Sequel: In Unexpected Places

Against the Odds

Chapter Eighty One

A/N: I’m so sorry for the wait! I’ve been wanting to get this out all week but my silly job got in the way ;)

Also, ahead of time you should know that Harry’s speech in this chapter is his actual speech from The Walking With the Wounded Walk of Britain launch event. I did not write that. I simply included it here because it fits so well.

That being said, enjoy! And please, let me know what you think :)


“Alex!” Harry called out as he knocked on the bathroom door. He glanced at his watch again and took a deep breath, trying to keep his rising irritation in check. They’d had a late night the night before, they’d had woken up later than they should have, had gotten Emma off to school late, and then had had to rush around to get themselves ready. They were attending a memorial service at St. Paul’s to pay tribute bomb disposal heroes that morning. After that, they would be moving on to a press conference for the Walking With the Wounded Walk of Britain event that was coming up later in the year and he would be making a speech, which always made him anxious and frayed his nerves. Then, in the late afternoon they would cap the day off with a private meeting at Kensington Palace with some of the Sentebale team about their upcoming trip to Lesotho in a few months.

All in all, it was the wrong day to get off to a late start and the fact that they did ensured that Harry wasn’t in the mood to be overly patient. He was ready to go, he was dressed in his suit and tie, but Alex was taking forever in the bathroom and he was losing his cool in a way he rarely did. “What’s taking so long? The cars are waiting! We’re going to be late!”

“I’m sorry! I’m coming!” came the reply from the other side of the door. He heard her rustling around, a drawer open and then slide back closed, and then finally the door swung open and she appeared, looking just as flustered and rushed as he felt. “I’m sorry! I’m sorry. My hair wouldn’t stay pinned and....”

“It’s fine.” Harry waved off her explanation and shook his head. “You’re good now though? Ready?”

“Yes, I’m ready.” She reached for her clutch from the dresser and then took a deep breath, silently reminded herself to smile, and then did exactly that as she turned back to him.

And despite his less than stellar mood, watching her visibly make the effort to walk out of the house calmly made him stop and do the same. He stood tall, ran his hand along his tie, and then bent to kiss her quickly. “You look lovely today.”

Alex’s face softened and the smile she gave him was genuine. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” He kissed her again. “Alright, love. Let’s go before we’re late.”

They managed to make it to St. Paul’s on time, even in the rainy weather that seemed to have been a constant throughout the entire month of January. The memorial service ran smoothly and Harry managed to relax a bit, smiling and listening and talking to the families of those that had died in service while Alex did the same at his side.

They were back to Clarence House after the service, but there wasn’t any rest to be had. They were there just to change into jeans and the signature Walking With the Wounded fleece jackets for the press conference and then they were back out into the Range Rover again and heading over to the Mandarin Oriental.

“Who’s idea was it to schedule all of this on one day?” Harry grumbled as they pulled once again from the gates of Clarence House.

Alex snorted and threw him a look. “It was yours, you big crab apple.”

Harry’s brows lifted and his lips twitched. “It was not. And...crab apple?”

“Crabby, grumpy...whatever you want to call it,” she shrugged. “And it was too. But at least your crazy ambition allowed for a change into comfortable clothes. You’d think I’d be used to those hats by now but…”

“Sorry I’m a grump,” Harry murmured, reaching to take her hand into his. “It’s just one of those days. Even if I’m a big crab apple, I do like having you with me for this stuff. More than you know.”

“I like it too,” Alex smiled, tilting her head to the side. “Even if you are a big ol crab apple.”

Harry chuckled and pulled her hand to his lips, kissing her knuckles just as the car pulled around the corner and slowed as it approached the entrance to the Mandarin. There was a press pool and fans waiting on either side of metal barriers that lined the walk to the door, anticipating their arrival. Harry sighed as he spotted them all and Alex laughed softly.

“Come on, Sussex. Cheer up. No one likes a grump.”

Harry snorted. “What about crab apples?”

But before Alex could reply, the car pulled to a stop, their doors were being pulled open, and they were “on” again. They smiled and waved at the crowd and then moved inside where they were greeted immediately by Ed Parker, the co-founder and CEO of Walking With the Wounded, along with the soldiers that would be participating in the Walk of Britain. They took some time to chat and ask questions before the press conference started, Alex knew that it helped Harry’s mood a bit, being among these soldiers who viewed him as just one of them.

