Death in paradise - Rose and Alec style

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Based on 'Death in Paradise' - Alec Hardy is out of the Broadchurch Police until he gets himself fixed but a reprieve comes in the form of a transfer to a tiny Caribbean island called Saint Marie. So Alec accepts and meets a certain Mickey Smith on the plane who is going over to see Rose Tyler for her birthday and falls in love with her then he is accused of killing a love rival.

Based on 'Death in Paradise' - Alec Hardy is out of the Broadchurch Police until he gets himself fixed but a reprieve comes in the form of a transfer to a tiny Caribbean island called Saint Marie.  So Alec accepts and meets a certain Mickey Smith on the plane who is going over to see Rose Tyler for her birthday and falls in love with her then he is accused of killing a love rival.

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Chapter 1
Alec Hardy has just finished the Latimer case and is out of the Broadchurch Police until he gets himself fixed but a reprieve comes in the guise of transferring to a tiny island in the Caribbean called 'Saint Marie' where DI Richard Poole has just been allowed back home after a recent trip back to finish a case, coming back and finds he was still homesick.  The commissioner knows about Alec and says he will give him a chance until Alec goes for his operation as he has to wait 3 months unless he takes a turn for the worse so where better than to have some R&R than a quiet island.  So Alec accepts only to meet a certain Mickey Smith on the plane who is going over to see Rose Tyler for her birthday.

Alec Hardy was not happy about being forced out of his job on a mere technicality - his poor health.  He could have gone for a desk job in the peaceful town of Broadchurch to await the hearing and possible trial of Joe Miller or even gone to give the recruits over in Exeter the benefit of his experience and bored them all to tears but his former super had called him one morning to give him some good news.

He knocked on Elaine Jenkinson's office door and entered when instructed.

''Ah, Alec, how are you feeling?''

She was no longer his superior officer so there was no need for pleasantries.

''You threw me out, without letting me finish the case.  No thanks to you, I caught a killer.  Why did you call me here?  To gloat I'm out in the wilderness and on medical leave?''

''No such thing Alec, I have some good news for you.  You can recommence light duties, nothing strenuous, which I suspect is the reason you took this job, putting Ellie Miller in a bad mood but I suppose it was just as well she didn't have to arrest her own husband, that would have been embarrassing.  No, it turns out there is need for an experienced detective inspector in another quiet place, one where it's a more pleasant climate, I almost envy you that you've been handed this.''

''It depends what it is.  Please tell me you're not sending me back to Sandbrook?  If you are, I quit and I'm staying on medical leave until I'm no longer anyone's problem then.''

''Relax Alec, it's not Sandbrook, why would I say I envied you if that was where you've been requested to go?''

''So where are you sending me?''

So Alec walked out of Elaine's office confused as to why he has been chosen to replace another British detective and why DI Richard Poole had chosen to go home.  Elaine had told him the Police Commissioner there was fully aware of the situation and Alec had the choice of either spending 3 months in Exeter or a small Caribbean Island.  Was there really much choice?  His daughter still wasn't talking to him apart from the odd grunt of 'Hello Dad' when he rang Tess to ask how Daisy was doing at school so there was no-one to miss him and 3 months in the sun was like a holiday although he had hated the sun and the sand in Broadchurch but had sort of got used to it and teaching recruits was not his cup of tea.

He had thought nothing could have possibly gone wrong when he had arrived in the small Dorset town and look what had happened but a remote island?  Petty thefts maybe, the odd tourist losing their luggage at the tiny airport, quite possibly, murders, well he would have to check on DI Poole's arrest reports for that one but surely there would be nothing as bad as watching a town being ripped apart by the murder of a twelve year old boy at the hands of a family friend but the statistics always proved the killer is always someone who is known to the victim.

Even if there was the odd murder, at least on an island the culprit couldn't escape with the airport locked down and all boats searched they wouldn't get far and he could cope with the odd one but why he couldn't stay where he was, he didn't know.  Maybe it was because he hadn't been forthcoming about his condition and it had annoyed someone.

So he went back to the hotel and looked up his destination, the other members of the island's police force and what he may be up against plus anyone of interest who lived on the island.  He came up with a few persons of interest, a few small town crooks that nothing had ever been proved against, a few British and American businessmen who were well respected and most recently, a new arrival just under a year ago was Miss Rose Tyler of Vitex fame.  That fact alone made it worthwhile enduring 3 months of sand and sea but why would someone like her be interested in him, a sickly police detective who was on his last legs.

He knew if he didn't get himself fixed, it was all over for his career and his health, how much longer would his heart irregularly beat if he kept putting off having a pacemaker inserted, at least with that, he could go back to work instead of a countdown to how many months he had left.  He had said he would go for the operation, he had his name down that in roughly three months time it would be his turn but he could still back out because he was terrified it would end badly and Daisy would never get over it but she wouldn't either way.

While Alec waited for the details of his transfer, Mickey Smith was still in London debating what to buy Rose for her birthday that wouldn't get confiscated at customs on his arrival at her new home on the tiny island of Saint Marie.  He decided on a lovely silk scarf that was easy to get through the security scanners and lightweight to put in his holdall he was taking for his weeks stay.

Pete and Jackie were disappointed they couldn't fly out for Rose's birthday but with Tony having measles, it was impossible, he wouldn't be clear until after the event.  Pete had said they could go see her later since Jackie wouldn't leave her son and go with Mickey so Pete was sending something via Air-Mail along with a birthday card and Rose had promised to call them after her party.

Rose had rented a lovely three bedroom villa near the main centre of the island, from a friend of her stepfather's who had been trying to sell it with no success and had been more than happy to rent it to her on a monthly basis.  They had all gone out for two weeks holiday about a year ago and Rose had decided to stay and since it was going to be empty, it was all agreed.  Rose did research for Torchwood and sent it securely to London thanks to Jake to keep herself busy but was there under the guise of she was trying to escape the press from associating her name with every eligible or otherwise male in the London area who was seen within 50 metres of her.

Rose had been associated with numerous male stars including a certain Doctor lookalike from Scotland and he was the only one she wished had been true.  She had never even met him in private, just being at a charity event with her mother he had also attended and she had been on the same table.  He had been charming enough, Rose had laughed at one of his jokes even and a photographer had snapped her looking at him.  Rose knew he was the one that had got away.

With her being out of the country, she had not seen or heard the news of a young boy in a small Dorset town and the subsequent investigation led by Alec Hardy and since no-one back home wanted to upset her again, they never told her who he looked like given the fact they knew she had fancied the actor and never met him again, it wasn't like she was going to run into Alec Hardy any time soon.  She was preparing for Mickey's arrival on Monday afternoon and had told a lovesick Camille, her best friend that he was coming back and since Richard had left, she was looking forward to seeing him again but Mickey had no designs on the detective sergeant, he fancied a new recruit at Torchwood called Martha Jones.

Rose had to tell Poor Camille not to give up and try at her party next Sunday afternoon as Rose had stopped to talk to her on the way out to the airport.

''Can you put in a good word for me Rose?'' her friend asked her.

''I'll try Camille but you know what he's like.  Did you have a word with your mother about the fruit cocktails for the party?''

''Yes, they will all be ready for collection, don't worry.  I'm sorry Richard won't be here, he couldn't get on that plane fast enough last week and I'm holding down the fort until his replacement arrives some time this week though I don't know when exactly.  The commissioner was leaving it to the police authority he's coming from to make the arrangements.  All I know is he's been working a high profile case.''

''Funny, mum's not mentioned anyone being in charge of a high profile case, I wonder why?  Maybe because I'm far away from home and she didn't think I needed to know.''

''Maybe Rose, it's hardly the topic of a telephone conversation I suppose to discuss who is in charge of a murder investigation.  Not when it's of no interest out here.  It's a shame about your family not being able to come over, I know you were looking forward to seeing them.  How is your brother?''

''Probably driving both mum and his nanny insane, mum says he's not really poorly with it and he was upset Mickey couldn't get in to see him since he never had it when he was a kid.  Honestly Camille, I think Mickey was the only kid on the estate to escape it, lucky him.''

''Well I'm glad your brother is not really ill with it.  So I'll see you on Sunday if I don't see you before and give my love to Tony if you speak to him.  What time does Mickey arrive?''

''Around two as long as the flight isn't delayed.  You never know, your new DI might arrive today as well.''

''Well with only two flights from London a week, it will be today or Thursday, have you got everything organised for Sunday?''

Rose smiled. ''Yeah, Mickey's in charge of the barbecue, should be fun.  I think he might need some help, you should volunteer.''

Camille smiled back.  ''Thanks for the tip Rose.''

Rose went off to wait at the airport for Mickey's plane to arrive.  She knew it was a long flight so he would want to just get some sleep after stuffing his face which was why they were going to call for food on the way back.  Rose was just leaving to get into her car when a familiar voice called her name.

''Rose, where are you off to?  Can I buy you lunch?''

Rose turned around to see local British businessman Chris Martin approaching from the side.  She had dated him a couple of time, he was older than her, not really that bad looking but she had only gone out for a few drinks and dinner and accompanied him to a few social gatherings and she had already invited him on Sunday but that was it, she had no romantic interest in him, it was just to prove she wasn't a recluse and was interested in what went on around the island.

''Sorry Chris, not now, I'm collecting my friend from the airport, Mickey arrives today.''

''Shame, is that Mickey coming back?  Anyone would think he was your boyfriend. He's not is he?''

Rose really wanted to say yes but she and Mickey were long over that plus he never stayed long enough.

''No Chris, he's not my boyfriend, I haven't got one and that includes you.  I don't mind going on the odd date with you and you're welcome to come to my party but that's it.''

''You could really crush a guy Rose.  So when you say no boyfriend, is that permanently?''

''How should I know?  I'm gonna be late, excuse me.''

Chris moved his hand from the top of her car and held the door open for her.

''I'm looking forward to Sunday Rose.  Since you're having your party outside, maybe you'll be taking a dip in your pool?''

''I don't think so, not when you're around anyway.''

''Now I am disappointed.  Until Sunday then.''

Rose was now wishing she hadn't invited him but he was expected to be there by the rest of the guests which included the Police Commissioner and several other prominent people plus her friend Camille.  She arrived at the airport and parked her car and went to wait.  Mickey meanwhile was just waking from his nap, having fallen asleep when his fellow passenger seated next to him on the small plane had done the same.  The man hadn't been that talkative but when he had mentioned he was going to Saint Marie for his friend's birthday and just happened to mention who she was, Mickey wished he would learn to keep his big mouth shut because Alec Hardy had expressed his interest in meeting her.

''So, you've known her a long time then?'' Alec asked.

''Yeah, we grew up together on the same estate.''

''You're her boyfriend then?''  Alec saw no harm in finding out if he had any competition.

Mickey knew the other man was fishing and if he wanted, he could string him along but Rose needed cheering up.

''No, we used to go about about ten years ago.  Can't say if she's taken up with anyone since my last visit though.''

Alec thought well he stood as much chance as anyone else then.

If Mickey hadn't known who the bloke was, he would have thought he was a gold-digger but seeing as he was actually a well dressed police detective, he had said he would introduce him to her.  The only problem was, what would Rose make of him given he looked like her lost friend?  Surely she was over that by now and maybe he would be doing her a favour by helping her to move on - just as long as no-one told Hardy who he looked like.  The plane was preparing to land and Alec opened his eyes.  He couldn't believe he was sitting next to a friend of the famous Rose Tyler and maybe his three month stay on the remote island wouldn't be so bad after all.

Alec and Mickey made their way to the baggage claim, Mickey getting his holdall first and looking around to see his new friend waiting for his case and told him he was going to find Rose and he would see him outside so Alec just nodded.  Alec expected no such greeting since he had arrived early but at least there was some accommodation available for him once he got to the Police Station.

Rose saw Mickey and called out for him and waved.  They hugged each other just as Alec came through the door.

''Rose, look who I met on the plane,'' he said excitedly, assuming Rose had been keeping up with the news back home and knew who Alec Hardy was.

Alec put his case down and held out his hand.  ''Miss Tyler, nice to meet you.''

Rose just stared, how could Mickey do this to her?  The poor bloke with his hand extended was not to blame but she would give Mickey what for later.

''Rose, this is Alec Hardy, surely you read about him, he just solved that kids murder in Broadchurch.''

''Sorry, I've been a bit out of it here, my family and my friend here neglected to inform me about it.  Nice to meet you too Alec and please, call me Rose.  Are you here on holiday?''

''No, actually I came here to work, I'm the new detective inspector.  Your friend happened to mention you on the plane coming over here.  I've arrived a bit early and no-one seems to have come to meet me, how do I get to the Police Station?''

''We can go by there can't we Rose and drop him off, they'll be surprised he's here already.''

''I'm surprised you want to go by there Mickey, considering you go to great lengths to avoid poor Camille.''

''Ah, yes, she'll be there, won't she?  I'd forgotten and she'll be at your party too I expect.  Rose, I met someone at work, her name is Martha and I was going to ask her to come with me but I didn't know if it would be ok with you.''

''It would have been fine with me though I'm not sure how it would have gone down with Camille.  Best break it to her gently Micks.  Shall we go, we can stop and drop you off Alec though if you're here early, your accommodation might not be ready.  They were looking for something more suitable than where Richard lived, he hated it there.  It was too near the beach for him.''

''Then it's a good thing I just came from a seaside town though I can't say I liked it at first but it grows on you.''

They walked out to Rose's car and Mickey put his and Alec's things in the back and Rose nudged him while Alec took the front passenger seat since he was taller and would be cooped up in the back.

''Why didn't you warn me Mickey?''

''How did I know he was going to be on the same plane?  I thought you needed cheering up, since your family can't come over.''

''Yeah I would do but do you really think that by finding me a Doctor lookalike it's gonna help?''

Chapter 2
They arrived at the Police Station, a tiny wooden structure and Alec thought that at least back in Broadchurch they'd had a decent building.  Rose got out as did Mickey, to get Alec's case and his carry on luggage.

''I think I'll stay out here Rose,'' Mickey announced, getting back in where Alec had just been sitting.

''Coward Mickey.  Come on Alec, I'll introduce you to everyone, well the three of them unless no-one's home since they didn't know you were coming.''

''Really, there's only three others here?  No wonder Poole went home.  Still, it's marginally better than teaching recruits.''

''Wow, who did you piss off back home?  It's not bad here, I've been here about a year, I've grown to love it.''

Alec was about to say how she would make his stay seem a whole lot better but thought he would be pushing his luck.  She was every bit as stunning as her photos and he'd felt jealous of any man she had her name associated with.  Still, he was here on medical grounds to get through to his operation and spending three months with the Vitex heiress was not going to help his cause.  Why would she want to spend her time with him?  He could always ask he supposed, when he'd got settled, it would be a pleasant way of passing the time as long as he didn't get carried away and do anything stupid like try and have sex with her.

They entered the Police Station and officer Dwayne Myers looked up from his desk.

''Rose, here again?  Can't stay away then?  If you're looking for Camille, she's gone out with Fidel since we've no DI and the new one can't be bothered to let us know when he's arriving.  I heard he's Scottish as if an English one wasn't bad enough.''

Alec decided to keep quiet and looked at Rose as if to tell her not to say anything. She let Dwayne ramble on for a few more minutes of complaints.

He finished off with, ''So who have we got here then?  A friend of yours is he?  Lost the rest of his luggage at the airport like Poole did, twice?  You got a report to file, whoever you are?''

Alec decided to have some fun, at Dwayne's expense.

"What was your name again?''

''Officer Dwayne Myers, at your service.  I'd take my cap off if I was wearing one. Your new boyfriend Rose?  What would Mr Martin say if he caught you?''

''You know Chris Martin is not my boyfriend Dwayne.''

''Could have fooled me at the charity event last month, he was all over you when you were dancing with him.''

''Yeah, well he got a slap more than once for putting his hands where they shouldn't be.''

Dwayne laughed, he loved winding her up about the playboy businessman and knew full well Rose had turned him down many a time.

''You weren't putting up much of a fight though.  I thought you were picking that Mickey boy up from the airport?  Did you collect the wrong man?'' Dwayne laughed.

''No, he needed a ride into town, no-one came to collect him since he arrived early.''

''Oh and why was that then exactly?  I hope he has somewhere to stay, you know the rules on the island Rose, all visitors must be registered at a hotel or staying with someone or renting a house.''

Alec spoke up at last, amused by the conversation.  He may have a bit of a rival if Dwayne was to be believed but Rose didn't consider this Martin to be anything special.

''Two things, I arrived early to get settled since I'm due to start work and that rather depends on you as to if I have somewhere to stay.''

''Me?  How would I know where you are staying man?'' Dwayne asked indignantly.

''Because my accommodation was supposed to have been arranged, I'm Detective Inspector Alec Hardy and I'm your new boss.''

Rose spluttered with laughter.  ''Your face Dwayne, I wish Camille was here.  Where is she anyway?''

''Sorry Sir, I didn't know who you were and Rose, you let me make an idiot of myself.''

''You didn't need any help from Miss Tyler and you should address her as such in the station.''

'Sorry, Miss Tyler.  Detective Sergeant Bordey is out with Sergeant Best investigating a home invasion Sir.''

''I hope it's not my house Dwayne,'' Rose said.

''No Miss Tyler, it's where DI Hardy is supposed to stay, it was DI Poole's home and it's been wrecked.  Camille, I mean DS Bordey is trying to make alternate arrangements until it gets fixed.''

''I'll leave you to it then.  There's always the hotel,'' Rose suggested.

''It's expensive Miss Tyler.  Sir, if we had known you were arriving today, we could have already had it arranged.''

'Well he's not missing much, I'm surprised Richard put up with it, he was always complaining about too much sand and sharing with a lizard.  Camille even said he'd given it a name before he left the first time.''

''What lizard?'' Alec demanded. ''Who lives in a house on the sand and shares with a lizard?  Rose, can you take me to the hotel until this is sorted out and tell whoever is in charge of finding your new senior officer somewhere to live that I'm not staying in a beach hut, lizard or no.  Understood?''

Dwayne stood up and did a mock salute as Rose stifled a giggle.  ''Yes Sir, DI Hardy, I'll let her know when she comes back.  Are you staying to be introduced to her?''

''Since I'm apparently early, I'll come back tomorrow morning and don't let her leave until I get here and she had better have somewhere for me.  Rose, how far is the hotel?''

''Just on the edge of town, I'll take you there, no extra charge.  See you later Dwayne.''

''Yeah, catch you later Rose, I mean Miss Tyler, give my regards to Mickey will you?''

Alec picked up his things and thought it was just as well Rose had stayed.  If he'd ordered a taxi to take him to the hotel they would probably overcharge him as a tourist.  Mickey saw them coming back out and got out of the car and Rose explained what had happened.

''So Camille wasn't there then?''

Rose smiled.  She drove out to the hotel and went in with him to make sure Alec got settled.

''Good luck then Alec, don't mind Dwayne, everyone is relaxed around here and Richard didn't seem to mind too much.  I'll see you around maybe?''

''I hope so and thanks for the ride.''  He took her hand and kissed the back of it.

''I'll send you the bill.  Bye Alec.''

Rose got her and Mickey back to her rented house and turned on her friend.

''What were you thinking Mickey?  I mean did you really have to make friends with him on the plane?''

''You were the one flirting with him Rose, don't think I never noticed.  I was sat with him on the plane, what else was there to do but talk to him?  You know he's not The Doctor and I thought you'd read about that murder in Broadchurch, how was I supposed to know you hadn't?  I thought your mother would have been the first to point him out.''

''Well maybe mum didn't want to upset me, either about the fact who Alec Hardy looks like or a child had been murdered.''

''Well if he's working here, you'll see a lot of him since you see a lot of Camille.  Did you invite him to your party on Sunday?''

Rose had to admit the thought had escaped her.  ''I forgot.  I've just met him.''

Mickey frowned at her.

''Ok, I'll call in and ask him the next time I'm in town.  I hope he gets sorted where he's staying, the hotel isn't cheap.''

Mickey laughed.  ''Why do you think I stay with you?''

''I'll charge you double rates next time,'' Rose laughed, nudging him.

Back at The Honoré Police station, Dwayne was on the phone warning Camille of the new senior detective's arrival.

''Honestly Dwayne, it was most inconsiderate of him not to let us know he was arriving today, there is no way I can get that house fixed before Friday at the earliest.  Where is he now?''

''Rose took him out to the hotel.''

''Why did Rose take him?''

''She came in with him, he must have arrived on the same plane as Mickey.  Hey Camille, your lover boy has come back to the island.''

Camille huffed, if only he was.  The only thing that she was pleased about was she had another chance to catch the eye of Rose's ex boyfriend.

''So what's this new DI like then?  Young, old?''

''Better ask Rose, she was going all gooey eyed at him, I think she's in love already. That Chris had better watch out, he has a rival for her affections.''

''Really Dwayne, stop gossiping about Rose's love life and no telling that reporter girlfriend of yours either, if I see anything on the front page about Rose and the new DI, I know where it's come from.''

Dwayne laughed.  ''Oh and by the way, Hardy said he wasn't going to live in a shack on the beach, with or without a lizard.''

''You told him about the lizard?  Well it's gone now, must have got scared last night. Who would want to destroy Richard's house?''

''Anyone with a grudge or anyone who doesn't want him to come back, which is half of the island's residents.  There was only your mother who liked him besides you.  This new one is a bit different, bit of a pretty boy with a beard, like I said, I think Rose is in love.''

''Well only time will tell and he'll have a fight on his hands from Chris Martin that's for sure.  I wonder if Rose has invited him to her party on Sunday?''

''Who?  The new DI or Chris Martin?'' Dwayne asked.

''Who do you think Dwayne?  Fidel is on his way back, I'm getting him to drop me at my mother's place, she might have a spare room to rent and it will be cheaper than the hotel.  It depends on what the commissioner thinks and if it's within the department's budget although if he moved to a smaller place, we would have twice as much to spend on actual policing.''

Dwayne laughed again, there was no chance on getting Commissioner Patterson to give up his rather lavish lifestyle, judging by his new car and his reluctance to buy new computer monitors.  Only Richard Poole had got a new one and now he was using it until Hardy took up his post officially, then he would get Fidel to put it back.

Alec had got settled in the overpriced hotel, booking two nights and hoping something would be sorted by Wednesday and he could claim back the cost.  After all, it wasn't his fault no-one had told him there were only two flights a week and he was supposed to start on Thursday, did they expect him to just arrive and go straight to work?

The next morning, Alec presented himself to the Police Station again after getting a taxi and as he had suspected, they tried to charge him tourist rates so after telling the driver, Bob who he was and Bob reluctantly reducing the price, Alec walked into the island's only Police Station.  Camille greeted him, recognising him from the description Dwayne had given her.  She held out her hand.

''Hello.  I'm Detective Sergeant Bordey.  You must be DI Hardy.''

Alec thought for the sake of his new acquaintance he should try to be civil.

''Pleased to meet you.  Did you sort my accommodation?  I take it the message was relayed that I wasn't prepared to share a house with a green lizard?''

Camille smiled.  ''So you heard about it?''

She looked at Dwayne who was pretending to be busy and trying not to let on to the DI he was actually using his computer monitor.

''I'm only here for three months, so don't fix up that beach shack and I don't want anything permanent but I'm not paying for that hotel.''

''Relax, I've found you somewhere, my mother lets out holiday apartments above her bar, right here in town.  You can have it at a reduced rate, the commissioner will approve the other half if he doesn't have to fix up the beach house.  Why are you only here for three months?  Richard didn't know how long he was here for, he was lucky to get back.''

''He didn't go to a place called Broadchurch by any chance?''

''No, should he have?''

''Forget it.  When can I move in?''

''It will be ready tomorrow, I'll pick you up in the morning and you can get the key and leave your things.''

''I don't start work until Thursday, or didn't you know that?''

''Yes I knew that Alec, I thought you would like a tour of the island before you start work.''

''I don't go for first names at work Bordey.  You call me Hardy or Sir on duty and Hardy off duty, that goes for you two Officer Myers and where's the other one?''

''Fidel.  I mean Sergeant Best, he's just passed his exams.  He's out investigating a theft at the convent.  So I'll pick you before ten in the morning.''

"Fine.  By the way Myers, that monitor had better be mine.''

''Yes Sir, I was just testing it worked properly.  I'll change it back for you before you start work.''

''See you do then.  Bordey, you're a friend of Rose Tyler's are you not?''

''Yes Sir, she and I have been friends since her arrival.  I hear she gave you a ride from the airport yesterday.''

Alec thought news travelled fast around here.  If he were to pursue her, the whole island would know an hour later.  This place was worse than the one he had just left.

''Then do you mind giving me directions to her house?  I wanted to thank her. Maybe you could give me her phone number?''

"Sorry Sir, I can't give her number out without her permission, you should know that.  She lives out on West Bay Road, a taxi will take you, they know her.''

It was far too hot for Alec and from what he had heard, his predecessor had insisted on wearing a suit and tie but he wasn't going to suffer so he made his way to where his DS had told him he would get something more suitable to wear.  He had lunch in the hotel since he was paying for it, got changed and called a taxi and asked the driver to take him to Miss Tyler's residence.

It was Bob again.  ''Oh hello again detective, you goin' to Rose's place?  You should have said this morning you was the new detective, then I would not have tried to charge you tourist rates man.  You enjoying the island so far?''

''I've not seen much apart from out of a car window.''

''Funny man, I didn't pick you up from the airport, when did you arrive?''

Just what he needed, a nosy taxi driver.  Bob dropped him at a traditional style villa with a well kept curved driveway where a blue car was parked outside, he recognised it from yesterday.  Good, it meant she was probably at home since the taxi driver more than likely knew if she had called for a cab or not.  He stepped up to the door and rang the bell.

Rose and Mickey were splashing about in the pool around the back.  Rose had tried all last night to forget the detective she had given a ride to yesterday.  She knew he wasn't her lost friend in disguise but Alec Hardy was a painful reminder of her past. It was Mickey who heard the doorbell repeater rigged up on the patio, a present from Jake that Mickey had fixed the last time he was around.

"You go see who it is Mickey,'' Rose said, sitting herself on the edge of the pool.

''You can put your robe on and it's your house,'' Mickey complained, not wanting to get out and dry himself off.

