This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
It was all too much for Jackie Tyler, being torn away from her home by the Doctor landing them in that Torchwood place and into the middle of a battle between two lots of aliens, one she remembered Rose being terrified of and another human-like race who everyone thought were the ghosts of their loved ones returned to them. Even she had been fooled into thinking one was her own father, mainly because as Rose had pointed out she wanted it to be him and she’d wanted Rose to see it.
The Doctor though had spoiled the illusion, trust him when she knew more than he did and he didn’t like it and they’d been revealed for what they were. That was almost six months ago and Rose had thrown all her belongings she’d gathered in that time into a suitcase and had stormed off after yet another argument about Pete Tyler, money and missed opportunities, that of her becoming Pete’s second wife and having a comfortable lifestyle.
How could she take the other Jackie Tyler’s place? She had heard about the woman from Rose and had been appalled at the woman’s treatment of Rose and of Pete but it didn’t make any difference, how could she take her place and be regarded with the same distaste everyone had felt for her? No amount of explaining could ever cover up the fact she had somehow returned a changed person. As for Rose, well that was going to take some getting over, six months pregnant with the Doctor’s child. He’d never get to know, never get to take responsibility for it and she would never get to slap the alien silly and insist he looked after her daughter.
Jackie looked out of the window of the two bedroomed apartment above the hairdressing salon Pete had set her up in, Rose had been her assistant until she could no longer bend over the basins to wash customer’s hair and she’d had to take on another trainee, Sandra in her place. She’d had to accept his help in some respects, they had arrived without a penny or whatever she’d thought at the time was the currency here and it had partly been his fault and he could afford it but Rose had explained they’d had very little choice but to accept it. That was easy for Rose to say.
Rose had just left, after yet another argument that her mother should never have sent Pete and Mickey after her, she should have left her with the Doctor then the baby, whatever she was having as she refused to find out, would have known him. She’d had every confidence he would have let go of his own clamp and dived after her before she either collided with the wall or been sucked into the void and after six months of falling out with her mother, even that was preferable to being without him but once she’d discover she was pregnant, her attitude had changed somewhat. They had been there five weeks when she found out and there was no Mickey, he’d also got left behind as before he’d had chance to re-activate his own device, it had stopped working.
Now she had something to remember the Doctor by, something to remember that one night they’d had before landing behind the Powell Estate and finding her mother had gone loopy and talking about her father coming to visit when he’d been dead over ten years. She also remembered the look on the Doctor’s face as one of the ‘ghosts’ walked right through him. Sitting on the tube after getting the bus three stops and carting her suitcase and shoulder bag plus her handbag, the man getting off behind her had lifted it off the luggage rack for her and given her a smile, the underground train was approaching Victoria coach station.
Where she was going, she had no idea. She was grateful her mother had accepted some compensation for getting dragged here and Pete had offered them both a generous monthly allowance, paid by Vitex into the accounts he’d set up for them and he’d bought Jackie a well established hairdressing salon with living accommodation above. They’d had no further contact with him though after Rose had met him and Jake Simmonds to get their ID from him, passports, driving licences and everything else they needed to become members of a new society. She only vaguely remembered Jake from their first visit. Pete had said he figured he owed them at least that much and for Rose trying to save his first wife.
She thought her mother’s main problem was being thrown seven years into the future, who wouldn’t have had a problem with that? How had that happened? Hardly any time had passed for them before it all kicked off, well not that she had noticed anyway, the Doctor always tried to take her home in some sort of order, well with a few exceptions. They had arrived in October last year and now it was March 2014. Her stop was announced so she wheeled her case to the door, not expecting any help this time but at least there was no step.
So opting to get the lift rather than face the endless steps of the escalator and spying a woman getting ready to step in with a toddler in a pushchair, she smiled at the woman and got in after her. She had a bit of a shock when she found herself in the coach station. She had been vaguely aware a trial had been going on somewhere on the south coast, a man had just walked free after being accused of killing a young boy and the town was in outrage but there it was on the morning chat show.
She turned away from the screen only to see another smaller screen with the name ‘Broadchurch’ and some pictures of golden cliffs, the commentator was relaying the events of what had happened but Rose wasn’t really interested in what had gone on before their arrival in this alternate world they’d been brought to. Still, the place had looked nice when they had showed the harbour area, the catering stalls and the cliffs and Broadchurch seemed as good a destination as any since she’d no idea where she was going.
She wheeled her case to the ticket office, got her debit card out and asked for a one way ticket to Broadchurch, missing the next part of the feature on Broadchurch – a brief interview with DI Alec Hardy, who had just about been ready to leave but had second thoughts before he’d handed in the key to his riverside chalet. Two days after travelling to see his daughter again, he had just returned to discover Ellie Miller was redecorating her old family home and Tom had finally moved back.