By the time that the press conference started and Alex took her seat in the front row in front of the stage, she was relieved to see that her husband wore a happy, relaxed smile as he made his way up onto the seats on the stage with the soldiers.

When it was time for Harry to get up and make his speech, Alex knew her grin was ridiculous, she knew had the ‘heart eyes’ Charlotte always made fun of her for having when she watched Harry, but it seemed she just couldn’t help herself today. She loved watching him speak and she was amazed that despite how nervous it made him, he always did so well at it.

He walked up to the podium, took a deep breath, and found her eyes with his. She winked at him and she saw his lips twitch as he tried not to laugh. But it seemed to give him what he needed and with one small smile in her direction, he turned his eyes out to the room, and began.

“Walking With The Wounded has given men and women the opportunity to push themselves to extremes in some of the most inhospitable places on earth; both the Poles and Mount Everest. The challenge we are launching today, although closer to home, is no less formidable in scale – walking 1000 miles around Britain.

The public’s support for our Armed Forces continues to be extraordinary. However, as the memory of our military commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan fade, we must encourage people to continue supporting our servicemen and women; particularly those who are seeking to transition into civilian life. This process can be challenging, as it is for anyone seeking a new career. As I make this transition myself, I’m determined to do all I can to help others.

The men and women of our Armed Forces are highly trained and motivated. Whether someone is leaving the services after 20 years or just a year, or having experienced a life changing injury or not – they are all in need of the same thing: a job. We should also not just think about those who have served in recent conflicts. There are veterans from previous wars who find adjusting to the world beyond the military very difficult. Employment is the key to ensuring their independence and long term security.

Walk of Britain will cover all parts of the country. Walking through the communities in which our service personnel and veterans grew up and now live. In doing so, Walk of Britain will give everyone the opportunity to meet these remarkable men and women. People up and down the country will get to see first-hand the determination and resolve of those who have served, and in particular those who have been injured or suffer hidden wounds. They will see that whatever their circumstances these men and women are looking to the future. They are looking to employers to give them the chance to keep making a contribution to our communities.

These men and women want to continue to serve their country in whatever way possible. PTSD and mental injury can make life a daily struggle. There seems to be a general consensus amongst the public that most people leaving the military are damaged goods. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We should remind people that nearly all cases end well, whether it be total cure, adjustment of life, or the ability for the individual to accept and admit the issues that face them, amongst a tricky culture of stigma.

It is a delicate balance between being ready to support those who need it and recognising the valuable role those who have served in the military can play in civilian life.

It is an honour to be stood on this stage as we announce that WWTW is coming home to walk amongst the people they have helped and the communities who have supported our armed forces so enthusiastically. I’m delighted to say that I will be joining the team for a small part of their journey and I’m hugely looking forward to it.”


Harry let out a sigh as they finally stepped out of the conference room at Kensington Palace. It had been an incredibly long day after an incredibly long week in the public eye that had capped off a very busy month of January for them.

But they were done for the day. All they had left to do was pick up Emma from Molly’s then and Harry’s only intent was to faceplant into their bed and sleep for twelve hours.

“Tired?” Alex asked softly as she turned to look at her husband.

“Bloody exhausted,” he grumbled.

She gave him a sympathetic smile and took a deep breath, her voice slightly nervous as she asked, “Any chance you have just a little bit more energy left in you?”

He stopped and turned to her, slightly suspicious. “Why?”

“I would like to go check the progress on the new apartment. I got an email from the contractor and…”

“Alex,” he groaned and rubbed his hands up over his face. “Really? Can we not do this tomorrow? I’m beyond tired and these new shoes are killing me and all I want to do is take them off and…”

“Harry…” She smiled softly and tilted her head to the side.

“Oh no, don’t give me those eyes…” He shook his head and gave her a pleading look, though he already knew he was going to give in and he knew she knew it too.

“Please? It will only take fifteen minutes and that way, tomorrow will be completely free. We can just be lazy all day…”

“Alright,” Harry gave in with a sigh, though his lips tilted up at the sides. “Fine, let’s walk over there.

“Yay! Thank you!” Alex clapped her hands together in victory and then reached for her phone, pulling it out to text Molly and tell her that they would be running a few minutes late picking up Emma.

“What did the email from the contractor say?” Harry asked as they stepped outside through a heavy wood door and then set across the gravel walk towards the side of the palace where their new place would be.

“The walls for the rooms are all up and insulated.” She offered him a shrug and a happy smile. “I couldn’t help but want to see it. You know, as more than just a plan on paper. I promise it won’t take too long.”

