Alec Hardy was pacing his hospital room, anxious to get out of the place. He knew he was only going back to the hotel, he had nowhere else to go and one week before Christmas, there was no way he was going to find a place to rent, unless he took a holiday cottage and he didn't want to be on his own anyway. At least at the hotel he got his meals. Who knew, Becca Fisher might even change her mind about spending time with him, as if that was ever going to happen.
While he waited for his discharge papers, mainly so after the holidays, he could present them to the chief and get his job back, he looked at his phone. Should he try calling his daughter again? How many missed calls had he given her?
Daisy Hardy was sat in her room, listening to her music. Her mother and her useless boyfriend were having another row, probably about either her or the money they were spending on what Dave called useless presents. She wished her dad had given her the choice of going with him when they had got divorced but her mother had persuaded her that he didn't care, that he had left them and she had taken solace in a work colleague but Daisy had read the newspapers, about her dad solving the Broadchurch murder of a young boy and that it wasn't him that lost the evidence and he had not given up on the case of the two young girls.
She had been trying to get up the courage to call him or even answer him but was ashamed of herself for deserting him, even after she had read he had something wrong with him. How could he even want to look at her now? How could she face him? She heard her phone buzzing, saw the display light up saying 'Dad' and thought of ignoring it again. He'd tried calling after she read about him but she knew it was near Christmas, he'd tried calling last year, just after the divorce had finally come through but she was angry with him for leaving her but if she had known then he'd been ill, she may have forgiven him but not now.
He'd always spent more time solving cases than with her, her mother said he didn't care about family life but after the reports she had read, she was slowly beginning to realise maybe that had not been the case, maybe it was because he had been ill. The phone was still buzzing, she picked it up and swiped the green button and heard a voice, a very familiar, yet distant voice on the other end.
"Daisy, is that you?" her father asked. "You finally answered, how are you? Are you ok?"
She found her voice. "Hi, Dad, yeah, it's me. I'm fine. Are you still in Broadchurch? I read about you in the papers."
"Aye, I'm still here, well sort of. I'm in Dorchester, a few miles away. Daisy, I just had surgery, for a pacemaker but I'm fine now, I'm getting discharged today."
"What? Why didn't you say? I didn't know you were that ill. I'm sorry, I never answered you, I couldn't. I blamed you for everything. How can you still want to talk to me?"
"Daisy, it's ok, I know. I'm just glad you finally answered me. I thought you had got a new number or you had no credit to call me. Anyway, it doesn't matter now. Listen, it's your birthday soon in a few weeks, you'll be sixteen, see, I've not forgotten. Why don't you come down and see me?"
Daisy sat up on her bed. "Why don't I come down now and look after you? I've got some money saved up, I could get a train down."
"Well, I'm only still in a hotel, that's where I was staying before the operation. Why don't I get back and see if I can get you a room? I might be able to find a place to rent but it will take time. I can call you when I find somewhere, you can come for a visit."
Daisy didn't want to wait that long and she wiped her face, not realising tears had been streaming down her cheeks. "Please, let me come down, you need someone to look after you."
"Daisy, listen to me, give me a couple of days, I'll get back to the hotel and see if I can get you a single room, then you can come down but you need to tell your mother where you are going. You can't leave without saying anything. Can you do that?"
"Yes, I can do that but she won't be happy."
"Well, I got joint custody and once you turn sixteen, she'll not be able to do anything anyway. I'll try my best to see if I can rent an apartment or something, I still get a housing allowance from the Police even though I'm on medical leave. Just leave it with me."
Just then, a nurse came into his room. "Daisy, I have to go now, I'm getting discharged, I'll call you tomorrow, ok?"
"Yes, ok, make sure you do. Are you going back on your own?"
"No, I have a friend collecting me, she used to work with me. I think she may be waiting outside for me."
After he hung up, he gathered his holdall, he'd not brought much, considering his chances of surviving were pretty slim but he'd been bloody-minded enough to cheat death and had the nerve to laugh in it's face. Ellie Miller had been a few times, she had gone back to work part-time in Dorchester and had agreed to take him back to Broadchurch upon his discharge.
She had joked it would be the first time the hospital discharged him and not the other way around. Making his way out of the room on his own two feet, he saw Ellie and her youngest son waiting for him.
