Alec Hardy goes on holiday to Gracepoint and instantly regrets getting on the same plane as a certain Rose Tyler and is in for a long flight. Then he puts his big foot in his mouth and ropes Rose into being his girlfriend to avoid an English hotel owner who is on the prowl and Alec is sure she’s related to a certain hotel owner in Broadchurch. Things get messed up when Alec finds himself mixed up in a local murder investigation reminiscent of the case he had just solved and nearly caused his death. Can Rose help him this time?
The flight, the airport and the baggage claim
Much to his relief, Alec had survived the operation for a pacemaker fitted even though he thought he had no right to survive and despite his doctor’s orders had delayed it until the trial was over. Ellie Miller had not wanted to be at the trial although she had played a big part in the investigation until the end. He really didn’t want to go back to Broadchurch even though his status was re-instated when he was given the all clear, no-one liked him anyway, well except maybe Becca Fisher, who had looked after him during his time when he was fighting for his life and when he had been discharged from hospital. So he packed his belongings and got a coach to the nearest airport after paying a visit to the travel agents to find a remote town somewhere where he could gather his thoughts and California somehow for whatever reason seemed quite appealing.
While he was waiting for his flight, he couldn’t help notice a small blonde female who was sat with a blonde haired man and assumed they were together as they were laughing and joking but when the flight was called and they went into the departure lounge, the two had said goodbye with a hug and she had gone forward on her own. Once on board the plane, Alec was directed to his seat, having paid for one with extra leg room and an outside seat and found the blonde who he had seen earlier was struggling with getting a cabin bag in the overhead compartment. He did what any man would have done and offered to help her but mainly so he could get seated. This was going to be a long flight.
He wasn’t much for small talk so he got out the book he had bought and settled down, the woman was fishing in the shoulder bag she had refused to put in the overhead compartment and brought out an mp3 player and stuck the earphones in and then produced a book. Alec thought this was indeed going to be a long flight and wishing now he had paid more for first class or gone economy and got on a Zeppelin but that would have taken a lot longer, planes were faster for long journeys. He planned on being there a month, maybe more if he liked it but being in the police had it’s advantages, he could stay as long as he wanted without any questions.
The hostess came round with pillows and bottles of water and other such items, Alec opting for a pillow and water but the woman was taking no notice as the hostess motioned to her so Alec taped her lightly on the arm to get her attention and pointed to the trolley. She took her earphones out and asked for water and a pillow, said ‘thanks’ and began shuffling about again. Alec was beginning to think this was a big mistake as she couldn’t open the bottle and gave him a smile and offered it to him hopefully. He took pity on her and opened it with ease, she was either weak or playing the damsel in distress and passed it back once he had put the top partly back on so it wouldn’t spill on either of them to which she said ‘thanks’ again. He was thinking that was the only word she knew.
Then to annoy him even more, she pulled down the tray in front of her which also brought Alec’s down, then she was trying to push his back up but he motioned for her to leave it so she just smiled at him again and put her drink down and put her earphones back in but the hostess motioned for her to take them out until after the plane had taken off due to the safety announcements and other safety issues while on the ground. So she stuck her nose back in her book again after putting her seat belt on when the sign came on.
Alec was smiling to himself as she had struggled to get the seat belt on, having to indicate to her how to fasten it since the hostess was busy elsewhere, he was going to be stuck on the plane for hours which now were going to seem like days, sitting next to her. So he resigned himself to her fidgeting and dipping into her purse, bringing out some mints and offering him one. He politely smiled and took one, knowing that it would help once the plane took off which seemed like an age and finally, the safety announcements were over and the plane began to taxi on the runway but he could see the woman wasn’t enjoying it and was gripping the arm of her seat and pulling a face, which was probably why she was going to listen to some music.
He tapped her arm and asked if she was ok to which she shook her head so he offered his arm and she took it and almost hung on for dear life but was still making a face as the plane left the ground and then she clasped hold of his hand instead and closed her eyes. Once the plane started to level off, her face changed and she opened her eyes and withdrew her hand rather quickly, looking slightly red and muttered ‘sorry’ and observed the signs had been switched off and messed around finding her earphones again.
Alec was kind of hoping he would at least have the chance to talk to her since she had just grabbed his hand but instead, he picked up his book, put his glasses back on and continued where he had left off. The airline staff soon began to busy themselves bringing drinks, which Alec refused, then they started serving food to which his travelling companion had no trouble spotting as various plates and cups were handed backwards and forwards and Alec was really wishing now he had got the inside seat as he seemed to be doing most of the handing over with the odd smile or two and the ‘thanks’ and he managed to eat fairly quickly before his meal went totally cold.
The meal thankfully out of the way, he decided to edge his seat back and make use of the pillow and close his eyes, book still in hand but that wasn’t to be, he could hear the music and the woman was absent-mindedly tapping her fingers on the armrest and moving her feet on the footrest which she had raised up and pushed back her seat and Alec couldn’t help but stare the way she was moving her hips in her tight jeans, thinking he wasn’t watching but he could see her out of the corner of his eye as he tried to close them but forgetting his need to get some sleep as he was being distracted.
