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Rockin' around the Christmas tree

Chapter Text


Beth Latimer was not looking forward to the upcoming festive season without Danny. No matter how much her husband and daughter tried to get her in the mood, her ailing mother was on her mind alongside thoughts of what she would have been buying for Danny and all the hints he would have been giving her.

As she was now almost six months pregnant and organizing something herself to remember her son seemed daunting, she went to the weekly town council meeting and waited until the end of business when any other points could be raised.

"Beth Latimer," she stated. "Is there going to be a Christmas tree on the green by the harbour this year?"

One of the councillors addressed her.

"Yes Mrs Latimer, why do you ask?"

"Because I'd like to turn it into a charity event in honour of my Danny."

"That's very commendable and I don't see any reason why not. Do you have something in mind?"

"Well I was thinking maybe get someone famous to switch on the tree lights and have a DJ and get some of the food stalls to stay open? If you get the harbour businesses to contribute, maybe have some fireworks on the beach?"

"That's a good idea Beth," one of the women told her. "We'll put it to the vote and let you know. Have you anyone in mind to light the tree, bearing in mind we need someone who will do it for free and can get themselves here."

"Well actually, I was reading about Rose Tyler, she does a lot of charity events with her mother."

"Splendid, we'll see if someone can contact her, we will be having the tree delivered on the 19th and we can plan the lighting the following evening, Friday night, we don't want to leave it too long."

"Yeah, that's great Mr Trent, I'll spread the word and have some leaflets printed to give to the tourist office. If Miss Tyler agrees, who's going to look after her?" Beth asked.

"Ah, well we could ask the chief superintendent if anyone is spare, pity Ellie Miller is out of town."

"Don't you talk about her in front of me," Beth snapped suddenly.

She realized it was a mistake as not everyone in the town knew that Ellie's husband had killed Danny.

"Well maybe someone is off duty?" one of the women suggested. "Isn't DI Hardy off sick?"

"Yeah, I think he still is, I keep seeing him in the supermarket," Beth replied. "I wonder why he's still in town? He should be able to look after a celebrity for the day."

"Right, we'll get on organizing things at our end and contact Miss Tyler and if she agrees, we'll let you know and you can get the leaflets sorted," Mr Trent told her.

There were murmurings amongst those present, Maggie Radcliffe, the newspaper editor had been taking notes.

"Beth, we can help with the leaflets and do an article in the paper," she offered. "I'm sure it will cheer up the town and give everyone something to look forward to."

"Thanks Maggie, I'll get on with designing the leaflets then?"

That agreed, Beth went off to see her mother, who had not taken Danny's death very well and hardly went out.

"You'll come down though Mum, if we get Rose Tyler to come and light it?"

"I don't know Beth, you all go though."

Beth was determined she'd get her mother to attend whether she liked it or not.

The council came to an agreement that it would bring in visitors and boost the local businesses if they could get Rose to attend and Mr Trent called CS Jenkinson to ask for her help the following day when he'd told Beth to go ahead.

"I'd be very grateful for any help you could give Elaine," Mr Trent was telling her when he explained the idea.

"Well I suppose any officers on duty that night can keep an eye on the crowds and I can ask for volunteers to work an extra shift if that's all they'll be doing for a few hours."

"We're contacting the catering stall owners to see if some will stay open and Mrs Latimer knows someone who could provide the music."

"Anything else?" Elaine asked.

"Well, we're contacting Miss Tyler tomorrow, we wanted to make sure all the other arrangements were in place. Do you have anyone who could look after her while she's here?"

"You want someone to babysit her Barry? Well I expect half the male officers would just love to do that but she might object to having an official police escort? Leave it with me, I think DI Hardy may just be available since he's on medical leave, it will give him something to do until it's agreed he goes to teach at the training academy after the holidays."

"Thanks Elaine, I'll give you all the details when we've spoken to Miss Tyler, she could still say she's not available."

