Sequel: In Unexpected Places

Against the Odds

Chapter Eighty Eight

A/N: Here you go! I hope you enjoy. And as always, I very much enjoy hearing from you guys, so don’t be afraid to let me know what you think of the chapter!


It was nearly finished. After nearly a year, the renovations on Apartments 8 & 9 at Kensington Palace were just days away from being complete. The final coats of paint were being put on, the light fixtures that Alex had carefully selected were being installed, and final checks were being done by the contractor to ensure that everything was up to code. If it all went to plan, the Sussex family would be able to move into their new home in the middle of May, right around Harry and Alex’s first wedding anniversary.

But with two weeks to go until their target move in date, there were things to be done in preparation. Appointments were made to have their new furniture delivered, their personal items from their temporary apartment at Clarence House had to be packed up, movers had to be arranged to move their things from Clarence House and their boxes in storage to the new apartment. Alex would forever be grateful that she had Mia to keep track of it all for her; to keep her updated on everything that needed to be done, not only with the house but with their busy work schedule and Emma’s many school events and activities.

By the time the first Saturday in May rolled around though, Alex was more than ready to take a deep breath and a little bit of a break from it all. She was ready to enjoy the sunshine and the warm weather, some country air, and relaxation; and as it so happened, the most perfect opportunity to do those things was actually marked on their official calendar for that day.

Harry’s first polo match of the season.


Harry could barely keep still on the entire ride from London up to the Beaufort Polo Club. His knee bounced as he drove, he chattered on to both Alex and Emma and even to their dog Gus, much to Alex’s amusement.

“You love it, don’t you?” Alex murmured, her eyes dancing under her sunglasses as the Range Rover sped along the country roads. They were getting close, and Harry’s smile inched wider with every mile that passed. “Playing polo?”

Harry grinned, his hands firm and sure on the wheel as he navigated around a bend in the road. “You know that I do.”

“Well, if I didn’t before, I certainly do now,” Alex laughed. “You’re the biggest bundle of anxious energy I’ve ever seen. You remind me of a puppy about to be let out of it’s kennel.”

Harry chuckled and threw her a sideways look. “Don’t act like you’re not excited too, love. I know you love polo season.”

“Fair point,” Alex grinned, visions of Harry working up a sweat on his polo horse flashing across her brain. “But I get to watch you play. I think I get the better end of the deal.”

“Ha!” Harry chuckled and winked at her before slowing down to take the turn into the polo club. “I’ll take it.”

Harry pulled the car into a parking spot, the their tail car pulled in behind them, and they wasted no time in beginning to unload. Gus was leashed up securely and placed in care of Emma, Alex grabbed the bag containing a few snacks and light sweaters for her and Emma in case it got cold, while Harry opened the back of the SUV and began to get his gear into order.

“Mum,” Emma called out, holding Gus’s leash tight while she pushed a windblown lock of curls from her face. “There’s Uncle Will and Aunt Kate. Can I take Gus over to play with Lupo?”

Alex looked up and indeed, her brother and sister-in-law were already there. William was under a white tent, cleaning and shining his boots while Kate sat near him on a blanket, baby Charlotte laid next to her, waving her chubby little arms and legs in the air. Nearly three year old Henry was just outside of the tent, giggling and playing with Lupo in the grass under his parent’s watchful eyes.

“We’ll all head over,” Alex said, turning to look at Harry to confirm.

“Absolutely,” Harry added, pulling his gear from the SUV and then closing the hatch door with a grin. “Let’s see if I can talk Will into shining my boots for me.”

With a laugh, the three of them headed towards the tent. Gus dragged Emma along behind him, his excitement bumped up as he spotted Lupo -- his often playmate. Kate spotted them first and her signature smile lit up her face as she waved them over. Will turned and looked, a smirk already in place that told Alex that he was ready for some time with his brother -- and no doubt to engage in some of their infamous banter.

“Uncle Harry!” Henry called out, his attention dropping from Lupo as he barrelled towards his uncle as fast as his little legs would carry him. Harry barely dropped his gear in time to scoop up the little boy into his arms.

“Oy! You little rascal,” Harry chuckled and the pressed kisses to his nephew’s chubby cheeks. “You’re getting heavy. What are you eating kiddo? Rocks?”