"Well you look better than when you went in," Ellie remarked, taking the holdall from the nurse. "Do you want a wheelchair then or are you going to walk under your own steam? If you want a wheelchair, I'm not going to push you."
Alec made a face and Fred, Ellie's young son started laughing.
"Come on Miller, I've not got all day, I'm glad to get out of this bloody place."
Ellie half smiled. He'd not changed one bit she was glad to say. Once in the car and the young boy firmly placed in the car seat, they set off.
"So are you going to do anything about getting out of that hotel now you've had the nerve to survive?" Ellie asked.
"I might, nothing permanent, I might see about a holiday apartment or something, there are those next to the station."
"The glass and chrome ones? A bit expensive aren't they? Your sick pay won't cover the cost of one of those."
"No. I mean those around the corner on the sea front. Sometimes I wonder about you Miller."
Ellie laughed. "Well what made you change your mind? Wouldn't it be better staying in the hotel until you're back at work though? At least someone is there to keep an eye on you."
"I can look after myself, I don't need a nursemaid."
"Good, because I'm not volunteering for the job."
"Was I even asking? Anyway, I talked to my daughter earlier, she's coming down to see me."
Ellie nearly crashed the car. "What? She's real?"
"Yes, did you think I was making her up?"
Ellie laughed. "Well of course I did. I can't imagine you with a daughter."
"Thanks Miller, I'm glad to see you still have confidence in me."
They arrived at the hotel and Ellie got Fred out of the car seat, putting her 'Police' sign on the dashboard and went to get Alec's holdall. Walking into the hotel, Becca greeted him.
"Welcome back detective, glad you're still with us. Ellie, how are you doing? I'm surprised to see you here."
"Just returning him, nothing to get excited about, I'm not staying. Has business picked up?"
"Yeah, a little. Got a few bookings for Christmas."
Alec spoke up, taking his key. "Do you have any spare single rooms? I'm expecting my daughter to visit."
"Oh, well I might just have one single, I'm waiting for confirmation. How long did you want it for?"
"Just over Christmas. If you haven't, I can see if I can rent something."
"Let me get back to you. I can let you know by Friday."
"That may leave it too late. I'll call some places tomorrow, see if one of those holiday apartments is available on the sea front." He turned to Ellie. "Thanks for bringing me back Miller." He patted the small boy on the head.
Becca and Ellie just looked at each other. Once back in his old room, having been away a month, he accessed the internet on his phone and looked up holiday rentals in Broadchurch and got a few numbers. He would have to take one for at least two months to find somewhere permanent but it would work out cheaper than the hotel if he had to pay for a single room himself. He had been on half pay but some of that had gone on the hotel, he had to pay half after his initial full payment of it by the police stopped.
He left it until the following day, deciding he needed a rest, then he went down to dinner. As he walked in, he noticed a blonde haired woman sitting alone at a table and nodded to her.
Rose Tyler had arrived in Broadchurch, having left London after a blazing row with her on/off boyfriend and had decided to just get away from it all. She luckily had some money saved, she had been working at the re-modelled department store that had been blown up a few years back and had some holiday time to come and been told that technically she wasn't allowed time off at Christmas but she pointed out that she would be back on Monday and got away with it, though her supervisor was probably just a bit jealous. She had arrived on Monday, borrowing her mother's car after finally passing her driving test, no thanks to Mickey.
She saw a tall man come into the dining area but didn't take too much notice of him, she was still seething after the last row with Mickey over preferring football over her - again. Well this was the final time, although she said that every time and still went back.
It was Alec that made the move later, in the bar. He had seen the blonde go in after dinner and followed her. He stood at the side of her at the small bar.
"Can I buy you a drink?" he asked, as she was getting a white wine and lemonade.
"Why not?" Rose replied. The prices weren't that cheap and she was on a budget.
She crossed to a table at the back of the room and Alec joined her, holding his hand out. "Alec Hardy."
Rose shook his hand. "Rose Tyler. I've not seen you here before, have you just arrived?"
Alec smiled. "Not exactly. I've just come out of hospital, had an operation."
"Oh, sorry to hear that. You must be ok or they wouldn't have let you out. How are you feeling though?"
"A bit sore, had a pacemaker fitted, I was in for a month because I had no-one to look after me. I was staying here before I went in."
"No home then?"
