Alec Hardy was not happy about being forced out of his job on a mere technicality - his poor health. He could have gone for a desk job in the peaceful town of Broadchurch to await the hearing and possible trial of Joe Miller or even gone to give the recruits over in Exeter the benefit of his experience and bored them all to tears but his former super had called him one morning to give him some good news.
He knocked on Elaine Jenkinson's office door and entered when instructed.
''Ah, Alec, how are you feeling?''
She was no longer his superior officer so there was no need for pleasantries.
''You threw me out, without letting me finish the case. No thanks to you, I caught a killer. Why did you call me here? To gloat I'm out in the wilderness and on medical leave?''
''No such thing Alec, I have some good news for you. You can recommence light duties, nothing strenuous, which I suspect is the reason you took this job, putting Ellie Miller in a bad mood but I suppose it was just as well she didn't have to arrest her own husband, that would have been embarrassing. No, it turns out there is need for an experienced detective inspector in another quiet place, one where it's a more pleasant climate, I almost envy you that you've been handed this.''
''It depends what it is. Please tell me you're not sending me back to Sandbrook? If you are, I quit and I'm staying on medical leave until I'm no longer anyone's problem then.''
''Relax Alec, it's not Sandbrook, why would I say I envied you if that was where you've been requested to go?''
''So where are you sending me?''
So Alec walked out of Elaine's office confused as to why he has been chosen to replace another British detective and why DI Richard Poole had chosen to go home. Elaine had told him the police commissioner there was fully aware of the situation and Alec had the choice of either spending 3 months in Exeter or a small Caribbean Island. Was there really much choice? His daughter still wasn't talking to him apart from the odd grunt of 'Hello Dad' when he rang Tess to ask how Daisy was doing at school so there was no-one to miss him and 3 months in the sun was like a holiday although he had hated the sun and the sand in Broadchurch but had sort of got used to it and teaching recruits was not his cup of tea.
He had thought nothing could have possibly gone wrong when he had arrived in the small Dorset town and look what had happened but a remote island? Petty thefts maybe, the odd tourist losing their luggage at the tiny airport, quite possibly, murders, well he would have to check on DI Poole's arrest reports for that one but surely there would be nothing as bad as watching a town being ripped apart by the murder of a twelve year old boy at the hands of a family friend but the statistics always proved the killer is always someone who is known to the victim.
Even if there was the odd murder, at least on an island the culprit couldn't escape with the airport locked down and all boats searched they wouldn't get far and he could cope with the odd one but why he couldn't stay where he was, he didn't know. Maybe it was because he hadn't been forthcoming about his condition and it had annoyed someone.
So he went back to the hotel and looked up his destination, the other members of the island's police force and what he may be up against plus anyone of interest who lived on the island. He came up with a few persons of interest, a few small town crooks that nothing had ever been proved against, a few British and American businessmen who were well respected and most recently, a new arrival just under a year ago was Miss Rose Tyler of Vitex fame. That fact alone made it worthwhile enduring 3 months of sand and sea but why would someone like her be interested in him, a sickly police detective who was on his last legs.
He knew if he didn't get himself fixed, it was all over for his career and his health, how much longer would his heart irregularly beat if he kept putting off having a pacemaker inserted, at least with that, he could go back to work instead of a countdown to how many months he had left. He had said he would go for the operation, he had his name down that in roughly three months time it would be his turn but he could still back out because he was terrified it would end badly and Daisy would never get over it but she wouldn't either way.
While Alec waited for the details of his transfer, Mickey Smith was still in London debating what to buy Rose for her birthday that wouldn't get confiscated at customs on his arrival at her new home on the tiny island of Saint Marie. He decided on a lovely silk scarf that was easy to get through the security scanners and lightweight to put in his holdall he was taking for his weeks stay.
Pete and Jackie were disappointed they couldn't fly out for Rose's birthday but with Tony having measles, it was impossible, he wouldn't be clear until after the event. Pete had said they could go see her later since Jackie wouldn't leave her son and go with Mickey so Pete was sending something via Air-Mail along with a birthday card and Rose had promised to call them after her party.
