Rose and Alec's Valentine picnic

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Rose Tyler has been in Broadchurch since meeting Alec Hardy at a charity function and she moves in with him to his riverside chalet on the harbour. Alec doesn't think Rose believes he can be romantic for Valentines Day so he ropes Ellie Miller into helping him surprise Rose with an intimate picnic on the beach. Ellie is less than pleased at being asked.

Rose Tyler has been in Broadchurch since meeting Alec Hardy at a charity function and she moves in with him to his riverside chalet on the harbour. Alec doesn't think Rose believes he can be romantic for Valentines Day so he ropes Ellie Miller into helping him surprise Rose with an intimate picnic on the beach. Ellie is less than pleased at being asked.

Chapter 1
Ever since Alec had met his gorgeous girlfriend at a New Year's Eve charity event and she'd brought him back to Broadchurch, they had stayed in his riverside home for two months, not being able to find anywhere to live they both liked. Alec had wormed his way back to work a few hours a day, telling his boss she owed him for representing the Wessex police at the police benevolent event but he should have been thanking her.

Just a week after his surgery, waking up to see Rose smiling at him and holding his hand, they had gone back to London for Rose to get a few more things and Alec had known what it felt like to be on the receiving end of being interrogated – by her mother. When they'd arrived and after Tony had almost knocked them both over, Pete had asked her what she had planned.

"I'm gonna look after him until he goes back to work," she told her stepfather. "After that, well I was hoping I could work from home or maybe be a Torchwood consultant to the Broadchurch police?" she smiled.

"I'll see what I can do then? Look after Alec first though eh love?" Pete told her.

Pete knew exactly what Alec would be going through being grilled by Rose's mother. Alec was feeling hot under the collar at Jackie's scrutiny.

"Pete had nothing but complaints from the guests at the charity event you know?" Jackie asked him, expecting him to know what she was talking about.

Alec did know what she was talking about, it had been Rose's decision to spend the evening with him and he expected the guests had already forgotten about it. He didn't however think it prudent to try to explain that to the woman sat with a small boy on her lap, who had insisted on staying.

"Well, what have you got to say for yourself?" Jackie continued to ask him.

"Mum, is Rose in trouble again?" Tony asked innocently, Alec thinking some other man had already gone though this.

"No Tony, she's not in trouble, I just want an explanation," his mother replied, trying to get him off her lap as he was getting heavy.

Alec finally spoke up. 

"Mrs Tyler, Rose told me she's very popular at those events but she had no-one complaining to her about her not being attentive to the guests. In fact, on our way out for some fresh air, she stopped to talk with some of them."

That wasn't going to satisfy Jackie though as she continued the rest of her grudges of her daughter being only attentive to him until Rose came back in to rescue him.

"There you are Alec," Rose smiled at him and getting him to move over in the armchair. "Has my mother been interrogating you?"

"Feels like it," Alec replied in a hushed voice.

"I heard that," Jackie told him as Tony went running to his sister and tried to climb on top of her.

Alec wasn't that surprised.

"No Tony, Alec's been poorly," Rose tried to tell the youngster.

"He doesn't look poorly," the boy huffed, landing on the floor.

"So how long are ya staying?" Jackie asked her as Rose tried to help Tony get up.

"Just a few days, Alec's going back to work hopefully. I just came to get some more clothes and a few things. It's freezing down in Broadchurch but it's a lovely place. We're looking for somewhere bigger to rent, aren't we Alec?"

"Well it's not like you can't afford anything bigger," her mother pointed out.

Alec was relieved when Sunday evening came around and they were getting ready for the journey back to Broadchurch.

"Are you going to let me drive back?" he asked as Tony had finally stopped jumping on the bed he and Rose had shared the last two nights, after some objection by Jackie.

"Well maybe half, we can stop and you can take over?" Rose suggested as she went for Tony.

"Can I come down Rose?" Tony asked hopefully.

"Maybe during the next holidays, mum won't let you off school, you little rascal," Rose smiled.

Alec was wishing she wouldn't make any promises, they had been together for almost two weeks and it was just beginning to get interesting. Seeing the locals staring at him when they'd walked around the harbour with Rose in her grey checked herringbone coat, purple woolly hat and scarf and using him to keep her hands warm when she left her gloves on the table by the window, on purpose he rather thought, had felt good.