Alex grinned at Henry’s answering giggles and then stepped inside the tent, kissing Will’s cheeks in greeting before turning to Kate, who stood from her blanket so that Alex wouldn’t have to try and navigate bending that far down to greet her.

“How are you feeling? You look wonderful,” Kate commented, pulling back to smile at Alex.

“Well, thank you,” Alex said, laughing lightly. “I constantly feel like I could take a nap...but no big deal. At least I don’t always feel on the verge of being sick anymore.”

Kate grimaced knowingly. “I’ll bet that’s a relief.. I would never wish that feeling onto anyone. Well, maybe some of the writers at the Daily Mail.”

Alex snorted her laughter and shared a look of agreement with Kate. “Don’t forget The Sun too.”

“Aunt Alex!” Henry’s sing-song greeting interrupted the giggles of the two women as he galloped over, fresh from wiggling out of his Uncle Harry’s arms. He more or less crashed into Alex’s legs and, choosing to go with it, threw his chubby little arms around them and hugged her tight.

“Easy, Henry,” Kate laughed.

“No worries, he’s fine,” Alex waved a hand in the air and then dropped it to ruffle Henry’s blonde hair. “Hello, Henry...are you excited to watch your Daddy and Uncle Harry play polo today?”

“I want to play!” Henry responded, stepping back and clapping his hands together. “I can play, Daddy?” Henry zoomed off to William, already focused on the next thing on his mind.

“Maybe after the game we can let you swing a mallet around...when there’s no one around you can smack with it,” William compromised with a laugh. “I don’t need another scar on my forehead. Want to help me shine my boots instead right now?”

Henry’s face scrunched up as he considered it, and then with a shrug he plopped himself on the ground and grabbed the rag William handed him, doing his best to emulate what his father was doing in only the adorable way kids can.

“Matt and Big Charlotte are here,” Harry said, moving to Alex’s side and then nodding behind them. “They brought Cooper it looks like.”

“Big Charlotte,” Kate snickered. “Is that how we’re doing it? Big Charlotte and Little Charlotte?”

Harry shrugged. “I figure Charlotte -- Big Charlotte -- will hate it. So I’m running with it.”

“Nice,” Alex giggled and then turned to greet her brother and his family.

“Boot,” Matt grinned and, balancing his nearly year old son in his arms, bent to hug Alex and kiss her cheek. “It’s good to see you.”

“You too,” Alex grinned in return. “And you too,” she turned her smile to Cooper, reaching out to tickle his belly. Cooper, usually a smiling and laughing baby, fussed slightly and turned to bury his head in his father’s neck.

“We’re getting a new tooth,” Matt said as he reached up and smoothed a hand over Cooper’s wild blonde hair. “So we’re a little grouchy.”

“Awww,” Alex stuck her bottom lip out slightly. “Poor little guy.”

Matt gave her a “what can you do?” sort of look and then turned to Harry, shaking his hand with a wide grin and sharing a few words before Emma came running up, wanting a piece of her Uncle Matt before the rest of the adults got to him.

“My word, Alex,” Charlotte said, kissing her sister-in-law’s cheeks before moving her hands right to Alex’s belly. “You’re getting big.”

“Ha!” Alex laughed and shook her head. “Gee, thank you, darling. You know Kate told me I looked wonderful.”

“Yeah well,” Charlotte smirked. “She’s nicer than me.”

“It’s true,” Kate called out, bringing a laugh from all three ladies.

“You do though,” Charlotte smiled. “Look wonderful that is.” Her mouth twisted up and she peered at Alex. “Also, did I just hear Harry call me ‘Big Charlotte’? Because if so, we need to have some words.”


By the time the polo match had gotten underway, Emma had pulled her Uncle Matt over to hang with her off to the side of the tent, both of them keeping Gus and Lupo occupied. Kate had managed to wrangle Henry into her lap and had somehow convinced him to stay there and pay attention to the game while she chatted with Alex and Charlotte, who was very happily seated on the blanket with a sleeping “Little” Charlotte tucked up into her arms while Cooper cuddled with his Aunt Alex.

“So the big move is next weekend?” Kate asked, turning to Alex with a wide smile.