What Rose thought she was going to do when she got there was anyone’s guess. She figured she would locate a B&B and sort herself out and try and forget the row she’d just had with her mother which had caused her to pack and leave. She just had time to grab a bite to eat, pay a visit to the restroom which was a bit awkward with a case but no way was she leaving it outside the cubicle and make her way to the departure point. The driver put her case in the cargo hold but Rose couldn’t manage the steep step since the coach door was away from where it was supposed to be, to help passengers get on and off and she had to wait for the driver coming back.
She closed her eyes once the coach set off and before she knew it, the driver was announcing the next stop was Broadchurch. Alighting the coach was no easier but someone helped her down and she went to retrieve her case, sitting in the bus shelter after the coach departed and getting out her phone to find somewhere to stay for the night.
Alec Hardy had just had a meeting with his old CS – Elaine Jenkinson.
“So you want to come back then Alec? I heard you weren’t so successful at teaching new recruits, what happened there?”
“Do you really need to ask? I had a trial to concentrate on then I got dragged into Sandbrook again.”
“You’re very lucky I don’t kick you out for good for that stunt you and Ellie Miller pulled but since DS Henchard arranged to use the station for the interviews and she’s since got a conviction out of it and found the missing girl, I’ll overlook it and not reprimand you and DS Miller over it. You may want to thank your ex wife Alec.”
“Yes, I’ll be sure to do that. When can I see the CMO and get cleared to come back?”
“You got yourself fixed then?”
“I saw the error of my ways and I was not going to let Ashworth walk away again. I surprised myself getting through it, I thought Sandbrook would be the death of me. So what about it and if I get back, can you clear the way to getting Miller sent back?”
“That may take some doing Alec but we’ve not replaced either of you permanently yet, just someone filling in as acting DI and doing both jobs, it’s been quiet over the winter months. Very well, come back on Thursday morning and see what he says and I’ll see the chief constable about it but I doubt he’ll object now we are back within our budget again. You still have a place to stay?”
“Yes, I’m still renting somewhere, can you arrange for me to keep it for now? The owner may put the rent up soon.”
“I’ll get personnel on to it. When you’ve see the CMO, come back and see me and try and stay out of trouble for two more days?”
Alec smiled inwardly, he felt better in himself and going back to work near Sandbrook would never seem right, despite him trying to make up with Daisy, Tess had made it clear she would never take him back and did he want her, now she had been with Dave? He didn’t care if the town was ready to have him back or not, they would get over the defence’s accusations he and Miller had been having an affair. Where they’d got that from, he’d no idea but it was never going to happen, it was unbelievable yet the jury had been swayed by it probably because it was juicy gossip and another town.
He walked out of the station and down the steps where a few days ago, he and Miller had been sitting debating the finer points of trapping Claire into giving up Ashworth and he’d gone off to catch the man in the act of tearing up Claire’s old cottage to find the missing pendant. He walked along the harbour road, seeing his chalet and thinking it was a good thing he’d kept the key but now though it seemed empty after everything from the case had been sent up to Tess.
He wouldn’t however miss Miller using his wall as an incident board, finding her son in his bed and her drinking all his tea and making toast. He also wouldn’t miss pushing the boy along in his stroller, mainly for support at the time and thankfully the funfair had departed. He crossed over the road bridge and was about to turn at the side of the catering stalls when he glanced over at the new office of the newspaper, hoping Stevens wouldn’t spot him, it had been bad enough he’d been caught by a film crew doing a piece on the sorry outcome of the trial and had cornered him just before he left the other day.
Looking around, he saw the bus shelter, which was usually empty and spotted a young woman there, looking at her phone then suddenly looking like she was about to throw it away as she looked angry. She also looked like she was about six months pregnant and he really should know better than to get involved but she was shaking her head and burying her head in her hands.
Against his better judgement, he crossed over and came level with the bus shelter, which was at the edge of the green.
“Are you ok Miss?”
“What?” she asked, turning to see where the Scottish accent was coming from. She wasn’t quite prepared for what she saw but kept herself in check.
“I’m fine thanks, just leave me be.”
“How long are you planning on staying there? Are you leaving or arriving?”
“I’ve been here about half an hour, is it against the town’s bye-laws to sit in bus shelter then?”
“Maybe, I will have to brush up on them but you can’t stay there, do you have somewhere to go? You need to find somewhere, if you have nowhere planned.”
Alec noticed she was wearing a black wool coat, ankle boots and black trousers and could see a purple sweater under the coat. It wasn’t really that cold for mid-March but her being pregnant, she may feel the cold more he supposed.
“Where’s the tourist office then? My phone’s about to give out on me, I’ve been looking while I was on my way here.”
Alec was about to retort that maybe if she hadn’t been ‘updating’ her social status on the networking sites, the battery may have lasted longer. What people saw in telling the world every time they did the most trivial thing, he had no idea and in the hands of Olly Stevens, well, he’d had first hand experience of that and had no desire to join in.
“It was up in the town but it moved I believe, try the newspaper office just behind you, they may have some ads in the latest edition. Are you here on holiday?”
