The case regarding the disappearance of one young girl and her older cousin was getting to everyone working on it, no more so than Alec Hardy and his wife Rose. Rose worked part-time when their four year old daughter Grace was at school and during the school holidays, if she wasn't at a friend's house, Rose would just work weekends and bank holidays, Alec looking after the girl.
They had discussed adding to their family but now, it had been put on hold until the case was over but things had been getting worse between them and not wanting to argue in front of their daughter, did most of the arguing at work, in his office as they did battle about the case, mixed in with how they both felt about it but Alec had not realised just how it was affecting his wife.
They were arguing in his office one Tuesday afternoon, weeks into the investigation and Alec had just survived getting pulled out of the river after he sadly discovered the body of the youngest girl floating in the swollen river in a downpour, Rose not having been there as she had gone to collect their daughter since it had been agreed, even with their boss, that picking up a four year old girl from school in view of young Pippa Gillespie being missing gave priority to whatever she was doing but on rare occasions, she'd had to be dropped off in a squad car to collect Grace, who had thought it exciting and was quizzed about it the following day.
Rose was sat opposite him, her arms folded and an hour away from picking up their daughter. They had hardly talked about him almost drowning, he'd not even gone to hospital to get checked over which had made Rose furious when she had learned of it so since she had an hour to spare, she was going to tell him what she thought of it since he had taken to getting home at all hours, having popped in for half an hour to put his daughter to bed and kiss her goodnight, his only concession and Rose had been asleep when he had finally decided to go home.
''It's doing none of us any good Alec, you coming in at all hours. What do you actually do, working so late?''
''Honestly Rose? You'd complain just as much if I brought the work home, at least here I can concentrate, going through all the information.''
''Really? Don't you think about what it's doing to Grace? She hardly sees you, you were always there at teatime, made her laugh and spent time with her. I know finding Pippa was a priority but none of us wanted to find her the way you did and you won't even talk to me about it, why not? Let someone else help you Alec, at least try to come home early, for Grace?''
''So we can just argue in front of her when you don't want me to go back out again?''
''You spend more time with the main suspect's wife than you do me Alec, should I have something to worry about?''
Alec slammed a folder across his desk, marked 'Claire Ripley, A.K.A Claire Ashworth'.
''Be my guest Rose, do you really think I'd take up with her while she keeps changing her story?''
''You can't blame me for thinking the worse Alec. I don't know how much more Grace and me can put up with this, you had better decide where your own priorities lie.''
Rose got up and went back to her desk. She knew it wasn't fair on their daughter. They used to spend their weekends together always doing something even if it rained and Alec worshipped the ground Grace walked on, she was his life but young Pippa had taken over slowly, he couldn't shake it off and since a few days ago he had found her in the river, he had been devastated, he'd hardly been in to get changed and he was growing a beard, prompting Grace to call him a scruff, the little she saw of him.
He could have drowned in that river, what had he been thinking going off on his own? She got up, having twenty minutes or so before she had to leave and went to their chief's office.
''Sir, can I talk to you a moment?''
''Of course Rose, my door is always open. You and Alec still having problems?''
''Yeah and they're getting worse, it's consuming him and I'm worried about him and Grace, her I can do something about but Alec, she hardly sees him any more but that's not why I came here. It's just working alongside Alec all the time, it's not helping, can I apply for a transfer?''
''Rose, you're good at your job but if you think coming off the case will help, then I don't think it will. Even if I transfer you to another team, you'll still see each other and isn't that better than not seeing him at all?''
''Honestly? Then no because it reminds me of what we used to be and I don't know how much more I can take of it.''
''Why don't you go seek some help Rose? Get Alec to go with you?''
Rose laughed. ''When? He never has the time and I know you don't ask him to work all those hours, he looks a wreck. He's not looking after himself and goodness knows what almost drowning the other day did to him, he wouldn't even get himself checked out. Can you at least order him to have a medical?''
''Ok, if it makes you feel better, I'll get the CMO to call him in, say it's standard procedure, which knowing Alec he'll say it's been made up but we can try but as for you being transferred, it may not be around here, you may have to travel, what about picking Grace up from school?''
''I'll manage, I'll get a child-minder if I have to, increase my hours or I might get a station that provides it.''
''Is that a dig Rose?''
''No Sir, I'm just pointing it out but I'd still need someone to collect her from school. Anyway, how much further will I have to travel?''
It had all start five years ago, Rose was a young DC and assigned to Alec's division while he was a DS and since no-one had told either of them that dating officers of a lower or higher rank was not allowed, they had quickly begun seeing each other. One lunchtime, Rose had been sitting in the station's canteen and Alec had noticed her over the past week or so and thought he would try his luck with the young officer who had recently been re-assigned from London.
Rose had been taken by his Scottish accent and he had soon charmed her the day he decided was as good a time as ever to stop being a recluse and get himself a young, permanent girlfriend after getting crushed by Tess Henchard once too often and what he'd seen in her, he had no idea but then one Monday morning, there she was, DC Rose Tyler, fresh from the training academy after she applied to become more than a WPC and that was it.
Joining her that lunchtime had been his smartest move ever but she was only 22 and he was 35 and she would think he was too old for her, at least Tess had been around his own age but he didn't care.