"No, not any more. I was working in the town before I went on medical leave. Now I'm just waiting to go back to work."
"So soon? Should you be thinking about going back yet?"
Alec let out a laugh. "You sound like the nurse I had."
Rose smiled. "I'm here because I fell out with my loser boyfriend again. He prefers watching football to paying any attention to me. I don't know why I took him back the last time."
"More fool him," Alec thought but dare not say out loud.
Rose suddenly looked up from her drink. "I know you, you solved that boy's murder, it was in all the papers."
"Yes, well spotted. Just what I needed, to be reminded of it."
"Sorry, I'll changed the subject."
"No. I've come to terms with it, it's over with now. So how long are you here?"
"I leave on Saturday. I have to go back to work even though it's only for two days, they insisted. It will be a waste of time, who wants to buy clothes at Christmas?"
"You work in a clothes shop? Where, in London?"
"Well, aren't you the detective then? I can tell you're good at your job."
She poked her tongue out when she smiled and Alec thought it was the best smile he had ever seen.
"Well I didn't get the job on just my charm."
Rose doubted that.
"So Rose, you live alone since you threw your boyfriend out?"
"I didn't live with him, I still live with my mum, only because rents are so high there. She's a hairdresser, well mobile hairdresser but I borrowed her car to get down here. She does quite well but all her appointments are near home with the run up to the holidays. I take it you're on your own?"
"Divorced with a teenage daughter, she's coming down for Christmas, if I can find her somewhere to stay. I'm going to look for a holiday apartment tomorrow, just until I can get somewhere permanent."
"Right, good luck with that. Has she got far to come?"
"Sandbrook. She's getting a train."
"Wow, on her own? Listen, I'm not really doing that much, if you find somewhere to rent, I can take you to have a look."
"No, it's ok, I'll be fine. I only have to walk down to the sea front, I need the exercise."
"You shouldn't go out on your own looking around apartments. I could still go with you, if you want?"
What was the harm in that? She would be gone in a few days. It was Thursday tomorrow, she left on Saturday. Maybe he could let her go with him. Maybe he could ask her if she wanted to keep him company, it would save asking Becca Fisher again. She was out of his league anyway.
"Ok then, I'll ring a few tomorrow, though I doubt they will let me look around. I just need a two bedroom one. It's a shame the caravan park isn't open, I could have got a caravan for a few weeks. Maybe though they might be open for long term bookings, there must be residential caravans on there."
"Maybe we could go walk down in the morning then if that doesn't work out, you can call about those apartments."
"Thanks, we'll do that then. Do you want another drink Rose?"
"Why not Alec?"
Two hours later, they were walking upstairs and discovering they were in adjoining rooms.
"So, I'll meet you at breakfast then Rose? Unless, you'd like to come in for a while and we could talk some more?"
Rose needed to think about this. She had just split up with Mickey again and she had just met the detective who had been labelled the worst cop in Britain. He seemed harmless though, he had just been discharged from hospital, what could he possibly do? The worse would be he could try to snog her and he was kind of good-looking in a scruffy beard sort of way. She wondered if he had to work at it – to be that good-looking and covering it up with a beard.
"Ok, I'll come in for a while but don't think about trying anything, detective or not, I know how to fend for myself."
"I don't doubt that." Alec smiled, holding the door open for her.
Before either of them knew it, they had been unable to resist each other and Rose was down to her underwear, Alec down to his boxer shorts, wishing the hairs on his chest would hurry up and grow back. There was still a small bandage where the pacemaker had been inserted and Rose was carefully avoiding it, kissing across his sparse chest hair. He had already had her pinned down on the bed, kissing the exposed skin above the top of her bra several times and Rose was giggling as he kissed his way across her tummy, fingering the waistband of her lacy underwear but not attempting anything else.
Now Rose had him on his back, teasing him in the same manner.
"I think you should quit while you still can Alec, I don't fancy explaining to the hospital if I have to drive you back there," Rose laughed.
Alec looked up at her. What was she trying to say? Did she actually think he was meaning to take this further? He was just testing how good his operation had been.
"Rose, I didn't mean for this to go any further, I hope I didn't give you the wrong idea?" he said, holding her at arms length.
Rose smiled. "I was just teasing you Alec, relax. I'm not in the market for anything more, I wasn't expecting you to make any more of it. You've just come out of hospital, you should get some rest. I'll go now if you want?"
