playing on him and damned Ellie Miller for making him think about her.


Rose stared at him, he fumbled for the door handle.

"Rose?  Is that really you?"

"Well last time I checked it was, it's pouring it down, aren't you gonna let me in?"

He stood to one side as Rose stepped in, shaking her hair since her hood had fallen down.  He took her jacket off her shoulders.

"Let me go put the heating on, you'll catch cold."

He never even noticed she was slightly larger than the last time he had seen her and without even giving her a kiss, he went off to the kitchen to put the heating on and switched the kettle on.  Then he came back out and saw her, a purple t-shirt, a blue hooded top and black stretch trousers and his eyes rested on her swollen belly, her hand resting on it.

"How have you been Alec?"

He was lost for words.  "Fine, I can see how you've been.  How far on are you?"

"Almost six months.  I found out the week after I got home, it's yours Alec."

He stepped forward a few paces and looked at her, a smile beginning to form on his face.

"You grew your beard Alec, see just because I wasn't here to remind you to trim it. You look better though."

"Yes, got off my arse and went for the op, Miller said I owed it to you to get myself fixed.  What are you doing here?"

"What do you think you plum?  I came to see you."

"Sorry I didn't mean it like that.  I meant, oh hell, you know what I meant."

Rose smiled.  "I came to tell you, my mum gave me a kick up the backside and told me to come and tell you, you deserve to know.''

"What are you having?"

"Don't know, got another scan next week, I didn't want to know last time, I was too upset.  I missed you teddy."

"I missed you too princess.  Got a kiss for me?"

He held his arms out and she stepped closer.

"Don't squash me though."

He leaned down and placed his lips close to hers.  "The baby, it's ok?"

"Fine, alive and definitely kicking, do ya wanna feel?"

He placed his hands on her belly, waited a few seconds and felt something.  Then he smiled.

"I never stopped loving you Rose.  There was never anyone for me after you left and you were right to be angry with me and I was too much of an arse to still do anything.  I only had the operation last week."

"Idiot, I thought you might have gone and died on me."

"Nah, you're not that lucky."

She swatted his arm playfully.

"Ow, what was that for?"

"For being an arse and not telling me.  So everything's over with?"

"Yes, it's all over and the town are now dispensing the sentence the court failed to dish out as we speak and the three Sandbrook killers are being charged.  Come back to me Rose?"

"Why do you think I drove all this way, just for the sake of it?  To dangle the fact I'm carrying your baby and then just walk away again?  No Alec, I've done enough wallowing in self pity, I'm going through a terrible time and you're going to suffer with me.  Did you say three killers?  What about Lisa?"

"I'm sorry Rose, South Mercia Police found her a short time ago, it was her uncle."

He felt her slump in his arms and guided her to the battered sofa where they had spent many an afternoon making out on before she had left.  He left her for a second and went to make some tea, a good thing he had some milk left, then handed her a cup.

"I'm so sorry Alec, I wanted her to be ok."

"I know princess.  She's at peace now, her family finally have some closure.  Never mind that, I want to know everything, when do you go for your next scan?"

Rose looked at him, she had been so wrong about this.  "Next Thursday."

"Well can you get transferred to a hospital down here?"

"I suppose but I'll have to go back for the rest of my things, why don't you come back with me and we'll keep the appointment then ask for them to transfer me?  You still haven't asked yet if I'm staying?"  She eyed him thoughtfully.

He looked serious.  "Will you?"

Rose swatted his arm again.  "Of course I will you plum, you got me in this state, if I've got to suffer then so do you."

Alec smiled and put the two mugs down then pulled her close.  "I'll go out and get some food then we can talk.  You still like Chinese food?"

"Yeah, like a Chow Mien is gonna fix everything though."

She saw the look on his face.  "Oh I was joking with you Alec, lighten up."

"Well you go off for six months and turn up on a miserable rainy afternoon after the hell of a day I've had and tell me you're six months pregnant with my baby, what do you expect?"

"A bit of sympathy, a foot and back rub possibly," she grinned.

He knew he couldn't be mad at her any more.

"When I come back princess, can I take your car?''

"Yeah but can you bring my things in first?"

"You were planning on staying then?"

They managed to get as close as they could when they got to bed, Rose warning him she might have to make a few quick trips to the bathroom which unfortunately was across the other side of the living room so the next morning, they took her car up to the rental agency and negotiated a rental agreement on a three bedroom house just behind the Police Station then Alec took her back to the chalet and he went to see his old boss who agreed he could come back part time in view of his new circumstances and congratulated him.

While he was out, Rose had a visitor in the form of Ellie, who was surprised to say the least to see her old friend sat outside on the decking when she had been visiting her sister at the newspaper office.

