Alec Hardy and the fairground girl

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During the trial of Joe, Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller return to his chalet to find the fair has set up. Reluctantly, Alec stops to let young Fred go on a ride and then tries to win him a prize on the darts where fairground girl Rose Tyler thinks the two are a couple.  Alec soon corrects her and they quickly fall in love much to Ellie's and Tess's dismay.

During the trial, Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller return to Broadchurch to find the fair has set up.  Reluctantly, Alec stops to let Fred go on a ride and then tries to win him a prize on the darts where fairground girl Rose Tyler thinks the two are a couple.  Alec soon corrects her and they quickly fall in love much to Ellie's and Tess's dismay. 

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 Chapter 1
A/N: Takes place during the trial of Joe Miller, just as Alec is about to go for his surgery.  Rose is an ordinary woman who had been travelling with the fair across the south of England since she was six years old, her mother having gone off with the fairground owner and became a fortune teller after she revealed she always believed in the stars.  They both stayed when the fair was sold and they now live with Jack Harkness in a three bedroom trailer.  Jack has raised her as his own since she was twelve and always watches out for her though there is nothing romantic between Jackie and Jack other than when the said Jackie gets drunk and tries it on with him.  They had been to Broadchurch the previous August and left after two days, the town in the middle of the murder investigation but since it was on their schedule, they arrived the following March.  Rose used to go out with Mickey Smith who runs the dodgem cars but had split up with him over six years ago.

May not follow the exact events of the second series in the correct order.  A lot of familiar characters will be included in various roles.  Inspired by the fairground scene in episode 5.

Alec and Ellie had been out after the trial ended for the day.  They'd had a long drive back from Sandbrook after driving up and staying overnight, a full day of questioning and Miller checking over Claire and Lee's still empty house then driving back late last night.  Alec had enjoyed an evening out with Daisy but was upset that Tess had been there and had told Ricky Gillespie where they were dining.

Ellie had picked up young Fred and they had been discussing Joe and talking about the Sandbrook case but it was getting past her son's bedtime and Ellie really wanted to get him home and she had an hour's drive back to her small flat in Exeter but as they pulled into the field to drop Alec off, he was not happy they are stopped by a fairground that had appeared since he left that morning.

Ellie was getting Fred out of his car seat while Alec got his overnight bag out of the back and Fred's pushchair.  "So I take it this wasn't here when you left then?" Ellie asked, thinking it was funny and would annoy the hell out of him.

"No, the rental company failed to inform me, I'll be having words with them."

"It was here last August Alec, don't be such a grump.  Who's a grumpy uncle Alec Fred?" she asked the two year old.

Fred just laughed as she put him in his pushchair and he pointed to the coloured lights.  There was no way of getting to Alec's chalet without walking through the fair itself.

"Oh look Fred, let's get uncle Alec on the Teacups!" Ellie exclaimed, more for Alec's benefit than her son's.

"Huh, you can take him on if you want Miller, I get dizzy enough thanks.  Go on, you promised him now, I'll wait with his pushchair."

It was only seven thirty and Fred was still wide awake so the boy held his arms out excitedly.  Ellie frowned at Alec.

"You could at least make the effort."

"I'll suffer if I do, go have fun Miller, it's been a long day.  Don't let that bitch of a barrister get to you, she was clutching at straws to save him from drowning.  We both know he's guilty and we did nothing wrong.  Maybe going to Sandbrook wasn't such a good idea but at least we proved a couple of things.  Go on or he'll be too old by the time you take him on there."

Miller scowled at him, trying to stop a squirming Fred from running off as the ride stopped.

"Grump," she muttered as the man operating the ride pulled back a bar to let two people out and Ellie and Fred got in, Ellie buckling the safety belt on Fred, not that she didn't trust the ride, much.

Alec waited, slowly looking around the rest of the fair and wondering what time they closed and if he would have hoards of kids knocking on the back wall of his chalet as soon as it was light.  Why wasn't he consulted?  Miller said they had been here before so maybe it was just assumed that people would know and he might have seen the odd poster around town and maybe he had not put two and two together and associated the fair with the fact his chalet backed onto the showground.

There were the usual fairground attractions, thankfully nothing with really loud music or the speedway that attracted rowdy layabouts and teenage girls who would be trying to shag each other behind his chalet or even worse by the gate that led to his door.  He was tired, too tired and their trip up to Sandbrook had been a mistake and the confrontation with Claire had not helped.  She had accused him of abandoning her but if she, as he suspected was already back with Lee, he was going to confront her anyway about it.  She no longer needed his help and he was contemplating now forcing her hand, since she had lied repeatedly to both him and Miller.

He caught a glimpse of young Fred, waving at him and so he waved back.  Then he saw some side stalls, the usual shooting range, a coconut shy and a darts stall but what made him look twice at that particular stall was a young woman with blonde hair talking to a dark-skinned man.  He couldn't make much out but they seemed to be having a heated discussion.

"How many times Mickey?  Get it through that thick skull of yours will ya?  I'm not going to the pub with you after we finish.  Why don't you ask Tish?"

'Tish' was a young woman who had recently joined them when they were on Hampstead Heath, part of a larger fair that brought together other travelling fairs and where everyone got together to catch up and sometimes disgruntled employees and stall holders swapped and changed fairs.  Young Tish had been one of them, having left her family after a number of failed jobs that only lasted a few days and who envied her older sister Martha who was now a fully trained doctor and working with her husband out in Africa somewhere.

"Aw, Tish isn't interested, she's not the same as you anyway babe."

"You call me that one more time Mickey Smith and I'll have Jack throw you in that river over there, get it?  Now scram and next time, spend your break doing something useful like having a customer aim their dodgem car at you."

"Huh?  You never used to be like that Rose, you changed an awful lot."

"Yeah?  Well I'd say for the better since I dumped you, all we did was go to your trailer, had a quick snog then you'd either watch football or play it on that stupid games console you spent a months tips on."

Mickey huffed again and since his break was over, went over to relieve Billy, the young lad who looked after everyone by giving them a break if they worked alone. Rose was one of them but it wasn't her turn yet.

Ellie and Fred came off their ride, Alec didn't even notice.

"I said that was fun uncle Alec, wasn't it Fred?" she repeated, taking the pushchair handle from him and bringing him out of his daze.

He knew he had to stop phasing out on things.  He didn't want to tell her he had collapsed on the decking a few nights ago, hence his disappearance, ending up on the cliff top and knocking on Jocelyn Knight's door at seven that morning, making his will out and leaving everything to Daisy.  The barrister had been sympathetic but he hadn't told her he thought he was going to die and very soon, judging by the past few days.  Maybe this was all too much, reopening the Sandbrook case in the middle of the trial but Claire fighting with him had not helped.

At least Miller knew half of what she was up against and he had got her interested enough that she would continue if he didn't make it to the end.  If he did croak-it, he wouldn't get to see Joe Miller walk free now the confession had been kicked out and everyone thought he and Miller had been in bed together on the night he had arrested her husband for murder.

"Come on uncle Alec, why don't you see if you can win a prize for Fred?"

"Call me that once more and I'll personally see he gets off and comes back to you."

"You wouldn't dare, not after all we've been through."

"Try me.  Ok, but I'm not shooting ducks or knocking coconuts off a tin can.  I used to be good at darts, back in the day."

Ellie sniggered.  She could well believe it since he was always looking daggers at her.  She knew she could never be more than friends with Hardy and if he made it through this trial and reprieved himself on Sandbrook, he would be off to try and make up with his daughter.  She just wished he'd stop being an idiot and go get his operation.

He hadn't told her but he had already rung the hospital and had finally got to speak to the consultant and was going to see her tomorrow for his life saving pacemaker fitting after trying the week before and she sent him for yet another blood test that had an eight hour waiting time.  He wouldn't have survived waiting eight hours. They would just have to do it when he turned up on Friday, then he had the weekend to recover before court again on Monday morning.

They had only gone to Sandbrook after Miller put some new evidence together after the visit to his chalet by Ashworth late on Monday afternoon so after court on Tuesday, he and Miller had set off, stopping at a motel just off the motorway and uncomfortably having to share a room.  He had contacted Tess to ask if he could meet with Daisy the following night, who had reluctantly agreed then a late night drive back to get a few hours sleep but coming back to a fair behind his chalet wasn't going to help him, not with his operation tomorrow.

He wasn't going to tell Miller, he was going to sneak out and get a taxi to the hospital with some lame excuse and send her a text while she was still in court so she wouldn't get to read it until he was on the operating table.  He knew she would go ballistic and drive straight there and if he didn't die under the knife, Miller would kill him or be waiting with a bunch of seeded grapes and hope he'd actually choke on them this time.  He knew he should say something to Tess as well, even if it was only for their daughter's sake so he would send a message to her at the same time.

They had reached the darts stall, Fred was pointing to some cartoon character toy that required a top score and he wasn't that confident he could still throw one dart let alone three and get the right combination.

"Hi," Rose greeted them cheerfully, relieved Mickey had stopped glaring at her for the time being.

She just wondered why every now and then he would get the urge to pester her after almost seven years.

She explained the rules to Alec such as not standing in front of the mark and no leaning over and Alec paid the fee and Rose handed him the darts.  Alec checked the balance on each dart and said they were too light for him so Rose, being used to fussy customers who thought they knew better than she did that it was not the actual darts but the person's capabilities and she handed him a new set.

Alec then got his glasses out of his pocket, to which Ellie grinned and Rose frowned.  She often wished she could put a notice up saying no glasses allowed but Jack wouldn't let her and it was one of his stalls, all three were, the shooting and the coconuts included and while Jack ran the other two, the darts were hers but only because she had the patience with men or women who liked to take their time and calculate their score.

Alec did take his time, Fred was getting tired and wanted his prize and Miller was getting impatient.

"Just get on with Alec, it's just a game."

"I think your son wants that a Tigger toy," Rose smiled at him.

"He's not my son but if that's what he wants, what score do I need?"

Rose told him and he quickly did the calculations and aimed his first dart.  He started off good and by his third dart, he was two off.

Alec took off his glasses, poor Fred had fortunately fallen asleep and Jack was watching otherwise Rose would have felt sorry for him and just given him it but he qualified for a smaller prize, his score was still over the limit.

"Aw, never mind, you still win a prize from the first or second rows," Rose told him, pointing to the two bottom shelves.

Alec turned to Miller.  "You choose something then, I don't know what to pick."

Ellie shrugged and choose a suitable toy for a two year old, a toy car.

"Want another go Sir?" Rose asked hopefully.

She thought the man was kind of cute in a scruffy bearded temperamental way.  She had to ask everyone or Jack would want to know why the man only had one go.

"Maybe another time, my friend needs to get her son home."

"Oh don't mind me," Ellie replied, seeing the woman eyeing up her ex boss and now even more grumpily her friend.  "Stay and have another go, you can bring it to court with you tomorrow, give them something else to talk about, cheer up their miserable lives a bit more.  I'll see you there at ten, have fun."

With that, Ellie turned around and headed back to her car, laughing at her leaving Hardy with a young blonde.  He wouldn't know what to do with her anyway, not in his state and if she had any sense, she would go back to what she was doing before they had arrived at her stall, talking to another man who had gone back to work on the dodgems.

Alec was left with the blonde woman and Ellie was right on one count, what the hell did he say to her?  What looked like her boss had just put some coconuts back on their holders and tidying up and probably about to either take the woman's place or tell her to get her customer to have another go.