It wasn't that he didn't love her, they'd just not got around to telling each other yet. He was pretty sure she loved him, putting up with him when he'd spent the day after his surgery asleep in bed and she'd tip-toed around all day trying not to wake him and he'd found out the following morning she'd slept on the sofa, leaving the bedroom door open after kissing his forehead that he'd been semi-aware of.

She'd told him she'd only been out to get a few groceries and a take-out for herself since she'd expected him to sleep all day. He was also pretty sure he loved her, after getting the taxi driver that night to go back for her when he'd seen her on the doorstep of that hotel and she'd gone back inside.

She'd just driven him back to Broadchurch, solved his old case that had eluded him and stayed with him and if that wasn't love, he didn't know what was. It was a different love than he'd felt for Tess, that much he did know and now, after getting Tony to calm down, she was trying to get her suitcase closed to drive him over a hundred miles back to what had become their home.

The only problem was, he was fairly certain she thought he didn't know how to get romantic so how was he going to prove to her he could be as romantic as the next bloke? He hardly knew anyone in the town personally, except those involved with the Latimer case and Mark Latimer was not the one to go to for advice on relationships, given his affair, however brief with Becca Fisher, whom he'd noticed going around the supermarket with the vicar.

So after escaping getting smothered by Jackie, who had told them both to wrap up warmly and take care of each other, a far cry from the interrogation he'd got on his arrival, they were on their way and now, he had to face the reality Rose was here to stay and he had to prove he could be romantic when he wanted to be.

Now, there were just three days to go until Valentine's Day and he didn't have a clue how to prove to her that he loved her in a romantic way. He'd finally told her he loved her after they'd got caught in the snow two weeks back and they'd got into a hot bath together just to warm up, which had led to more than just a soak. It had been the most romantic thing they'd done together since their meeting but it had been both of them and Alec wanted to come up with something of his own but being faced with running out of time, he was getting desperate.

He was sitting on the doorstep, reading his follow-up letter from the hospital that the postman had just delivered, Rose making some tea and wishing he'd close the door since the heating was on.

"Going to work?" she asked, handing him the mug of tea.

"Soon love, are you planning something?" he asked suspiciously.

"Well I was gonna go up into town and get you a Valentine's card. Unless you wanna meet later and we'll go to the card shop together?"

Alec thought as if going together was going to help him in his choice. Should he get a humorous card, a sloppy one or one that just had 'To my girlfriend' on the front and fairly plain? Then there were the teddy ones, the devilish ones and the hearts and flowers and if that wasn't enough for him, the choosing of the present. What the hell was he going to do?

Trying not to look worried, which he was, he got up from the doorstep and closed the door, to Rose's relief.

"We'll go together eh?" he asked, taking his thick blue woolly jumper off and offering it to her. "Strange the date falls on a Sunday this year, I expect the card shop will be busy?"

"Tryin' to get out of it lover?" Rose smiled, pulling his jumper over her head.

Alec tried not to look guilty. 

"No, meet me outside the station at two and we'll go up into the town. I hope your ex is not going to send you a card?"

"Don't be daft Alec, Mickey's not sent me one in years."

"Aye, well he had best not start now," Alec replied, checking his jacket pocket.

He went over to the sofa and leaned over to kiss her. 

"See you at two then?"

Rose nodded, knowing exactly what present she was going to get him. Alec walked the short distance to the police station, glad it was properly heated but so was the chalet, when he didn't sit with the door open. He couldn't concentrate, it was Friday, which gave him just two days to get his act together and decide on something romantic.

Should he call one of the fancy pubs down the coast and book a lunch? No, it would be too late and everywhere would be booked up and he couldn't exactly take her to the harbour café, if it was even open. He needed something original but he was running out of time. He'd been waiting to find out when Joe Miller's hearing was taking place, surely they'd had enough time to consider it was worth prosecuting the man?

Then he had an idea and he had an excuse for contacting Ellie Miller, whom he'd not heard from since she left town. Surely she would be impressed if she found out Rose Tyler was his girlfriend? He fished his specs out of his pocket to save squinting at the screen of his phone.

