I thought I had lost you

Rose Tyler works her way through police college after leaving her job and is sent to the town of Sandbrook, working with Alec Hardy.  Rose is offered a promotion in London but at her leaving party realises she will miss him.  When she passes her exam, she goes to work in Broadchurch and a few months later, Alec becomes the new DI.  Can they keep their pasts from their new chief?

Chapter 1

When Rose Tyler's place of work is destroyed in an unexplained explosion, she's offered a job in another branch of the same company but she somehow can't settle with the idea that the investigation into the store's destruction doesn't offer any explanations. Her mother tries to get her to forget about it.

"Rose, ya can't do anything about it," Jackie reminded her over a month later. "It was lucky ya couldn't find Wilson and got out the back door before the place went up."

"Yeah, I suppose so?" Rose had to agree with her mother on that. "If I'd stopped to find out what that noise was, I might not have made it?" she shivered at the thought. "Funny thing though, as I was making my way to the exit, I swear those shop dummies started moving."

Jackie remembered her mentioning it before and had laughed at it.

"Rose, it was just the lighting, ya said only some of the lights were on. Ya have to leave it behind sweetheart. If it bothers ya that much, then do something about it," she suggested.

"Such as Mum? I'm in a job I hate, I've no qualifications, what am I supposed to do?" Rose replied, leaning over and flopping over the glass-topped coffee table. "Now I wish I'd taken more notice at school."

"Well you wanted to mess about Madam," Jackie told her. "Look where that ended? Why not enrol in some free evening classes? They run them at the community centre ya know? Ya can do English and maths and maybe have to pay for some of the others but they're not that much, ya get it subsidised."

"Yeah? I supposed I can go and ask about it? I'll call in tomorrow on the way home, I expect they have classes startin' all the time?" Rose agreed.

"Well it's a start," her mother laughed. "Don't let it go to waste, do something with it sweetheart."

So Rose got herself enrolled in classes for maths and English, getting a certificate at the end of it and since she couldn't get the store out of her mind, asked about enrolling at the police academy. The recruitment officer was sympathetic when he asked why Rose wanted to join the police.

"That's very commendable Miss Tyler," Sergeant Baines told her when looking at Rose's application. "So you wanted to know more about the investigation? I remember when it happened, officers were sent from all over London and the building was cordoned off. Still, it was decided it was a gas leak in the end."

"That's just it Sergeant," Rose replied. "Never mind, I don't suppose I can do anything about it now but I'd like to join the police, so the next time something like that happens, I can maybe make a difference."

"I like your enthusiasm Rose," the sergeant smiled. "I think the academy is just what you need."

"So I passed the interview?" Rose sounded surprised. "How long will I have to train for? Do I get an allowance? Only I have to help my mum out."

"Don't worry about that," the sergeant told her. "As to how long you'll be at the academy, well that depends on you. How far do you want to get?"

That got Rose thinking. Did she just want to be in uniform, patrolling the streets of London or did she want to get into the investigation part of policing? She didn't suppose there would be many opportunities unless she studied hard and learned the basics first.

She got herself signed up and waited for the start of the term, being told that her first one was just induction and listening to the tutors giving lectures and taking notes for her first exam to see if she was suitable.

"Well ya have to try," her mother was encouraging her when the time was near for Rose to go off for her first day. "Don't let anything put ya off, stick to it."

So Rose stuck to it, making a few friends and facing comments from the male hopefuls who thought they were better than the female new recruits but the sergeant who had signed her up pulled those responsible up by saying Rose had got a higher pass rate than all of them put together.

He had then encouraged Rose when the time came for her first real assignment.

"I expect to see you back here Rose," he smiled on the last day of the final term. "You've put a lot of hard work into it, don't stop at being just a WPC."

"Thanks Sarge, I'm really looking forward to putting it all into practice," Rose laughed. "Don't worry, I'll be back, I've decided I want to be a detective constable."

"Of course you do," he laughed back. "Well good luck then."

Rose was assigned to a station and partnered with an older officer, whom she got on well with. It only took her a short time to get some experience since they patrolled parts of central London and the pair of them dealt with all kinds of odd occurrences.

Finally, Rose got her promotion to detective constable and she'd been out to celebrate but it had meant she had to move, to a town called Sandbrook. Her mother hadn't wanted to move away, even though Rose had somewhere to live so they had compromised and Jackie said she would visit when she could.

She arrived at her new station and was told to report to detective inspector Alec Hardy, who had been informed he was to have a new DC after the chief had enough of Alec arguing with his wife when they'd come back in from following a lead and had welcomed being told they were getting a new officer. The chief thought he was rather throwing Rose in at the deep end but he'd had little choice, no-one else would work with the grumpy detective.

"Welcome to Sandbrook, DC Tyler," the chief greeted her. "Our senior detective is in need of a new partner, you'll have the use of a car to drive him around and you'll gain some valuable experience, learning how he works. Any questions?"

Rose thought she could have been given a bit more information, there wasn't much to go on. She really wanted to ask why she was being partnered right away with a senior officer, what had happened to the last one? She decided against it and got up.

"Where do I find him, Sir?" Rose asked instead.

"On the next floor, go into the main office and knock on his door but be warned," the chief smiled.

"Geez, what have I let myself in for?" Rose asked herself as she got up.

"Go to the personnel office while you're on this floor, they'll sort you out," he then added. "Oh and watch out for DS Hardy, the DI's wife. I just split them up for arguing all the time. Don't get caught up in it. Any problems, come straight to me."

"Yes Sir but how do I deal with her, if she starts on me?" Rose wanted to know.

"Look Rose," the chief replied, putting a folder on the desk. "They're having marriage problems, which is why I split them up from working together. Just do your job and ignore her, she'll get over it."

Rose hoped the chief was right. She finished in the personnel office and went to the next floor, butterflies in her tummy at the thought of walking into an argument between the two detectives. She entered the outer office and everyone looked up, Rose glancing around and trying to see who DS Hardy was.

Tess looked up from her phone, where she'd been texting Dave Harris, who had been sympathetic towards her lately and had asked her out for a drink. Since Alec was always in a mood, she'd decided to accept the offer and see what happened.

"Who are you then?" Tess acknowledged Rose.

"DC Rose Tyler, Ma'am," Rose stood in front of Tess's desk, trying to get used to her new rank. "I'm looked for DI Hardy, the chief sent me."

"Of course he did," Tess was annoyed after being told Alec was getting a new partner and it had to be a blonde female, a newly promoted one at that.

"Over there," Tess indicated to Alec's office, where he was trying not to take notice of what was going on.

He'd just got off the phone with the chief and he wasn't happy with a number of things.

"I prefer to do the driving," Alec had first complained. "After having Tess drive me around. So, what's this new officer like?"

"Young and blonde," the chief had laughed. "Seriously Alec, think yourself lucky I don't give you someone from another division. This one is serious about her promotion, she's worked hard to get it."

"Haven't they all?" Alec had grumbled back. "I want my objections noted."

"Yes Alec, anything else?" the chief had expected a list from the grumpy DI.

Alec had continued his list of complaints, the chief saying to give his new partner a chance.

"Alec, she's been patrolling in central London, I'm sure she can more than hold her own here," the chief had told him.

"That may be so," Alec had replied. "We'll see then but she had better get used to the way I work."

The chief had to laugh, knowing himself how Alec worked.

"Yes Alec, I know but go easy on her at first. No-one else has volunteered to work with you."

"That's due to Tess," Alec had reminded him. "Goodness knows what she has told her friends."

Alec had suspected she'd made a new friend, one Dave Harris, who was trying to get himself moved from another division. Well let him move, he'd soon see what Tess was like. Now, he'd spied a young blonde officer talking to Tess.

The new female officer looked smart, dressed in a casual dark grey jacket and matching trousers, then when Tess pointed her in his direction, he saw she had a light blue blouse underneath the jacket.

Rose had been glad to get out of uniform when she'd passed her exam and she was now glad she'd opted to wear trousers. She thanked Tess and went to knock on Alec's office door, hoping he wouldn't shout at her if he wasn't happy getting a new partner.

"Enter," Alec called out through the partly open door and taking his glasses off.

"Sir, I'm DC Rose Tyler, I was told to report to you."

"Have you been partnered with a DI before?" Alec wanted to know.

Didn't he know she was newly promoted, Rose wondered.

"No Sir, I worked with a sergeant at my old station," Rose told him.

"Well find your desk and I will call you when I need you or need to go out," Alec replied.

Why was it him who had to break in a new officer? Was the chief getting back at him because he and Tess argued every time? This one was going to cause a lot more arguments, judging by the way Tess had been looking over.

Tess had gone back to texting Dave.