"Go on then, I'll try again, maybe I'd do better without my glasses, whatever your name is."

"It's Rose and maybe you would but try again if you want."

She wasn't allowed to give the punters any tips on aiming, Jack frowned on it and he would tell her mother but it was almost her break time, twenty minutes to grab a coffee and maybe a hotdog from the catering stall.

So Alec paid the money, begrudgingly and thought if he didn't win this time, he may call at a shop in town and just buy one for the boy, it would work out cheaper but there was something about this blonde and he found himself actually trying to impress her.

Rose had taken the darts out and handed them to him, taking his money and feeling his hands were warm, when hers were cold despite the half gloves she wore. She got his change and handed it back to him.

"There you go Sir, better luck this time then, he's a cute boy."

"I suppose, he's her boy, not mine.  We used to work together and before you get the wrong idea about court, it's not a divorce or anything."

Rose smiled.  "It's none of my business Sir but if you want to talk, I have a break soon, maybe we can go get a coffee?"

"You might not talk to me if I win," he grinned.

"There's only one way to find out."

"What about that white bear with the heart?"

"It's a lower score but your aim was just a bit off last time.  You need 35 or above for that one.  Getting it for your friend?"

"She's not that sort of friend."

He aimed his first dart, keeping it low and in the middle of the card then his second, leaving him needing to get an ace to win.  He made his aim and got it just on the edge that the flight was over it.  Rose went up and the point was just inside but she knew she had to call Jack to double check.

"Here Jack, come and check this will ya?" she called.

Jack came over, leaving two people trying to knock the coconuts off.

"Another one Rosy? he asked, his pet name for the girl he had helped raise since she was six then full time when she was twelve after that ass Howard had gone and sold the fair and left Jackie and her daughter to fend for themselves.

He looked at Alec, the man had tried before and it was technically in and sometimes he would say no if the dart flight was too far onto the next card.

"Yeah, it's in.  Well done Sir, for the girlfriend or wife was it or the little boy?  What are you choosing?"

"That white bear up there, with the red heart."

"Ah," said Jack, reaching up for it as he knew Rose would just ask him anyway since it was too far for her to reach safely.  "Definitely not for the boy then."

He handed it to Alec.  "Rosy, you can go for your break now, Billy's here and don't go spending it with that loser Mickey Smith.  Have you been threatening to throw him in the river again?" he laughed.

Rose raised the counter after taking off her apron and handing it to Billy.

"Take your time Rosy, it's quiet tonight," Jack called after her.  "Time you had some fun," he thought to himself.

Alec had picked up his holdall and was waiting by the side of the stall and Rose hadn't noticed until she realised she hadn't thanked the man for playing two games.  As she put the counter back down and turned around, the white bear was pushed in front of her face.

"For you," a Scottish voice came out of the shadows, his overnight bag now at his feet.

"What?  Oh, thanks, you really shouldn't Mister."

"It's Alec and is that Rose or Rosy?"

Rose laughed.  "Everyone calls me Rosy but my mother calls me Rose.  She says she would've christened me Rosy if she'd known at the time.  Wanna go get that coffee with me, as thanks for the bear and spending your time trying to win something?"

"Why not?"

He picked up his bag and made his way over to the catering stall, Rose holding onto the bear.  What did he have to lose on maybe his last night on the planet?

Chapter 2
Rose enjoys an evening in Alec's company and things get hot an steamy in his chalet

Rose ordered a coffee and a hotdog and a tea for Alec, having to pay for his since her things were free, there were a few tables at the side of the catering stall and Alec pulled out a chair for her, putting the bear on the table.

"No-one has ever won anything for me before, not since I was a kid."

"Really?  I'm surprised at that.  What about that man you were talking to earlier?"

"My ex who keeps pestering me and can't take no for an answer and no, he's useless at games, can't even knock down a coconut."

Alec smiled.  He was quite willing to take a chance if she was, tomorrow, he might not have to worry about apologising to her.

"So what time do you finish work Rose?"

"Ten but I'm supposed to tidy up first."

"Maybe you'd like to come and have a drink with me afterwards?"

"If I stay to tidy up, it will be too late."

"Not if you come to my chalet over there, the blue one and I make you a coffee?"

"You live here?  Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you had just come to the fair with your friend, I see now we're in your back garden, sort of."

"It's not exactly my personal back garden but yes, the blue chalet at the end, I live there."

"Oh.  Well I hope we don't keep you awake or anything."

"I won't be asleep at ten."

He was going to say he hardly slept anyway and when he did he felt like he was drowning all over again.

"Coffee then?  Don't you have anything stronger?"

"No, I'm not allowed to drink, doctors' orders."

"Well in that case?"

He knew what was coming next – the 'thanks for nothing see you' just like he always got recently.

"It was just an idea."

"Coffee it is then, say around ten thirty or earlier if I can get away.  You won't lock me out will you?"

Alec laughed.  "No, I wouldn't dream of it.  I thought you were going to turn me down flat."

It was her turn to smile.  "Best offer I've had for ages and I really do appreciate the bear."  She waved a paw at him.  "I'd best get back now, I enjoyed our little chat.  Are you sure I won't be keeping you up late?"

"No, I have something to work on, I'll be up.  I'm in the middle of a court case."

"You a solicitor or something then?"

"No, ex detective inspector, the woman was my DS, we worked a case here last year, a young boy was killed."

"Yeah, I remember that.  We came for a few days and had to leave early."

"Right.  No-one was coming here, the town wasn't in the mood for having fun.  See you around ten."

Alec got up and picked up his holdall.  Rose watched him.  "Had to stay away for a night, another case I was working on."

"You don't have to explain it to me Alec."

He was glad now he had not taken the bait Sharon Bishop had been throwing at him about him and Miller having an affair.  A young blonde woman was giving him a second glance and coming over for a late night coffee or maybe something more.

Rose watched him walk off, smiling.  A detective inspector, beat that Mickey Smith.  Jack noticed her change in mood as she took her apron from Billy, placing the bear Alec had won for her under the counter so no-one else would try and win it.  She had noticed Mickey glancing across as she came back and was sure he must have been watching her talking to Alec, she didn't even know his surname but she hadn't offered hers.

The punters came and went over the next couple of hours and it was almost closing time, a few came over at the last minute, mostly teenagers trying to get her to let them win and asking if they could take her out, Jack had warned them off eventually.  He saw Rose counting her evening's take and walked over to her, there were still ten minutes to go.

"Get out of here Rosy, bet you have a hot date with that guy who won you that bear earlier."

"You keeping tabs on me Jack?"

"Me?  Hell no but you've been checking the time every ten minutes for the last hour and glancing down at that bear with that look in your eye."

"What look's that then?"

"We could go on all night then you'd miss your date.  Go on and don't forget your key, I'm not waiting up all night for you and you can explain it to your mother, if she catches you.  Speaking of that, watch out, she's on her way over so I'd vamoose if I were you."

Rose handed him her apron and picked up the bear, lifting the counter.

"Thanks Jack, see ya later."

Jack smiled, he had never seen her beam like she had done when she had got back from her break. Her smiled was about to fade as her mother caught her.

"Who were you talking to earlier then?  It's not like you to off with the punters and what's with the bear?"

"I don't have time to talk now Mum, got a date with a teddybear."  She waved the bear in front of her mother.

"Don't give me that Rose Tyler, you're off to meet that bloke ain't you?"

"So what if I am?  Don't wait up, I'm just off to get changed first."

"Wait, I'll walk over with you, we can talk."

"Nothing to talk about, he won this teddy for me after trying to win a toy for his friend's son," Rose called out of her room as she quickly changed her underwear to something more suitable for a date and put on her short red dress.

She completed her outfit with a black jacket and a pair of black low heeled shoes and picked up her purse containing her wallet and phone.  It was now ten fifteen and she thought Alec would think she had stood him up but she had said it could be ten thirty so she had time to spare.

"You be careful Rose, walking across that showground when you come back."

There were still people around clearing up and she knew them all.  A few called to her as she walked past but Mickey was watching her and wondering where she was going at this time of the night since it was a bit late to be going to the pub and she had refused to let him take her anyway.  He hoped she wasn't meeting the bloke he had seen her with earlier.

She found the gate at the end that led to Alec's blue chalet and stepped out onto the decking.  The lights from the harbour reflected in the river, a string of coloured lights across the bridge and the chalet all lit up.  She was still on time and hoped he had not forgotten the invitation as she tapped on the glass door.  A few moments later, there was no answer but she could hear talking on the TV, probably the news.  She tried again, the curtains were closed to and she heard footsteps and Alec pulled the curtain to one side, with a pair of rimless glasses on his nose and a wearing a blue jumper with his white shirt collar showing over the top.

He unlocked the door.

"Hi, sorry, I must have fallen asleep on the sofa.  Come in Rose, sorry, I had not noticed the time, is it ten thirty?"

He moved aside to let her in and locked the door.  He gestured to take her jacket so she took it off and handed it to him.

"Thanks, this is different, how long have you been here?" she asked, looking around at the piles of paper folders piled up on bureau and the drawers open, also filled with folders.

"Oh, I'm going through an old case, Miller, sorry, Ellie has been helping me.  Anyway, I offered you coffee or would you prefer tea since it's quite late?"

"Tea's fine, do you want me to come back another time?"

"No, not at all, I'll just tidy these.  Make yourself at home."

Then he looked at the sofa where he had fallen asleep and grimaced.  He tidied the cushions and took the files off the coffee table and hoped young Fred had not left anything behind the cushions on his last visit when he had minded the boy while Ellie had gone shopping for him.  Now he and Ellie had an understanding and they still fought occasionally, she had actually trusted him for a short time while she went up to the supermarket, which was her fault anyway for using all his supplies.

He pushed everything into the drawers and closed them, smiling and went into the kitchen.  Rose was having second thoughts about this, he seemed really caught up in something and he didn't want to share.  He brought out two mugs of tea and asked if she wanted sugar then sat beside her on the sofa.

"So have you named the bear yet?"

"I decided to call it DI Alec since I don't know your surname."

Alec blushed.  This young woman, she was far too young for him, would be leaving in a few days but he was way past due having some fun, if this was his last night and if he survived, then she probably wouldn't entertain him more than one night anyway since he couldn't actually do much.

"I'm flattered then, it's the first thing I've won since a Mickey Mouse for my daughter when she was seven.  She's almost sixteen now, lives with her mother."

"Sorry to hear that, you must miss her.  I live with my mum and Jack, they're sort of together, they're more like company for each other.  You don't want to hear my life story."

Alec put his drink down and pushed a stray strand of hair away from her eyes.  "You're very pretty Rose, no boyfriend?"

"When you're travelling around, you don't get much of a social life.  Beside the people with the fair, there's only the punters who fancy their chances of asking me out but they only want to show off in front of their mates and Jack says it could just lead to trouble so I always refuse them."

"You made an exception tonight then?  For me?"

Rose smiled and took his hand he hadn't realised was brushing her cheek.  "You weren't with a group of yobs and you were trying to impress me.  Sorry for the misunderstanding with your friend, I hope Jack didn't embarrass you?"

"No, we get it all the time, everyone in the town knows us but fairly recently, we got accused of actually having an affair during the murder investigation.  Now that is embarrassing."

"Oh, well it would be, I mean if you're just friends."