Rose huffed and hauled herself up and put on her beach robe.  Alec was beginning to think she wasn't at home.  There was a tall side gate that couldn't be seen over and was probably locked so he figured she was probably in the back garden, sunbathing or suchlike.  He rang the bell again.  Rose was almost there as she shouted at the door.

''Ok, keep your shirt on, I'm coming.''

Alec thought he heard a woman's voice from the other side of the frosted glass door.  Rose unlocked it and let out a cry.

''Oh, it's you!  Hi, sorry, we were in the pool.  Come in, please.''

''I can come back, if you're busy.''

''No, Mickey and I were just fooling around in the pool.  If you've brought your swimming shorts you're welcome to join us.''

Alec looked down at his three-quarter length khaki trousers or for want of a better word, long shorts.  He was also wearing a white shirt with black stripes and something written on the back Rose couldn't quite make out and was sporting a pair of sunglasses.

Rose almost died on the spot.  ''Come on through, would you like some iced lemonade?''

''Sounds great.  I only came to say thanks for the ride yesterday.''

''You're welcome Alec.  Please, make yourself at home.''

Rose took him through to the patio and pointed to a lounger next to hers and took off her beach robe, revealing her pink and blue swimsuit that was cut away at the sides.  Alec knew he was a goner if he kept on seeing her.  She leaned over to pour out some lemonade for him, showing off her legs and other parts Alec found fascinating.  She handed him the glass and sat beside him.

''So you really came all the way out here to say thanks?  Did you meet the rest of your new team today?''

''No, one of them was missing and I don't know what DI Poole's style was but they'll have to get used to being called by their titles, not their first names.  I'm only here for three months, I'm not staying any longer.''

''That's what Richard thought when he got sent here.''

''From what I heard, he had no choice, I did.  Like I said yesterday, it was here or teaching recruits in Exeter.  I figured this was the lesser of the two evils.  I should correct you on your assumption I pissed someone off.  My ex boss was envious I was getting such an assignment.''

''So why did you take it then?  I mean I get the bit you didn't want to teach cadets but you were in charge of a high profile case back home, what happened?''

Alec didn't want to talk about it.  ''I had my reasons for leaving.  The town fell apart, I was a stranger and I didn't want to stick around after I arrested my DS's husband for murder, it was rubbing salt into the wounds that it took an outsider to catch a local.''

''Well, when you put it like that, I suppose it was the best thing to do.''

Mickey came out of the water and put his towel around his shoulders.

''I'm off upstairs then I'll go into town and get the groceries for tonight's dinner.''

''Will you stay for dinner Alec?  Mickey's doing pasta.''

''That's very kind of you Rose but since it's my last night in the hotel, I may as well get my money's worth out of the cost.  Perhaps another time?''

''I know it was short notice, another time then?  Maybe you'd like to come to my party on Sunday afternoon instead?''

''Yes, your friend said that was why he was visiting you.  I'd like that Rose, thank you, I'll look forward to it.  Maybe you'd come and have dinner with me on Saturday night, instead of you cooking for me, as an early birthday treat?''

''That would be nice Alec, thanks.  Can Mickey give you a ride back to the hotel?''

''If it's no trouble.''

''No it's fine, I can drop you off, I'll just go get changed.  Won't be long.''

Rose sat on the side of Alec's lounger and looked at him.

''You know you'd be a lot cooler if you shaved some of your beard off Alec, not that it doesn't suit you, it does but it gets very hot out here.''

She touched the side of his face, his beard felt softer than she imagined.  Alec put down his glass and took her hand and kissed the back of it.

''I'll consider your suggestion Rose.  So, Saturday night? I'm moving into town, apparently above DS Bordey's mother's bar.''

''Oh you mean Catherine's?  I can meet you there, if you like, what time?''

''Say seven thirty?''

He was still holding her hand, staring into her hazel eyes.  He so wanted to just kiss her but that would lead to other physical activities he wasn't sure he could still take part in.
Chapter 3
Rose was falling deeper into his dark brown eyes.  She knew it was more than him looking like her lost friend and there was also his reluctance to tell her why he knew for certain he was here for exactly three months, a fact he was most adamant on.  Alec sat up, quite aware he was still holding her hand.  Rose shook her head like she was coming out of a daze.  She knew she shouldn't be openly flirting with him, he wasn't staying and she didn't want another short term relationship which was why partly she was there in the first place.  Trying to get over The Doctor, even after all this time was proving impossible until yesterday at the airport when his double had followed Mickey out of the baggage claim.

''Rose,'' Alec whispered gently.  ''Are you ok, you look miles away.''  He rubbed her arm and she smiled.

''What?  Yeah, sorry Alec. I was, miles away that is.  I'm sorry, I just went, well it doesn't matter.  Dinner, Saturday night, can't wait.''

Alec wasn't so sure.  ''Surely a dinner invitation wouldn't send you into a daze, have I affected you so much you can't wait to be in my company again?'' he asked, smiling at her.

Rose wanted to say that was exactly the problem.  "Sorry Alec.  It was just well, when you arrived yesterday, I thought you were someone else for a minute, someone I used to know.''

''Oh Rose, then it's me who should be sorry for reminding you.  Maybe dinner isn't such a good idea then, if I upset you?''

''Oh no Alec, you don't upset me, really.  It's something I have to get over.  I won't do that if I see my friend everywhere.  I really am looking forward to Saturday night.''

''Then maybe over dinner, you'll tell me who I remind you of and why I brought back unpleasant memories.  I can assure you Rose, that wasn't my intention, to upset you in any way.''

Rose tried to move but he held onto her arm then with his other, after he swung his legs off the lounger and made a gap, he took her other hand and kissed the back of it again.

''If you want to talk about it, I'm a good listener, all that police training didn't go to waste.  Maybe if you tell me, I'll tell you why I know for certain why I'm only here for three months.  I'd like us to be friends while I'm here, that's if you don't have anyone else?''

''You mean Chris?  No, he's really just an acquaintance, we just have a few drinks and that.  Take no notice of Dwayne, he likes to wind me up.  I'd like to be friends with you Alec, while you're here.''

He touched her cheek gently and pushed her hair back.  Then he leaned forward and whispered, ''I'd like that very much Rose, I thought I wasn't going to like it here.''

He kissed her cheek then put his finger on her chin and pulled her to face him, their lips a fraction apart.  Hell, if he was going to snuff it, it was going to be on his terms and for Rose Tyler, he was prepared to risk it.  Three months of living in paradise with her would be worth it.  Rose could feel him pulling at her like a magnet, why did she have to find herself falling for a man who reminded her of her past?  Alec pulled on her chin gently and angled his head to get a better shot at kissing her.

Just as their lips brushed together for the briefest of touches, Mickey came bounding through the patio door and they broke apart.  Mickey knew he had interrupted something as he saw Rose let go of the detective's hand and he let go of her arm.  Rose was feeling slightly flushed at what had almost just happened and silently cursed her ex boyfriend for traipsing in like an elephant, well a herd of elephants.

''Alec, I'm ready to go if you are,'' Mickey spluttered as he saw Alec and Rose about to have their first kiss and knew he had walked in at the worst possible time.

Alec got up, holding out his hand for Rose to take.  She let him help her up and he handed her robe to her.  Then he kissed the back of her hand again.

''Thanks Mickey, I'll be out in a moment.''

Mickey knew by now he was well and truly not wanted but he had already spoiled the moment for both Rose and Alec, the magical spell seemed to have been broken, for the time being and Alec sincerely hoped they would recapture it on their date on Saturday.  He called it a date since it seemed Rose was very interested in him judging she was about to respond to him kissing her and had not backed away as he had made his intentions known.

''Bye Rose, thank you for the lemonade, it alone was worth the taxi ride here.  Does everyone know where you live?''

Rose smiled.  ''Quite a few people.  Was it Bob or Marley who brought you out?''

Alec smiled back.  ''Seriously, are they brothers who drive cabs around here?''

Rose laughed.  ''Yeah, I thought it was funny too, their father was a big reggae fan. They own the local taxi company and they do all the callouts themselves out my way and the hotel.  They have other drivers too and don't let them charge you tourist rates either or I'll be having words with them.''

''I've already established that with Bob.  I asked DS Bordey for your phone number but she wouldn't give it to me.''

''Hand me your phone then.''

He got his phone out of his shirt pocket, pulling another button loose as he did, giving Rose a better view of the hairs on his chest.  She was now more than a little interested.  Rose smiled and tapped her name and number in and saved it.

Then she reached up and kissed the part of his cheek not covered by his beard.  Alec was now going to go back and shave most of his beard off, he liked the feel on her lips on his face since he had narrowly missed them on his own lips, something he hoped to remedy on Saturday night if at all possible.  He just had to re-create that moment they had just shared, it had been like a flash of electricity between them, then that idiot had ruined it.  Had the man done it on purpose?

''Call me, Alec, won't you?''

He reached down to kiss her cheek.  ''You can bet on that Rose.  Goodbye, for now, until Saturday.''

They both knew they wouldn't survive until Saturday.  After Alec left, Rose lay back on her lounger and thought about what had almost just happened if that prize idiot of an ex hadn't just ruined it.  She had been ready to let him kiss her, she was being drawn to him like a moth to light and she had fluttered around his lips for too long until the light had been extinguished.  It no longer mattered how long he was here for, she wanted him to spend his three months here with her.  She didn't care what she had told Chris Martin yesterday about not having a boyfriend, if Alec wanted to have the privilege.

On the way back to the hotel, Mickey decided he owed Alec an apology.  He had no ill-feeling towards the man who was clearly interested in his ex girlfriend, there was no chance they would ever get back together again and he didn't like that snob Chris Martin and didn't like the thought of Rose going out with him, even if it was only to keep up the appearance of Rose's social status.

''So Alec, sorry about that, really I am, I clearly interrupted something back there.''

''No matter, perhaps I was moving too fast for her.  She seemed troubled by something.  She said I reminded her of someone, was it someone she lost?''

''Sorry mate, you'll have to ask Rose, she doesn't like to talk about it, she'll tell you if she wants you to know.  Are you going to be serious about her?''

''That's between me and her, if she responds to my advances then yes, I won't force myself on her but so far, I think she's beginning to like me.  So you two used to go out, ten years ago?  What broke you up?''

''The man you remind her of.''

''Then you should hate me, for reminding you as well as Rose.''

''Don't be daft Alec, and it wasn't ten years, it was eight years since we broke up, we grew up together, we were doomed from the start.  Here we are, your hotel.  I'm surprised you don't want to stay here but since it's a bit pricey, I can't blame you for wanting to get out.  I'll see you at Rose's party on Sunday, if you want to buy her something, she has quite a collection of sarongs she likes to wear by the pool, if that's not sounding too intimate or she likes bracelets, the sparkly, soft stretchy ones, her favourite colour is pink and she's a Beatles fan, likes Elvis Presley films and 40's & 50's music.  Just to say sorry for spoiling the moment back there.''

Alec opened the car door.  'Thanks Mickey, I'll bear that in mind.  Are you sure you don't object to me pursuing your ex girlfriend?''

Mickey laughed.  ''Rose knows her own mind Alec, she likes you and don't worry about you reminding her of someone, believe me, you will do her more good than harm.  Don't think she's interested in you just because of that, she never stopped talking about you last night.''

Alec thought he definitely stood a chance and whoever this Chris Martin was, Rose was going out with him on Saturday night and the man could go to hell.  If he asked Rose out again after Saturday, he was going to ask where exactly he stood and if she wanted to be exclusive because he didn't have time to waste, he didn't want to spend most of the three months here chasing after her to find she was just stringing him along with the other man.  He would have to come clean with her and tell her why he knew how long he was here for because he wanted to spend the rest of his three months with her as his girlfriend and be with her every night.

The next day, Alec got settled in his new place and got the grand tour of the island because if he wanted Rose to be his girlfriend, he would have to make certain allowances.  He thought about calling Rose but didn't want to seem so keen, it could wait until Saturday but by Friday morning, his patience was wearing thin and as he prepared to go to the station on his second day, he dialled Rose's number, waking her up just after eight.

''Rose, did I wake you?''

''Mmm.  It's ok Alec, I'm awake now.  What is it?''

''Will you come and have a drink with me tonight?  Where I'm staying, say around eight?''

''I'd love to.  I thought you would have called before now.''

''I meant to Rose, I'm sorry.  It was just after Tuesday afternoon, you know, when we were interrupted, I thought I should maybe back off, give you time to think about it.''

''Oh.  I didn't need time to think about it Alec but you never left me your number and I didn't want to call the station.  I'd love to see you tonight, thanks.''

''Great and I really am sorry I didn't call you.  See you tonight then?''

Alec went to work with a smile on his face, everyone noticed and Dwayne started a betting pool that Hardy had already taken Rose to his bed.  Camille said she would have known about it if he had, she would have been the first person Rose would have told.

''Dwayne, believe me, they haven't done it yet.  I think I'd have the unfair advantage if you keep up the betting.  I'd say there would be more of a profit if you bet that Hardy and Chris Martin are gonna fight over her.  I don't think he and Chris have met yet, sparks are gonna fly, just you mark my words.  What do you think Fidel?''

''Think about what, DS Bordey?'' Alec asked as he walked in, seeing Fidel with his nose in some paperwork and Dwayne doing the morning crossword.

''Nothing Sir, good morning to you.  I forgot to ask, did you find Miss Tyler's residence the other day?''

''You're her friend, surely she told you?''

''No Sir, she never mentioned it to me but I haven't spoken to her for a few days.'' She was going to remedy that.

So Camille went to lunch at her mother's bar and asked how her new boss was settling in.

''Don't worry Camille, he's no trouble at all.  I've hardly seen him.''

''Listen, I need to know if he brings Rose back with him, I think there's something going on between them.''

''Really? Already?  He just arrived but I'll let you know if I do see anything.  He looks like he needs a good woman to look after him, he needs some meat on him.  I told him meals were included but he hardly eats anything.  Do you think Rose can handle him?''

Camille smiled.  ''Oh yes, she can handle him alright but he says he's not staying more than three months but he won't tell us why, I wonder if he'll tell Rose?''

''If anyone can find out his secret, I'm sure it will be her.  Don't worry, I'll let you know.  What makes you think they are together already?''

"When I first met him on Tuesday morning he was all ratty with everyone, refused to call us by our first names then this morning, he seemed different.''

''Maybe he just asked her on a date?  What would poor Chris say?  He's been chasing Rose since her arrival but hasn't got very far.  When I saw them last month at the charity event, she was swatting his hands away from her.''

Camille remembered.  They had gone to the ladies room and Rose had sworn she would have been safer dancing with an octopus.

Alec meanwhile was going through all the old cases his predecessor had solved.  To say it was such a small island, there was at least one major incident every week.  He wondered if he would have been better off teaching cadets after all but then he would never have met Rose.  He was looking forward to tonight.  He planned on going to the market to buy her a birthday present tomorrow and maybe a little something to give her on Saturday night when he took her to dinner.  He was going to take Mickey's advice.

He was roused from his daydreaming of Rose by a new arrival in the form of the Police Commissioner.

''Ah, Detective Inspector Hardy, a pleasure to finally meet you.  I'm sorry I wasn't here to greet you yesterday, I was on official business on the other side of the island.  I trust everything is ok?''

Alec held out his hand.  ''Commissioner Patterson, Sir.  Yes, everything is fine.  I arrived early to get settled in.  Detective Sergeant Bordey has been showing me around the island and I'm just looking through past cases.  I see there are still a few open ones I'd like to follow up on.''

''By all means Inspector, go ahead.  It is normally very quiet, I believe trouble followed Detective Inspector Poole around.  I trust that will not happen with you, given what happened in your previous cases.''

"I hope not Sir.  You were informed of the circumstances that brought me here?''

''Of course Alec, I picked you myself, you deserved to be rescued from training recruits after you solved that boy's murder.  It was a shame your other case escaped you but no matter.  It gives me more time to find a permanent replacement for DI Poole.  Are you sure we can't persuade you to stay longer or at least come back?''

''I don't know about that at the moment Sir, since I've only just arrived.  I trust apart from you being in overall charge I have complete authority here?''

''But of course.  You only answer to me and as long as things run smoothly, you'll hardly know I'm here.  Please, carry on with what you were doing.  Sergeant Bordey, I will see you at Miss Tyler's party on Sunday.  Have you been invited Alec?''

Alec so wanted to tell the man he hated his first name, especially since he had insisted they all called him Sir.

''Yes, I met Miss Tyler on Monday at the airport, I did get an invitation, I came over on the plane with her friend.''

''Oh, Mickey has come back has he?  I'd keep a close eye on him, Inspector.''

Alec raised an eyebrow.  The Commissioner noticed.

''Just joking Alec, it's Mr Martin you have to watch out for, he won't take kindly to someone else seeking Miss Tyler's attention.''

''Then he may just have fight on his hands but ultimately, it's up to Miss Tyler, isn't it Sir?''

''Yes indeed.  Good day all of you and Alec, take some advice, unlike your predecessor, don't go around in a suit and tie, it's not expected of you.''

''Yes Sir, I'll find some more suitable attire, thank you for your advice.''

The Commissioner left and Camille perched herself on Alec's desk after he sat down.

''You can get something suitable where I told you, did you take my advice?''

''Yes, I may pay another visit and just because he called me by my first name, don't get any ideas.  Got it?''

Camille gave him a mock salute and Dwayne stifled a laugh.  Camille knew if Rose got her hands on him, things were about to change, that much she knew about her friend.

Rose was pacing her bedroom deciding what to wear for her date with Alec.  He had actually asked her out on Saturday night but tonight was a bonus.  He was keen and so was she and in the end, if he was only staying for three months, she could go for that but would it get awkward when he had to leave?  She was interrupted by her housekeeper, Maria.

''Excuse me Miss Rose, these just came for you.''

She offered Rose a bunch of beautifully wrapped pink flowers with a note attached to them.  Thinking they were from Alec, she smelled them and looked at the note.

'Will you have dinner with me on Saturday night for your birthday?'  It was signed from Chris.

There was no way she was going to break her date with Alec.  She turned back to Maria.

''Maria, call the number of the florist on the card and have them come back and return them to Mr Martin.''

Maria looked puzzled, she had missed Alec's visit the other afternoon since she finished work at two.  Rose took the note and scribbled a message.

'No thank you, I've already got a dinner date and I told you I'm not interested in that way any more'

She handed the flowers back to Maria and went back to her wardrobe, flinging the dresses and outfits to one side.  She had one dress in mind for Saturday night but what about tonight?

She went downstairs and collected her car keys.  ''Mickey, I'm off into town, want to come along?''

''Let me guess, he's taking you out?  I thought you were going out tomorrow night? Two nights in a row Rose, it must be something special.  Where's Maria going with those flowers?''

''They were from Chris. I told her to send them back to him.  I'm not interested in him.''

''Then I hope you like being fought over, Alec will have a fight on his hands.''

''No he won't, there's no contest.  I'm gonna call Chris right now and tell him to stop bothering me.''

Rose called Chris Martin's number.  ''Hello Rose, got my flowers?''

''Yes and they're on their way back to you.  I can't accept your invitation, I already have a date and I'd appreciate it if you didn't call me any more.  I've met someone else and I don't want you to bother me again.''

''What?  This from the woman who told me the other day she didn't have a boyfriend?  You have taken Mickey back then?''

''No, it's not Mickey and it's none of your business.  Look, we had a few drinks, went to the same parties but that was it, I don't want anything else, I thought I'd made that clear when I didn't see or hear from you for weeks on end?  You can still come to my party on Sunday but I'll be with someone else so you'd better not start any trouble, Camille will be there, she'll arrest you if you do, got it?''

''I'm very disappointed Rose, I thought you were very special but since you've turned on me you really are a spoiled bitch.  Let me guess who it is then?  The new detective?  I hear he's Scottish and has a failed case behind him, why do you want to take up with him?''

''Mind your own business and I know all about him so stop that right now, I'm free to see who I like.  Maybe you'd best not come to my party after all.''

''Oh Rose my dear, I wouldn't miss it for the world, I'm looking forward to meeting my rival.''

''He's not your rival Chris, he's my new boyfriend.''

What had she just said?  Well she hoped Alec wanted to be, she had given him all the signals that she wanted him to be.  She just hoped Alec felt the same way.
Chapter 4
Alec was sitting at his desk, wondering if he should buy Rose some flowers for their date later on.  He was sorely lacking in the art of entertaining a beautiful woman, especially a famous and rich one.  He had no-one to turn to for advice on that point, he barely knew Mickey and by the looks of things, if they had grown up together, he had known Rose before her mother married into money and maybe that was why they had really drifted apart, if Mickey didn't fit in with it all.  He was still at a loss of how he could remind her of someone she used to know, it had all taken place around the same time, around eight years ago, Peter Tyler had remarried and gained a stepdaughter under unusual circumstances, the Cybermen had all gone missing from the factories they had been sealed up in and Rose's friend had disappeared.  He didn't need to be a detective to work out it was all related.

No wonder neither Rose or Mickey had wanted to talk about it, what the hell had happened?  They were all tied up to something, that he was sure of.  He wished now he had his own laptop but he doubted the place he was staying had free WiFi anyway and looking up Rose Tyler on the police computer wasn't strictly legal but since he was in charge, he couldn't very well reprimand himself for it but he would wait until Camille had gone out, she was Rose's friend.  He had suddenly found himself calling them by their first names to himself, when had that happened?  Rose was having a bigger effect on him than he cared to admit though he couldn't let it show outwardly, he had a reputation as a hard-ass to keep up but Rose was going to rob him of that if he wasn't too careful.

Rose had parked by a row of stores, one being her favourite dress shop run by a mother and daughter.  She was their best customer, they knew Rose didn't skimp on costs if she needed a new dress or anything else and they often got specials in just for her.

''Good afternoon Miss Rose, how are you today?'' Natalie, the daughter asked her.

''Fine Natalie, I'm looking for something for a date tonight.  I seem to remember looking at a cream coloured dress the last time I was here, do you still have it in my size?''

Natalie remembered the price of it, Miss Rose never even asked the price of anything.  ''I believe we do, would you care to try it on?''

Rose took the dress to the changing room and tried it on, looking in the mirror at herself.  Would Alec like it?  It was only a couple of drinks so she thought she may just save it for tomorrow night instead.  Natalie called to her.

''Is everything ok Miss Rose?''

''Yeah, I'll take it, will you wrap it for me and charge my account?''

Rose had accounts everywhere, it avoided credit card charges for using it overseas and Pete's accountant always paid promptly without fail.  She was everyone on the island's favourite customer.  It had often been said she had single-handedly boosted the island's economy since her arrival and that it would suffer serious damage were she to leave so everyone went out of their way to accommodate her.  The only place she paid cash was to the taxi company, not that they didn't trust her, they did but they had to pay for the fuel up front.

Pleased with her purchase, Rose thought of paying a visit to Alec but decided against it, she hadn't yet told her friend Camille she was considering dating him though the detective was smart enough to work it out for herself that the arrival of a handsome man from Scotland would hardly escape her attention and Alec may have already given some clues away.  That was if he was as happy about it as she was.

That happiness was about to be clouded as she inadvertently bumped into another woman from back home, Sophia.  Rose had forgotten all about her.  She had be vying for Chris's attention and there were sour grapes between the two woman from the start but now, the way was clear for Sophia to get her claws into Chris Martin, if she still wanted him.

''Hello Rose, been shopping?''

Rose looked down at the elaborate carrier bag.  ''Your powers of detection are amazing, have you considered a career in the Police?''

''Really dear, cattiness does not become you, it merely shows your upbringing and the fact you came into money, not born with it.''

''Meow, Sophia, I've not got time for you today, I have better things to do but I do have some rather good news for you, should cheer you up no end.''

''Really?  Are you going home or have you taken that miserable specimen back?''

''Neither, guess you're not much of a detective after all then?  No, Chris Martin is all yours.''

''What makes you think I still want him?''

''Really Sophia?  Is that why I was still pulling daggers out of my back a week after that last charity event?  Seriously, I've never really been interested in him in that way, he was just convenient for the odd dinner or a few drinks, I just used him to let myself be seen with him, I've grown tired of him, you can have him, he's all yours.  You're most welcome to him but I'll give you fair warning, he was pretty upset earlier when I told him I didn't want him to bother me ever again.''

Sophia was getting mad, who did this girl from a London council estate think she was?

''I don't need your cast offs Rose, thank you very much, I can get my own men.  I hear there's a new arrival in town, in the form of a new detective inspector, he might be worth a look at.  Oh, you heard too?''

Rose smiled, she had the upper hand – again.  ''Too late Sophia, forget it.  I've already got at least three dates with him and if you're still coming to my party on Sunday, you can meet him and before you get any ideas you can steal him away from me, he's only here for three months and I quite intend to keep him fully occupied during his stay.  I've already snogged his face off.''

That wasn't quite true but she intended to make it come true later on, if the spell was cast again.  She was pretty sure the moment would magically appear again, something was drawing them together.  Sophia huffed and excused herself.

''Well I have things to do as well.  If the new inspector is only here for three months, it's hardly worth my time.  I'll see you at your party if I am still invited?''

''Of course you are, I'd like you to see what you're missing out on and to see Chris really is all yours.  He'll be upset, maybe you could console him?''

Rose drove off, smiling all the way home.  Mickey noticed.

''What you grinning at?''

''Women stuff, you wouldn't understand.  It was just I bumped into Sophia, told her she was welcome to Chris but she doesn't want him now.  She heard about Alec but I told her she was too late again, that I'd already snogged his face off.'

''But you haven't yet, have you?''

''Of course not and that was all your fault but she doesn't know that, does she and besides, there's always tonight to actually let that happen.  Can you take me down to Catherine's for eight?  I'll get a cab back and don't wait up will you?''

Alec decided to get a single orchid for his date with Rose after asking the local florist what he should give to a young woman on a first date.  They had come so close to their first kiss the other afternoon and now he sincerely regretted not asking her out before now and maybe call on her again after he finished work yesterday.  He had wanted to give her time to think about it but now he realised she was just as keen as he was.  He wasn't going to waste any time tonight to let her know how he was feeling about her but tonight would be just drinks, nothing more than a few kisses and then tomorrow night, he would make his move, if she responded to him.

Rose got herself ready and just before eight, Mickey was dropping her in front of the bar.  Alec was waiting by the door and thought she looked stunning.  He took her thin jacket from her shoulders as he led her out to the patio and presented her with the orchid.

