Sequel: In Unexpected Places

Against the Odds

Against the Odds - Chapter Twenty Four

“I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. It should have been me. No! It should have been me!”

The anguished words awoke Alex from a dead sleep the next morning. Sitting straight up in bed and looking around quickly, her eyes settled on Harry, sprawled out next to her in his bed, his arms flung wide, his head moving back and forth slowly. Tears were running down his face as the words tumbled from his mouth again. It almost sounded like mantra to Alex, something he had said over and over again, something he was trying to make himself believe.

“Harry!” she cried, her hands moving to his chest, pushing against him. “Harry. Wake up!”

He started awake, his eyes flying open, his hands flying to hers on his chest. He blinked quickly, his mind working fast to push the dream he was just having to the back of his brain.

She saw it before he blinked it back though. She saw the hurt, the devastation that was there.

“Alex…” he breathed, his voice hoarse from sleep. His hands tightened, his fingers curling around hers.

“Harry…what was that? What were you dreaming about?”

He paused for a beat before answering her. “I don’t…I don’t remember.”

He hated lying to her. He hated that he had to do that, but he didn’t want to bring her into this. He didn’t want to bring her into his pain about Geoff’s death. He didn’t want her to know just how close it had been to being him that was being brought him in a casket. He just couldn’t bring himself to tell her, to see the pain on her face.

Her forehead crinkled. “You don’t remember? You were crying and yelling out something about how it should have been you. How can you forget that so quickly?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know, Alex. I just don’t.”

“Do you have nightmares often?”

He pulled her hands, pulling her down and closer to him. “No baby, I don’t,” he said with a shake of his head as her chest came down against his, as her body moved on top of his. “It was just a nightmare, Alexandra. I’m fine. I’m more than fine. I have you.”

And then he was pulling her mouth to his, his tongue pushing in to slide along hers, his hands moving up her warm body, bringing soft sighs from her. The nightmare was successfully pushed from her mind and Harry was doing the best to lose himself in her to push it from his.


“Have you gotten online?” Alex asked Harry a few hours later as they sat at the island in his kitchen, enjoying a light breakfast.

His eyes slid to her and he gave her a small smile. “Not yet.”

She sighed. “They know about Emma.”

He immediately set his fork down and turned to her. “Now, how do you know that?”

Alex looked sheepish for a moment. She reached for her coffee and took a sip before turning to face Harry. “Don’t get mad.”

He raised an eyebrow and his lips curved. “I’m not going to get mad.”

Alex laughed lightly. “Okay. You know when I went to the restroom before we left the club last night?”


“When Charlotte left, while I was still fixing my hair, Caroline cornered me.”

Harry’s eyes went wide. “I’m sorry. What?”

“She cornered me in the bathroom. She’s a nasty piece of work.”

“Oh, I’m aware. What exactly did she say to you?” Harry’s voice was tight, tense.

Alex took a deep breath. “She implied that you didn’t love me. She asked if I thought you were going to ‘save’ me and my ‘brat’ and make us princesses and bring us to live with you in your palace. She said that I’m not suitable and once ‘they’ realize it, you’ll drop me.”

Alex watched as the anger crept through him. She watched his jaw clench, his cheeks flush.

“See, now you’re mad,” Alex said with a small smile.

Harry shook his head, bringing a hand up to rub the back of his neck. “I’m not mad at you. I’m fucking furious that she said those things to you.”

“Don’t you want to know what I said to her?” Alex asked, a smile tilting her lips.

Harry raised his eyebrows. “It’s good, isn’t it?”

Alex grinned. “When I came out of the restroom you did say I looked like I took on the world and won.”

Harry chuckled, a shaky breath leaving him at the same time, some of his anger going with it. “Alright Morgan. Out with it.”

Alex sat up straight and wiped her hands on her jeans. “Well, first I told her that I know you love me, and that she knew it too, otherwise she wouldn’t be trying so hard to convince me otherwise.”

“That’s very true,” Harry said softly, his eyes shining for her.

Alex met his soft gaze for a second before she continued. “And then I told her she better not ever mention Emma again; to me or anybody else. I meant it. If I ever hear that Emma’s name has left her lips…it won’t be pretty.”

Harry’s lips tilted. “No, it won’t.”

“Of course, she had to get one more dig in; something ridiculous like I wouldn’t be around long enough for it to even matter if she said anything about Emma. So I told her she could think whatever she had to help her sleep at night and…”

“And then?” Harry prompted with a laughing sort of smile.

“And then I called her a bitch.”

“You did?”

Alex gave one swift nod of her head, proud of herself. “I did.”

Harry shouted his laughter, holding his hand to his stomach. Then he reached over and slid his hand around the back of her neck, pulling her to him and giving her a swift, hard kiss on the lips. His lips twitched in laughter against hers and when he pulled back his eyes were a mixture of humor and pride.