"We weren't even friends back then, we hated each other and the worse thing was, I arrested her husband for the murder."

Why was he even telling her this?  Some pick up line Hardy, he told himself, that's really going to impress someone like her.

"I read about it but I had no idea that was her.  It must have been terrible and now the town think you did it to get him out of the way?"

"You weren't in court the other day were you by any chance?" he smiled.

"No, I don't think so, we were miles away.  So tell me the rest."

"You're really that interested?  There was no truth in it, the defence team are making it up as they go along, trying to get him off when the whole town knows he's guilty and so does he.  He didn't even tell his solicitor he was changing his guilty plea until the hearing, it sent everyone reeling from the shock, then his confession got thrown out of court.''

"Why was that?"  Rose was now running her fingers on his jumper, wishing he would suddenly feel warm and just take it off.

"It could have had something to do with the fact his wife kicked the hell out of him when he was in custody, she lost her temper."

"Well that's hardly surprising, what woman wouldn't have done exactly the same?  Was it because she was the police?"

"Yes but I allowed her to see him so apparently it's my fault just as much as hers but she was doing it as a wife.  Anyway, I didn't ask you here to discuss the court case Rose, in case you think that was the actual reason, I have Ellie to do that with.  What do you do to relax?"

"Read, watch TV, go for walks and let ex detectives win prizes for me but you're the first one."

She poked her tongue out between her teeth as she smiled and Alec couldn't resist leaning forward and giving her a peck on her pink lips.  She didn't try to resist him but leaned into him as he eased back onto the cushion and really hoped Fred hadn't left a toy car behind it.  They deepened the kiss as she leaned on him, not minding his beard was tickling her and she felt his fingers fumbling with her dress zip.  They stopped for breath just as the zip came down and Rose moved for him to pull the dress over her shoulders and at the same time, she tugged on the hem of his jumper and pulled it up.

He moved his hands and took the jumper off, throwing it on the back of the sofa and Rose began to unfasten the buttons on his shirt as he pulled the dress away at the top, revealing her plum coloured low cut satin bra.  His jumper off, she parted his shirt and he was just glad he'd not put his t-shirt underneath, which was why he had put the jumper on earlier as he began to push her against the other cushion.  He really shouldn't be doing this the night before his surgery but to hell with it, he was going to have one last fling even if it killed him, save them the time and money of operating on him tomorrow afternoon.

"Rose, there's something you should know.  I didn't ask you here for this you know but if you're ok, I'd like to take this a bit further?"

"Mmm I'm not in the habit of doing this either Alec but it is nice, maybe we can take this a bit further, I'd like to."

They never said another word as she unfastened his shirt cuffs and pulled the shirt over his shoulders as he moved her to take her dress off.  She lay against the cushion as her dress joined his shirt on the back of the sofa and he leaned down to kiss her exposed skin showing over the top of her bra, Rose ruffling his hair.  He reached around her back to unfasten her bra but she held his arm and looked at him.

"Maybe not Hardy," he told himself.

He carried on kissing her but dared to reach under her bra with his lips, making Rose smile at his impatience as he was hoping that tactic would make her give in.  He knew just as long as he took his time and made no sudden moves, he would be ok and what if the ambulance did have to come for him a few hours earlier?  It would be worth it.

Rose had her legs wrapped around him as he hovered above her, nipping hungrily wherever he could reach without getting her out of that damn bra that was hardly there anyway.  Her arms were now around his back as he changed tactics by going to the bottom edge of her bra and trying to get his tongue under it to edge it up, almost reaching his goal as he was met by the soft flesh and decided to move one hand and push it up the rest of the way and hoped she wouldn't slap his face for his troubles.  She didn't.

As he leaned on one arm, his hand was now touching the soft flesh as he fingered it then leaned back to kiss it, the cup of her bra now out of the way and he wondered if she really would slap him if he moved the other but maybe if he did one at a time, he would get away with it.  Rose was touching his sides and slowly brought her hand around to touch his chest, feeling his heart was racing and thought she was having an effect on him, never realising there was anything wrong with him.

Alec hadn't noticed, he was too engrossed in what he was doing and was quite used to the different paces his heart beat at and it was only when it went too fast or slowed to almost a stop that he got an attack and so far, it was just going a bit faster but he wasn't about to stop what he was doing, being selfish for a change.

Rose had sensed something, even if he was enjoying this as much as she was, she knew his heart shouldn't be going like that but how could she approach the subject without offending him and telling her to get dressed and get out?  She decided she would turn the tables on him.

"Mmm, Alec, can I come and lie on you a bit?"

"Hmm?  Oh, ok but only after I've finished with the other one then."

"Who said you'd get a go there?"

He didn't answer as he moved his head and moved the other bra cup out of the way and began kissing where it had been.  Rose thought so much for that then, he seemed ok.  She had no idea what she was doing to him.  When he was satisfied he had given that one the same attention as the other, he raised himself up, wondering just how late it was now.  If Rose wanted to leave, he would have to walk her back to her trailer but maybe she would want to stay as long as she didn't expect anything else from him.

He pulled her up, she pulled her bra down but he had already seen her and had a wicked smile on his face.

"Too late Rose, I already got a close up, remember?"

Rose tried not to blush and pushed him against the other cushion.  He reached around her back and this time she didn't try to stop him as he slid the straps over her shoulders and her bra joined the rest of their clothes.  She pressed herself onto his chest and they began kissing, he sought her tongue with his own and she happily ran hers against it, tentatively at first but relaxed within a few seconds as she felt herself go dizzy at the sensation but as he lowered his hands, she stopped him and almost bit his tongue.

"Sorry, that was stupid of me.  You should slap me and leave."

"No but it was a stupid move Alec, what we were doing was more than nice but I'm not ready for that kind of move.  Besides, it's my turn now so before you do anything else stupid, I get to kiss you."

Alec was more than ok with that and hoped he'd make it to the end of the evening.
Chapter 3
Alec decided this was getting slightly out of hand and way beyond what he had hoped.  Rose was kissing across his bare chest and her hand was on the part she wasn't kissing.

"Rose, I think we should just slow down a little.  This is really nice but it's getting late, maybe I should walk you back to your trailer?"

Rose looked up, a bit disappointed.  She reached for her bra.  "Ok, if that's what you want, fine."

She put her bra on backwards and fastened it, turning it around.  Alec could tell this was going to end badly.  He had almost promised himself he would have one final fling if he didn't make it through surgery.

Rose was reaching for her dress, getting off the sofa after moving his shirt and it landing on him.

"Or maybe you could stay?" he added hastily, putting it back and laying against the cushion.  "I was giving you the option but you took it the wrong way."

He waited to see what she did.  She put the dress back.  "You could have said that Alec, I thought you wanted me to leave?"

"No, I'd like you to stay, please?  Just stay, I won't put any pressure on you, I just want some female company, it's been a while."

That was partly true, sharing a bed in a motel with Miller had not been the highlight of the past two years and was more than uncomfortable under the circumstances with the accusations flying around about them.  Maybe if he got through the surgery tomorrow, he would ask Rose out again before she left town and make sure everyone knew he was with her.  Then she would come back at some point and if he was still in town, maybe they could get together again but who was he kidding?

Rose reached for his shirt again and put it on, fastening a couple of buttons.  Then she got off the sofa again and took his hand.  He got up and crossed to the door, making sure it was locked and taking the key out.

"So which is your bedroom Alec?" she asked, standing on her tiptoes to put her arms around his neck. "It's been a while for me too and I'd be more than happy to keep you company.  Do you have a t-shirt I can borrow?  I don't want to crease your shirt."

He leaned down to kiss her, his own arms now around her waist.  Suddenly, he scooped her up and carried her towards the bedroom, stopping by the light switch and Rose moved an arm and turned it out, one arm still around his neck and leaning her head on his shoulder.  Her bare legs were supported by his arms and he was enjoying the feeling immensely.  She was barely covered by the two buttons of his shirt she was wearing and kicking her legs as he used the light coming from outside to cross into the bedroom where he put her on the bed, glad he had tidied it when he had got back earlier.

He put on the bedside lamp, pulling the wooden blinds over.  "I'm not used to entertaining a beautiful woman so you'll have to excuse me."

He went to the dresser and pulled out a white t-shirt and tossed it on the bed.  "I'll just be in the bathroom, won't be long."

"Alec, don't you want to claim your shirt back?" she asked, fingering a button.

He could see her bare tummy and the top of her bra.  Was she trying to finish him off?  He knew he had to go and take his pills soon, there would be plenty of snogging if nothing else.

"Rose, I would love to take off that shirt and reclaim it but I need to go to the bathroom, really.  Just wait right there and I'll be right back, don't move."

Rose smiled.  "Ok then, I'm not going anywhere but don't be long will you?"

He leaned over and kissed her tummy.  "You'll hardly know I was gone."

He retreated to the bathroom, collecting his pills and taking two from the blister pack and just hoped they would be enough for someone like Rose.  She was still lying on the bed but had moved and was propped on one of the pillows.

"Come here Alec, I want to ask you something.  I'm a show girl, a fairground worker and you're in the police, are you ok with what I do?"

"It doesn't make any difference to me Rose, I'm not working anyway, I'm only here until the court case is over and they find me another job."

He didn't want to say until his fate was decided tomorrow and if by a stroke of luck he survived, he would be on his way after the trial, perhaps to apply for a transfer nearer to his daughter.  She had shown signs she wanted contact with him again after they had all been out together but Tess had not wanted a reconciliation.

"How long do you think it will take Alec?  Will you stay here until they find you something else?"

He was going to say that depended on two things, his survival and if she was staying in town.

"How long are you here for Rose? You are the brightest thing I've seen so far in this town."

He kneeled on the bed after taking his trousers off and knelt in front of her, Rose ran her finger down his torso, stopping at his navel.  Keeping his balance, he unfastened one button, then the other, running his finger and parting the shirt.  Then he helped her take it off and she pulled him towards her.

"We leave on Monday Alec so let's not waste any time but if you just want us to get to know each other tonight, I can go for that."

Maybe his luck had changed already.  After Rose gave him a snogging within an inch of his life and they had kissed all the places they could reach without taking their remaining items off, they finally fell asleep in each others arms after Rose put the t-shirt on he had left for her and woke to Alec's alarm at seven thirty.  Rose scrambled out of bed since there was only one side and went to gather her clothes then find the bathroom.  Alec was already dressed in a shirt and unfastened tie and was just coming into the living area when she came out and she stopped as he held out his arms.

"I expected a morning kiss Rose."

"I thought you had to go to court and I wanted to make you some breakfast but we can go back to bed if you like?"

Alec smiled.  "Well never mind, come here."  He wrapped his arms around her and leaned down to kiss her.  "Good morning sweet Rosy."

"Mmm, good morning my fuzzy detective, going for a shave are you?"

"It's not that bad is it?  I thought that was what attracted you to me or was in the fact I won you that bear?"

She reached up and kissed him again.  "You're far cuter than the bear Alec."

"Thanks, I think.  Did you say something about breakfast?  I need the bathroom, you'll find what you need in the kitchen, I have tea, no sugar."

Rose went off after fingering his beard then kissing his cheek and finding eggs in the fridge and putting them in a mixing bowl, put the toaster and kettle on.  Just as Alec came back, she was just setting some scrambled eggs and toast on the table and went to make the tea.

"Thanks, if you decide to quit your job, you could be a waitress."