"Then I'll wait to ask Alec Hardy when you get back to me."

Rose was in her office at Torchwood the next day when her secretary buzzed to say someone from the Broadchurch town council wanted to speak with her on the number they always gave out for non-Torchwood matters such as someone wanting her to appear on a TV chat show or attend a charity event, although most of those went to her mother.

"What do the Broadchurch council want with me?" Rose asked her secretary.

"They wouldn't say Miss Tyler, just that a Mr Trent wanted to speak to you about an event they're organizing."

"Well put it though then, I'll see what he wants."

Mr Trent had got back to Beth to tell her to go ahead with the DJ, whoever that was and got some people onto contacting the local businesses both in the town and down by the harbour. Becca Fisher had been talking to the vicar, who was calling in the bar most nights, much to her surprise after he'd managed to help her with her finances.

"Are you sure Paul?" Becca had asked him as she'd joined him for a drink.

"Yes, that's what Beth told me, she's quite excited over it."

"Why would Rose Tyler want to come here? Mind you, if she does, she's going to need somewhere to stay."

Paul nodded, not wanting to tell her Rose would probably opt to stay at the pub by the harbour green.

Rose had been connected with the leader of the Broadchurch council.

"Thank you for taking my call Miss Tyler," he was telling her.

"I was curious as to why you'd want to contact me."

"Yes, well I'm sure you know what happened here a few months back? While the residents are trying to get back to normal, it's a slow process and we were looking for ways to cheer everyone up. The boy's mother, Beth Latimer suggested we turned the annual tree lighting on the harbour green into something that Danny would have liked, some music provided by a local DJ, food available and fireworks afterwards."

"Yeah, that sounds like a great idea Mr Trent but why are you telling me? Do you want to turn it into a charity event, 'cos if you do you need to talk to my mother, she does all that."

"I'm aware of that Miss Tyler. No, we'd like you to do us the honour of switching the tree lights on. We thought because it was in Danny's memory, you may consider getting involved. We can't pay you much but I'm sure the local food stall holders would provide you with drinks and suchlike. We were thinking of having a large charity box by the tree that people could put money in and it would go to a good cause that Danny was interested in."

"Yeah, count me in, I'd love to come down there. When is it?"

"On the 20th, the music would start at 6.30, then if you switch the tree lights on at 7.30 and then someone will escort you across to the fireworks display."

"Sounds good to me, I'll look forward to it. So someone will meet me and tell me what I'm supposed to be doing?"

"We're in the process of appointing someone who will meet you on your arrival so I suggest maybe you took a room at one of the harbour inns? There's a hotel up in the town though if you'd prefer?"

"I'll get my secretary to look them up but if it's only for one night, I'd be better off just staying close by the harbour. Just send me the details."

"Yes, we will do that when everything is finalized. Thank you Miss Tyler, it will be a pleasure for us to have you in our town, even for just one day. Will you be bringing anyone with you?"

"Yeah, I might bring my little brother with me, he'll love that. Don't worry about accommodation, we've shared before, I'll book a twin room. Mind you, my mum might want to tag along as well."

"Then we'll be more than happy if they do. We'll stay in touch with you as we get the full details but the person who meets you will have it all."

"Great. Oh, is that detective still in the town or has he left?" Rose was curious to know.

"I believe he's still here Miss Tyler. Is that a problem?"

"No, I just wondered, I thought he'd have wanted to get out."

Rose ended the called and dialled Pete's number. If she was travelling all the way to Dorset, she'd need the day off.

"I think that's an excellent idea love," Pete told her when she'd told him about the invitation. "Mind you, Tony might be a bit upset."

"Why? I was gonna take him with me and ask mum if she wanted to come."

"Rose, it's Tony's school play, he's being the narrator this year."

"Oh, I didn't know, he's not told me."

"I only found out when I dropped him at school, he neglected to tell me."

"Well I can always cancel?"

