I Was Here
Welcome to Broadchurch
The wind whipped Rose Tyler's hair into her eyes the second she stepped from the shelter of the train station. She sighed, knowing she should have been prepared. It was a beach town after all but, after the early morning train ride, Rose's brain was still mush even at nine-thirty. Stepping back for some cover, she used the hair tie around her wrist to quickly fasten her hair into a bun. Being a dancer meant that she could style a bun, messy or not, with her eyes closed. Feigning a sense of calm she most definitely did not feel, she shouldered her rucksack and ventured forth.
The next gust of wind brought with it the smell of smoke and not the good kind. Rose looked up and could see gray wisps floating into the atmosphere. Whatever was burning was in the direction of the dance studio Rose was headed for and she silently prayed that smoke was not coming from her destination.
She pulled the crumpled envelope from the back pocket of her jeans where she had scribbled Amy's directions and reread the words she had memorized hours ago.
She hoped they would lead her to a fresh start, one that she would forever be grateful for. Rose had called Amelia Pond to see if her fellow dancer and uni friend knew of any jobs, and had cried with relief when Amy told her that she had opened a dance studio in Broadchurch and was desperately seeking an instructor.
"There's not many professional dancers here. I have one who travels from the town over and I thought me and her would be enough. Turns out a lot of parents were happy about my studio opening because it meant that their children could take dance without having to travel to other towns. Would you be willing to teach ballet and hip hop?"
Amy's words had been music to her ears and she had accepted the job. Thankfully, Amy owned the building that housed her studio and the tiny flat above it. Rose was going to live in the flat and maintain the upkeep of the studio in lieu of paying rent. Amy had warned her the flat wasn't much of a living space but, no matter what it looked like, it had to be better than the place she'd been living for the past two weeks.
Rose rounded a corner that put her on Bluffs Street, but before she could look for the building, numbered 138, that housed the studio, her attention was drawn to the cause of the smoke. An empty husk of a building that was barely standing on its own was smoldering. Small fires were still being put out inside what was left of the space. The bright morning sun shining down on the charred remains gave the scene an eerie haze. It was absolutely chilling.
Fire trucks and police units lined the street and men and women, be it workers or bystanders, were all over the place. Two stood out among the rest. A woman, who looked a bit taller than Rose and had her dark curly hair pulled back into a ponytail and wearing a bright orange anorak, surveyed the scene with her arms crossed over her chest. A tall, lanky man with brown hair had his back to Rose, hands on his hips. His dark blue suit looked just a bit too big for him, like someone who had lost a lot of weight and never took the time to buy new clothes. He was turning around, taking in the surroundings but stopped when he spotted Rose. His bearded face was scowling as he made his way across the street, the woman rushing to catch up with his long strides.
Rose's eyes widened in surprise. What could she have possibly done to earn this man's ire? He stopped a few feet away from her. Even though he looked scruffy and in need of a good nights sleep, Rose thought he was an attractive man with his chocolate brown eyes and the freckles she could see peeking out from the beard on his cheeks.
"Who are you? Why haven't I ever seen you around here before?"
Attractive but an arsehole. Story of her life.
His Scottish brogue made the words sound harsh but she was pretty sure he'd meant for them to. She clutched the straps of her rucksack tightly, unsure of this man.
"My name's Rose. I just got off the train."
"Can you prove tha'? Rose wha'?"
Rose's brows furrowed in frustration. She had just been left by a verbally abusive wanker and her long dormant 'estate attitude' was about to reassert itself. "What's it to ya? Who the hell are you?"
The man reared back in surprise before crossing his arms. "Excuse me?"
Rose was grateful when the woman stepped between her and the angry stranger. "Okay. Hello. We seem to have missed the introductions. I'm DS Ellie Miller and this grump is DI Alec Hardy. This building caught fire somewhere around eleven last night, which is a bit of an unexpected circumstance 'round here and you yourself are unexpected. One thing about a small town, everyone knows everyone. You can understand us wanting to talk with you, yeah?"
Rose relaxed at the explanation and gave DS Miller a small smile. "Yeah, yeah. 'M Rose Tyler. My mate, Amy Pond, hired me to teach at her dance studio. Here." She reached into her pocket and withdrew her ticket stub which stated the date and time of purchase and the projected nine a.m. arrival to Broadchurch. She held it out to the DS but DI Hardy snatched it to read first. She frowned at the blatant rudeness of the police officer as he silently passed the stub to his partner.
"Oh, you did just get here." DS Miller handed the stub back to Rose. "I know Amy. She's such a sweetheart. The whole town is excited about the dance studio opening. Makes me wish I had girls, but I have two boys so it's all football and dirt."
"Boys can take dance, too." Rose said, smiling at Ellie. But a scoff from Alec brought the frown back. "What? Oh, don't tell me... you don't think boys should dance?"
"Just think dance is a waste of time. You cannae get any real job being a dancer."
She heard another voice speaking similar words.
"What kinda money you gonna make teachin' dance? That's not a real job. You'd make better money dancin' naked in some club. Too bad your tits are too small."
Violence was never a solution Rose stooped too but, damn, was it tempting right now. Instead of yelling and showing him all the hurt and anger that his words had dredged up, Rose used up all her self-control for the month.
She nodded at Alec. "Right. You can piss off." Okay, maybe not all of her self-control. She turned to Ellie. "It was lovely to meet you, DS Miller."
"Same to you. The studio's just down there, about four more blocks and you should be there."