Rose smiled.  "Only if you came in every morning."

"Maybe I would.  When are you coming back Rose?"

"I've not left town yet Alec."

"Well I miss you already, see, I even shaved for you."

His beard looked a lot neater than earlier.  Miller was going to get a surprise when he turned up in court, his beard had not been that length since he arrived in Broadchurch last year and maybe it was now a bit less then even back then.  All he needed now was a haircut and if he survived this afternoon, maybe he would go get it.

Rose got up from the table and half sat on his lap, fingering his chin.  "Looking good Alec, all that for me?"

"For my favourite waitress, maybe I'll just have to coax you away from that fair and employ you myself."

He gave her a kiss, her arms around his neck and his around her waist.  He whispered "Rosy" in her ear as she kissed his neck and his almost smooth cheek.

"Your chalet isn't big enough for you justify having a waitress."

"Then I'll just have to move somewhere bigger, won't I?  Seriously, when are you coming back?"

Rose kissed his cheek again. "August."

She started to get up but he stopped her.  He knew his taxi would be waiting in the pub car park in twenty minutes and he may not be coming back.  His solicitor, well his new one he had appointed a few mornings ago at 7am would take care of everything for him and it wasn't fair to burden his new romantic interest with such things.

"Too far away.  Can I see you tonight?  Come over after you finish but if there are no lights on, I'll be away again.  It's this damned old case I'm working on, it keeps me away and it's too far to come back, Miller takes me over after court is dismissed for the day but if I'm not here, I'll be back sometime tomorrow, I'll come and find you.  What time does the fair open?"  He kissed her as they got up.

"We open at 2pm tomorrow and Sunday.  Come and find me and if I see lights on tonight, I'll come over, if not, I understand you have a case to work on, don't worry."

She kissed him again, then quickly cleared the breakfast things while Alec got his holdall and put his jacket and tie on.

"I have to go sweet Rosy, hopefully I'll see you tonight."  He leaned down to kiss her again.  He hated lying to her.

Rose put her jacket on and picked up her purse, Alec ushering her out of the chalet because he wanted to kiss her goodbye before he crossed the footbridge over to his waiting taxi and hope he would see her again.  They stopped as he was about to cross.

"Wish me luck Rose."  He couldn't say what for but hoped she thought it was about the trial or the case.

Rose reached up and kissed him.  "Good luck Alec, whatever happens."

Alec looked up and saw his taxi pulling in.  He let go of her, still holding onto her arms and whispered, "If I'm back later, I'll make up for this morning."

Rose smiled and kissed his cheek.  "Don't keep your taxi waiting."

She watched him walk over the footbridge and get into the taxi.  Alec turned around and waved as he threw his holdall onto the back seat.  Rose thought he was more than likely not coming back tonight, his old case must be taking him away again and she was going to look him up when she got back but not having his surname, it may prove a little difficult.  Still, all she really had to do was look up the murder in Broadchurch and there would be the names of the leading detectives and she would get it from there then follow any links to his name.

She waved until the taxi pulled out onto the road, wishing she had walked across the bridge with him.  Alec could see her in the passenger rear-view mirror, just hoping he was coming back now he had found someone who was remotely interested in him because he could certainly do worse than attract the attention of the girl from the fairground.  He wished now he had got her phone number at least and send her a text before he went for his surgery but what would he say in it?

Would he say, "Hey, I'm just about to get a pacemaker fitted, don't mind me" or more like "I probably won't see you again, I might die on the operating table, last night was more than nice"?  It was going to be bad enough sending messages to Miller and Tess, he thought there would be no love lost with either of them, Miller would call him a tosser and Tess wouldn't care as long as he had left everything to their daughter, which he had.  At least he had done something right.

Maybe now he had even more reason to make it through, apart from the Sandbrook case, seeing justice for Danny Latimer and his daughter, that was if he could get the mysterious Rose to stay when the fair left town come Monday.

Rose let herself into the trailer she shared to find Jack cooking breakfast.  "Want some Rosy?" he offered, turning over the bacon.

"I've already eaten thanks.  Mum up yet?"

"Yes I am thanks very much.  Where did you get to that you've already eaten madam?" her mother asked, emerging from the tiny bathroom, drying her hair.

"Come on Mum, I'm not a kid and I wasn't that far away.  I spent the night with someone, has that become a crime?"

"Don't be cheeky to your mother Rose.  Who was he anyway?"

"He's a police detective, well he was.  He's testifying at a court hearing over in Exeter then he's waiting for a transfer, he didn't say much else."

"And you didn't ask either did you?" Jack grinned.

He'd done that many a time even since he had shacked up with Jackie Tyler and her daughter, there was nothing romantic about it except for when Jackie had one too many to drink and a bit of snogging then took place, more for her sake than his.  His door opened both ways.  Rose decided to get out while she could so she picked up the laptop and connected to the internet using the device the fairground now used so everyone could benefit.  They all paid a small amount each month.

She typed in 'Murder Broadchurch' and got thousands of results so she filtered it to 'Detective Broadchurch' and the first result came up from the town newspaper – 'Alec Hardy vindicates himself by solving the Broadchurch murder'.  Clicking to find out more, she read the interview he had given on the conclusion of the case and was horrified to find out he had battled an illness and that a case had eluded him when the killer got away by evidence going missing.

No wonder he had been so reluctant last night, why hadn't he wanted her to know?  Maybe whatever had been wrong with him was now cured and he hadn't wanted to mention it.  She didn't search further, she would be gone on Monday and he was obviously very busy, no wonder he had taken another overnight bag with him.

Alec arrived at the court, early as usual, which he did on purpose especially when he wanted to leave an overnight bag and didn't want anyone being nosy but today was different.  He knew Miller wouldn't be taking him anywhere and he had a taxi booked to pick him up from in front of the building at two, just after everyone had gone back after the lunch break and he would tell Miller to go ahead, that he had a call to make and she wouldn't question it.

He had decided he would send a message to her and Tess before they took him to the operating theatre then he thought again about the woman he had met yesterday.  She was stunning and he wished he had met her before the day his fate was to be decided.  He had only made his mind up a few days ago, he had been told he wouldn't have to wait too long since his symptoms had got worse, especially after he had collapsed again the other day.  So as the trial began for the day, he had put himself between Miller and her estranged husband to save him from glaring at her and looking slyly at her, which had made her uncomfortable.  Before they had gone in though, Ellie had quizzed him about the fair last night.

He could have sworn she had got there early just to ask him.

"So Hardy, where's that Tigger toy then?  Didn't manage to win it after all?  Good job Fred wasn't taking much notice but he liked the car.  Maybe we can go back tonight?  Have another go?"

"Not tonight Miller.  Besides, it will be cheaper to buy one."

"Don't be such a grump, trying to win one is much more fun and I think that girl fancied you.  You've even had a shave, must be love."

"Really?  Is that why I didn't win the toy?"  He wasn't going to mention he won a bear for her instead and she had named it after him then spent the night in his bed.  Miller wouldn't believe him anyway.  "She has better things to do than waste her time on me Miller.  It's time to go in and don't wait for me later, I have a phone call to make during the break."

"Fine, misery guts."

Just after the break, Alec told Miller to go ahead and save him a seat but he wasn't going back, maybe never.  His taxi arrived after he collected his holdall from the reception area and took him off to the hospital.  He sent messages to Miller and Tess, to Miller he simply told her he had stopped being a knob and gone to get the pacemaker and if he didn't make it, it had not been nice knowing her because she had made him do it.  He didn't want to get all sentimental and to Tess, he said he was sorry he never told her about how ill he was and he had left everything to Daisy and who his solicitor was and told them both if something happened to contact the hospital in Exeter.

Once inside the hospital, he was directed to the ward and was left to get changed into a hospital gown and his vitals were checked, then he was taken down to the theatre after giving instruction to the nurse to get in touch with Jocelyn Knight at the crown court should something happen to him and he didn't make it.  The nurse assured him she would pass it on and told him not to worry, they fitted pacemakers all the time.  That made him feel better - not.

While Alec was preparing to go under the knife, Ellie was blissfully unaware her ex boss was undergoing treatment at last and his ex had just happened to be on her way to Broadchurch to see him about Claire and Ashworth as some new evidence had come to light and she had just confronted Claire but when she got out of Claire's cottage, she got a message and tried to call her ex-husband back to find his phone was turned off.

Tess swore under her breath at him – that man.  Then he wondered why she had sought another man's company and divorced him but he might die and despite her hatred for him, a lot of things had gone unsaid and he didn't deserve to die on his own if that was what was going to happen and she couldn't face Daisy and tell her that her father had died and she wasn't even there.  After all, he had taken the rap for her mistake of leaving evidence in her car and she hadn't asked him to but neither had she set the record straight and if he got through it, she was going to officially re-open the case for him, in his memory if he didn't make it.

Rose was busy setting up the stalls for the evening opening at six.  She had spent the afternoon having a look around the harbour area to escape being asked question by her mother and opted not to go to the get-together some of the woman had that entailed catching up with gossip and hoped her mother wouldn't tell the whole camp she had spent the night with a man.

Just after four, Ellie got out of the courtroom and checked her messages and saw one from Hardy, wondering where he had sneaked off to when he hadn't come back in but wanting to hear what was going on since it was about Mark Latimer.  Then she read the message and was furious.  That man, who did he think he was?  Sneaking off to get his pacemaker without telling her after she had nattered him about it non-stop since she found out.  If he made it, she would kill him and if he didn't she would gladly dance on his grave.  He had kept her going through all this and if he died on her, she would never forgive him.

Alec was laying in the outer room of the operating theatre while they prepared him and as he felt the anaesthetic take hold and things went blurred, his last thoughts were his daughter and Rose, who had comforted him on possibly his last night on this earth.
Chapter 4
When Alec woke up, he had various wires attached to him and Ellie Miller was standing over him, throwing a bunch of grapes at him.

"Not again Miller?"

"You moron, sending me a text when you knew I was in court.  What if you'd died?"

"Well I didn't but those grapes are not seedless.  I'm alive Miller.  I need you to take me back to Broadchurch."

"Are you completely mad?  I'm not taking you."

"I'll take him Ellie."  Tess was standing in the doorway.

"He's supposed to stay in, they told me, another 24 hrs."

"Bloody doctors, I just want to go home, take me back to Broadchurch Tess," he asked his ex wife.

Tess went to get his medication while he got dressed.  He couldn't tell her he only wanted to go back to see Rose, the woman he had thought about as soon as he had woken up and the last thought he'd had before going under.  If Tess stayed though, he would have some explaining to do but if all the lights were out, Rose wouldn't come to call for him.

Tess was amused when she parked in the pub car park just after six, crossing over the bridge and going through the gate.

"You live here?  Seriously Alec?"

Alec opened the door and Tess took his holdall inside.  Alec sat on the decking and Tess got some water.

"Here, take two of these now and two before you go to bed.  I'll stay tonight."

"Why did you come to the hospital?  You made it clear you didn't want me back again."

"There were a lot of things unsaid Alec.  You took the blame for me and you never threw it back at me.  I know you did it for Daisy and I never thanked you.  We're even now."

Alec took the painkillers and hoped she would go soon but he was in no fit state to tangle with Rose Tyler again.  Last night had been more than nice.

"I'm fine now, you can get off if you want."

"No chance Alec, they said you need someone with you at least overnight, that was the only reason they let you out, I vouched for you."