“It’s fine, love,” Harry said, reaching over to squeeze her hand with his. “Don’t apologize. I’d like to see it as well. Just don’t be surprised if I lay down in what is supposed to be our new bedroom and go to sleep right there.”

Alex smirked as their future apartment came into view. “You know you’ve gotten grumpier as the day has gone on.”

“I’m becoming an old man, my darling,” Harry joked, bringing a snort of laughter from his wife.

Their new place was still fronted by scaffolding and inside there was still tools lying around and tarps covering the still unfinished floors. But Alex was right, the walls were up and general look and feel of how it would be could almost be imagined as they stepped inside the future foyer of their home.

“Wow,” Harry let out a breath of a chuckle.

“Memories?” Alex asked, turning to watch him as he looked around.

“Mhmm,” he nodded and then gave a small shrug and walked through the foyer back towards the living room. “It’s different. I mean, I can see how it will be different than when I lived here when I was young. But it’s still the same too. If that makes any sense whatsoever.”

“It makes sense,” she said softly as she reached for his hand, letting him pull them through the rooms, their footsteps echoing off the unfinished walls. “Your mother’s private study,” she nodded towards a large room that had a doorframe but no door quite yet. “Now your private study.”

Harry stopped in front of the room for a moment, his brain conjuring up images of sitting in that room with his mother, content to just be watching her as she wrote up thank you notes or drafted a letter or read correspondence that she had received. He squeezed Alex’s hand and even though he didn’t say anything, she understood exactly how much he loved that his mother’s private study would be his now.

“And my study,” Alex smiled as they walked past the next room. “Next to yours.”

“Exactly where you belong, next to me,” Harry said, drawing a warm, touched smile from Alex.

The moved through the downstairs rooms, walking through the drawing room, the formal dining room, the library, and the kitchen, before coming full circle to the foyer and then carefully navigating the rail-less stairs to the second floor.

“Our room,” Alex announced with a grin as they stepped into the largest room on the floor. “In case you want to lay down, our bed will go right there I think,” she teased her husband, pointing to a spot near a wall with a smirk.

“You think I’m joking,” Harry snorted. “I could lay down and go to sleep right there. Construction dust and all.”

“Alright, alright. We’re almost done, I promise,” she laughed and after taking a quick peek into their large bathroom and walk in closet, she pulled him from the room, stopping as they stepped out into the hallway. “That’s Emma’s room,” she pointed towards the still door-less room down at the end of the hall, but didn’t move to go down to it. Instead she turned towards the room that was across from theirs. “And this room…”

“Hmmm..” he followed her right into the empty room, his mind working over the floor plans, trying to remember in his fuzzy, tired state what that room had been designated as. “What are we putting in here? A second closet?

“No,” she narrowed her eyes playfully. “The giant one they've built in our room will do, thank you. Right now this is just a guest room, but I was actually thinking that this room is in a perfect place to be a nursery.”

His eyebrows lifted and his lips tugged up at the sides and he forgot for a brief moment just how tired he was. “I think…that it would be a lovely place for a nursery, Alexandra.”

“Good,” she sighed as she stepped a bit closer, her eyes dancing as she did. “I was really hoping you would agree.”

“Yeah?” He couldn’t help but grin as she moved closer. “I see that look on your face, Alexandra..”

“What look?” she feigned innocence and he laughed.

“One I’ve come to know quite well over the past month. Like you’re wanting to go for a bit of baby making right now.”

She smirked. “Actually, I’m not.”

“Ha! Liar,” Harry laughed and pointed a finger at her.

“I am not!” Her grin pulled even wider. “The thing is, I wanted to make sure this would work as a nursery because..." She took a deep breath and her eyes danced in the low light of the room. "We already made a baby, Harry. A baby that will need a nursery in a little less than nine months.”

His entire body felt the shock of the words instantly; years and years of waiting and aching for this exact moment washing over him, filling him with the best form of shock, the most amazing form of surprise and delight he’d ever felt in his entire life.

“Oh my God…” His voice came out hoarse and he shook his head as he cleared his throat, chuckling at himself as he did. He moved to her and his slid swiftly up her back, over her shoulders, and to her face, cupping her cheeks with soft fingers and he stooped down so his eyes were level with hers. “Alexandra…” His own voice wavered and when he saw the tears filling her eyes, he had no hope against the tears that sprang to his own. “Love…we made a baby? You’re…”

“Pregnant,” she nodded, tears slipping from her eyes as she confirmed it. “I’m pregnant, Harry.”

