Alec Hardy Takes a chance

Alec Hardy takes a chance

 Rose Tyler lives with her family in the town of Sandbrook after her father made his fortune selling health drinks. Alec Hardy is waiting for a transfer out of the town after a suspect walks free and divorcing his cheating wife. Alec 'bumps' into Rose in a card shop as they are both getting Christmas cards and Alec takes a chance and asks her out. They spend the night together and Rose misunderstands about it being just one night and Alec lets her go, cursing himself for being an idiot.

Chapter 1

They both regret thinking it was just one night but don't know what to do about it until Alec's chief tricks him into attending a charity function just before Christmas and realises it's one Rose had talked about. He agrees to go but doesn't think Rose will even talk to him but she sees him and invites him to sit with them then invites him to their Christmas party which turns into him staying for the rest of the holidays.

Seven months later, Rose is three months pregnant and he finally gets his transfer - to Broadchurch and hopes he won't walk into another murder investigation. 

As the story unfolds, it's split into different aspects: their meeting, their date, missing each other and meeting again at a charity event and eventually moving to Broadchurch.

Rose Tyler was well known in town, after all, her father was Pete 'Vitex' Tyler, the Vitex millionaire who had got lucky after his wife Jackie had threatened to divorce him several times when they hardly had enough money to feed their baby daughter. Pete had persisted after bringing several products home he was trying to sell and discovered a drink he had paid money he couldn't afford to franchise it.

He had bottled it and sold it on the council estate they lived on and bought the patent for it and ten years later, they had moved to Sandbrook, had a big mansion on the outskirts of the town and now had a son called Tony, who liked to mess around at school and lived on junk food, much to his mother's dismay but she expected all teenage boys were like that.

It was 2012, Alec Hardy had made it to being a DI in the town's main police station and he'd been married to Tess for just over twelve years but now, he was just about free and so was a suspect from a murder investigation, the young victim's older cousin still being missing whom Alec half suspected she had run off with the suspect, since he'd left his wife behind.

He also thought that Claire Ripley was holding something back after she turned on her husband and now wanted to go by her maiden name and she was involved somehow. He had no proof though and he had no idea where she had disappeared to after he refused to help her and she had yelled at him and said she'd trusted him.

He'd told her if she ever wanted to tell the real truth about the night the two girls disappeared and one ended up in the river, he'd lock her husband up and she'd have nothing to worry about. Since that was several months ago and she'd not taken him up on his offer, he surmised she either still didn't trust him or she really had been involved.

It was approaching Christmas and Alec wasn't looking forward to it but the last few years had been just as bad. His thirteen year old daughter probably wanted the latest gadget and he'd have to try and ring her to find out, his now ex wife was hardly likely to tell him.

So with just a few more Saturdays to go, he had to make the effort and start by getting his daughter a Christmas card, not one from a pack he could buy in a supermarket, though he'd no-one else really to send any to, Tess had always taken care of sending them out but he supposed this year, she'd leave his name off.

He set off into town, using his police sign to avoid paying the car parking charges and hoping the attendant wouldn't question it when there was no ticket on display and took the stairs down to the shopping precinct in the centre of the main shopping area.

Rose Tyler had made her card list out, having got a large pack of cards the last time she'd been in town with her mother but she had left her in a shop trying on another new outfit for the upcoming Vitex charity evening at a posh hotel on the other side of town and she'd had the pleasure of organising it, since she was her father's personal assistant.

Now, she needed some cards with mum and dad and brother on, not that Tony would appreciate one unless it had money, a winning lottery ticket or scratchcard inside so she thought she'd maybe call and get a complicated scratchcard from the post office nearby and forget getting him a fancy card and just get the simplest one she could find.

Alec was browsing the cards for 'Daughter' on the other side of the display stand and finally picked one he thought was suitable. Rose had already been around that side and had moved off as Alec had approached it but now, she wasn't so sure the one for 'Mum and Dad' was what she wanted and was going back to take a second look.

Alec turned to walk around the other side, since that was where the cash desk was and he'd seen the queue as he'd entered and didn't fancy squeezing past the customers waiting to pay and the edge of the display, since shoppers were gathering in the doorway looking at silly Christmas hats and other items that had been dumped in a bin with Christmas paper around it.

His life was about to change as both he and Rose reached the corner at the same time.

"Hey, look where you're going," Rose called out as she tried to fend him off and he was doing the same.

"Excuse me, how was I to know you would choose to come around the corner at the same time?" Alec argued as Rose stood staring at him and there was nowhere for him to go with yet another display of Christmas crackers in the corner.

Rose recovered and supposed he did have a point but she wasn't going to admit it.

"Well are ya gonna move?" Rose asked as she held onto the two cards and may just keep the card she was going to change.

"There is nowhere to go unless you stand sideways," Alec pointed out.

"Oh. Bit of a stupid place to put a pile of Christmas cracker boxes," Rose replied, twisting her hoop earring with her free hand.

"Yes, indeed. I need to get to the cash desk," he reminded her, since she wasn't moving.

"Yeah, sorry. I was just going back to change this card but never mind, it'll be easier if I just went the same way as you," she admitted, hoping there was enough room to turn around.

Alec could only agree, since the other side had been busy and he wondered why there wasn't anyone wanting to go the same way as he'd done. Rose turned around and thought she would just go back the other way but then saw the crowd in the doorway and then changed her mind again as it meant squeezing past those waiting to pay and they might think she was pushing in.

Alec tapped her on the shoulder.

"I hope you were not going round the other side?"

"I was but not now. I wish I'd not left getting some cards now."

"It was probably just as busy in November?" Alec mused, getting some money out to pay and now realising there were people behind him.

It was very rare for him to visit such a shop but he'd learned a few things and one of them was to approach the corner carefully to avoid colliding with someone but the woman he'd almost knocked over looked very familiar.

The queue didn't seem to be going down very fast and Alec thought people at the front of the shop were jumping the queue or maybe the assistant at the end was encouraging them. He saw a woman standing behind the two cashiers and wondered why she wasn't operating the spare till in the middle, since he could see a gap.

"Geez, what's going on?" Rose wondered out loud.

The woman in front of her turned her head.

"You tell me love, wish they'd get a move on."

Rose tried to suppress a laugh and half turned to Alec as he learned forward.

"Maybe if you told them who you are, they may open the other till?" Alec told her quietly.

"Yeah, like that would make any difference? You know who I am?"

Alec thought didn't every single or otherwise male in town know as it had come to him she was Rose Tyler.

"You can trust me," he half smiled, recalling her father's slogan.

Rose could never remember if he'd said it right or it was 'You can trust me on this' and she should, since she'd had it drilled into her since she was ten.

Rose just spluttered and moved forward one place and wondered if the staff were being slow on purpose to make the shop look busy. They moved another pace forward and Alec thought he detected a few cheaters not bothering to join the end of the queue.

He debated getting his ID out of his pocket and confronting who was clearly the manager about it but now, Rose was about to finally get served.

"Geez, about time," she muttered, making Alec smile again.

Rose Tyler was obviously not a patient person as she had twisted her hoop earring several times whilst waiting and let out her breath noisily and making the woman in front of her half turn again. Alec moved past her and saw where the hold-up had been, since getting past the second till was quite awkward and people looking at silly hats and various other items had seen their chance and the cashier had not bothered there was a queue. He approached the till as a woman from the front was about to beat him to it. Rose had seen and was dying to laugh as Alec huffed and put the card on the counter, making the woman back off.

"Hey love, there's a long queue back there," Rose told the woman who was now waiting behind Alec as Rose came away from the desk. "We could have all jumped in if we'd wanted, we've been waiting ages and now we know why."

Alec turned away from the desk.

"Yes, I suggest you walk around the display and join like the rest of us," Alec told the stunned woman. "I saw you trying to get in before me."

"Well," was all the woman could say, since she'd missed her chance again while Rose and Alec kept her talking.

Rose dashed outside, bursting out laughing when she had.

"I see you found that amusing?" Alec stopped to ask her.

"Yeah, a bit, sorry. You didn't have to join in ya know?"

Then she realised how cold it was outside compared to being in the queue inside the shop. She popped the cards into her shoulder bag and fished around for her gloves.