“It is!” Alex nodded happily. “We’ll be neighbors once again.”

“We’re very excited about that,” Kate grinned. “Is everything in place for the move?”

“Mostly,” Alex sighed. “We haven’t hired a housekeeper yet though. So I think that’ll be Charlotte’s first project when she comes back to work on Monday…” She turned a sly grin to Charlotte, who laughed and rolled her eyes.

“No problem. Though I’m a little surprised you guys have waited so long. I thought you’d have someone hired. It’ll take a few weeks to find someone and get them in place.”

Alex shrugged. “Harry wanted to start a couple months back. But I kept putting it off.”

“Why?” Kate asked as she reached into a bag to her left, pulling out some small animal crackers for Henry.

“Because I don’t know…” Alex sighed, rolling her eyes slightly. “It’s weird.”

“No it’s not,” Charlotte huffed with a shake of her head.

“I’ve never had a housekeeper,” Alex interrupted with a pointed look. “Growing up we never had anyone clean our house and of course I never had anyone come in when I was living a small two bedroom apartment with just Emma. Even when we moved in with Harry, the cottage is small enough that it was even close to necessary to have a housekeeper.”

“I did everything myself until we moved into the big apartment in Kensington like you,” Kate offered casually. “But’s not like they’re your servant. They’re there to help. And believe me, you’ll need it. Just like you’ll need a nanny when the babies come along.”

“I know…” Alex sighed and nodded her head softly.

“I don't know what I'd do without Felicity,” Charlotte said.

“You have a housekeeper?” Alex turned to Charlotte with wide eyes. “I had no idea.”

Charlotte snorted. “Well I don't go around waving it in people’s faces, but of course I do. She comes three days a week. Who in the hell did you think cleans my house?”

Kate giggled as Alex smirked. “Um...well, I guess I thought Matt did.”

“Ha!” Charlotte’s burst of laughter startled the baby in her arms for a moment, but she settled back down quickly. “Granted, I’m sure that’s who would do it if we didn’t have a housekeeper.” Charlotte giggled slightly and then leaned in closer, her face growing serious. “Listen, pretty much everyone in the world probably thinks you already have a housekeeper…”

“Well, Clarence House has someone come in and…”

“Exactly,” Charlotte nodded. “So unclench...and hire a housekeeper for your new place.”

Alex giggled just as the sound of thundering hooves drew close to them, pulling their attention from the conversation to the reason they were there, the polo match. They looked back to the action just in time to see Harry swing his mallet in a wide arc and whack the ball down field. And Alex couldn’t help but giggle at the faint grunt of triumph she heard leave his lips before he followed the other players down towards the goal.


Harry and William’s team won, and the brothers were all smiles and pumped up egos from their victory. Alex and Harry took the celebrations home with them, laughing and giggling as they sprawled out in bed later that night talking about the plans for the move later in the week.

“What about the nursery?” Harry asked, lifting his eyebrows as he moved a hand to Alex’s belly.

“What about it?”

“Emma doesn’t want to know the sex of the babies. We decided not to tell anyone else so that she won’t find out by accident. But...we’re decorating the nursery after we move in, right? If she sees it, I think the fact that she’s having brothers might be pretty apparent to her.”

“Ohhhh,” Alex nodded and turned a smile to her husband, who was lying next to her, his head propped up in the hand that wasn’t on her stomach. “Well, I think I can get it down while you and Emma are in Brazil for the Olympics...if someone helps me.”

Harry peered at her. “You want to tell someone?”

Alex grimaced. “I already did…”

“Alexandra!” Harry laughed and shook his head. “Come on! If I gave to keep this a secret, so do you!”

“I know! I’m sorry!”

Harry sighed, but his smile remained. He couldn’t be mad at her. “Who did you tell then? Mia? Charlotte? Your mom?”

“Matt,” Alex smiled sheepishly. “I had the idea of him helping with the nursery while you were gone so I had to spill the beans. I can’t ask my Dad because there’s absolutely no way he could know that information and not tell my mom. And if my mom knew...well, you know...”

Harry chuckled and nodded his head. “She’d be buying out all the little boy clothes from every baby store from here to Berkshire.”

