As Alec Hardy got off the train after his long journey from Glasgow, he got a taxi to the address he'd been given of the hotel the Broadchurch Police were putting him up in. Lay low, his old boss had said, keep out of trouble, let the media frenzy die down and let it all blow over. Yeah, of course it was all going to blow over – a botched case, missing evidence and a divorce to boot although the divorce had come first and was mutual. His nasty piece of work of an ex had paraded their marital disaster to the judge who had rolled his eyes at Alec, taken pity on him and granted a swift divorce, almost telling him he was well rid of her.
Not that his ex's solicitor had gone easy on him, far from it but his own had outsmarted her and he'd given the house up to be sold and she wasn't getting a penny from it, she had left him to live with another man, taking their teenage daughter, who had taken her mother's side. If she had not moved in with someone else, he would have had to support his daughter but his ex had twisted herself out of it so more fool her. He'd moved into a B&B while his fate at work was decided and he'd sold the house.
Now he had just signed to sell the house and had a rather nice amount of money sitting in the bank after the mortgage was paid off and house prices had doubled since buying the house seventeen years ago when he had married his then pregnant girlfriend who turned out to be not so loving once she had a house, a baby and his rank with a nice salary. She had reluctantly gone back to work as a DS and immediately hooked up with a flirty male DS and sneaked around behind his back for two years – until she got caught out when she lost vital evidence in a double murder case.
Still, he had put it behind him as a valuable lesson not to get your girlfriend pregnant and work with her later on, a lesson in life. Stepping into the hotel, he signed the register and noticed the hotel owner was flirting with him, asking how his journey had been and if he needed showing around the town. He politely told her he was there to work, not for a social life and would be gone as soon as he could get another transfer. The woman had pulled a face behind his back as he'd picked up the handle of his case to turn towards the stairs. He hadn't seen her but he knew what all women did when he turned them down, she would have been no exception.
He never knew what women saw in him, he purposely kept himself unshaven, that should have put women off but it seemed the scruffy look was appealing to some women so he had adopted a gruff disposition and snapped at everyone which seemed to have done the trick. Now he had to survive six months in this backwater town and hope he could go back to civilisation if he did what he was asked, stay out of trouble. That was going to be easier said than done, he had a secret to keep that only his own doctor knew about and was covering for him and if anyone found out, he was finished. He would have to face an operation sooner or later, he was hoping it would be later, the last resort when no other alternative could be found.
It was the beginning of June and Rose Tyler had been in Broadchurch two weeks, having successfully applied for a seasonal position of a hotel maid at The Traders Hotel and the owner, Miss Fisher was nice enough and had offered Rose a single room at half rate on the top floor of the hotel and took the rent directly from her wages and plus she got three meals thrown in if she helped in the kitchen at mealtimes. She had readily agreed and had so far made a friend in the kitchen, a man called Simon, who had a boyfriend which Rose found amusing but at least she didn't have to worry about him chasing her. The other kitchen assistant was called Sally, who lived locally with her boyfriend and had invited Rose to have a meal with them on her day off. Two other part-timers came in but Rose didn't see much of them. Rose was the only maid as it was early season, she wasn't kept that busy, the hotel wasn't full yet and was told there would be extra help when it was busy.
She had just made up a double room for a guest that was checking in that afternoon and as usual, when she wasn't preparing rooms, she was watching the desk or helping in the dining room so she missed the arrival of one Scottish detective who had just checked in but was asked to go take some extra towels to room 203 and knocked on the door. A male Scottish voice answered.
"Yes, what is it?" he grunted out, opening the door slightly in just a white t-shirt, Rose not seeing the rest of him.
"I'm Rose, your maid. I've brought some more towels, can I get you anything else Sir?" Rose thought he looked kind of cute and wondered how long he was staying.
She was however, under strict instructions from her boss not to eye the male guests, single or otherwise and it could lead to dismissal although she had not implied that and Rose didn't want to go back home to her sometimes loser of a boyfriend after she had told him she hated him and wasn't coming back – again, after she found out he had tried to ask her friend out.