Alec spied a famous coffee house across the other side of the wide precinct that had a large tree in the middle.

"Would you care to join me for a hot drink? I'm Alec Hardy by the way."

He didn't normally drink coffee but he did like the odd one now and then as he opened the door for Rose, seeing it was rather busy.

"You go find a table," Alec suggested.

"Okay, just a latte for me but ask for it in a takeaway carton."

"Why?" Alec wondered.

"I don't like the cups, my mum says they're like soup bowls," she replied, going off as she spotted a table by the window.

Alec shook his head and joined the queue to get their drinks, wondering why Rose had so eagerly agreed to join him. When it was his turn, thinking this was the second time he'd queued today, he got a funny look when he asked for cartons and said they were for in.

"My friend does not like the cups," he told the young man serving him. "Is there a rule that says we cannot drink from cartons inside?"

The server just shrugged his shoulders and went off to the machine. Alec thought it would be quicker if they had a self service machine like in motorway stops. Rose had got her phone out and was texting her mother to see if she was on her way home as Alec joined her, putting the cartons down and the spoons and some sugar sachets.

"Be careful," he warned as Rose put her phone down and took the lid off her drink. "So, I know who you are?"

"Yeah, I get that all the time," Rose replied, blowing on the hot drink. "Still, you have the advantage."

"Seriously?" he asked as he sat opposite.

He thought everyone in town knew who he was, that reporter certainly had since she'd only just left him alone.

"Why, am I supposed to know you?" she asked him. "Oh, you're that detective, aren't ya? I remember you from that girl getting killed. Sorry that bloke got away."

"It happens," he replied as they drank their coffee.

Alec wondered if she'd only recently moved to the town, since she didn't sound like one of the locals.

Rose had picked up her mother's bad habits of speaking with a slight Cockney accent, even though they'd been in Sandbrook for a number of years, since Rose was almost ten. Her younger brother however spoke in slang only he could understand.

"You got me then. Sure you want to be seen with the worst cop in Britain?" he smiled.

Rose just smiled back over her coffee carton.

"Well I'm always in the papers over being seen with a reject from Britain's got talent, like they'd be in this town. Even if they were, I wouldn't get caught being seen with them. So, being seen with the worst cop in Britain's a step up."

"Then I am glad you think so. Would you maybe have dinner with me later?"

Rose put her drink down. She'd not had a proper date in ages, not since dating James Smith, who had worked at Vitex and he'd gone back to work in London, Rose had not wanted to move. Her father had moved them out to Sandbrook and opened offices there, the main production plant was still back in London.

"Yeah, I'd love to. Know any good places?"

Alec hadn't really been out much since dating Tess and before Daisy came along.

"Maybe I should check?" he asked, seeing the free Wi-Fi sign and there would probably be no signal on his phone. "Another drink?" he offered.

After he returned, he gave a list of places suitable for a date, well he assumed it was a date, since Rose was still here and was considering the options.

"Italian sounds good," she offered.

"Then Italian it is," Alec agreed, showing her the details.

"So, who was the card for, I take it that it wasn't for your wife or girlfriend?" Rose smiled.

"My daughter, a teenager so she's difficult to satisfy."

"Yeah, tell me about it, I've got a teenager brother. There's this Vitex charity do just before Christmas and he's expected to go. I bet he'll try to get out of it."

"I expect you will be busy around that time?" Alec asked her.

"Yeah, there's the charity do, the Vitex Christmas party and not forgetting my mum's party on Christmas Eve. Geez, how do the press think I have time to go on dates?"

They finished their drinks and went back outside.

"See ya tonight then?" Rose asked, wishing she'd stayed inside and called a cab.

"Do you need a ride home?" he offered.

"Nah, it's fine, I can take a cab. Walk me around the corner to the taxi rank?"

Alec waved her off after Rose got in the front cab, wondering how he'd ever managed to get a date with Rose Tyler.

Chapter 2

When Rose got home, she went to her room to decide what to wear that night. Her mother noticed she'd disappeared and knocked on the door.

"Are ya going somewhere?" she asked Rose.

"Yeah, got a date tonight. I bumped into someone in the card shop and he asked me out."

"Crikey, what's wrong with you, going out on a date?"

"It's not unheard of Mum. At least he's somebody, you know I've never really been out since James left. You'll never guess who it is?"

"Well it's not your favourite actor, since he got married. You were all broke up about that. Go on then."

"Alec Hardy, that detective from that case of those two girls and before ya say anything, it was just one paper that went after him."

"I never said anything. Are ya sure ya wanna be seen with him though?"

"Geez Mum. Yes, why not? It's just a date. He really did bump into me in the card shop, we went for coffee afterwards. We couldn't decide who was to blame as we both went around the corner of the display stand at the same time, it was funny really. Anyway, nothing may come of it, I'm not expecting it."

"Don't say that Rose, ya never know. James let ya down but ya could have gone with him."

"I didn't want to go back there Mum, never mind, he's gone now. Actually, I suppose Alec looks a bit like him."

"Well don't tell him that," her mother laughed.

Just after seven fifteen, Rose was getting in the taxi as Alec was making his way to the restaurant, a bit nervous since he'd never been on any dates since he broke up with Tess. He thought he'd really got lucky literally bumping into Rose Tyler in the card shop, what were the chances of that happening, especially to him.

It would probably only be one date anyway, someone like her wouldn't stay with him that long. He pulled into the car park and watched out for any cabs arriving from the doorway, since it was quite cold. Rose's cab pulled into the car park and Alec spotted her, going to help her out.

He'd made a booking and they went inside, the place being quite busy, with people at larger tables, having Christmas gatherings he supposed. The head waiter though recognised Rose and went to attend to their booking himself.

"Miss Tyler, welcome to our establishment. I do not see your name here," he said to her.

"That's because it's in my name," Alec told him, not surprised they'd be making a fuss of her and he wasn't sure he liked it. "The booking is in the name of Hardy."

"Ah, yes," the head waiter glanced at the list, a few people waiting behind them. "This way please. See to the other customers," he turned to the man he'd taken over from.

Alec was already feeling left out of it. Was this what it was like to go on a date with her? He wasn't sure about it. Was it only one date though? She was in the news all the time, did he want to be back in the papers again especially if it were to be about him being her latest fling?

The head waiter left them with a menu and told them someone would be with them shortly, Alec seeing him going off towards where all the waiters were.

"Sorry about that," Rose apologised. "I think I came here once with my parents, just didn't recognise the name of the place."

"Don't worry about it," Alec tried to assure her.

Rose could see it was bothering him though but said nothing. It showed as they were made a fuss of. They talked over their meals, Rose telling him how they'd moved from their home in London and her father opening offices here.

"Don't ask me why he chose this place," Rose smiled over dessert, her favourite. "What brought you here then?"

"I met my ex wife and moved here, there was nothing to keep me where I came from. I put in for a transfer but with what happened, I am somewhat limited until someone will take me on. I took the blame for what happened, the lost evidence."

"Wow, why would you do that, if it wasn't your fault?"

"It was my responsibility and the fact I did not want to let our daughter know her mother was meeting someone at the time. I then found out she already knew and told the chief. I was cleared but no-one else knows. Still, I don't want to move too far away."

"Yeah, I can imagine. So you see your daughter then?"

"Yes, as often as I can. Rose, please don't take this the wrong way. I know you are quite famous and people go out of their way to please you but I noticed you do not always welcome the attention."

"Yeah, I seem to be bad at not drawing attention to myself. Trust me, I wish I was just normal and no-one knew who I was. Please don't tell your daughter you had a date with me."

So it was just one date and she was worried word would get around. Well, if that was the case, he intended making it worthwhile.

"She is not interested in what I do, I won't be telling her. She probably follows everything you do though, being a teenager."

"Not if she's like my brother, he spends all his time sending stupid text messages to his mates, you should hear his message tone, it's never ending. I don't know how many times we've told him to turn it off, it's not like he leaves his phone."

"I can imagine. Would you like any coffee?" he offered as the waiter approached.

"Yeah, okay, it'll be cold outside when we leave."

"I should see you home," he smiled as the dishes were cleared. "May we have two coffees?" he asked the waiter.