“Holy shit!” Harry exclaimed as entire face lit up and he pulled her up in his arms. They both laughed as her feet lifted from the floor and he swung her around in a circle before setting her back down and dropping a firm, happy kiss on her lips. “I can’t believe you’re pregnant already! We barely just started trying a few weeks ago! I...God. How...what...ha!” He laughed and shook his head and kissed her again. “I don’t even know what I want to ask first.”

“Well, seeing as I think you know how it happened,” Alex giggled, loving Harry’s smug grin at her words. “Maybe start with the next question that comes to mind?”

His voice was soft as he brushed a piece of hair back from her forehead. “How long have you known?”

She smiled up at him and blinked at the emotion that rose as she was finally able let him in on what had been going on for nearly twenty-four hours now.

****The Night Before - 100 Women in Hedge Funds Gala*****

Alex tried her best to be inconspicuous as she shifted in her seat for what seemed to be the tenth time since dinner had been served. She didn’t know if she had strained something that day or if she’d just been sitting too long, but she had a backache that assured that she couldn’t get comfortable in her chair no matter how she sat. She reached for her water glass, taking a long sip and shifting her ankles over each other under the table, hoping that would help.

But it didn’t help. And the more she thought about it, the more uncomfortable she got. She managed to make it through the main course, keeping up with and participating in the conversation around her, but as the plates were cleared, she decided to take her opportunity and excuse herself to use the restroom and move around a bit.

“Are you alright?” Harry asked, lifting his eyebrows as he stood with her.

“Of course,” Alex whispered and smiled up at him reassuringly as she reached for her clutch. “I have to use the ladies room. I’ll be right back.”

Charlotte stood as well, catching Alex’s attention and motioning that she was going to join her. They both smiled and nodded towards the rest of the table, towards the other gentleman who’d stood when she and Alex had, and then Charlotte moved to Alex’s side and the two women wove their way towards the back of the ballroom, trailed by a protection officer of course.

Alex let out a sigh of relief as they stepped from the ballroom and out into the quiet hallway and Charlotte turned to her with a surprised look.

“Oh come on now, I didn’t think it was that boring in there.”

“No, no,” Alex laughed and waved a hand in the air. “It’s not that. I just can’t get comfortable in that chair. I’ve got this backache and…Oh...”

Charlotte made it a few steps before she realized that Alex’s words had not only trailed off, but also that she had come to a dead stop in the hallway. Charlotte turned back around, instantly growing concerned as she saw her friend standing there with wide eyes and her hand pressed to her chest.

“Whoa. Alex. Are you okay?”

“I…” Alex took a deep breath and tried to steady herself. She didn’t know why it had taken her so long to recognize the ache in her lower back, but once she did, once she realized that it was something she’d felt like that only once in her life, it hit her like a ton of bricks.

“Okay. Seriously,” Charlotte stepped closer, increased worry flashing across her face. “Are you okay?”

“Charlotte,” Alex whispered, reaching out to grab her friend’s hand and squeeze it gently. “I need you to get something for me. And I need you to not tell Harry. Or Matt. Or anyone actually.”

“Maybe you tell me what that something is before I throttle you for scaring the shit out of me,” Charlotte lifted her eyebrows, all at once worrying for her friend and taking control of the situation like she did so well.

Alex blinked at the emotion that welled within her, but she couldn’t fight the smile that began to creep up on her face.

“I think I need a pregnancy test.”

****The Next Morning****

Alex took in a deep breath as she stared down at the box containing the pregnancy test Charlotte had secured for her the night before. She had put it off since they’d gotten home the night before, telling herself that she’d wait until after they were done with their incredibly busy day of work the next day.

But after a night of tossing and turning and wondering, she’d decided that she couldn’t wait any longer. And then when she’d pulled out the pregnancy test from it’s hiding spot in one of her drawers, she’d suddenly been almost afraid to take it. She was almost positive she was pregnant, but what if she was wrong? What if she’d just convinced herself of it because she wanted it so badly? What if…

“Oh for the love of God, Alex,” she huffed to herself. “Just do it. Pee on the stick.”

She pulled open the box before she could talk herself out of it and pulled the stick out along with the directions. She read through them quickly and then, with slightly shaky legs, she turned towards the toilet. She pulled down her stockings and then couldn’t help but giggle as she had a picture of herself looking rather ridiculous, fully dressed and ready for their day with a big ol’ fascinator was securely pinned to her head as she peed on a stick.