He kissed her cheek and asked what she wanted to drink.

''White wine and lemonade please.  The orchid is beautiful Alec, thank you.''

''You're most welcome, I was at a bit of a loss what to get you but I was assured this was appropriate for a first date.  I mean this is a date, is it not?''

Rose smiled, her tongue poking through her teeth.  ''Yes Alec, I hope it's a date.  I've been looking forward to it since you rang this morning.''

Alec smiled back and went to the bar.  ''What can I get for you Inspector?  I know what your friend drinks.''

''Just a light lager, since you already know Rose.  You don't mind if we sit out on the patio?''

''Of course not, take my advice, she may have her name associated with a certain island businessman but the way she just looked at you?  Trust me, that girl is head over heels for you.''

Alec wasn't sure he liked a barkeeper giving him advice on his somewhat neglected love life.

''I'll keep that in mind.  Can I trust you to be discreet about the fact I'm on a date with her?  Given that I work with your daughter?''

Catherine raised her eyebrows.  ''I'm not a priest inspector, I don't keep secrets but since Rose is a friend, I may make an exception but if Camille asks me, I can't lie to my daughter.''

Alec nodded his thanks.  He and Rose talked for a while, mainly about why she came to the island, to escape her new found fame.  Then Alec asked her why he had upset her on his arrival.  He leaned forward and touched her cheek with his lips and planted a soft kiss.  They had moved to the furthest reaches of the patio and Rose responded by leaning forwards into him.  He wrapped his arms around her and asked if she was ok.

''I'm sorry Rose, I didn't intend to pry.  Tell me when you're ready.  I'll tell you why I'm only here for three months.  I have to go back to Exeter, for an operation.''

Rose looked up.  ''I'm so sorry to hear that Alec, is it a serious one?''

''Yes I need a pacemaker, there's something wrong with my heart.  You're not helping either Rose, you're young, beautiful and you make me feel like there's nothing wrong with me but I know there is.  Now you know, why I don't want to waste any time Rose, I'd like to spend my three months here with you, if you'll let me?  I was going to ask you tomorrow night but that would be wasting another day, not knowing what your answer is going to be.''

Rose lay her head on his chest, opposite where is heart was struggling to keep up with what he was feeling right now.

''Alec, I had no idea and you still solved that boy's murder?  How can you live like this?''

''I've learned to, I hid it from my bosses, for eighteen months then I got found out and the only way they would let me go back to work on light duties was to put my name down for the operation.  Then they were going to send me to the academy until this came up and the commissioner agreed to take me on.  That's why I'm not staying Rose.  I had no idea I was going to meet you and now I have, three months doesn't seem nearly long enough.''

Rose looked up at him and Alec angled his head and their lips brushed together as they had the other afternoon but Rose put her arms around his neck and pulled him down and gradually the kisses though short, became longer.  They both smiled, glad to have at last managed not to get interrupted.

''Rose, don't tease me, just say yes or no and if it's no, then I understand.  Will you be my girlfriend, let me spend my time here with you?  I know it may be too soon, we just met but if those kisses were anything to go by, well I want more.  I know you were sort of seeing someone but you gave me the impression there was nothing to it anyway.  What do you think?  It would make me very happy Rose.''

Rose lay her head back on his chest and he put both his arms around her and kissed the top of her head.

''Yes Alec, I'd love to spend the time you have here with you and be your girlfriend but maybe we can just take it slowly for a few days, it's all happened so fast.  I don't mean with the dates, I'm still having dinner with you tomorrow night and you're still coming to my party but I mean with the romance bit, it's been a while.''

''Oh, right, sure, anything you want Rose, it's fine.  Just as long as I know where I stand with you.  It's getting late, let me see you home?''

''I'll just take a cab Alec, tonight at least, I need some time to take all this in, you know?  Don't worry, I know the cab drivers and Mickey will probably still be up so actually, I'll get him to come and pick me up, since it's my car.''

Alec smiled, yes, she had said she would be his girlfriend but he still had to work on a few things but he could live with that.  Rose called Mickey, who said he'd be there in ten minutes and asked why she couldn't just call a cab.  Rose reminded him he was staying rent free and only had his flight to pay for and he was making use of her car.

Alec walked her through the bar, grinning at his host who had given him a room and she smiled back.  Now she had something to tell Camille and wondered if Dwayne's betting pool was still open on both counts since he had taken Camille's suggestion there may be a fight but thought he would rule her out of the first one of Hardy taking Rose to bed already and had changed it to when it would actually happen.  The favourite was on her birthday but he suspected it would be before that.  The Commissioner had bet it was the day Hardy landed.

Alec took Rose around the corner to wait for her ride home.  ''Rose, I'm really looking forward to tomorrow night.  I have to work in the morning so I can have Sunday off, since I've just arrived.  Can I call around afterwards and then take you out to dinner?''

''Yes, I'd really like that, why don't you come over, around four for afternoon tea and bring your swimshorts and we can sit by the pool, I'll get rid of Mickey for a few hours, he likes to go kayaking, I'll suggest tomorrow afternoon is an excellent time to go.''

''That sounds delightful but I can't actually go in the pool Rose, I'll tell you why tomorrow.''

He put his arms around her waist and she did the same to him.  ''Whatever it is Alec I'll help you, if you'll let me?''

''I'm not sure anyone can help me Rose but if they can, I'm sure you'll be the one. Goodnight Rose, I had a pleasant evening.  Your ride is here.''

Mickey pulled up outside the bar and Alec waved to him and held Rose back a few more seconds and they kissed goodnight.

''Goodnight Alec, I had a really nice evening, I'll see you tomorrow afternoon, in your swimming shorts and ditch the shirt, I mean, your work one and wear the one you did on Tuesday though maybe not as many buttons fastened?''

''What are you tryin' to do to me Rose?  You're not helping you know.  Do you want me to go back for my operation or get buried on this island?''

Rose thought he was being serious.  ''Sorry, I got a bit carried away, just dress how you want, I just thought if you couldn't go in the pool you could always sit dangling your legs in it to cool off, with me.''

Alec laughed.  ''I didn't mean I was opposed to sitting with you by the side of the pool, that will be the highlight of my day.  Until tomorrow then.''  He kissed her once again.

Rose got into her car, Mickey driving since she'd had more than her limit which was why she had almost suggested Alec turned up shirtless tomorrow afternoon though she would be the last to object if he actually did.  Alec was slightly amused she had suggested such a thing and made his mind up if she wanted him to sit by her pool without his shirt on, he was only too happy to oblige.  The next morning, there was only Alec and Camille in the station since they wanted the following afternoon off but Alec intended taking the day if tonight was a success, he may well get an invite to stay over.

''So did you have a date with Rose last night, Sir?''

He knew it was a mistake renting a room from his DS's mother, she had surely told on him.

''Just how well do you know her?''

''Since she arrived, we've been good friends, we even went on holiday last year, over to Barbados for a week.  A couple of men tried to pick us up but Rose wasn't interested.  She never talks about men, not if she dates them which come to think of it, she hasn't really dated anyone.  Take Chris Martin for instance, she has kept stringing him along since she was first introduced to him, you have nothing to worry about on that score but he might not take too kindly, he seemed to think she was just playing hard to get.  I'm sure you won't have that problem, Sir.''

Alec considered her words.  ''Yes, well, I hope I can trust you to keep quiet, if I do start to see her, unless she wants otherwise.  Let me see how things go.  Look, it's nothing personal but the last place I worked, I walked out of one murder case straight into another and it got me annoyed.  The one that got away, the commissioner mentioned, I worked with my ex wife and she lost evidence so the killer walked free, that's why I don't get friendly with people who work under me and the last place, Broadchurch, it was my DS's husband who killed the boy.''

''I'm sorry Sir, I didn't mean to pry.  Does Rose know about it?''

"I mentioned it to her, I called to see her on Tuesday afternoon after I neglected to get her phone number and you quite rightly wouldn't give it to me.  It seemed the whole island knew where she lived except for me.  Can you keep a secret?''

''If it concerns Rose, then yes, you can trust me, Sir.''

Alec knew he was getting soft and the chances were even if by some miracle he survived his operation, he more than likely wasn't coming back.

''Ok, when we work alone you can call me Alec, since you're a friend of Rose's.  I did take her out last night and I do like her but I can't make anything of it.  The reason I took this job Camille is because I'm very ill, I have a heart problem and I need a pacemaker operation and I told her last night.''

''Oh.  How did she take the news?''

''I'm not sure.  Do you think you could talk to her?  I'm seeing her tonight, well before then, she invited me over this afternoon.  Can you find out how she feels about knowing I'm ill?''

''Sure.  Knowing Rose, she will have taken it well, I've never known anyone like her. She has a lot to do with charities on the island, she's highly respected and not just because of who she is, she's earned her own respect.  Let me give her a call.  Have you got her a birthday present yet?''

''Her friend gave me some advice about what she likes but I'd like to get her something really nice, I bought her an orchid for our first date last night and Mickey said she likes those sparkling bangles and sarongs but I would really feel awkward choosing one for her.  Could you go to the market and choose one you think she may like?''

''Don't be shy Alec, lots of men around here go and buy sarongs and other beachwear for their girlfriends.  Her favourite colour is pink.''

''Yes, I was told that.  I'm thinking of shaving my beard off, well some more of it. She's getting to me Camille and I don't want to waste any time, not knowing how much time I really have.  They don't know if I'll survive the operation or not.''
Chapter 5
''Have you told Rose that?'' Camille asked.

''No, not that bit, just about the operation.  I didn't want to worry her.''

''You need to tell her and soon.  Don't waste time Alec, tell her how you feel about her.  She lost a friend, did she tell you?''

''Not exactly, just she had lost someone.  I asked Mickey but he said to ask Rose herself.  I tried to get her to talk last night but I made things worse.  I think I'll take your advice and tell her tonight and that way, if she turns me down, I won't spend the entire three months making a fool of myself.''

''I don't think you'll do that.  Let me call her.  Why don't you go choose something for her, I can manage on my own.''

''It will wait, why don't you go outside and call her?''

Camille went out on to the veranda and called her friend.  They had spoken briefly during the week but now she wanted all the juicy gossip about her first date.  Rose wasn't very forthcoming.

''Hi Camille, you are still coming tomorrow aren't you?  Are you working with Alec today?''

''Yes, you have got yourself quite a catch there my friend, he hasn't stopped talking about you all morning.''

''Oh, I dread to think.  Did he tell you about our date last night?  I've never met anyone like him Camille but I'm really worried about him.''

''I know why he came here Rose, he told me and take my advice like I just gave to him, don't waste time.  If you like each other, don't play games and beat around the bush until it's too late.  Never mind what Chris thinks, have you spoken to him?''

''Yes, he sent me flowers yesterday and asked me out for my birthday and I sent them back and told him I didn't want to see him again, not that I was seeing him as in dating him, unless he thought I was.  He wasn't happy and I told him not to bother about the party but I think he's still coming.  I just hope he doesn't pick a fight with Alec, I dread to think he'll end up in the island's hospital.''

''You had best hope nothing happens then.  He's quite shy you know, he's debating what to get you for your birthday, I told him not to be.  I'd better go now, have fun tonight, where is he taking you?''

''He never said but I bought a new dress for the occasion, I hope he likes it.''

Camille laughed.  ''I'm sure you will dazzle him but be careful my friend, you may be the one who causes him to end up in the hospital.  Dwayne is already taking bets as to when you and Alec will get together.''

''I should have known the other day, oh Camille, you should have seen Dwayne's face when I brought Alec in and he didn't know who he was.  I let him put his big foot in it, it was hysterical, you should have heard him going on about the new DI not bothering to let anyone know when he was arriving, he thought Alec was a tourist who was reporting his luggage had been lost!''

Camille laughed.  ''I'm sorry I missed it then.  I'll see you tomorrow, have fun and be good.''

Camille went back inside and Alec was looking up about Rose and her possible connection to the Cybermen and had found some interesting coincidences. Unfortunately, her name and certain other things were constantly monitored for certain search patterns and over in London, head of Torchwood security Jake Simmonds had just been notified and Pete Tyler was informed.  Pete immediately alerted Mickey since he was already out there with Rose.

''Rose, it's your dad, he says someone has been doing a search on your name and about the Cybermen, do you think it's Alec?''

Pete heard his friend.  ''Who exactly is Alec?  Has Rose met someone out there?''

''Well. 'erm yes, she met the new police detective who just arrived here on Monday, he was on the plane with me.  Rose gave him a lift into town, then to the hotel and they went out last night and they're going out tonight.  Pete, I wouldn't worry too much, she likes him and if he likes her, he's probably just curious about her.''

''Well if that's the case Mickey, I need to check up on him, what's his name and why was he associating her name with the Cybermen?  How could he have known?''

''You'd better ask Rose, I'll put her on.  I was just heading out anyway, Rose said I should try the kayak rental place, I think Alec's coming over this afternoon and she's trying to get rid of me, Ouch!''

Rose smacked him on the arm and took the phone.  ''Hi Dad.  Don't worry about Alec, he's really nice.  He solved that boy's murder, back in Broadchurch and you and mum neglected to tell me about it and who he looks like.''

''Oh, that Alec.  Still, why is he searching for Cybermen with your name, what have you told him Rose?''

''Nothing, I swear.  I told him when I met him at the airport, I thought he was someone else and when he came to see me on Tuesday, we talked a bit about it but I never told him who I lost or how I lost him.  Maybe he just put everything together and the fact my mum married you eight years ago, they all disappeared around the same time and I lost my friend.  He is a detective, that's what he does, he puts things together.''

''Well maybe so Rose but be careful what you tell him, only what we all agreed, if you have to tell him, ok?''

''I know the drill Dad, don't worry and yes, before you ask, I am serious about him, it's only natural he'd want to know who he was dating, after all, you can't believe everything you read in the newspapers about me.  It doesn't bother me who he looks like and he knows he reminds me of someone, it doesn't seem to bother him.  He's only here for three months anyway, after that, he has to go back to Exeter.''

''Why, what happens then?  Why three months?''

''Because he has to go back to have a pacemaker operation Dad and I'm really worried about him.  There's something else.  You know that Chris Martin I sometimes go out with?  Well I told him I didn't want to see him any more and I'm afraid something will happen at my party on Sunday.  I tried to persuade Chris not to come but he says he still is, I don't want him turning on Alec, it could send him to hospital.  I just hope between Mickey and Camille they can keep the two of them apart.''

''Why three months Rose?  Can't they do his operation sooner?''

''He says he's on the list.  I was going to ask him about it, surely he has medical insurance?  If not, I was going to offer to pay for him to get it done privately but I can't see that going down well.  I'll let you know.  Do you think you'd be able to get it brought forward, without him thinking I had something to do with it?''

''I doubt it, he'll probably suspect if you offer to pay for it so keep it to yourself, don't offer and I'll see if it's possible to do it discreetly.  Call your mum tonight sweetheart, she's having a hard time with Tony, he's feeling poorly a bit now.''

''Ok.  Give them both my love.  Don't do anything about Alec without letting me know, will you?''

''No, of course not and I'll tell Jake if the searches come from the police over in Saint Marie to let it go.''

Alec was getting ready to leave just after one, Camille was staying until Dwayne took over at five and Alec really couldn't understand how four people could run the island's police department until Camille explained there were two officers on the other side of the island who worked part time and sometimes came over to help out.  He was still no wiser as to what Rose thought about his condition so he would just have to see for himself how she took it.  He couldn't just not say anything about how bad he really was, not to her and not if he wanted to spend his time here just with her.

Her friend would be gone next week, Mickey had told him on the plane he was only there for a week and so she would have been on her own anyway.  He walked back to his room above the bar and changed into his shorts he had bought the other day and was glad he had dared buy a pair of swimming shorts, then he pulled the striped shirt out of the wardrobe and took off his work shirt, thinking he must get a few short sleeved ones.

His laundry was being picked up on Monday, his other things being returned at the same time and since it was just before two, he had a couple of hours to kill.  He thought he would put the swimming shorts in a shoulder bag he had picked up the other day and hoped he could borrow a towel at Rose's house.  He decided he would come back for his things before getting a cab to her house and go and find her a present for her birthday and maybe a bangle to give her when he took her out to dinner tonight.  He would have to come back and get changed first anyway.

He made his way to the market, not the makeshift one outside the Police Station and wandered around the brightly covered stalls.  There was one selling home-made jewellery and the bangles Mickey had described.  He saw one consisting of pinks and purples and asked the price, certain he would get overcharged but there was a price tag on it underneath.  He knew he should have brought his reading glasses but he only had his non-prescription sunglasses and he was trying to make out the writing, not yet being used to the local currency.

A female voice came from the side of him as he tried lifting his sunglasses up, not that it would make any difference.

''It says 10, that's about five pounds back home.''

''Thanks, I'm not used to the prices here.''  He turned to see a blonde woman standing besides him, not nearly as pretty as Rose.

''You must be Richard's replacement.  I'm Sophia.  How are you liking it here so far?''

''Fine.  I was just choosing a gift for my girlfriend.''

''Oh, it must have been difficult to leave her behind or did you bring her with you?''

''No, she lives on the island.  I was just getting her a little something for our dinner date tonight.  You probably know her, Rose Tyler?''

Didn't she just, the little chav from the back of London somewhere had not been kidding her yesterday.  That had happened fast, the man hadn't yet been there a week but still, no harm in trying, see if Rose had actually snogged his face off yet.

''Yes, we are acquaintances, I've had an invitation to her party tomorrow, I take it you'll be there?''

Alec was getting what he thought was the right amount of money out of his wallet to pay the stallholder, who was looking rather anxious that he was going to lose a sale.  Alec handed the bangle and the note that said ten on it.  He would have to remember that whatever the price said, it was half that in British currency.  He was handed back the bangle in a white paper bag.

''Yes I'll be there, can't let her down.  We're having our own celebration tonight, a birthday dinner for her then tomorrow, she's going to introduce me to some of the people she knows on the island.  If you'll excuse me, I have to get her a birthday present now.''

''By all means, don't let me delay you.  I'll see you at the party then.  It's Alec isn't it?''

''I don't like that name, just call me Hardy or detective.  Good day Miss?''

''It's Sophia, Hunter.  My father has an estate out here.  I look forward to see you at the party then, maybe we can have a dance?''

''I don't think Rose would be too happy about that.''

''So you and she are an exclusive then?  She certainly didn't waste any time.''

Alec wondered if the two women were indeed friends or rivals, either way, he wasn't interested in getting caught up in their squabbles but also wasn't going to let this woman get the upper hand over his newly acquired girlfriend.

''Yes, well, time is short, I'm only here for three months, it's just a temporary posting to the island until they find someone permanent so there's no sense in wasting it.  I'll tell her I met you, goodbye Miss Hunter.''

Alec turned and walked away and Sophia hissed she would get Rose Tyler back for capturing yet another eligible bachelor.  Maybe she should make a play for Chris Martin after all, he was better than nothing which was what she had at the moment and would need consoling if at the party tomorrow he saw Alec Hardy with his hands all over her enemy.  Besides, if the man was only here a few months, it was hardly worth the effort and he seemed to think he and the Tyler girl were exclusive.  If Rose could use Chris then so could she.

Alec went about his task, coming across a display of beach sarongs and wondered if the stall holder would know what Rose liked, everyone seemed to know her and word would be all over the island by Monday that he was involved with her.  A male voice interrupted him.  It was Mickey.

''Hey Alec, you taking my advice?  How about that yellow one with the pink lilies on it there?''

He pointed to a bright yellow one and the stall holder was already taking it down and handing it to him.

''Hey man, you getting this for Miss Rose?  She not got one of these already man, she looked at it the last time she came here and said she would get it next time, ain't that right Mickey?''

''Right Neville.''  Mickey didn't really have a clue but it sounded about right to him.

Alec looked at the price tag that said 25 on it, not that he cared about how much it cost, he just wanted to make sure he wasn't cheated.  Before he knew it, Neville snatched it out of his hand and put it in a thin carrier bag and he was handing over two notes.

''Where can I get her a birthday card Mickey?'' Alec asked, looking around.

''They don't do birthday cards here Alec, just printed pieces of paper with different designs you write your name on, I'll show you.''

He took Alec to a stand with pads of differently designed paper where apparently you tore one off and paid 2 for it and the stall holder rolled up an A4 sheet and tied a small piece of pink ribbon around it after Alec wrote 'Happy Birthday Rose - With love from Alec' on the bottom with three xxx's.  Mickey bought a different one but just signed his name, he knew where this was going.  Alec also bought two sheets of thin pink tissue paper to wrap her present in.

''I was just on my way to go kayaking, Rose threw me out for the rest of the afternoon so if I were you, I'd get myself over to her house, pronto, she's planning a quiet afternoon for the two of you and afternoon tea when Maria gets back, that's her housekeeper, it was her afternoon off when you went over last time, she won't be back until four.''

''She told me to go over at four.''

Mickey raised his eyebrows.  ''Is that why she threw me out already?  Get yourself over there while she's still alone.  Are you slow or what Alec?''

''Thanks for the tip Mickey.  Has she said anything about me?''

''Only that she's been bragging about you to that rich bitch Sophia.''

''Oh, I met her a while ago, seems a piece of work.  If I'd known I would have made more of an effort to imply there was more between me and Rose.''

''Now you're getting it Alec, Rose said something about how she bragged she had already snogged your face off, before your date last night.''

Alec thought if only.  He went back to his room and decided to leave her present until later and put the bangle into his holdall.  Then he went down and sneaked past the bar but Catherine caught him.

''Inspector, are you going out to visit Rose?''

''Can't anyone keep a secret around here?'' he muttered to himself.

''Could you tell her the drinks are all ready for Mickey to collect in the morning? They are for her party.''

''I'll be sure to tell her when I see her.''

''Come inspector, you don't expect me to believe that?  I saw Mickey earlier, he said Rose had practically thrown him out because you were going to visit.  Enjoy yourself!''

Alec went out and shook his head.  He supposed he'd just have to get used to it, there were no secrets to be had on this island.  He just hoped if it hit the headlines, he could tell his daughter he was now in a relationship with the famous Rose Tyler before she read it.  He saw a cab and waved it over.  He didn't recognise the driver but threw his holdall in the back seat and got in.  The driver knew him though.

''Inspector, nice to meet you man, you going to Rose's place?  I'm Marley.''

''Pleased to meet you Marley, yes, can you take me to her house?''

''Sure thing inspector.  I'll have you there before you know it.  How are you liking the island?''

Alec was not one to be making smalltalk with cab drivers but had to make the effort.

''From what I've seen of it, ok so far.''

''Good, it's a very friendly island, Rose likes it here.  She invited you to her party? Me and Bob will be bringing her guests I suppose, you call us if you need a ride out there, ok man?''

Alec had no idea if he would be even going back to his room tonight, judging by everything that was going on.

''I'll bear that in mind.''

They had arrived and Alec paid the cab fare, noting Marley never tried to overcharge him – good, they were all getting the message or maybe they knew something he didn't.  Maybe they treated all her friends like that.  At least Camille had put his mind to rest that Rose didn't have a string of boyfriends hanging around, it seemed this Martin was the only one who had come remotely close.  He rang the doorbell and waited to be admitted but he was early by over an hour and hoped Rose wouldn't be cross with him but he was hoping to take advantage of the housekeeper's absence.

Rose was in the kitchen preparing some cold lemonade for Alec's arrival but when she heard the doorbell, she hoped it wasn't Mickey coming back or Chris coming to find out in person why she had suddenly dumped him.  Since he wasn't really classed as a boyfriend, there wasn't technically a dumping as such.  She was just wearing her jeans shorts over the top of her yellow and blue swimsuit, she thought a bikini might be a bit too much for Alec to handle just yet.

She could tell it was Alec as she approached the frosted glass door, he was wearing that sexy shirt again.

''Hi!  Come in, you're early, good.''
Chapter 6
She lifted his sunglasses off his nose and reached up to kiss him.  He took the sunglasses from her and folded them into his shirt pocket then threw down his holdall and put his arms around her.  He was happy to note she was wearing a yellow swimsuit, shame it wasn't a bikini but it would go with the sarong Mickey had picked out but he would have known she had one that colour.

''I'm glad you were expecting me to be early, I had hoped you would be pleased.''

''Mmm, I'm very pleased.  I just made some lemonade, why don't you go get changed in the downstairs bathroom over there and I'll take the drinks onto the patio?''

She pointed to the bathroom door and Alec leaned down to kiss her again.

''Do I need my own towel only I didn't bring one?''

''No, there are spare ones, I'll take one out for you.  Thought you weren't going in the pool Alec?''

''You said I could dangle my feet in it, if I remember correctly.''

''You don't have to ask Alec.  I want you to feel at home here, please.  Mi casa es su casa – My house is your house.''

''Thank you Rose, you make me feel very welcome.  I'll go get changed.  Can you look after these for me?''

He fished in his shorts pocket and brought out a blister pack of pills.  He had got three months supply plus extra before he had set off and had to declare them when he left London.

''Sure Alec and you'll have to tell me what I need to do if anything happens to you.  I can't believe how long you've lived with it Alec, I can't even imagine what it's doing to you but you need to let me help you, yeah?''

''Ok, you can keep me out of trouble though I suspect if I get into any difficulties, you'll be partly to blame along with myself for thinking I can get myself a young girlfriend.  I'm bound to go and do something stupid if I stay three months here with you.''

Rose smiled.  ''Then we'll have to do the stupid things together, don't you go doing anything without me being there.  You didn't let Mickey talk you into going kayaking did you?''

Alec let out a laugh and put his arms around her neck then placed a kiss there.

''No, my sweet Rose although I did see him earlier, he said you had thrown him out for the afternoon.  I see he took your car.''

''I told him to be back by six, then we can go out for dinner whenever we want, you can drive if you want, as long as it's ok for you to still drive?''

''I'm fine Rose, really.  You'll be the first to know if something is wrong, after me of course.  Now let me get changed, you did say no shirt, didn't you?''

Rose giggled and he let her go, patting her bum as she turned.  Once he had got changed, he wandered out on to the patio to see two glasses of lemonade on a low table and two of the loungers pushed together, Rose laid on one side with her sunglasses on and a pink sarong tied around her waist that Alec knew he was going to relieve her of in a very short time.  Rose looked up and smiled.  There was Caribbean music playing softly from the radio and she held out her hand as he passed one of the drinks to her.