Ellie Miller was not having a good day, to say the least. Her child minder had just announced she was giving up because she was expecting and now Ellie was faced with finding another one or trekking back to Broadchurch every day if she could talk her sister into having Fred. So during her break when Alec's name came up on the phone screen, she felt like throwing the phone at the wall.

"What do you want Hardy?" she asked in a gruff voice.

"You remember me then?" he replied dryly.

"Your bloody name came up you knob. You'd better not be asking me if I'm coming back, I heard they let you sit at your old desk a few hours a day? Bet the new DI didn't like that?" she gloated.

"How's Devon?" he asked, trying to change the subject that the DI who had taken over was just glad he didn't have to commute so far.

"Bloody awful so make my day and hang up. Well, you didn't call to ask how I was did you or are you getting soft now you got yourself fixed?"

"You know? Have you had any news about the hearing?" he asked, trying not to come out and ask how you impressed a woman you'd only known for two months on Valentine's day.

"Get to the point Hardy. No, I know no more than you do but my nephew said Becca Fisher and the vicar are an item and he also said he's seen you walking around with a young blonde who can't keep her hands off you but I put that down to him having too much to drink."

"No, that's true, I met someone on New Year's Eve, in London when the chief super sent me to a charity event in her place," he replied, trying not to sound so smug about it.

"No way you liar," Ellie accused him. "So who is she?"

"Rose Tyler," Alec replied calmly, still not believing it himself despite having sex with her every night since he'd been well again. Well almost every night.

"Don't be a prat Hardy, like I'm going to believe that, Olly said it looked like her but I don't believe him either. Maggie won't let him put it in the paper in case her stepfather pulls the plug and that the real Rose Tyler is in London."

"Well if you don't believe me, she will be at the hearing with me. She helped me solve the Sandbrook case."

"I heard about that but your ex got all the credit for it you wally," Ellie told him, wishing she'd not answered her phone and actually thrown it all the wall instead.

"I went back for the trial, only one of them denied it but they all got what they deserved.  
Anyway, I was calling for something else," Alec replied.

"You have a nerve after all this time, never asking how I was doing," Ellie complained.

"You want me to apologise because you left town and your son won't live with you?" he asked.

Ellie was thinking the chance would be a fine thing.

"So why are you calling now? Why not ask your new girlfriend whatever it is you want to ask me?" Ellie huffed, trying to drink her coffee before it went cold.

"Because it's about her Miller. I want to surprise her on Valentine's Day and I don't know how," he admitted, waiting for her to laugh

Instead he got silence.

"Say that again Hardy," Ellie told him.

"I need help Miller, I want to do something special on Sunday and I am running out of time."

"Again?" Ellie quipped. "You want me to tell you how women like to spend Valentine's day? Ask your ex wife. Have they even met?"

"Yes, they've met and this is not helping Miller. Give me some idea."

"Well you could take her somewhere romantic, out for dinner or lunch," Ellie suggested, just to try and get rid of him.

"Everywhere will be full Miller."

"Fine, shoot me down in flames why don't you? You asked. How about taking her down to Abbotsbury, to the Swannery? That's romantic."

"Where the hell is Abbotsbury? Come on Miller, everywhere like that will be closed."

"Not on Valentine's Day," Ellie huffed wishing he'd hurry up and go away, she was wasting her break. "How about a picnic or is it too cold?"

"It's freezing here Miller but maybe not for an hour or so in the afternoon, if the sun comes out. We could walk across to the harbour beach and sit for an hour. Okay, what do I get for the picnic?"

"Oh no Hardy, that's up to you, you're on your own and I want to meet her and ask if she needs her head examining taking up with you."

Before he had chance to think of something to say back, she'd hung up but at least now, he knew what he was aiming for – a romantic beach picnic, if the weather stayed fine and it didn't snow again. There again, he thought, scented candles and a bubble bath wasn't a bad idea as a backup, even if they'd done it before. He'd not even thought it was possible to have sex in a bathtub despite there being several films he could think of where they'd been acting it out.

