Sequel: In Unexpected Places

Against the Odds

Against the Odds - Chapter Twenty Five Three Part Four

“I didn’t realize how close Highgrove is to the Polo club,” Alex said as Harry steered the car up the long driveway into his father’s country home. She had expected a half-hour drive, but it had only taken them about ten minutes to get there.

Harry grinned over at her. “It’s convenient, no?”

“Very,” she answered as he pulled up in front of the stately, ivy covered building and came to a stop. Harry jumped from the car and went around to open the doors for his girls. Matt had sweet talked his way into riding with Charlotte, who was pulling up behind them on the drive right then. Mike and Zara would be along shortly, but Peter and Autumn had decided to opt out. Little Savannah wasn’t feeling well and they had decided to go ahead and take her home to rest.

Emma jumped from the car when Harry opened the door and stared up in amazement at the house. “It’s so big!” she exclaimed, turning her eyes up to Alex.

“It is rather large,” she agreed with a laugh.

Emma whipped her head around to Harry. “Does this house have a swimming pool?”

Harry laughed. “It does, in fact, have a swimming pool, Emma. Did you pack a swimsuit?”

Emma’s head whipped back around to Alex who winked at her and nodded in the affirmative. “Yay!” Emma squealed, clapping her hands. “Can we swim right now?”

Harry looked at Alex who shrugged. “I’m your time table here,” she said lightly.

“Ha!” Harry grinned. “Emma, I think that was a yes. Let’s get our things inside and then we will see what we can do about getting changed and into the pool.”

Of course, when Harry said they needed to get their things inside, he meant that his team and the head of the household staff that came out to greet him would take care of it. Alex wasn’t sure if she would ever get used to things just being done for you, but it wasn’t like she had a choice in the matter, so she decided to just go with it.

Matt clapped his hands and rubbed them together as him and Charlotte walked up next to them. “What’s going on? Why is Emma bouncing like a bunny over here?”

“Because we are going swimming Uncle Matt!” Emma shouted, bouncing even higher.

“We are?” he asked with a grin as he leaned over to tickle her. “Are you going to let me race you?”

“Duhhhh,” Emma drawled with a roll of her eyes. “We always race and I always win.”

Matt stuck his bottom lip out in a mock pout. “You can’t let me win just once?”

“No way,” Emma said, completely serious. “I’m going to beat you andHarry.”

“Hold on now,” Harry interjected. “That’s not fair! I just got done playing in a very intense polo match. What if I’m very tired, and therefore at a disadvantage?”

Emma just looked at him for a moment and then shrugged. “Too bad for you.”

The group all cracked up with laughter and Harry winked at Emma. “Good point,” he said with a bright smile. He then turned and motioned towards the front door. “Alright everyone, let’s get inside and get this show on the road.”


About a half hour after they had arrived, they all made it out to the pool. It was late afternoon, the weather was beautiful, and they all had every intention of enjoying it.

Harry and Matt were in the middle of the pool with Emma; racing each other and then taking turns tossing Emma in the air.

“Well one thing is for sure,” Alex said, nodding towards the trio in the water. “Emma will go down hard tonight. They are wearing her out.”

Charlotte peered at them. “How do they have so much energy all the time? I mean, I consider myself a fairly on-the-go individual, but those two…”

Alex smirked. “I know. We should figure out whatever it is, bottle it, and sell it. We would make a fortune.”

“Harry has always been like that. Always,” Charlotte said. “Has Matt?”

“God yes,” Alex laughed. “He’s only a year older than me, but I honestly think out parents were already worn out when I was born.”

Harry turned towards the two of them then, having just tossed a laughing Emma into the air and crashing into the water. Grinning at them, he quickly made his way over, splashing water everywhere as he moved excitedly. Alex laughed as he leaned forward and placed a wet kiss on her lips once he reached them.

“What are you ladies gossiping about?” he asked teasingly.

Charlotte rolled her eyes. “What makes you think we were gossiping?”

Harry smirked and squinted into the late afternoon sun. “Fine. Then what were you doing?”

Alex couldn’t help the snort that escaped. Charlotte whipped her head around, narrowing her eyes. “Traitor.”

“Ha!” Harry called out, pointing a finger between the two of them. “Gossiping.”

Just then Mike and Zara arrived on the pool deck, already dressed in swimwear with towels in hand.

“Okay everyone, we’re here. The fun can start now,” Mike shouted to the group in the water.

Everyone chorused their hellos to Mike and Zara, including Emma, who totally abandoned playtime with Matt to go straight to Zara when she stepped into the water.