"Make that two lattes," Rose corrected him.

The waiter nodded and went off.

"Sorry but if ya ask for coffee, you get that thick black stuff in a tiny cup, trust me, I've had experience."

"Then you have taught me something. Rose, may I take you home?"

"Yeah, if ya want but maybe we can go to your place first? If I invite you in, my mum will be asking questions. I've not been out on a proper date for ages."

Alec couldn't remember if she'd already mentioned that or not.

"I'm not one for going out really," he replied as their drinks arrived, in large glass cups.

Did that mean Rose was always right in such things? Maybe she'd learned the hard way.

She excused herself to the ladies room as Alec went to settle the bill and he didn't think he'd get a discount for being with Rose. He also picked up a red rose that had its stem wrapped in silver foil.

"Aw, thanks Alec," Rose greeted him as he held it out when she rejoined him.

They went to his car, Alec having to warm up the car to be able to see through the windscreen. He drove back to his apartment and wondered how long she would be staying, since it was still early.

"We could have gone somewhere for another drink," Alec told her as they went in the entryway.

"You were driving. I guessed you had your car with you, you only had one glass of wine, then the coffee."

"I have to be careful, being in the police. I suppose I'm never really off duty."

That was the problem Tess had with him anyway and why she went elsewhere. He wouldn't have minded so much if she'd gone for someone much younger and fitter but she went for the opposite.

"Well, you're off duty now," Rose giggled as they went upstairs.

"Yes Ma'am," Alec replied with a smile as he opened the door.

"So, do ya have anything to drink?"

"Ah, I may have half a bottle of wine somewhere, you are welcome to have some."

"Never mind, I don't want to drink on my own. What about if ya didn't have to take me home tonight?"

"Well, I may be persuaded then? If you want to stay?"

"Yeah, I'd love to stay Alec. I told ya, I don't go out that often. So, you were saying about the wine?"

Before either of them knew it, they were laid on the sofa kissing, Alec finding he wasn't out of practice unfastening a bra with one hand and Rose letting his other hand wander.

"Mmm, this is nice Alec but maybe we should take this to the bedroom?" she suggested a while later.

"Really? Well, you did say you were staying. Need some help?" he smiled as she tried to hold her bra and dress in place.

"Can I borrow a t-shirt?" she asked as he opened the bedroom door.

"Sure, if you need one? Rose, I have to ask. Do you take precautions?"

Rose giggled, Alec hoping it was because she'd had two glasses of wine to his half a glass, then he was only being sociable.

"Yeah, even though everything about me in the news is made up. I'm not with a different bloke every night Alec. I've not had a proper boyfriend since James left to go back to London. He thought his career was more important than me when my dad promoted him. He could have done the job from here but he was the hands on type."

"Sorry. I was only asking in case you wanted me to take responsibility, I mean if you, you know?"

Rose let out another giggle.

"Blimey, I thought I was bad enough. Yes Alec, I want to have sex with you. There, now ya know. I don't make a habit of telling a bloke that, even when they get as far as taking me back to their place. Most of the time, I end up getting a cab back if they get a bit pushy."

"You have to fight them off then?" Alec smiled as he stood watching her trying to cover her cleavage.

"Half of them only want to brag to their mates."

"Well, I don't have many friends so you are safe from that."

"Good. I can trust you though, being in the police. Save the t-shirt for later, I don't like to sleep with nothing on. Talking about blokes wanting to tell their mates, I don't give them much to talk about, except they got me back to their place."

Alec wondered what she was trying to tell him.

"So, they don't succeed in getting you into bed?"

"Nope and I mean that. James was the only one, he left, nearly two years ago. Bet ya wondering why I lasted so long?"

"You will tell me if you want to. Ah, do you maybe need the bathroom, to get undressed?" he offered, going to get the t-shirt.

She went off and he got himself down to his shorts, sitting on the edge of the bed. His doctor had told him to go easy, since going into the river to get the young girl out hadn't done him any good but that was months ago now and despite check-ups, nothing had transpired over a scare his heart may have been affected.

Still, he'd never done anything strenuous since but now, he was about to try, since Tess had gone off him ages before she'd said she was leaving him. He remembered his manners as Rose came back in and went off to the bathroom, Rose getting into the bed.

"So, you are staying the night?" he asked as he kissed his way across her upper half when he got back.

"Yeah, I think I can trust ya Alec, you're not like men I usually meet when I'm out with friends. Did I tell ya there was a charity event coming up? Trust me, I'll be fending them off all night, then mum's party, goodness knows who she'll invite, including reps."

"So, nothing fancy then?" he asked, hoping she would do to him what he'd just done to her, well after they got around to actually having sex.

"The charity event's at a posh hotel, need I say more? At least the Christmas Eve party at home's less formal. Mmm, Alec. want to swap places?"

He hoped that was only so she could kiss her way across his chest. He needn't have worried as Rose got the hint he wanted to get down to the more serious stuff. As they moved together, he found she was willing to do everything he wanted, unlike Tess had been towards the end, where it had been what she wanted but Rose seemed to actually want to move with him.

As he came away from her, Rose was giggling, which he took as a good sign that she had enjoyed it as much as he had.

He moved to lay on his back, Rose turning onto her side.

"Was I okay?" she asked, running her finger down him.

Alec thought she had to be joking.

"You were amazing Rose, to say you are out of practice. Come and lie on me."

They enjoyed more sensations as Rose moved on him, resulting in a repeat, which Alec found just as good with her on top. He thought he could go for more than that but she would be gone in the morning and although he knew who she was, she would go back to her life and forget him.

Rose went to clean herself up, putting the t-shirt on and her underwear then laid by his side.

"So, there will be plenty of men at this charity event?" he asked her.

"I expect so. Never mind that anyway, I'm only going to appease my mother, I hate those things. She'll be reminding me every day about it. That's the life I lead Alec."

Was she trying to warn him off? He'd not been happy earlier. He supposed that was a hint why she never dated anyone or why she only spent one night with a man. She moved to try to look at him in the dim light. Alec wondered what she expected him to say.

"Well, you were just being yourself tonight. Apart from the waiters, no-one else bothered while we were out."

"I don't exactly get mobbed everywhere I go Alec. I just normally attract the wrong kind of attention."

"By that you mean all the wrong men?" Alec wondered.

"Usually. I don't always bump into the right kind of man, you were an exception."

Alec supposed that was a compliment but didn't mean to say she wanted to see him again.

They kissed again and Rose fell asleep on him though Alec lay awake for a while. He wanted to see her again but by the sound of it, one night was all she wanted. It was best to let her decide before she went home in the morning. He may bump into her again and she may change her mind, it had just been a nice accident bumping into her. As they woke up, Rose greeted him after letting him have his arm back.

"Hi, sorry about your arm."

"No problem. Good morning Rose. How about a kiss in return for me making you breakfast?"

Rose thought that was the least she could do. It had been nice, he'd been very good last night, not pushy and she had wanted the same as him and she could easily go for more but he didn't seem comfortable with who she was. James had been a bit of a show-off, always keen to pose for photos when the local paper was desperate for a story to boost sales and covered an event they attended.

She was surprised Alec had not seen them together in the papers though or maybe he didn't read the gossip column, he had probably left that to his then wife. She was glad she didn't use social media under her own name, she had another to message her friends though she didn't spend all day updating her profile or doing silly videos.

The kissing turned into Rose losing her underwear and her getting revenge by putting her hands down the back of his shorts as she moved on him.

"Rose, I can take them off if you wish?"

"You were the one to leave them on," Rose laughed. "Alec, swap places and just take them off."

"If that's what you want? Rose, I hope you are not disappointed."

"I won't be, if last night was anything to go by. Just because your wife went off you doesn't mean you won't find someone else Alec."

He wondered why she'd said that instead of he may have found someone. No, Rose Tyler was in a league of her own and she would take some catching though it seemed the man who had didn't know what he given up. Maybe she wasn't over who she had said was called James. Maybe she didn't trust anyone now?

He soon forgot all about it as he sank himself into her, Rose making contented noises and pulling on him, her legs wrapped around him at one point until he let out his own noises as he came away from her, seeing a smile on her face. That would be the last time he'd see it unless he was really lucky. At least he would have something to remember.