"Thanks but I'm fine, really, there's no need for you to stay."

"Got a hot date or something Alec?"

"Me?  In my current state, don't be daft Tess."

Tess raised her eyebrows.  She wouldn't put it past him in that barrister had been right about him and Miller but she didn't seem his type, well since she had two kids.  It was more likely to be a young blonde half his age.

Alec sat on the decking, enjoying the late evening sun, well at least it wasn't that cold seeing it was March, it had been colder last August for some strange reason.  Tess called Daisy and Alec spoke briefly to her while she made some tea.

"Yes, I'm fine, no more broken heart.  I hope I'll see you soon, don't stay away now."

Rose couldn't see Alec's chalet from where she was working so when her break came around and he'd not shown up, she quickly grabbed a coffee and a burger, something she was going to have to cut down on and walked towards his chalet but Mickey spotted her and called her over.

"Where did you get to last night, walking over towards the pub?"

"Non of your business Mickey, I'll go where I like, now excuse me, I'm wasting my break here."

She knew she didn't have time to see Alec but she would get some idea if he was in.  She was almost at his chalet, it was still light so there was no need for any from inside.  She would try around ten and see if he was back.  He may even walk back through the fair or over the footbridge but if he wanted her to know he was back, he would come through the fair.

By nine thirty, there was no sign of him and it was getting dark so Rose asked Jack if she could skip off early to get changed.

"Go on, since you don't make a habit of this, normally.  He must be some guy."

"He is Jack, he is."

Rose went to get changed, put her best underwear and a blue dress and picked up her things.  It was just after ten and she knew Mickey would still be around so she would have to try and dodge him.

Alec meanwhile had just taken some more painkillers and Tess had persuaded him to go to bed, he'd been in no condition to argue but was worried Rose was going to turn up.

"Leave all the lights out Tess before you go to bed will you?"

Tess was going to use the spare room.  "Fine, I'll go now, it's been a long day, I could use some sleep. Call me if you need anything."

Alec just prayed Rose wouldn't knock on the door.

Rose had just walked through the gate as Tess turned out the light and went into the bathroom at the back of the chalet.  So figuring he wasn't home, the place being in darkness, she disappointedly turned around to go back to the trailer.  Fortunately for Alec, she never noticed the light go on in the room Tess was using.  Rose managed to dodge Mickey on the way back and went to her room, throwing herself on her bed.  It wasn't like she had an exclusive with him, he was probably just away again but he might have been with that woman who he was trying to win a prize for her son.

Rose didn't come out of her room until the next morning when Jack was making breakfast.

"Hi Rosy, breakfast?"

"Yeah, thanks.  Listen, if needed, can I take tonight off?"

"Must be serious.  What time did you get in?"

"Do you really need to know?  Is that a yes?"

"Just give me some warning."

After breakfast, Rose put on her jeans and sweater and decided to see if Alec was back but he had said he would come and find her.  She didn't want to seem too keen but if she just happened to be out when he came looking, he couldn't say anything.  So she bided her time but by eleven, she was climbing the wall.

"I'm off for a walk."

"Rose, we open at two," her mother reminded her.

"I know, Jack will cover for me if I'm not back."

"That bloke again Rose?"


Alec had woken up that morning, feeling better, he'd had a good night, his first in two years.  Now all he had to do was get to the end of the trial and solve the other case and if he could get Tess to take it on with him and Miller, he would do it.

"Right Alec, I'm off then," Tess announced around eleven.  "Daisy was staying with her friend but I have to get back.  Sure you don't want to come with me?"

"Maybe next weekend Tess, I'll just take it easy, I'm back in court on Monday."

"Right.  Well I'll follow up on those leads first thing Monday morning, I'll let you know.  Have you got everything since you didn't think you were coming back last night?"

"Fine, Miller will probably stop by and drink all my tea and eat all my bread, she'll get more.  I'll walk you to your car."

"Just to the gate Alec, get some fresh air and don't go too far."

"Yes ma'am!"

"You've still got it Alec Hardy."

Rose was walking down the field and saw someone come through Alec's gate, followed by who looked like him.  He had been in last night.  The woman turned and kissed his cheek and Rose turned around and ran back to the trailer.  No wonder there were no lights on last night and why he didn't want to have sex with her the night before, he had a girlfriend.

Rose felt sickly, seeing the woman turn around and kiss his cheek, he had just been using her the other night probably because with him being away he'd not had chance to arrange for that woman to visit him.  Well he could get stuffed if he came around looking for her again, she was leaving on Monday morning anyway, what difference would it make?  There would be plenty of other men chatting her up and trying to win prizes to give to her – the only trouble was none of them had succeeded until the other night and she had always liked that bear since Jack had hung it up.

She went to join Jack at the stall and the fair opened.  She vaguely remembered Alec saying he would come and find her and hoped now his girlfriend had come back he would forget to look her up.  Just before six, Rose was due her break which was a bit longer than the evening breaks she got, she was attending to two men who were competing against each other when she heard a familiar voice and turned around.

"How many points did you say for the Tigger toy?"

Alec had spent most of the morning after Tess left just lying on the sofa and reading files until Ellie had stopped by, done his grocery shopping and he'd looked after Fred and now she had taken the boy on the roundabout, in a fire truck and he had gone to find Rose.  The other two men had both failed and were debating whether to have another go and normally, Rose would be sweet-talking them into it, like she had done with Alec the other night.

"You really want to know Alec?"

"Well yes, I don't want to disappoint Fred another time."

He held out the coins and Rose passed a set of darts, remembering he didn't like light ones and picking up another set.

"You need three aces."

"Come on Rose, is that all you have to say to me?  No words of encouragement?"

"Why should I?  I came by last night, you didn't seem to be at home so I left it.  No need to come and look for me."

"I said I would Rose, I was at home last night, you never knocked."

"Why would I?  The place was in darkness.  We had one night Alec, I don't own you."

"What are you talking about?  Look, I was in bed, had to have an early night, that's all."

"With your girlfriend?  Don't deny it Alec, I saw her leaving this morning, you don't owe me anything but why say you would see me last night and if you weren't in you would be working?  There was no need to use that as an excuse."

"Rose, you misunderstood, that wasn't my girlfriend.  That was my ex wife."

"Oh and that makes it better?  Just throw the darts and then leave me alone."

"At least let me explain Rose?  Please don't be like that."

Jack was now looking over so Alec threw the darts, missing his mark on the first two darts then getting an ace.  He still won a prize and Ellie had joined him, sensing something was wrong and choosing a smaller toy for Fred.

"Alec, I'll be over at the amusement tent if you want me, if not, I'll be off, see you on Monday."

"What?  Oh alright." Ellie went off shaking her head, he was infatuated with the fairground girl.  Then to Rose he said, "Can you take a break?"

"Ten minutes but I've got better things to do, just go home Alec, go back to your ex wife then, I'll put the other night down to you missing her."

"I don't miss her Rose, she gave me a lift home yesterday, from the hospital."

He hadn't meant to tell her like this.  Over dinner yes, he would have told her but not in the middle of the fairground with noises and people, especially her boss watching.

"Can you get some time off?  Have dinner with me and I'll explain it to you?  The hospital wouldn't let me out unless I had someone with me, there are two bedrooms in that chalet Rose, we're not back together again, she still loathes me, she has someone else, she's not interested in getting back together, she's helping me with that case.  Please Rose?"

Billy had just come over to relieve her.  Alec stood to one side.  He did look different, slightly.  Maybe she should hear him out.

"Jack, can I get some time off?  I just got asked out."

Jack shook his head.  "What am I gonna do with you Rosy?  Go on, get out of here."

She reached up and kissed his cheek.  "Thanks, don't wait up."

"Do I ever, it's your mother that does that, not me."

Alec was waiting at the side of the stall.  "Don't you get tired of fairground food?  Let me take you for a proper meal, why don't you get changed and I'll meet you at the entrance to the restaurant over there?   I'll go book a table for two.  Hope you like fish?"

"Yeah and I'm sorry Alec, I jumped to conclusions but it did look funny, her kissing your cheek like that."

"I suppose it did, she surprised me as well but I had just cheated death."


"I'll tell you over dinner, I'll wait by the bridge, take your time."

Rose kissed his cheek and went to get changed, Mickey was watching again as was her mother and Jack knew she wouldn't be back that night.  Once in the trailer, Rose looked at the bear Alec had won, the bear looked back.

"Why did you have to be so cute, DI Alec?"  She checked to see the bear was not still wet from her tears earlier.

She thought she had made a fool of herself the other night, virtually throwing herself at the man who had tried to impress her.  What had she been thinking of back then?  She never accepted invitations from men to go to the pub let alone to their chalet and spend the night with them, he had been the first one she had made an exception for but what then?

She would be gone come Monday morning after they had packed up would Alec want to ever see her again when they wouldn't be back until August?  Would he himself still be there in August?  He had said he was only finishing this court case then he would be gone, he wouldn't want to wait around for her to come back, surely?  Maybe he would actually ask her?  Would she stay though?

Checking herself in the mirror she picked up her purse and key and at the last second, her jacket and made her way through the outer stalls of the fair, trying to avoid Mickey and her mother, not having luck with her mother, who was standing outside her fortune-teller's tent waiting for a customer.

"And where are you sneaking off to Madam?" she asked.

"Got a dinner date Mum, I cleared it with Jack so don't worry.  When was the last time I actually had a date?  Apart from Mickey constantly asking me out."

Jackie supposed she had a point.  "Well I want to meet him so bring him by tomorrow, before we open, invite him for Sunday lunch, see how he behaves."

"Mum, he's a police detective, how do you expect him to behave?  Really, I'm not a kid you know."

"Well don't sneak around like one then and if you stay out all night, don't pretend and act like you've been back for hours."

Rose knew she was guilty.  She got away and Alec was waiting by the bridge and allowed her to cross first.  He had managed to book a table, since it was quiet and after they got seated, Alec told her a bit more about himself and why he had not told her of his hospital visit.

"What was I supposed to tell you Rose?  That I may not even see you again?  I thought it would be best if I told you I would see you later, rather than say, I may not come out of hospital."

"You could have said something Alec, I thought all kinds of things when I saw you with your ex wife this morning, how do you think I felt?"

"How was I to know you would be out Rose?  I didn't plan it, I tried to get her to go home last night but it's a long way and I was told I had to have someone with me, I should have stayed in hospital."

"Then why didn't you?"

"Seriously?  Would you?"

Rose smiled.  "I suppose not, mum says I'm terrible when I'm ill, she has to threaten to tie me to my bed.  What was wrong with you, you never said anything the other night and why wouldn't you come out?"

"You don't need to know Rose, there's nothing to worry about, I'm fine now, really."

"Then tell me because I suspected something was wrong the other night when you only wanted some company, I don't get many offers like that you know.  Men always try to take advantage of me, not that I let them.  I know how to look after myself."

"I'm sure you do Rose and I didn't want to take advantage of you since I didn't know if there was going to be a second time I saw you.  I'm sorry, I should have at least said goodbye to you properly and not give you the impression I was coming back when I didn't know for certain but I'm here now and I would like to continue where we left off the other night, if you want?"

"Yeah I'd like that Alec but you should have said something to me.  Can we get out of here?"

"Sure, don't you want any dessert though?"

He picked up the menu and Rose spied her favourite that she hadn't tasted for a long time, banana split and decided they still had plenty of time for snogging even if they stayed a while longer.  Alec decided he would have the same and Rose giggled.

