Rose and her family had been in Broadchurch two days, staying at the harbour caravan park and never realising they had walked into a murder town. They had been too busy packing for their trip and stopping Tony going around the house like he was on fire, jumping up and down at the thought of dragging his big sister on the beach and getting his trainers wet, which he knew his mother would be mad about but he'd do it non the less.
So they had set off early on the Saturday morning, not bothering to listen to the news, Pete had checked the weather forecast for Dorset, it was nice and sunny. Rose had been deciding what to take with her, having looked up the town of Broadchurch, not that it looked very lively when she had checked the two webcams on Thursday night when she'd got home from Torchwood. There were only a few pubs on the harbour's edge and the caravan park's bar and entertainment complex, which meant she'd have to play bingo with her mother as Tony would want to join in the kids activities every night.
Still, it was a much needed break, going on holiday on her own wasn't much fun and there was no way she was ever going with Mickey again after a week in Spain last year, he'd shown her up by the pool and the local disco once too often. They'd shared a two bedroom apartment for a week and that had been more then enough and as if anything could have made it worse, he'd snored all the way back on the flight home. She'd needed a holiday just to recover from it!
So after checking in that Saturday afternoon, Pete wondering why there were police cars darting everywhere and hoping it was nothing, Rose had taken Tony across the road to the catering stalls opposite to get him an icecream on the Sunday afternoon after Jackie had made lunch in their wide-berth caravan then Pete and Jackie had gone up to the supermarket to get the rest of the groceries for their weeks stay.
Alec Hardy was far from pleased that he'd been in the town less than a week when he'd been summoned to a farm break-in then driven down to the beach to take over the scene of a young boy's murder, that was all he'd needed. To make things worse, it was now Sunday afternoon, he should be taking things easy but he had a mountain of files on his desk and Miller seemed intent on at least spending Sunday afternoon with her family.
It had been bad enough for him that the psychic telephone engineer had uttered a load of nonsense about the dead boy being put in a boat but to have him come out about the pendant, it had almost caused another heart attack and he wasn't sure he could survive another one if it actually happened. Keep quiet, he'd been warned, the paperwork will get filled in, take it easy. Yeah, Alec Hardy taking it easy, that was a good one.
So looking out of the second floor balcony having gone to the upstairs canteen to find nothing he wanted to eat on the menu, he spied the catering stalls opposite, strode back to the lift and went outside, just as Rose was coming away from the icecream stall with Tony. As Alec came down the steps, he saw her turn around, attending to her brother, or who Alec thought could be her son he supposed. He thought she was the most beautiful woman he'd seen since he got to that miserable place with the water, the sun and the never-ending sky.
He checked the road one way but failed to notice a car as it pulled away from the lay-by opposite and got the sound of the horn plus a load on incoherent abuse from the driver, which caused Alec to say something back and shake his fist at the driver, saying he should be arrested for setting off and not paying attention and failing to indicate. Not that the driver was the only one to fail to notice anyone as Alec landed firmly on the pavement, which led down a slope to the catering area. Tony had got away from Rose, turned around to see if she was following and almost collided with Alec, narrowly avoiding getting the icecream all over Alec's coat.
"Sorry Mister," Tony managed to say before taking a lick of the cone, never bothering to see if any had got on the man's coat.
Tony turned back around to see Rose behind him, who had seen what had happened and was intent on blaming the man who'd almost got knocked over by a car and then himself almost knocked her brother over, despite Tony's back being to him at the time. After all, the man had twice not been looking where he was going, he was an accident just waiting to happen in her opinion.
"What the hell are you doing? Why don't you look where you're going?"
Alec wondered if she was talking to him, the boy or someone who'd appeared behind him, probably Miller come to spy on him.
"Excuse me, are you talking to me?"
"Well who do you think I'm talking to? The invisible man?"
Alec was offended, who did she think she was?
"Well I hope you were not talking to me, Miss? Or is that Mrs? Perhaps you had better teach the boy to look where he's going? He could have got that cone all down my coat.''
