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The internet connection

Chapter Text

Everything had been arranged, in rather a short period of time as Rose settled into her new home, a cottage near the beach in a small coastal town called Broadchurch. She had seen the town in the news and had convinced her mother she was certain she wouldn't go off the rails and start calling the local detective inspector 'The Doctor' all the time. Pete had agreed to lease the harbour newsagents and got planning permission to change it into a coffee shop upon the sad demise of the man who had run it and he'd cut through the usual red tape with the council but a condition came with it.

"What? They won't let me open it until that murder's been solved? How long's that gonna take?" Rose wanted to know as she'd barged into Pete's office after he'd called her to break the news.

"Just think about it Rose, no-one's visiting the town and it will give the shop-fitters more time to complete. They just want to make sure you don't open then go out of business."

"Don't they know who I am?"

"Well if you open and you get no customers?"

"Since you put it that way but as soon as the killer's behind bars, the fitters had better be gone. I'd best put the equipment on hold then?"

Pete smiled. Rose had been in hurry to get out of Torchwood since he'd closed down the cannon project, they'd not got anywhere and when it had showed signs of life, it had all fizzled out within a few months and had gone dead again though thankfully, no-one had been trapped.

He'd tried to reason with her, to take another job but her mother had already warned him once she'd set her mind on something, nothing was going to change it. They'd both been concerned Rose was doing this for the wrong reasons after a certain DI Hardy had appeared on a TV interview and had stated blankly he was going to catch whoever had killed the young boy. Pete didn't doubt that he would but to him, the man looked like he was on his last legs and wouldn't last that long and he didn't even look that old.

Two weeks later though, the killer was still on the loose and Rose was going crazy. She'd already quit her job, had a good night out with her work friends, Jake as usual drinking her under the table and she was itching to go.

"I'm gonna set off anyway, so I can keep an eye on the coffee shop, I don't like it being shuttered up. Why did you lay the fitters off?" she asked when Pete got home one night.

It had been almost six weeks and the police had got nowhere.

"There was no point love, best leave it before all the tables were put in, there's only the counter, the lino has been put down after they finished decorating, then only the finishing touches, it can be done in less than a week. People will start going back to the town, now the fuss is dying down."

"Well I'm gonna tell the rental agency I'll be moving into that cottage on Saturday, Jake offered to come with me."

"If that's what you want? Oh, I had another email from the local council, wanting to know if you were still opening."

"Is that 'cos the place has been shuttered?"

"I expect so."

"Have they thought they'd got rid of me?"

"I expect so why?"

"Just wondered, considering there's a café in front and one behind, not to mention the old railway station one, perhaps they'd had second thoughts about giving me permission?"

"Nah, a town can never have enough cafés. I expect some of them close over the winter months anyway, you were most insistent you were going to remain open."

"What else will there be for me to do? I'm not doing it to make a profit, am I or do you expect a return on your investment?"

"It would be nice Rose but you know that's not why I agreed. I'm sorry I had to stop your project, really I am but we were getting nowhere. If we had carried on, someone could have got stranded and none of us wanted that. Your mother would never forgive me if it had been you."

"Yeah, I know. Anyway, I'm off to start packing, maybe you and mum can bring Tony down when everything has settled?"

The next morning, which was a Thursday, Rose called the agency and they agreed she could collect the keys for the cottage on her arrival. She had seen on the news that the killer was still at large, she'd watched a re-enactment of the events a few weeks ago and last Sunday, a tearful plea from the boy's mother and also the front headlines of 'The Herald'.

She'd had to laugh though at the newspaper's star reporter who had dared to brand the lead detective as the 'worst cop in Britain' which was totally unfair when he'd had the odds against him. So Saturday morning as she left London behind her and Jake agreed they'd make one stop as he followed her down, she had packed her personal belongings and her cases and had said goodbye to Tony and her mother.

"You be careful down there Rose, promise me?"

"I promise Mum, don't worry. Come down, if Tony's still off school, when they catch the person responsible."

"We will, maybe we can rent a cottage or something?"

"Come on Rose, let's get going," Jake nudged her.

Jake had stayed the weekend, they'd got the keys for the new shop and Jake operated the electric shutter Pete had insisted on being installed instead of the heavy manual one. It was red, like the outside of the shop, a sign with a single pink rose in the corner saying 'Rose's coffee shop' and Jake opened the door.

"Not much done then?" he observed, the counter looking a bit dusty but otherwise, the red lino didn't look that bad and the cream walls.