He slid onto the lounger next to her, wearing just his blue swimming shorts that were being tested for the first time and he had found they weren't quite as long as he'd thought, his sunglasses were perched on his nose and he sipped the lemonade he had picked up for himself.  Rose's spare hand took his and he squeezed it gently. Yes, he felt quite at home, lying next to a very beautiful young blonde and could quite happily spend the rest of his time here, even give up his temporary job.  He could go back on medical leave and still get half pay though maybe not if they discovered he had a rich girlfriend and he was going to spend his time up until his operation on a tropical island with the now love of his life.

Still, he had some savings, he was already out here, Rose would probably insist he moved in with her, he would be able to support himself and pay his own way, he wouldn't let her do it all but he would probably get bored and drive Rose mad and they would fall out.  Maybe he could see about doing a few hours a day and spend the rest of the time with her.  Rose had put her glass down and he felt her move closer to him so he put his glass down and slipped his arm around her waist, trying to untie her sarong.  Rose smiled and helped him then slipped her arm around his shoulder and with the other took off his sunglasses.  He blinked at the sunlight then she took her own off and he put them under the chair with his own.

They began kissing slowly, short, sweet kisses that Alec thought tasted of lemonade and Rose was almost on top of him before he realised and he was pulling down the straps of her swimsuit, both of them wishing she had worn a bikini.  Rose stopped for breath and smiled at him.

''Alec, I don't want us to waste time with 'dates' and stuff, if I'm going too fast, just say.  I know I said I wanted to take it easy but after you kissed me last night, I've changed my mind.''

''Oh Rose, I thought I was the one going too fast, for you but if that's how you want it, I don't want to waste time either, if you're sure?  You know I can't do much, you'll have to go easy on me.''

''Then let me show you how easy I can be on you?''

''Rose, I'll leave it all to you darlin' but I'm not ready to leave this world just yet, don't get me too far gone will you?''

''Then think about bringing forward your operation.''

''I can't Rose, for a number of reasons.  I just have to wait.  Let's not talk about that just now, you were about to show me how gentle you could be, I'm much more interested in that.''

He reached over and took her robe lying on the back of the other side of the lounger and arranged it on her shoulders then Rose slipped her legs over his and before either of them knew it,  Alec had eased down her swimsuit as skin touched skin and they began kissing again, his hands rolling down the swimsuit over her tummy and over her hips, feeling her soft fleshy parts on his own chest and the kisses getting deeper.  Rose could feel him beginning to stir beneath his shorts and slipped her hand on his belly as he moved her ever so slightly so he could pull her swimsuit over her hips.

Rose stopped and slipped on her robe, the patio and back garden were completely secluded, the gate leading around to the front of the house was too tall to see over but it only needed one resourceful photographer to get over-zealous and photos of her sunbathing semi-naked would be plastered all over the media and now, she knew they were about to attempt to have sex and she didn't want that hitting the headlines.  Maybe they should have gone indoors but this just seemed so right, outside by the pool and Maria wouldn't be back yet.

They resumed kissing and Rose was trying to slip her hands down the back of his swimming shorts as her costume came down just above the hem of her robe, like Alec knew she was trying to keep herself covered at the back but she was now laying naked on him and he was getting impatient to touch her without his shorts getting in the way.  Rose let out a gasp as she moved the leg of his shorts out of the way and Alec let out a soft groan and they touched for a few seconds then he gave in and yanked then down and Rose moaned and began moving on him.

A hurricane could have been blowing and neither of them would have known anything about it, it just seemed all so natural as Rose moved on him gently and Alec just let her, feeling as much pleasure as she was without all the hard work as he let himself get lost in her touch.  Rose was calling his name.

''Alec, just stay there, don't move.''  He had found exactly the right spot and she didn't want him to leave it.

He whispered in her ear, moving her ever so slightly.  ''Rose, I'll stay there as long as you want me to.  You feel it too?''

Rose's eyes were watering as she felt the pleasure coursing through her.  ''Yes Alec, I've never felt like this before, you're amazing.  I can't believe we just did that, out here by the pool.  I would hardly think there was anything wrong with you if you hadn't already told me.''

''It was all you Rose, you made it so easy, I didn't think it was even possible.''

Rose moved away from him slowly, feeling the loss.  ''I think I'd better get dressed, Maria will be back soon and she'll make us some afternoon tea.''

''I think I just worked up an appetite my beautiful Rose.  I could spend the next three months and more doing that with you, not necessarily out here on the patio though.''

Rose was still smiling, her head buried in his slightly hairy chest, listening to his slightly faster than it should be heartbeat, which was hardly surprising given what he had just done to her.

Rose giggled into his chest, his arm under the robe and his fingers touching the soft parts of her.  She tilted her head and reached up to kiss him.

''Mmm, I think we should head for my bedroom next time, don't you?''

''I'm invited back then?'' he grinned, quite pleased with himself after all this time.

Rose kissed his chest and looked up.  ''What do you think?''

She retrieved her swimsuit and pulled it on, giving Alec a full view as she tried to balance herself without taking off her robe and half sitting on him and noticing she kept herself in good shape.  He didn't think she even thought twice about it, they had just had sex, there wasn't much point in hiding from each other.  He had already pulled up his swimming shorts and Rose threw the robe on the back of the lounger after she pulled the straps back on her shoulders, with a little help.

She turned back to him and he lay back on the lounger, Rose falling down with him, pulling her arms around his neck.

''That was a rather pleasant way of spending time Rose.  I was thinking, if you like, maybe I could come over every night after work, that's if you don't object?  Maybe I could even see about cutting my hours, I'm supposed to be on light duties.''

''Yeah, I want you to come over whenever you want, you don't have to ask.  It doesn't have to be every night, if you don't want to.''

''Are you joking Rose?  I want to come over every night but it's up to you, I thought maybe it would be too much?''

Rose looked at him and picked up his sunglasses from under the lounger and put them on his nose.  He moved them with his finger and grinned at her.

''So what are you trying to say Rose?''

''That I think you being at work during the day is enough time apart, don't you? Let's see how it goes and if by next weekend we've not driven each other crazy, you coming over every night, why don't you move in with me?  You can get a cab to work or I can take you.  I'm not saying at first you have to stay over but you can, some nights, if you want to?''

''Only some nights Rose?  I'm willing to give it a try, as long as you are?  You know what they say Rose, in for a penny, in for a pound.  You don't want to waste time and neither do I.  I think half of the island already knows about us, I caught Dwayne taking bets on when we would get together.  He thought I didn't know about it.''

Rose giggled.  ''Yeah, Camille already told me.  I hope you know what you've just got yourself into, Alec Hardy.''

''I know exactly what I got myself into.  Who do you think won?''

They both laughed.  Rose got up just in time to see Maria let herself in.

''Hello Miss Rose, your guest arrived yet?''

''Yeah, he's out on the patio.  I suppose you already know who it is?''

Maria laughed.  ''Of course Miss Rose, the whole island knows the new detective and you are an item.  Not that I gave anyone the idea.''

Rose laughed.  ''Yeah Maria but what goes on in my house, stays here, got it?  Things are bad enough as it is, he knows what he's up against.  By the way, I wanted to say thanks, for volunteering to help at my party tomorrow, you can have an extra half day next week if you want?''

''Thank you Miss Rose.  I don't mind helping tomorrow.''

Alec's voice came from behind Rose.  ''Camille's mother said your drinks were ready for Mickey to collect tomorrow.''

''Thanks, he can get them when he picks up the food.  I'll go get changed now, while Maria makes tea, I have to call my mother.  Tony's not so good now, my dad called this morning.''

''I'm sorry to hear that.  I'll just go get changed then, I'll be on the patio.  I expect you've told them about me?''

He put his arms around her waist once Maria had gone off to the kitchen.

''Yeah, sorry but I know you were looking me up earlier.  I'm not mad at you but you have to understand, because of who I am, security is a bit overboard.''

''Right, I'll remember that but some interesting things came up about you and I want details, ok?  You may be the heiress to the Vitex fortune but there's something else about you and being a detective, I need all the facts to work things out.  I can't help it, that's what I do.''

Rose smiled.  ''Relax Alec, it's ok, dad knows about you.  If you want to know anything else about me, just ask, there's no need to do a search for me.  There are things you need to know.''

''You mean about how you were mixed up with the Cybermen and losing your friend?  Who was he Rose?''

"A very good friend, we weren't lovers, we might have been if I hadn't lost him.  I'll tell you over dinner, ok?''

''Ok darlin' and whatever you have to tell me, don't leave anything out.  I may be ill but I can take it.  I want to know everything because we have something Rose, I can't explain it.  I think you know too.''

She put her arms around his neck and reached up.  ''I know Alec, I felt it the other afternoon, when I'd got over the shock you looked like him and I want you to know, I'm not with you because of that.''

''I realised that.  It's ok, if I remind you of him, I didn't mean to upset you.  I want you to know I'd never do anything to hurt you.  We'll talk things over, you still need to know about me, my ex and my daughter and don't worry, that's well and truly over, there won't be any trouble on that score, I can promise though I would think by Monday, we'll be all over the news back home.''

''Don't bother about that, I'm in the papers all the time, even if I have been here a year.  Dad will put a press embargo on us if he has to.  My name hasn't been linked with anyone since a certain Scottish actor you resemble and that wasn't even true, worse luck.  I wouldn't have minded if it was.''

Alec smiled, he knew exactly who she meant, that was why he had grown a beard but then the actor did exactly the same but now, Alec had trimmed his again and Rose seemed to like his new look judging by the snogging she had given him earlier.  He wished now he had said something more to that Sophia he had met earlier, she was doing her best to find out if he and Rose were actually together.  Well tomorrow, she would get the whole picture, along with all the other guests because he wasn't going to hide the fact he had fallen for Rose Tyler.

''Oh, by the way, I bumped into a friend of yours earlier, goes by the name of Sophia.  She was trying to find out about us but don't worry love, I told her you were my girlfriend.  Go make your call, ok?''

He kissed her forehead and she went up to her room and called her mother.  Jackie was having a rough time with her young son.  She had forgotten how tough it was having a seven year old tucked up poorly in bed.

''Rose, I wish you were here instead of all that way away.  Tony keeps asking for you.  He still doesn't know why you have two birthdays and he only has one, he's too young to understand.''

''Yeah, well that wasn't my idea, you know that, best not discuss it openly even though Jake fixed a secure line for us, it's safer on dad's phone.  Did he tell you I met someone?''

''Yeah, ain't that funny?  I mean, there were the press saying you was going out with that actor and you go and find his double, not to mention who else he looks like.  Are you ok with that?''

''I'm fine with it and when Tony gets better, you can all come over and meet him, ok?''

Rose finally hung up after answering all her mother's questions about Alec and went to find her lover.  He was pouring out two cups of tea, a tray of sandwiches and pastries on the low table.  He looked up, wearing his sexy sunglasses and his open shirt.  Rose want to jump on him again, how dare he look like that when he was supposed to be ill?

''Hey babe, sorry I took so long, mum wanted to know all about you.  They're gonna come over when Tony's ok to travel.''

''I look forward to it sweetheart.  Come and get your tea before it goes cold.  Your housekeeper already knew who I was.  It's always going to be like that, is it not?''

''Yeah, you'd better get used to it loverboy, there's no escape now.  I think we'll just have to grin and bear it.  When I see Camille tomorrow, I'll tell her to put Dwayne out of his misery and let him settle the bets but there's another one going on as well.''

''Oh?  What's that then?''

''If you and Chris Martin are going to fight over me.  I said there was no contest but he might have other ideas so you just be careful, ok?''

''I can look after myself Rose.  Those pills I gave you earlier, will you keep them here for me?  Just in case?''

She reached over to kiss his cheek.  ''You're perfectly safe with me Alec, keep them here if you want but once you move in, that won't be a problem, will it?''
Chapter 7
Mickey came back just before six, saying he'd had a great time despite being forced into it, which got him a scowl from Rose.  She and Alec were sat watching the news at Alec's insistence then Rose said she was going to get ready.

''I'll have to call and get changed when you're ready Rose,'' Alec declared.  ''I can't go out like this.''

Rose had got up and put her arms around his neck from behind him.

''I don't care how you're dressed.  Won't be long.''

She took her time though, choosing the dress she had bought yesterday.  She wondered if she should invite Alec back later in view of their actions earlier.  It had been spontaneous on her part, she hadn't meant for it to go that far but it had all happened so naturally and so easily and she had not considered the consequences, not when she was so near her monthly.  Tonight, if it happened again, she would have to insist he wore something but going in a store here was not as easy as it was back home, everyone would know even if she went in and bought something.

She would just have to be honest with him because he would expect a repeat performance.  He had been married before so he probably knew the drill, how did she know this afternoon she was going to give in to her hormones that were screeching out?  It was his fault, looking so sexy in just his swimming shorts. Neither of them had really stood a chance.  She went downstairs and Alec looked around and whistled.

''I'll just stop by my place and get changed.  Mickey just told me about a place by the harbour and I called and made a reservation for eight, they were full up before then even when I said who I was.  That trick seemed to have worked everywhere else, it must have been genuine.  Maybe we should get a taxi?''

''I know how to get to the harbour Alec, I've got a map on my phone anyway.''

''Why don't I drive you down?'' Mickey asked.

''We still have to go to Alec's place first, thanks anyway.  Are you inferring he's coming back with me later?'' she teased.

Alec pretended to be hurt.  ''I know when I'm not wanted.''

Rose put her arms around him.  ''Then you wonder why you're getting a reputation around here.  I told you, you don't need an invite you plum.''

Alec grinned at Mickey, who shook his head.  Man, was this bloke slow or what?  Rose had given him an open invitation and Hardy was about to fluff it and they talked about him being an idiot.  Rose was totally gone on the bloke and he felt confident he was going to win Dwayne's betting pool.  After he had got thrown out earlier, he knew for certain something was going to happen so he had found Dwayne and placed a late bet that it was going to be this afternoon.  Dwayne had shaken his head but taken the bet.  Mickey supposed he had an unfair advantage but half the island had known Rose had told him to disappear for the afternoon, why else would she be getting rid of him?

They set off, Rose driving and parked near Alec's temporary home though he hoped only until next weekend, if he didn't blow it.  He got his things and went into the bathroom, leaving a disappointed Rose robbed of her new boyfriend getting changed in front of her, his excuse being it would be a lot quicker since they were going out.  She called out to him while he was getting yet another shave.

''Alec, I have a confession to make.''  No answer.  ''If you want a repeat of this afternoon, you're gonna have to take the precautions.''

Alec almost cut himself.  ''What?  Why didn't you say something Rose?''

''You took me by surprise, that's why and I wasn't gonna say no to you, was I?  Not likely.  Relax, I'll be fine, nothing will have happened, not from that angle anyway, it was really great but I don't think you quite hit the target, it was only our first time and I was nervous, they'll be lots more opportunities I hope.  I am on the pill it just it's almost time for my monthly visit from mother nature.''

Alec thought that was easy for her to say.  He hadn't told her yet what his chances of coming through an operation were so if she was implying what he thought she was implying, he'd better get a move on.  He checked in the mirror he hadn't actually cut himself, he'd been lucky to escape.  He got changed and opened the bathroom door.  It had never occurred to ask her if she herself took precautions, it had happened so fast.

''Rose, we just got together and this afternoon was amazing, it's been a long time since I even remotely felt like that, nothing had even come close but it wasn't my intention to get you pregnant, not that the subject won't arise again so please, don't feel like you're under any pressure.  If you want to say no next time, I won't be offended.  I never even thought I would attempt such a thing in my condition anyway, I was pleasantly surprised.  Rose, it's not that I don't want to, you know, if you want something long term with me but there is something you should know and the reason I didn't tell you was because I didn't want to upset you further.''

''Then what is it Alec?  I know I should have said but I didn't think we would go that far, I wanted it to happen and it will be my fault.  I know you can't just walk into a store around here like you would back home so for the next few days until I'm ok, one of us keeps our underwear on, got it?''

Alec gave a mock salute.  ''You're the boss but it won't stop me trying, ok?  You have no idea what you do to me Rose Tyler, you'll quite likely finish me off.  That operation I told you about, I've got less than a 50/50 chance of getting through it.''

''What?  Seriously?  Why didn't you say?  Ok, I know why you didn't say I suppose but how can you live like this?  Why are you content to wait three months?  Surely your chances will lessen the longer you wait?''

''Maybe but I'm scared Rose, I'm not ready to give up, especially now I've found you and if I could bring it forward love, you know I would.  I have to wait and I wasn't in a hurry when I agreed to it.  The only way I'll get it done sooner is if something happens.  I checked before I came here, they can do it on the island but they may have to send for someone from the mainland and try and keep me alive.  The same would have happened if I had stayed in Broadchurch, they would have had to get me to a main hospital or send for someone, I've got just as much chance here.''

Rose sat down before she fell down, completely stunned by his statement.

''No Alec, I'm not gonna stand by and watch that happen.''

Alec took it the wrong way.  ''Well I'm sorry Rose.  I'll tell the commissioner he'll have to get someone else and I'll be on the plane with Mickey on Monday afternoon.  If I got you pregnant, I'll take full responsibility for it and support whatever you decide to do.  You'd best go then.  You were the one Rose, I thought I could make a life here with you for the next three months but I can't ask you to stay by me now, knowing what might happen to me, it's just too much for me to expect.''

Rose just sat there as he paced the small but comfortable room.  Alec turned and looked at her.  She was wearing the cream coloured dress she had just bought, her hair was swept back and she looked beautiful.

''Have you quite finished?'' she asked.

''Don't make it worse Rose, please.  It's bad enough as it is.''

''You really want me to leave without finishing what I was saying?  You're as bad as someone else I used to know, he would never let me finish either.''

''Then say it Rose.  Say you can't stay with me because I've been too stubborn to get myself fixed before and I'm risking it all by delaying it for as long as I can.  I said I had my reasons, well here is it, I can't face the fact I'm a walking time bomb and I'm a dying Rose, there's little chance I'll get through the operation.  There, does that make you feel any better?  Hmm?''

''Of course it doesn't make me feel better Alec, what do you take me for?  Why put yourself through it Alec?  Are you a glutton for punishment because you failed on a case?  You solved that boy's murder against all odds Alec, a Policewoman's husband who knew how the Police worked and hid himself for two months but it was you, Alec Hardy, bad heart and all that worked it out.  He'd still be out there if it wasn't for you and I know about the case that got away from you, that was not your fault and you can't punish yourself for it.  Ok, you were in charge but that was it.  Didn't you ever stop to think it was someone to do with the case that stole the evidence and not kids like the report said?  Yeah, I talked to my dad about it Alec, he reckons it was no coincidence your DS was followed and when she left her car either the killer or his accomplice broke into it and stole it otherwise, how did they know where to look and whose car to smash?''

Alec gulped and stared at her.  She was far too clever.  The thought had never even crossed his mind.  Of course it had to be someone close to the case – Claire Ripley.  He would have to call Tess in the morning, Claire must have had the pendant all this time, hidden away and he had hidden her – near Broadchurch.  He hadn't even told her he had left the country, better him disappearing than dying on her, she wouldn't care anyway, she was using him like he was using her, to lure out her husband.

Alec sat beside her on the bed and took her hand, Rose now had tears on her face and he went to wipe them with his thumb.

''I'm so sorry Rose, I didn't mean to upset you, you must hate me right now.''

''No Alec, I love you.  Don't do this, please?  I was going to say, before you went on about your health, I want you to let me take care of things, get you the best surgeons and bring it forward.  The health service is ok, for other things but not when it comes to you.  You're the one for me as well Alec, I knew on Tuesday afternoon.  Please let me help you?''

''Rose, I don't know what to say, except I'm so sorry for what I just said, I'm hopeless, why do you care so much about me eh?  I love you too sweetheart.  Still want to go out?  We can eat downstairs if you want?''

Rose tried to dry her face as he reached a tissue for her from the bedside table.

''I've been an idiot Rose, I know that and I am terrified but yes, for you, I'll think about taking you up on your offer.  Let's get your birthday out of the way tomorrow and we'll talk about it on Monday night after I finish work, if you don't want me on the plane?''

Rose tapped his arm.  ''You know I don't and you are an idiot, my lovable idiot but you have to stop taking the blame Alec, I can get my stepfather to have the case re-opened, if you want?''

''I don't think it will come to that Rose, it was my ex wife that was the one who had the evidence stolen from her car, she was having an affair with another DS and only one person could have followed her and known that pendant was in there – the main suspect's wife and I know exactly where she is.  She was the only one that pendant held any value for if she wanted to protect her husband.  She played me for a fool and now it's time to get my revenge.  Rose Tyler, you may have just cracked the Sandbrook case wide open and I'm going to see you get the credit for it.''

He kissed the top of her head, smelling her strawberry shampoo.

''I don't want the credit Alec, that's the last thing I need, my name associated with a cold case.  No, it's all yours, you did all the hard work.  Now no more talking of getting on that plane, do you hear me?  Not without me, I'll call my stepfather tomorrow and have him arrange to get you in to see the top heart surgeon and no arguments and I knew full well what I was doing this afternoon Alec and I am sorry I never warned you but you never asked.  I told you not to do anything stupid without me though, didn't I?''

She put her arms around his neck and he pulled her close.  ''I was just as much to blame but I don't regret it.  I really am sorry Rose, I never thought I would meet anyone like you who actually cared about me but I should have known as soon as my travelling companion mentioned your name I was bound to meet you.  I knew you'd disappeared off the radar, my DS back in Broadchurch was a fan of yours, she was always leaving magazines around with articles about you saying you'd gone off somewhere to escape fame and fortune.  What's the real story?''

''Maybe I'll tell you over dinner, we should get going.''

Alec got up and took the soggy paper bag out of his holdall, he had forgotten earlier and thrown his wet swimming shorts on top so he hurriedly discarded the wrapping.

''For you sweetheart, sorry, the wrapping got wet with my shorts.''

She held out her arm and he slipped the sparking pink and purple bangle over her wrist.

''It's lovely, thanks.  I do love you Alec, I wasn't just saying that.''

''I know darlin' I love you too.  If you're inviting me back tonight, maybe I should bring some things with me for your party?''

''Good idea but don't be long if we have a dinner reservation.  I'm sorry Alec, I didn't mean it like it came out, that I couldn't stand by and watch you get worse, I never meant for you to leave, I meant I wanted to do something about it, I'd already talked to Pete about it but I was afraid you wouldn't let me help you.''

''It's ok, I jumped to the wrong conclusion but that's me for you, I have a nasty suspicious mind and that includes getting to know all about you that wasn't showing up on the internet.''

''Oh, that's top secret, only those with the highest of clearance get to know that.''

Alec smiled.  ''Does that included your lover?''

Rose reached up and kissed his cheek and whispered, ''I suppose so.  I'll tell you everything when we get back because Mickey can back me up, you might not believe everything.''

''If it's about you, how can I not believe you?  Is it that bad?  You were involved with those Cybermen, weren't you?''

Rose looked down at the floor and let go of him.  If she couldn't trust him, who could she trust?  Alec was a very well educated and intelligent man and police detective, he'd just work it out for himself.

''Yes Alec but I can't talk about it in public but over dinner, I'll tell you where I grew up and how I came to be here but when we get home, me and Mickey will tell you the rest, I promise but when you've heard it, you might just be on that plane on Monday afternoon.''

He kissed her cheek and then stroked it.  ''Never my love, nothing you can tell me will put me off.  Now I know why I came here because you, Rose Tyler, were waiting for me.''

Rose drove them to where Alec had made the reservation after he put a few things into another holdall since the lining of the other one was wet.  Rose had just laughed at his predicament and said he should put his shorts in a plastic carrier and dry them when they got back to her place and they could relax by the pool in the morning before getting ready for the party.  Now she had to explain to him why she had two birthdays and hope he understood better than her young brother.

Even though Rose had never been to the seafood restaurant, they knew full well who she was and therefore knew who Alec was and were well treated.  Traditional Caribbean music was being played and although Alec couldn't eat anything fancy, they both enjoyed their evening, especially when Rose discovered Alec's favourite desert was banana split, the same as hers.  There was a tiny dance floor that wasn't too crowded and they managed a couple of slower dances and Rose had a few drinks, leaving it to Alec to drive them back using Rose's phone as a satnav.

It was only just getting dark a little after ten when Alec pulled into her driveway, Rose singing along to the radio and giggling.  Alec smiled at her, she was far too young for him but he knew he loved her even though it hadn't yet been a week and if he had got her pregnant, well it would be a miracle and now he had too much to live for.  He should forget what the specialist in Exeter had said, he was going to get a second opinion and if Rose wanted to pay for a private hospital to give him another assessment, he was going to forget his pride and go along with it but one way or another, he was going to pay back every last penny providing he did survive.

Alec got out and Rose sat there even after he turned off the engine.  She was obviously up to mischief, that much he could tell so he went around and opened the door for her, offering her his hand to help her out.

''Allow me my love, did I say how beautiful you looked this evening Rose?''

Rose giggled and let him help her out.  She never normally accepted help getting out of her car but she was willing to make an exception.

''Thank you and you look very handsome without all that hair on your chin but I do like your beard now, you should keep it like that.''

Alec closed the door while Rose fished in her purse for her key, unsuccessfully bringing out her old Tardis key she still kept on a chain that had been in her pocket when she was rescued from the void by Pete.  She threw it back before Alec could see it, that was going to take some explaining.  Alec got his things out of the back and knew now it wouldn't be long before he was getting the rest of his things because time was running out, not for him to give up but to get back and see another specialist who maybe gave him a better chance of surviving.  Now he wasn't just living for himself, now he had Rose to think about.

Chapter 8
Alec went to hang his shorts over the rail in the bathroom after unpacking the things he had brought with him and went in to join Rose and Mickey, Rose nursing a cup of black coffee Mickey had hurriedly poured for her as she wasn't making any sense to him after saying she was going to tell Alec everything.  While Alec was absent, Mickey was trying to get her to change her mind.

''I'm not sure it's a good idea Rose, what if he takes it the wrong way?''