'Dave, about that drink? Can we go out tonight? Alec's just got a new young blonde DC' she wrote.

'Lucky him!' Dave had texted back, a few emojis attached.

'Thought you were on my side' Tess replied.

'I was only joking Tess, sheesh' was the reply.

After a few more exchanges, they arranged to meet, since Tess knew her daughter stayed behind to play netball at school that evening then went to a friend's house afterwards. Alec wouldn't care, why would he? It wouldn't take him long to start flirting with his new young DC.

Alec had watched Rose leaving and sat back in his chair. This was not going to solve his problem with Tess, what had the chief been thinking? Breaking in a new junior officer was one thing but he hadn't been prepared for it being a young twenty something blonde female.

Tess was bound to raise objections on that, she'd go complain to the chief, then to whoever else would listen to her and finally, she'd start something once they got home. Daisy would be late home tonight, one of them would have to collect her from her friend's house and that was usually him.

Sure enough, Tess got up but she called in Alec's office first.

"What's going on Alec?" she wanted to know. "You aren't going to work with the new officer are you Alec?"

"I have no choice in the matter Tess," he reminded her. "You saw to it no-one else wanted the job."

"Don't be so sarcastic Alec," Tess huffed back. "We don't have to carry over our home life, what there is of it when we're at work."

"Who's fault is that?" Alec wanted to know. "I'm only working with the new DC Tess, don't make a big deal out of it."

Tess got up, knowing she'd lost so why should she make the effort?

"I'll go pick Daisy up tonight, I was going to visit my sister," Tess replied, thinking it was as good an excuse as any to meet with Dave.

Tess left and went to knock on the chief's door.

"What is it now Tess?" the chief greeted her. "Come to complain about Alec's new partner?"

"Why her?" Tess wanted to know, taking it she was invited to sit.

"Tess, if you can't keep your personal life out of the station, maybe you should consider a move?" the chief suggested, getting tired of her petty complaints.

"I expected a new officer but a young blonde, newly promoted? She'll be doing all kinds of things to try to impress him."

"Such as wearing short skirts and leaving half her blouse buttons unfastened?" the chief laughed. "I doubt it will go that far, her old chief speaks very highly of her. Give her a chance Tess."

Tess went off, deciding to see if Dave was around anywhere to tell him she hoped he wasn't going to mess her around. By the middle of the afternoon, Rose was finding her way around the way the department worked and had jumped when called into Alec's office.

"Come on Tyler, time to go out," Alec told her, getting up and going for his jacket. "We've just been passed a report by the chief that he wants us to handle. It will give you some good experience. Get one thing clear, I drive."

"Sir, I was told I'd be driving you around," Rose replied, moving out of his way.

"Really?" Alec stood putting his raincoat on. "Well, let's see what you can do then? Don't stand there Tyler, get your things."

Rose knew he was going to be nothing but trouble and she swore under her breath as she grabbed her jacket, her work bag and tried to catch up with him, seeing Alec pressing the lift button repeatedly, like the lift would get there faster.

They rode to the ground floor in silence, then she followed him to a door marked 'Garage' and went through after him.

"Sir," the traffic officer saw Alec then Rose behind him.

"This is DC Tyler, she needs authorising to take my car out," Alec told the man.

"Yes Sir. If she'll just sign the vehicle check form," Alec was told.

Rose took the clipboard, wondering if she should bother reading the form or if she was expected to know what was written on it. She'd never had to do that before, take responsibility for someone else's car. She assumed it wasn't his own car, since he was willingly handing it over to her.

"I will give you the directions," Alec told her as Rose started the car, glad it was an automatic or she would be stuck.

There was an onboard sat-nav but it appeared her new boss didn't believe in them. Well, if he did want her driving him around, he'd better get used to her using one or they'd get nowhere fast.

Chapter 2

Rose managed to complete her first assignment with her new boss without any issue, well maybe just one small one. They had just left a house and Alec had taken the lead, not that he'd told Rose much about them being there.

"Sir, can I ask something?" Rose had wanted to know as they got in the car.

"You may as well," Alec replied while putting the seatbelt on.

"Are ya gonna keep call me Tyler all the time?" Rose dared to challenge him. "I mean where I was before, everyone called me Rose."

"Is there any reason you do not like me using your surname?" Alec wondered as Rose set off back to the station, hoping she remembered the way.

She doubted he would give her directions.

"I suppose not," Rose had to admit, thinking he'd never go for it.

"Tyler, well Rose, having just been partnered with my wife, whom you may have guessed who that was, you will have realised I was looking forward to working on my own. Then I was informed a new officer was arriving. We have not yet got used to each other and I was not to know at your last station you went by your first name."

"Oh," was all Rose could think of replying.

"Give it time, Tyler," he then added, hoping she remembered the way back.

If he was going to have her driving him around, she had best not get them lost all the time.

Rose thought maybe there was the slightest chance he may eventually give in and use her first name, she had no idea how long that was going to be though.

Tess has found Dave and was complaining to him.

"I mean did they have to send a new officer who was young and blonde?" she had asked him in the staff canteen.

"Tess, why are you complaining to me?" Dave asked her. "I'm sure the chief knows what he's doing, partnering a new officer with a senior one."

"Go on, tell me how?" Tess replied. "He could have picked anyone."

Dave laughed loudly, making everyone look at them.

"Thought there was only a few DI's around here? The others already have someone under them, Alec's the only one who needs someone. After you worked with him, everyone objected."

Dave had seen her talking to most of the female officers after the chief had split Tess and Alec up, he hadn't needed to hear what Tess had been saying to know she was trying to put them off working with her husband. He had thought it amusing when Tess had complained to him about a young blonde.

Tess sat back on the chair, she'd been hoping for some sympathy but she wasn't going to get it from Dave Harris.

"What did you expect me to do?" Tess huffed.

Dave shook his head. If she was that bothered about it, maybe she was serious about seeing him after work?

"So are we meeting where we said?" Dave asked her.

Rose was now ready to leave and picking up her jacket, knocked on Alec's office door.

"Night then Sir," she told him when he looked up.

"Right, yes. I usually stay later," he admitted, since there was nothing special going on at home and Tess was meant to go pick up Daisy.

Did he believe her when she'd said she was going to see her sister?

"Oh, do you want me to stay?" Rose wondered.

"No, I doubt I will be going anywhere. Night then Tyler."

Rose had to smile as she left. They'd gone out and he couldn't even bring himself to use her first name outside the station. She was going to have to work on him though she didn't expect to be able to use his first name but who knew?

Tess went off to meet Dave, who had found a corner table away from everyone, got some drinks and was looking at the menu when Tess walked in.

"Fancy something to eat Tess? It's two for one tonight," he grinned.

Tess thought that was a good start, the cheapskate as he indicated for her to sit beside him. After they had eaten, Dave didn't waste any time putting his arm around the back of the seat and onto her shoulder.

"Relax Tess," he hinted as she seemed tense. "Why aren't you drinking?"

"I have to go pick up Daisy later," Tess replied.

"Why isn't Alec going?" Dave wondered. "Can't you call him?"

"I told him I was going to my sister's house," Tess admitted.

"That was sneaky Tess," Dave laughed. "He won't suspect anything then, will he if you ask him?"

Tess thought why not and got her phone out to call Alec. Alec had just got home and looked in the fridge for something to eat, knowing he should have stopped off for something. His phone was buzzing and he saw it was Tess. Was she making excuses up for not going to pick up Daisy?

"Alec, can you go get Daisy?" Tess greeted him.

"You are already out," Alec pointed out to her.

"I know but I wanted to stay a bit longer," Tess admitted.

"Sure you're at your sister's and not at the pub?" Alec had to ask her. "Admit it Tess and I bet you're with that Dave Harris."

"Don't be so suspicious Alec," Tess denied it. "Fine, I'll say I have to go."

"Don't be so obvious then," Alec told her. "Besides, I was about to make something to eat."

"Have you only just got home?" Tess wanted to know. "Been working late with your new blonde DC?"

"Stop it Tess," he snapped back. "Ask anyone what time she left."

"You could have arranged to meet her," Tess replied sarcastically.

"Like you did with Dave? Forget it Tess, it won't work. Go get Daisy, as you said you would."

With that, he hung up before she could protest further. Of course she was out with Harris, where else would she be? She had been sneaking around behind his back in the station, he should have listened closer to the whispering when he'd walked into the office, they all knew except him and his new DC, Rose Tyler.

Tess had taken an instant dislike to the newest officer and was now using her as a cover. Tyler wouldn't like it if she knew, that was for certain. He bet the chief had warned her about Tess anyway and why they were split up from working together. He would have to get his version in before Tess did, maybe Tyler would be his only ally.