"I thought I was the only one.  I haven't had that dessert for ages, since Jack took me and mum out for her birthday two years ago."

"So where do you travel to Rose, where are you going from here?"

"Down to Bournemouth via Weymouth for a few days then Brighton I think, maybe a few other places, Jack knows.  Where are you going from here, when the court case is over?"

"I've no idea, maybe back to Sandbrook, if I can ever solve that case, my daughter lives just outside there, I may move to be closer to her, she's a couple of hours away."

"You must miss her then?"

Alec went quiet as their desserts arrived, thinking he wouldn't ever finish his.  "Come for a drink with me?" he asked as they got up and he paid the waitress.

It had been expensive but when was the last time he had taken out a beautiful blonde?  After a few drinks in the pub over by the harbour, Alec led the way back to his chalet, hoping Tess or Miller wouldn't be waiting for him.  His luck held as he opened the door and Rose followed him in, reaching for his jacket and taking it off as she pulled hers off.

Alec began kissing her neck and unfastening the zip of her dress.  Rose was hoping he wouldn't waste any time, it was already after nine as she let her dress fall to the floor and began unbuttoning his shirt.

"Mmm, Alec, let's just mess about on the sofa for a while?"

"I was thinking more of the bedroom Rose."

She giggled.  "Patience isn't your strong point Alec, is it?"
Chapter 5
He gave her a wicked smile.  "Ok, sofa it is but we'd be more comfortable in the bedroom so don't say I never warned you, Miss Tyler."

They had exchanged surnames and phone numbers over dinner.  "I promise you Rose, I'm fine now, come to bed with me?" he asked, twenty minutes into a serious snogging session and him losing his shirt and trousers and Rose just in her underwear.

He got up off of her and Rose put her arms around his neck for him to pick her up.

"Take me then, carry me there."

He picked her up and she turned the light out again, putting the chalet in almost darkness except for the lights coming from outside.

"Don't put the lamp on Alec, leave the blinds open," she asked, one arm around his neck and the other now ruffling his hair.

"For you, anything my sweet Rosy."

That night was even better than the first Rose had stayed with him but he still had to take it easy since he didn't know what he was capable of now he had his pacemaker and he still needed the painkillers but it was enough to send Rose dizzy at the sensations he was giving to her now he was well again.  They fell asleep, only to be woken by a knocking on the door just after eight.

"Bloody hell, who's knocking on my door on a Sunday morning?" Alec huffed, trying to get Rose to move so he could put his shorts and t-shirt on.

Then he was thanking he had pulled the blinds over before they had gone to sleep, the last thing he wanted was Ellie Miller peering at the pair of them naked in bed, well almost naked, Rose had put her knickers back on much to his dismay.  Slipping on his dark blue jeans like trousers, he fumbled for the door key, wishing he had hidden it last night.

The noise didn't appear to have woken a still sleeping Rose though she soon discovered she was lying on the bed and not her new favourite pillow.  Ellie Miller stood with two paper cups balanced on a cardboard try, grinning at him.

"Still with us worse luck?"  She barged her way in, minus her young son.

"Didn't you go home yesterday Miller?" he asked, hoping Rose, if she woke up would put her clothes on or at least his shirt she seemed to have taken a liking to.

"Stayed at my sister's, Olly's watching the boys, we have a lot to do."

Rose had woken up and heard voices but still half asleep, put his shirt on and fastened a few buttons to cover herself, well almost, opening the bedroom door and without thinking, stumbled out barefooted.

"Alec, who is it babe?  Ooh, sorry."  She saw Ellie staring open-mouthed at her in just Alec's shirt and bare legs.

"Oh, was I interrupting something?  Good," Ellie laughed.  "I would have brought another coffee if I'd known though I should have done after yesterday afternoon I suppose.  I'm Ellie and you are?"

"Rose.  Sorry, I was half asleep and I heard a voice, I thought Alec was on the phone.  I'll just go get dressed."

"Oh don't mind me dear, I just came to help him with that other case, I'm sure he told you about it."

"Leave it Miller, go back to your boys, it's Sunday."

"Ok, I can take a hint, you're obviously planning on spending a far more interesting day with Rose than going through old files.  I'll see you at the court tomorrow, it should be all but over.  Nice to meet you properly Rose."

Rose had gone back in the bedroom and was getting dressed, feeling slightly embarrassed but the woman had intruded on Alec's home early on a Sunday morning so what did she expect?  Was she jealous and thought she had a rival?  Well Alec wouldn't have called her 'Miller' and he wouldn't have just spent the night having sex with her, Rose Tyler, if he was interested in his former work colleague.

Alec came back in the bedroom as Rose was trying to fasten her dress.  If he was going to take her out again, she only had one more he hadn't seen her wearing but she was leaving in the morning anyway, wasn't she?

"Come back to bed darlin' and take that dress back off."

"Maybe I should go Alec, if you have work to do?"

"It can wait, I'd rather spend the time with you, my sweet flower."  He kissed her neck as the dress fell back to the floor.

He had surprised himself, all the names had come back to him what to call a woman after he'd just had sex with them.  If only his old work colleagues could see him now, well Miller just had and serves her right for barging in like that.

After they made love again, Alec got up to make some tea since the one Miller had brought him was cold and he suggested they walked over to the harbour café since it was almost ten.  Once seated and waiting for breakfast, he had something to ask Rose.

"Are you really leaving tomorrow Rose?  Can't I persuade you to stay?"

"What then Alec?  The fair is all I've known there's nothing else for me here.  I have to go with them."

"Well I'm here so think of coming back, before August."

"I don't know Alec, my life is with the fair."

"Are you going to stay there forever?  You don't want to try anything else?"

"I grew up there, they're my family and Jack's like a dad to me."

They ate in silence the Alec asked her to go for a walk across the other side of the harbour and down the Esplanade.  They held hands, Alec getting a few funny looks from people who knew him as the worst cop in Britain and those who had seen Rose at the fair.  It would be all over the paper by Tuesday.  At the far end, Alec sat her down.  It was almost midday.

"I have to go to work at two, I can't get any more time off, I'm sorry."

He turned to kiss her.  "It's ok Rose, I know.  Come to my chalet tonight so I can talk you into staying."

"I'll come over Alec but I can't stay after tonight.  You have a case to finish and a trial then if you solve that, another court case so where does that leave us?"

"I don't know Rose, where does it leave us?  You could come with me or we could catch up with each other, when this is all over maybe down in Weymouth, how long will you be there?"

"About a week, maybe less.  Jack has the schedule.  Let's just go back to your chalet for an hour, I have to go back soon, I'm already getting into bother for not helping set up but Jack has been ok with it so far but I won't get away with skipping hours at a time again."

Alec tried to smile as he helped her up, kissing her cheek.  They walked back and Alec let them into his chalet but as he turned around, another man was standing behind them.

"Ashworth, what are you doing here?"

Lee Ashworth, main suspect in the Sandbrook case was glaring at him.  "Where is she Hardy?  Where's Claire?"

"How would I know?  Ring her and find out."

"She's not answering and she's not at the cottage so where have you put her this time?  Who's this? Your latest girlfriend?"

"Keep her out of it.  I have no idea where Claire went, I told her to get out of the cottage, I was just protecting her from you but it's plain she didn't want that any more since she took you back."

Alec had convinced Ellie that turning Claire out of the cottage he had been keeping her in was the best option and he could no longer afford it anyway, not now she was shagging her husband there.  He had no idea where she had gone, that was no longer his problem.  Rose was looking a him.

"Get out of here Lee, go find your wife."

"I'll be back Hardy.  How's the court case doing?  That DS of yours jealous over your little blonde here?"

"If you don't leave, I'll throw you in the river now get out."

Ashworth smiled.  "Oh, he didn't tell you about his little affair with his DS or he was shagging my wife behind my back?  Don't you think she never told me Hardy, you and Claire."

Alec almost lost his temper.  "I spent the best part of two years trying to protect Claire against you, two years of pain and I thought I was going to die before it was over but you two deserve each other, you both lied to protect yourselves but do you know what?  I'm closing in on both of you so don't expect to be free for much longer.  Come on Rose, I've had enough of this."

Alec took Rose's arm and went inside, leaving Lee smirking on the decking.  If Claire was hiding herself, he was going to make sure Hardy's girlfriend knew about it.  He knew Claire had said no such thing, she wouldn't go with a copper, not when she had so much to hide.

Once inside Rose looked at Alec.  "I take it you two aren't friends then?"  She tried to look serious but burst out laughing.  "You and Ellie?  Where did that come from, really?"

Alec smiled, pleased she wasn't slapping his face and running after Ashworth to get more information. "The defence team insinuated Miller and I had an affair and plotted to frame her husband for murder."

"Oh.  So it was her husband that killed that boy?"

"Yes but she had no idea and no, we didn't have an affair, she hated my guts at the time and no, that hasn't changed by that much, we barely tolerate each other, we were thrown together by the trial and I got her to help me keep Ashworth's wife safe but she went back to him and now she's playing games again, she's a piece of work Rose, she probably told him I slept with her."

"If you did Alec, it's nothing to do with me what you did or if you were seeing Ellie.  I have less than an hour if you want to do some more snogging?"

Alec marvelled at her.  "I thought you'd slap my face and storm out."

"That's not my style Alec, now my mother on the other hand, she's the one for slapping."

An hour later, Rose had a big smile on her face and was making her way to the stall she worked at with Jack.  They'd had a brilliant snogging session, Alec's techniques had improved vastly and she had learned a few things and she was going back after she got off work for more of the fantastic sex they'd had last night and this morning.  Alec had asked again about her staying but she hadn't given him an answer.

After Rose left, Alec set about the files he had piled up, regretting not telling Miller to come back later and not wanting to give the impression he couldn't keep his mind off his latest love interest, which he couldn't but Miller had been pacing around and had decided to just go back anyway and knocked on his door just after three.

"Is it safe to come in now?  Your girlfriend gone?  It's nice to see you're actually human Alec, she seems nice but a fairground girl?"

"What's wrong with that Miller?  If you're going to pick faults with my choice in women, you can leave now."

"Very funny, now let's go over this stuff again, we must have missed something."  She picked up a file at random and two invoices came flying out onto the coffee table.  She picked them up and showed them to Alec.

"I had a visit from Ashworth, just a few hours ago, Claire's gone missing."

"I think I might know where she is, the place I took her the other day.  I'll go and check and you tell Tess about those invoices, have her follow them up."

"You think it's more than a coincidence then?"

Ellie was out of the door before she answered him.

The day went slowly for Rose, Alec didn't show up at her break time but she wasn't too bothered, she wouldn't have time for even a quick snogging session even if they could have found somewhere private in the fairground.  Jack was watching her, ten minutes before closing time.

"You know I'd love to let you go early Rose but some of the others are getting a bit disgruntled over you getting time off."

"Let me guess, Mickey Smith being one of them?"

"I'm not saying anything but you know how things are and I only let you off because you've never skipped off early before, not until you met that guy."

"Well he's different than anyone I've met before, that's why.  I'll stay and help you clear up then."

"Get out of here Rose, do you think I listen to jealousy?  Have a good time but we start packing at eight in the morning don't forget."

"I won't, thanks."

She went to collect her things and didn't bother getting changed and was at Alec's chalet twenty minutes later.  He let her in and looked quite pleased with himself.