Rose was going to order some local prints of the cliffs and the harbour but they had seen a van parked opposite with assorted paintings so she was going to go and have a look and pick some out, once she got permission to open but she was going to the council office on Monday morning to say she was here and could she make a start and pick a date to open.

It wasn't a big place, room for a bar across one wall with a few stools and six or seven tables. She'd had the shop floor extended by taking some of the back area and just leaving a small storeroom and a washroom, since she planned getting an under counter dishwasher and she wasn't serving meals, one of the conditions, since there were three cafés close by, plus all the catering stalls.

She had only wanted to serve tea and coffee anyway, the old-fashioned way, not those fancy machines in the fancy coffee shops and she was going to have wrapped pastries and confectionery delivered when needed, she'd got a good deal with a local bakery who delivered next door. Over the weekend, she settled in, having lunch at one of the nearby pubs and Jake set off on Sunday evening.

"Good luck then Rose, sure you don't want me to stay?"

"Yeah, it's fine, you go back. I'll call ya if I need any help, ok?"

Over the other side, Alec Hardy was out for a walk, though he wasn't sure what had brought him down by the harbour, since he'd not even been able to go out and examine Mark Latimer's boat. He had noticed something was being done with the old newsagent's, a new red grill had been installed and the time or two he'd ventured that way, it was being refitted but they seemed to have stopped work and he'd seen no-one for the last few weeks.

Who could blame anyone for not wanting to re-open a shop where the owner had been hounded into taking his own life? Whoever had been tempted to take the place on must have had second thoughts, perhaps just as well really but now, he knew what was going on, virtually under his own bloody nose and he'd been an idiot not to have noticed it sooner.

All that was missing now was for Danny's other phone to be switched on but whoever was in possession of it wasn't going to let themselves be caught, if it was actually who he now suspected it was. He got up from the harbour wall and saw a man with blonde hair drive out of the parking area, wondering where the car had come from then realised it was probably from one of the cottages tucked away in the corner by the pub.

"Someone else packing up and leaving?" he thought to himself, the driver waving at him as he waited to cross the road.

Jake had smiled to himself as he'd driven off – there was the man himself, Alec Hardy and Rose hadn't bumped into him yet. How would she react when she came face to face with the detective though? She'd insisted she could handle it but would she fall at the last hurdle, so to speak? It would be interesting but he hoped he wouldn't have to come back so soon if she fell apart when she laid eyes on the man.

The next morning, Alec was back at work, hoping he was going to last until the case was over, he'd been gradually getting worse since his fall on his bathroom floor and Becca didn't look like she was one for keeping secrets. He'd made a big mistake though, asking if she wanted to keep him company – yeah, well done Hardy, that was the most stupid idea he'd had since asking Tess Henchard to marry him and look how that had ended?

Rose parked outside the town hall and asked for the planning department, getting her a look from the snooty receptionist, as if to say what did a woman want with the planning department? After arguing with the planning officer that she could open the coffee shop by Saturday, him scoffing it would be a challenge, he had agreed, after he had made a call to CS Jenkinson of Broadchurch police.

"What?" Rose had asked as he picked up the phone.

"Well, you're offering free wireless internet, it may bring trouble from teenagers hanging around, messaging their friends."

"Really? Trust me, the prices I'll be charging, that's never gonna happen. Aren't the police too busy with that murder anyway?"

Mr Price was on hold, something he didn't handle very well.

"Miss Tyler, I do know who you are and I already told your stepfather the conditions of you opening a fancy coffee shop by the harbour, there are already ample food and drink establishments but since it was agreed you would remain open over the winter when most of the food stalls are closed and two of the cafés only open at weekends, I agreed."

Rose thought he must believe he was actually doing her a favour. As he got through to the chief at the police station, Rose tried not to eavesdrop.

"Ah, Elaine, sorry to bother you but I have a rather unusual request."

He outlined what he wanted, Rose being amused he thought she needed a babysitter.

"Very well Mr Price but I'm not happy about it, can't the opening be delayed?" Elaine Jenkinson asked, a bit annoyed the man kept insisting on calling her by her first name every time he had something to ask. He was almost as bad as Alec Hardy, who said he didn't use first names.

"Well Miss Tyler insisted she could be open by Saturday and I have no reason to doubt she can keep to the deadline. If I give her the go ahead, maybe you can just have a patrol stop by once or twice a day?"

"I'll see what I can do but we're already stretched as it is. I hope it's going to be worth it and bring people back to the town?"

"So do I Elaine."