"No. Will you stay? I don't want to be on my own."
Rose moved onto her side. She could stay, the man just wanted some company and she had nearly ruined it. "I'll stay if you want though you should get some sleep."
After they kissed again, Rose settled down, careful to avoid his bandage. The next morning, after breakfast, Rose walked down to the harbour with him, holding onto his arm, more for her reassurance than his, she didn't want to seem clingy. They were surprised the caravan reception was open and Alec asked about renting a two or three bedroom extra wide caravan.
The manager said they didn't normally take bookings, the park was only really open for long term residents, some people lived there but when he said he wanted one for at least two months, the park not re-opening until March next year, she was only too happy to accommodate him. He paid half the fee for two months, saying he was in the police and to bill the rest to them at police headquarters in Exeter who were now dealing with it, well he hoped they would agree and after calling them to confirm they would settle the rest of the cost, the manager agreed. He booked for himself and Daisy and asked if he could add other names if needed, looking at Rose.
He was told he could as long as they were registered but the club and swimming pool were closed for the season but the public bar was open in the evenings and served meals. So he signed for a large two doubled bedroom caravan that cost less than two rooms at the hotel for a week and got one with a fully fitted kitchen complete with washing machine and decking with a sliding patio door instead of the awkward one that opened outwards and got a map of where it was situated. He was told it would be ready after four on Saturday.
Pleased with himself, he and Rose crossed over to the café on the edge of the harbour and Alec called his daughter.
"Daisy, hi, it's dad. I got us somewhere to stay, a nice two bedroom caravan, right on the harbour. Have you got enough money for the train fare?"
Daisy didn't answer him, he could tell she was crying. "Ok, what's wrong? Did your mother tell you that you can't come down?" Still silence.
"Right, I'm calling her now so don't worry about it. You still want to come down don't you?"
He heard a muffled 'Yes'. "Daisy, get your stuff packed and be ready to get a train on Saturday morning to Dorchester and I'll get there somehow to meet you, I think I can get a bus from here though I don't know how often they run."
Rose took his hand. "Alec, I can take you there, don't worry. I don't have to go back on Saturday, I can wait until Sunday if you can put me up in the caravan?"
Alec nodded. "Listen Daisy I have a friend that will take me, you just get there and get an open return ticket. Do you have enough money?"
"Yes," Daisy replied through her sobs "But mum banned me from seeing you. She says you can't look after me, I don't think I can come for Christmas."
"You just leave that to me, even if I have to come up there and get you."
"But dad, you're just out of hospital, you can't travel on your own. I told mum, about your operation and she said you couldn't look after me before, how can you manage now?"
"I told you, I'll sort your mother out, leave that to me. I have to go now, I'm going to call her right now. You just find out about the trains."
"Ok. Are you sure you can handle mum? She's pretty mad, after I told her."
"Don't worry about her. I'll see you on Saturday."
Alec hung up, fuming that his ex was being a bitch over their daughter. He knew she was a piece of work but she was really going to town on this.
"Are you ok Alec?" Rose asked, still holding his hand.
"What? Oh I'm fine. I have another call to make but I should go back to the hotel to make it. Are you ready to leave?"
Rose nodded. They walked back to the hotel and Rose said she would leave him to make his call.
"Come round when you've called her then we'll go out and get lunch later if you want?"
Alec agreed. Then he made his call, not his favourite of things to do, calling his ex wife.
She answered him with the same tone she had always greeted him with after their split or as Alec liked to put it after she betrayed him and went with another man, a male DS in the same division and then he wondered why people had talked in hushed voices whenever he passed by.
"So Alec, you want to suddenly start being a father to Daisy? Why the sudden interest?"
"That was not me, you took her away and turned her against me. You gave me no choice but I got joint custody until she's 16, which is next month anyway. She told you I just got out of hospital?"
"Yes, so how are you going to keep an eye on her? She has school to finish."
"Don't worry about that, I'll have her back before school starts again, we can work the details out later so don't you go telling her she can't come down for the holidays. I've got us somewhere to stay, then I'll get a permanent place. I go back to work after the new year anyway, she can come down again at half term."
His ex did not seem to want to put up any resistance which surprised him.
"Have it your way Alec, she'll be your responsibility once she's on that train."