"Miller came back, we got some new leads and I'm sure we're going to close the case soon.  Now let's not waste any time, I have to perfect my snogging skills to get you to stay tomorrow."

"You taught me a thing or two actually but I can't stay, you know that.  What would I do?  If you finish that case, you'll be leaving too, you know that."

"Then I'll do what I need to Rose and I'll be back, in August, what do you say?"

"You will?  I think I can live with that and I'll be nearby before that, I have a week down in Weymouth to change my mind."

"Then call me if you do, I wouldn't want to leave and then you come back.  I think I love you, Rose Tyler."

"I think I love you too Alec, no-one has made me feel this way before but it's all been so sudden and I thought when I saw you with your ex, well I thought you'd just used me for the night because you were lonely."

"I was lonely Rose, you've no idea what the last two years have been like for me.  You gave me the will to get through my operation.  I had a pacemaker fitted."

"What? Why didn't you tell me?"

"Because I didn't know how you felt about me but now I do.  Let's go to bed Rose, if this is our last night."

After undressing each other, they fell into bed and Alec showed her how he felt about her, leaving her begging for more.  As they were falling asleep in each others arms Alec whispered, "I do love you Rose."

"I love you too Alec, I've never loved a man like this before, I don't think I've ever really been in love until now, you're making it very hard for me to leave."

"I know honey, we'll figure something out, I've set my alarm for seven so we can talk in the morning."

"I don't want to talk in the morning Alec, I want more of you before I have to leave."

"I want more of you too, my beautiful Rose."

Alec was awake before his alarm and not bothering to check the time, gently began touching Rose and she shuddered, swatting him away at first until she knew he meant business and she began to respond to his touches.  The alarm went off, Alec silenced it and gave Rose the thrill of a lifetime.  With just twenty minutes to spare before Jack sent someone to look for her and fearing Alec would toss whoever came into the river, she was finishing getting dressed, forgoing breakfast.

"Call me when you get out of court Alec, won't you?"

"I will.  There's still time to change your mind you know."

"I know and I wish I could Alec but I can't, not just yet.  Get that case and the court over with, then I'll think about it."

"Really?  You're not going to keep me waiting until August then?"

"I don't know Alec, I really don't.  I have to go, I'm sorry."

"Then let me walk you back to your trailer?"

"Your taxi will be here soon, you need your breakfast."

"So do you but you won't get any, I'll live without it.  Now come here, my sweet Rosy."

After one last, brilliant kiss, Rose had to let go.  "It will be easier if I go on my own Alec.  I'll see you soon, I hope?"

"Yes, you will because I'll be coming down to Weymouth to find you as soon as this is over.  I'll just look for the fairground signs."

"I love you Alec, come and find me."

They kissed again then Rose stepped out onto the decking, picturing Alec throwing Mickey into the river if he came through the gate looking for her.

"Bye then, Rose, I'll see you later maybe?  If I'm lucky."

Rose smiled.   "Not if I see you first."

And with that she was through the gate and gone, tears in her eyes all the way back up the field that was scattered with stall parts and people shouting to each other as stall after stall was dismantled and Mickey Smith was glaring as he saw the direction she had come from clearly this time.  Rose buried herself in her work and was waiting for Jack to get into the truck that pulled their trailer.  Her mother was chatting away in the back, it was after one and Rose was hungry, having missed breakfast to have one more time with Alec.

"I said Rose, you won't be sneaking off any more at night then, will you?"

"Mum, don't, it's bad enough as it is, just leave me."

"Well don't blame me if you didn't get much sleep and missed breakfast, we had ours."

"I'm not bothered about that, I'm more bothered about him."

"You've just met him Rose, they'll be plenty of other men willing to take you out."

"You don't get it do you Mum?  I don't want just anyone, I want him but he has some things to take care of, police business and I'm just getting in the way.  He'll come and find me when it's over, I know he will and when he does, I'm going with him.  That's the only reason I'm sitting in this truck or I would be with him.  Someone nasty is trying to make trouble for him and I don't want him to be worried about me, he'll know I'm ok if I just leave."

Jackie went quiet as Jack got in the driver's seat.  "Right, next stop Weymouth but I've just been told we're not going on the seafront, something else is going on so we're going by the park and ride, we haven't had time to put new posters up yet, we'll have to do that when we've got set up.  You can help if you want Rose, take your mind off that dishy police detective."

Rose crossed her arms and took one last look at Alec's blue chalet, where they had made love only a few hours ago.  Now he was over in Exeter, hoping for the trial to be over and finish his old case.

Alec was pacing up and down, it was the lunch break and this time last Friday, he was waiting for his fate deciding and now, the whole town of Broadchurch was waiting for news.  Everyone had been surprised when both Mark Latimer and Ellie had been recalled to the stand, Ellie as a hostile witness then the revelation about her sister and Ellie paying her to come up with her statement.  Alec was fuming.

"Really Miller, why did you never tell me?"

"We were desperate, you were on your way out, you'd collapsed and almost died on me."

"It didn't have to come to that, did it?"

"Well I'm not sorry Alec, no matter what you say.  It will be all over later and I know he's going to get off, after all that hard work we put in."

"It was all for nothing Miller, we should have known that.  Child killers don't usually show any remorse, he was probably in that demented mind of his trying to justify his actions, who knows what's going through it."

Just then Beth Latimer came over.  "If he gets out, it will be your fault Ellie, what were you thinking of?"

"Why don't you ask Mark the same question Beth?  Do you think I want him out?"

"Yes I do.  You and DI Hardy might have been having an affair but you still want your husband to be free because you feel guilty over it."

"Hang on Beth, we were not having an affair.  Besides, I have a girlfriend now so just leave me out of it," Alec interrupted.

"It still doesn't make it right, if he's let off."

"We know that," Alec replied.

He looked at his phone and wondered if he should call Rose but she was probably busy.  He would try when he got home, well his temporary one though maybe not for much longer.
Chapter 6
The jury were sent out and by four were sent home for the day, their verdict not reached and Alec got Ellie to take him back since he wanted to go through some other evidence with her and calling Tess, who had made some progress.  Rose was feeling miserable, the fair wasn't opening that night and she had to endure the evening watching TV and listening to her mother until she went to bed, cuddling the bear Alec had won for her and after telling the real Alec how much she missed him, fell asleep dreaming about the last time they had been together, hoping he would come and find her.

The next morning, Alec got a surprise as Claire turned up in court and flung the missing evidence bag with his writing on it at him.  He called Tess and told her to get to the court and hauled Claire into the courtroom with him, warning her to keep quiet.  The jury returned and everyone half expected the result but it still took it out of them and Joe Miller was told he was free to leave the court.

Beth Latimer was shouting at Ellie and Alec escorted Claire from the courtroom and into the waiting arms of Tess and a female officer, handing the evidence bag to her.

"It was you who broke into my car?  Alec, are you coming with us?" Tess asked.

"Yes, we'll go back to Broadchurch, I'm sure Claire has plenty to say for herself and I can't wait to hear what it is, since she's had this all along."

He turned to Ellie, "Give me a lift back if you want to see this over with?"

"You mean go back to your girlfriend?"

Tess laughed at the idea.  "What?  He's got a secret girlfriend?  No wonder he tried to get rid of me on Friday night.  He practically shoved me out on Saturday morning.  So who is she then?"

"She's out of town so you won't get to meet her, not that I would let you anyway."

"Oh, has the fair left already Hardy?  You never even won that prize for Fred.  I thought she would have given you an extra turn at winning it?"

Tess was more than interested.  "Do tell more Ellie, you mean his new girlfriend's with that fair that was behind his chalet?"

Ellie grinned at his discomfort.  "Oh yes, didn't he tell you?"

Tess laughed.  "Who would have thought it, no wonder he was so quick to deny you two were having an affair, who is she, some young twenty something blonde?"

"Near enough."

"Have you two quite finished?  Who I see is no-one else's business so let's get back to the matter at hand.  Besides, she's gone now, I'll catch up with her when this is all over."

The two women just grinned at each other, they both liked to make him squirm.

Claire had plenty to say, including accusing Alec of making her have sex with him against her will which amused Ellie but after he told Claire her game was up, everything came out, well more or less.  Alec and Ellie left the station but instead of going to his chalet, they sat on the steps then Alec got a call.  He dashed off to find Ashworth tearing Claire's old cottage apart after Alec had been confronted by him before he had left for court that morning, telling Ashworth it was all over.

By the end of the afternoon, Tess had gone back to Sandbrook after arresting a third party involved and it all came to light, Tess feeling sick as they discovered what had happened to the missing girl who they had hoped they would find.  After leaving the station, Ellie had just gone back to Alec's chalet and got a phone call.  It was Beth and they had decided what to do with Joe Miller.

"I have to go, will you be ok?"

"Dandy, I'm leaving anyway."

"Where are you going, back to Sandbrook?"

"No, to find a rose."

"Would that be any rose in particular?"

"Yes, go on get out of here and thanks."

He held his arms out as he leaned against the table.  All the folders had gone, locked away in the station.

"I'm still not hugging you.  Find her Alec, you need someone."

"Yes I do."

They shook hands and Ellie left.  Alec gathered his belongings, there were only a few days left on the chalet anyway.  He would go find Rose, maybe come back but he would post the key back to the rental company if not, he took it on a weekly basis.  Two days without Rose and he felt empty.  He called a taxi and put the last of his belongings into his holdall and looked around.  He wasn't going to miss the place and the now empty showground behind would only bring back memories if he stayed.  He hadn't even called her, well apart from a message from her that morning saying she missed him.

She had turned him into a quivering wreck and he was going to find her.  He got a missed call to say his taxi was waiting and he made his way across the footbridge.  As he put his case in the back, the driver asked his destination.


"Whereabouts Sir?"

"Just the seafront, anywhere near a hotel."

A short time later, Alec found himself in front of the bandstand, half expecting the fair to be there but it wasn't, there was some sort of exhibition and he would have to risk calling Rose and ask where she was.  He located a decent looking hotel and booked himself in, well a double room saying he was expecting someone to join him then he asked where the fair was.

"Oh, it's up by the park and ride but it's quite a walk, you'll need a taxi.  Are you wanting your evening meal?"

It was just approaching seven and he realised he'd hardly eaten all day.  He left his luggage and went into the dining room, Rose would be busy anyway so he thought he may as well wait until about nine then he could bring her back, if she wanted.  He would surprise her, two days without her had seemed endless.  So after hanging up his shirts and his suits, he went back and decided he wasn't going to wait so long and located the taxi rank, getting a funny look when he asked to be taken to the fair.

After paying the driver, the fair was in full swing, much busier than it had been in Broadchurch and as he walked around, trying to find the darts stall and wondering if she was even still doing the same job, he passed the fortune-teller's stall and remembered Rose had said it was her mother.  The sign said vacant so he wandered in.

"A tall dark and handsome stranger," said the blonde haired woman who looked so much like her daughter that he just wanted to come right out and say he was looking for Rose, not a reading of the cards or crystal ball.  "Take a seat but first you must cross my palm with silver."

He had taken no notice of how much the reading cost but was curious if Rose had described him to her mother and if so, would she suss him out?  He played along.

"How much would that be in today's currency Madame Jackie Lee?"  He hoped he had got her name right.

"Five pounds to have your cards and palm read and another five if you want tea-leaves and a look into the crystal ball to see your future."