Rose had got home earlier and thought about her first day in her new station. Alec Hardy hadn't been too bad, she had thought he was amusing with his funny ways of doing things, such as often raising his eyebrows, the way he kept reaching in his jacket pocket for his notebook and pen and his insistence at calling her Tyler.

Him not using the satnav though was more annoying, how was she supposed to find her way around the town she had only been in a short while? She couldn't afford a car of her own yet and she doubted she would get her boss's work car for her own use though it might be worth a try she supposed.

If she used the excuse of picking him up to save him leaving his own car in the garage, she might get away with it. There again, his wife already disliked her, she'd seen Tess's face when they'd gone back to the office. It might be fun winding DS Hardy up and he might even go along with it.

Tess finally got home with Daisy, although she had been late picking Daisy up and the girl had complained all the way home.

"Steph's mother was about to call you," Daisy had told her. "Were you and dad arguing over who was picking me up again?"

"Daisy, don't be so cheeky," Tess had told her. "I was at your aunt's."

"Yeah, whatever," Daisy had replied, putting her earphones on and playing with her phone.

It had left Tess wondering what exactly Daisy had been hearing her talk to Alec about. At least Dave had just been more affectionate in the corner of the pub than Alec was when they were out. Not that they went out much any more.

Alec had been eating his meal and thinking about that morning when he'd been told who he was to be partnered with. At first, he'd just wanted to be left on his own after Tess but he knew the rules and he'd got Tyler, Tess would probably request Dave Harris, the man was already wanting to be transferred.

The chief would probably go for it, just to keep the peace. Somehow, he wasn't that bothered but if affected the way Tess worked, then he'd have to say something.

Rose was early the next morning so she called to see the transport officer.

"Tyler, right?" Rose was asked. "Bit early to be going out?"

"Yeah, right. I just wondered if the car was only for DI Hardy's use or do others use it?"

"Well, DS Hardy used to borrow it sometimes," the officer admitted. "They both had their own cars, that I had to find room for when she could have taken it home with her for getting to and from work. You'd have to ask him what he wants to do, he may take it himself," Rose was told.

"Thanks. I'll call down if he wants to go out," Rose replied, thinking she'd maybe sounded a bit too keen to impress her new boss.

"So, you're new to the area then?" she was then asked. "I noticed the satnav hadn't been programmed, how did you find your way around yesterday?"

"I was given directions to where we were going and had to remember the way back," Rose grinned. "I don't think he likes using them."

"I'd take no notice of him next time and put it on," the officer laughed. "I've no objections of you taking the car, it's down to him though. You'd better appeal to his good side."

Rose didn't want to seem too keen to impress her new boss but she could always claim she was taking the initiative. That wouldn't do any harm, would it? She gave Alec time to settle then ignoring Tess, went into his office.

"What?" he asked as she stood opposite.

"Sir, I just thought of something. Since I have to drive you around, well maybe I can pick ya up in the mornings, save you bringing your car to leave it here all day?"

She sat down, waiting for him to flatly refuse her suggestions and tell her she had no chance.

"Where did that come from?" Alec wanted to know, leaning back in his chair and looking amused. "How do you know I don't want it for my own use?"

"Well Sir, I just thought maybe it was a good idea, I mean if you don't come to work with your wife?"

"Well, it's that obvious is it?" Alec asked her. "She normally takes our daughter to school and leaves early.

That was Tess's excuse for not setting off at the same time as he did so they had to take two cars. Maybe Tyler's idea wasn't so bad?

"Sorry Sir, I never meant to pry," Rose apologised.

"Don't be sorry Tyler. I will think about it and let you know by tonight," Alec replied.

"I can stay later, if ya want?" Rose offered.

"No need, maybe it is time I stopped?" Alec told her.

"I'm on my own anyway, in a tiny flat that there's just about enough room for when my mum wants to visit," Rose admitted, not knowing why she was bothering him about it. "It was all they could find me at the last minute."

"Better than a hotel or bedsit," Alec replied, also wondering why she was telling him.

"Yeah, I suppose I can only apply for something bigger if my mum came to live with me? She won't leave though, I asked her to come here with me."

"Some people don't like change Tyler," Alec pointed out.

Why was he giving her chance to just talk about something other than work? Rose got the hint to leave when he put his glasses on and picked up a folder. She thought he had better things to do than chat with her all morning. Rose got up to leave, saying she was sorry for keeping him talking.

He let it go, putting it down to the fact she was new and probably hadn't made any friends yet. At lunch time in the canteen, Rose saw a few who worked in the same department and asked if she could join them.

"I'm Rose, by the way," Rose told them when they said she could.

"Hi, we should have introduced ourselves yesterday," one of them told her. "I'm Trish, that's Kate and that's Jo," she pointed to the other two in turn. "So, you got to work with Hardy then?"

"Is that bad?" Rose wondered what that was supposed to mean.

"He and his wife were always at war with each other," Kate laughed. "You should have heard her going on about it."

"Why put them working together then?" Rose asked innocently.

"That was the chief's big mistake," Jo laughed.

"Well I'm keeping out of it," Rose decided, trying to eat her lunch before it got cold, not that it was all that nice, there was too much salt for her liking.

She thought if the food was like that every day, she may venture out to eat or have words with the chef.

Alec was watching from the other side of the canteen, hoping Tess wouldn't decide to join him. They had hardly spoken that morning except over something to do with Daisy before the girl had got downstairs.

"You need to have words with your daughter," Tess was telling Alec as he was trying to make some toasts and egg.

"Why me?" he wanted to know, licking butter from his fingers and Tess frowning at him. "Don't make me out to be the bad guy Tess."

"She was being cheeky last night when I picked her up," Tess had continued.

"She's a teenager Tess, what do you expect?" Alec had wanted to know.

"Don't take her side Alec," Tess had huffed, just as Daisy entered the kitchen.

"Thanks a lot Mum," Daisy complained, taking some toast Alec offered to her.

He wondered why it was always him who made Daisy her breakfast. So it was always peaceful for him at lunchtime, since Tess seemed to want to join her friends recently, probably to complain about him. Why did he put up with it, it was only for Daisy he supposed. Now, Tyler had come along and Tess had a new excuse to complain.

Rose spotted him on his own as she was about to leave and stopped at his table.

"Are you okay Sir?" she asked him as he squinted at his phone.

"Fine Tyler. Made some friends?" he hoped, so she wouldn't keep him talking all the time.

"Yeah, I hope so. Are we going out today?" Rose wanted to know, since she hadn't much to do except catch up on what had been going on before her arrival.

"Not unless something comes up," Alec replied, giving up on his phone. "Nothing to do?"

"Just catching up," Rose admitted. "There are a lot of cases that have just been left," she added.

"You want to do something about them?" he replied. "Go ahead Tyler, let me know if you find anything then."

Rose was pleased with herself and went off to the ladies room to call her mother.

"How ya getting' on?" Jackie wanted to know. "How's the new boss?"

"Okay so far Mum. The only thing is, he seems to be at war with his wife, the chief warned me yesterday."

"You need to be careful there Rose," Jackie warned her. "Don't get caught up in it."

"I'm tryin' not to," Rose laughed. "It ain't gonna be easy, she already doesn't like me gettin' partnered with her husband."

Rose went back to work, seeing Tess down the corridor talking to Dave.

"So can you get out later?" Dave was asking Tess, wanting more than a few sneaked kisses in the pub and when Tess had been leaving.

"I don't know Dave, it depends if Alec's working late or not. When I called him to go pick up Daisy last night, he'd only just got home," Tess complained.

Dave let out a laugh, making Rose wonder what was going on.

"So, he was keeping his new partner 'working' late was he?"

"Shut up Dave," Tess didn't want to be reminded.

Then she caught a glimpse of Rose turning the corner to go back to the office. She bet anything the young blonde already had her eye on Alec. Did he seem any different? Being late home last night and claiming Tyler had gone home early still bothered her. Did Alec really expect her to believe that?

"Oh, that hit a sore spot then?" Dave laughed some more. "Was that her who just came around the corner?"

"Trust you to spot a blonde," Tess replied. "All the males will be going after her, trust me."

"Jealous Tess?" Dave tried to be serious.

Tess went to hit his arm but he stopped her.

"Don't take it out on me Tess," Dave told her. "Meet me the same place as last night?" he then suggested.

"I'll have to tell Daisy to stay at my mother's then," Tess agreed.

"Don't worry Tess, Alec will be too busy to notice," Dave assured her.

It seemed obvious to him that Alec wouldn't waste any time going after the new female officer. If it made Tess really jealous, it would make things easier.

Chapter 3

When Alec saw Tess sneaking off before finishing time, he got even more suspicious as to her claim at being at her sister's house last night. He was interrupted by Rose knocking on the door and letting herself in.