"That's fine with me. I'll give her the money back when she gets here, once I get sorted out."
"You mean you've no money?"
"I just need to change my address with the police authority so they can pay for my new place, I still get a housing allowance and now I can claim for Daisy."
"I'll lose mine then if she lives with you."
"Well, you'll lose it after her birthday anyway."
She didn't reply. That was what it had all been about. Now she was losing that, she would lose any interest anyway. He gave Daisy a quick call to reassure her it was ok to come down.
Knocking on Rose's door, she answered in a few seconds and greeted him with a kiss. "Hi, how did it go?"
"Fine, it's all sorted. You really didn't have to volunteer to drive me you know."
"Rubbish, you can't go on your own. I'll be happy to drive you there. I'll just book out of here on Saturday morning and then drive you there. I can leave on Sunday. Now, you owe me lunch for that."
Alec was grateful he had some savings. Living on his own, just with half pay wasn't so bad. He could easily get sorted with new temporary address on Monday, he had a meeting with the chief superintendent to see about going back to work even if it was only part-time but after the new year. Then if Daisy wanted to come and live with him, he would have to get her transferred to a nearby school so she could do her exams and get into college. He didn't even know what she wanted to do, he'd missed the last few years.
After lunch and a walk on the cold beach, holding hands and Alec getting a few looks from people that knew him from his last case, they had dinner and went back to Rose's room. Kissing for a while, Rose deciding he was a fair kisser, she let him undress her and they got into bed, leaving their underwear on again but Alec wanted to up the stakes, Rose pretending to resist but gave in too easily for his liking.
On Friday, Rose drove them up the coast to the next town, walking around the harbour and having lunch, Alec asked her about where she lived.
"It's just a council estate Alec, nothing fancy. I've always lived there, mum won't move, she has too many friends there and most of her customers. Where was home for you?"
"Well up until I came here, I went back to Glasgow for a while after Sandbrook. You know what happened there."
Rose had read about it and had felt sorry for him even before she had met him but he was hopefully getting his daughter back.
"How old is she Alec, you never said."
"She's 15, nearly 16, next month and old enough to leave home. I'm 38, if you're interested though I tend to look older since I've been ill."
"Aw, you don't look that old Alec, though it maybe your beard that does that, it gives the impression you're older."
"I'll bear that in mind the next time I trim it, I might take an extra layer off."
Rose smiled. He would be very handsome without his beard but he looked so cute with it. She wasn't entirely sure if she would still fancy him without it.
They sat on a bench carved out of the wall and held hands. There weren't that many people around so Alec gave her a quick kiss. She was really growing on him and he would be sad to see her leave – unless he could tempt her to stay but his daughter was going to need all his attention. Daisy may not take too kindly to being introduced to Rose if she knew she was staying. He could get away with saying she was a friend and would be leaving on Sunday but anything more may put his new-found relationship with Daisy back further than it was. He couldn't risk that. He would have to wait and see how the two of them got on before Rose was due to leave. He had never even asked Rose how old she was, she seemed in her 20's and he knew he really shouldn't be taking up with her.
When they got back, Rose admitting how old she was, after dinner and a few drinks they snuggled beneath the bedclothes, Alec unfastening her bra without asking her, Rose giggled at how bold he had become.
Alec got a message from Daisy on Saturday morning to say she was getting the train and would be in Dorchester just after three so after breakfast, Alec having told Becca he was moving out, much to her dismay, they both handed their keys in and Alec loaded his things into the back of Rose's car, just having enough room and hoping Daisy hadn't brought too much with her. They decided to drive straight to Dorchester and wait there for the train, so making sure there was nothing in view, they chose a car park near the railway station and were back there just before the train was due to arrive.
Alec was pacing up and down on the platform it was due to arrive on, wishing the train had been stopping at Broadchurch, Rose was trying to calm him down, getting him to sit beside her on a bench, holding onto his arm. Just as the train arrival was announced, Rose asked how long it had been since he had seen her. All he replied was it had been too long. Looking at everyone getting off the train, Rose spotted a young girl as she was looking the opposite way to Alec and caught his arm. He turned around and shook his head but the girl walked towards them.
Daisy had recognised him right away as she approached them, Alec was just turning away but Rose tugged his arm again and the girl spoke.