''But he won't Mickey, you know he's already started asking questions, we have to tell him but I need you to back me up.  I told him about where I grew up, leaving one vital part out and telling him that depends on him accepting everything else.  I have to make sure he can accept the first bit before it comes to that.''

Alec was now in the doorway.  ''Then tell me Rose.  Tell me how you were involved with the Cybermen, you must have been very young at the time.  How did you get caught up with them?  Did they capture you?''

He went to sit beside her, taking her cup.  Rose wished she hadn't sobered up, it would have sounded better.

''It all started the night me and the friend I lost, he was called The Doctor by the way, we gate-crashed a party being held for Pete's first wife.''

Rose told him her version of events and Mickey told Alec how he went off and got mistaken for the leader of The Preachers and how he met up again with Rose and The Doctor after they got out of Pete's mansion.  Alec sat and listened as they told their stories, Rose walking in the front door of Battersea power station and Mickey and Jake trying to liberate the population of London being held inside.  Rose couldn't explain what the Doctor had tried to do, only after they met up again. Then came the hardest part - where they went after it was all over and why Mickey stayed behind.

Alec seemed to be taking it fairly well, asking a few questions like he was in a police interview and both Rose and Mickey trying to answer them truthfully until he asked what all that had to do with the Cybermen breaking out of the factories they had been sealed in.

''It's up to you now Rose, only you can tell him this bit.  Alec, I promise you mate, if she tells you, it will change everything.  Apart from her and me, there are only three other people know the truth – where she comes from, well where Rose, her mother and I come from actually.  Do you want to hear it?''

Alec nodded.  ''Go ahead, I'm in this deep. Mickey, I know you two used to be together, I accept that.  You and this Doctor Rose, you were close and you loved him but you said he was gone.  Where is he Rose?''

Rose looked at Mickey, who just nodded.  ''Go ahead Rose, if you love him tell him.''

''He's back where we come from Alec, where the Cybermen went when they escaped from the factories and infiltrated the old Torchwood, an alternate universe or in our case, our home.  To me, my mum and Mickey, this is the alternate universe, we don't belong here, we got stranded here although Mickey chose to stay here the first time but he came to warn us the Cybermen had escaped and it was too late, they had invaded my world so we tried to stop them, the three of us until there was no choice than to trap them between this world and the other but it could only be done from the other side.  The Doctor sent me and my mum here but I tried to get back and almost ended up in the void myself until Pete caught me and the walls closed, then we couldn't get back.''

Mickey had got up and left at this point, figuring this was between Rose and her new boyfriend.  Alec moved closer and took her hand.

''It's ok Rose, I believe you, I'm just happy you could trust me enough to tell me.  So this 'void' is the space between universes, I take it that it's bad then?  I love you Rose and I don't care if you come from another universe, you're here now, in this one with me.  I swear I'll never tell anyone, your secret is now mine.  Now what were you saying about bed tonight?''

''You've taken this very well Alec, I never expected you to.''

''Why wouldn't I accept it Rose?  Your stepfather is a very influential man, you're hardly going to go around telling lies, are you?''

''Thank you for having so much faith in me.  I love you Alec, move in with me?  You said you wanted to make a life here with me, do you still want to?''

''More than anything Rose, how long will it take to get me in to see another specialist?  Will we have to go back to London?''

''I don't know, maybe you can see one nearby on the mainland but I'll come with you, no matter where it is.  Why don't you go get the rest of your stuff tomorrow? Mickey will be picking up the food and the drinks, you can get a ride with him and I'll make you some room in my wardrobe.  Let's not waste any more time Alec.''

''Fine, you'll get no more arguments from me.  Let's go to bed and never mind about you know what, we'll take our chances because if you're going to be off limits in a few days time, I need an incentive to move in with you.  I love you Rose.''

Alec kept his word, never bothering when Rose offered to keep her underwear on but she knew in a few days it wouldn't matter anyway, there would be no choice for either of them.  It was just as gentle and thrilling with Rose lying on top of him again now there was no fear of them getting caught by Rose's housekeeper or even Mickey coming back early though she would have more than likely thrown him in the pool if he had done, he'd known why she had thrown him out for the afternoon and wondered if he had gone and placed a bet with Dwayne.  Someone was going to make some money out of it.

When Rose woke up early the next morning, Alec was already awake.  He was used to waking up and being in a cold sweat over his nightmares but Rose had chased them away now.  For the first time since that day he found one of the missing girls in the river, he hadn't dreamt he was being pulled under the water.  Rose had been all he needed.

''Happy birthday sweetheart,'' he whispered, kissing her forehead and then moving to her neck.

''Mmm.   I can get used to this, thank you Alec but I have a confession to make, it's not actually my birthday.  It's complicated, today is the day mum and I got brought here.  Pete and his first wife never had a daughter, it was difficult to blend me in, it was easy with my mum and Mickey so Pete chose today so we would all remember.  My real birthday is in May.''

''That's cheating sweetheart, two birthdays.''

''I know, try explaining it to my brother.  Back on my world, we still have the Royal Family, the Queen has two birthdays so if it's good enough for her?''

Alec chuckled.  ''Seems like you still have a lot to tell me love but there is more, isn't there?  Like how you got here the first time and don't give me that nonsense that you came the same way as the Cybermen got to your universe.''

''Promise not to run when I mention time travel?''

''What?  Seriously?''

Rose was about to get ready for him to storm out but he pulled her on top of him again.

''Tell me all about it, I'm dying to hear about it.  Do you know how much TV I used to watch when I was a wee boy?  Come here Rose.''

He moved her away and she rolled onto her back, Alec hovering over her and smiling at her.  They had both put some underwear on before finally falling asleep and Rose swore Mickey would hear them but Alec was now relieving Rose of hers despite her protests that it was now getting a bit risky.

''Let me worry about that Rose, you just need to give me two of my pills if it gets too much for me ok?''

Rose nodded and reached for the waistband of his shorts.  ''Will the medication work Alec?''

''Yes, if you give me it right away and let me recover, if not, get me to the hospital.  I can't be any worse than I have been Rose and I'm taking the pills regularly now unlike before.  I love you Rose, I want to do this properly, if at all possible.  Now wait your turn sweetheart, I want to make the most of this, consider it a birthday present since I didn't have time to get you much.''

He had left her present behind last night and was going to get a ride back with Mickey anyway and now, he was going to collect his things and hand his key in and he would never hear the end of it from Camille on Monday morning.  Rose ruffled his hair then put her arms around his neck as he began kissing where he pulled the crisp cotton sheets away from her and smiled down at her then resumed kissing. Rose was trying to ease down his shorts without him realising but he knew and let her anyway.

It wasn't long before his shorts joined her skimpy underwear on the headboard and he gently lowered himself onto her, making her gasp as she wrapped her legs around him.

''I love you Alec, please, don't do anything to get yourself in hospital, I'd never forgive myself if you did, just to try and please me.''

''I'll be fine darlin' just relax, you make it easy and I promise I won't do anything stupid.''

Rose relaxed under him, her arms around his neck, ruffling the back of his hair and sighing softly as she could feel him.  When they broke apart, Rose was already lost in the sensations she was feeling and Alec was watching her, a big grin on his face and feeling pleased with himself that yesterday afternoon hadn't been a fluke and he could still satisfy a young woman.  Not that he had been with many lately.

''Rose, baby, I think I need to just rest for a while, it's nothing for you to worry about, ok?''

He moved onto his back and Rose looked at him, concerned.  He held his arms out and she rested her head on his stomach and they lay like that for a while until he felt better but he had avoided his pills.

''Let me up Rose, I'll go make breakfast for you, for your unofficial birthday.''

Rose lifted her head.  ''No way Alec, I'll go, you just rest.  You shouldn't have done that but it was pretty amazing, considering but next time, I'm back on top and tonight has to be the last time for a few days.  I guess our timing sucks?''

Alec smiled.  At least she was honest with him and that's what counted in his book, more than Tess had been.  His ex had tried to lay the blame on him not being interested in her but he knew the reason why, he had been too wrapped up in work but he was going to give Rose his undivided attention while he was here on the island and if he got back to work, he knew things would be different with her.  Rose was about to get out of bed when there was a tapping on the door.

''Hey you two, are you decent?  I've got breakfast for Rose, yours is downstairs.''

''Thanks Mickey.''

She put her robe on and took the tray when she opened the door.  Alec took the opportunity to recover his shorts and slipped his shirt on.  Kissing her cheek as she got back into bed and handing her the tray, he went to get his own and stopped to talk to Mickey.

''You're ok with this are you not?'' Alec asked him as he took the tray.

''Alec, let me tell you something.  I lost her a long time ago to a man who never told her he loved her now she's found someone who can tell her that.  Look after her Alec, she deserves it.''

''I know Mickey.  You know I have a heart problem don't you?  If something happens to me, tell her how much I love her.''

''You can tell her yourself, she'll see you get the best care there is.  Your breakfast is getting cold.''

They all relaxed around the pool after breakfast until Mickey said they should set off to get the food and the drinks and Maria had just arrived.  Mickey was in charge of the barbecue and Alec had volunteered to help for a while.  Rose was going to help in the kitchen and Camille was in charge of the drinks.  Mickey dropped Alec at the bar and said he'd collect him when he got the food which Rose had ordered specially and while in the store, Alec had asked him to pick something up for him and Mickey said he could understand why the detective didn't want to be seen.  Mickey also asked Alec if he had been right when he went to help him with his luggage.

''Come on Alec, you can tell me, I know why she threw me out.''

''I'm not saying, if she wants you to know, she'll tell you.''

The two men talked on the way back, Mickey telling Alec why he had been so jealous of The Doctor he had stayed here the first time but had to go back to warn them the Cybermen had all escaped.  It was his home world after all.  Rose was making room for Alec's clothes but just before they were due back, the doorbell went and Maria opened the door.

''Mr Martin, please come in.  I'll let Miss Rose know you are here.''

Rose already knew and wasn't happy about it, Alec was on his way back with his belongings and she didn't want them to start a fight.

''Chris, what are you doing here?  The party doesn't start for two hours.''

''I thought you were out, your car wasn't there.''

''Mickey went to get the food and the drinks for the party.  He'll be back soon.  Why are you here?''

''I told you I was coming to your party, no harm in being early.  I wanted to know if you had changed your mind about what you said the other day?''

''No, I haven't changed my mind.  I'm with Alec now.  Don't you keep up with what's happening around here?  Dwayne's already got a bet going when me and Alec will get it together and although I don't want to give too much away and spoil his little game, it's already happened.  I suggest you leave before he gets back, he's gone to get his things, he's moving in with me.''

''You bitch, does he know about us?''

''What?  There was never any 'us' Chris, everyone knows that.  Did anyone start a betting pool on us getting together?  No, 'cos it was never gonna happen.  We were sort of friends and that was it, if you had other ideas, they weren't mine and I've been here almost a year, you never even tried apart from the charity dance last month and I made my feelings on that well and truly clear, everyone saw me trying to fend you off after you'd had too much to drink.  Camille thought she was going to have to arrest you.''

''You just use people to climb the social ladder Rose, everyone knows where you really come from, your mother marrying into money.  Here's your birthday present, now give me a kiss or I'll tell your inspector you slept with me every chance you got.''

He stepped forward and threw a present on the chair and grabbed her arm, pulling her forward then he tried to kiss her but she slapped his face.

''Get away from me you creep.  Yes, I used you so people would see I had a social life but I still didn't like you that much.  I'd rather die than kiss a frog.''

He gripped her arm and Rose let out a yelp.  Maria came running out onto the patio.

''Miss Rose, are you ok?  Mr Martin, let go of her now.''

''Who do you think you are woman?  Get lost, this is between me and Rose.''

He twisted Rose's arm and pulled her closer as he tried to kiss her then reached for the straps on her top.  She slapped his face again but he slapped her back.

''Your inspector won't want you when I've finished with you, you tart.''  His lips got closer and Rose tried to get free of his grip.

Maria had her phone out, she had Camille's number and Mickey's and he would be on his way back with Mr Alec so she dialled his number.  Alec answered since Mickey was driving.

''Put Mr Mickey on, Miss Rose is in trouble.''

''What?  Why is she in trouble, what's happened?''

''It's Mr Martin, he burst in and he's forcing himself on Miss Rose but he threatened me when I tried to stop him.''

''We're two minutes away.  Listen Maria, you know who I am, stop him any way you can, hit him over the head with something, push him in the pool but don't let him touch her, do you understand me?''

''Yes Mr Alec, just get here soon.''

Rose was trying to keep her face away from Chris's as she wriggled to get free.  His hand pulled both her straps down and Rose was thankful she'd had a mind to put her bikini top under it as she and Alec had been relaxing earlier.

''Get off me Chris, you'll be really in trouble when Alec and Mickey get back.''

''The inspector won't want you when I've done and when I tell him you were willing to participate, lie down on the lounger.''

He pulled her towards where she and Alec had been lying earlier and Rose struggled again.  He didn't notice Maria coming up behind him with an empty metal tray but felt it on the back of his head as she hit him and he let go of Rose, who grabbed her phone and called Alec.

''Alec, where are you?''

''I'm just getting out of the car, are you ok?''

''Yes but Maria is still battering Chris over the head with a tray, he's heading your way.''

Maria was talking quickly in French and probably calling him all sorts of names as Mickey tore after Alec, leaving everything in the car and frantically ringing the doorbell and Alec swearing the first thing he was doing to do was get another key cut.

''Rose!  Open the door sweetheart.''

Rose hurried past Maria and Chris, who was trying to defend himself from the housekeeper's wrath.  Rose opened the door and fell into Alec's arms, Mickey pushing past and collaring a slightly stunned Chris Martin.

''Get that mad woman off me, she's crazy.  Get off me Smith.''

Mickey was not letting him go and trying to get Maria to put down the metal tray. ''Homme fou, c'est un fou (which roughly translated to crazy man, he's crazy), he started attacking Miss Rose so I rang you.  I am sorry Mr Alec, it was my fault, I let him in.''

Alec had his arms around Rose.  ''It's ok Maria, you did the right thing. Mickey, call the station, I want him locked up until I decide whether Rose is pressing charges of assault against him then get hold of Camille and tell her what happened.  Maria, take Miss Rose into the kitchen and make her some tea please.''

''Right away Mr Alec.  Come with me Miss Rose, are you ok?''
Chapter 9
''I'm fine Maria, thanks to you.''  She turned to Chris, who was being held by his collar by a very irate Mickey.  ''Who do you think you are?  You're finished here, get out of my house and if you come near me again, my stepfather's lawyers will hit you so hard, you'll wish you never came here.''

''Bitch, you just wait.''

Alec stood in front of him.  ''Apologize right now Martin, no-one talks to my girlfriend like that.  Mickey, let him go and call the station.  You, are not going anywhere Martin, I'm holding you for questioning.''

''I'm saying nothing to you except about your girlfriend, you might want to ask her a few questions about us.''

''That won't be necessary Martin, she already told me about you and what a loser you are.  If you had wanted to pursue her, it wouldn't have taken you a year, I've been here a week and we're already living together.  Rose told me she used you and although I seriously doubt it was anything but that, she would never have gone out with you, you clearly don't know how to treat her properly.''

Rose had gone into the kitchen and both Dwayne and Fidel showed up five minutes later, followed by Camille, who went into the kitchen to find Rose sat at the table drinking tea.

''Rose, are you ok?  What happened?''

''Chris went crazy, said he was going to tell Alec how many times I'd slept with him. I know I told him to stay away but I never thought he'd do a thing like that.  He tried to kiss me and when I slapped his face, he pulled me towards the loungers, until Maria called Mickey then hit Chris with the metal tray.''

Alec had heard what she said and went over to her, putting his arms around her and kissing her forehead.

''Are you sure you're ok Rose?  Dwayne's taking him to the station, Camille will take your statement, there's no need for you to go.  I'll hold him overnight and see what the commissioner has to say, we can hold him 24 hrs without charging him, do you want to press charges Rose?''

''I don't know Alec, whatever you think best.  I should call my stepfather though, no-one threatens me and gets away with it.''

''Hand me your phone Rose, I'll speak to him.  Camille, take Rose's statement will you?  Then see what that miserable specimen has to say for himself when he's stewed in a cell for a few hours.  Tell Dwayne he's not to let him out until I say so then take Maria's statement as well.  Mickey, give Maria my phone number in case she needs it again.''

''Sorry Alec, you never gave me it, you'll have to get it from Rose's phone.''

''Right, remind me later, I'm going to call Peter Tyler.''

Mickey went out to get the food and drinks that had been forgotten then went back for Alec's belongings.  Camille had already heard from her mother that Alec had moved out an hour ago so she wasn't surprised to see him making himself at home in Rose's house.  Rose explained how Maria had let Chris in and how he'd turned on her then Maria had called Mickey and began hitting him with the tray.  Alec was trying to explain to an angry Pete Tyler that Rose was perfectly ok.  Pete had wanted to talk to the man who his stepdaughter had fallen for but not under these circumstances.

''So she's ok?  Do I need to come over there?''

''No Sir, everything's under control, it's up to Rose if she presses charges.''

''She did tell me that she was having trouble with him when she took up with you but I never expected anything like this.  What's his problem?''

''I suspect he's just jealous, that I come along and capture her heart after only a week and he's been trying for a year.  Rose said she was never interested in him in that way.  I believe her but he was trying to infer otherwise, I think she must have said we were together and he flipped.  I'm holding him for 24 hrs until Rose decides what she wants to do about it.  Would you like to talk to her?  She's just giving her statement to my DS, I'll have her call you back when she's through.  Mr Tyler, I love Rose, I'll take good care of her but she did tell you I was ill?''

''Yes Alec, she told me all about you and if there's anything I can do to help you, in any way, just let me know.  Has she mentioned she wants to help you?''

''Yes Sir, she wants to pay to get me seen sooner but I don't know.  I buffered myself Mr Tyler, gave myself three months to face the operation and find every excuse I could to back out of it.  Then I met Rose and she's taught me it's not just about me and what I want.  I'll be honest with you, it scares me, bringing it forward when I've just found a reason to go on.  If that's what she wants, then I'm willing to risk it.''

''Good man and call me Pete, let me make some enquiries for you, see what I can come up with.  Tell Rose happy birthday from us, tell her we miss her.''

''I know Pete, she and Mickey told me everything last night, I'm still here.''

''I'm glad to hear it, Rose needs someone like you in her life.  Just look after her and she'll look after you.''

Alec hung up and went to find his love.  She was lying by the pool talking to Mickey, who was setting up the barbecue.

''There you are sweetheart, did Camille leave?''

''Yeah, she's gone to compare statements with that moron.  I don't ever want to see him again Alec.  Just let him go, I can't face him in any court.''

''Don't worry, you won't have to appear, we have enough evidence.  I've just talked to your stepfather.  Whatever you decide to do, we're all behind you.  I know what Martin said wasn't true.''

He sat on the edge of the lounger and Rose sat up putting her arms around his neck.

''Why did he pick today, of all days.  This was supposed to be a happy day.  Do you think I should cancel?''

''No, you should go ahead, don't you think so Mickey?''

''Sure Rose, don't let him spoil things for you.  What am I gonna do with all this food huh?''

Rose smiled and Alec kissed her forehead.  ''I just have to go call my ex, about what we talked about last night.  The longer I leave it, the more the killer is getting away.  I won't be long, ok?''

''It's ok Alec, you go make your call, I'll stay here with Mickey.  I'm fine, honestly. Why don't you unpack your stuff, I made room for you and just put what you need in the bathroom.''

Alec went to call Tess, who was quite surprised to hear from him.

''Alec.  You're the last person I expected to call.  I heard you'd left the country.  What are you doing on a small island?''

''Working Tess, this is not a social call, I have some information for you.  Get a search warrant for Claire Ripley, I think she was the one who stole the pendant.''

''Wow, what brought all this on Alec?  Did you have a brainstorm?  What makes you think that?''

''Because I was talking about it to someone who suggested Claire had everything to gain by stealing the evidence.  Think about it Tess, who had the means to steal it? She saw it being taken, she followed you and broke into your car.  Why would kids just target your car?  You were stupid to even leave it, you know how important it was and I took the blame for it.  Well do this one thing, I'll tell you where she's living.''

''How would you know Alec, were you having an affair with her?''

''You were the only one having an affair Tess.  You owe me this much for protecting Daisy from the truth that you were cheating on me.''

''Ok.  Tell where me Claire's living and you'd better be right or it's all over for you, whether you're living on a Caribbean island or not.''

''It might be all over soon anyway.  I need an operation Tess, I might not survive.''

''For goodness sake Alec, why didn't you say something?  How am I going to tell Daisy.  Are you coming home for it?''

''Three months Tess, that's all I might have left.  I came here to get away from it all, spend the rest of my time on a paradise island then I met someone, she made me see I have something to fight for.''

Tess laughed.  ''You mean someone's actually interested in you?  Who's the poor woman Alec?''

''Oh she's not poor Tess, you never change do you?  You made me feel like nothing, that I wasn't worth it but she makes me believe in myself.  You might have heard of her, does the name Rose Tyler ring any bells?''

The line went quiet.  ''Seriously?  Rose Tyler?  You're winding me up Alec.''

''Well, we'll see won't we, when my name's in the papers alongside hers.  I've already moved in with her and we're the talk of the island.  Do you want to write down Claire Ripley's address?  You might also want to check if Ashworth has returned to Great Britain yet.''

''Why are you giving this to me Alec?''

''Because you can get the case re-opened.''

Alec gave her all the details and went back to join Rose.  Camille had come back and they were all talking.

''Chris Martin is going crazy down at the station.  He's demanding his lawyer and his phone call.  Do you want me to contact the commissioner?''

''No.  He'll be here soon anyway, I'll let him know what happened.  When he finds out Rose was attacked, he'll agree with us locking him up.  I'll see Martin in the morning, he can stay where he is, we can hold him without charging him.  Mickey, are you getting that barbecue started yet, it's almost two and I'm starving.  Rose sweetheart, are you going to get changed?  I have something for you.  Excuse us will you?''

''Sure Alec, Camille, help me get the barbecue going will you?'' Mickey asked.

Rose smiled and let Alec lead her upstairs, her guests were due to arrive shortly but as he closed the door on what had now become their bedroom, Alec put his arms around her.

''Swear to me Rose that he never touched you.''

''I swear Alec, not just now or ever, I never even kissed him, I didn't like him in that way.  Alec, just let him go, he won't risk coming near me again, not now he knows you can lock him up whenever you want.''

''I'll let him go in the morning Rose, not before, let him see I mean business.  I called Tess, she's going to get a search warrant to see if Claire took the pendant.  I hope for both our sakes you were right.''

''You put your trust in me Alec, I believe I'm right on this, you just needed someone to look at it from the outside, you were too close.''

''I suppose I was.  Thank you Rose.  I bought you something, hope you like it sweetheart, Mickey helped me to choose it but it doesn't seem enough now.  I love you darlin', come here.''

Rose put her arms around his waist and reached up.  ''I love you too Alec, whatever you got me will be special because it was from you.''

They kissed briefly then Rose opened the pink tissue paper and brought out the yellow sarong.

''It's lovely Alec, thank you.  Did you have some help from Neville as well?'' she smiled.

''How did you guess sweetheart?  You can wear it for me later when the guests have all gone home.  Let's not keep them waiting.''

Rose got downstairs just as both Sophia and The Commissioner arrived, the latter taking Alec to one side to find out exactly what had happened when Camille had informed him Rose had been attacked.

''You can keep him locked until tomorrow morning but no later or you'll have to charge him.  Does Miss Tyler want to press charges?''

''I'm not sure yet Sir, she's still a little shaken up.  I've informed Mr Tyler.''

''Good.  What did Martin have to gain by attacking her when he knew you and Mr Smith were on your way back?''

''Maybe to discredit Miss Tyler at least in my eyes though what difference it was going to make I don't know.  Even if by some remote chance she had actually dated him, it would have made no difference to me, she had told him she wasn't seeing him any more.''

''No matter Alec, if she presses charges, I will personally back her up.  She is well respected here and everyone knows they were only friends, you however, are a different matter.  I found out who won Officer Myer's betting pool.''

Alec smiled, Rose must have told Camille.  He wondered who had won.  Rose tried to enjoy her party, Sophia was giving her funny looks all afternoon when she learned what had happened and caught Rose on her way to the kitchen.

''What are you up to Rose, getting rid of Chris in such a way?''

''Do you think I made it all up Sophia?  Just ask Mickey and Alec, Maria was there, she pulled him off me.''

''I dare say you encouraged him Rose, you have been tormenting the poor man for a year.''

''I have not, I never intended to get involved with him in that way.  I'm with Alec now and if Chris took it the wrong way, that was his own fault.  Excuse me Sophia, I have to attend to my other guests.''

Rose felt like telling the other woman to leave.  Alec was looking for her and found her in the kitchen, talking to Maria.

''Are you ok sweetheart?'' he asked, putting his arms around her.

Maria went to find something to do, she was going to have to get used to this since she had seen Mickey bring Alec's luggage in earlier.

''Mmm, I'm fine, Sophia just upset me a bit, saying I brought it all on myself.  You know I didn't, don't you Alec?''

''Of course I know you didn't Rose, the woman is just jealous of us and maybe annoyed you got someone locked up.  I'll let him go with a warning later on.  Come back to your party.''

He leaned down to kiss her, just as Mickey came for something from the kitchen.

He gave a quick ''oops'' as he headed to the cupboard.  ''Get a room you two.  I won the bet by the way, suppose I had an unfair advantage but after you threw me out Rose, it sort of gave the game away.  I'll have to go get my winnings before I leave tomorrow.''

''You should give half to Alec,'' Rose grinned, putting her arms around Alec.  Alec also grinned.

The party over, Rose having opened her presents and the one left by Chris Martin returned to him by Camille after she left, Maria was tidying up and Mickey was cleaning the barbecue, Rose was laid on the lounger and Alec was on the phone to Dwayne telling him if he heard of any more betting concerning himself and Rose, Dwayne would be pulling double duties for a week.  Not that Officer Myers would take any such notice and was already planning his next one, the fight one now hotting up since Alec had thrown the other party in jail.  Dwayne knew something was going to give and soon, Martin was known for not taking things lying down.