Rose had rented a lovely three bedroom villa near the main centre of the island, from a friend of her stepfather's who had been trying to sell it with no success and had been more than happy to rent it to her on a monthly basis. They had all gone out for two weeks holiday about a year ago and Rose had decided to stay and since it was going to be empty, it was all agreed. Rose did research for Torchwood and sent it securely to London thanks to Jake to keep herself busy but was there under the guise of she was trying to escape the press from associating her name with every eligible or otherwise male in the London area who was seen within 50 metres of her.
Rose had been associated with numerous male stars including a certain Doctor lookalike from Scotland and he was the only one she wished had been true. She had never even met him in private, just being at a charity event with her mother he had also attended and she had been on the same table. He had been charming enough, Rose had laughed at one of his jokes even and a photographer had snapped her looking at him. Rose knew he was the one that had got away.
With her being out of the country, she had not seen or heard the news of a young boy in a small Dorset town and the subsequent investigation led by Alec Hardy and since no-one back home wanted to upset her again, they never told her who he looked like given the fact they knew she had fancied the actor and never meet him again, it wasn't like she was going to run into Alec Hardy any time soon. She was preparing for Mickey's arrival on Monday afternoon and had told a lovesick Camille, her best friend that he was coming back and since Richard had left, she was looking forward to seeing him again but Mickey had no designs on the detective sergeant, he fancied a new recruit at Torchwood called Martha Jones.
Rose had to tell Poor Camille not to give up and try at her party next Sunday afternoon as Rose had stopped to talk to her on the way out to the airport.
''Can you put in a good word for me Rose?'' her friend asked her.
''I'll try Camille but you know what he's like. Did you have a word with your mother about the fruit cocktails for the party?''
''Yes, they will all be ready for collection, don't worry. I'm sorry Richard won't be here, he couldn't get on that plane fast enough last week and I'm holding down the fort until his replacement arrives some time this week though I don't know when exactly. The commissioner was leaving it to the police authority he's coming from to make the arrangements. All I know is he's been working a high profile case.''
''Funny, mum's not mentioned anyone being in charge of a high profile case, I wonder why? Maybe because I'm far away from home and she didn't think I needed to know.''
''Maybe Rose, it's hardly the topic of a telephone conversation I suppose to discuss who is in charge of a murder investigation. Not when it's of no interest out here. It's a shame about your family not being able to come over, I know you were looking forward to seeing them. How is your brother?''
''Probably driving both mum and his nanny insane, mum says he's not really poorly with it and he was upset Mickey couldn't get in to see him since he never had it when he was a kid. Honestly Camille, I think Mickey was the only kid on the estate to escape it, lucky him.''
''Well I'm glad your brother is not really ill with it. So I'll see you on Sunday if I don't see you before and give my love to Tony if you speak to him. What time does Mickey arrive?''
''Around two as long as the flight isn't delayed. You never know, your new DI might arrive today as well.''
''Well with only two flights from London a week, it will be today or Thursday, have you got everything organised for Sunday?''
Rose smiled. ''Yeah, Mickey's in charge of the barbecue, should be fun. I think he might need some help, you should volunteer.''
Camille smiled back. ''Thanks for the tip Rose.''
Rose went off to wait at the airport for Mickey's plane to arrive. She knew it was a long flight so he would want to just get some sleep after stuffing his face which was why they were going to call for food on the way back. Rose was just leaving to get into her car when a familiar voice called her name.
''Rose, where are you off to? Can I buy you lunch?''
Rose turned around to see local British businessman Chris Martin approaching from the side. She had dated him a couple of time, he was older than her, not really that bad looking but she had only gone out for a few drinks and dinner and accompanied him to a few social gatherings and she had already invited him on Sunday but that was it, she had no romantic interest in him, it was just to prove she wasn't a recluse and was interested in what went on around the island.
''Sorry Chris, not now, I'm collecting my friend from the airport, Mickey arrives today.''
''Shame, is that Mickey coming back? Anyone would think he was your boyfriend. He's not is he?''
Rose really wanted to say yes but she and Mickey were long over that plus he never stayed long enough.
''No Chris, he's not my boyfriend, I haven't got one and that includes you. I don't mind going on the odd date with you and you're welcome to come to my party but that's it.''
''You could really crush a guy Rose. So when you say no boyfriend, is that permanently?''