“Are you laughing at me?” Alex asked, biting her lip as she tried to fight away the giggles herself.

“I am, but only in the most loving way possible.”

“Why are you laughing? I thought it was rather appropriate to call her a bitch, considering what she said.”

Harry stood then, moving to stand between Alex’s legs on the stool she currently occupied. His hands went to each side of her face, tilting it up to his. “It was completely and totally appropriate. She’s is a bitch. I’m laughing because you are so sweet that the image of you calling someone a bitch to their face is in such contrast with who you are, yet it makes sense at the same time because of just how protective you are of Emma…and of me. It makes me proud that I’ve been lucky enough to have found you, to be with you. And it makes me love you even more”

Alex grinned. “I’m not going to cry. I know you’re trying to make me cry.”

Harry’s cocky grin, full of swagger and determination returned in full force. “I’m not trying to make you cry.”

“Yes, you are. I’m not going to.”

“Okay,” he said, as if he accepted that. As he leaned down to kiss her, Alex didn’t believe him for one second, but she let him kiss her anyway, let his mouth work its magic over hers.

When he pulled back from her his eyes were full of love, full of pride, full of confidence. “Alex…”

“Yes Harry?”

“I do plan on it.”

“What? Making me cry?”

His eyes crinkled as he smiled. “No, not intentionally. But I plan on making you and Emma mine and bringing you to live here with me. Not saving you, but making you my ‘princesses’, even though that’s not really the right word…but yes, all of that and moving you into my palace. I absolutely plan on it. And you are suitable, no one that matters thinks otherwise.”

And Alex’s eyes filled with tears. “It’s a little early…”

He shrugged. “I’m not saying I’m doing it tomorrow. I’m not saying it’s going to happen this year or next year or when it will. I’m just saying that at this point, right now…it’s my plan.”

Alex searched his eyes as a tear slid from one of hers. “You made me cry.”

“I’m sorry,” he murmured.

“No, you aren’t.”

He smirked. “No, I’m not.”

Alex sighed and leaned into him, her arms wrapping around his waist, her head tilting up to his. “I love you.”

“And I love you.” He leaned down and kissed her and then pulled back with a sigh. “Alright love; it’s time to go see what the press has come up with. You ready?”

She rolled her eyes. “No. But yes, let’s do this.”


The press coverage was just as expected. They knew who Alex was, they found out about Emma, and they drew their conclusions.

“Prince Harry Romances Single Mother…Is She ‘The One’?”

“Single Mother Snags a Prince…But is the Kid a Deal Breaker?”

“Prince Harry Takes New Girlfriend to Wimbledon and Out On the Town. But who is Watching Her Child?

And Alex’s personal favorite:

“Prince Harry Gets Kid Envy, Finds One to Hold Him Over”

All in all, they weren’t too bad. They were what Alex and Harry had expected and what they had discussed. It was the paparazzi pictures from their night out that startled Alex. She knew there had been pictures taken of course, was aware that they would be published, but what she didn’t expect was exactly how many there were. They had her from every single angle and there were hundreds upon hundreds of them.

Alex made a mental note to thank Charlotte profusely for making her go fix her hair and makeup…even if she’d had to deal with Caroline because of it.

The thing that Alex had feared the most was that pictures of Emma would surface right away. She knew, eventually, there would be pictures. She was just not prepared to see pictures of her daughter published when she was still wrapping her head around seeing pictures of herself everywhere. Luckily, there were none so far.

All in all, it had begun in a big, splashy way. There was speculation, there was doubt, and there was negativity. But also, there was support. The bloggers were beyond excited. Prince Harry with a kid? They had been waiting for that day for ages. They couldn’t wait to see him with Emma, to see how he interacted with his new girlfriend’s daughter. They were complimentary towards Alex for the most part, loving that Harry looked happy and in love.

And he was. He was happy and very much in love.


Because Alex had class on Wednesday evenings, she was out of the house from early morning until after supper time. Most weeks during the summer Molly would keep Emma late on those evenings, and Alex would come pick her up after she got out of class.

This particular week though, Harry was due to take Emma for the entire day. It was the first time they would get to cross one of the items off of the list of things she wanted to do, and when she had told him what her first request was, he knew exactly who to call.

Harry picked up Emma from Alex early that morning, rushing in and kissing Alex hello before whisking Emma away and leaving a laughing Alex in his wake. She didn’t even mind him rushing in and rushing out when she saw the pure excitement on both of their faces.

Harry and Emma climbed into the Range Rover and were off for the drive to the country to meet Harry’s cousin Zara.

Emma was going to have her first horseback riding lesson.

“Are you excited, Emma?” Harry asked as the Range Rover moved from the city and to the country.