Alec turned back at the sound of her voice. She had grown and styled her hair differently and he knew he should have video-called her. "Daisy, I almost didn't recognise you."
He greeted her and Daisy put her holdall down, Rose picking it up as they hugged. "Dad, it's been nearly two years, what do you expect?'' Daisy laughed, looking at Rose who was now holding her luggage. "Who's this then? Have you got a new girlfriend and you never even told me? Dad, really, it's ok if you have. Hi, I'm Daisy Hardy."
Rose held out her free hand. "Rose Tyler and we're just friends, I drove him over here to pick you up. I was on holiday in Broadchurch, we just met a few days ago."
Daisy thought otherwise. Who were they kidding?
They exited the railway station and Daisy had to put her holdall on the back seat, Rose explaining all their luggage was in the back and that she was meant to go home but had stayed to pick her up.
"Thanks Rose, you didn't have to do that. Is it far?"
"No, it won't take too long then we can book you two into the caravan."
"I'll have to add you as a guest Rose, don't want to get thrown out. That would not look good, even if it's only for one night."
"I thought you said you'd just got a two bedroom caravan. Are they double or twin rooms?"
"Two doubles, one either end of the caravan. Don't worry, you won't have to share with Rose, she'll be staying with me and before you ask, there's nothing going on you need to know about, we really are just friends."
Rose looked in the rear view mirror and saw the girl rolling her eyes as if to say he wasn't fooling anyone, especially her. Rose smiled to herself. After collecting the keys and checking Rose in, Alec neglecting to say how long Rose was staying and putting her down for the duration of their stay as she was taking no notice, Rose drove them round to the second service road and found the caravan. It looked brand new. Stepping inside, using the sliding door, Rose thought it was gorgeous and wished she was staying. They retrieved their luggage and Daisy claimed her bedroom and Rose roped her in to go find the supermarket and get what they needed until Alec could go do the main grocery shopping.
The site manager had said the rest of the costs were being covered so there was no problem and the caravan would have been empty anyway so they were happy to make an exception. Alec said they now had two months to find a rented house if Daisy chose to stay. After eating and Daisy settling in her room, Rose and Alec stretched out on the cushions to watch TV and do some serious snogging, listening out for Daisy's bedroom door opening but it didn't.
It was when they got to bed Alec had a question for Rose. "Do you have to go home tomorrow?"
"Alec, I'll lose my job if I don't go back and I can't afford to be out of work at Christmas."
"Then come back, on Christmas Eve."
"The traffic will be awful at that time, it will take me hours."
"But it will be worth it Rose, you know it will. Come and spend Christmas with us, bring your mother down to meet us, she can sleep in the lounge."
"She might not agree if she finds out I'm sleeping with you," Rose teased, biting on his bottom lip.
"Ah, well that's easy because that's all we've been doing Rose, just sleeping aren't we?"
"Alec, I go home tomorrow. If you want to do more than just sleep, you'll make it difficult for me to leave."
Alec kissed her properly. "Well that was the idea Rose."
He turned out the lights and followed her into the bedroom, Rose was already getting undressed. "What time do you have to leave?"
"I'll have to leave after lunch. You're making this awkward Alec, you know that."
"Then think about coming back. I was serious Rose, bring your mother down if you have to."
"She has all her friends round at Christmas, I doubt she'll agree, I'll ask if I can get time off to come down but I'll be working until at least five on Christmas eve."
Alec decided if she was leaving, he was at least going to make it even more difficult for her. As they got into bed, he made no qualms about removing the rest of her underwear and then removed his boxers. He just managed to whisper, "I want you Rose."
Rose whispered back, "I want you too Alec."
After walking across the harbour and getting some breakfast the next morning, Rose packed her few things and put her case into the car. She went back inside and Alec took her back into the bedroom. They had made love again when they had woken up but Alec wanted to try one last attempt to get her to come back. After they had kissed long and hard, he let her go, both of them out of breath.
"So you're going then. Will I see you again Rose?"
"I don't know Alec. Look, I'll call you, I promise and when I can get some time off, I'll come back down, unless you're planning on going some place else?"
"No, we'll be here."
Rose said goodbye to Daisy and Alec walked her out to the car. He brought a small Christmas gift out of his jacket pocket and gave it to her.
"Alec, you shouldn't have." She kissed him.