''How should I know? I'm gonna be late, excuse me.''
Chris moved his hand from the top of her car and held the door open for her.
''I'm looking forward to Sunday Rose. Since you're having your party outside, maybe you'll be taking a dip in your pool?''
''I don't think so, not when you're around anyway.''
''Now I am disappointed. Until Sunday then.''
Rose was now wishing she hadn't invited him but he was expected to be there by the rest of the guests which included the Police Commissioner and several other prominent people plus her friend Camille. She arrived at the airport and parked her car and went to wait. Mickey meanwhile was just waking from his nap, having fallen asleep when his fellow passenger seated next to him on the small plane had done the same. The man hadn't been that talkative but when he had mentioned he was going to Saint Marie for his friend's birthday and just happened to mention who she was, Mickey wished he would learn to keep his big mouth shut because Alec Hardy had expressed his interest in meeting her.
''So, you've known her a long time then?'' Alec asked.
''Yeah, we grew up together on the same estate.''
''You're her boyfriend then?'' Alec saw no harm in finding out if he had any competition.
Mickey knew the other man was fishing and if he wanted, he could string him along but Rose needed cheering up.
''No, we used to go about about ten years ago. Can't say if she's taken up with anyone since my last visit though.''
Alec thought well he stood as much chance as anyone else then.
If Mickey hadn't known who the bloke was, he would have thought he was a gold-digger but seeing as he was actually a well dressed Police Detective, he had said he would introduce him to her. The only problem was, what would Rose make of him given he looked like her lost friend? Surely she was over that by now and maybe he would be doing her a favour by helping her to move on - just as long as no-one told Hardy who he looked like. The plane was preparing to land and Alec opened his eyes. He couldn't believe he was sitting next to a friend of the famous Rose Tyler and maybe his three month stay on the remote island wouldn't be so bad after all.
Alec and Mickey made their way to the baggage claim, Mickey getting his holdall first and looking around to see his new friend waiting for his case and told him he was going to find Rose and he would see him outside so Alec just nodded. Alec expected no such greeting since he had arrived early but at least there was some accommodation available for him once he got to the Police Station.
Rose saw Mickey and called out for him and waved. They hugged each other just as Alec came through the door.
''Rose, look who I met on the plane,'' he said excitedly, assuming Rose had been keeping up with the news back home and knew who Alec Hardy was.
Alec put his case down and held out his hand. ''Miss Tyler, nice to meet you.''
Rose just stared, how could Mickey do this to her? The poor bloke with his hand extended was not to blame but she would give Mickey what for later.
''Rose, this is Alec Hardy, surely you read about him, he just solved that kid's murder in Broadchurch.''
''Sorry, I've been a bit out of it here, my family and my friend here neglected to inform me about it. Nice to meet you too Alec and please, call me Rose. Are you here on holiday?''
''No, actually I came here to work, I'm the new detective inspector. Your friend happened to mention you on the plane coming over here. I've arrived a bit early and no-one seems to have come to meet me, how do I get to the Police Station?''
''We can go by there can't we Rose and drop him off, they'll be surprised he's here already.''
''I'm surprised you want to by there Mickey, considering you go to great lengths to avoid poor Camille.''
''Ah, yes, she'll be there, won't she? I'd forgotten and she'll be at your party too I expect. Rose, I met someone at work, her name is Martha and I was going to ask her to come with me but I didn't know if it would be ok with you.''
''It would have been fine with me though I'm not sure how it would have gone down with Camille. Best break it to her gently Micks. Shall we go, we can stop and drop you off Alec though if you're here early, your accommodation might not be ready. They were looking for something more suitable than where Richard lived, he hated it there. It was too near the beach for him.''
''Then it's a good thing I just came from a seaside town though I can't say I liked it at first but it grows on you.''
They walked out to Rose's car and Mickey put his and Alec's things in the back and Rose nudged him while Alec took the front passenger seat since he was taller and would be cooped up in the back.
''Why didn't you warn me Mickey?''
''How did I know he was going to be on the same plane? I thought you needed cheering up, since your family can't come over.''
''Yeah I would do but do you really think that by finding me a Doctor lookalike it's gonna help?''