Rose nodded her thanks to Ellie and returned to her journey to the dance studio, trying not to laugh at a wide-eyed Detective Inspector.
Keep Calm and Dance On was located in a two-story building that had once housed an appliance store. The large front glass windows of the ground floor were covered with purple and white chevron patterned curtains that went well with the white brick exterior of the building. The studio's name was etched into the all glass door, the frame painted purple. Rose took a deep breath and pulled open the door.
The bell above the door chimed and Rose heard a soft Scottish accent (so different from the one she'd heard earlier) call out to her from down the hall. "Be there in a bit!"
Rose took a moment to look around. Walls had been put up to divide the large showroom, making three dance studios. All three studios had one wall of mirrors, a bar lined up on another wall, and the same black Marley flooring. At the end of the hall to the left, Rose could see light coming from a doorway. She started making her way down, assuming the room was the office, when the doorbell chimed. Out of habit, Rose turned to see who had entered the building.
Her eyes widened at the sight of two identical men. One was dressed in light blue scrubs and wore black frames and the other was dressed as a reverend.
"Hello." It was the reverend that offered the greeting.
"Hi." Rose's reply was soft and shy. Meeting the gruff detective right off the bat in a new town kind of put her off of meeting other residents of Broadchurch.
Right as she turned, she was enveloped in a tight hug. Rose returned the hug, spitting strands of ginger hair from her mouth. "Amy! Oh, I've missed you!"
"I've missed you! Let me look at you!" Amy stepped back, but kept her hands on Rose's upper arms. "You're a lot skinnier than I remember, but still as beautiful. How was the train?"
"It wasn't a bad ride. 'M just happy to be here. Thanks so much for this, Amy."
"I'm happy to help, Rose. Besides, I think you're helping me more!" A throat cleared behind them and the reunited friends turned towards the sound. Amy walked over and kissed the man in the blue scrubs on his cheek. "Hello, darling. Rose, this is my fiancée, Rory Williams."
Rory took Rose's hand in a delicate grip. "Nice to meet you. Amy has been talking about you nonstop. The two of you had some interesting times in uni."
Fighting down the blood rushing to her cheeks as she remembered some of the things she and Amy used to get up to, Rose shook his hand. "We were a little silly at times."
Amy giggled behind her. "Yeah, silly. That's it." She gestured to the reverend. "I'd like you to meet Rory's twin brother, Paul Coates."
As if he had been anticipating the question, Paul spoke. "I decided to use our mother's maiden name as my own. Just wanted to try to make things a bit easier on us."
"I can understand that. It's lovely to meet you both."
"Just go into the office and I'll join you two in a second. I wanna show Rose around and get her settled." Amy led Rose over to the very first room on the right once you entered the front door. "We are planning a surprise anniversary party for their parents but, since both boys work, we have to do it on their breaks." Amy leaned against the doorjamb and gestured into the room. "This will be your studio."
"My own studio? Wow." Rose looked around the room. The room was easily four times the size of the one she taught at before coming here. But the studio she came from had been located in the slums of London, so the building was nothing to write home about. Rose had loved it though, teaching the underprivileged kids. Growing up poor herself made her want to reach out and inspire the little girls who would be told that they could do no better and should just accept their lot in life.
Amy's voice brought her out of her thoughts. "Let me show you the flat upstairs and once you get settled, you can just meet me down in the office."
She pulled some keys from the pocket of her hoodie. They walked out the front door and to the right. Around the corner and on the side of the building was a solid purple door. Using one of the keys, Amy opened the door that led to a stairwell. Rose followed her friend up the two flights of stairs to another purple wooden door. She was thankful the door had a peephole; it made her feel a little bit safer.
Amy unlocked the door with the second key on the ring. "Remember, it's not much, but I think you'll like it." She jiggled the door handle. "Sometimes it sticks. There is another way here from inside the studio. That door doesn't give me fits."
Once the door opened, Amy stepped in and flicked on the light. Rose took in the flat with appreciation. When Amy said it wasn't much, she underestimated big time. The walls were the same white brick as the building's exterior. On the opposite end of the space was a door, similar to the one they just entered, with a deadbolt. Probably leads to the studio.
The left wall housed black appliances: a mini-fridge with a microwave sitting on top, a two-hob stove, and a sink. A small, dark wood pantry squeezed its way in between the fridge and stove. In the corner between the kitchen and the other door, was a small loo, the entrance covered with a cobalt blue curtain. The room came equipped with a stand-up shower, loo, and small vanity sink with mirror.
The other long wall that was obviously the front of the business had several old single paned windows that looked to have been the originals from when the building was constructed. Single paned? I'll need to pick up some extra blankets. Perpendicular to the wall closest to entrance sat a red and cream paisley loveseat: a loveseat so hideous it was beautiful. An old tube television was on a cheap looking stand across from the loveseat, a glass coffee table separating the two.
A loft was stationed directly above the sitting area. Rose climbed the wooden staircase, thankful for the railing, and smiled when she saw the full size mattress on the floor. Finally, a seemingly comfortable bed! Amy had thoughtfully made the bed with pink sheets and a plain yellow duvet, just like Rose's bed had been at uni. The ceiling was high enough that she didn't have to slouch but low enough it made her feel like a giant.
Turning to Amy with tears in her eyes, Rose hugged her ginger friend. Coming to Broadchurch to start over was scary, but she was ready to face anything that was thrown her way!