"Just the first then if it's all the same to you."  He went into his pocket and got a five pound note from his wallet.

She grabbed it before he changed his mind.  He didn't believe in such nonsense but if he was going to date Rose, he could show an interest in her workplace.  Jackie turned the cards.

"You've met a woman, a young woman with blonde hair.  She's very young," Jackie declared.  Alec raised his eyebrows.  Did the woman know who he was and was stringing him along?  Jackie turned another card.  "You've been parted from her and you miss her."

"Ok," he thought, "She's on to me, she does know who I am."

Jackie drew the third and final card.  "You'll be reunited with your lover very soon."

Right that was it, she had definitely sussed him out but why would she say Rose was his lover?  What had she told the woman he knew was her mother.

"Hold out your palm Sir."

Alec did as she asked, before he got a slap and warned to stay away from her daughter.

"I see a long life but it wasn't always destined to be so.  You recovered from an illness, you were at death's door but you came back from the brink."

Well that was true, they told him they'd had to revive him during the operation.

"What about my future?"

"I'm getting to that, you're not very patient are you?"

"You tell me."  Rose had said that the other night when he wanted to get her back in his bed instead of fooling around.

"I see a happy ending for you and your lover and something that has been bothering you for a long time has finally come to an end.  I can tell you more, with the crystal ball, if you want but it will cost you."

"No, I think you've summed it up sufficiently, I'll leave it there.  You don't know me do you?"

Jackie looked indignantly at him.

"No, you've not been to me before have you?"  She looked at him and shook her head.  No, surely this wasn't Rose's new boyfriend, the one she had left back in Broadchurch?  She hadn't got a good look at him, only from a distance but this man was about the right height.

"You're him ain't ya?  You're my Rose's new bloke.  Oh charming, you might have told me."

"You're the fortune-teller, didn't you know?  I think you summed it all up.  Now if you'll excuse me, I have another blonde to go find, now you've told me my future.  I never believed in this stuff until now."

"Don't you go hurting her or everyone in the fairground will be on your tail, police detective or not, they'll find you."

"I would never dream of hurting Rose, she's very special to me."

"She's special to the whole community and don't you forget it.  What's your name anyway?"

"Alec Hardy, Mrs Tyler."

"You knew who I was before you even came in here, didn't you?"

"Yes.  I thought I would introduce myself since I want to start dating your daughter on a more regular basis."

"Well come over to our trailer tomorrow for lunch then, if you want to do that."

"Right, got it, now I'll go find Rose, she doesn't know I'm here yet."

"Well she wouldn't would she?  I'm the fortune-teller in the family."

Alec left and went in search of his love.  Rose had not seen Alec go into her mother's tent but Mickey had and saw his chance as Rose took a late break.  He called her over.

"Hey Rose, why don't we go down to the seafront tomorrow, just you and me, get some seashells like we used to?  Take your mind off things."

"What things Mickey?"

"Stop you moping about that bloke you left behind.  Face it Rose, it was just a fling, he'll forget about you now you're not practically on his doorstep."

"Shut up Mickey, what do you know?  He'll come and find me when he can, he was just busy, had a lot on his mind."

"We used to have fun Rose, me and you, exploring towns we'd not been to before, running in the water and picking up shells.  Remember?"

Rose smiled for a moment, thinking she could have been doing that with Alec.

"It was a long time ago Mickey, nothing's the same now.  I'm not going back with you, even if Alec doesn't come looking for me."

"Oh, that's his name is it?  What's he do then?"

"He's a police detective, not that you care.  I've got to get back to work now."

"Come and have a coffee with me later?"

"No chance Mickey, I've been in your trailer thanks."

"It's not that bad.  I'll tidy it up for you?"

"No way, forget it."

"Ok. I'll fumigate it for you then?"

Rose laughed, remembering her current drink was going cold.  She turned around and there was Alec, stood by the gate leading to the dodgem cars.

"Alec!"  She almost dropped the paper cup on the ground and instead, shoved it into Mickey's hand and rushed towards Alec.

Alec had come out of the tent and just happened to see someone resembling Rose talking to a dark skinned man at the side of the bumper cars.  He had seen them talking then he had heard Rose laughing.  She seemed happy and maybe she was contemplating going out with the man, thinking she wouldn't see him for a while but he was nearer than he thought as she turned around and shouted his name then rushing at him and almost knocking him over.

"Rose."  He took her in his arms and the last few days seemed to disappear.  She pulled on his neck and kissed him.

"I'm so glad you're here but what are you doing here?  Is it all over?"

"Yes Rose, it's over, well apart from me having to give testimony at the Sandbrook trial and that won't be for a while.  You still finish at ten?"

"Yes but I have to get back or I won't have a job."

"So what?"

Rose giggled and took his hand, leading him back to her stall.  Jack was smirking but Billy was getting annoyed, it was his break time.

"I might have known Rosy," Jack remarked.  "Now can you get back to work, Please?"  Then to Alec he said, "You've been keeping Rose away for a good bit you know.  She's never had so much time off since she met you.  Is this going to be a regular thing?"

"Yes, so you may as well get used to it and before you say anything, I've already had a lecture from her mother."

Rose blushed, not that anyone could see her since it was getting dark.  "You've met my mum?  How embarrassing."

"She's not that bad, told me a few things I needed to hear."

"I dread to think."

"Don't worry love, it was all good, a happy ending.  Now I'll wait here for you, go get your things and I'll order us a taxi to the hotel I'm staying in."

"Sounds like a plan to me.  Are you going back to Broadchurch?"

"We'll see."

"Go on Rose, get out of here."

"Thanks Jack but I might not be coming back, well except in the morning to get my things."

"I've been expecting that for almost a week, now scram!"

Rose dashed back to the trailer and got what she needed while Alec called for a taxi.  Once in the hotel, they kissed and Rose wanted to know what the happy ending was going to be.

"So my mother didn't know who you were at first?"

"No, I had her fooled, some fortune teller she is."

"Oi. Don't knock her, Jack says she's a natural."

"Well she got a few things right, a lot of things actually, if you didn't tell her about me."

"I didn't honestly.  Well what did she say?"

"That I would be reunited with my lover very soon."

"Oh, now I'll get a lecture when I get back."

"Never mind Rosy, you are back, aren't you?  Come back to Broadchurch with me?"

"What?  To your little blue chalet that looks bigger on the inside than it does on the outside?"

"Does it? I hadn't noticed.  We can move, we don't have to stay there.  I'll go get my old job back, I just have to pass the medical and I can go back, maybe only part time."

"What about me?"

"You can always be a waitress."

She whacked his arm.

"Hey, what was that for?"

"You said you'd employ me."

"Well maybe I will but not until we find somewhere else to live.  Until then, I'm sure a café will take you on.  We have to decide by morning though or I'll have to post the key back to the rental company and I've been ordered to have lunch with your mother tomorrow."

"You're not giving me much time, Alec Hardy."

"How much time do you need?  I'm not waiting until August."


Five months later

It was the last week in August, leading up to the holiday weekend and Alec Hardy was sat in his office, anxious to get out and pick up his girlfriend to take her for a three month scan and they had decided they were not going to ask what the baby was going to be.  Rose was trying to relax, watching the time and if her boyfriend didn't get his skinny arse home, she would have to get a taxi to the local hospital so she wouldn't miss her appointment and he had so wanted to go with her.

The fair had just arrived in town, later than they had predicted but Jackie Tyler was keen to see her daughter again after so long.  It had been almost five months since Rose had gone off with her police detective, leaving the fair behind.  Well at least her daughter had made something of herself since her departure, she had pestered Rose about settling down so she had.  Now she was looking forward to her first grandchild and the wedding on Saturday but trying to persuade her daughter and her soon to be almost the same age as hers son-in-law to spend the night apart had ended countless times with Rose hanging up on her.

The pair had only agreed to wait until the fair came to town so those who wanted to cram into the Town Hall's registry office could do so and Rose hadn't expected Mickey to show up.  Now she was looking out of the window of their rented house that overlooked the sea, watching for her soon to be husband to pull up outside and she was all ready to go.

Alec closed his computer and got his jacket off the coat stand.

"Miller, I'm off now, Rose has an appointment in half an hour, don't want to be late, first scan."

"Yeah, wish her luck and bring the photo with you tomorrow.  Are you going to find out what she's having?"

"What and spoil the surprise?"

"Well how will you know what to buy and how to decorate the nursery.  Have you even started that yet?"

"Well no but we're doing it in neutral colours, greens and yellows.  Rose wants like a jungle effect with lots of animals."

"Oh, she never said but I suppose she only discusses that sort of thing with you, not her friend."

"Don't think you're getting out of painting it with me Miller, Rose can't do it."

"I think she left it on purpose so she'd get out of it," Ellie laughed.

She was glad her old boss had requested she came back when he did and had enjoyed being in charge when he'd left early the first month he was back.  She was glad to get away from the Exeter traffic division and move back into her old house now her divorce was final and she had made up with the Latimers and had two new friends.

"Wish her luck and I'll see you tomorrow, twelve sharp and don't be late."

"With you as my best woman?  No chance Miller, you won't let me forget.  I don't know how everyone is going to fit in the registry office though or the bar at the Traders."

"Well tell Rose she can still stay at my house tonight if she decides she doesn't want to see your ugly mug in the morning before you get married."

"Didn't I tell you Miller?  That's the only reason she's marrying me."

"Oh, so it's not because you got her up the duff then and half the people in the fair threatened to shoot you if you didn't?"

"Shut up Miller."

Ellie smiled as he walked out of the door.  The rest of the office laughed to themselves and were looking forward to her being in charge for the next week while the nervous expectant father was on his honeymoon with his new wife, he'd been almost as bad since he found out she was pregnant as he'd been on the Latimer case a year ago.

Rose was relieved to see their car pull up a few minutes later, even though it wasn't far from the station to their house, he'd had to wait for a patrol car being moved that some moron had chosen to park where he couldn't get out, then he'd had to threaten with taking it away.  Rose was out less than a minute later, Alec getting out to help her in.  He gave her a kiss, stuff the nosey neighbours and they went for the scan, Alec offering to wipe the jelly off when the nurse had finished and Rose telling him it was not appropriate to do so and not to be so keen as to not wait until they were alone.

They were handed a card containing the scan picture and Alec was beaming like a Cheshire cat.

"Pleased?" Rose asked.

"Very.  Now all I have to do is survive the wedding tomorrow.  Miller offered again to put you up overnight."

"So did my mother but I'd rather stay with you but at least we're going in two separate cars, well me in a taxi.  Jack was most upset I wouldn't let him take me in the truck since he's the one giving me away, says it's been over twenty years since he went in a taxi cab.  He's dropping my mother off them coming to collect me, the taxi's coming at 11.45.  What time are you leaving?"

"Whenever you throw me out Rosy, just make sure you're not late."

"Mmm, if I'm late it will be the taxi company's fault not mine."

"Yes well, they won't get paid if you're late, that will give them an incentive to be on time.  I'll leave early, let you get dressed, we should at least observe one tradition of me not seeing you in your dress before the ceremony.  Broadchurch Town Hall won't know what hit it when all your friends turn up."

"Well only two people count Alec, you and me."

Alec smiled and led her out to the car.  Tomorrow at this time, she would be his wife and although initially she had said when she had left Broadchurch with the fair she would be back in August, they had both known neither of them could have been apart that long.

The End!