Rose was happy as she left, stopping to call Pete to get everything organised and by Thursday evening, the last of the equipment was being installed and she was on a stepladder hanging the framed prints she'd got from the vendor just across the road, who had been only too happy to rush the framing of those prints that were in need of one.

Friday, she'd had some leaflets printed at a copy shop up in the town and she was walking around the harbour, handing them out to any passers-by though she'd been careful to avoid standing opposite the catering stalls. She was sitting on the wall across from the police station, having bought a drink and looking up, noticed someone standing on the balcony. It could only have been Alec Hardy.

Not that keen on meeting him, well not yet, she got up and continued her walk, handing out leaflets once she got away from the outdoor catering area. Alec stood on the balcony, he'd seen a blonde sitting opposite but as Ellie Miller had called him, he'd turned back and the woman was gone. Who had she been, he wondered.

Events had taken a surprising turn the night before night, resulting in him almost dying after chasing a suspect, him knowing who it was but not being able to say anything but that morning, he had discharged himself from the hospital, Ellie Miller telling him he was an idiot.

"I have a job to finish Miller, we almost had him last night."

As he was sitting in his office, after getting her to bring him up to date, the CS walked in.

"Why didn't you say anything Alec? Do you have a death wish?"

"I'm closing in on the killer."

"No, you are going to hand over to DS Miller and then step down. You're off the case."

"Not until I'm done."

"Well when the CMO sees you tomorrow, you're out Alec."

"Fine, now excuse me, I have work to catch up on."

Alec swore as soon as Miller came back, he was going to chew her out for ratting on him, which was what he'd done and missed the mystery blonde sat opposite leaving.

Rose was back at the coffee shop, getting ready for opening. The grill was halfway down and she'd put a notice on it saying it was opening on Saturday at ten and another saying a Saturday person and part-time cleaner were required. Chloe Latimer was out with her boyfriend when they were passing by.

"Just what we need, another fancy café around here," she complained to Dean.

"They're just trying to make a living."

"By cashing in on my brother's death?"

"Don't be like that. Look, they need someone for Saturday, you could apply and make sure whoever owns it doesn't do that."

Dean was just getting back on his bike, putting his helmet on and handing Chloe hers.

"Yeah, why not? I can use the money and it will get me out I suppose. Wait here. Maybe if they are new in town they won't know who I am."

"You'll have to give your name."

Chloe grinned and walked across the roadway. Rose heard a tap and looked up from the counter.

"Hi, we're not open until tomorrow," Rose told Chloe as she part opened the door.

"No, I was asking about the Saturday job."

After agreeing Chloe could start the next day, Rose finished arranging everything and decided to call it a day. Rose was up bright and early the next morning, her supplies were arriving at eight and she wanted to make sure everything was perfect. Alec was getting himself dressed, he had to see the CMO at nine and he knew this time, he wouldn't get away with it.

When he got out of the medical room, Elaine was waiting for him.

"Office to be cleared by the end of the day please. How did you think you'd get away with it?"

"I just need another day, I know who the killer is," he hissed, grabbing the sheet of paper from her and stuffing it in his pocket.

"Alec, don't walk away from me," she called after him.

He had arranged to meet Ellie Miller down near where Danny had been found, it was after ten and she had been interviewing one of the locals who had not been entirely honest with them.

He was walking past the old newsagents when he noticed it was open and glancing in, he saw Chloe Latimer carrying a tray of drinks and whom he thought was the blonde from the other day busy behind the counter. He thought if he made it through the day, he may pay a visit and see if she made a decent pot of tea.

Ellie was waiting. "So, what did you call me all the way down here for then?"

"You've done good work on this case Miller, well done."

"What? Did that heart attack the other night scramble your brain?"

Alec scowled at her. What was the point in paying her a compliment?

Just then, Ellie's phone rang. "Sir, Danny's phone has just been switched on again."

Alec indicated for her to pass the phone. "Send the co-ordinates to my phone." He handed it back to her. "Go on, carry on interviewing, what's his name."

"You can't remember his name?"

Alec ignored her and got his own phone out of his pocket as he received a message. He didn't want her to know he would more than likely follow the signal that would lead him to her house, if he was right about this, which he'd better be since he was out from the end of the day. Miller would be bad enough when she found out but he didn't want her to have to arrest her own husband.

He called for a car to pick him up from the harbour car park, finding himself facing the new coffee shop and seeing the blonde taking delivery of something that looked like it could be a notice board. He hoped she had permission to put it on the pavement, he would hate to have to go tell her to move it.