“Okay…” she breathed once she was done. She carefully set down the stick on the counter, pulled up her stockings, washed her hands, and then set a five minute timer on her phone. She winced slightly as she caught sight of the time and realized that it was very likely that Harry was going to lose his mind if she didn’t come out soon, but she pushed it to the side. It wasn’t going to make her come out of that bathroom any sooner; not until she knew if the pregnancy test read positive or negative.

While she waited, her mind drifted back to the last time she’d done this; taken a pregnancy test. It had been when her and Harry had a scare nearly two years before. She remembered the fear and the uncertainty that had come with that test - and the unexpected twinge of sadness that had surfaced when it came up negative.

Her phone beeped from the counter and she jumped, reached out to swipe the alarm away as her heart began to hammer in her chest. She closed her eyes for a long moment, took a deep, steadying breath, and then, she looked.

Her fingers flew to her lips and she shook her head slowly, almost in disbelief.

There it was. Her answer was waiting for her in the form of two pink lines where the last time she had done this, there had only been one.

“Oh my god,” she whispered, unable to help the giant smile that pulled across her face. “I’m pregnant.”


Harry’s voice and the three sharp raps he made on the bathroom door nearly made her jump out of her skin. She turned towards the door with wide eyes, knowing that she only had a moment to decide whether to let him in on it now or try to keep this incredibly news to herself until they got home later that evening.

“What’s taking so long? The cars are waiting! We’re going to be late!”

She sucked in a breath and made a split second decision.

“I’m sorry! I’m coming!” she called out. She quickly stuffed the stick back into the box and then slid it back in her drawer. More quickly than she ever imagined was possible, she pulled herself together and put on the best poker face she had. Then, with a still slightly shaky hand, she pulled open the bathroom door.

****Present Time****

“This morning?!” Harry’s eyes widened. “You took the test right before I started barking at you about us being late? And you never let on?!”

“I’m sorry,” she laughed and swiped at her wet eyes. “But we were already running late and I figured you’d probably be able to do your job with a grumpy attitude better than if you’d just found out you were going to be a father.”

“Okay, okay. Fair point. I’ll give you that. But you know, I am already a father,” he corrected with a soft smile as he pulled her back into his arms.

“You know what I mean,” she replied, her smile matching his as she leaned into him. “That we made a baby. That Emma is going to be a big sister.”

“Oh my God,” Harry whispered, shaking his head. “I can’t believe it. We really did it. We made a baby.”

Alex sighed happily and wove her arms around his neck. “We made a baby.”

“And damn near on the first try too,” he grinned, everything about him suddenly radiating swagger.

“Oh God,” Alex laughed and rolled her eyes. “Yes, you cocky man. You got your wife pregnant right away. You’re virile and manly and…”

“And I love you,” he interrupted, his voice dropping low and rough and thickening the air around them. “I love you so much, Alexandra. You just keep making me happier and happier and this is just…”

“I love you too,” she whispered, her eyes growing wet again as he pulled her closer and dipped his lips to hers.

She moaned into his mouth as he took her mouth in a slow, hot, unbelievably kiss. She pressed tighter to him and tightened her arms around him and the emotion and desire flared up fast and bright and hot between them.

“Baby…” Harry’s breath fell heavy from his lips as he pulled back slightly. “You know they say pregnant women have a really high sex drive…”

A surprised peal of laughter fell from Alex’s mouth and her head tilted back with it. “You’re ridiculous.”

He grinned. “I know.”

“Come on,” Alex leaned up to kiss him once more and then pulled back. “Let’s go get Emma and then go home and tonight we can absolutely test that theory.”

It was the mention of Emma that lit up Harry’s face even further, if that was possible. “Can we tell her? Emma? Can we tell her tonight?”

And suddenly Alex felt like she was going to cry with happiness and excitement all over again.

“Yes,” she nodded. “God, Harry. I can’t wait to tell her that going to be a big sister! She’s going to be so happy!” She reached for his hand, wanting to pull him from the room and out to the car, wanting to get to their daughter right then. “Come on, Harry. Let’s go get our little girl.”

Harry grinned, nodded and then turned to lead his happy, beautiful, and pregnant wife from the room with him. And he was one hundred percent sure that he’d never felt happier than he did right in that moment.