Rose Tyler was tired from all the travelling and there was still more to do. She had taken a break from driving and wished she had taken a coach or the train but was going to need her car. She was pleased with herself, getting qualified all by herself with no help from Pete Tyler and she had not used her influence to get the post at the Broadchurch primary school either and this was her first job. She pulled into the service station car park, it was quite busy, another large black car was following her while she was looking for a space and it reminded her of a Torchwood car and hoped Pete hadn't sent someone to secretly follow her.
She found a space, a bit further away from the facilities and the black car pulled up at the side of her. Being a bit cautious and hoping someone she knew wasn't going to jump out of the other car and shout 'surprise' at her, she picked up her purse from under the passenger seat and opened the door. A tall well dressed man with a beard had just got out of the other car and she had to look twice, it was like she was seeing a ghost and it showed on her face as the man said with a Scottish accent, "Are you ok Miss?"
Rose nodded slowly and said, "Yeah, I'm fine, sorry. I thought you were someone else."
She moved off as fast as she could to the ladies room to recover. It was just too much, coming face to face with a man, although having a beard, who looked like him, who looked like the Doctor. Rose composed herself and went to her favourite coffee stand and got a latte and went to sit down at a table but the man she had spoken to earlier was still there, a few tables away. Who was he? It wasn't like she was ever going to see him again. He was Scottish and probably on his way home anyway, so he looked like the Doctor.
She smiled across at him, he was looking over but he just nodded in acknowledgement and that was it. He got up to leave, Rose finished her coffee, not wanting to appear to be following him but saw him head off to the gents and so she made a dash for the car park to get off before he came back. She was just backing out of her parking space when he was walking towards his car and he waited until she had reversed back and waved. She managed a wave back and wished now she had at least got his name as she drove off, thinking she would have liked to at least known who he was.
Alec watched the young blonde woman drive off, she was very attractive he'd noticed and was concerned when she had got out of her car and looked unsteady. As a Police Officer, he should have made sure she was alright before she had driven off but she seemed ok when he had seen her a few tables away, she probably just needed a drink, coffee by the look of the paper cup she had been holding. He could have at least have smiled back when she had seen him watching her. He got back into his car and drove off towards London to get this meeting over with. They might have held it at the Wessex Police Headquarters to save him the journey, he'd only been in Broadchurch a week and now he was having to travel again.
He was probably never going to see the woman again, she was probably heading back to London, he was only going to be there a day or so then back to his new job, well maybe not for long if all went well and it was in writing that the case that had fallen apart wasn't due to anything he had done and he was cleared, not before time otherwise he wouldn't have found himself in a sleepy little seaside town in Dorset where nothing ever happened, well not that needed his skills anyway.
His meeting over, he checked into his hotel and with his new partner in Broadchurch, DS Miller to let her know he would be back the next day, not that she seemed interested, she seemed a bit annoyed with him for taking her job apparently but he hadn't exactly had a choice of where he had been sent, given the circumstances and he was holding vital information back, his health wasn't what it should be but who wouldn't have heart problem with what he had gone through? A bitter fight with his ex and an equally bitter divorce, his own daughter turning against him and a failed case which he had been forced for his daughter's sake to take the blame for but now it had all come out in the open and he had been cleared but it still wouldn't put his personal life back on track. His old friend and doctor was keeping his condition under wraps and keeping him supplied with vital medication that if he kept calm and kept out of trouble, would keep him alive and in the police force - for now.
The following morning he set off back to Broadchurch and stopped at the same service station and wondered about the blonde woman he had met the other day and wished he had taken more notice of her, it wasn't often these days he noticed young women, well not those who weren't over-dressed and hanging around on street corners that they sometimes had to arrest. As he sat drinking his tea, he looked around the seating area in a faint hope he might see her again but there was no sign of her. He could search the national database when he got back but who was he kidding? A young blonde woman, in her twenties, what were the chances of finding out who she was and what would he do when he found her? Why would she be interested in him, she was just someone he had parked his car next to in a motorway service area and seen sitting at a table for ten minutes he had been staring at, well not staring more like ogling if he admitted it. She had been stunning.
Rose checked into the Traders hotel in Broadchurch, she had found it easily and was staying there for a week while her rented house was ready to move into. The school term was another three weeks from starting so she had plenty of time to get settled and moved in and time to look around. She was looking forward to it, living by the sea and the harbour and planned to take advantage of it, she might even take up sketching again in her spare time. At least teaching five year olds meant no homework to mark.
Two days after checking into the hotel, Rose was having breakfast when the hotel owner came over to talk to her and like women do, the subject changed to local men and Becca, the owner, asking Rose of her boyfriend status, which she didn't want to talk about. Becca mentioned there were several single men staying at the hotel but Rose said she wasn't interested until Becca warned her about a particularly moody Scottish guest who was staying there. Rose's interest was suddenly peaked but surely it wouldn't be the man she met a few days ago in the service station car park? It was a million to one chance it could be the same man and if it was, then what? He probably wouldn't even remember her anyway.
Rose was just about to ask Becca if the man in question was tall, dark haired and had a beard when she was interrupted by her mobile ringing. Of course it was her mother checking up on her.
"Rose, why haven't you called? Are you settled in, is everything ok?" Jackie asked anxiously.
"Everything's fine Mum, honestly. There was a strange thing that happened on my way here though, well not strange but unusual. I parked next to someone at a service station and he looked just like The Doctor but he had a beard and a Scottish accent." She wished now she hadn't said anything.