As promised, Rose was waiting in the car outside the station when he left and they drove up into the town, agreeing they would head in opposite directions in the card shop then meet outside. Alec wasn't nearly as optimistic as Rose was that they would be done any time soon when she kissed his cheek and she started looking at the boyfriend and 'The one I love' ones while he timidly started looking at the girlfriend ones.

Twenty minutes later as Rose waited by the checkout after she'd got her card and intending sneaking off tomorrow to get him a sweater he could wear at work, Alec had given up and gone with the traditional hearts and 'Be my Valentine' ones and picked up a cute white teddy holding a red heart. He still had to give her something even though he was planning a picnic. Rose had seen him come around the corner and gone outside, much to the relief of the two women behind the counter who had been glaring at her and half suspecting she was trying to see what the man she'd come in with was going to buy.

All Alec had to do now was find a way to sneak to the 'Posh' supermarket at the far end of the High Street and get what he needed the following morning, thinking champagne, chocolates and party food would be sufficient but he'd have to keep it in the back of his car until Sunday afternoon.

It was easier than he thought when they got home.

"Alec, I think I'll just do a bit of shopping tomorrow morning, do ya mind?" she asked him, trying to hide the card.

"Sure love, if that's what you want? Going to sneakily get me a present eh?" he smiled.

"Yeah, ya got me. Did you get mine?" she asked.

"Aye love, that I did though I may have to come up with a surprise since you saw me with the carrier bag?"

"Well don't spoil it by telling me," Rose giggled.

So Rose kissed him goodbye the next morning and went off for an hour or so and Alec took the chance to root out a picnic rug he'd seen in one of the cupboards and went to get his purchases hoping he wouldn't bump into her then once he got back, he got them out of the car and into a picnic basket he'd also found stashed away. He unwrapped the party food and getting the packet of overpriced paper plates, he put the food on them and put some plastic food wrap over the top then placed them in the basket along with two flute glasses, hoping she wouldn't notice they were gone and the bottle of champagne with a corkscrew.

He had everything ready by the time she came back, thankful they now had two cars or he would have been at a loss where to hide everything. He'd even wrapped up the teddy in red tissue paper he'd bought at the card shop and placed it in a red and silver gift bag ready to exchange gifts with her over breakfast the next morning.

By evening, he was getting nervous. Not that he couldn't pull this off, which should be fairly easy if he suggested they went for a drive and then he'd just drive around to the harbour car park and say it was her surprise by getting everything out of the back of the car. As they got to bed, Rose asked if he was looking forward to their first Valentine's Day together.

"Yes, I am looking forward to it this year," he admitted as they lay together after he thought he must be getting better since she'd not attempted to force him on his back and jumped on him as she usually did. "Rose, you don't regret all this do you?"

"What? No Alec, I don't regret any of this, you are so worth it and you are getting better. I just get worried you might go off me when you are given the all clear from the hospital. When do you go for your next check-up?"

"Why would I go off you eh? Who else would put up with me? I have an appointment next week and that hearing had better not be on the same day."

"We could do both as long as they're not both at the same time," Rose assured him, kissing her favourite spot on his bare, slightly hairy chest.

"If you keep on doing that Rose Tyler, you are going to be in trouble," he warned her.

"Trouble's my middle name," she giggled back.

"Strange, your mother told me it was Marion."

Thankfully when they woke up, the sun was trying to break out from behind the grey clouds and he looked at the weather forecast on his phone to see it was supposed to be overcast with a chance of some sunny spells so he hoped that around two in the afternoon would be one of them. As Rose lay in bed all snuggled up, he went to make her breakfast as he did every Sunday and then handing her the tray which she put over her legs, he got back under the duvet, wondering why they still had a slightly wider than normal single bed.

"Mmm, this is nice Alec, I love Sunday mornings, you bringing me breakfast in bed. The red rose is a nice touch, thanks."

"Anything for you my love, today is a special day. I have a surprise planned for later and the sun is thinking about shining just for the occasion."

Rose put her free arm through his and her head on his shoulder, him just wearing his t-shirt and shorts.

"Aw, you're such an old softie Alec. It's been a long time since I actually bothered about Valentine's, not since I was about nineteen."