The man was about to take the towels and Rose said she was supposed to put them in the bathroom for him. He reluctantly let her in and she went to the bathroom.
She stood at the door, about to leave. "Will that be all Sir?" she asked as she smiled at him.
"Don't call me sir, my name is Hardy and it's Rose, isn't it?"
"Yes Mr Hardy," she answered, looking at the floor and not at the rather dishy man in front of her.
"Well Rose, you can bring clean towels to me any time. Are you the only maid around here?"
"Yes, until the season gets started. Are you on holiday Mr Hardy?" she answered, thinking he'd be gone in a few days and her mind would come out of the gutter.
He sat down on a chair and gestured her to sit. Rose refused until he insisted. "No, I'm here to work, I'm in the police. So will you be tidying my room while I'm out?" he smiled.
"Yes, that will be me, since I'm the only maid here. Don't worry about leaving it a mess, I'm used to it, it's not any harder than cleaning up after my ex-boyfriend, you should see the damage he could do on a Saturday night out after he got back from the pub. Then he wondered why I left and came down here. This is a piece of cake compared to his flat."
Alec laughed. Just what he needed, a cheeky hotel maid and a nice looking blonde to go with it. Maybe his stay wouldn't be that bad after all.
"I have to get back to work now Mr Hardy, I help out in the kitchen as well and Miss Fisher will wonder where I've got to."
"Sorry, don't want to get you into any trouble, if she says anything, tell her to come and see me and while you're in my room, call me Alec."
Rose smiled. "Thanks Alec but if I'm quick, she won't notice."
Alec thought she wasn't bad – for a maid and she looked cute in her maids' outfit but he didn't want to get her into trouble with her boss.
She went back downstairs and thought nothing else of it since she was going to be busy for the next few hours washing up and putting the crockery away. Finally, she tidied the dining room and she and Sally put out the things for breakfast and Rose asked Miss Fisher if there was anything else. It was just after nine, an early finish then.
"No Rose, you can go now, goodnight. Oh, I have to go out around eleven in the morning, will you watch reception for me until I get back?"
Rose climbed the stairs, three flights to get to her room, there were not many rooms occupied on the third floor so she had it mainly to herself and was just on the landing of the second floor when the door to 203 opened and Alec Hardy stepped out. It was after nine and she wondered where he was going and he saw her.
"Oh hello Rose, I was just going down to get some bottled water, I can't drink the stuff from hotel bathrooms," he laughed.
"I can go get some for you if you like, it's no trouble."
"But aren't you off duty?"
"Just finished but I can go back down for you."
"That's very sweet of you Rose, thank you, have Miss Fisher put it on my account. Can you bring me two bottles? I'll call and get some more tomorrow."
"Oh, I can get you some more for when you get back tomorrow, I sometimes run errands for guests, she doesn't mind, I get an hour off in the afternoons, nothing else to do." She didn't but she was about to start.
"So you give up your time off to help the guests eh?"
Rose nodded. "I'll go get that water for you now."
She went back down the bar and went behind, asking for two bottles of water for the guest in 203, explaining he had asked for them when she was on her way up. The hotel owner, Becca gave her the bottles and took her out into the hallway.
"Rose, make sure you just give him the water, don't go dallying in the guest's rooms will you? Remember what I said. The last girl who worked here ran off with one of the guests so I have to be strict, can't afford to keep losing staff."
"Don't worry Miss Fisher," Rose laughed, "I've had my fill of boyfriends, just ditched one before I came here so I'm not in the market for a new one yet. Can I ask you something?"
"You gave me a job when I had very little experience and thanks for that but if a guest asked me to get them things, like water for instance when I'm off duty, is that ok? I was thinking when I've nothing to do, I could bring things back for them, provide a little extra service for them so they leave a good review for personal service."