"Sir, about the car," she reminded him. "Have you thought about it?"

"Sit down Tyler," Alec replied, knowing he had to confide in someone and it might as well be her, since she was new and hadn't taken sides yet. "If I let you drive me to and from the station every day, well my wife will object and you two do not seem to get on."

Rose thought the woman hadn't even given her a chance.

"Sir, I don't wanna cause any trouble," she told him.

"It would have made no difference who was assigned to me," Alec admitted. "She would still have found fault. I apologise if she has made you feel unwelcome."

What had come over him, apologising like that? He'd even given up apologising to Tess, he wasn't going to take much more from her, he was sure of that.

"It was just an idea," Rose was stuck for something to say. "I'll leave it for now then?"

"It would be best," Alec agreed. "Are you having problems getting here?"

"No but I had to leave early to get here on time and a good thing too, the bus was early," Rose grinned.

"I see then? I will think further about it, I don't expect it will make Tess any worse anyway," Alec replied. "Take my advice Tyler and just ignore her."

"That's what the chief told me," Rose told him as she got up.

"We both agree on that," Alec gave her half a smile. "You answer to me, not her anyway, if she gives you any trouble, come and tell me. Night then Tyler."

"Night Sir. I'll try and keep away from her. Actually, I made a few friends earlier and they all refer to her as Tess, I'm still tryin' to get used to my new rank."

"It happens," Alec told her. "Officially you are entitled to use first names but she may object. As for more senior officers, tread carefully Tyler."

Rose thought she detected another half smile from him but left it. She would have to see if she had any occasion to address DS Hardy but if Tess was being talked about in the canteen would join in next time. As she left, the women she'd talked to earlier were just leaving.

"Hey Rose, not in trouble with the boss are you?" she was asked.

"Nah, been tryin' to see if I can get use of the car I drive him around in," she admitted.

"You'll be lucky," they all laughed. "Tess probably uses it just to spite him. You know they worked together, against the chief's better judgement?" Jo asked her.

"He told me. Ya never know, he might go for it," Rose replied. "Night then."

By the end of the week, Rose was no nearer talking Alec into letting her use the car and they'd only been out a few times. Friday lunchtime, Rose's new friends were telling each other their plans for the weekend.

"What about you Rose?" she was asked.

Rose had been taking no notice, she was watching Tess with interest as she was ignoring poor Alec in favour of sitting with some other senior officers.

"What? Oh, just shopping and finding my way around," Rose grinned.

"By bus?" Kate laughed.

The other two just laughed.

"Don't remind me," Rose replied. "If I do get the car, I won't get much personal use out of it I expect?"

"Better than Tess having it," Trish laughed. "I think she used to take it home on Friday night, lord knows where she parked it since they both have their own cars."

Rose went back to finishing her lunch then saw Tess cross over to where Alec was trying to read his phone screen. She really did feel sorry for her new boss and she wasn't helping things but it was up to him to do something about it.

"What are we doing over the weekend Alec?" Tess asked him as she stood by the table.

"Why ask now?" Alec wanted to know, putting his phone down.

"I expect we'll do the weekly shopping in the morning?" Tess replied. "Are you on call? I expect you are, you and your new partner."

"Stop it Tess. No, I am not on call. What can you possibly have against Tyler? You really put out the welcome mat," Alec replied.

"She'll survive," Tess told him, patting her hair.

"Not if you keep staring at her every time we go out and come back in again," Alec disagreed. "I'm considering letting her take my work car."

"What for?" Tess wanted to know.

"She can drive me to and from work, she may as well. You always go off without me," he complained.

"Only to take Daisy to school. You could offer to take her Alec," Tess argued.

"I am expected to be here on time, before everyone else," he reminded her.

"I'm surprised you don't have your new DC bring you coffee when she arrives," Tess told him sarcastically.

Alec shook his head and picking up his phone, pushed the chair back and walked off. Rose saw him and wondered what had happened and would he be in a bad mood the rest of the day? There went any chance of getting the car then.

Alec got a call once he was back in his office, it was the transport officer.

"So is DC Tyler getting use of the car then Sir?" Alec was asked.

"She already asked you?" Alec replied.

"A few days ago. She said she was going to ask."

"I've not decided yet but have it ready," Alec told the man.

That would really get Tess going, Alec thought. He wondered what Tess would do if he were to be collected on Monday morning? Why was he starting to enjoy getting Tess annoyed? Was it since Tyler arrived? Tyler had certainly brought the good side of Tess out.

He'd heard a few more rumours about her and Dave Harris during the week but had tried to ignore them and she'd been all mysterious at home. Well let her, things couldn't get much worse. Tyler wasn't helping but it would still have happened had anyone else been assigned to him.

He got up and called Rose into his office.

"You already asked about using the car?" he asked when he'd indicated for Rose to sit.

"Was that wrong?" Rose was worried she should have asked him first.

"Just the opposite Tyler," Alec replied. "It shows you have initiative. See the transport officer on Monday morning."

He would have let her take it that evening but there would be paperwork involved, of him authorising her to use it and the chief approving, though that was a mere formality, it was up to himself really.

"Really?" Rose sounded surprised. "Yes Sir, I'll do that, thanks. I have somewhere to park it, thankfully."

"Good, don't get it stolen or damaged then," Alec told her. "If my wife says anything about it on Monday, tell her to see me about it."

Rose thought she'd enjoy doing that, Tess hadn't exactly made her feel welcome since her arrival. What was wrong with the woman? Was she jealous that she no longer worked directly with her husband? Her boss hadn't seemed too bothered about it.

As she left, she couldn't help but smile that he'd given in and her friends noticed. Since they all sat together, they nudged each other.

"Wonder why Rose looks so pleased?'" Jo whispered.

"Hardy must have given in about the car," Trish suggested.

"That'll annoy Tess then," Kate grinned. "They'll be sparks flying when she finds out."

"Great, that's all we need," Jo complained. "Looks like war's been declared between the Hardys?"

"Bet he doesn't tell Tess over the weekend," Trish wondered.

"No, he'll wait," Jo agreed. "Don't you think Kate?" she asked her friend.

"What?" Kate had got distracted by Tess watching Rose leaving Alec's office. "Oh, he won't tell her, you can be sure of that," she agreed.

"Can't wait until Monday morning then," Jo laughed at the thought.

Tess was trying to think why Alec kept making up excuses to get Rose into his office. She finally had enough and got up to ask him.

"I hope Tyler's visit was work related Alec?" she confronted him.

"What is it with you Tess?" Alec wanted to know. "Of course it was. Do I ask you what you talk to your friends about on your breaks? Get over it Tess, if you can't deal with Tyler working with me, ask the chief for a transfer then."

"Charming," Tess replied. "That would just suit you, wouldn't it?"

"Well Dave Harris wanted to move here, maybe you can exchange places with him?"

Tess made a noise then left in a temper.

"You can be really infuriating Alec," she huffed as she opened the door, making everyone including Rose look up.

Alec watched her leaving, sitting back in his chair with his arms behind his head. That had struck a chord, he thought as he noticed Rose had stopped what she was doing to watch Tess leaving in a huff. Tess was getting worse and he knew it, the question was, what was he going to do about it?

Why was she so against his new DC? If the chief had partnered Tyler with Tess, would it have made any difference to their home life? He had to think about this, carefully but he had to work with Tyler, whether Tess liked it or not. The few times he'd been out, they had come back into the office together, maybe he should let Tyler go in first, then follow a few minutes later?

No, that would make Tess even worse, he decided. She would know he was doing it on purpose. There was no easy answer apart from asking the chief to either transfer Tess or Tyler so there wasn't much choice.

Rose went back to the files she was going through, wondering what had happened to make Tess storm out of Alec's office. She saw her new friends talking amongst themselves and thought she would catch up with them later to see what they made of it.

When it was nearly time to leave, Rose got up to see about collecting the car, calling by their desks.

"You're off early Rose," Kate remarked.

"Yeah, gotta go see about a car," Rose grinned. "Not sure why the boss changed his mind though."

"So that was why Tess stormed out of his office then?" Trish tried to be serious.

"Maybe not?" Jo wondered. "She would have confronted Rose."

"Geez, do ya think so?" Rose was worried.

"Sorry Rose but it'll only cause more trouble," Kate told her. "You'd best get going, before Tess notices."

Rose got to the garage, the paperwork for the car ready for her in the office to her surprise.

"It's all been taken car of," she was assured as she was pointed to where to sign. "Keep a record of personal mileage and keep all the fuel receipts. It's got a full tank already."

"Thanks, at least I don't have to call and get any on the way home," Rose laughed.

"So, what have you got planned now you've got the use of the car?" she was asked as she was handed the keys.