"No, you go down and switch on the tree lights, they need cheering up down there. Is that detective who you say reminds you of someone still there? Not that me or your mother think he looks anything like a certain person," Pete joked.

"Stop teasing me about it Dad, I know it's not him but you've got to admit the resemblance, not that the Doctor ever forgot to shave."

"Sorry love but you know your mother will go on about it when you tell her. I think it's a very good cause, especially if it's for charity. Maybe she can give you some ideas how to raise even more money for it?"

"I'm sure she can. Right, I'd better get a room booked then, since I'm going on my own?"

Back in Broadchurch, the CS had received a call to say Rose had agreed to attend.

"Right Barry, I'd best try to get hold of Alec Hardy then, if he bothers to answer my call."

Alec Hardy had moved out of the hotel, much to Becca Fisher's disappointment but he could no longer justify the cost since he was only on half pay so he'd come across the fact that a certain blue chalet by the river was vacant and he'd agreed to take it until the following spring. He was sitting in the living room going over some case notes from Sandbrook and drinking a mug of tea when his mobile rang. He pulled it out from under a pile of papers and squinted at the screen.

"What does she want?" he mumbled to himself. He answered with just the same enthusiasm.

"I thought you'd made it clear I was out?" he asked his old boss.

"Nice to know you're still just as gruff Alec. I take it you're not enjoying forced semi-retirement?"

"That's an understatement. You called me just to ask me that?"

"You know I had no choice Alec, the CMO reported it to headquarters. I heard you accepted a post at the academy though?"

"Yes, I had to do something or I may as well just let the inevitable happen. So, this is not a social call I take it?" he asked, fingering a report.

"Well until you take up your new job, I have something you could help me out with."

"Why would I do that?"

"Well I thought you'd be interested that the council are dedicating this year's tree lighting to Danny."

"Well, that is very generous of them but what has that to do with me? I hope they are not going to ask me to light it or something?"

Elaine let out a laugh. "No, they already got someone to do that. What I was going to ask you was if you would look after the person they invited."

"Not some pop star I hope or some reject from Britain's got talent?"

"Surely you don't watch that Alec?" Elaine teased him.

"As if? Well, who is the unlucky person?"

"It's Rose Tyler, the Vitex heiress. Heard of her?"

"Yes, I have heard of her but if you ask me, what's she doing accepting offers of lighting trees? I would have thought at this time of year she'd be out partying all night?"

"She does a lot of charity work with her mother Alec and as for her going out all the time, it's mostly to charity events."

"Really? I remember my ex showing me articles about her when her mother married Pete Tyler. She was photographed with a different man every time."

"She has to keep up appearances Alec. Anyway, can you spare an afternoon and evening to accompany her to the event and back to her hotel? I'll get the council leader to give you her itinerary when it's all finalized."

"So when is the big event?" Alec had to go and ask, wishing he'd turned off his phone.

"On the 20th, a Friday night. Once the event is over, just drop her back at her hotel and walk away."

"Who walks away from Rose Tyler?" he wondered to himself.

"Well tell them to let me know what it involves then, I suppose it will do me no harm."

"Thanks Alec. Have you got plans for the holidays?"

"I am waiting to hear from my daughter, she may come for a visit."

Over the next few weeks, all the arrangements were made and Beth was in the newspaper office going over everything a few days before.

"So Olly, have you asked her for an interview yet?" Beth laughed.

"No, I keep meaning to but why would she want to be interviewed by a local paper?"

"Well she's always in the headlines of the glossy magazines," Beth teased him.

"Yes Olly, you should ring her secretary and ask, she can only say no," Maggie encouraged him. "We need a boost and it will be perfect to go with the story of why we're doing this. I called Barry earlier and I told him Miss Tyler can wait around in here while they organize getting everyone's attention so you may as well take advantage Olly."

"Can you call her for me?" he asked, thinking the reality star would turn him down flat.

"Why are you so nervous?" Beth asked him, grimacing at a kick by the baby.