"Hi, when did you get back?" Ellie asked, trying to get young Fred to stay in his pushchair so he wouldn't chase a duck that decided to join them on the decking. Rose remember Alec chasing a family of them off in just his t-shirt and shorts at seven in the morning and she was howling with laughter which had got her into trouble when he went back inside.

"Late yesterday afternoon.  Alec's gone to see if he can get his old job back, at least part time.  You left then?"

"Yeah, I'm a traffic cop in Exeter but if he gets it back, I might come back to keep him in line."

Ellie could tell Rose was hiding something, sitting awkwardly behind the picnic table.  "Something you want to tell me?  Did you two make up?"

"Yeah, we just went to the rental agency, we're moving on Saturday, just behind the station.  I don't know why he stayed here, he must have hated it, hated me."

"Listen here you, he never hated you, you kept him going after the case was solved.  He was angry, at himself for being pig-headed and refusing to do anything and driving you away.  Did he tell you where he was that night?"

"I never asked him, do you know?"

"Yes but you need to ask him Rose, I'm not telling you.  Do you still drink coffee?"

"No, decaff tea but Alec's calling at the shop on the way back, we're out of milk, he was going to be leaving."

"You timed it right then.  I left Broadchurch but I just moved back into my old house, me and Tom are decorating, you two should come over when we've finished."

"We're going back to London for next Thursday."

"Why, what's so special about that day?"

Rose realised Ellie hadn't noticed and moved around so she could see.  Ellie's mouth opened but nothing came out.

"Oh, congratulations, how far are you?"

"Six months, my next scan is next Thursday, Alec's coming with me, I need to get some more stuff.  Now I think he'll want to go to Lisa's funeral."

"Probably, since it almost killed him again trying to solve the case.  He told you?"

"Yeah, last night and I got mad at him again for not telling me he got himself fixed."

"He made me swear I wouldn't tell you Rose, I wanted to, really I did but he needed to solve Sandbrook and if I'd told you and he found out?"

"I know Ellie, I don't blame you, I was just as bad as he was."

Chapter 2
Neither of them had noticed Alec walking back over the bridge with a bag full of groceries from the caravan site mini-market until he came through the gate.

"Thought I'd got rid of you Miller," he grinned, stooping down to kiss Rose's forehead.  "Has she been bothering you?"

Rose took his hand that was on her shoulder.  "No but she did raise a few questions such as where were you that night before I left?"


Both women looked at him, he was cornered and he knew it.

"You tell her Miller, she won't believe me."

"He was chasing who we now know was my husband down the track from the hut and he collapsed, I had to go with him to hospital, he was out cold until almost seven in the morning."

"You idiot, why didn't you tell me?"

"How could I?  You'd packed and left when I got back and I was too much of a coward to go after you because I knew you wouldn't come back until I did something about it then the investigation was over and the days went by and you never contacted me and you know the rest."

"You two need throwing in the river, honestly, you're like a couple of kids who fell out over a toy.  I'm going to leave you to it, you clearly have a lot to resolve and I expect an invite to your new place and one to the wedding."

They both looked at her as she took hold of Fred's pushchair and turned around.

"Oh and Hardy, I'm off to see the chief because if you're coming back to work here then so am I, someone has to keep you in line and Rose needs another friendly face around here, someone to give her baby advice when her grumpy boyfriend decides to work late."

So Alec got his job back with reduced hours for another month and a delayed start and he told Rose everything that night, about Sandbrook, about how he decided to get a pacemaker and why he never contacted her – because he loved her but respected her decision and realised he'd made the biggest mistake of his life in letting her go.

They moved into their new house on the Saturday and Monday afternoon, they set off for Sandbrook for Lisa's funeral and Alec had to face his ex wife and tell her about Rose, which went down better than he had expected after she thought her ex was too much of a loser to have a girlfriend let alone get her pregnant.  Daisy took to her quite easily and they promised to stay in touch.  Alec had almost died of embarrassment, booking into the same hotel where he and Miller had stayed when they'd had to share a room and he had to admit to Rose about the defence teams strategy to discredit him and Ellie.

So as they lay in bed the night before going to London and Alec facing the formidable Jackie Tyler, he told her.

"I stayed in this same room when we started investigating in Sandbrook," he stated after they had tried to have sex as best as Rose could manage.

"This was your room?"

"Not exactly, reception made a mistake, we were supposed to have twin beds but they gave us a double, it was Miller's fault."  He thought she would be mad but she giggled.

"So you and Ellie had to share a bed?  You'd better tell me you were above the covers and she was beneath them?"