"That was better than last night Alec."

"Was it? Well maybe it was because you'd not been drinking my wine? You have a beautiful smile Rose, smile some more for me?"

He leaned down to start kissing her upper half, paying close attention and trying to glance up as he kissed across her tummy then he stopped to see her reaction. Rose was ruffling his hair then put one arm around his neck and indicated for him to go lower. She did make a noise as he hit the spot.

"Geez Alec, do that again," she burst out laughing with excitement.

Alec wondered how long she had been waiting for that as he continued and hoping she wouldn't push him away if he went further. She didn't, she just ruffled his hair and pulled him where she wanted him until she got a little too excited and realised, still giggling quietly to herself. He moved back to kiss her breasts then rested on his hands over her, Rose's arms around his back

"That was so good. Well, I guess it's back to the real world then?"

"I guess so, Miss Vitex. I will go get breakfast for you then?"

"Thanks. I do get my own at home, despite having staff. Mum doesn't like to think of them as servants, she spends most of the day distracting them by talking with them. Dad says she should stop paying them if they do nothing. So, are ya gonna creep out of bed and not let me see ya?"

"You want to watch me get dressed?" he had to ask.

Even Tess had decided to do something else instead of watching him and that was when they'd first met, then nothing had changed. Rose however seemed determined she was going to make him show off to her. She sat up after putting the t-shirt back on and propped herself on the pillow as he slowly got out of bed.

"Cute ass," Rose teased him as he stood up.

Alec wasn't quite ready to turn around, he was not one for showing off, maybe that was where he'd gone wrong with Tess?

"Rose, you do not want me to turn around."

"Aw, why not? You needn't be shy, I experienced you twice. You should live a little."

Alec was going to say she'd been warned but as he went to the drawer to get some clean shorts, he stood sideways as he put one leg into his shorts then the other, taking his time pulling them up. He saw Rose watching as he stood up straight. He assumed she wanted to watch him put his shirt on so he went to the wardrobe and got his blue one out.

"Alec, let me button your shirt for you?" she offered.

Who was he to refuse her offer? As she fastened the buttons, Alec very aware she was only wearing his t-shirt, she reached up for a kiss. Letting go after admiring his slightly hairy chest, she decided to let him do the rest on his own as she went for her dress.

"Alec, can ya help with the zip?" she asked him, thinking it had all been a little one sided.

He tried not to seem disappointed she'd managed her bra strap on her own. He went off to start making some breakfast as Rose went to the bathroom. He thought it a shame this would not last once she left but was she as disappointed as he was that they could never make anything out of it except it was just one night?

She joined him just in time and they sat at the table, eating silently but smiling at each other occasionally.

"I should take you home," he offered as they cleared up.

"Nah, I can get a cab, we have an account with one of the companies, since mum always spends up when she goes shopping and they don't take cards. Besides, if you see me home, my mum will be out if she sees me getting out of a strange car, you'll get asked loads of questions. You should have seen her when I first took James home with me."

Alec wondered if she was just trying to save him from the embarrassment or she didn't want her mother comparing him to her ex. He watched her use the 'App' on her phone and thinking he should get Daisy to teach him how to use them, since he was baffled by them.

"Alec, what's the address?" she asked as she stopped.

"Beechwood court," he replied, wondering if she would remember once she left.

She went back to what she was doing, sticking her tongue out of the side of her mouth then smiling as she finished what she was doing and him thinking it would have been faster just to call them. Maybe he wouldn't bother with the 'Apps' after all then?

He helped her with her coat then picked up his mobile and his keys, opening the door first then walked her downstairs. They stood in the doorway, since it was raining, arms around each other.

"Thanks for a lovely time," Rose told him after they kissed again.

"My pleasure. Take care Rose."

"Yeah, you too. Looks like my cab's here."

Not bothering about getting wet, he walked her outside and opened the cab door.

"Bye Rose, it was really nice," he whispered so the driver wouldn't hear.

"Yeah it was. Bye Alec and for the record, you're definitely a ten."

With that, she got in the back of the cab before he could say anything.

He stood for a while, wondering if he would ever see her again or she would avoid him. Rose turned slightly in the seat to see him standing there getting wet.

"Going home Miss Tyler?" the driver asked as he glanced through the mirror.

"Yeah thanks. Have ya just started work then?"

"No, you're my last job, then I can go home."

As they made their way across town to Rose's house just on the outskirts and what everyone called 'The Mansion' she wished she was just an ordinary woman who didn't have a wealthy father and a mother who didn't like to show off. Then she might have stood a chance with someone who could easily replace James Smith but with who she was, Alec Hardy would never get used to it, no matter how she tried.

Chapter 3

The next two weeks were unbearable for Rose's mother and Alec's boss. Rose's mother had finally had enough the day of the charity dinner and dance to raise money this year for the police benevolent fund, which funnily enough Rose had chosen this year. All those high up in Vitex got to choose a charity by June and Rose had thought of it because of the high profile case going on at the time.

They were out shopping for new outfits that morning, since Jackie had decided she'd wanted the other one she'd got for the Christmas party at Vitex last week, Pete was cringing at both their credit card bills that would arrive in January and they were in a dress shop next to each other in the fitting rooms.

"I hope you're not gonna be a misery tonight Rose?" her mother asked her as she struggled into a dress a size too small but she'd insisted she didn't need a bigger one, Rose thinking she was being over-optimistic about it and rolling her eyes at the poor assistant who was used to them.

"Stop it Mum, it's just been crazy putting the finishing touches to tonight. I mean I don't know how many times I rang the police headquarters in town, they still don't know who exactly will be representing them. The hotel manager wanted a name to put on the table and I can't tell her. I just said to leave a place at one of the tables."

"Well you had to go and choose the police this year. Whatcha do that for?"

"I don't know, it seemed like a good idea at the time," Rose replied, thinking maybe they would pick Alec Hardy though she'd been in denial about him every time her mother mentioned him.

It had started when she'd got home on the Sunday after spending the night with Alec.

"Well, what happened then?" her mother had wanted to know over Sunday lunch.

Rose didn't want to talk in front of her father and brother.

"You don't often stay out all night," Pete had told her.

"Yeah, I know but we'd had a bit to drink, you know how it is?" Rose had offered.

So every day, Rose would go to work, looking way out of it that her secretary had done most of the ringing around for the upcoming event and other jobs Pete had asked Rose to do while she had laid her head in her arms on her desk looking half asleep.

She was half asleep because she was going over what had happened the night she'd spent with Alec and wished she could have had more. Even James hadn't been that attentive to her all the time they were together and she'd certainly not had those sensations before but Alec seemed to know what she liked, even if she hadn't a clue she could even feel them.

Her secretary had tried to find out why Rose was out of it and just used the excuse Christmas was coming up and she had been to various parties whenever anyone wanted to speak to her. The day before, when the offices were closing for the holidays, poor Daphne had tried to talk to Rose.

"Leave it on my desk," Rose mumbled as Daphne knocked on her door and stood in front of her.

Daphne was quite used to having a conversation with her boss who had her head on the desk.

"Miss Tyler, I just need you to sign for tomorrow night's event, so accounts can pay for it. Nothing came back from the police again, they've still not said who will be accepting the cheque for the money that's been raised, then they'll be the money from the raffle."

Rose tried to look up.

"What's the raffle prize?"

Daphne had to smile, since Rose herself had already organised it before she'd come in one Monday morning like her life was over. She reckoned Rose had met someone and couldn't get him off her mind. She knew Rose had persuaded a local wine merchant to donate a bottle of expensive brandy and a luxury hamper, which she hoped would be taken to the hotel as it had been left in the personnel office.

It was her job tomorrow night to catch the guests on their way in and sell tickets at 10 pounds each then go around and make sure everyone had one during the dancing. She also had to make sure Rose and her family were included and she just hoped Rose would cheer up to draw the winning ticket and present the prize then Rose had to hand the cheque over to whoever turned up from the police.

She supposed if they didn't send anyone, the chief of police would have to accept it, though he probably wouldn't be pleased about being picked. If Rose chose to do so, it would have to be sent by messenger the following day.