"Just shopping I suppose?" Rose was a bit surprised, not knowing where this was going.

She had seen the badge on the traffic officer's police sweater, Sergeant D Peters but didn't know his first name.

"I'm Dean by the way," he replied," Rose thinking if she didn't get out soon, Tess would be around.

Then Hardy would probably ask why she was still there. She hoped the man blocking the doorway would come to the point.

"Still finding your way around town?" she was then asked.

"I'm managing, thanks," Rose replied as he didn't move.

"Well, if you're still having trouble, maybe I can show you around?"

Rose thought he was kind of handsome, maybe around her boss's age but she had no interest in older men, well not that much older.

"I'm fine, thanks all the same," she replied as she indicated she wanted to leave as she saw a few others going to their cars.

If Tess saw her, she would surely ask questions, Rose thought as Dean moved slightly.

"Well if you change your mind, you know where to find me," she was reminded as he put his hand on the door frame and Rose was about to dodge under it until she saw Alec looking in that direction.

"Tyler, thought you had left?" Alec called over to her, making the other man move aside.

"I was about to," Rose aimed the remark at the other officer.

Alec stopped her as she passed him.

"Trouble?" he asked her quietly, nodding to where she had come from.

"No Sir," Rose didn't want any trouble if Tess came along.

"I should hope not then," Alec replied. "Was he bothering you?"

"Not exactly." Rose replied. "I should get going then, Sir. Thanks for arranging the car."

"Night then Tyler and watch out next time," Alec warned her.

"Should I be worried?" Rose wondered as the other officer went back to what he was doing.

"I've had a few complaints," Alec admitted. "He even called me earlier to ask if I had decided to let you take the car or not."

"I take it that's unusual?" Rose also wondered.

"You could say that Tyler. See you on Monday morning, I will make my own way in," he offered.

"I could get you," she reminded him, wondering what Tess would do when she brought him home, let alone collect him in the morning.

"That's not a good idea Tyler," Alec replied. "That would take some explaining," he half smiled at the thought of Tess erupting on the kitchen doorstep.

"So your wife doesn't know you were thinking about letting me use the car?" Rose asked him. "I was told she used it before she stopped working with you?"

"Yes but she uses her own car now, she takes our daughter to school first anyway," Alec admitted, wondering why he was standing in the middle of the police garage having this conversation. "Don't let me keep you Tyler," he then added as he saw Tess was about to enter the garage.

"Alec," Tess called over to him. "Can you go get Daisy since she was in a mood with me this morning?"

"Really?" Alec wasn't that surprised.

Rose thought she had better leave before she was dragged into this.

"Still here DC Tyler?" Tess then asked her.

"I was just leaving," Rose replied.

Alec waited until she had gone before he confronted Tess.

"You don't have to be so rude Tess," he told her.

"Well, what was she doing here?' Tess wanted to know. Then she heard a nearby car starting and turned around. "You let her take the car?"

"Stop it Tess. It is just stuck here, it may as well be used," Alec told her.

"Why, so she can drive you to work and back?" Tess scoffed, seeing the look on his face. "Really Alec."

He knew it hadn't been a good idea.

"Hold on, you were meant to do that but you never did," he reminded her. "As for Daisy, you go get her, then you can go gossip with your mother."

"Huh," Tess replied and went off to her car.

What had he and Tyler been talking about, Tess wondered.

Rose had been glad to make her escape but she felt sorry for her boss, trying to explain things. She had to remember what Alec had said to her, about having trouble with Tess but she didn't think anything would happen until she'd taken him home on Monday night.

Alec had driven off, leaving Tess standing by her car. She was about to get in when Dave appeared.

"Going out tonight Tess?" he asked with a big grin on his face.

"No, Alec refuses to get Daisy so I have to go get her," Tess complained.

"You're going about it all wrong Tess," Dave laughed. "You won't be able to sneak off and meet me at the pub any more then?"

"Don't look too disappointed Dave," Tess replied.

"Oh come on Tess, it's not the end of the world," Dave laughed some more. "We could always sneak off at lunchtime you know? We could go to that pub by the town hall?"

"Then Alec will get suspicious," Tess replied.

"You could say you're meeting a friend," Dave suggested.

"Like he'll fall for that," Tess told him.

"It could be an old friend you met again recently," Dave suggested.

"I'll think about it. Anyway, I suppose Daisy can wait another hour," Tess agreed.

They met where they had been before and Dave was sat waiting in his car. He opened the window when Tess arrived.

"Get in Tess," he insisted. "I know a place we can go."

Tess got in and they drove off, Tess wondering what she was doing going off with her colleague. Was Alec getting even more suspicious? This was bold, she'd never intended that her complaining about Alec to Dave would go so far.

Once out of the town centre, Dave turned down a lane that led to a grassed area and stopped the car.

"Relax Tess, no-one comes here, trust me."

He got out of the car and went around to open the door for her, opening the back door at the same time.

"After you Tess," he grinned as he helped her then got in beside her, trying to take her jacket off and go for her shirt buttons.

Looking flushed a while later, Tess was driven back to her car where they went into the pub for a quick drink.

"Well?" Dave grinned at her. "Exciting?"

Tess was getting her phone out, since Daisy was calling to find out where she was.

"I got held up," Tess insisted. "I'm on my way."

Alec had got home and wondered if he should catch Tess out and turn up at her mother's house. If she wasn't there, then he had something to worry about but if she was, she'd think he was spying on her.

Chapter 4

Rose was pleased that she'd not had to dash out for the bus home but she was still a bit un-nerved that she'd been prevented from leaving the garage office. She had been glad to see her boss had been paying attention to what was going on. Was she going to have the same problem every time she parked? She hoped not, she would have to keep the car keys on her so she didn't have to ask for them.

She wondered if she should be worried about what she'd been told by her boss, that he'd had a few complaints about the traffic officer. That was all she needed, to have to dodge the man every time she went for the car. After making something to eat, Rose called her mother.

"You never!" Jackie laughed when told Rose had got a car. "How did ya manage that?"

"I had to offer to drive my boss to work and back," Rose had to admit. "The thing is, I've already made an enemy out of his wife, she just doesn't seem to like me. She's a DS and she used to be his work partner."

"Well ya'd best be careful then," Jackie suggested. "So did ya say ya'd made a few friends?"

"Yeah, they're friendly enough," Rose told her. "Are ya gonna think about coming down for a visit then?"

"I'll think about it. So, do ya want to hear all the latest gossip?" Jackie wanted to know.

After listening another half hour, Rose finally said goodbye and accessed her phone's map and tried to figure out how to get driving directions on it so she wouldn't get lost going shopping the next day.

Alec was about to call Daisy to see if Tess had collected her, guessing he was maybe right about Tess taking her time talking to her mother or had she sneaked off somewhere to meet with Dave Harris? Why was he so suspicious, was it the other night when Tess had suddenly said she wanted to see her sister or had he just ignored things before that?

He hated the fact that he may have cause to be worried. He had confided in Tyler that Tess might make a fuss when he was picked up for work and he'd talked to her when he was leaving. She had looked relieved at being rescued and he'd have to have words with the traffic officer again. He thought the last warning he'd given the man might have been enough but obviously not, it always seemed to be after a new female officer had arrived.

Monday morning, Rose went to park in the usual spot and kept hold of the keys, she just hoped her boss would want to go out so it was justified. She was about to open the door when Tess was behind her.

"You're lucky to have got the use of that car after only being here a short time," Tess told her as Rose held the door open and was pressing for the lift. "I didn't use it all the time."

"I was told I could take it," Rose defended herself as they got in the lift, Rose pressing for the first floor.

"You mean you asked?" Tess replied. "Let me give you some advice, DC Tyler. Don't appear to over keen, no-one likes a show-off."

"Excuse me saying so but I wasn't, I was trying to show initiative, do you want me to say I don't want the car?" Rose asked her.

She got out of the lift and walked away before she said something else that she might not get away with. "Cheeky cow," she thought as she went into the office and to the break area.

Trish and Kate were already making coffee so Rose joined them, Tess walking in behind her and going to her desk.

"What's wrong with her?" Trish asked innocently.

"She got in the lift with me," Rose replied.

"Just because she's a DS," Trish replied, trying not to glance at Tess. "We have to report to her, lucky you doesn't have to bother."

"Well I feel sorry for ya," Rose smiled. "Hardy's not that bad, I wonder why she's funny with everyone?"

"Don't get involved Rose," Kate warned her. "There are rumours about her and some DS in another division, don't know how true they are."

"Well I'll make her even worse if my boss wants a ride home tonight," Rose admitted.

"You're asking for trouble," Trish told her as she picked her drink up.

Rose thought she'd better get to her desk before Hardy shouted for her.