That was when the Doctor had taken her to a planet where every day was Valentine's day and had bought her a cute red stuffed toy, which had got left behind when she'd come to this world. She could never tell Alec about her old world or how she'd got here, she'd finally found a man she could love without feeling guilty.

"Less of the old if you don't mind," Alec replied. "We will exchange cards and gifts after we get dressed, it still is not that warm in here with those draughty window blinds. We really need to find another place to live."

"I like it here, I thought you did?" she asked him, taking her toast and dipping it into the poached egg.

"You won't once the river rises, we could be stuck here for days," Alec tried to sound serious.

Rose burst out laughing. 

"Is that meant to be a deterrent? It means you'd have to stay at home with me snuggles."

"You'd soon get tired of me being under your feet. Right, I am going to get your card and present. Where did you put mine?" he asked as he finished eating.

"In my underwear drawer, I thought you'd like to bring it over," she teased him.

"That was very thoughtful of you love," he grinned as he got out of bed, seeing her silk and lacy underwear under the wrapped red and silver shiny paper and a red envelope as he opened the drawer.

"Aw, I know you love going through my underwear Alec," Rose giggled.

"Only when you are wearing it darlin'. You open mine first but that is not the only gift I got for you."

He watched as she got the bear out of the gift bag after opening the envelope and as she held it out to him, he leaned over to kiss her, almost toppling the tray over.

"I love you Rose, you know that right?" he asked, realising what he'd almost done. "Do we really need gifts to tell each other that?"

"Nah you plum. It was just with it being our first, I wanted it to be special."

"It will love, this afternoon I have arranged something for you."

"Can't wait lover. Well open yours then?"

He opened the wrapping paper carefully, Rose thinking he might want to use it again and he took out the grey cashmere sweater.

"Thought you could wear it for work?" she asked hopefully.

"Thank you, that was most thoughtful of you. Rose, I know we've not been that romantic but I want to prove to you that I can be, if you will let me?"

"Alec, you have nothing to prove to me, I'm happy with the way things are between us. I never told ya but a while back, I lost someone I cared about and I never thought anyone could take his place."

"You should have said. So, have you? I mean found someone to take his place?"

"Yeah, you, you plum. Come and take this tray and get back into bed."

Alec did as she asked, just replying with a 'Yes Ma'am.'

After they made a light lunch together, Alec decided it was time to show her once and for all just how romantic he could be so he told her to wrap up warm and he was driving her somewhere. The sun had decided to show itself but it was still cold but Alec didn't think Rose would mind, they would only be out for an hour or so.

They were about to leave, Rose already in the car when he got a call from Ellie, who was in the town visiting Tom at her sister's house.

"Hardy. Did it work?" she asked as Fred tried to crawl on her.

"Miller, not now, I'm in the middle of something," he replied grumpily, hoping Rose wouldn't ask who was calling him.

"Charming after I help you. I was going to ask if you'd be in later, I'd like to see you're not having me on and it really is Rose Tyler you're shacked up with."

"Why would I lie Miller? Today is not a good time, we are just setting off. Come round another day and if this works, she will still be here."

He got into the driver's side, Rose eyeing him.

"Problem?" she asked as he put his seat belt on.

"No, it was Miller, my old DS. She's in town and wanted to come round but I told her I was busy."

"Aw, I'd like to meet her, ask her to come round sometime, yeah?"

"Sure love, another time eh? Ready for your surprise?"

He'd been thinking about the location of their romantic picnic and had decided to drive just down the coast where he could park the car almost on the beach. So since the weather was holding and they'd got set off ten minutes earlier than he'd planned, he took a right turn out of the field behind the chalet then a left before the mini-roundabout and drove a short distance until he saw the sign for Hive Beach and followed the road, stopping by a shop and a café.

"We already ate Alec," Rose pointed out as he stopped at the edge of the car park.

"I know love, that was not what I had planned. Just wait there."

He got out and went to the back, pulling out the picnic basket and putting the picnic rug over his arm then closing the back door. He put them on the sandy car park and opened her door.

"Rose, would you join me for a romantic picnic, over there on the beach?" he asked hopefully.

Rose was lost for words. How had he planned all this without her knowing?

"Alec, I'd love to have a romantic picnic with you, anywhere. Lead the way."