"What? It was you who came dashing across that road, not looking to see if any cars were coming and almost getting knocked over, then you're clumsy and nearly knocked my brother over."
Well at least he had learned something he supposed but now she was in full session. All he could do was stand and stare at her and wait until she had finished, then he was going to ask her out for a drink or two.
Rose was furious, who did he think he was?
"You're the one to blame, coming over the road like that, didn't you see my brother standing there? If you'd been looking instead of being in such a hurry to get across the road, what was your rush anyway? Not only could you have got that icecream all over your coat and knocked it out of his hand, you could have knocked him over and hurt him. Well? Aren't you going to at least say sorry to him?"
Alec was still waiting for the chance to get a word in, not that he was minding but she seemed to be loosing steam now, she had folded her arms and looked like she was demanding an apology from him. Alec Hardy hardly ever apologised, well not in a long time, especially to his newly acquired DS, who had been a thorn in his side since they met on the beach on Friday morning and two days later this was the first chance he'd had to breathe.
"Have you quite finished?" he enquired, eyeing the boy who had gone to sit at a bench at the side of them.
Tony was swinging his legs and eating his cone, completely unaware his sister was now eyeing the man who had knocked him over and thought it was funny the way she had been telling him off. It was like watching his mother chastise him for playing at being a police car when uncle Mickey would pretend he was a villain and let him chase him.
Rose had to admit she'd run out of complaints against the stranger. She uncrossed her arms and put her hands on her hips, that Alec noticed were clad in tight blue jeans, covered by a blue floral top that had the top two buttons unfastened. He prided himself on his powers of observation, especially when it came to young blondes, if they weren't called Becca Fisher that was.
Becca had already tried to lay the charm on him but he wasn't in the market to be chatted up by an Australian hotel owner who was obviously looking for a boyfriend.
"For now. Well, say sorry to him then."
Alec turned to the boy who now had icecream over his face. Rose got a tissue out of her pocket and proceeded to wipe it off, making Tony squirm and pull faces at her.
Alec decided to swallow his pride and bend his 'no apology' rule, since it had been partly his fault because he had been too busy staring at the boy's big sister before she'd had the chance to walk away.
"Ok young man, I'm sorry for almost knocking you over, it was entirely my fault but a word of advice."
He stopped as Rose was glaring at him again. Alec wasn't going to win this one, he could tell so he changed his mind about giving the boy a lecture of looking where he was going and not where he'd been or turn to talk to someone.
"Right, we'll say no more then, since you were busy looking for your sister."
"That's ok Mister, did I get any of my icecream on your coat then?" Tony grinned.
"No, luckily. What's your name young man?"
Tony looked at Rose, knowing his dad had constantly grilled it into him never to give his name to strangers without whoever was out with him's say-so.
"It's ok, you can tell him," Rose assured him as Alec went into his pocket to bring out his ID card.
"Tony Tyler, that's my big sister, Rose. Rose, can we go to the beach now, you promised."
Alec looked over to her, had she accepted his apology?
"In a minute Tony, when I've finished talking. So do you make a habit of dashing across the road to knock down small boys, or was this a first for you, Detective Inspector Hardy?" she asked as she read from the card.
She noticed in the photo he had looked less tired than the man now putting the ID back in his pocket.
"No, that was a first and I was distracted anyway."
"You were so distracted you almost got run over by that car? What caused that then? Did you want something to eat or drink so badly to almost get yourself killed or injured?"
Alec considered her words. If he'd got himself knocked over, he'd be taken to hospital and his new chief would discover his secret he'd managed so far to keep quiet about but if he was unlucky, it would all be over for him. It would anyway if he didn't get himself sorted and he would have to check how many pills he had left as in his haste to leave Sandbrook, he'd neglected to stock up on them.
"No, actually, I was in a hurry to talk to you, before you walked off." There, he'd admitted it and now she would either laugh at him, slap his face and then tell him to get lost or accept his offer. So far, she was doing none of them, which was maybe a good sign.