Alec had seen the three of them together in the corner and Rose then going to sit at her desk. What was it about her? He had considered breaking his rule of no first names when they had to go out but was it such a good idea? If he got used to it, he may forget and carry it over to when they returned. That would make Tess even worse, dare he rile her up any more?

The weekend had been a drag, especially the shopping when he'd let Tess go off on her own in the supermarket. As usual she had returned with things he either didn't like or new things to try. He supposed she'd done it to annoy him and to hint he should have gone in with her.

He decided he should get his new DC on his side before Tess got her claws into her so he got up and called for her.

"Sir?" Rose wondered what he'd called her for when he told her to sit.

"Is my wife making things difficult for you?" he wanted to know as he took off his glasses.

Rose wondered if he knew Tess had confronted her in the lift earlier.

"Well she said something about me taking the car, on the way up from the garage," Rose told him.

Alec knew Tess wouldn't have been able to resist.

"I hope you told her you had my permission?" Alec replied, raising his eyebrows.

"More or less, Sir," Rose had to smile.

This was going to be easier than he thought, Alec decided. So Tyler already disliked Tess as much as apparently Tess did Tyler, he mused.

"So how did you find your first week?" he changed the subject.

"Okay. Is it always so quiet?" Rose wondered.

"Make the most of it Tyler," Alec replied. "It will not always be so quiet."

"I thought we would be going out more?" Rose replied.

"Have you found anything worth investigating in those old cases you are going through?" Alec changed the subject.

"One or two," Rose admitted.

"Then make some more enquiries," Alec told her, wondering why she hadn't already done so.

"I was going to Sir," Rose insisted. "It was just what DS Hardy said to me earlier."

"Whatever it was, take no notice Tyler. She will try and hold you back so I will not want to work with you," he warned her.

"She'd really do that?" Rose wanted to know. "She told me not to…" Rose stopped.

"Show off?" Alec guessed, thinking that was typical of Tess.

Wait until he confronted Tess, Alec thought.

"Go ahead and next time, tell her I will say if you are showing off," Alec continued, rubbing his face, Rose noticing he'd grown a bit of a beard over the weekend, which kind of suited him.

Alec had intentional not shaved over the weekend, since Tess was obviously trying to warn Tyler to back off getting over-friendly with him at work. She had said something before she had left to drop Daisy at her mother's, since it was a teacher training day. Alec had said for her to drop him at the front of the police station.

"Thought you'd got a driver Alec?" Tess had asked him as they waited for Daisy. "Didn't she take the car on Friday night?"

"Leave it Tess," Alec had warned her. "She will be collecting me from tomorrow morning."

"That's going to give Daisy the wrong impression," Tess pointed out. "What if she looks out of the window and sees you getting in the front seat with a blonde?"

"Daisy knows the car Tess," Alec replied. "You brought it home enough times for her to recognise it as a police car."

"Well the car was doing nothing at the time," Tess huffed.

"Well it is doing nothing now so Tyler may as well use it," Alec told her. "Daisy, you are going to make us late," he told the almost teenager.

"Why are you going with mum?" Daisy wanted to know.

"Because I have a new driver who will be bringing me home," Alec replied.

"Oh, the new officer mum was complaining about," Daisy called after her, leaving Alec annoyed.

So before he had got out of the car outside the station, he had confronted Tess.

"Did you have to say anything in front of Daisy?" he asked Tess.

"Well really Alec, what do you expect?" Tess had told him.

So he had been annoyed as he'd gone to his office.

Rose got up to leave.

"Tyler," Alec called after her. "This may be a quieter place than your last posting."

"I know Sir," Rose turned and smiled, getting half a smile back.

Alec picked up his phone and called the chief.

"What is going on around here?" he asked when his call was answered.

"Good morning to you too Alec," the chief told him. "Don't tell me. Tess again?"

"She is making DC Tyler feel unwelcome," Alec replied. "I suggested to Tess that she gets a transfer to another department if she does not like someone else working with me."

"Then if you're serious, let me see what I can do," the chief had to agree to get some peace from the complaints about the two of them. "There is something that concerns me Alec," the chief added. "There are rumours going around."

"About what?" Alec wanted to know, as if he couldn't guess.

"Tess being friendly with a certain detective in another division. Were you aware Alec?"

"It came to my attention," Alec admitted. "Tess seems to have got careless since Tyler was assigned to work with me."

"Then talk to Tess about it," the chief insisted. "These things only make gossip worse Alec."

"Then make Tess move, don't give her a choice," Alec replied.

"She won't be happy," the chief reminded him.

"She is not happy now," Alec told him. "It cannot make things any worse."

"Maybe it would be playing into her hands, to put her with the other person the gossip is about?" the chief wondered. "Leave it with me. The only other thing is to transfer her to the other station."

"Then she will make me take Daisy to school," Alec complained.

"You can't have everything," the chief laughed.

Which was going to be best, Alec had to decide. It wasn't Tyler's fault, the problem was with Tess. Did he want her to go work in the same division as Dave Harris? If Tess was on the verge of having an affair, it may put them both off if they had to work together.

Rose joined her friends at lunchtime and as usual, the topic turned to Tess.

"Guess what I heard earlier?" Trish was dying to tell them.

"How come you hear all the gossip first?" Jo laughed.

"Never mind that. Tess was seen driving off to meet someone the other night. That someone was Dave Harris."

"Seriously?" Kate asked, Rose not knowing who they were talking about.

"Who's he?" Rose dared ask.

"Another DS, you've probably seen him," Jo told her.

"Tess was talking to someone in the corridor, I saw them last week," Rose admitted. "Is she for real?"

"They avoid each other in here," Trish laughed.

"What does Tess even see in him?" Kate wondered.

Rose glanced over to where Tess was about to sit with Alec.

"What do you want Tess?" Alec wanted to know as she sat down. "If you're complaining about Tyler again, don't bother."

"Charming Alec. I have to go see the chief after lunch, do you know what it's about?"

"How would I know?" Alec replied, putting his phone away.

They hadn't seen Rose was observing them. She was wondering now what Tess and this Dave Harris had been talking about. She should have maybe paid more attention.

A lot happened in the next few days. Everyone was surprised Tess was still there when word had been spreading she was about to be transferred. Tess had refused to be moved so the chief had warned her about her hostility towards Rose, to which Tess had complained but had to agree in order to stay.

At the end of the week, Rose had taken Alec out on a few calls and had continued to go back to the office at the same time, despite Rose offering to drop him out front.

"We can both go the same way Tyler," Alec had told her.

"Sorry but I still get the feeling like Tess is watching me," Rose had admitted.

"Just ignore her, she will soon get tired of it," Alec had tried to assure her. "Does it make you uncomfortable?"

"It gives me the creeps," Rose had laughed as she parked the car in the garage.

"Any more trouble with the traffic officer?" Alec nodded towards the office.

"Nah, I think he got the message," Rose replied. "I keep the keys with me."

"Sensible," Alec had to admit, holding the door open for her. "Tyler, have you heard any rumours about Tess?"

"I don't think I should say Sir," Rose told him as the lift arrived.

"That bad then?" he half smiled as he pressed the lift button.

"I just don't wanna add to it," Rose admitted.

As they got out of the lift, Alec stopped.

"Tyler. Just act normally when we walk into the office. Pay no attention to Tess."

"Won't that make her even worse?" Rose asked. Then she started to get what he was doing. "Oh. I did mean to ask if it had made things worse by me drivin' ya home."

"Trust me, it could not make her any worse Tyler. You objected to my calling you Tyler when you arrived," he reminded her.

"I got used to it," Rose replied, wondering why he was delaying them.

"Well maybe I can bend my rule slightly but only while we are out," he told her.

"Wow. I'd best not tell anyone, in case it gets back to Tess then?" Rose smiled.

"A wise decision, Rose," Alec actually smiled.

When Rose walked towards her desk, she passed by where her friends were.

"What are you smiling at Rose?" Trish wanted to know.

"Tell ya later," Rose laughed, making them even more curious.

Tess also wanted to know why the younger officer had a grin on her face, having seen Alec going to his office. He appeared to be in a good mood and she was dying to know why but the chief had warned her about mixing their personal lives with work. That had been part of her being able to stay.

Rose had noticed Tess was going into Alec's office less often and thought he must have said something to her. She hoped Tess would now pay less attention whenever herself and Alec returned. Her boss was now finally lightening up somewhat, which made her feel more at ease and if Tess was less hostile, she may even begin to feel like she belonged there.

She had been sad to leave her old station but she had wanted the promotion and to work with someone who could teach her a lot about being a detective. She just hoped something big would come along, to test her new skills.

When Alec got home, Tess was waiting for him.

"You took your time Alec," Tess started to tell him.