"For making the last few days bearable and taking me to pick up Daisy. Bye Rose, I'll miss you and I'll be here, if you decide to ever come back. I'd like you to at least think about it."
"I will. I'll call you when I get back."
Rose was reluctant to leave, she really was but what was she supposed to do? Her job and her mother were in London and she had known Alec just a few days but the last few days had been the highlight of her holiday and last night, he had made her feel special.
Back at work the next morning, Rose arrived early and went into the personnel office. "Hi. Rose Tyler. How much more holiday leave do I have to come?"
While Rose was at work in London, Alec was pleading for his job back. His chief agreed for him to do a few hours a day at first, starting the first Monday in January. He thought he would call Rose with the good news that he'd been accepted back later that evening. Rose was planning a surprise of her own.
She talked to her mother when she got home and started packing her cases.
"I'll come back later for my other things. Mum, I'm not going to be that far away, I'll get a train in the morning and I'll be there in a few hours and surprise him."
Jackie Tyler stood in Rose's bedroom doorway. "Don't go Sweetheart, it's Christmas Eve tomorrow."
"Mum, everyone leaves home in the end. It's not like I'm going to another planet or something. You won't even miss me once everyone comes round. When I met Alec, I didn't know how much I would get to care about him but I do care about him. I'll bring him to meet you, as soon as he can travel."
The next morning, Rose said goodbye to her mother and got a taxi to the nearest tube station and from there to where her train was departing. She had got an open return in case things didn't work out but she knew they would. Her train was at eleven, she dare not leave it any later, she had to change at Southampton, her connecting train was half an hour after her arrival there. Arriving on time for her next train, she thought about calling Alec but it would give the surprise away.
Getting a coffee from the machine, she sat in the waiting room out of the cold and thought about what she was doing. This was completely crazy, she hardly knew him except what she had read about him but he was kind and he was caring and she had missed him already.
Alec and Daisy had got a taxi to the main supermarket just outside town and battled against the crowds, Daisy keeping a very close eyes on her dad. On the way there, Daisy had asked what happened between him and Rose for her to just leave.
"She wasn't my girlfriend Daisy, we'd only just met."
"Come on Dad, who are you trying to kid, me or yourself? I know how you two looked at each other. Call her, she could still get down here before tonight."
It was already after one and Alec knew unless she drove down she wouldn't make it before the trains stopped running and even then, the roads would be horrendous. He just had to resign himself to the fact that she wasn't coming down for Christmas. Except for his daughter, he would be alone again.
Rose got on the train to Broadchurch, the last through one to Exeter as far as she could tell, the next was only going to Dorchester. She had been longer than she thought. Getting out at Broadchurch, she thought about calling him again but decided not to.
Alec and Daisy had got out of the supermarket at last and were in a taxi going back to the caravan site. Rose was just getting in one from the station, getting a funny look when she said where she was going and ignoring the driver's remarks about coming to a seaside town for the Christmas holidays.
Alec and Daisy were just getting the shopping out of the boot of the taxi when Daisy spotted another taxi pulling up behind them. "Dad, I think it's Rose."
Alec put the shopping bags down and stepped to get a better view of the woman paying the driver. Sure enough, there was Rose in a black coat and a purple scarf and matching gloves.
Both taxis drove up the service road, leaving five bags of shopping and two suitcases on the grass verge outside the caravan. Rose and Alec stared at each other.
"Dad, give me the key, you two will be out here until tomorrow at this rate."
Alec smiled and got the key out of his pocket and handed it to her. Daisy picked up two of the bags and took them up the few steps to the patio door.
"Rose, you came back!" Alec said, stepping nearer. He put his arms around her and they kissed.
"Are we going to get inside? It's freezing out here."
Alec laughed. Daisy came back for the rest of the shopping, shaking her head. If anyone had asked her when she first met Rose, she would have told them the two were totally gone on each other. It had been a shame neither of them knew it at the time. Her dad had been a right old grump since Rose left.
Alec picked up one suitcase, Rose the other and they linked arms.
"Can't stay away then? I hope you don't expect me to shave off my beard Rose Tyler?"
Rose shook her head.
"No, I came to say Happy Christmas to you."
"Happy Christmas Rose."
They kissed again and went inside. Alec was reunited with his daughter and now he had Rose. A new year approaching and a new beginning – for all of them.