"It's down in personnel, that expensive bottle and a hamper, remember? Miss Tyler, if you don't mind me saying something but you've not been yourself the last couple of weeks. Did you meet someone?"

Rose looked up again.

"Can you keep a secret? Yeah, I met someone the other Saturday. We had coffee, he took me out for a meal and I spent the night with him. I went home the next morning, end of story."

"Then why are you acting like this? It seems to me there's more to it? You wanted more than one night and he didn't?"

"I don't know Daphne. I mean it was nice, he was very charming but ya know what it's like when I go anywhere? The head waiter made a fuss, the staff were falling over themselves to make sure everything was okay and I don't think he liked it. Why would he want to like it? No, it was better we had just one night."

"For who?" Daphne had asked her. "Did you ask him if he was okay with it?"

"What? Why would he be? He looked totally put out but when we got back to his place, he was fine. He wouldn't want to be seen going out with me."

"You don't know that. Did you swap phone numbers?"

"No, I think he was relieved when I left. I met him in the card shop, he nearly knocked me over, then we went for coffee and he asked me out," Rose admitted, trying to sit up.

Daphne could see her problem.

"You thought it was just a casual date? What if you're wrong?" she asked. "Can't you contact him? I mean you must know where he lives?"

"Have you been talking to my mother? She's asked me non-stop the last two weeks when I'm gonna do something about it. How can I Daphne? He'll have forgotten all about me by now."

Daphne wondered how any man could forget he'd spend the night with Rose Tyler? All this time, she'd never seen Rose like this. She left the sheet of paper she'd printed out of Rose's desk and retreated, shaking her head. Then she turned back as she closed the door.

"I think you're wrong Miss Tyler. Maybe it's him who thinks you've forgotten about him, being who you are? Maybe he let you leave without asking you out again because he was afraid you'd turn him down?"

"No Daphne, maybe he didn't ask me out again because everywhere I go, it would be the same."

"Sorry. I'll get someone to make sure that hamper gets delivered and if I can have that form back?"

"Yeah. Everyone's finishing early today and I like your Christmas jumper. How much has been raised for that?"

"I don't know yet but everyone's wearing one, well except you and your father."

"Geez, you should have seen the ones mum came back with. We've still put something in the collection box in reception though."

"I never meant to infer you hadn't," Daphne replied. "Are you looking forward to tomorrow night?"

Rose thought she would have done, if she could forget about Alec Hardy.

So now, she'd chosen a simple black dress with a flowing skirt and sequins around the bodice and the neckline that wasn't too expensive and her mother had given in when the assistant tactfully asked her if she was okay and would she like any help.

"Geez Mum, just get a bigger size," Rose called over. "Ya do it every time."

"Well okay, since we've got more shopping to do or shall we leave it until tomorrow when the sales start early?"

"If you think I'm going shopping tomorrow, forget about it," Rose complained as she put her own clothes back on.

"Ya know you like a bargain or two," her mother reminded her as a dress a size bigger was handed to her through the curtain.

The assistant didn't mind, it kept her off the shop floor and she'd get a nice commission for her troubles. They all argued amongst themselves when the Tyler women came in. Rose went off to the shoe display, thinking she'd be wise to get something black and comfortable and was trying some on when her mother came out. She then went to the accessories stand and chose a belt and a diamante brooch to compliment her new dress.

Jackie smiled to herself. It seemed Rose was cheering up a bit so after paying, they got a cab home but her mother wouldn't let Rose rest once they got back.

"Rose, why not try and contact him? Ya know where he works love."

"I can't Mum, what do I even say to him? Maybe he'll be the one to turn up representing the police tonight?"

"Ya never know but if he doesn't? Rose call him tomorrow, invite him to our Christmas Eve party, he can't so no to that."

"Well maybe? He'll probably be working tomorrow, I can ring the front desk and ask I suppose? Do ya think he'd accept an invitation though? I mean it's not like I'm asking him on a date, is it?"

"You have to get over James love, ya never trusted anyone after he left ya," Jackie reminded her.

Rose didn't want reminding. Her mother went off, mainly to avoid Pete when he came out of his study and ask how much the two of them had spent. If she thought it would do any good, she'd call this Alec Hardy herself and invite him, then he'd hardly be able to refuse and it wouldn't seem like Rose was asking him out. She thought she'd do it anyway in the morning, Rose wasn't likely to actually do it but she'd never seen her like this since James broke her heart and went off.

Over at police headquarters just on the edge of the town centre, Alec Hardy was sat sideways at his desk, tapping his pen and looking at his phone. Did he actually think Rose would suddenly decide to call him after two weeks? He'd done nothing but think about her, despite telling himself it would never work, with her being famous.

At least she worked though, so she'd told him and not lived off her fame or her father but what happened in the restaurant that night, could he ever get used to it happening almost everywhere? Well he'd blown all chances of ever finding out if he could even try. He'd let her go off in a taxi when he should have taken her home himself but maybe she'd just been trying to save him the embarrassment of being questioned by her mother, or worse still, Pete Tyler himself.

Rose was much younger than he was, he had to remember that but did it make any difference these days? What would Daisy think though, let alone Tess, once she found out. It could go either way with Daisy but he was trying to win her back, not send her further away. Maybe though it would go down well, since Daisy followed everything Rose did but he didn't want to win her back because of Rose.

That was just it though, Rose was fairly famous, he was famous for all the wrong reasons. He almost fell out of his chair when the desk phone rang, which wasn't very often since he'd ordered under no circumstances were any calls to be put through to him from Ricky Gillespie or anyone from that case.

"Hardy," he just answered without looking whose name was on the display, trying to sit up and wishing he could leave for the holidays, not that he had anything to look forward to.

Rose had mentioned a charity event she was attending and a party at her house on Christmas Eve but why was he even thinking about them?

"Alec, I need a huge favour from you," the chief told him.

"No, I'm not working at being in charge over the holidays, I want to see my daughter," Alec replied before asking what it was.

"I have that covered Alec. No, it seems I can't get anyone to attend a charity function tonight, for the police benevolent fund. I've had them on to me to give them a name several times. Is there any chance you can help me out and attend? I'd go myself but my in-laws are coming over tonight, my wife would never forgive me if I went out."

"Am I the only one you've not asked?" Alec wanted to know as his stomach turned to butterflies as this was surely the event Rose had mentioned she was organising.

He didn't want to seem so keen on going though.

"Alec, you've been like a bear with a sore head the last two weeks man," the chief replied, tired of all the complaints he'd had – mostly from the man's ex wife. "Really Alec, you growl at anyone who dares to enter your office. You've not been like this since you banned Ricky Gillespie from the building and from calling you."

"Well get me the hell out of here then," Alec replied gruffly. "How much longer is it going to take?"

"There's not a rush of chiefs willing to take you on Alec but I'm working on it. I have a few contacts who may be talked into it. So, about tonight?"

"Will that go towards you getting me out of here sooner rather than later?" Alec wanted to know.

"It will go towards it. I won't make it an order Alec but if you were to turn up there tonight, present the winner of the raffle they are holding and accept the cheque Mr Tyler will be signing on behalf of Vitex. I'm told Miss Tyler will be presenting it."

That was it, there was no way now he was going or was this his chance? It wasn't like he was asking her on a date and everyone there knew who she was. Would it be so bad?

"Fine, send me the details but don't put my name down in case I change my mind."

"I'll email them to you. Maybe you will stop making everyone nervous? Alec, is there a woman involved maybe?" he asked Alec, thinking that was maybe the problem.

"You could say that. I had one night with someone and well, it would never have worked out."

"Ah, maybe you should have tried, if you feel like this Alec. Take my advice. Go have a free night out, you may meet someone there to take your mind off it."

Alec thought if only he knew. When he didn't reply, the chief continued.

"No, don't tell me that Rose Tyler is the cause of all this? Alec, take my advice and at least try, you never know, she may be feeling as bad as you."

So Rose was putting the final touches to her outfit as Pete and Tony waited downstairs for her and Jackie.

"Why do they always take so long?" Tony wanted to know.

"It's what women do Son, trust me. Your mother won't be late for the party tomorrow night though."

"What's wrong with Rose anyway? She's been really off the last few weeks."

"I know, maybe she'll cheer up tonight eh?"