"Don't Tess," he warned her. "It's Friday, there was a lot of traffic and I left after you did. Is Daisy here?"

"Not yet, I was about to go get her. I don't suppose you're going instead?"

"Why?" Alec wanted to know.

Now was his chance to see if the rumours were true or not.

"Fine, I'll go then," Tess decided.

She hadn't yet arranged anything with Dave but there was still time to call him. He'd hardly spoken to her since the other day when he'd taken her by surprise but she had gone willingly into the back seat of his car again. Maybe he'd been disappointed that she'd stopped him from going too far.

She had felt all flushed as they had adjusted their clothing after going for each other hurriedly and she had got a little over-excited, which Dave probably was pleased with himself over that he had got her like that but was that all he wanted? She set off to get Daisy but stopped outside her mother's house to call Dave.

"Tess, why are you calling?" he wanted to know as he left the living room where his wife was watching an annoying soap opera.

"You hardly spoke to me today," Tess complained.

"What? It bothered you?" he sounded amused. "Come on Tess, we had fun the other night, let's leave it at that for now," he suggested.

"You used me," Tess was annoyed.

"Well you were annoyed with Alec," Dave reminded her. "You got your own back on him."

"You think I went with you to get my own back on Alec?" Tess was even more annoyed.

"Well if that wasn't the reason, what was Tess?" Dave replied. "Don't pretend it wasn't. Anyway, I can't keep meeting you after work, I'm running out of excuses for being late home."

"Fine," Tess huffed. "I was offered a transfer to your division," she admitted.

"Tess, that's not a good idea," Dave replied. "We can't be seen together, it's bad enough people pass us in the corridor. Mind you, there was that young blonde last week sometime who was paying attention. She probably fancied me," he laughed. "Don't get jealous will you?"

"Huh, I can attract other men you know," Tess told him. "I thought you were understanding? Seems I was wrong about you if you want to go chasing after some young blonde. Hold on, did she have shoulder-length hair?"

"Ah, is that the one you were complaining about?" he teased her. "You think she fancies your husband."

"Don't remind me. He didn't even bother shaving over the weekend, now he's got the makings of a beard. Maybe that will put her off?" Tess hoped.

Rose had got home after dropping Alec off where he lived having put the address in the satnav.

"You know how to use that thing?" he noticed on the way there.

"Yeah, they come in handy," Rose laughed.

Alec had just stayed quiet until he was getting out of the car.

"Night then Tyler, sorry, I meant Rose. Don't take it personally if I forget to use your first name."

"I'll try not to. Night Sir," Rose had just replied.

Now, she was wondering about his change in appearance. He was obviously trying to grow a beard but why? Was he doing it to annoy Tess or put other women off? If he wasn't very careful, he was going to fail on the last one.

Chapter 5

When Tess had left to get Daisy, he wondered again how long it was going to take her. Why was he even putting up with these excuses she kept coming out with? Right, time to retaliate, he decided. Let her stare as he went back into the office after Tyler, no he had to remember to start calling her Rose.

Rose didn't get along with Tess when she seemed to get on with everyone else and Tess had gone out of her way to instantly dislike Rose. So on Monday, he would see how things went and if Rose wanted to go out more, since it was fairly quiet, he may consider following some of the leads she'd come up with.

Then he'd see how Tess reacted and if she blew up about it, he was going to either get her transferred out or have Dave Harris moved to the other station across town, see how Tess liked that. He had no proof yet that Tess was actually cheating on him, only the fact she had kept making up excuses to not get Daisy on time recently.

Rose had been left wondering how come her boss had just decided to keep using her first name. She had been hoping he would but it had happened all of a sudden. Maybe his wife had something to do with it, like he was doing it to annoy her. Well if he wanted to do that, she was willing to go along with it for a laugh with her friends, they would find it amusing.

She hadn't thought Alec Hardy had much of a sense of humour but maybe he did have after all? It would make things interesting she supposed. She decided over the weekend she was going to explore the area and maybe tempt her mother to join her but the next morning, she had a surprise call from her mother.

"Rose, how are you sweetheart?" Jackie wanted to know.

"Fine Mum. Is something wrong?" Rose wondered.

"Well, ya asked me to come and visit, remember?" Jackie reminded her. "Are ya sure there's room for me?"

Rose wondered what had come over her mother suddenly. Was it because she'd mentioned driving her boss around? Why would that bother her mother? Then she realised what it was.

"Mum, this ain't got nothing to do with me saying I don't get on with my boss's wife?" Rose had to be sure.

Jackie tried not to let on.

"Well, I was just worried ya weren't settling down," Jackie had to admit. "Why don't I come down for a few days?"

Rose had to agree, her mother might not offer again.

"Yeah, that would be great Mum. Anyway, how's the hairdressing? Has it picked up?"

"Not really, don't know what to do about it. I suppose if I had a car it'd help?" Jackie wondered.

"Why not try working in a salon?" Rose suggested.

"Ya know I'm not keen on that, well not around here," Jackie laughed.

It had been a difficult Sunday so far for Alec. He was already bored and Tess didn't want to go anywhere when he suggested something. How much more was he able to put up with? So he was sort of glad when Monday morning came around and Rose was waiting outside.

"Before we set off, I have an unusual request," Alec told her as he put the seatbelt on.

Rose was curious so she just waited for him to continue.

"You can say no," he added when she looked at him.

"Well it depends what it is," Rose replied cautiously.

"Don't look so worried," Alec told her. "I thought maybe when we get back to the office after being out, well there is no need to suddenly stop talking when we go inside?"

"Oh," was all Rose could say, as if they said much anyway. "So ya want Tess to notice?" she wondered.

"Ah, well yes," Alec admitted. "Is that too much to ask?"

"Suppose not?" Rose mused, setting off or they would be late, since he liked getting there early. "No, I don't mind, she hardly can complain about me, can she?"

"No, not to me," Alec tried to assure her.

"Hey, maybe when we get back I can bring you coffee?" Rose smiled.

"Mmm, don't get too far ahead," Alec smiled at the thought of annoying Tess even more.

"Well it doesn't help when ya keep calling me into your office – Sir," Rose laughed.

Alec knew she was going to be trouble, now he was giving her some leeway. So as agreed, Alec insisted on going into the garage with Rose, daring the traffic officer to say anything and secretly hoping Tess would be early for a change instead of stopping to gossip to other parents outside Daisy's school.

He knew Tess always did it on purpose but she had crossed the line last week when she'd been early and warned Rose, Tess had no right to do so. What had been her point? Had it been she really was trying to get him to refuse to work with the young officer?

As they went up in the lift, Alec was already stuck for something to say, which wasn't going to help him when they got in the office at the same time. Rose's friends had seen Rose disappear through the door as they had come through the front door.

"Did I just see Rose with Hardy?" Jo wanted to know as they passed reception.

"I always thought she dropped him outside," Kate replied.

"Seems we were wrong," Trish laughed. "I bet they're doing it to annoy Tess."

"Well that should be fun," Jo laughed as well.

So for the rest of the week, Alec would continue to call Rose into his office, seeing Tess was trying to ignore the fact and Rose had started taking him a drink when they'd been out, Rose sometimes laughing at something as they'd gone back in. On Friday lunchtime, her friends wanted to know what was going on.

"It's nothing, really," Rose had insisted. "Well he just wanted to annoy Tess a bit."

"That's nothing?" Trish laughed, trying not to look at Tess, who was sat on her own.

Tess was on her own because she'd sent a text to Dave saying she wanted to talk to him. He appeared in the doorway and ignoring Alec looking up from his meal, sat opposite Tess.

"This isn't a good idea Tess," Dave warned her. "What was so urgent then?"

"You've been ignoring me," Tess complained.

"I said to hold off," Dave corrected her. "My wife was getting suspicious, I wanted to throw her off."

"What was I supposed to do?" Tess asked him. "Wait for you to call me?"

Dave was about to get up.

"Meet me after work then," he told her, then he went off.

Tess didn't like being treated like that but Dave had her hooked and he knew it. She had wanted to talk to him but knew he had more than talking in mind. She should break it off before things went too far but she needed him on her side.

Rose had been watching as the others talked.

"Are you with us Rose?" Trish wanted to know.

"What? Oh, yeah. Seems like Tess has fallen out with that detective."

"They were probably arranging something," Jo disagreed. "Be careful what you get involved with Rose."

"Yeah, she's right," Kate agreed.

"Hardy's the one who suggested giving Tess a taste of her own medicine," Rose reminded them. "Besides, he's lightened up a lot this last week."

"That's true," Trish agreed with her. "Looks like going along with him's paid off Rose."