"Yes, that's fine Rose but don't get too involved in it and if they ask for anything you're uncomfortable with getting, tell me and I'll have a word with them and if a guest invites you into their room, just discreetly humour them and get out as fast as you can, especially if they're married." She saw the worried look on Rose's face.
"Oh I'm only teasing you Rose but be careful, the married ones are lonely and miss their wives, the singles miss their girlfriends and things get complicated, I'm just watching out for my staff. Look, if you have trouble with any of them just tell me, ok?"
Rose nodded and took the water back up to room 203 and Alec Hardy opened the door, this time in an open shirt and Rose apologised for the delay. She wasn't going to stay and stare at his hairy chest and just flirt with him.
"Sorry, my boss decided to give me a lecture about going into guests rooms," she blushed.
Alec smiled and let her in then she realised she was just ignoring the advice given to her. She held out the bottles to him and he took them, opening one and going to his jacket pocket.
"Can I trust you to keep a secret Rose?" Rose nodded. "I have to take these pills twice a day you see and since you'll be cleaning my room, I didn't want you to come across them and think the worse and go to the hotel owner about them. If I leave them behind, can you make sure you get them to me at some point? I don't want anyone to know about them or I'll get kicked out of the police force."
"Yeah, I can do that Alec, no worries I won't tell anyone. Who am I going to tell anyway? That's why you asked if I was the only maid, wasn't it?"
Alec nodded. When she had offered to get him the water, he was already late taking them. He quickly swallowed one and drank some of the water. He would have to get some more in a week or two, sooner if he had to take any extra but he was hoping now he was in this one horse town he wouldn't need to.
Alec gestured for her to sit down then took the seat opposite her. "So what time to you start work then Rose, must be early?" he asked, looking at his hands.
"I start at seven, help in the kitchen then start doing the rooms from ten when guests check out or whoever leaves their keys. If you don't leave your key, you have to ask for your room to be tidied."
"I'll remember that but you work long hours, don't you? What do you do in your spare time to relax?"
"Only get one day off – Sunday so I just go for a walk on the beach or something, I've only been here two weeks, used to work in a store in London. I get a few hours off during the day, go look around the shops."
Thankfully, she didn't ask him what the pills were for and he'd keep it quiet for now. Alec stood up and went to put his pills away.
"Don't let me keep you Rose, you must be tired, I'll pay you for the water you bring me back tomorrow, thanks for offering to go down for me tonight, I appreciate it."
Rose got up. "That's ok, anything else I can get you, just let me know."
"Rose, do you think you might, well, you might want to relax a little tonight, with me?"
Rose looked at him, he wasn't wearing a ring but not every man did. There went her boss's lecture if she stayed. No-one ever bothered the guests after 9pm and no-one ever checked on her and perhaps a bit of snogging wouldn't go amiss.
"Well Alec, that depends on your definition of relaxing doesn't it?"
"You've been flirting with me since you came to bring me some towels earlier Rose, I know you have."
He moved a few steps closer to her, had he just been coming on to her or was it just her imagination?
Alec was just thinking that if he was discreet, he didn't see any harm in flirting with her, she was flirting with him or so it seemed and slyly telling him she no longer had a boyfriend. He still hadn't fastened his shirt and it was getting to her and he didn't seem bothered. Alec was hoping he might impress her to at least get to kiss her. Maybe not tonight though, he might have to work at it. They talked for a while, Alec had moved his chair nearer and was looking at her legs as she sat there with them crossed, longing to put his hands on them or maybe even further up them.
His luck held as he made her laugh as he said he'd only come down here to lie low and Rose thought he was in real trouble and he tried to deny it.
"No Rose, seriously, I have to stay out of trouble, I caused quite a media storm back in Glasgow, the last case I worked went wrong and the press were all over me."
Rose by this time had almost forgotten her boss's words as he had crept nearer and she found she had grabbed his shirt and was playing with the bottom button, almost grazing his stomach with the back of her finger until she either accidentally or on purpose lost her grip on the button and her finger did touch him and he flinched. Rose withdrew immediately but he grabbed her hand back.