Trouble was not that far away as Rose and Alec went to bed that night, Rose giggling when she saw that Alec had got Mickey to go into the store and purchase something Alec wouldn't dream of going in to buy but now everyone knew, it wouldn't be a problem if he were to go in himself.  They made the most of the last night they could safely be together and Alec woke her up the next morning by kissing her neck and shoulders and getting a smile from her.

''I love waking up with you Alec, your beard tickles slightly.''

Alec was now kissing her lower down, moving the vest top out of the way she had put on before going to sleep.  After breakfast, she drove Alec the short distance to the station, opting not to go inside for several reasons, one being Chris Martin.  Alec told Fidel to let the man go, with a warning he stayed away from Rose but Chris turned on Alec as he was collecting his belongings, Camille handing over the unwrapped birthday present, which had been a perfume gift set.

''I won't forget this Hardy, do you hear me?  You held me illegally, I should have been allowed to see my lawyer.''

''No charges have been brought against you Martin, I persuaded Rose to let it go but you may be hearing from Peter Tyler's legal team, he's not as forgiving as his stepdaughter.  Now stay away from her or the next time, I will charge you.  What the hell were you thinking?  She told you that she and I were together, why would she want to go with you when she's with me now?''

''We were ok, Rose and I before you came along, just because we weren't exclusive, she's not the only British woman on the island and don't think she's so innocent either, what do you think she and Smith get up to when he comes to visit?''

Alec laughed.  ''You really don't have a clue, do you Martin?  She and Smith used to go out, eight years ago when she left him for someone else, who she later got separated from.  That's the reason she didn't go with you, she missed him but when I came along, that changed because I remind her of him.  You and Rose were never going to happen, did anyone start a betting pool on those chances?  Rose is with me now and I'll do anything to protect her and you so much as look at her again, you'll regret it.''

Chris looked around him.  ''You all heard him make threats towards me.''

Camille was looking at her computer screen, Fidel was studying a report he'd found on his desk and Dwayne was counting his losses since Mickey had said he was collecting his winnings before he left later on in the afternoon.

''You have no chance Martin, they all know and respect Rose, you attacked her, it did not go down very well.  Really Martin, I doubt once everyone gets to know you'll get yourself invited to any more social gatherings.  Now get out of here and I don't want to see you again, clear?''

Mickey was getting ready to load his things in Rose's car.

''So you'll be coming back soon, with Alec?''

''Once dad arranges for him to see another specialist, we'll come over if we have to. Thanks for everything Mickey.  We should go collect your winnings.''  Rose laughed. ''Really?  You think I didn't know you'd take advantage of me throwing you out?  It was no surprise when you said yesterday you knew you had won, that will teach Dwayne not to include you in any more bets.  Alec's probably banned him for starting any more, not that he'll take any notice.  He's got one on Alec having a proper fight with Chris but I hope it won't come to that.''

They called in at the station, Mickey saying goodbye to everyone while Alec took the chance to disappear around the back to kiss Rose.  He never said that Chris had threatened him before he'd left that he wouldn't forget Alec locking him up and had pushed past Alec, knocking the wind out of him but he hadn't needed to take his pills.  The three officers had all been told what to do in such cases Alec became seriously ill.

Mickey was on his way home and Rose went back to what was now hers and Alec's place, something she was getting used to and couldn't wait for him to get back so they could finally be alone.  A week went by and the following Monday morning, Rose dropped Alec at the station, he was going to ask about reducing his hours when the commissioner got back from yet another trip but just after Rose had picked up the groceries and the things she had ordered from London, she got a call from Camille.

''Rose, you'd better get down here quick, Chris Martin has just got into a fight with your Alec outside the station.''

''Is Alec ok Camille?'' was all Rose could say.  ''Tell me he's not hurt or in hospital.''

''No but he has a cut on his cheek and Chris has a black eye, I've put Chris back in a cell for his protection, Alec is threatening to kill him.''

Chapter 10
Rose headed back towards the station, she was just about to get out of her car.  She had driven off and now was skidding as near to where Alec was as possible, turned off the engine and getting out, remote locking the car.  She bounded up the few steps and burst in, seeing Alec sitting on Camille's desk having first aid applied to the cut under his eye.  He looked up when Rose entered and got up to greet her, Camille not bothering to try and stop him.  Chris Martin was calling out from the cell at the back.

''Get in here Hardy, we are going to finish this.''

Both Dwayne and Fidel were looking at their boss.  ''Leave him and close that bloody door so I don't have to hear him,'' Alec said.

He was still recovering from Camille having to give him some water to take his pills after the incident outside a short time ago.  He had just been going out with his DS when Martin had appeared from nowhere and shoved him, saying he wouldn't forget Hardy locking him up and Rose Tyler was a tart, throwing herself at men all the time.  Alec had of course lost his temper, regaining his balance and dodging Martin but getting struck on the cheek.

Poor Camille had tried to break up the two men and shouted to the other two officers, who had come bursting out, Dwayne not quite believing the two were actually fighting and he'd got to witness it.  Fidel was trying to hold Chris back but Alec struck him, hitting him square in the eye.  Dwayne tried to grab hold of Alec but Alec just dodged him and tried to hit Chris again but had slumped, getting a pain in his chest.  Hell, he was supposed to keep quiet but no-one was saying anything about his beloved Rose, not after the last week when they had been together.

Camille had seen Alec and immediately went to his pocket to get out his pills while Fidel hauled Chris up the few steps and inside the station and Camille pulled a bottle of water out of her shoulder bag and gave Alec his pills.  He then sat on the bottom step to recover while Camille had called Rose, telling her to get down as Alec had called after Chris he was going to kill him next time.  Camille had a feeling he would carry out his threat so having been assured Rose was on her way, she helped Alec back inside and told Fidel to hurry up and lock up Chris like she had already told him to do.

Alec put his arms around Rose, trying to avoid the sting of the cut under his eye that Camille seemed to have made worse by the cream she had just applied.

''Alec, are you ok?  What happened?''

Camille explained to her.  ''What do you want me to do with him Sir?'' she asked Alec.

''Call the commissioner, he struck a Police Officer, now I can charge him with something.  I'm sorry Rose, I should not have let him go, you should press charges for what he did to you last Sunday, do you agree DS Bordey?  You saw what he was like at the party and you saw him attack me outside.''

Yes Sir, I agree, Rose I urge you to press charges against Mr Martin.  Perhaps you had better call your stepfather and have him send a lawyer over to represent you, that way, you won't have to go to court.  Best get the inspector one as well, though you can have the same one I suppose.  Dwayne, go ask Mr Martin the name of his lawyer then give him his phone call, he's going to need one, there are three witnesses to his unprovoked attack against Detective Inspector Hardy.  Dwayne, did you hear me?''

Dwayne was counting his losses, how many people had said there would actually be a fight and he couldn't deny it.  ''Yes Camille, I heard you, right away.''  He picked up the portable phone and disappeared into the back.

Camille got her mobile out and called the commissioner while Rose was looking at the bruise coming out from where the cut was.  Alec grinned at her.

''You should see Martin, he will have a real shiner in the morning.''

Rose hit his arm. ''You know you're supposed to keep out of trouble Alec.  Why did he come after you, it's been over a week, you let him go.''

''How do I know why the idiot came after me?  He just can't accept we're together but please Rose, get yourself a lawyer and press charges or it won't stop.  Once he's faced with court, he'll have to back down.''

''Ok Alec but you're coming home now with me.  Camille, is the commissioner coming over?''

''He's on his way.  He asked if we had given Chris his phone call, I told him Dwayne was attending to it.''

Rose got her phone out, hoping her stepfather would be up and about already.  He was and he listened sympathetically to what had happened.

''Don't worry Rose, I'll call my legal team and have someone out there, you should have done something last week though.  I was going to call anyway, I have some news for Alec.  If the two of you can get back, I can get him in to see one of the country's top heart surgeons, we'll arrange a time once you get here.  It's not going to cheap so I hope Alec is worth it.''

Rose looked at the man she loved, the last week or so had been amazing, them having more sex by the pool in the evenings when he had got home once Rose was ok again and Alec bringing her fruit and flowers home and being attentive to her.

"Yes Dad, he's more than worth it.  When can you have someone out here?''

''It will be tomorrow now, booking flights and stuff.  Can you have Camille send them the details?  You know how to contact the legal team.  Have her send the reports from what happened at your place and what happened this morning and they'll see what charges they can bring against the man on both counts.  Tell Alec not to make any more threats though, it could go against him, if it was said in the heat of the moment then that's how it should remain.  I'll call you both later.''

''Thanks Dad, is Tony up and around now?''

''Yeah and don't we know it?''

Rose laughed and hung up, just in time for the commissioner's arrival.  He went in to see Chris Martin, followed by Camille, who had just filled him in that Rose was pressing charges over her attack.

''Mr Martin, I'm sorry to see you have yet again been locked up with regards to Miss Tyler.  I really thought you had learned your lesson?''

''Selwyn, Hardy attacked me and he locked me up illegally last week.''

''Chris, another officer is witness to say you attacked the inspector first, he was just defending himself, he has injuries as well but yours looks quite nasty but did you expect to hit him and he not fight back?  Miss Tyler is now pressing charges over your attack on her in her home last Sunday, I trust you have called your lawyer?''

Chris went quiet.  ''I'm saying nothing more until he arrives.''

The Commissioner never expected anything less but the man really didn't have a hope of getting off lightly.  Rose had a witness to say he attacked her at her home and Hardy had another officer plus two others who tried to break it up.  What had come over the man recently?  It had only started upon Hardy's arrival, he was obviously jealous of the inspector but he'd had a year to get together with Rose Tyler and the man had done nothing about it.  He could hardly blame Rose for getting tired of waiting, if indeed she was ever interested in him, for her to take up with the new DI regardless of him being ill.  He was surprised Hardy had not just ended up in the hospital.

Alec had to wait until Chris's lawyer, who was a resident on the island to arrive and the man, Mr Silverton had seen his client after studying the same reports Camille had just faxed over to Pete Tyler's legal team.  Mr Silverton spoke with the commissioner, who had waited behind, collecting his share of the winnings that Hardy and Martin would get in a fight over Miss Tyler.

''Commission Patterson, I must ask that my client be freed on police bail, he is willing to surrender his passport to you to ensure he does not leave the island but he is pleading innocent to both charges stating the first charge Miss Tyler brought against him is the reason he got upset and he was provoked both times.  If you care to prosecute, that will be my client's defence.''

Rose knew there was going to be no justice, both herself and Chris were well respected on the island and even with one of Pete's best legal aids coming to hers and Alec's defences, they would have a hard time.

Mr Silverton continued.  ''I will need to interview the witnesses, I understand one to last Sunday's incident has gone home but I can contact him by telephone and I will need to interview you Miss Tyler, at your convenience.''

Alec spoke up.  ''Not without her lawyer present and you're not interviewing me neither.  I don't know how you work but neither of us are talking to you except through our lawyer, what sort of law practice do you run?''

Rose tried to calm him down before he needed more pills.  She had told him the news from Pete.

''It's ok Alec, I know not to say anything.  Commissioner, it's up to you if you let Chris out on bail since Alec can't make the decision but I personally want it a condition he goes nowhere near me or Alec.''

The Commissioner nodded.  ''If you can get your client to agree he can sign a statement saying he agrees to stay away from them, then he is free to leave.''

The lawyer went back to see his client.  The Commissioner turned to Alec.  ''Maybe you should take some time off Alec, Camille told me what happened when he went for you.  Take a couple of days off then come back on reduced hours until this is sorted out.''

Alec had to agree, Rose had been nagging him all last week to do exactly that and they could just relax and she could show him around the island.  They left just before Chris signed the statement but he was fuming over both of them.  He may have just signed but if he just happened to be in the same place, what could Hardy do about it?  There was obviously something seriously wrong with the man, him collapsing like that, was Rose even aware of it or was Hardy hiding it?  The other officers certainly knew and so would Selwyn but maybe he could get to Rose that way.

No, he would have nothing more to do with her, not in that way but he would make sure Hardy wouldn't want her when he'd finished with her.  He knew what time Hardy got home and when her housekeeper was out, he would teach her a lesson she would not forget and make her drop the ridiculous charges and make her so scared she wouldn't dare report him again.  He didn't know Alec was going to be around more often when he was making his plans.  Chris went home, thinking of the best time to pay Rose Tyler a visit.

Rose got Alec home and after lunch, while Maria was out for two hours, they made love again by the pool, Alec putting a thin cover over himself and Rose just in case and told Rose how much he loved her.  When they had gone for a dip in the pool, Alec now venturing in since Rose now also got in without her bikini and him just in his shorts, they discussed his options for seeing another specialist.

They lay on the joined lounger again, covered with the cotton throwover and Rose still without her bikini as Alec much preferred nothing getting in his way of kissing her all over and had ordered a twin hammock on a stand and was waiting for it to be delivered, alongside a proper double lounger that wasn't in danger of drifting apart, Rose having laughed as he ordered them they should just go up to bed instead but had both agreed it was much more exciting down by the pool with the afternoon breeze.

''I'll go see him then Rose but I don't know how much more someone else can do. What if there's nothing more to be done?  If he only gives me the same chances? Should I still go ahead early or wait?''

''I don't know Alec, you have the final decision when all said and done.  It's your life you're risking but you know how much I love you, I just want what's best for you.  I couldn't bear to watch you get worse, I already told you that.  Let's just see what he has to say and then decide.  I love you babe.''

''I love you too sweetcakes, now you should put some clothes on before Maria comes back, yes?''

All was quiet until Wednesday afternoon, Alec was going back to work on Thursday, starting later and finishing earlier and saying he would get a taxi home. Pete's lawyer had arrived on Tuesday and turned up at the house on Wednesday morning and took statements from them and under Pete's instructions, they were to leave everything to him.  Alec offered to drive the man back to the hotel and pick a few things up for Rose on the way back so Rose thanked him and kissed Alec goodbye.  Maria had just left and Rose planned on calling her mother when the doorbell went.  She got a shock to see Chris standing there and she slammed the door in his face and called Alec.

''Alec, he's here, pounding on the door, I think he's going to break it.''

Chris was hammering on the door, then he remembered the side gate and went to try it but it was locked and bolted from the inside.

''Rose, hold on, I'll be back, call Camille right now.''

Alec was getting frantic, he still had Gordon, the legal aid with him as he screeched to a halt and turned around, quickly saying Martin was trying to break into their house.  Alec handed the man his phone and told him to call the station just in case Rose couldn't.  Thankfully for Rose, she had got straight through to Camille and she was already leaving, Fidel staying behind as she and Dwayne got into the LandRover.  Fidel answered the phone and told the caller help was already being sent to Rose's house.

Chris knew by now even if he did get in, she would have called Hardy or the police so he got in his car and drove off at high speed, Alec narrowly missing seeing him turn the corner of the road.  Alec ran out of the car and got his house key out but Rose saw her blue car drive in and knew it was him.

''Rose, are you ok?  Has he gone?  What the hell was he doing here?  He knows he's supposed to stay away.''

Rose was now clinging on to him and a few minutes later, Camille and Dwayne pulled up.

''You two, get after Martin, he probably went home.  If he's not there, check the harbour and make sure he's not trying to leave the island, alert the harbour master.  He can't leave by plane so he can't get off the island.''

Camille was more concerned with Rose but Rose told her she was ok.

''He wouldn't have thought I'd let him in, surely?  He must be mad.''

''It's ok Rose, I'm not leaving you alone again until he's locked up, we have him now, he made a very big mistake.  Gordon, can you inform Mr Martin's lawyer what just happened and get him to change his client's plea, there is no way now he's not guilty and tell Mr Tyler what happened, Rose will call him later.  Feel like a ride sweetheart?  I still have to go to the grocery store, I didn't even get to the hotel, Martin must have waited for us to leave.  You are not getting left on your own again, I'll tell the commissioner I need more time off until that idiot is locked up and there will be no bail this time for him.''

Camille and Dwayne headed for Chris's place but his housekeeper said he had gone out and not yet returned.  Camille asked her to let them know if he came back before she left.  It was after six when Chris finally got back, he'd been driving around, furious at not being able to get in the house either through the front door or the side gate, the police would surely be looking for him, now he'd never get to teach that tart a lesson.  He had never wanted her for a girlfriend, even though she had money, she was well below him.

She was good for a couple of one night stands but that was it, something to brag about that he had actually slept with her then that Hardy had come along and in less than a week had not only slept with her, he'd done it in broad daylight on her patio, she had made sure she had given all the details and now they were living together.  He paced his patio, he had hidden his car in the garage out of sight and if the police came back, he would not answer the door until he had called Silverton the next morning, he wasn't going to pay for an out of hour's consultation, Rose Tyler wasn't worth that much.  Then he jumped as his doorbell went, they had caught up with him.  Thankful he didn't have a glass door, he used the spy hole to see who it was.

It was that Sophia, the woman who was jealous because he took Rose to all the parties and never invited her for dinner, still, he could maybe get her on his side and take his sexual frustrations out on her, why should he care?

He opened the door, making sure she was alone.  ''Sophia, to what do I owe the pleasure of your company?'' he asked, letting her in before someone noticed he was at home.

''I didn't think you were home, your car wasn't there.  I heard what happened the other day, you getting in a fight with that detective and over Rose Tyler, of all people.  Really Chris, why do you lower yourself to her standards?''

''That's my business Sophia, want a drink?''  He opened the drinks cabinet and poured himself a rather large brandy, he needed it.

Sophia declined.  ''She's not worth fighting over you know, not when someone has been waiting all this time for you to invite them for a drink, a party invitation or even dinner.''

Chris laughed.  ''You mean you, Sophia?  Please.  I wasn't looking for anything long term and Rose suited my purposes, I have a reputation to keep up, I don't need a trophy girlfriend hanging around my neck.''

Sophia laughed.  ''Is that why you chased her for a year and got mad when Hardy turned up and took her from under your nose?''

Chris put his glass down and walked over to her.  ''Bitch, I was just playing with her, it could just as easily have been you, I get bored easily.''

Sophia was furious.  He picked up his glass and walked out onto the patio, she followed.

Chapter 11
''I came to offer my sympathy about you getting in a common brawl with Hardy, surely it's beneath you to let him get the better of you and lock you up?''

Chris lost his temper and slapped her across the face.  He was about to strike her again but she knocked the glass out of his other hand and he looked down at the liquid on the patio and the small pieces of glass.

''You cow, I'll never get that stain out of the paving now, get out, as if I'd even sleep with you even if it was only for one night.''

''So Rose Tyler is good enough for you then?  What was she going to be?  Did you think to her you were going to be a sympathy shag because you can't take commitment?''

Chris was getting more than mad.  ''Get out of here Sophia, at least she would be worth shagging which is more than you'll ever be, even if you were the only British woman on the entire island which you're not, there are plenty of others.''

He turned away from her and she bent down and picked up a long slither of glass Chris had not noticed then thought about it.  She held it out but as she was changing her mind, he suddenly turned around and saw her.

''What are you doing you stupid bitch?  Put that down before someone gets hurt.''

They now were quite near to the edge of the pool and as he stepped towards her, he had forgotten the dark liquid on the highly polished tiles and slipped, lunging forward as Sophia watched, not pulling the slither of glass away in time as he fell onto it.  Chris looked down in horror as blood stained his shirt and he fell backwards, making a splash as he entered the pool, the glass embedded in his chest as he bled out.  Sophia wanted to scream but was too traumatised for anything to come out of her open mouth as she stood.  She called his name but she could tell by the amount of blood she could see that he was no longer alive, his blue eyes staring up at her.

She fled from the patio and back in the house.  She knew she had never touched anything upon entering, if anyone had seen her car, his was parked in the garage, no-one could place her there, he wouldn't be found until morning.  She had only gone to see him to offer her sympathy and to tell him Rose wasn't worth fighting over, she was not to be blamed for him breaking the glass but he had slapped her and called her names, nobody got away with that.  She only meant to get him to apologize, she wasn't to know he was going to turn and slip on the brandy that had been spilled.

Sophia got back in her car and fled back to her parent's villa just outside town, she could never say anything, it had been an accident but that new detective, the one Rose Tyler had taken up with and who had caused all this would never understand. If anything, it was all their faults.  If she got caught, daddy would get her a good lawyer and she would get off.

Rose and Alec had got back from seeing Gordon back to his hotel and stopping to get groceries.  Maria was there when they got back and they told her what had happened and they may need her to testify against Martin when he was hauled in for questioning and taken in front of the visiting magistrate, that was when he turned up, Alec had said.  He had Fidel and Dwayne looking all over the island for the man who already attacked Rose once and had been about to try again if Rose had not acted as quickly as she had done.

Just after six, Alec got a call from Camille to say she was going home and Dwayne had tried Chris Martin's house again but no-one appeared to be at home and suggested he was holed up somewhere on the island and they would call back in the morning as soon as his housekeeper started work.  Maria had gone home and Alec tried to get Rose to relax by the pool.

''Are you ok now sweetheart?'' Alec asked after they had eaten dinner and he had brought out Rose's favourite desert onto the patio.

A cool breeze was blowing as he sat beside her, wishing the proper double lounger would hurry up and arrive.  He had heard the weather forecast though, a tropical storm was on its way and would probably reach them tomorrow evening or the early morning the day after.  They would have to get all the patio furniture under cover and see to the pool so Rose was calling the pool maintenance man in the morning to roll the cover over it since she didn't want Alec doing it, the handle was quite heavy for him.

Rose finished her desert and decided they should go indoors, it was cooling off.

''If that storm arrives, will you have to go to work?'' she asked, switching on the TV and lying on the sofa as he finished the dishes.

''I may have to stay but I think the others can handle it.  I don't want to leave you alone if we've not locked up Martin by the morning.''

''I'll be ok once Maria arrives, she won't let him in this time and she said she would stay and not take her time off like she usually does, until he's caught.''

''Well that makes me feel a little better I suppose but I'll make sure I'm back before she leaves.  Camille and I will cover the daytime, Fidel will have to make sure his family are ok as well.''

They went to bed just after eleven, Rose curling up on him as usual, dreaming of the tropical storm, she had just missed it when she had arrived.  After they gently showed their love to each other, neither of them knew there was more than a tropical storm brewing.  The next morning, Chris Martin's housekeeper arrived just after seven, going directly to the kitchen to prepare his breakfast, hoping he had returned after the police had been looking for him yesterday.  She expected he had got in a bar brawl over a woman and it would all blow over and with his money, why wouldn't it?

She noticed the patio door was open but didn't worry too much, no-one could get around the back anyway but she expected he had maybe been for an early morning swim and was getting changed.  She went to the bottom of the stairs and called him.

''Mr Chris, your breakfast is ready.''

She got no reply, where else would he be?  She went upstairs to knock on his bedroom door, it was open slightly and she couldn't see him so she tried the bathroom, again no sign of him.  Shaking her head, she had better things to do than find her employer if he wanted to play hide and seek with her.  She went back to the kitchen and put his breakfast under the grill on a low light to keep warm and began cleaning the sink and then moved to the living room.

She thought she would go check the garage, see if his car was in and seeing it was, she was puzzled where he had got to.  Perhaps he had gone back out and was staying over with a woman he had picked up, she doubted he was with Miss Rose, the news of the fight between the new detective and her boss over her had been all over the island.  She had thought he was crazy going up against the man who had stolen the woman from him but he had been too slow with her, women could only wait so long for a man to show interest in her, just like that Dwayne.

An hour later, she made her way across the living room and spotted some broken glass, the stupid man must have got drunk and he was in one of the other bedrooms, she hadn't looked properly upstairs yet.  She went to get a brush and dustpan from the kitchen and walked out onto the patio, she was sure that storm wasn't far away now and the pool needed covering.  She was about to go out and sweep up the glass when the doorbell rang.  She turned but something caught her eye, the pool water was red.  She stepped closer and saw the body face up, a slither of glass sticking out of his chest.  She screamed.

Dwayne and Fidel were about to go off duty but Alec had insisted they try and see if Chris was at home.  They heard a woman screaming inside and Fidel was about to kick down the door when it was opened.

''Come quick, it's Mr Chris, he's in the pool and there's blood everywhere.''

The two officers rushed past her to walk to the edge of the pool, it was deep so the body couldn't be seen from inside the house and the blood stains on the patio, now brown could have been mistaken for the brandy that had been spilled.

''Call Camille, Fidel, get her to bring Hardy out here and call the coroner, it looks like he's been here a while.  How long have you been here for Millie?''

''I got here at seven, I thought he was drunk and passed out somewhere when he didn't want his breakfast and he wasn't in his room.  Then I came out here and saw the broken glass and saw the water was red.  It must have been an accident, there's a lot of glass.''

''Did he drink a lot?'' Dwayne asked, trying to get his sometimes girlfriend to sit down as she was shaking.

Fidel had told Camille the bad news and she looked over at Alec, he had threatened to kill Chris when they had fought outside the station a few days ago, she would have to take the lead on this, especially after the man went after Rose again yesterday.  She really hoped her boss had a solid alibi.

''Sir, that was Fidel, they found Chris Martin.''

''Well get him in here then, what are they waiting for?''

''The coroner Sir, he's dead, his housekeeper just found him in the pool, a slither of glass in his chest.  Sir, I'm sorry but I have to ask you this, did you kill him?''

Alec reached for his pills even though he had taken two a few hours ago, Rose always made sure he took them.  Camille saw his reaction but he couldn't be ruled out.  The wind outside was getting stronger, the storm would be on them soon and she knew Hardy didn't want to leave Rose at home on her own but now the man who had attacked her was dead, it didn't rule him out as the main suspect.  She had an obligation to call the commissioner.

They drove out to the Martin residence, the coroner's black van already parked outside and the commissioner pulled up behind them.  The coroner was just taking a stretcher and a black bag inside, Camille followed but the commissioner held Alec back.

''I suggest you let DS Bordey take the lead in this one Alec, she told me about your fight with the deceased before I got there, you threatened to kill him.''

''Did she tell you he tried to attack Rose again yesterday?  Hmm?  We let him out on bail, he signed a statement then goes after my girlfriend again.  Yes, I threatened him but since he was let out yesterday, I've either been with Rose or our lawyer, I haven't been on my own.''

''I take it your girlfriend can vouch for you?  Is your lawyer still on the island?  If so, I advise you to contact him though this storm is going to be on us soon, we may have to put everything on hold.''

They all felt the first drops of rain as the coroner and his assistant brought out the body.  The commissioner stopped to take a look, the glass still protruding and his blue eyes staring.  He spoke to the two men.