"What do you take me for Rose?  Me and Miller?"

"Well you said you missed me."

"I never loved anyone else Rose, you're the only one I ever really loved, more than Tess.  I was completely in love with you."

"I was just teasing but have you anything else to add?"

"Yes, might as well.  It was the night after Miller and I got accused of having an affair during the Latimer investigation."

"What?  Tell me you're kidding?  Is that why he got off?"

"One of the reasons.  Come on Rose, you knew exactly where I was every night, except for those last two nights, everyone in town knew about us, you should have heard the courtroom when everyone heard."

"I can imagine but really, couldn't they come up with something better than that?"

"Apparently not."

"But you stood up and told them about us?"

"No, how could I?  How could I stand up and tell the court I was with Rose Tyler, Vitex heiress and in bed with her every night, it would have been all over the media and you would have found out."

"I would have stood by you Alec, you know that.  Pete would have taken care of it."

"I couldn't bring you into it Rose, you know that."

"So he got off because you and his wife were accused of having an affair all the time the investigation was going on and you sat there and let them say it?"

"Everyone knew, including The Echo that we were together, they knew it wasn't true and that was all that mattered.  Drop it Rose, we have a long car journey tomorrow.  Just say you don't believe it."

He got his answer as she began kissing his bare chest but giggling said, "Really?  You and Ellie?  You could get the jury's decision overturned."

"No because how long would he have got eh?  No, the town's taken care of it, if he goes back there they will kill him and now I'll personally see no-one gets charged for it.  That's justice Rose, who were they to judge?  They were so easily swayed.  He got what he deserved in the end, that's all that matters, now go to sleep love, you have the baby to think about."

"Yes, we do and I don't want he or she to grow up thinking his or her father was having an affair with their aunt Ellie, do you?  Tell me who the defence lawyer was, Pete will have them struck off so they can't do it to anyone else, how many other people's lives have they destroyed trying to get a scumbag off the hook?  How would they like it if he remains free and he does it again, wherever he's gone?"

He supposed she had a point and Sharon Bishop deserved some justice of her own for defending a guilty man who wasn't man enough to take his punishment, what was it to him if she was at the wrong end of Peter Tyler's own style of justice?

"I'll speak to Pete about it when we get there so just relax princess, we have to face your mother first."

Rose smiled to herself.  "You mean you have, teddy bear."

After getting a slap then a hug from Jackie Tyler, Alec was accepted back into the family with a stern warning that if he upset Rose again, even the fact he was a police detective wouldn't save him.  He figured he deserved it.  So the next day, they set off for the maternity unit and Rose waited her turn, never letting go of his hand all through the scan and being handed the card containing the photo.

"So Miss Tyler, do you want to know what you're having?" the nurse asked, smiling at her.

Rose looked at her man who just nodded.

"It's going to be a boy, congratulations."

After celebrating that night, they made their way back to their new house in Broadchurch and spent the rest of the week and weekend relaxing and Alec pampering her hand and foot and enjoying every second of it.  Pete had called to say that Sharon Bishop had received a severe warning and wouldn't be doing the same to others in a hurry and they had called in at the new office of The Broadchurch Echo to publicly announce they were back together and there was absolutely no truth to any suggestions that Alec and Ellie had been having an affair during the Latimer case and Olly took a photo of the happy couple, Alec's arms around Rose's growing baby bump and gazing at her that anyone could plainly see how much in love with each other they were.

They had decided to stick with the story that Rose had just gone home for a while but they had never stopped loving each other, which was perfectly true, they both knew that.  So just three months later, Alec had left Ellie in charge while he took leave and Rose was preparing to be admitted into the local hospital and Pete and Jackie had just arrived and Jackie was fussing after her before Alec got home. They had left Tony at home, under protest because they didn't want him missing school and it was going to be too much having him around, Jake was taking good care of him along with the rest of the staff.

"Mum, stop fussing, will ya?  I've got everything I need and Alec will bring anything else."

"Well excuse me for wanting everything to be ok for my first grandchild then? When's himself gonna be home?"

"Soon and he has a name."

"Don't I know it.  I hope the baby doesn't look too much like him."

"Mum, that's not fair."

"Well it's bad enough he looks like that alien but another look-alike?  Are you ever gonna tell him Rose?"

"Never, I told you that's all gone now.  Don't forget Ellie and the boys and the Latimers are coming over for tea."

"I know, I bet little Freddy has grown again, bless him and I'm looking forward to seeing Beth's little one, what's her name, Lizzie.  What a shame about Freddy's dad.  Just think Rose, if I hadn't made you see sense, you wouldn't be here now, waiting for that daft boyfriend of yours coming home and that baby of yours wouldn't know his father either.  Would you ever have told him?"