"I hope you're going to be able to attend Beth," Maggie smiled.

"The kicking's getting more frequent, I swear the baby waits until I go to bed. Well go on Olly or it'll be too late and she'll have gone home."

"It's mid-morning Beth," Olly grinned.

"I don't mean from work, I mean from the event," Beth laughed.

Olly got Maggie's desk diary and found Rose's secretary's number. He was in luck as he was put through.

"Ah, Miss Tyler? This is Olly Stevens from the Broadchurch Echo. I was wondering, since you're lighting the tree if you'd care to give us an interview?" he asked her, crossing his fingers.

Rose had heard of the paper, she'd read the interview Alec had given after the arrest of Danny's killer.

"Yeah, I'd be happy to Olly, I don't answer any personal questions about my family or who I'm currently dating though."

Rose thought she may as well add that even though her diary was empty apart from the upcoming tree lighting and Tony's school play, which she'd not dared tell him yet she wouldn't be able to attend.

"I understand, it will just be about the event and why you agreed. Oh and maybe a photo as you light up the tree?"

"Sure, why not?"

"Great, oh and my editor is putting our office at your disposal until the event starts."

"Thanks Olly, I'll see you on the day then? I don't suppose you know who's looking after me while the events take place? No-one's told me yet."

"They may not have decided yet but I'd be happy to escort you," Olly grinned.

Maggie and Beth looked at him as he finished the call.

"Seriously Olly?" Maggie asked him.

"Well if no-one's volunteered for the job?"

Rose hung up, still wondering why she'd not officially been told who had drawn the short straw of looking after her. She went out to see her secretary to find out if she'd forgotten to tell her.

"No Miss Tyler, I've not been told anything," Rose was told.

"Is my hotel room booked?" Rose asked, sitting on the side of the desk.

"Yes, I've got you a double room at The George, it's right on the edge of the harbour green so you won't have far to go. I can call the council, they may just have forgotten to inform you."

"Yeah, you find out while I go see Pete."

Once in Pete's office, Rose flopped on his comfy leather sofa.

"What's wrong Rose?" Pete asked her.

"I've not told Tony I won't be there on Friday night."

"Well he's that excited, he probably won't even notice love," Pete smiled.

"I hope not. I don't even know who's looking after me when I get there on Friday afternoon. I can book in the room after two so I'll take my time going down and once I've booked in, I can relax for a few hours."

"So what have they told you?" Pete asked.

"Just general things, I'm doing an interview at the local paper, then I think I'm waiting there until the event starts. Apparently, Danny's mum has got the DJ to play just Christmas tunes, she said Danny used to love messing about to them and the charity box is going to the local sea scouts that have just started up again."

"That's nice Rose. Me and your mother are really proud of you, she never thought she'd get you interested in charity work."

"Yeah, well me and mum were known at every charity shop in Peckham," Rose smiled.

Beth, Maggie and Olly were still discussing the event.

"I wonder why no-one's told her who's looking after her yet?" Maggie asked.

"She'll be really unlucky if it's DI Hardy," Olly laughed.

"I keep seeing him in the supermarket," Beth told them. "He never seems really happy to be there. I expect he's waiting for the hearing?"

"Haven't you been told anything yet Beth?" Maggie asked her.

"I wish they would, I don't fancy going to court in my condition when I'm further along."

Alec had just received a call from the council leader.

"So, is that agreeable with you DI Hardy?"

"I'm not a DI any longer," Alec reminded the man and himself. "Yes, I know what I have to do. She's staying at The George and I go greet her on her arrival, which is estimated around two. I will introduce myself and go pick her up at six for her interview then stay with her throughout the evening then I escort her back to the hotel. I take it someone will be there to make sure the lights are ready to switch on?"

"It's all taken care of, you just look after Miss Tyler."

That's what Alec was afraid of, being responsible for the Vitex heiress while she was in town but after a few hours in his company, she would be glad to get back to her room.