“Yes,” she said quickly, her voice high and light as she smiled up at Harry. “I’m so excited. Mummy even bought me new boots for today.”

Harry looked to Emma’s feet and grinned at her. “Those are some fantastic boots, Em. Your Mum has a great taste.”

Emma rolled her eyes. “Mummy didn’t pick these out. I picked these out. She just bought them.”

Harry laughed and reached over to tug on one of Emma’s braided pigtails. “You are silly, Emma.”

“So are you, Harry,” she retorted back quickly.

“That’s incredibly true. Some people say I’m too silly.”

Emma regarded him for a second. “Yeah, you are pretty silly. Especially with my mum. You are so silly with my mum.”

“Am I? I hadn’t thought that we were too incredibly silly,” Harry said with a grin.

Then Emma cracked a big smile. “You are silly in looooooove,” she made a crazy face as she drew out the last word, making Harry shout with laughter.

“Also incredibly true, Emma,” he agreed.

They continued their banter throughout the drive, with Emma leaving Harry with stiches in his side and his heart swelling more than ever with his love for this little girl.

When they finally pulled up at the big country house where Zara’s horses and training center were built Emma was so excited that the car had barely rolled to a stop before she had her seatbelt off and she was ready to get out of the car.

“Come on, Harry,” she called as he opened his door and then scooted around the car to get hers.

“I’m hurrying, I’m hurrying,” he chuckled as he pulled open her door. He barely moved out of the way in time for her to come flying out of the door, her little head turning to take everything in.

“Come on, Emma,” Harry said, holding out his hand to her. “Let’s go meet my cousin Zara and she will get you started.”

Emma grabbed ahold of his hand and Harry led her around the back of the house, out to the stable where he knew Zara would be.

“Zara!” he called as they entered into the stable. He smiled as his cousin’s blonde head popped out from one of the stalls.

“Be right there,” she called back. He heard her rustling around and then she came out of the stall, dressed in her riding clothes, with a big smile on her face. “Harry,” she greeted cheekily, leaning up to press a kiss on his cheek before swatting his arm playfully with one of her riding gloves.

“Zara, lovely to see you as always,” he smirked, the playful sarcasm evident in his voice.

She rolled her eyes at him and then bent her knees and dropped down so she was eye to eye with Emma.

“And you must be Emma,” Zara said, reaching out her hand to shake Emma’s hand.

Emma grinned and stuck her little hand right in Zara’s. “Yes ma’am.”

“I’m Zara. You ready to learn how to ride?”

“Yes ma’am,” Emma said, trying hard not to squeal.

“Fantastic. Although you don’t have to call me ma’am. You can just call me Zara, okay?”

Emma nodded, already feeling more comfortable. “Okay, Zara.”

“Wonderful,” Zara said as she stood back up. She reached her hand out for Emma, who took it immediately, and looked at Harry. “Mike is inside in the game room. You are more than welcome to join him.”

“Nah,” Harry said with a shake of his head. “I think I’ll come and watch.”

Zara raised her eyebrows and then she flashed him a very Windsor-like smirk.

Harry raised his arms out from his side, shrugged, and grinned at her, agreeing with her silent assessment.

Things had changed for him.

And he was completely fine with that.

It turned out that Emma was a complete natural on a horse. Zara was more than impressed with her skills and made sure Emma knew just how great she was doing. They rode for more than two hours, and at the end, Zara gave an exhausted but delighted Emma a bag of apples and showed her how to feed them to the horses. She let Emma have a run at feeding the different horses in the stable while she walked with Harry a few feet behind Emma, keeping a watchful eye on her.

“She’s darling, Harry,” Zara said quietly.

“She’s amazing,” Harry agreed.

“I haven’t met her mother yet, I always seem to miss her. But I saw the pictures from this past weekend. She’s beautiful. Emma looks just like her.”

Harry couldn’t help the smile that hit his face. It was cocky, full of pride. Not just for Alex, but for Emma as well. Zara laughed at him, nudging her shoulder with his.

“You are such a shit,” Zara said, not realizing what was coming from her mouth until after she said it. Her eyes widened and she clapped her hand over her mouth.

Emma turned around instantly, her mouth open. Harry pressed his lips together, trying to hold back his laughter.

“You said a bad word, Zara,” Emma said, her face the epitome of seriousness.

Zara pulled her hand from her mouth. “I did, Emma. I am so very sorry.”

Emma pulled such a stern face that Harry couldn’t help himself, the laugh slipped out, earning a stern glance in his direction as well.

“I won’t tell on you, this time,” Emma said, turning back to the horses, pulling another apple from her bag.

“Who would she tell on me to?” Zara whispered to Harry, her eyes teary from laughter.

Harry held up his hands. “I don’t know. But I do not want to find out.”

Zara shook her head. “Me either.”