“Depends, I may stay here, if I can find somewhere to live and it depends if I can get my benefits transferred.”
She had no intentions of telling this stranger her business or the fact she wasn’t exactly short of money. Her only benefit was the maternity allowance she had just started to claim, she couldn’t get Pete Tyler to help with that. Alec stood his ground, just what the town needed, an unmarried mother on the social register, were they even allowed to move to the coast like that?
“Do you need some help with your case Miss?”
“It’s Tyler, Rose Tyler and before you ask, no, I’m not related to the Vitex chairman, worse luck. I wish I were.”
She was going to add that was her mother’s fault but thought maybe not, it would take too much explaining.
“Alec Hardy, I was the DI around here but I’m on medical leave.”
Alec went for the handle of her case, seeing she wasn’t objecting as she got up. So, he’d take her to the newspaper office, leave her with Miller’s sister and go home, right? Wrong. Walking around the green as there was a wall around that part of it, he led her towards the newspaper office, passing the entrance to the footbridge to his chalet. Could he really leave her there? Maybe he should stick around, she may need help getting to wherever she found. Why was it even bothering him?
Lucy Stevens was putting her coat on, Maggie had not yet sorted the heating out. When she saw Alec, with a blonde pregnant woman walking towards the door, she stopped. She’d told her sister she sort of fancied the troubled detective but she thought he’d left town. Maybe he’d gone to collect the blonde and the defence’s suggestion he and her sister had been having an affair was totally out of the question, if he’d been hiding this one.
“What can I do for you then?” Lucy asked Alec cheerfully.
“This is Miss Tyler, she’s new in town and looking for somewhere to stay. Do you have any papers she can look at to see if anyone has any room vacancies?”
“Why can’t she stay at one of the pubs?”
She was about to ask ‘or with you’ but saw the look on his face.
“I can’t afford their prices,” Rose decided to speak for herself.
“Hang on, I’ll see if we’ve got a copy of the last edition somewhere. So, you decided to hang around then DI Hardy?”
“I would have thought that was obvious? Your son’s not around then? Is he hassling someone else?”
“How would I know? I didn’t even know he’d brought that barrister’s assistant home.”
Alec raised his eyebrows. That was a new one on him, no wonder the defence team had brought up the fact Miller bribed her sister into giving information. Now he knew why. Rose was handed a copy of the paper and took a seat by the door.
“You can go now if you want, thanks,” she told Alec.
“I’ll wait, you don’t know your way around, do you?”
Rose was getting more uncomfortable by the minute with his presence. It was quite unnerving, looking at the twin of the father of your baby.
OpheliaJones: This story took a different kind of spin on the "normal girl lives with definitely not normal guy" plot. The plot points of Frey's father, Liam's family, and Frey's view of Liam's world were good to read. She did not fall in love with him in the first couple weeks. Their lives were not smooth in ...
JONANNA: As an avid reader it is not often I say that about a book. The plot is what was different and the twists where unexpected. This book is defiantly a page turner and enjoyable read. I can't wait to reread this novel after a little editing to finish off the shine on this wonderful novel.
Althea Kerr: This is a tale that is all too familiar to South African readers having lived through a war era on our borders and beyond. It is obviously autobiographical as the mind under duress is so detailed and real. It has fantastic suspense if a bit disjointed - perhaps that is the fear and loneliness com...
Alex Rushmer: This was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it a lot Malfoy was always one of the characters that I liked a lot, so I like that a lot of this happens between him and Colette. I read the first couple chapters, and I enjoyed your writing style and am excited to see where you take this story. My com...
christylynnr5: This was beyond amazing! I loved this book. The characters seemed so real. It was amazing how the author let Zak and Kaylees personalities slowly change. This story was very sad and eye opening. It could teach some people a very worthy lesson. It was a great combination of romance, mystery, and a...
Marijana1: The melancholy present throughout this story has the power to influence and etch into the minds of the readers, to stay there and refuse to leave even after they have finished reading the story. This is a deep, powerful story, making the readers wonder about everything – about love, about their e...
Samantha Speed: There were several punctuation, grammar, and missing word problems but it did not detract from the story. This story was very well done, enjoyable, and had an interesting enough plot. It took a while to finish. This story is not complete. I love it, but I want to see another book or have more cha...
maewilde25: I am so in love with this story!!! captivated me till the very end, there wasn't a dull moment. Didn't particularly enjoy the lay out and some bits of info was missing along with how a 21 year old man amassed so much wealth that needed to be explained other than that and a few spelling errors, th...
emmaneal74: I loved this booked. Would definitely buy it when published and read it again. The story flowed in such a way I just couldn't put it down. I was never confused about the characters or their roles in the story which can happen sometimes with so many lead. I'd recommend this to anyone wanting to r...
zoheusher20: What more can I say? The writing style and little details drew me into the book and for the entirety of the story I was Juliet. I felt her turmoil and emotions and every trouble or triumph as they arrived. This story was very different and had quite a few little but unexpected twists that made it...