"Maybe, I don't know.  He was just so infuriating Mum, so stubborn but I never stopped loving him."

"I know Sweetheart.  Now let me finish making this tea party before everyone gets here.  Oh look who finally got himself home."

Rose turned around, Alec just in the hallway hanging up his jacket he wore in all weathers and Rose loved to see him wear.  She went out to greet him, he picked up a basket filled with baby things that the office staff had collected, with some influence from Ellie.

"Aw, that's cute," Rose said, picking out an orange rabbit and waving it at him.

"From everyone in the office and they all wish you luck tomorrow.  I said you didn't need luck, you had me," he grinned, trying not to squash her as he put his arms around her neck and nuzzled into it, then spied Jackie watching him with her arms crossed and glaring at him and backed off.  Since when couldn't he cuddle his partner in his own house?  Since her mother had just arrived.

Pete was watching the early news having checked in with Jake and Tony giving his dad a report on the afternoon soccer match he had played at school.  Everyone arrived for tea and Jackie made a fuss over the latest addition to the Latimer family and when everyone had gone home, leaving Rose with even more baby gifts, Alec helped her into bed and made sure she was sleeping then went to find Pete, who was watching TV.

"So Alec, you all ready to have your life turned upside down?"

"I have done it before you know but maybe Rose will teach me something I don't know."

"Oh you can bet on that, she's Jackie Tyler's daughter."

Alec smiled and thought of the woman upstairs who hopefully tomorrow would be bringing his new son into their lives.  Everything went to plan the next morning, Alec drove to the hospital and Rose got settled into her room.  Since she had private medical insurance, she had agreed with the hospital she would wait 24 hrs and if there were no signs of the baby arriving, they would start her off but just before four that afternoon, she was resting and Alec was trying to amuse her by telling her about where he grew up in Scotland and Jackie had finally stopped nagging him to let her daughter have some rest.

"So we've decided on the name then?" he asked hopefully, rubbing his arm she had been leaning on.

"Well yes though I'm not calling him Jamie for short, just because it sounds more Scottish," she half joked.

Jackie decided to put in another appearance and Alec just wished she would go back home, to London.

"Alec Hardy, I want a word with you."

Rose smiled and Alec knew he was in trouble again, for what, he didn't know and never did.  She would have found something, that was certain.

"Listen 'ere you, are you gonna marry her before that baby comes?" Jackie asked, once out of the room.

"What?  Why have you brought that up now Jackie?"

"Because she loves you, you great big Scottish dunce.  Do you know how many nights I sat up with her when she left you?  Well do you?"  Alec shook his head and she carried on.  "She wouldn't have cried like that if she didn't love you so you've had three months and you've done nothing about it, why not?"

He wondered if he had her permission to speak now.  He did as she glared at him.

"I was scared Jackie, I was scared if I asked her, she would walk away again and take the baby with her, I couldn't risk that."

Meanwhile, Rose was texting Ellie, telling her that her mother had cornered Alec and Ellie wanting to know word by word what it was about.  Rose was just laughing when she felt a pain.

Alec was not being let off the hook.  "Well go do something about it, go call the vicar or something because my daughter is not having that baby until you marry her.  You love her don't you?"

"Yes, you know I love her."

"Well call that young vicar, what's his name and get him here, pronto."

Pete had now joined them and looked at Alec, then his wife.

"If I were you, I'd do as she said Alec, even I wouldn't argue with her at this point, you're on your own mate."

Alec got his phone out of his pocket and looked at it.  Then they heard Rose call out, "Alec!  Get in here now."

They all rushed in, including the nurse, who began timing her contractions and calling for the ward sister.  Alec was holding her hand and sat behind her, supporting her.  Rose began to relax again and he let her go, motioning to Jackie to take his place.

"Where do you think you're going?" Rose asked him.

"I have something to do, something I should have done a long time ago.  Don't you have that baby yet."

Rose stared at him, then her mother as he walked out of the door, Pete patting him on the shoulders and whispering, "You're doing the right thing Alec."

"Is that Paul?" he asked when the phone was answered on the other end.

"What can I do for you DI Hardy?"

Alec and Paul were not exactly friends but just barely tolerated each other.

"Can you come down to the local hospital?  Rose is about to go into labour and I want to marry her before the baby comes."

"I'll be right there, better late than never, detective.  We'll take care of all the finer details later, how close is she?"

Alec heard another yell, something about him getting his skinny arse in the room or she wouldn't be responsible for what she did to him.