"Yeah, maybe she'll see that bloke again?" Tony wondered.

"Maybe Son, he's probably hoping he'll see her again. He may be the one asked to be there tonight, we can only wait and see."

Rose was looking at herself in the mirror, getting nervous in case Alec was actually going to be there tonight. Daphne had called her to say someone was going to be there from the police but no name had been given so her stomach was doing back-flips in case it was Alec, since she'd told him about the event.

Alec was waiting for the taxi he had booked in case he was going to be drinking while Rose was getting into the back of the limo Pete had hired for the evening. Daphne was there to greet them, with her book of raffle tickets and a few people had already arrived and were waiting to go into the ballroom. The manager saw them arrive and sent someone to open the ballroom door.

Rose and her mother went inside to start greeting people, mostly from Vitex and suppliers and local businessmen plus a few officials from the local council so they had put their coats on a chair at the side of the door and Jackie was chatting to the women while Pete greeted the men.

"You remember my daughter," Jackie was telling one woman, Rose wanting to escape.

"Nice to meet you," Rose told the woman, looking around to see where they'd be seated as the tables filled up but she could see one near the stage that had been left.

Alec had just got out of the cab, wondering how he'd get in without an invite so it was lucky he kept his ID on him all the time, since it got him into places. He approached the line of people waiting to go in, wondering what was holding them up. Rose was watching the door, getting apprehensive as more people came in.

"Rose, say hello to Mrs Porter, her husband is the leader of the council," her mother was telling her as she was getting distracted.

Then her heart did pound as she was sure she saw Alec talking to the man on the door and getting something out of his inside pocket.

"Your invitation Sir?" the man had asked him.

"I don't have one, I'm here representing the police, I was told it was all arranged for me to give the raffle prize out and collect the cheque for the police benevolent fund," Alec told him, showing his ID.

"Sorry Sir, go right in, it was just we weren't told who would be attending," the man replied.

"Excuse me," Rose told Mrs Porter as Alec entered.

"Sorry about that," Jackie apologised, thinking she recognised the man Rose was heading towards.


"Rose. You look very nice tonight. My chief asked me to represent him tonight."

"Yeah, hi. We weren't told who was coming. I think they left a place for you somewhere but hey, you should come and sit with us maybe?" she suggested as Pete went across. "Dad, this is Alec Hardy, his chief sent him."

"Yes, good to meet you Alec. Rose is right, you should sit with us. Rose, where's your brother got to?"

Rose was about to say he'd probably got their driver to take him home when she spotted him near the empty table and a waitress seeing who he was. They walked across to the table, her mother watching as Pete went back.

"So that's him?" Jackie asked. "Well thank gawd for that, she's been a right misery since she had that date with him."

As the evening went on and they had eaten, Rose having got a passing waitress to set an extra place at their table, poor Daphne was seeing to the raffle tickets, roping in a waitress to help her fold the tickets and hoping she could get to Pete to hand the money over that was in the bag she was clinging hold of.

Luckily, Pete went over to her to see how she was getting on and she gave him the money plus she told him how much there was so he could add it to the total he'd been given as people had sent donations with their acceptances that Rose had posted out, her asking for them to give generously as she'd explained she had chosen the charity this year and her reasons.

There was already music playing as the DJ had set up and Rose wanted to be the first on the dance floor, thinking others were waiting for her to take the lead. She got up, prompting Alec to help her.

"Well ask me to dance," she leaned over to him, since they had only talked quietly through their meals and then mainly about the event.

Alec had asked what he was supposed to do, since it hadn't been made clear.

"Well, you come on stage with us and draw the winning raffle ticket, then my dad will announce the total raised and have a cheque ready and I'll hand it over to you. The photographer from the local paper will take a few pictures as I hand the cheque to you," Rose had explained.

"Is that all?" Alec had joked.

So now, they were the only ones to stand on the dance floor as the DJ played a fairly slow song and Alec noticed the photographer was already at work. He knew he'd never really get used to it but he was willing to give it a chance, if Rose wanted to.

It was soon time for the announcements to be made as Rose, Pete and Alec made their way to the stage, Pete having put in the total on the cheque he'd got specially from the bank and Rose made the selection from the raffle tickets and handed it to Alec to give out the number. The prize handed over to the excited woman, Pete handed Rose the cheque and she announced the total to clapping and cheering.

"Thank you for your generous support," Rose was saying as Alec watched how she handled herself.

No matter how he tried, he would never get over that one night they had as she gave the cheque to him and kissed his cheek, everyone clapping again and more photos being taken,

Alec knew he'd never live it down and Tess would see it before he told her he'd got himself in the news again. The dancing recommenced but all too soon, it was winding down as people were going off. Alec hadn't known when the event was going to finish so he called the cab company while Rose was in the ladies room with her mother.

"See, I told ya," her mother called to her.

"Well, he'll see how I really live now, won't he? He'll go off this time, not me."

Pete saw Alec using his phone.

"You're not leaving without saying goodnight to her, are you?"

"No Mr Tyler, it will take a while to get a cab, they said they would call back when one was on its way. I would not do that to your daughter. Mr Tyler, I do like her, it's just I thought the life she led, well she would not want to be seen with me, after what happened."

"Alec, take some advice. Take a chance with her and if you're going to keep her out, bring her back in the morning."

He was just going to the door with Pete and Tony when Rose and her mother appeared. Alec took Rose to one side, keeping inside since it had got colder.

"I had a really enjoyable evening Rose."

"Yeah, me too. Alec, you've seen what you're up against."

"Yes, I know. Maybe we would stay in contact, go out sometime?"

"Rose!" her mother called from outside.

"Yeah, I'm coming mum," she called back.

"Alec, will you come to our Christmas party tomorrow night?"

"Rose, I would be delighted to attend, if you're sure I will be welcome?"

"Yeah, it's just friends and people from work, my mum loves a good party," Rose smiled. "You know where I live?"

"Doesn't everyone?" Alec raised his eyebrows as a taxi pulled up.

The driver let the window down and shouted 'cab for Hardy' then quickly closed it again.

"Where's Rose got to?" her mother was asking Pete. "Go call her again."

Pete got of the of the limo, hating sitting backwards but Jackie hated it even more.

"Seven thirty," Rose grinned as the driver waited and she knew her mother would send her dad or Tony to get her.

"Yes Ma'am," Alec did a mock salute as he opened the cab door.

Rose turned as Pete called her, knowing she should go, since he was paying for the limo by the hour.

"I'm coming Dad, did mum send ya?"

"Come on Rose, time to go," he told her as the taxi driver pulled away from the front of the hotel.

"Where to Sir?" the cab driver asked Alec.

Alec turned and saw Rose standing, her father going back to the limo.

"Can you hold on one moment?" he asked the driver.

"I have another job after this," the driver replied as he stopped, Rose not seeing as she'd turned away to follow Pete.

"It won't take long," Alec replied as he opened the door. "Rose," he called over to where she was.

Rose turned as she heard him as Pete opened the limo door for her.

"Hurry up Pete," Jackie called as she felt the cold night air.

"Rose, come with me?" Alec asked her as she walked back, Pete knowing where this was heading, as it seemed Alec was taking his advice.

Rose turned to her father, who waved back to her, Alec opening the cab door.

Chapter 4

Alec kept silent on the way back to his apartment, taking Rose's hand. They had danced closely once everyone else joined them on the dance floor.

"How have you been Rose?" Alec had asked her as they danced.

"Driving everyone crazy," Rose admitted. "What about you?"

"The same, no-one dare enter my office. I was only asked this morning to attend this event, I had an idea it was the one you were organising."

"Well there could be loads of events going on," Rose had replied.

"Where the police are benefiting? I was a bit nervous about accepting. I thought maybe you would not want to talk to me."

"Yeah, I thought the same when I saw you in the doorway. When no-one was named from the police, I thought maybe they'd ask you, well I was kinda hoping they would anyway. Wanna know the truth? I've been driving my mum nuts this last few weeks, she told me I should call ya and I said you probably told the desk not to put me through."

"Rose, the only person I banned was the father of the girl who died. He made things very unpleasant and he drags it up every so often. He tried recently to get to my office but fortunately he was stopped in time after storming past the front desk."