"What? Why would you want to talk to me? Have we even met before? Have we contacted you?" Rose asked.
"Has who contacted me?"
"Torchwood of course, who'd ya think?"
"What the hell has Torchwood got to do with anything?" Then it dawned on him. "Oh, you're one of them are you? Come to take over my investigation have you? Well I've got news for you, Miss Tyler, that's never going to happen whilst ever I'm in this town and in charge."
"What's that then? What investigation might that be?"
Tony had got tired of waiting, Rose was taking her time getting gooey-eyed over the man who'd just almost knocked him over.
''Don't be so coy Miss Tyler, you know very well what investigation I mean and you can forget it."
"I've got no idea what you're talking about. Come on Tony, let's go."
"Hang on a moment, not so fast. If Torchwood are in town, it can only mean one thing, you lot think this is not an ordinary death, that's the only reason you come in and take over a police investigation."
"I've got no idea what investigation you're on about, detective inspector and would I really be trying to take it over by bringing my young stepbrother along? Really?"
Alec supposed she could have a point. "Ok then, where are the rest of your team? There's nothing here for you, I can assure you of that."
"I've still no idea what you're talking about and if you don't mind, I'd rather not find out in front of Tony, thanks very much."
"You mean you don't watch the news then?" Alec smirked, thinking he was one up on the pretty blonde who was getting annoyed with him.
"No, we only arrived yesterday afternoon and by 'we' I mean Tony and my mum and dad, no Torchwood team and should we even be discussing this in a public place? We never announce our arrival to the whole town, even when we do take something over, which I can assure you we haven't."
"Really, you've not seen the news? Don't you keep up on current events? Some Torchwood agent you are then."
"Excuse me, who even said I was a Torchwood agent? You just assumed I was."
"Well you are, are you not? Who else would you be?"
He had her on that point. "Well, assuming I were, I wouldn't come here on holiday with my family, who'd do that?"
''For starters, you, probably."
He could see she was about to blow up with him. This was his excuse to ask her out, then if it didn't work out, he could just say he was trying to find out if the organisation really was involved or she was just here on holiday but who went to a murder town, with a young boy if they already knew what had happened?
"Have a drink with me, tonight and I'll tell you."
"Huh? You almost knock down my brother, accuse me of being a Torchwood agent then have the nerve to ask me for a drink?"
"Is that a yes then? Where are you staying?"
Tony decided he'd been left out of the conversation for too long.
"We've got a caravan, over there," Tony pointed, Alec turning to the left at the boy sticking his arm out.
"Then meet me in the club bar at eight and I'll tell you my theory as to why I think you want to take over here but I'll make it clear, you're not so don't even think you are."
"I had no such intention, so are you gonna tell me what happened here then or what?"
"You really don't watch the news, do you? Watch it when you get back or get a copy of the local paper."
"My mum banned my stepfather from watching the news while we're here so I can't."
"Well watch it in the bar then, some agent you are."
Rose thought she had been more than patient with the scruffy detective with no manners whatsoever, even if he did look vaguely familiar but that still wasn't going to get him a date. It would though get her out of playing bingo again since her mother showed her up last night, not that Jackie Tyler needed to win the jackpot game for the full house, without sharing.
"Ok then, my curiosity's just got the better of me, I'll meet you but it's not a date so don't even think it is."
"Of course not, Miss Tyler, if you say so but what makes you think I'm asking you out on a date?"
"Oh, so I'm not good enough to ask out for a date then, am I?"
"I never said that, geez, how does your brother put up with you? Eight in the camp's bar or if you don't want to be seen with me, outside in the seating area and you can bring your own drink if you like."
"Cheapskate," Rose thought, taking Tony's hand as he was thinking about taking himself around the corner to the beach since Rose was arguing with this bloke.
"I might be there, just out of curiosity, like I said and how does anyone put up with you, you’re hard work."
Alec thought she'd seen nothing yet and he no longer thought Miller was the only irritating woman around here, Rose Tyler had come to town.