''Hello there, it's Rose isn't it?'' he asked, thinking that had been his worst pick-up line in his entire life and pulling out the chair opposite.
''Oh hi, yeah, please do Sir. Have you been here long?''
''A few years, transferred from Glasgow but I never really made any friends, apart from when it's my turn to buy drinks at the local pub.''
Rose smiled, her tongue poking out through her teeth and Alec thought if he didn't hurry up and ask her out, there were plenty more single men in the building who would be lining up to do so.
''It's not easy being new, my last station, I had plenty of friends until I put in for further training then I lost most of them. It's my first time away from home, I've got a room in a boarding house but it's not much. Still, I don't know how long I'm gonna be here, no sense in getting anything permanent.''
Alec agreed, trying to eat his lunch before it went completely cold since she had captivated him with her London accent. He was aware people were staring at them and he expected to get chewed out later by his boss for chatting up a junior officer. He was pleasantly surprised when no such thing happened and decided no-one was bothered since now, his ex girlfriend was being pursued by an older married DS so anything was possible.
Having retreated back to his desk, he was devising ways to ask out the new young DC and got his chance later when they were both called into the DI's office and told to go interview a witness to a robbery in a grocery store. By the time they were on their way back to the station, Rose driving, he had her phone number and said he would call when he was off duty.
From there, it took them just three weeks for Rose to move into his two bedroom apartment just outside town and they had already declared their love for each other in no uncertain terms and everyone left them alone when they would go out together to follow enquiries and come back in and pretend they had not just been in Rose's car for the last twenty minutes snogging each other's faces off.
The first night they had gone out, Alec had successfully got Rose back to his place and got her on the sofa, relieving her of her top and bra and she had got his shirt off, well partly anyway.
''Mmm, Alec, this is very nice but shouldn't we get to know each other first?'' Rose had half protested, pulling the said shirt off his shoulders and hoping the cuffs would undo themselves since he was now kissing where her bra had been.
She eventually got him to take her home much to his dismay but she promised she would stay the weekend and see how things went. By the time Monday morning came around, she had practically moved in and he was complaining of her leaving her bras and knickers to dry in the bathroom since they couldn't go in the tumble dryer and he knew from that moment he couldn't live without her.
They were married three months later, Rose was six weeks pregnant after they'd had a night out and it was too near her monthly for her to get away with it and Alec was too far gone to bother about being the one to take the responsibility but they didn't care, they were totally besotted with each other and Alec was insisting Rose gave up work and stayed at home after her maternity leave was up, he had just been promoted to DI.
They had been up to Scotland to get married, in Alec's home town, Rose's mother never even fussing about having to travel by train to Glasgow and them meeting her. Alec had gone traditional and worn his kilt, Rose was thrilled on their wedding night then they had gone to Fort William for their honeymoon for a week, Alec driving them around and took Rose to The Isle of Skye but the teashop there where they were going to visit was closed and they both laughed, saying it was just typical.
They had been for a short ride on a steam train from Fort William to Mallaig and Rose had loved it, been to the edge of Loch Ness and Alec had bought her a toy 'Nessie' for the baby and on the way back home, they took a detour and called in at Gretna Green, Rose saying they should have got married there but Alec had said there was too much of a waiting list and he was in a hurry to marry her, forever showing their love for each other and inventing ways to get close when Rose was quite large, Alec saying he loved her no matter how big she was.
As Rose was driving to pick up her daughter, she remembered just how happy they had been, just the three of them still living in the same apartment as when they had got married because Rose loved the view of the river from their bedroom window but now she hated the river because her husband had almost drowned in part of it further down and he never thought how it had affected him and just as importantly, his wife and daughter.
After Rose had left, the chief called Alec into his office and it wasn't going to go down well either.
''Ah, Alec, take a seat. How are you after your ordeal the other day? You should have taken a few days off after that but you are to be commended for spotting Pippa's body though it's not a result any of us wanted. Any leads on Lisa?''
''No Sir, not at the moment but we're re-interviewing several people, including the Gillespie's neighbours whom were friendly with both girls. I'm still convinced Ashworth and his wife had something to do with it though I have no evidence.''
''Yes, well that's down to your team Alec, to get some evidence. You really should have got the medics to check you over so I've got no choice but to make you go see the CMO, first thing in the morning, we have to make sure there were no ill effects.''
Alec got up, pounding one fist into his other hand. ''Have you been talking to my wife by any chance?'' he asked angrily.
''She's worried about you Alec and so am I, all these extra hours you've been putting in, you'll wear yourself out. I would be just as concerned over any officer. Go home Alec, go see your wife and daughter and that's an order, I don't want to see you until tomorrow morning.''
''I don't want to go home, I want to catch however killed Pippa and possibly kidnapped Lisa now let me get back to my office.''
''Alec, you'll leave me no choice but to enforce it but ok, as long as you make sure you go home at a decent time and say goodnight to your daughter.''
''I always do, I've not missed one night I'll have you know and don't let my wife tell you any differently.''
''She didn't but if your home life starts affecting the two of you working together, then I'll have to do something.''
''Fine but it won't, Rose understands this is important to me. We have a four year old daughter and there's a child killer on the loose, what do you and Rose expect me to do?''