"I'm sorry Alec, it must be difficult? I left most of tonight to my secretary, she's been great. I was hoping it would be you I'd be handing the cheque to. My mum said if it wasn't you who turned up tonight, I should call and invite you to our Christmas party tomorrow night. I think she may have called herself to make sure I'd done it."

"Then I would be happy to accept," he'd replied as the song finished and Rose led him to their table.

The taxi arrived at Alec's apartment so he paid the driver and helped Rose out. Once upstairs, Alec glad his chief had talked him into going, he put the cheque he'd accepted from Rose in a safe place.

"Well the raffle was a success," Rose smiled as she saw the total amount again and hoping her father would get to the bank in the morning before it closed.

"Well the woman who won seemed pleased," Alec admitted. "Rose, you know why I had to let you go that morning."

Rose went up to him. 

"Yeah, I get it Alec but I was tryin' to spare ya. You saw what it was like when we went out and tonight but mum said I should have given you a choice. That's why I was trying to do it without you thinking I was the one asking you out."

"Well a party invitation is not like a date," he smiled, debating if he should put his arms around her. "Yes, I've seen what it's like Rose and I would have asked you out again but you gave the impression you thought I was uncomfortable and honestly, I had felt like that but I was willing to give it a try."

"You were? I'm so sorry Alec. The truth is, I missed you."

"I missed you as well Rose," he replied holding his arms out. "I think I can put up with a few waiters making a fuss over you."

Rose looked up at him from resting on his chest.

"Yeah? Did ya see all those photos being taken tonight? There will be a double page spread in the local paper and the nationals will pick it up, plus they'll buy any photos not used. Word will have got round and they'll snap them up and make something out of them."

"Well if I am in the papers with you, I may lose my reputation of being the worst cop in Britain?"

He leaned down to kiss her, making Rose tingle.

"Yeah? Are ya ready to lose it then?"

He soon showed her once they got into bed, Rose being amazed how good he really was and thinking his ex must have been off her head leaving him. Alec moved onto his back, taking her with him.

"Rose, I was wrong to let you go home in a taxi that morning, I should have taken you. Your father told me if I keep you out again, I had to take you home in the morning."

"I warned you about my mum but she'll be getting over tonight, then she'll be getting ready to do a bit of shopping. Do you have to work in the morning?" she asked as she moved her finger on his bare chest.

"For a few hours, to finish off a few things. So, you will be shopping with your mother?"

"Yeah, well I have another present to get now, don't I?"

"You forgot someone?" he asked as she laid to one side.

"No, I have to get one for you. Alec, come over early tomorrow? I'd like it if ya stayed over and spend Christmas Day with us?"

"If you are sure? I have to go see my daughter on Boxing Day. Come with me?"

"You should see her on your own, she won't want me there."

"Don't be so sure Rose."

"Alec, I'm really sorry, we've both been miserable the last few weeks. So, take me back in the morning and I'll tell my mum we have one extra for Christmas dinner then? When we get back from shopping, she'll have me wrapping all the presents for the guests tomorrow night, everyone gets one. I usually rope in one of the maids to help."

"Sounds like you will be having fun?"

"It's almost as bad as when me and Tony used to make paper chains, dad used to run out of places to put them."

"My daughter used to do the same. I know you just want to be ordinary Rose, I promise I will try to remember that. Come back and lie on me."

The next morning, after a repeat of the night before, Rose persuaded him to have breakfast at her house, her mother being missing as they entered the kitchen, her dad sat reading his paper and drinking coffee.

"I thought mum would be up?" Rose asked as they sat at the table.

"She'll be down if you two are going shopping. Alec, glad you took my advice last night, Rose has been driving us mad."

Rose felt herself going red. Alec escaped before Jackie got downstairs, Rose kissing him goodbye in the doorway. He took the cheque he'd been handed to the personnel office then went to his own in a much better mood than he'd been the last few weeks. Those that were in had stared at him but he said nothing, since he'd be in the papers with Rose in a few days time.

Rose's mother noticed the change in her as Rose picked out something for Alec and when they got back, she wrapped it before attempting to tackle the pile of small boxes that had been placed on the dining room table, needing to be sorted for men and women. Her mother picked something different every year and had them delivered. This year it was small bottles of perfume for the women and aftershave for the men.

She had almost finished as Alec pulled up outside what the locals called 'The Tyler Mansion', which was rather impressive and Pete had bought when it became impossible to stay where they were in London and Jackie had been going on at him to have another baby since Rose was almost ten at the time.

So the Tylers had packed up and moved, Vitex had taken over a block of empty offices in the town and the local economy had flourished when vacancies had been created. Now Rose had been given the title of the Vitex heiress and had tried her best to keep out of the news, especially about her relationship with James Smith, who had caught her eye when he'd moved from London to work with her father.

James hadn't wanted to keep their relationship quiet and they were constantly being photographed but when they had split up, Pete had to intervene to stop the national papers from picking up on it.

She had almost finished wrapping small boxes when she heard the front door being answered and one of the staff saying Rose was in the dining room.

"Hey, have you come to rescue me?" Rose asked him as she put her arms around his neck.

"Seems like you need it?" he replied as the poor maid who was helping her finished the last few.

Rose showed him to her room, hoping her mother wouldn't notice but if she asked, she told Alec to say he'd been given a guest room. The party was a success, them being photographed again but only for her mother's albums she liked to keep of her parties and Alec was able to sneak into Rose's room later without being detected.

The next day, Alec having got a present for Rose and her mother, they had a family Christmas dinner then Rose took Alec into the conservatory, which was lit up with blue and lights around the window, since it was getting dark.

"Thank you, for making me welcome," Alec had told her parents, Tony going off as soon as he could.

Now, they were kissing by the far window.

"You all have been making me welcome Rose."

"I'm glad you could stay. Would ya have been alone?"

"Maybe? My ex said I could have dinner with them but her new boyfriend would have been there."

"Ouch! Well, you would have got to see your daughter. You should go alone tomorrow."

"Too late Rose, I sent her a text to say I may be taking someone with me. She replied asking if it was a girlfriend and not to bother unless it was you," he smiled.

"Alec, you're taking all this really well."

"I almost let you get away Rose. Just one thing though, are you over your ex boyfriend?"

"Yeah, he left me Alec, when he got a chance to go back to London. You think I'm famous here? It would be ten times worse there and he likes to show me off. Maybe he just liked using my name to get attention? You're just the opposite Alec."

"I don’t mind showing you off, as long as it isn't in the local paper."

"Ah, too late for that after the other night, sorry. Don't worry, it only happens at a charity event, they know what my dad will do if they keep following me. What happens in places I go is out of my control, I can't stop them but I try to keep it to a minimum."

"Yes, I noticed in the restaurant but a lot of people looked up to you the other night. Rose, spending the holidays with you, well it was not what I expected when we met in the card shop."

"It was an accident Alec, a nice one and I never expected it either ya know? At work and home, I'm just a normal person, I just got dubbed as the Vitex heiress but my brother gets an equal share though he's got the sense to stay out of it and dad has a strict reign on him over money. It's all held in trust for us until something happens to him."

"I don't need to know Rose, it does not matter to me in the least. So, tomorrow, come and meet my daughter so she can see you are the same as everyone else."

Rose meeting Daisy went better than Alec expected, Tess staying out of the way when she'd let them in but as Alec left Rose and Daisy for a moment, Tess caught him in the hallway.

"Really Alec, is this payback for me leaving you for Dave?"

"Trust you to ask that Tess. Rose is not who everyone thinks she is, she works for a living, she does not live off her father, she works at Vitex. Yes, I know there is a gap in our ages, we have not even talked about it."

"Yes, she's only about ten years older than Daisy," Tess reminded him.

"Well, then Daisy will accept her better than someone she thinks is trying to replace you," Alec replied. "I thought it was best they met so Daisy can see that's not what Rose intends doing."

Daisy had plenty of questions for Rose.

"No, I don't mess around all day," Rose smiled when asked if she used social media. "I only have an account for my friends, I work for my dad, I'm his personal assistant. Trust me, he doesn't give me time to be updating my social status all day. I hope we can be friends Daisy, I really like your dad."