"Close, you'd best hurry and if you get a speeding ticket, I'll haul in the traffic cop and bust him back to walking the beat and you can tell them that, tell them you're under orders from me to get to the hospital to marry us."  He heard another yell, only this time it was his future mother-in-law, now that was a terrifying thought and one reason he hadn't dared bring the marriage subject up these last three months.

"Alec Hardy, get in here now," he was reminded.

He gritted his teeth and went back in.  He had no ring to give her but he knew at that moment it was the right thing to do, seeing her cradled in her mother's arms, sweat on her face, a grim look and her eyes looking at her swollen belly as she suddenly looked up and asked "Where the hell have you been?"

Jackie got up and Alec took her place.  "Nowhere princess, just had a call to make, you're doing fine, just relax."

"Why do men always say that?" Jackie asked.  "They don't have to go through it all and they're the ones who get us in that state."

"Well we do have a bit of help," Alec insisted as Rose braced herself against him again, just waiting for her waters to break, nearly getting his hand broken again, there would be a bruise at least.

"Yeah, is that right then?  Just because you never bothered to check the date."

"Neither did you, princess.  You started it and I did know what date it was."

Pete took Jackie's hand.  "Come on Jaks, they're having their first lover's tiff."

"You knew?" Rose asked.

"Of course I did, I'm a detective."

She would have hit his arm if another pain hadn't hit her first.  The nurse asked if she wanted something for it.

"No way, I'm not missing out on anything."

"It won't stop you, it will just take the edge off."

Alec nodded, he hated to think she wasn't going to take anything to help but wasn't letting on.

Just then, Paul Coates tapped on the door and put his head inside.  "Did someone order a vicar?" he asked, smiling at the couple, Rose huddled against Alec.  Jackie and Pete followed him and they were followed by Ellie, who had just arrived and had seen Paul getting out of his car.

"What's all this?" Rose asked.  "Am I dying or something?"

"Can you all give us a minute," Alec asked.  "You too nurse, just a moment, I promise she'll be ok."

They all left and Alec shifted so he could look at her face.

"I know I was an ass Rose, not following you when you left but I would have come to find you, when it was all over but I wasn't sure you'd want me back and if you hadn't, well I would have wished I'd never had that pacemaker fitted because you were my life Rose, I've never loved anyone the way I love you.  Your mother asked my why I never asked you to marry me.  It was because I was scared of losing you again but I want this baby to have my name and I want you to have this baby, our baby as my wife so Rose, will you marry me?"

Rose would have answered had she not been in agony again but she managed a 'Yes' in a funny voice and reached up to kiss him.

Alec yelled for them all to come back in, not wanting to disturb her.  So Paul did the formalities and said they could see to the paperwork later and he would take care of it but as they kissed, to everyone clapping, Rose realised she was going into labour and everyone was ushered out in a hurry except for Alec.

With lots of encouragement from her now husband and Alec thinking he was going to have to go get a cast put on what he thought was his now fractured hand, after over an hour of yelling and cursing on Rose's part, telling him it was all his fault and then telling him she knew what date it was as well and she would have told him he had a son even if she hadn't had the courage to face him and ask him to go through it with her.

After she got cleaned up and they had been handed their son, James, Alec taking some photos, Rose was moved to a more comfortable room and she was allowed visitors.  When everyone finally left after getting thrown out, Alec being allowed to stay, the baby had been moved into the nursery for the night and Alec was going home to get some rest, when his new wife let him go, they were laid with Alec just on the edge of the bed and Rose snuggled at his side.

"Why did you come back to me Rose?  I didn't deserve you."

"Because what my mother said actually made sense to me Alec.  She said it wasn't fair, not to tell you and for the baby to grow up, never knowing you and I realised how selfish I was."

"I was the one being selfish and when I found I had survived the operation, the first thing I thought about was you, that I should tell you, then I got caught up in winding up the Sandbrook case, it all happened so fast and that night you came back, Ellie had given me another lecture that I should at least let you know I was still alive and when I looked out of that window and saw you, I thought I was daydreaming, that I was seeing things.  I love you Rose, I've always loved you since the day I almost knocked your brother over to get to you."

"You daft lump.  I never stopped loving you and goodness knows why I said yes when you asked me out for a drink that day but my mum was right about one thing."

"What's that princess?"

"You did deserve to know, you're gonna make a great dad."

She reached around to kiss him and fell asleep in his arms and Alec Hardy never thought he would live to see the day his beautiful Rose would come back to him and give him a son and for the first time in his life, he knew he had done something right and silently thanked Jackie Tyler for making her daughter see sense and Ellie Miller for telling him he was an ass for letting her go.

The End!

Don't forget to read the prequel   'A love goes away'