Pleased it was working so far, he helped her out then she put her arm in his when he'd picked up the basket and the rug and they walked a few hundred yards and he put the basket down, spreading the rug on the cold beach. As he opened the basket, hoping the champagne was cold enough he patted his jacket pocket at something else he'd spontaneously bought before his visit to the supermarket.

After a glass of champagne and a few savoury and sweet snacks, he half got up onto his knees and took her cold left hand.

"Rose, you know I love you and it is Valentine's Day so I have something to ask you, something very important."

"Alec, this is the best day I've ever had, no-one has done this for me before."

Well she wasn't actually telling a lie, it just wasn't on this world.

"Then I am happy I am the first, though this was planned rather quickly as I wanted to prove I could be romantic."

"You just have. I love you Alec and you don't have to prove it with flowers and gifts."

"Oh, I forgot the flowers but there are chocolates in the car for later," he grinned, trying to throw her off the fact he was about to try to propose to her.

If she turned him down now, he had been prepared for it and he'd try again another time, he wasn't going to give up, she just maybe wasn't ready for such a commitment. He held out his hands and she leaned forwards onto her knees. Letting go with his right hand, he fished in his jacket pocket for the pale pink box that contained the ring he had spent less time deciding on than the Valentine's card and wondered why she had found it so easy to get one.

It had only been when he was walking past a jewellery shop that he'd stopped and thought how much he loved her and seeing the pale pink sapphire ring with a diamond in the middle sat on a dark blue cushion with other rings, he had taken a chance for once in his newly-reprieved life and gone in to buy it. He was lucky he had some savings from when the police had been paying for his hotel room.

"What are you up to Alec?" Rose asked him as he lingered over getting the ring box out of its hiding place. "The picnic was lovely, really. It was such a romantic gesture, no matter how hurried it was, it was perfect. You do know you'll have to top this next year now?"

"I will? I mean yes, I will have to go all out next year, if you will still have me around?" he asked nervously.

"Don't be daft, of course you'll still be around. I love you Alec Hardy."

She leaned forward to kiss him, forcing him to bring his hand out of his pocket, still holding the ring box but Rose didn't notice as they kissed. Then as they pulled away, she noticed he looked nervously at his right hand.

"What's that?" she asked.

"This? This is something I bought yesterday when I went to buy things for the picnic. I was passing the shop and it caught my eye. It had your name on it," he tried to explain, hoping she would go for it.

He thumbed the box open, revealing the ring, which glittered in the late afternoon sun.

"You read the verse inside the card I gave you?" he asked, seeing she was shaking and he hoped it wasn't because it was now getting colder.

Rose managed a nod as he got the ring out of the slit in the cushion it was resting on.

"Well I gave you a hint on the front of the card – 'Be my Valentine forever?' I mean it Rose, I want to spend every Valentine's Day with you, if you want to spend it with me? Marry me Rose? A big wedding your mother wants to arrange or just Broadchurch registry office, I don't care. Will you try it on?"

Rose managed another nod as he took her hand again and placed the ring on her finger.

"It's beautiful Alec, I don't know what to say."

"Then just wear it, get used to it and give me your answer when you are ready. I am going nowhere."

"Alec, the man I lost, he said that to me and now he's gone. I swore I'd never let another man tell me he was going nowhere but something tells me you mean it."

"Aye, I mean it Rose, I can't imagine my life without you now. Remember I told you I did not want to go to that charity event? Well remind me to thank my chief for insisting."

"Yeah, I will, when you invite her to the wedding," Rose smiled, looking at the ring. "Can we go now, it's freezing."

"Sure, I will pack these away, you go warm the car up," he suggested, getting the key from his pocket. "Was that a 'Yes' then?"

"Help me up then?" she asked as she held her hand out. She got up and went to whisper in his ear. "It was a yes and it was a lovely picnic. For the record, I would have been quite happy spending an hour in a bubble bath with you."

"You would? Now you tell me. We had already done that Rose, I wanted something special."

"It was special Alec, I'll always remember this. So, bubble bath to warm us up?" she grinned.

"It's not snowing Rose," he smiled back, gathering all the things from the rug.

Rose just grinned, poking her tongue out. "Who cares?"

The End!