"It's ok Rose, I did ask you to keep me company and while talking to you has been nice, I did have more than that in mind."
Rose took the button again, twisting it that it was a wonder she hadn't snapped the cotton thread holding it in place but another finger strayed over his stomach again and towards his belly-button. Alec leaned forward and stroked her cheek and grabbed her hand from the shirt button and placed it on him.
"Rose, I may be taking medication but I won't break if you touch me. You seem to have me at a disadvantage."
"Well you were the one that answered the door wearing an open shirt," she laughed.
Alec smiled and Rose's hand was now on his chest and without realising she was almost on his lap and he grabbed her waist, pulling her closer and began to open the buttons on the black tunic she was wearing. "Stay with me Rose?" he asked. Then he kissed her.
"What's wrong with you Alec? Why do you take those pills?"
He had to trust someone in this town if he was going to survive here. "It's my heart, I have an irregular heartbeat. The medication only helps, it won't cure it. I need an operation but they don't think I'll survive it yet, I've been under too much pressure. I have to slow down and get my chances up." He saw the concerned look on her face. "Don't look so sad Rose, you're supposed to be cheering me up."
Rose shook her head. "Sorry. Is there anything I can do to help you?" She was always a sucker for hard-luck stories, that was why she had stuck with Mickey until a short while ago.
"You're doing it now. Just spend some time with me Rose, I'm not asking you to have sex with me or anything, I probably wouldn't survive anyway, not that I've even tried, I might just surprise myself but I don't want to embarrass myself in front of anyone."
Rose thought he looked sad. "I can do that Alec, it's ok, your secret's safe with me." She reached up and touched his lips with her finger. "It will be our secret as long as you don't tell my boss I've been spending time in your room."
Alec kissed her finger. "Thank you Rose. I'd best let you go since you have an early start in the morning but think about something. Don't work such long hours Rose, it's that and a messy divorce that made me so ill. You're young but it will catch up with you eventually. Why do you put up with such hours anyway?"
"To get my meals, I help out in the kitchen. I get a set amount every week after my room and board have been paid so to make up for it I work extra hours."
Alec didn't like that idea, she was being taken advantage of. "So, explain it to me," he said.
"Not now Alec, I have to go soon, I have to be up early."
"Then stay here, with me, you can go back to your room in the morning. Look, I'll set my alarm for six, please Rose, I won't pressure you into anything, just stay with me?" he nudged forward to kiss her again.
Rose got up and looked at him as he held onto her hands and stood in front of her.
"Ok then but you wear a t-shirt in bed or I might just forget there's something wrong with you," she teased.
Alec smiled and went to the dresser drawer and pulled another t-shirt out. "Here. You can wear this if you like. Does the hotel have a laundry service?" He threw the t-shirt to her and she caught it and he crossed to the chair, putting on the t-shirt he had on earlier. Rose was admiring the view as he changed. "You can go into the bathroom and get changed if you like, if you think I'll get too excited."
Rose laughed and began to take her uniform off, standing there in her underwear and pulling the t-shirt over her head after pulling the straps of her bra down then pulling the fastener to the front and taking it off under the t-shirt.
"Wouldn't want you to too excited Alec, how would I explain me calling an ambulance for you?" Rose laughed, throwing the bra on top of her uniform on the chair. "The local laundry service collects on Mondays and Thursdays, you just missed it today. There's a laundrette up the road, I can take anything up there for you if you like?"
Alec smiled as he set his alarm on his phone for six and took his trousers off, putting his phone on the bedside table. He stood in front of her and cupped her face in his hands.
"Do I at least get a goodnight kiss?"
Rose gave him her response. Alec pulled the duvet over and Rose slid into bed. "Which side of the bed do you prefer Rose?" he asked as he got in after her.
Rose just smirked and replied "the middle" as she sprawled herself across him and met his lips.
Alec went to sleep with a big grin on his face thinking there was no way he was ever going to keep out of trouble with her around.