“Exactly,” Alex laughed. “Matt can keep it in check. And he won’t spill to Charlotte.”

“Alright, you can have that one,” Harry shrugged. “But only because decorating while Emma and I are gone is an inspired idea.”

“I’ll be glad to get it done,” Alex sighed, her own hand running over her belly. “We have so much to do before they’re here.”

“Mhmmm…” Harry nodded slowly, his mind working over it all at the same time as her did. “Including...names…”

Alex’s smile spread slowly across her face. “Do you want to talk about names?”

“Well as Emma would say,” Harry chuckled. “Duhhhhh.”

Alex laughed, her head tipping back into the pillow behind her. “I love her so much it hurts sometimes.”

Harry grinned and spread his fingers out further over her belly. “Tell did you come up with Emma’s name?”

Alex tilted her head to the side and peered at him, a small smile playing about her lips. “I’ve told you that before.”

“Never,” Harry laughed and shook his head.

“I can’t believe I haven’t told you that,” Alex replied, surprised. “Maybe I just figured you knew.”

“How would I know?”

“My maiden name,” Alex said softly. “Emerson. Em-ma.”

“Oh my God,” Harry laughed. “I can’t believe I never got that. Now that you say it, of course it makes sense.”

“Mhmmm,” Alex nodded, her eyes hazing over slightly as she thought back over that time in her life.

“And how did you come up with her middle name, Rose?”

“My dad…” Alex sighed, smoothing her hands over her belly. Her eyes shifted down to it for a moment before she looked back up at Harry with a smile. “I originally was going to give her my middle name, Mae. But she had these pink, pink cheeks when she was first born. Very rosy. Dad kept touching them softly and calling her his ‘little English Rose.’ So she became Emma Rose.”

Harry’s smile pulled wide. “I love it. Very British. My Great Aunt Margaret’s middle name was Rose.”

“I did know that,” Alex teased with a wink. “Anyway, that’s how I came up with her name.”

“Did you have a boy name picked out too? Before you found out you were having a girl?”

Her eyes shifted away from Harry’s and she bit her lip, trying in vain to hold back a smile. “Um...not really.”

“You are a terrible liar,” Harry laughed, pointing a finger at her.

“No, I am not!” She protested, even as the smile she was trying to hold back began to spread across her face.

“You are! Why don’t you want to tell me?”

“Because!” Alex squeaked as Harry suddenly twisted on the bed, turning around and making a grab for her feet, his fingers going straight for the sensitive soles. “Stop that! Don’t you dare tickle me, Henry!”

“Tell me then!”

“No way!” She giggled and kicked her feet, trying to dislodge his fingers. “I will never hear the end of it.”

“Have it your way then,” Harry shrugged, his mouth curving up into a smirk as he tickled her faster, making her squirm and squeak louder.

“Fine! Fine! You win,” she huffed, nearly out of breath from laughing and trying to fend him off. She playfully narrowed her eyes at him. “You know I hate being tickled.”

“Tell me and you won’t get tickled anymore,” he shot back, his smug grin so cute she wanted to smack him.

“The middle name was going to be Emerson. And the first name was going to be…” She rolled her eyes and sighed, mentally surrendering to what she knew was coming. “William.”

Harry stared at her for a long moment and she could feel the giggles bubbling up inside of her. “I cannot believe you, Alexandra.”

“I didn’t know you then!” she protested, deftly pulling her feet out of the way when he reached for them again. “And it had nothing to do with your brother. I just liked the name. It’s a strong name.”

“So is Henry,” he pointed at her, shaking his head in mock chastisement.

“Which is why, I’m sure, that William named his son that,” Alex replied, her own smile turning smug this time. “So step off, Henry.”

“Ha!” Harry’s tipped back into the bed with his laughter. “ an incredibly good point.”

“Oh, I know it is.”

He grinned and moved back up, settling himself in beside her, his hand moving right back to her belly. He couldn’t help himself.

“Would it be too weird to use William for one of the boys?” he asked thoughtfully. “As one of the middle names, not the first.”

“No, I would love to use William,” she agreed easily, loving that he wanted to do that.

“Well alright then,” he grinned, his eyes holding on to hers for a long beat. “It’s a deal. One name down, five more to go.”