''I want a full report as soon as you are finished.  I'm heading back now, the full force will hit us within a few hours and I don't want to be out in it, Sergeant Bordey, see this residence is secured before you leave and get back to the station.  Detective Inspector, go home to your girlfriend, you are off this case until you can be eliminated which will be delayed until the storm passes us.''

Camille looked at Alec, she didn't somehow think he was responsible but the circumstances didn't look good for him, if it were to be pursued.  She saw Fidel and Dwayne looking at their boss, who was now calling their lawyer to get a taxi out to his and Rose's house but not to say anything until he got there.  He wanted to tell Rose in person.

Camille took the two other officers back inside.

''You two finish up here, take photos and then secure the house and make sure Millie leaves, get her statement then get back to the station before this storm really hits.  I'm going to take Hardy back home, the commissioner says he's off this case until we get more details.  Fidel, hurry up with the photos before the rain washes everything away and see if you can winch the cover over the pool.  Don't you two for one minute think that Hardy is responsible for this, Chris Martin's lawyer will have a field day in view of the fight the other day but remember, innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around.''

Alec was now calling Rose, telling her he had asked their lawyer to visit again so she wouldn't wonder why he was out in the storm and to say he was on his way home.

''I've just had the pool man here, he says he can fit a motor on the winch in case there's another storm.  Is everything ok Alec?''

''Just peachy sweetheart.  I'm just taking care of something then Camille is going to drop me home, there's nothing much we can do in this, it's beginning to rain heavily now.  Gordon will be lucky to get a cab in this.''

Marley was just picking up the lawyer from the hotel.  ''Man, you are crazy going out in this.  You going out to Rose's place then?  You won't get back before this storm's over man, I'm going home after this.''

Camille dropped Alec outside and he asked if she would be ok driving back into town.

''I'll be fine, you just worry about what you are going to tell your girlfriend and your lawyer.  I'll be back to ask her some questions when this storm blows itself out.  You already know the facts but you are still a suspect, I'm sorry.''

''You think I don't know I'm more than a person of interest in this?  Rose can vouch for me, we were together after Martin tried to get in yesterday.''

He didn't know how Rose was going to react when he told her.  Gordon had already arrived and Maria had already made coffee for them and upon hearing Alec enter, went to make his usual pot of tea, wondering why he couldn't drink coffee like his girlfriend.  He stood by the door and Rose went over to him.

''Why did you ask Gordon to come over, especially in this horrible weather?''

''Come inside Rose, I'm only prepared to say this once.  You know where I was from the time I came back yesterday, right?''

He led her back into the living area and sat her on the sofa, nodding to Gordon.

''What's this all about Alec?  Has something happened?'' Rose asked.

''This sounds serious Inspector,'' Gordon added, sipping his coffee.

''It is.  Sweetheart, Chris Martin is dead, his housekeeper found him in the pool a short time ago, just as Dwayne and Fidel were checking if he had come back.  The Commissioner is waiting for the autopsy but he was stabbed through the chest with a slither of glass, he bled out within minutes by the look of things, Camille wouldn't let me inside for long, just enough to see the pool covered in blood.  I've been taken off the case.''

Gordon looked at him then at Rose, this was not what he had been sent here by Pete Tyler for, no wonder the man wanted him there.

''But why Alec?  Surely you're the best person for the job?'' Rose asked.

''No, when we had that fight the other day, I said I would kill him if he went near you again then he came after you yesterday, I'm at the top of their list of suspects.''

''But that was the heat of the moment, surely.  You got in a fight, you could have ended up in hospital because of him.  When did it happen?''

''We're waiting to find out, he wasn't at home yesterday afternoon and his housekeeper left at six last night, she said he wasn't there when she went home and she couldn't find him this morning, she never went out onto the patio though, the pool is too deep to see from the living room, she went out to see if he had gone in the pool when she couldn't find him and saw the glass.  Someone must had stabbed him with a piece.''

''I think you'd better make a statement detective inspector and don't say another word without me being there,'' Gordon said, opening his briefcase.  ''I'll need to inform Mr Tyler about this.''

''No need, I'll call him myself.  Are you ok Rose?''

Rose had slouched down on the sofa.  She knew it hadn't been Alec, he'd been with her all the time except when they had fallen asleep but she was certain she had slept on him all night though some would question that.  How could she be certain he'd not crept out and got back in bed again?  Rose handed Alec her phone and he called Pete and told him what had happened.

''Alec, just let Gordon handle it and I'm coming out there on the next flight I can get, don't worry too much though despite everyone hearing you threatening him, if he attacked Rose again or tried to but I know you're not guilty, my stepdaughter trusts you, so do I.  Can you put Rose on please?''

''Dad, he didn't do it, he couldn't.  There was no need for them to fight over me, I wouldn't leave Alec for Chris, if I'd wanted to choose him I would have done a long time ago but I never felt that way about him, he was just a friend.  Are you coming over?''

''Yes I was coming on my own though now I may bring Jake with me, Alec could do with another friend.  Don't worry sweetheart, it'll be ok, just do and say what Gordon advises the two of you, don't talk to the police on your own without him being present and don't speak to Martin's lawyer at all, if he's still acting for him.  I'll be there as soon as I can.  Look out for him Rose, he's going to need you.''

''I know Dad, thanks.''

Outside, the strong wind was howling, the rain was lashing down and the island was preparing for the worse.  Rose was thanking they were cosy inside, the pool had been covered and all the furniture stowed safely away under cover.  Maria was staying until it passed, Rose refused to let her go out on her own now and she had called her family to tell them she was safe, she had two teenage boys.

Camille, Fidel and Dwayne had put the shutters on the windows and Fidel had gone to take care of his family, they expected everyone else had done the same but the phones had to be manned in case of emergencies.  The Commissioner had gone back to his residence, debating what to do about the recently arrived Scottish detective inspector.  He knew Rose Tyler very well, she was a respected member of the small community and had a valid residency and work permit though he had never known her to have held down a job.  He expected Mr Tyler subsidised her income.

Selwyn Patterson considered himself a fair person, he had taken on a sickly man to help him through to his heart operation, he sincerely hoped Alec Hardy had not betrayed the trust put in him, it had taken some arranging to get him over here.  He also doubted that he would have driven all the way over to Chris Martin's house and get into another fight with him in his state of health with no-one there to assist him.  Camille had told him the man needed his pills after the fight the other day and Rose had been upset when she had got there that he might had landed himself in the island's tiny hospital where he doubted Hardy's heart condition could be treated.

Still, the storm was almost at full strength, no-one was going anywhere and the coroner would be working to determine when death had occurred and hopefully, Hardy would have more than Rose Tyler as a witness.

Chapter 12
The storm was in full force by five in the afternoon.  Poor Maria was going frantic wanting to get home but Rose insisted she finished at her normal time and helped herself to something to eat and take the other guest room, she wasn't going to let either her or their lawyer go anywhere in this weather.  Elsewhere on the island, Camille was keeping watch while Dwayne got a few hours sleep and Sophia was in her bedroom fretting someone would find out what had happened.

Sophia reckoned once the storm had cleared, someone would pay her a visit, mainly because she had known Chris but they would also want to talk to Rose, even though she was living with the detective.  When she thought about it, Hardy was the most likely candidate for getting rid of the man who had turned her down, his fight with Chris had hit the island's gossips and the finger would be pointed at him, no-one could connect her to being there last night.

By ten in the evening, the storm was beginning to die down a little but it was too late for anyone to be going home.  The power had gone out around nine and although it wasn't dark, Rose and Maria had put candles around the villa ready for lighting and since the radio was out of fresh batteries, Rose had put some music on her phone and she and Alec were lying on the sofa, Gordon electing to use up his laptop's battery power and type up his report and the events of today while they were still fresh.  Maria had been assuring her husband and two sons she was perfectly alright.

Rose just wished they were alone in the villa, candlelight and her favourite music had put her in the mood and Alec had noticed.

''Come on Rose, let's have an early night huh?  The power won't come back on tonight.  Why don't I go light the candles in our bedroom and you use the bathroom, then you can get undressed for me by the candlelight and we'll have a romantic evening, what's left of it.''

Rose smiled.  ''Sounds like a plan to me, it's really not that bad, I think the worst of the storm is over now.  I'll let Maria go back home in the morning to see her family, they must be worried about her.  You still haven't said much about what happened this morning.''

Alec got up and held his arms out, pulling her up then he moved closer, going for her neck.

''Let's forget about it shall we?  We'll get enough questions asked in the morning.  You know I was with you the entire evening, I can prove I never left here after we got back from dropping Gordon at the hotel and getting groceries.  They only have to check the taxi company to find out I didn't use a cab and at night, I can't find my way across the island to pay him a visit, the coroner will establish a time of death so there's nothing for us to worry about.  Your stepfather will be here tomorrow.''

Rose put her arm around his neck and he leaned down to kiss her.

''I think Pete will bring Jake with him Alec, he'll help us, he's my stepfather's most trusted employee next to Mickey.  There are some things you need to be told and when they get here, they'll tell you.''

''What things are we talking about Rose?'' he asked, kissing lower down.

''I can't tell you, Pete won't let me, he has to be here when you are told.  It's about how I came to be his stepdaughter.''

Alec smiled.  ''I would imagine that's because your mother married him.''

''If only it was as simple as that but it's not, I wish it was.  It goes back three years before they even met, you could say I introduced them but not in a conventional way.  You could also say they were quite literally made for each other.''

''Come on Rose, everyone knows who your mother looks like, it was pointed out when they announced their marriage.  That's hardly a secret now, is it?''

''You have no idea Alec.''

''Then I look forward to hearing about it, it sounds interesting and don't you go thinking anything can put me off.  Maybe when he gets here he'll have some news about me going for surgery because I want that now Rose, I want a chance at a life with you, whether here or London or back in Broadchurch, I don't care, I just want it to be with you.  I love you Rose.''

He reached down and they kissed again.

''I love you too Alec, just get well again then we'll decide where we want to live.''

Blowing the candles out, they climbed the stairs hand in hand and he allowed Rose to use the bathroom first.  While he was waiting for her, he knocked on Gordon's door.

''How's your report going Gordon?''

''Fine, almost finished it for when Mr Tyler gets here tomorrow.  If it's ok with you, I'll wait for him at the hotel, I don't want to put you and Miss Tyler to any more trouble and I need to get changed before I meet with him.  I spoke to him myself earlier.''

''Well I can assure you it was no bother putting you up for the night, it has been nasty out there.  Rose and I can drop you at the hotel in the morning, I'm still not leaving her alone.  Whoever killed Martin could go after her.''

''You think she's in danger from the killer?''

''Maybe but I don't want to worry her, I'll talk to her stepfather when he arrives though, just to warn him.  Maybe it was someone with a personal grudge against Martin, which does not help my cause in any way.  I'm the only one who got into a fight with him and threatened to kill him.''

''I know it looks bad for you and they'll have you surrendering your passport while they make their enquiries but don't say anything until I get there.  He must have made more enemies and hopefully whoever it was, is not after your girlfriend.  We'll talk in the morning, goodnight Alec.''

Alec said goodnight and noticed the bathroom door was open, the bedroom door closed so he went to prepare for bed and joined Rose, who was lying in bed, wearing a thin strapped nightdress that was very revealing.

''I thought you were waiting for me sweetheart, I was looking forward to watching you.''

''I'm still wearing something Alec, thought it would save some time.''

She pulled back the sheets and knelt on the bed, curling her finger for him to come closer.  Alec knelt in front of her, letting her unfasten his shirt buttons and doing the cuffs himself as she rolled the shirt over his shoulders and down his arms.  She reached for his trousers but he tapped her hand and smiled, meaning for her to wait.  Rose never was very patient.  Alec leaned closer and pulled down the straps one by one, smiling at her, then opened his arms.

Rose scrambled towards him and fell into them and they began kissing.  Rose fell backwards and he lay her down gently onto the pillow.  She was beautiful and he knew it, he didn't deserve her in the least.

''I love you sweetheart, come here.''

He towered over her as she reached up to put her arms around him and he bent over to kiss the exposed skin, revealing even more as he moved her nightdress and kissed lower down.  He let her reach for his trousers again, smiling and finally, he joined her under the covers, in just his shorts.  They continued their kissing, Rose now on top and in just her silk underwear, having lost the nightdress and Alec thought she was right, it had saved him time.  Soon they were completely lost in each other, the storm outside may have died down but it was still raging in their bedroom, Rose giggling to herself when she told Alec to keep his grunting noises to a minimum.

When they woke up, the sun was shining through the window blinds and Alec turned to kiss her cheek, she was half on and half off him, their legs still tangled.

''Morning sunshine the storm has finally gone but we can still kick up a storm in here.''

Rose smiled.  ''That is so crummy Alec but I like the thought, maybe we should just wait until our guests have left?''

He pulled her closer, putting his arms around her.  ''Ok but under protest only.  For your information, I do not grunt, I'm just clearing my throat.''

Rose giggled.  ''Whatever you say lover, you do an awful lot of throat clearing though.  You can make all the noise you want tonight.''

''Really?  What's the special occasion?''

''Well hopefully, you'll find out who killed Chris and you won't be top of the list of suspects.  I know you didn't do it Alec and so does my stepfather and Camille probably knows it as well.  Everyone believes in you, you could never kill anyone even in a rage, you're in no fit state to fight and your medical records will show it.''

''Yes and my medical records will also state I never should have taken this job but it was this or the academy, I figured a small island like this, I could lie low for three months.  Seems I was wrong.''

''Well Camille will back you up, she said she had to give you your medication after he confronted you outside the station the other day.''

''Well that makes things worse, she heard me saying I'd kill him next time.''

''I know how it looks but I love you Alec, I'm behind you all the way, even though he did threaten me twice, there's no way you would have got your revenge by killing him.  If he hadn't backed off, I was going to suggest we just went back to London, forget this job and get you well again but it all happened so fast, I never got the chance.''

Alec thought with Rose lying on him, stroking his chest, she could even mend his malfunctioning heart and make everything go away.  Her stepfather was a very powerful man and he would probably bring a more powerful lawyer with him.  He knew he was in good hands.  Would he have made good on his threat though if someone else had not done the job for him?  No, he would have done whatever Rose thought was best and got off the island and let things cool down.  Someone else changed the game and upped the stakes, making things look very bad for him.

Maria went home early, saying she would be back in a few hours and Gordon got a taxi back to the hotel.  Rose and Alec waited for a call or a visit from Camille or maybe even the commissioner himself.  Camille was sat at her desk waiting for the results of the autopsy, she couldn't do much without it, there was only one witness who had discovered the body and she had been in the house over an hour before discovering it, which she thought was rather strange.  The question was though, where had he got to before Millie had left the previous afternoon and what time had he got home?  Had there been any visitors or had someone broken in and killed him?  It seemed to her it was most likely he knew the person responsible, they still had to establish if anything was missing from the house.

Commissioner Patterson was awaiting the results of the autopsy, he didn't believe Hardy, a sickly man was capable of killing anyone, let alone a man who was slightly more well built and in much better health but sticking a piece of glass into a man's chest didn't take a lot of effort, there apparently were no other signs of a struggle and the murder scene was conveniently beside a pool and it had rained heavily, the storm arriving sooner than was expected and would have washed any evidence there might have been away that Fidel had not already taken photos of.

He thought about the slither of glass protruding from Martin's chest, if that had been the biggest piece of glass, the killer had been lucky, it was probably from a broken large brandy glass so maybe Martin had been drinking.  He hoped now the storm was over, the two uniformed officers would be going over the house for any clues he had not been alone.  Maybe it had been an accident, a freak one where he had simply dropped the brandy glass and tripped.

Pete Tyler was on a small plane travelling towards the island of Saint Marie.  He had been there before, last year when Rose had decided she wanted to live there. He wished now they had been able to come over for her birthday but it wouldn't have stopped this though it might have prevented Chris Martin making a nuisance of himself and going after Rose.  Jake was sat beside him on the second part of their journey, having not been able to get a direct flight at such short notice and opposite them sat Jacob Rawlings Q.C, a very powerful high court barrister, the best in his field, who was not enjoying the same comforts as the previous flight.

Pete had the fortune of knowing the barrister quite well, having him in his social circle and played golf on a regular basis with him and the man knew Rose quite well and when Pete had called him, he had passed another case on to a colleague when he heard that Rose's boyfriend, a respected Police Officer was in trouble.  Pete knew Alec Hardy had nothing to worry about.

Rose was preparing for her stepfather's visit, he had called when they'd had to change planes and she was delighted her friend Jake was with him and her dad's friend Jacob.  She had offered to go meet them at the airport but they were going directly to the hotel then would be meeting with the commissioner.  There was no judge on the island, one would have to be brought in but no-one hoped it would come to that.  Camille called just after eleven and asked them to join her at the Police Station.  The results from the autopsy were back.

When Rose and Alec got to the station, the commissioner was already there, a copy of the report in his hand.

''Alec, Miss Tyler, please take a seat.  We're just waiting for your lawyer to join us and Mr Silverton, who apparently is still acting for the deceased.  We've contacted Mr Martin's sister who lives in Brighton, she's flying over and according to DS Bordey, she's not very happy though we haven't told her the circumstances yet. You might want to take a look at the report while we wait.  The time of death is between 6pm and 12 am so if you can prove where you were, it puts you in the clear.''

''I was with Rose, the whole time, she didn't want to go out again once we got back from getting groceries and dropping off our lawyer.''

The Commissioner turned to Rose.  ''You can confirm that?''

''Yes and we're not saying anything else until Mr Rawlings gets here.  Alec, remember what my dad said.''

''We've got nothing to hide Rose, they're only doing their job.  We'll just wait for him to arrive but we can answer a few basic questions.''

They were interrupted by the arrival of Mr Silverton, who regarded Alec with concern.

''Why is Detective Inspector Hardy not already in custody?''

Rose leapt to his defence.  ''Hang on, Alec didn't do anything, he was with me all that night.''

''Rose, it's ok, I can speak for myself, which I will do when our lawyer gets here.''

''Well she would say that, wouldn't she?'' Silverton asked.

''I suggest we wait until the DI's lawyer joins us.  Are you still prepared to represent the deceased?'' The Commissioner asked.

''Yes, I spoke with his sister a short time ago, she's preparing to fly out but I still want to know why Hardy is still free?''

''DI Hardy is not a major suspect in this case.  There is nowhere for him to go anyway, he's a resident of the island and now Mr Tyler is making his way here with a top London barrister in the event it is proven he is indeed guilty.  Until then, he remains in the custody of his girlfriend, I'm sure you know who she is?''

Silverton tried not to get flustered.  Of course he knew who the woman was and was well aware of her stepfather's position and if a top barrister was also on the way here, he would be at a disadvantage, he would have to send to his law firm in Brighton to have someone fly out.  It seemed Hardy had the advantage over him and was going to give him a fight.

Pete, Jake and Mr Rawlings were in a cab on their way to the Police Station after Jake checked up where the commissioner was.  Rose saw her stepfather enter behind Jake and went to give him a hug first, then Jake, who was sorry he had missed her birthday and sorry he had not been there to take care of her.

''Rosie, I'm sorry I wasn't here, this wouldn't have ever happened,'' Jake apologised, letting her go after seeing who he believed was Alec Hardy scowling at him.  Why had she gone and chosen a Doctor look-alike to fall for?  He just hoped she knew what she was doing and it didn't all end in tears.

''It's ok Jake, no-one knew Chris was going to attack me and for your information Mr Silverton, Alec would never do anything, he was protective of me yes but he would never go to that length, he had no need, I would never have left him for Chris Martin, he was just a friend, he just got jealous I chose to be with Alec, you've already been told that.''

Mr Rawlings looked at Rose.  He had known her since her mother had married his respected friend and had personally seen all her papers were in order when Pete had officially adopted her right after their marriage.

''Miss Tyler, I advise you now that you don't say any more, nor you detective inspector.  I will meet with you both together at your residence then speak to you separately.  You are the deceased's lawyer?'' he asked Silverton.

Mr Silverton knew who he was, he shouldn't have expected anything less from Peter Tyler.

''I've been asked to represent the deceased by his sister in this matter.  I will leave it to the commissioner as to what action he takes but it was a well known fact all over the island that the detective and Mr Martin got into a fight and threats were made.''

Pete decided to speak up.  ''Well what do you expect?  If someone had threatened your wife or girlfriend, would you have behaved any differently?  This is my stepdaughter we're talking about, Martin attacked her and was going to violate her in her own home and you expect Alec Hardy not to get mad about it?  Have you read her statement?''

Pete had read it the moment he got to the hotel and met with Gordon and had been appalled that Martin had burst into his stepdaughter's home and demanded she comply with his wishes, she had shown no such interests in the man and could see why she had chosen the DI, despite who he must very painfully remind her of.  Had her housekeeper not been there to stop Martin, he dreaded to think what may have happened, not that he was worried for Rose, she would have used her Torchwood training and he would have been thrown head first into the pool but he wasn't going to say that, especially to Hardy, let the man think he was defending her, that was what boyfriends did.

He knew Rose desperately wanted to tell Alec the rest of her story but they had agreed they would wait.  It wasn't every day you had to tell your boyfriend you came from another universe and had used an unconventional way to get here the first time.  It would see what the man was actually made of and if his failing heart could keep up with the truth.  That was some more news he had for Rose and Alec, that of he had found a top heart surgeon other than the one in London who was willing to travel close by so they wouldn't have to go all the way to London unless they wanted to.  That all now depended on what happened with this unsavoury business.
Chapter 13
The Commissioner agreed to let Alec go back home with Rose and everyone else followed, Jake going with them and Pete and his legal team following in a cab, under instructions from Alec not to overcharge but Bob knew Pete Tyler and wouldn't have dared.  Once everyone met up, Rose told Maria to have the rest of the day off after Pete thanked her for coming to his stepdaughters aid and handing her an envelope containing some extra cash.

They were all seated on the patio, the pool was still covered as Rose hadn't called anyone to pull back the cover but Jake volunteered to do it, since Pete had told him about Alec's condition.  Pete had really wanted to speak to Rose alone but was prepared to wait, proving Alec's innocence was more important.

''So Alec, have they any actual proof you killed Martin?''

Alec shook his head, holding Rose's hand as they sat side by side.  ''Non whatsoever, I was with Rose all night.  You might as well all know just how involved we are, we do live together and since she was attacked, I've been more protective of her and yes, I did call after him that if he went near Rose again, I'd kill him but I meant it literally, not that I would actually see him dead.  What would I gain from that?  Rose made it quite clear to him, in front of witnesses she would never leave me to go to him.  She knew him a year, he never showed any signs he was interested in that way until I came along.  He was just jealous he'd not done anything about it.''

Rose squeezed his hand.  ''It's true, I meant it.  Dad, please tell me you believe he didn't do anything.''

Pete got up and asked Rose to go back inside with him.  Alec let go and told her to go ahead.  While Rose and Pete were inside, the two lawyers went through their plan to clear Alec's name.  Rose and Pete were starting by Pete asking how she really was.

''Oh you know, my boyfriend gets accused of killing someone who suddenly decided he was interested in me then attacks me in my home, I'm fine.''

''Your mother was worried about you, as was I.  Rose, Alec may be in serious trouble if things point towards him.  I know it wasn't his fault he was set on outside the Police Station but having Martin locked up twice and threatening to kill the man doesn't help.  I know he's ill Rose and the people who are investigating are his colleagues but they have to be seen upholding the law.  Martin knew a lot of people on the island from what the commissioner has told me, he's holding back the fact Alec is the prime suspect but once Martin's sister gets here and she learns from her brother's lawyer Alec threatened him, well I'm not sure even he can help Alec.''

''Dad, you can't let anything happen to Alec, he needs that operation soon, you know he didn't do it, she has to know the truth, of how Chris attacked me then tried to get in the house again.  He attacked Alec outside the Police Station, there was a witness to that, Maria was witness to him attacking me.  He even signed a statement saying he would stay away from me but he broke it by coming here again.  Alec doesn't even know where he lived.  Loads of people did know where he lived though.''

''Maybe Rose but Alec had the motive, that's what Martin's sister would say.  Did you know her?''

''No, he said she was coming for a visit a while ago but I never met her.  I mean it wasn't like I would really, we never got introduced.  What about the media, has it been hushed?''

''For now yes, the commissioner put a block on the island's newspaper, the owner is a friend of one of the officers here but it's only a matter of time until someone goes to the mainland and tells someone else but I've got people watching out for any stories and they'll be suppressed as they come out.  Rose, I've got everything covered, Alec's in good hands and he's going to have his operation.  I've got someone on standby ready to fly out, he just has to check the island has the facilities otherwise it will have to be the closest hospital.  I've got a full legal time ready to fight this and the commissioner assured me Alec will remain free, under your care until such times they have absolute proof he was involved.''

Alec was pacing the patio, glancing now and then at his girlfriend talking to her stepfather.  If anyone could get him out of this mess, he believed she could.  For the first time in his life, he had been completely happy after meeting her then that moron had spoiled it by trying to attack her.  They had both thought it had died down after Martin had been released and he would cower off to cool down, it wasn't like there were no other women on the island after all.  There was that other blonde who had helped him with the currency when he was buying a bangle for Rose, what was her name?  Sophia, that was it, she had been eyeing him at Rose's party but he'd only had eyes for Rose, Sophia paled by comparison.

''Sophia, she knew Martin,'' he said out loud.

''Excuse me, who is Sophia?'' Jacob Rawlings asked.

''Rose knows her, I don't know if they're friends or not but she must have known Martin.''

Alec rushed to the patio door.  ''Rose, what's the name of that woman who was at your party?  Sophia?''

''It's Sophia Hunter, remember I told you I'd said to her she was welcome to Chris? Has anyone spoken to her?  Does she even know he's dead?''

''I very much doubt it, it's being kept quiet, I'll call Camille.''

Alec went to get his phone and called the station.

''Camille, I know I'm not supposed to be on the case but have you spoken to Sophia Hunter?''

''No, should we?  You're not supposed to be on this case, Sir.''

''Yes I know but it occurred to me, Rose mentioned the woman had a liking for Chris Martin, she might know who disliked him enough to want him dead.''