"He seems happy with you," Daisy had to admit. "I bet my mum's got something to say about it. Weren't you in the papers with someone a while back?"

"Yeah, that was James. I used to try to dodge the local press but he liked being in the paper with me. I swear he used to phone the editor to tell her to send a reporter to where we were going. He went off back to London though, the rat," Rose told her.

Daisy let out a laugh. 

"I don't think my dad would do that, since he was in the paper over his last big case."

"I know that Daisy. You can see the headlines – 'The Vitex Heiress and The Worst Cop in Britain'," Rose laughed.

They were still laughing when Alec went back in, though they were arm in arm as Rose was trying not to laugh too loud. When Alec entered though, Rose pointed to him and they continued.

"What are you two laughing so much for?" Alec wanted to know. "What's so funny?"

"You and Rose being in the papers," Daisy managed to say.

"Stop it Daisy. Rose, what about being in the papers?"

Rose tried to sound serious but was failing.

"We were saying you don't like being in the papers and my ex couldn't get enough and you'd be trying to keep us out of them."

"Then what is so funny?" he wanted to know, since Tess had got him annoyed with her sly remarks about his and Rose's ages.

"Dad, you got called the worst cop in Britain not so long ago," Daisy reminded him.

"So?" Alec asked, seeing Rose was trying not to laugh again. "That was one paper."

"Alec, it's okay," Rose told him, going towards him. "I don't care, I know it's not true but maybe now, well that reporter will have to eat her words when she sees you at that charity event with me, won't she? I mean there were plenty of pictures of us dancing together."

"Will it be in the local paper?" Daisy giggled.

"Yeah but it will hit the weekend papers' supplements and gossip columns," Rose replied.

Alec wished she wouldn't keep reminding him.

"Can't wait to see it, Dad," Daisy teased him.

"Yes, well, that will be the only time," Alec told her.

"Until another charity event. Daisy, would ya like to come to our new year's eve party?"

"Really?" Daisy squealed. "Dad, can I go? I'm thirteen now."

"You'd best ask your mum, if she agrees, maybe you can stay overnight, if that's agreeable with Rose?"

"Yeah, we have a few spare rooms, my mum will make a fuss over ya though," Rose replied. "My brother's only a bit older than you but he'll be hiding in a corner somewhere."

"Like at the charity event?" Alec smiled, putting his arm around her.

After that, Alec went back to work the next day and arrangements were made he would pick up Daisy and Rose's mother had said she wanted to meet Daisy and the party went well. It wasn't long before Alec asked Rose to move in with him, thinking she'd never leave her home but she agreed right away but they went back every Sunday, with Daisy to see her family.

Seven months later

It was the beginning of July and Rose was three months pregnant after a night out at one of her mother's charity events and despite her reminding Alec she was near her monthly, he had insisted they took a chance. So after getting on the stage in the same hotel ballroom where his life had changed when he'd thought he would never see her again, he'd asked Rose to marry him.

The wedding had been on the Tyler's back lawn, with Jackie taking over the arrangements when told about Rose's condition, a large marquee being hired for the reception and the weather had been in their favour.

Alec had been to see his chief about his transfer once Pete found out and talked to his friend, the chief of police for South Mercia Police. He'd been against it but he knew Rose wanted to move now she was expecting and Ricky Gillespie was causing trouble again, a little over a year after his daughter had been killed.

For some reason, the man had heard Rose and Alec were expecting a baby, Alec suspecting Tess had opened her big mouth to Cate Gillespie and Ricky had been shouting at the front desk for Alec to come out.

"Get out here Hardy," Ricky had demanded, two uniformed officers trying to hold him back.

Everyone knew the detective had just got married.

Alec heard the commotion and motioned his DS to join him, warning DS Jones he was only backup.

"Sir, everyone knows Ricky has it in for you."

"Well you are going to hear a lot of lies out there Jones," Alec replied as he opened the door to the reception area.

"What do you want Ricky?" Alec asked him as he was let go.

"Why do you get to have a family when I lost mine?" Ricky asked him.

"Why are you bringing this up now?"

"I heard you got married again, to that Rose Tyler?" Ricky wanted to know. "Bit young for you isn't she?"

"It's no-one business Ricky, now you should leave."

"How about I go to the papers? The detective who lost vital evidence to put a killer away and ruins lives gets to start a new one?"

"You know Pete Tyler won't let you bring his daughter into this Ricky," Alec reminded him. "Try and see how far you get. Officers, escort Mr Gillespie from the station and next time, don't let him in," Alec ordered as he turned away, hoping Rose didn't get to know about it.

After Ricky left, he had called his now father-in-law.

"Alec, you know he'll keep bringing it up," Pete told him sympathetically. "I know Rose wants to move, let me help you," he offered.

So, Alec had given in and now, he sat facing his chief.

"Well, seems having friends in high places has paid off Alec," the chief was telling him, a folder on his desk.

He took out three sheets of paper and passed them to Alec.

"Three chiefs have vacancies for a DI, two of them though have been told to create them after being offered budgeting for it, the other, a DS is up for promotion but the chief is unsure about it and would rather have someone more experienced. They all know about you but don't expect any sympathy from them, they know the dust still hasn't settled here. I know Ricky Gillespie tried to stir up trouble a while ago."

Alec looked at the sheets of paper. Two were in cities, not that far away really and one was a small town, nice and quiet, he thought. Did he want a DS who had been passed over for promotion though? He went off to think about it and to talk to his new wife.

"Alec, the town will be better and it's by the sea," Rose told him when he said where the vacancies were. "We have to think about the baby."

"I know that love. You may have to help me explain why I beat a DS to the job though," he smiled. "You changed my life Rose, that day we met in the card shop."

"Yeah, I can't believe it's not that long ago but I guess if ya know when something's right?" Rose smiled back. "So, we move to Broadchurch and if you get another murder investigation when we get there, you're in trouble."

"Oh, I don't know love, I'll have you on my side this time, I think I can face it. I won't be making the same mistakes love."

"You'd better not," Rose grinned. "Or ya might just get branded the worst cop in Britain the second year in a row."

"Don't say that love, at least I'll have the Vitex heiress on my side," he replied, leaning over on the sofa to place his hand on her baby bump.

"My dad's having to change what he leaves me and Tony now, to include his grandchild," Rose smiled and took his hand.

"Well, do you think he will be more upset if he has to change it again?"

"Hey, one baby at a time, thanks," Rose laughed. "You're getting ahead of yourself, Detective. I was looking through a drawer and found that paper from the charity event you turned up to when we thought we wouldn't ever see each other again. It turned out to be the best Christmas ever."

"Yes, it did love and this year will be even better and you never know, the baby may be early. That would be the best present ever and this time last year, I never thought it would be possible."

"Well, you can thank that card shop for having a blind spot. So, Broadchurch it is then?"

"Yes love, it's a better choice than a large city, we can find a nice cottage near the sea, then take the baby for walks on the beach every evening when I get home."

"Yeah, that'll be great. Just one thing though. This DS who's up for promotion, you say it's a woman. She's gonna be a bit mad with ya."

"Then you will have to make friends with her love. Tell her you wanted to bring our baby up by the sea. I'm sure she will already know who I am."

"The worst cop in Britain?" Rose teased.

"Right, you are going to pay for that, Miss Vitex," he replied, going to kiss her baby bump, Rose pulling his head down.

"I was right about that newspaper headline when we were at that charity event," she reminded him, ruffling his hair as he'd made a gap between her loose top and her maternity slacks.

He had got out of her what she and Daisy had been laughing at that time.

"That they did a two page spread and your mother was upset we were in more photos than she was?"

"Well that and the fact they speculated we already knew each other and were trying to work out where we met. They never guessed it was just a card shop, where we'd bought our Christmas cards."

"Well, we can do that together this year love though you will have to take it easy and no dancing at the Vitex charity event this year eh?"

"Got it," Rose smiled. "Broadchurch won't know what's hit it when we arrive in the town."

Alec looked up from kissing her tummy and hoped she meant that she was heiress to her father's fortune and not that there would be another murder to investigate for the press to be after them. He could only wait and see as he decided to tell the chief in the morning he'd accept the job in the sleepy seaside town and hope he could stay out of trouble.

The End!