Since he was dozing off, he accidentally let his book fall and in an attempt to retrieve it, his arm bumped into hers and she looked at him and took one of the earphones out and asked if the music was disturbing him. He politely said no but it was, so guessing it was, she said she would turn it down. It was only two hours into the long flight and he knew he was never going to survive this, already regretting even contemplating such a long journey. If he had been seated next to another man, they may have struck up a conversation but he was no good at talking to women but airlines never bothered about who they were seating you next to, he just wished it hadn’t been such an attractive looking blonde female who had turned her music down but was still tapping away and moving in her seat.
Failing to get to sleep, he put his glasses back on and opened his book but had lost his place and now the woman seemed to be messing around with her music player and it occurred to him she may just be doing it to annoy him. She gave up with the music player, Alec thinking hopefully she had forgot to put fresh batteries in it so she would stop moving around and driving him mad and he could finally go to sleep. No, she dived into her shoulder bag again and came out with a magazine, then back into her purse and brought out the mints again, offering him one as he was about to take his glasses off. He accepted one with another ‘thanks’ and she smiled at him, putting them away and picking up her magazine. He leaned back in his seat, putting his glasses in his shirt pocket and tried to close his eyes. Not to be, she was shuffling the pages of her magazine so he gave up and there were hours to go yet, he would never survive. A whole murder investigation and a heart operation and it was down to a young blonde woman sat next to him on a seemingly endless flight that had finally got the better of him.
She put the magazine down and Alec thought ‘yes’ as she sat back and closed her eyes so he did the same and when he woke up he could feel something on his arm as his eyes opened to find the woman was leaning on it, didn’t she have enough room on her own seat? He didn’t want to be rude though and wake her suddenly for fear she would be annoyed so he moved his arm gently, hoping she would move over but all she did was move further onto him. His arm was feeling slightly numb by this stage so he tried again, this time she turned her head and he moved his arm and she woke up, grinned sheepishly at him and picked up her bottle of water and drank from it, rather sexily Alec thought.
Another snack was served thankfully, it would be some time before he got to eat properly. Two hours later, the flight attendant announced they would be landing shortly and Alec had never been so glad to be getting off a plane and he knew once he got off, there was still a fair way to go but that was the point of it, getting away from it all, after all, he was going to what was known as the last town in America. Hopefully, the blonde was going somewhere else – or so he thought. The plane landed, passengers began to gather their luggage and helpfully, Alec lifted the woman’s hand luggage down onto the seat he had vacated and got another ‘thanks’ out of her and he made his way to the exit. Once inside the terminal, he went through customs, declaring himself as a Police Officer then he had to find the baggage claim and then he had to find the bus that was taking him the rest of the way, everything was supposed to have been arranged.
He found a sign for baggage claim but somehow he ended up going the wrong way and found himself near the exit to the airport and turning around, found the woman from the plane looking just as confused until they both realised where they had gone wrong and found most of the passengers from their flight plus another all waiting around the luggage carousel. Alec hated that, his case always seemed to have been taken of last but as people claimed theirs one by one, sure enough, there was no sign of his as he had put a distinguishing label on it. The blonde woman was also still waiting, was somebody really out to annoy him this trip or was it just a coincidence?
There were only a few people still waiting and he was beginning to think his case had been left behind when he’d got on the plane but just then some more came through the curtain and two more people claimed them. He thought maybe someone had picked his up by mistake but he was certain his had not come through. At last, three more cases came through as he was about to go find someone to ask where his had got to. His case plus two smaller floral cases came through and Alec thought he would have surely missed the bus he was supposed to be getting even though it had been booked and he would have had over an hour to wait for it anyway.
Claiming his case, he remembered the way out then suddenly realised, the woman who had been waiting had two cases and turned to see if he could help her but she was nowhere in sight. Resigning himself he was going to miss his bus, he turned around just as she came around the corner struggling with two cases, two shoulder bags and her purse. Alec put his shoulder bag on top of his case and offered to pick up one of her cases which she gratefully accepted. He could now see why someone had been with her before they took off. After goodness knows how many hours on the plane, she had finally said more than a few words, like she couldn’t have spoken sooner, he thought.
They walked towards the exit, Alec was going to the bus terminal so he asked if she was getting a taxi, she said no, she was getting a bus. Just his luck it was the same one which despite his worries they caught with time to spare, the woman asking if he would mind looking after one of her shoulder bags and the overseeing of her cases putting on the bus while she ran back inside to the ladies room as the driver put their luggage into the side of the bus, so he waited for her coming back and they climbed on board and found most of the seats were taken, there were just two at the back so Alec gestured for her to sit by the window and put the two large shoulder bags on the rack and sat down.
Suddenly she began to smile and held out her hand and said, “Hi, I’m Rose and it looks like we’re both going to the same place – Gracepoint.”