Rose hoped so, it had been hard to judge what he was really like, since he stayed quiet most of the time. There had been awkward silences when they hadn't been discussing the reason they'd been sent out by the chief. At the end of the day, Rose went to ask Alec if he wanted picking up outside as usual.

"No, I will come down with you," he told her as he took his specs off.

"Can I ask ya something?" Rose wanted to know. Alec nodded. "It's just, well before I started taking ya home, ya always stayed behind."

"Don't worry about it," Alec replied. "I only agreed to leaving early as I did not want to keep you working late."

"Oh. Well I wouldn't have minded waiting a while for ya, except now, my mum's comin' for a visit so I can't now," Rose told him.

"Right. Well if I have to stay behind for any reason, I will make other arrangements," Alec decided, getting up and putting his jacket on.

He picked up his phone, letting Rose go out first. He noticed Tess had already left but that was usual for her. Tess was waiting for Dave down in the garage. The traffic officer was watching as Dave joined her.

"Meet me where we went last time," Dave told her as he opened his car doors with the remote. "You do remember where it was?"

"Yes, I remember but I needed to talk to you," Tess reminded him.

"Come on Tess, what's to talk about?" he wanted to know.

"We used to talk at lunchtime," Tess replied. "What's the harm in that?"

"When people pass us in the corridor?" Dave laughed. "Geez Tess."

He got in his car and Tess stood back. She was about to get in her car when Rose came through the door, laughing. Alec was following her.

"So your mother did not want to come down here with you?" Alec had been asking her as they waited for the lift.

"Nah, she didn't want to leave but she's worried about me now," Rose had admitted.

"Why, new boyfriend maybe?" Alec had raised his eyebrows again, making Rose smile.

"No such luck," she had laughed as the lift arrived, with several people already in it.

They had stood side by side, Rose dying to laugh again but waited until they were getting out, followed by Alec and those behind them. Tess had waited for them to pass by to the car Rose was using, seeing if Alec had noticed she was still there. He had but didn't stop by her car to talk to her.

"Right," Tess thought to herself. "If he wants to just ignore me and laugh about something with Rose Tyler, let him."

Alec heard Tess start her car, then screeching the tyres, she went off in a hurry.

"Blimey, what's wrong with her?" Rose asked as she started the car.

"Take no notice," Alec advised her.

"Was she mad ya didn't stop to talk to her?" Rose wondered.

"Don't get involved Rose," he told her as she drove off.

"Excuse me saying but I think I already am," Rose spoke up, since they were outside working hours. "At my last station, everyone was friendly but since I got here, she's gone out of her way to dislike me, without giving me a chance. Sorry, Sir."

"You don't have to call me sir outside work," Alec replied. "There is no need to be sorry Rose, Tess was annoyed the chief stopped us from working together. It did not bother me but she took it badly. The chief was tired of all the complaints. Tess was always arguing when we returned."

"Was that why you wanted us to be talking when we got back from anywhere?" Rose wondered as she stopped at some lights.

Alec didn't reply at first. "Leave it Rose," he insisted, seeing she was glancing at him through the mirror.

He ran his fingers through his hair, Rose thinking he looked tired so she let it rest but it wasn't over as far as she was concerned. She couldn't leave it, her boss was having trouble at home and it affected the way he worked. One thing she had learned was he didn't seem to have that many friends at the station, he was always sitting on his own at lunchtime and even Tess sat elsewhere.

She didn't see anything wrong with him but if he preferred being alone, nothing could be done about it. As she dropped Alec outside his house, she noticed there was only one car in the driveway, as did Alec.

"Night then Sir," Rose told him as he got out.

"Yes, have a good weekend Rose," Alec replied. "Any plans?"

"Just getting ready for my mum's royal visit," Rose laughed. "Extra shopping to get, she'll probably just turn up with no warning."

"See you on Monday then," he told her as he closed the car door.

When Rose got home, she made a list of the extra things she'd need from the supermarket and then made sure the spare room was tidy. It was only a single room but it would be comfortable enough, she had been lucky she'd got an apartment with two bedrooms.

When Alec got inside, he expected Tess had gone to get Daisy early for a change but in the back of his mind, he couldn't help thinking otherwise. Did Rose and her friends already suspect something else? He'd seen them talking at lunch time and had noticed Rose looked miles away. They must have noticed he and Rose had been talking when they'd gone back in the office, even if Tess was trying to ignore them.

Why had Dave Harris stopped to talk to Tess, he wondered. Had they thought he'd not noticed? If he said anything to Tess about it, she would be in a bad mood all weekend. Harris was getting bold though, maybe he should warn the man about it? Would it do any good though?

Jackie had been packing to go spend a few days with Rose and had called her friend Howard from the market to say she'd be away, since he had suddenly started offering to deliver what she bought from his stall on a Saturday. She had wondered if anything was going to come of it but nothing so far.

Rose was a bit surprised when told her mother would be arriving the following afternoon.

"How long are ya staying?" Rose wanted to know.

"Well, that depends," Jackie was telling her. "I mean since you're at work all day? I hope that boss of yours won't keep ya working late?"

"No, he doesn't Mum and if he does work late, he said he'd make other arrangements to get home," Rose assured her.

Tess had followed Dave to the remote spot they met in before and he was already out of his car.

"We'll have to go in your car Tess," he told her as she was about to get out.

"You're kidding Dave," Tess protested.

"If my wife suspects anything, she'll kick me out," Dave insisted. "Haven't you got a blanket in the back?"

Tess huffed and went to the back, bringing out a Tartan cover they'd got on a visit to Scotland when Daisy had been younger, seeing Dave grinning as he held the back door open and taking the blanket from her, spread it on the seat. Then he indicated for her to get in first, looking around the deserted spot to make sure no-one would be likely to wander nearby, even though they had parked behind some bushes that hid their cars from the opposite riverbank. Tess had left her work bag on the front seat and heard her phone ringing, she knew it would be either Daisy or Alec, both would be wanting to know where she was.

"Leave it Tess," Dave insisted as he went to kiss her roughly, fumbling for the zip of his trousers while Tess was trying to get back up.

"Whoever it is will keep trying," she told him.

"Well let them," Dave replied as he unbuttoned her shirt.

Afterwards, while Tess was trying to compose herself, Dave was already sat up.

"We'll have to keep this to once a week Tess," he told her.

"Huh, is that all I'm worth?" Tess was annoyed.

"We can go for a quick drink after work a couple of times," he offered as he watched Tess fasten her shirt buttons. "Maybe a quick snog if we park behind the pub," he then laughed.

Tess dug his side with her elbow.

"Hey, want to play rough?" Dave laughed even louder. "You'd better hope my wife doesn't do an inspection."

"Is she still off you?" Tess replied sarcastically. "You think I don't know why you're having sex with me in the back of a car?"

"Stop complaining Tess," Dave told her, trying to push her down again and put his hand up her shirt.

That had been the first time they'd done it properly and he'd want it that way now, Tess knew.

She tried to resist but he was too fast as he went for the zip of her trousers again. He succeeded and rubbed the top of her underwear and was about to pull both down when her mobile rang again.

"If I don't answer and it's Alec, I'll have some explaining to do," Tess insisted.

"Tell him you're out at the pub with your friends," Dave replied as Tess tried to move his hand.

She couldn't get him to move his hand as he went to lie on her again and kissed her roughly, his other hand trying to pull both her garments down at the front. Tess stopped struggling and went to do the same to him. When they finally got out of the car after getting dressed again, Tess stared at the clock on the dashboard.

"I'll have to call Daisy, she might have called Alec to get her," Tess complained.

"Chill out Tess, I told you what to say. Does Alec know any of your friends?" he asked her.

"Well not really," Tess had to admit.

"There you go then. I'd better go, unless you want another repeat?" Dave grinned.

"Go then," Tess huffed.

"Anyone would think you and Alec don't have sex any more," he laughed as he got out.

Tess felt like throwing something at the jerk, if she'd had anything nearby to throw at him. He was a smug, egotistical, self-centred something beginning with 'B'. He had also pinpointed the problem she had with her husband and she had half a mind to try to put that right over the weekend but Alec would then wonder what she was up to. Not that he didn't already suspect something as she checked her phone and discovered it had been him trying to call her.

She got in the front seat and tried calling him back.

"Where have you been Tess?" Alec wanted to know.

"At the pub, my friends were going so I thought I'd join them," Tess replied, seeing she was still flushed as she looked in the mirror.

Now, she did need a drink before she faced him or Daisy.

"I've been trying to call you and so has Daisy," Alec tried to keep his temper. "Don't bother going for her, I've already been to collect her. You could have said something Tess."

"It was spur of the moment Alec," Tess tried to tell him. "I never heard my phone ringing."

Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
Chapter 31
Chapter 32
Chapter 33