"Well I expect lots of blokes have a Scottish accent," Jackie laughed. "What made you think the man looked like himself?"
'Himself' was how Jackie referred to the Doctor for want of a better word, when she wasn't calling him a Martian or a skinny alien that is.
"I don't know, it just did and it threw me off for a second, he asked if I was ok, that's how I know he was Scottish."
"Well, I wouldn't worry about it, it was only for a few minutes and you'll probably never see him again anyway. Tony is asking when he can come down and see you, he wants to see your new house and go to the beach, any chance before he goes back to school?"
"I've not moved in yet but maybe you can bring him for a long weekend and stay in a hotel."
Satisfied her daughter was alright, Jackie rang off and Rose went to supervise her new house, furniture was being delivered today.
By Friday, her house was almost ready and she planned moving out of the hotel the next day and into her new place. Going down to her evening meal for the last time, she walked into the dining room and nearly fell over. There at a table just by the window sat the man from the service station. He looked up as she grasped the back of a chair and he got up immediately to offer to help her, others in the dining room just turned and stared as he took her arm and led her to his table and sat her down. He had recognised her immediately as she had walked in and wondered exactly how she always seemed to stumble when he was around or if she did it all the time.
"Are you ok Miss?" he asked as she sat down and he poured her a glass of water.
Becca had seen what had happened and came over to see if Rose was ok but the man just said he had things under control and Becca, who knew who he was thought better than to argue with him, he was the police after all so she left.
Rose took the water and drank, feeling slightly stupid for the second time and having nowhere to run this time. The man sat opposite her and watched her drink the water and delayed ordering his meal until he was sure she was alright. Then he spoke in a soft Scottish brogue.
"You seem to do that a lot, stumble I mean. I'm Alec and you are?"
Rose managed a weak smile back at him as he held his hand out. He was definitely not the Doctor.
"I'm Rose. I'm really sorry, I don't know what came over me. I just mistook you for someone the other day and I guess I wasn't prepared. I'm fine now, I'll leave you to get on with your meal." She started to get up but he stopped her.
"Why don't you join me, since you're already sat there?"
They both ordered and ate in silence until Alec decided he was going to find out exactly why she had almost fainted on him twice and he was sure it wasn't his personality or his looks. No woman had shown an interest him lately and certainly none as attractive as she was. Then there was the question of who she was and why she had mistaken him for someone else. Surely no-one had the misfortune to look like him.
"So Rose, who exactly do you suppose I look like? Obviously someone you knew quite well judging by your reaction and someone you never expected to see. Was it someone you lost?"
"He's not dead if that's what you mean and he does only look a bit like you, he didn't have a beard. He's gone far away and when I saw you, I thought maybe he'd come back without telling me. That was until I heard your accent, then I knew it wasn't him."
"Was he someone close to you?"
"I liked to think so but he left me, he went off without saying goodbye properly and now I don't think I'll ever see him again but just for a moment, I thought I had. I'm sorry Alec, I have to go now." She got up to leave but he touched her arm.
"I didn't mean to intrude, it's just my nature. I didn't mean to upset you Rose. Please stay, have a drink with me in the bar maybe? I promise no more questions."
Rose sat down again, thinking about it and decided why not? What was the harm in having a drink with a man who reminded her of the Doctor, who at least she now knew his first name after thinking she would never see him again.
"OK, just one drink, I'm leaving in the morning, I have packing to do."
There was no point in telling him she was only moving into her own house, he was probably on holiday or here on business anyway and would be leaving himself.
Alec's heart was in his mouth, he had just met her again thinking he would never see her and she was leaving again. Well not without him finding out who she was and who she had lost anyway.
"Just one drink? Could that maybe stretch to two?" he smiled. She was starting to get to him.
Rose smiled back, he seemed lonely and so was she. She still didn't know what he did or who he really was but a few drinks wouldn't harm and she didn't have much to pack, most of it was done and her things from home were being sent down tomorrow, Pete was arranging it.
They got up and went into the small hotel bar, Alec asking what she was drinking.
"A white wine spritzer please," Rose replied as they stood at the small bar.
"Shall we go sit in the lounge?" he asked, nodding to the door opposite and Becca nodding it was ok to take their drinks in, thinking they wanted some privacy as there were others sat at the few tables and one of the regulars gawking at them from a stool, well Alec thought the man was gawking at Rose and he wanted to be the only one doing that tonight.
Maybe he'd get lucky and convince Rose to spend some time in his room, she was leaving tomorrow anyway and his physician hadn't told him not to have sex at all, just to take it easy and make sure he had his pills handy. She looked sad, like she had wanted him to be who she thought he had been and maybe just for one night, she could pretend he was the man she had lost, he could deal with that, it had been a while since he had spent the night with a woman. There would be no complications if she was leaving, no awkwardness, just a one night stand, he could settle for that.
Things seemed to be going well, he had engaged her in general conversation, found out she was a nursery school teacher and from London, his detective skills were put on hold for the evening. The other side of him wanted to know her surname, where she worked and her marital status but since she wasn't wearing any rings, he didn't need to be a detective to work that out but he would have least have liked to know if she had a boyfriend. What was he thinking? Of course she would have a boyfriend but she didn't look happy if she did have one so maybe she would consider spending the night with him, to cheer herself up. If she came up with the excuse she didn't take precautions, well he was prepared for that too.