''You mean besides you?  Sorry, I shouldn't have said that.  I'll get Dwayne to speak to her, I don't know if she's even heard yet, what with the storm yesterday, that delayed everything which is good.''

''Well let the commissioner know and bring in anyone else who knew him, he must have made some enemies, aside from me.''

''I'll get on it.  How's Rose coping with this?''

''She's strong, she believes in me and I trust her.''

''You're going to need each other once Martin's sister arrives, I don't think we can keep this quiet much longer, I hope I don't have to come out there and arrest you.''

''Neither do I.  If things get any worse, I'll have the commissioner place me under house arrest and surrender my passport, that should satisfy her and the lawyer.''

''I hope it doesn't come to that Sir.  For what it's worth, we all believe you didn't kill him.  You may be in love with Rose but you had nothing to gain by getting rid of Martin, Rose is completely in love with you, she changed when you arrived, I've never seen her so happy as the day of her party.  She told me what happened the afternoon before between you, she's never had a boyfriend since she's been here and I know she would have never gone with Chris.  I don't know where he got the idea she was interested in him in that way.''

''Neither do I Camille and thanks for the vote of confidence, Rose is going to need you as a friend once Martin's sister arrives.''

Alec went back out to join everyone on the patio, sitting next to Rose again.

''I've got Camille to go ask Sophia a few questions.  Once Martin's sister arrives, it's going to get ugly.  I've suggested the commissioner places me under house arrest, it's not like I was going anywhere anyway.  Mr Rawlings, I'll surrender my passport if you'd care to hand it to the commissioner for me, I'm doing this voluntarily to save the fuss once the news gets out, it's not an admission of guilt in any way, it's so Martin's lawyer will be satisfied but I'm not answering any of his questions.  You can do all the talking for me.''

Pete stood up.  ''I agree that's the best thing to do Alec, we all wouldn't be here if we believed you had committed the offence, I know Rose, we all know her past and she wouldn't be with you if she didn't believe in you, that's for certain.  I'll call the commissioner myself, tell him non of us are leaving until this is over.  Jake, I want you to stay here with them, if that's ok with you two?''

Rose and Alec nodded their agreement.

''I'll go get my things then, hope you two don't make a lot of noise,'' Jake laughed.

Rose knew he meant well, he was her closest friend since being in this universe.  She even told him things she never told Mickey, about how much she had loved The Doctor, it wasn't fair to talk about her feelings for him with her ex boyfriend.  Jake borrowed Rose's car to get his stuff and check out of the hotel he had only just checked in to and called to pick up some groceries and to check with Camille how things were going.

''You know I can't tell you anything Jake, as much as I would like to.  You've known Rose longer than I have, how is she, really?''

''Holding up I guess.  I blame myself, if I hadn't cancelled coming over for her birthday, this may never have happened.  I would have done more than warn this Martin bloke off, he wouldn't have gone near Rose again.  She wouldn't have even been alone that time, I can't believe Martin waited until she was alone.''

''Yes but maybe I would be locking you up instead?'' Camille smiled.

Jake laughed.  No way would he have been caught, his Torchwood training would see to that but he wouldn't have killed the man, just made him forget he ever knew Rose.

Rose was making sure the guest bedrooms were clean since Maria had gone off, Pete had insisted he returned to the hotel saying she didn't need him hanging around and both lawyers had gone back with Jake to compare notes and come up with the plan of attack and arrange a meeting with Mr Silverton.  Alec had given his passport to Jacob Rawlings but said he would never leave Rose anyway, it was just a formality.  Rose then got changed and went to lie by the pool, Alec was talking with Pete.

''So what's all this Rose was telling me that she wanted you to be here before she said anything?'' Alec asked him.

''I'm sure she's told you most of it, how she came to be my stepdaughter?''

''I know all that, it's how she got here that interests me.  I've always been fascinated by all this other universes and time travel, she did mention something about it but left it.  Then all this started happening and we never brought it up again.  Did she travel in time Pete?  Is she from the past or the future?  It really doesn't matter, I still love her, she knows that.''

''It's true Alec, that's how she got here, the first time.  She's just an ordinary earth girl from another universe who met a time traveller and they fell through a crack in the universe and ended up here, just in time to stop the Cybermen.  Mickey stayed behind, said he wanted a fresh start but it was because Rose was in love with the man who brought them here, he couldn't face seeing them together.  Then we found out the Cybermen were disappearing, Mickey went to warn Rose after the walls between the two universes were breaking down.  There was a battle, I brought Rose here with her mother to keep them both safe but the walls closed again, they got left here.  Rose will have to tell you the rest, that's personal to her.  She trusts you Alec, she'll tell you when she's ready, don't push her.  She did love him but it was a long time ago, there's no way back – ever.''

''I see.  She told me most of it, just not how she really got here.  Well she did tell me not to run at the term 'Time Travel' but she really did it?  She really travelled in time?  No wonder you hushed everything up, I can see why now.  It must have been difficult for everyone but for Rose?''

They hadn't seen Rose come back in.  ''What do you want to know Alec?''

Alec stood up.  ''Everything Rose.  I know things look bad for me right now but it will blow over, just like that storm and when it does, I want nothing getting in the way.  So this time traveller who brought you here the first time, was he the man you loved, the one you told me about?''

''Yes, I loved him but I left it too late to tell him.  I can't promise I'll ever forget him because you deserve to know Alec, you remind me of him so much.''

''You already make that clear at the airport but how do I remind you Rose?  Just how much do I look like him because you wouldn't have reacted that way when you first saw me if I didn't resemble him.''

Pete stood up.  ''I'm out of here.''

Alec sat her down.  ''You might as well tell me, I'm his double.''  Rose nodded.  ''Then I suppose I'll have to accept you know the difference between us, do you want to tell me the rest?  How did he travel in time?''

''He had a time machine disguised as a police public call box, you never had them here, I checked with Pete.  It was how people contacted the police in the 50s and 60s and they could use them to lock people up while they waited for assistance.  There's something else, when I met him, he didn't look like you, he changed his appearance.  He's not from earth but he looked human, he wasn't a monster in disguise.''

''Seriously?  Have you got any idea how that even sounds Rose?''

She knew she was going to regret telling him this part but he smiled.  ''Rose, when I was a boy, I used to write stories about time travel and alien planets, other universes, my parents and my English teacher despaired at me and I grew out of it, wanted to become a Police Officer but now, it was all true, maybe not in this world but it was in yours.  How could I have imagined it all?''

''I don't know but when we go back to London, I can show you some footage of the night we got here the first time.  We'll go to Torchwood, they have experts who can maybe explain it to you.  Maybe you didn't just imagine it Alec.''

''Don't get all spooky on me Rose, that's all I need right now with this hanging over me.  Are you trying to say it's not a coincidence I got offered this job here and met you?''

''Think about it Alec, you were going to teach recruits.''

''This is all too much Rose, maybe you can delay telling me where you went on your travels for the time being.''

He put his arms around her, Pete was watching from the patio.  He knew they were good together, so what if the bloke did look like a time travelling alien?  He could do worse for a sort of son-in-law he supposed though Jackie would freak out and slap him back into yet another universe that had previously remained undiscovered.  Jake had arrived back and after they all laughed for a while by the pool, Jake jumping in and splashing Rose, Rose and Alec made dinner then Jake took Pete back to his hotel, rejoining the couple who were watching TV.

''We'll get you through this Alec, I promise,'' Jake said, sitting opposite the pair, Rose curled up on Alec's lap.

''I know, there's no-one else I trust as much as you and Pete and Mickey.  It was no-one's fault but Chris's I suppose, he should have just left me alone but maybe he got someone jealous?''

''Come on Rose.  Let's go to bed and I'll call Camille in the morning and see if she's talked to Sophia Hunter yet.''

They got up, Jake smirking at them.  ''Keep the tone down you two, I can do without all the grunting and groaning noises thanks.''

''Remind you of what you're missing Jake?'' Alec smiled, his arm already around his lover.

''Don't even go there Alec,'' Rose smiled.  ''See Alec, I told you that you make too much noise, Jake could hear you back in London.''

Alec tapped her behind.  ''That was my intention sweetheart.''

''Should you even be making those sort of noises in your condition Alec?'' Jake mused.

Rose laughed.  ''That's what I keep asking him.  If he croaks it, I told him not to blame me.  Goodnight Jake, just put in your earphones in if it gets too much for you.''

''I'll tell your mum of you Rose Tyler,'' Jake winked, patting Alec on the shoulder. ''Think I'll wait down here until you two get it out of your systems.''

Alec walked away with Rose but turned around, both with their arms around each other.  ''You may be in for a long wait then, best get comfortable.''
Chapter 14
The next morning, Chris Martin's sister, Lydia arrived on the island, not understandably very happy since she had just visited her brother a few months ago and he was alive and well, complaining of that snivelling rich girl Rose Tyler who wouldn't look on him except as a friend.  Now her older brother was dead, in his own swimming pool with a slither of glass through his chest, who did that sort of thing?

Mr Silverton had not been very forthcoming on the phone after she had received a call from a Detective Sergeant Bordey of the island's police department who wouldn't go into great details, just he had died unfortunately.  She didn't even know if there were any suspects, except maybe that Rose Tyler but since she had turned him down and not the other way around, unless she had got tired of him bothering her, she doubted the woman had the guts.  Once in the island's tiny Police Station, she asked who the lead detective was, Chris had mentioned there was a Scottish one a few weeks ago who had just arrived and wondered why he seemed absent.

''What?  He's a suspect?  Why would a police detective inspector want to kill my brother?''

''Miss Martin, that's what we are trying to find out but we all believe he was not the one.  They had a fight, over Miss Tyler and he threatened your brother after Chris attacked her in her own home.''

''My brother wouldn't attack a woman,'' Lydia sobbed.

''I'm sorry but he did, we have a witness and DI Hardy was on his way to her house, with her friend and Chris was there, we were all there ten minutes later, he did attack her.''

Lydia looked up from her wet handkerchief.  ''She must have encouraged him in some way, she was trying to play hard to get, he told me.''

''Did he tell you she was in a relationship with DI Hardy at the time he attacked her?''

''No, I didn't know that.  So my brother got jealous, maybe he went to persuade her to leave the detective?  Why isn't he in custody if he's the main suspect?''

''That's what I want to know, I said the other day he should be detained,'' Mr Silverton chipped in.

''DI Hardy has placed himself under house arrest, he is in the care of Miss Tyler and her stepfather has just arrived so the commissioner is happy with the arrangement plus he had surrendered his passport.  He has no reason to leave the island, he and Miss Tyler have a very stable relationship and neither of them had a motive to kill your brother.  We think maybe one of his rivals over here or a jealous ex girlfriend or maybe someone he turned down.''

''There was that other British woman, Sophia but Chris wasn't interested in her, all he did was talk about the Tyler woman, I never met her.  Chris never hardly mentioned her except for a charity event he was at with Rose Tyler, this Sophia kept watching them.''

''We've already interviewed Miss Hunter, she claims she hasn't seen him recently. Have you been to your brother's villa?''

''No, I checked in at the hotel, I can't stay there, I'm putting it up for sale once it's released to me.  Can I see my brother?''

''Of course, Sergeant Best will take you there, you can make arrangements once we've concluded our investigations.''

''I'm taking him home with me, I'll stay as long as I have to.  If this Hardy is responsible, I'll see him in prison for it.''

''Miss Martin, we don't believe he's the right person.  We are making further enquiries.''

''What about the threat he made?''

''He was angry, he was just protecting his girlfriend.  Your brother signed a statement to say he would stay away from Miss Tyler but he broke the arrangement a few hours later and tried to get back in her house while DI Hardy was out.''

''So he did have a motive?  If what you say is true and my brother just wanted to talk to her again, Hardy seems like he's the jealous one.''

''I've know Rose Tyler a year, she's happy with Hardy, she would never leave him for your brother no matter how persuasive he was trying to be.  Chris never showed her any signs he was interested in her and she certainly never expressed anything other than being a friend to your brother.  I'll let you go see your brother now.''

Dwayne was already out, trying to persuade his sometimes girlfriend not to publish the facts of Chris Martin's demise other than he was found dead in his swimming pool and not to put down he had fought with the island's newest detective outside the Police Station and it was more likely another fight that went wrong and Hardy plunged the glass into his love rival's chest.

Jake had gone over in Rose's car to pick up Pete and the legal team after breakfast and they were all talking when the commissioner arrived.

''Miss Martin has arrived on the island to formally identify her brother.  I understand you have surrendered your passport Alec, a wise move.  There is no need for you to be restricted to the house, as long as you are accompanied by Miss Tyler or her stepfather.  You should be aware we are trying to keep this quiet but it is a small island and you are new here but with Mr Tyler on your side, showing his support, there should be no trouble.  We will do everything we can to keep from formally arresting you over this.''

Alec sat back, sort of relieved but it was doing his health no good and the sooner this was all over with the better.  Pete noticed the man wasn't looking too good.

''Alec, I think I should get that surgeon over here to take a look at you, I'm worried about you and so is Rose.  I'll have him over here tomorrow and meet you at the hospital if he says he can perform the surgery there.  I don't think you should delay any longer.''

''Fine, I'll meet with him but there is something you need to know, he may have my medical records but he can't discuss them with you.  I only have a slim chance of getting through the surgery, Rose already knows that.  We've talked about it already.  That was why I kept putting it off and I would rather go back home for the operation so if he says I'll last a bit longer, I would rather just go back and have it done as planned.  That way, I will have had three months with Rose and I'll go peacefully but there is one thing.  Will everyone else excuse us?''

Jake and the two lawyers went back inside, Jake sliding the patio door behind him. Alec took Rose's hand.

''Pete, I know we only just met but when I first met Rose, I knew she was the one for me and within a few days, I asked her to be my girlfriend and spend my time here with her and she readily agreed.  I figured if I only had three months, I was going to make the most of it.  The time I have left, here with your stepdaughter is all I could ask for.  Once this is over, I'm resigning from the island's police force and put myself back on medical leave and live here until it's time to go back, with Rose.  Mr Tyler, I'd like to ask your permission to ask Rose to marry me, right away, here on the island.''

Pete wasn't surprised and neither was Rose the way they had been inseparable the last couple of weeks.  So if Alec wasn't going to make it through the surgery, she was going to make sure he was happy for the time he had left.

''Alec, I never thought I would see the day but yes, you have my permission and I think you just asked Rose herself but I'll leave you two alone.  I'll call her mother, Tony is feeling better now to travel, I'll have Mickey bring them over and never mind all this going on, you make your plans.  If I have to pay for the surgeon's time staying here, I will do but I insist he comes out to see you to assess you, he is top in his field.  Rose, you'll have to talk to your mother as well but I'll break the news to her.  Can I give her a date?''

Rose looked at who had suddenly become her fiancé.  ''As soon as everyone can get here, I'm sure the magistrate from the mainland can come over, I'll ask the commissioner when the earliest time is he can get here, just as long as he's not convicting my fiancé at the same time.''

''I don't think it will come to that Rose, we all know Alec is innocent.  Don't let it get in the way, you two have a lot to talk about.''

Pete went back inside to tell Jake the good news, Jake said he had an idea what was going on judging by Alec's enthusiasm last night and how Rose had managed to keep so quiet, he had no idea, Alec must have gagged her or drowned out her noises with his own.  Pete had fun explaining to Jackie that the couple were already making wedding plans and then rang off to call the airline to arrange three return tickets on the next scheduled flight to the island and booking a family room, changing his own and leaving Jackie to explain to her son his sister was getting married and call a not so surprised Mickey to tell him to get packed.

Rose laid down on the new lounger that had just arrived and Jake was going to sort the hammock out later but Rose hadn't known Alec had also ordered a garden swing with soft cushions and canopy and she had joked the mail order company must have booked the entire plane to get them over.

''So, Rose Tyler, I know I don't have a ring to give you but we can go choose one.  I meant it, I want you to be my wife, for the time I have left.''

''You might just get stuck with me, I hope you're not going to give up so easily?''

''Oh I'm going to fight, you can count on that.  I know this is right Rose, you felt it too, that Saturday afternoon.''

He stroked her cheek then kissed it.  ''I love you Rose, marry me, let me go happy if I have no choice in it.''

''You do have a choice Alec, you have every chance of getting through it and I won't let you go through it alone.  I want to marry you.''

So since Alec had been told he could now leave the house, he drove them to the other side of the island that evening, to a little restaurant by a bay having been out with Jake earlier to choose a ring and over dinner, he slipped it on to her finger, kissing the back of her hand.

''I didn't plan this when I came here and if you think it's too soon, we can put it off a few days.''

''No, it's not too soon, besides, if you've dragged my mother out here promising her a wedding and you let her down, she won't be too happy about it.''

Alec smiled.  He didn't want to go upsetting his mother-in-law before she actually became it, even if it was only for a couple of months.  Well not from what Pete Tyler had told him about her and what he had read.  What Rose didn't know was that he had booked a room at the hotel to save driving back and setting the satnav, drove the short distance, getting a carrier bag out of the back of the car.  He booked them in just after nine and lifted her as he opened the door.  Rose giggled.

He threw the carrier bag on the bed and let her down after kissing her.  He had found her favourite dress shop and asked the woman who worked there to choose a nightdress and underwear set out for him to give to Rose.  Natalie had been only too pleased to help.  Rose wanted to tease him by going into the bathroom to get changed as he took off his tie and toed off his shoes.

''Relax lover, I'll be right back.  It will be worth your wait and don't you take that shirt off just yet.''

Alec grinned and sat on the bed, taking his socks off and his trousers, she'd said nothing about that.  Rose came back out looking stunning and sauntered over to the bed then pushed him back, placing her legs either side of his, then began unbuttoning his shirt.

''I see you cheated.''

''Just saving time sweetheart, I didn't want to crease them.''

He placed his hand on her tummy, under the nightdress, pleased to discover she had opted not to wear the bra, he never knew why she wore one anyway, it just kept getting in his way, maybe once they were married, around the house he could get her to forgo the item or just wear a loose bikini top.  There was no doubt in his mind he had just done the right thing and asked her to marry him as his shirt came off and he lifted the nightdress over her head, revealing her true beauty.

The next morning, Alec drove them back home to find the commissioner waiting for them.

''Ah, the happy couple, congratulations.  I've contacted the magistrate, he can be here on Monday and Detective Sergeant Bordey is re-interviewing Miss Hunter as we speak.  We found a fingerprint on the piece of glass protruding from Mr Martin's chest.''

Alec was surprised they had missed it in the first place but there was no forensic team here but it was good news.

Camille was sitting across the desk from Sophia.

''So Miss Hunter, would you care to explain exactly what happened?  You were with Chris Martin the night he died?''

''I'm not saying anything without my lawyer, it was an accident, he rushed towards me, I couldn't stop him.''

Camille called the commissioner, who was about to leave Rose's house.  ''Sir, Miss Hunter just admitted, she killed Mr Martin by accident after a glass broke and she picked up a piece and he slipped on the wet patio.''

The Commissioner relayed the news to a relieved Rose and Alec.  Sophia was formerly charged but was expected to get off lightly, not that it pleased Lydia Martin.  She was due to appear in front of the magistrate after he had performed Rose and Alec's wedding ceremony.  Alec had gone to the commissioner's residence to submit his resignation from the island's Police force, it was totally expected.

They were all waiting in the island's tiny airport, well landing field and a building. The two lawyers were going home, Jake was staying, having got Mickey to call and collect his best suit for the wedding.  An excited Tony was peering out of the small aircraft's window as they were coming in to land, he'd told his mother this plane was much better than the big one.  After a happy reunion, Alec even getting a hug from Jackie, they all went out to dinner at Catherine's bar, Alec arranging to have the wedding reception there on Monday.  The surgeon was arriving Sunday night and would see Alec before the wedding took place, Rose was insisting on going with him.

They had a family party by the pool on Sunday afternoon after Rose and her mother went dress shopping and Rose getting a lecture about getting married from her mother.

''Are you sure about this Rose?  It's rather sudden.''

''Mum, I want to make him happy, he may not have that much time left.  He's stopped working and we're just going to take it easy and explore the island and after the specialist sees him tomorrow, we'll have a better idea.  We're hoping that now he's not under any stress, his chances will be a lot better.  We're very optimistic about it.  What about this one Mum?''

The dresses chosen, Rose bought her wedding underwear and they set off back home.  Mickey and Jake were in charge of the barbecue, Alec was getting to know Tony who had a captive audience about police cars and Pete was giving Rose the father of the bride talk.  Jackie was watching how good her new son-in-law was with Tony.  There was nothing traditional about Rose and Alec spending the night apart and the next morning, just hours before they were getting married, Alec was being assessed by the specialist Pete had flown in from London.

It was good news as Alec was putting his shirt back on, now more used to Rose trying to get it off him again as he buttoned it, she was waiting to be called in, two hours before the wedding at two.  Her dress was ready for her to step in to and the commissioner had kindly said they could use his garden for the venue.  Camille was being maid of honour, Jake best man and Jackie was fussing that Tony would step up at the right time with the rings and they were all waiting for Rose and Alec to get back.

Rose was called into the small office that the specialist, Mr Mason had borrowed.  She had insisted Alec be examined on his own so he wouldn't get distracted and would answer the specialist's questions honestly and not hold back any vital information she didn't want to hear.

''I have good news Alec, you'll be fine until your scheduled surgery date and whichever hospital you choose, I'd like to be the one to perform it, if you'll allow me and I don't know why you were told your chances were not good, they are excellent according to my findings.  The diagnosis may have been rather hasty but I expect that's down to the health service's limited time they have to study an individual case.  I've performed numerous operations on people with a lot less chance than you were given.  I noticed you'd had a fairly recent attack?  I'm very surprised they didn't just do the surgery at the time.''

''It was a small community hospital where I used to live.  I chose Exeter university hospital for the surgery as I expect to be recalled back home to a hearing of a case I worked on.''

''Well there's really no need for you to wait the three months, I can arrange it all for you, just give the word.''

Alec looked at the woman who in just a few hours would be his wife.  Would she see now there was no actual need to get married?  Maybe he should have waited to get the opinion of the specialist first before hastily proposing to her.

''It's something we need to discuss then, we're getting married in just over an hour, we thought you would say exactly the same as the other consultants I've already been seen by.''

Mr Mason smiled.  One of the reasons he was so highly regarded in his field was his talent for assuring patients he would give the best option to survive and his rate was extremely high.  That was why he could justify his fee but as a favour to Peter Tyler, he had accepted the trip to the small Caribbean island as payment and only charge his fee for the actual operation.

''This is good Alec, it's what we wanted to hear.  Let's get back and get ready for the wedding and we can let Mr Mason know when we've decided on a date for your operation.  Thanks for coming all this way.  Alec and I get married at the commissioner's residence at two, you're most welcome to attend.''

''Thank you for the invitation Miss Tyler.  I'll finish up here and go freshen up and get a taxi to the venue.  I look forward to seeing you when you return to London. Congratulations of your forthcoming wedding.''

Rose and Alec drove back to get ready, Alec electing to get dressed in the guest bedroom not previously occupied by Jake, who had since moved out the previous evening and was going with the wedding party to the venue then Mickey was coming back for Rose and Pete.  Once they were alone, Pete stood in Rose's bedroom doorway.

''Well this is something I never expected to see, my stepdaughter marrying a police detective.  He makes you happy Rose, I can see that but why didn't you call it off when you found out he would be ok?''

''Because I spent too long not telling The Doctor how I felt, I love Alec, I'm not making the same mistake and in the back of our minds, there's always going to be the feeling when he goes for his operation that something could still go wrong.  If that happens, I want to be his wife, that way I can take care of all the arrangements, he was dreading his ex wife doing it.  We never even talked about it on the way back, even after he was told his chances were good.''

Mickey arrived and Pete locked everything up and they drove to the commissioner's residence but as they approached, the road leading up to it was lined with people, children were waving flags and throwing flowers at the car and cheering, Rose was in tears at the reception they received.

Mickey pulled up outside, Jackie and Camille were waiting outside, Tony was being instructed by Jake when to step up with the cushion holding the rings and the magistrate was awaiting the bride as was a rather anxious Alec, wondering if her silence on the way back was a sign she was backing out.  They may have only known each other a short time but he knew what he wanted and as Rose was arranging her dress outside in the hallway, Camille handing a bouquet of white flowers to her, Pete took her hand and placed it in his arm, patting it and said, ''This is it Rose, this is your big day.''

Alec turned around to see his bride walk towards him and if he had died on the spot he would have gone more than happily but the fates were kind to him that day, he'd been given the hope he would survive his operation and he was minutes away from marrying Rose Tyler.

After all the guests had left the bar, they called a taxi to take them home, Bob congratulating the happy couple and insisting the ride was on him, Alec carried Rose over the threshold and managed to carry her up the stairs.  He'd had Maria come in an hour ago and place candles in the bedroom and they were burning steadily as they entered, a sheer red thin strapped nightdress laid across the bed and rose petals on the pillows as he put her down in the middle, telling her to stay right there, she was not sneaking off to the bathroom to get changed.


Six weeks later

Rose and Alec were preparing to go back to London to spend some time with the family and Alec wanted Rose to meet his daughter and to explain to Daisy he was undergoing heart surgery.  He persuaded his daughter to travel to London and wait with Rose and her mother while he was in the operating theatre.  Alec was preparing himself and Rose left him to talk to Daisy while she and her mother went off, not telling Alec she was going to get a pregnancy test.  Rose got back just before the orderlies came to take him to the theatre and asked to be alone with her husband.

''You have to come back to me Alec, you're gonna be a dad again, I just got tested.''

''That's wonderful Rose.  Don't worry, I am coming back, you gave me a reason to go on already, now we can be a real family.  Do you want to go back to Saint Marie?''

''Well it would be a shame to put all that garden furniture to waste and the commissioner is keeping the job open for you.  It would be a great place to bring up our kids 'cos we're not stopping at one.  Dad says he'll buy the villa for us as a wedding present.  So what do you think?''

''Ask me when I get out of the theatre and if I don't make it, you made me very happy, I love you Rose Hardy.''

''I love you too Alec, I couldn't ask for a better husband than you've been the last few weeks.  We'll all be waiting for you when you come out of surgery.''

As Alec opened his eyes again when the pacemaker had been fitted, he saw his wife's beautiful face smiling at him.

''Rose, Saint Marie will be the perfect place to raise our kids.''

The End!