“Emma!” Zara called back, laughing as Emma threw her arms around her waist.

Mike’s entrance into the water was less subtle than Zara’s. He immediately ran to the diving board and did a huge cannonball right into the deep end, creating a huge splash and sending waves throughout the pool. When he came up, Matt instantly challenged him to a cannonball contest and recruited a groaning Charlotte as the judge.

Taking advantage of a brief moment alone with Alex, Harry moved in next to her on the stairs and slid his arm around her waist, pulling her to his side.

“Hi,” he grinned at her.

“Hi yourself,” she smiled back, leaning into him.

“So, what were you two ladies gossiping about?” he asked, playfully cocking an eyebrow at her.

“Ha! Do you really think I’m going to tell you?”

His responding grin was cheeky as could be. “Um…yes?”

She shook her head slowly. “I’m not. Girl talk is girl talk. However…” she trailed off, looking at him meaningfully.


“We can talk about how you tricked Charlotte into thinking that Matt had already gone home when you invited her here.”

Harry gave her a grimace of a smile. “Am I in trouble?”

Alex laughed. “No, you aren’t in trouble. I am, however, a little bit in awe of your matchmaking capabilities, you big softie.”

“Hey, I’m happy. I want everyone to be happy.” His eyes danced as he said the words and Alex knew that while he was telling the truth, that wasn’t his reasoning.

“Sure, sure,” Alex nodded, patting his knee. “Or you wanted to help my brother get laid again.”

Harry shouted his laughter. “Come on, Alex. You know that isn’t me. No, really…” he stopped and chuckled. “You know how Charlotte is just a little bit high strung?”

“Yeah…” Alex drawled, not knowing where he was going with that.

“Well, this past week…she has been remarkably relaxed. I mean, she’s still a ball buster, but for once she didn’t annoy the shit out of me while I was in the office.”

Alex narrowed her eyes. “If you are telling me that you did this for yourself…”

Harry chuckled. “No, Alexandra. I did this for the greater good.”

“You are ridiculous,” she snickered.

“You think so.”

Alex nodded firmly, but she couldn’t help how her lips twitched at the corners.

“You are right. I am ridiculous. Ridiculously in love with you,” he responded teasingly. And then, before she knew what was happening, he had kissed her quickly and then was picking her up in his arms and from the water.

“What are you doing?” she squealed.

He carried her easily around the side of the pool towards the deep end. “You are going to join the cannonball contest.”

“Harry…” she said in a low voice. “You are going to throw me in aren’t you?”

He lifted his eyebrows. “Depends; do you still think I’m ridiculous?”

She didn’t even miss a beat. “Absolutely.”

Harry’s eyes danced as he stepped up to the diving board, Alex firmly in his arms.

“Alright everyone,” he announced to the group. “You officially have a new entry in the cannonball contest; Miss Alexandra Morgan.”

Alex laughed as a cheer rang out from the pool.

“Now Charlotte,” Harry called. “I expect that she be judged fairly.”

“That’s why you pay me the big bucks, boss,” she called back, earning a chorus of groans and “no fairs” from Mike and Matt.

Harry stepped to the end of the board. “Ready to take it back yet?”

Alex shook her head slowly; a teasing smile on her lips. “Never”

Harry grinned. He had expected no less.

He launched her without warning and she flew into the air, squealing, before falling towards the water. She barely remembered to hold her nose before she hit the surface and sank below.

She came up laughing and pushed the hair from her eyes just in time to spot Charlotte throwing her arms in the air.

“And we have a winner folks!”


Alex was right, Emma was worn out. Alex barely got her out of her swimsuit and into her pajamas before Emma’s eyes started sliding shut. Alex tucked her daughter into bed, kissed her goodnight, and then moved quietly from the room and across the hall into Harry’s room.

She heard the shower running and smiled to herself. She opened the bathroom door quietly and quickly pulled her swimsuit off before opening the door to the big glass shower and stepping in behind him. He turned immediately, having heard the door and felt the cool air rush in.

“Can I join? She asked softly.

He smiled. It was full of the swagger and confidence that appeared on his face whenever he knew they were about to get intimate. She loved that he did that; loved that she knew that he did that.

“Of course,” he said huskily, pulling her under the hot water with him.

She ran her hands up his chest and wound them around his neck. “Harry…” she murmured, her eyes flashing up to his.

He wrapped his arms around her, his body igniting as it always did when she was close. “Hmmm?”

“I’ve wanted to push you against a wall and do very, very dirty things to you ever since you walked off the polo field today.”

He sucked in a breath. “Well, we are alone now…”

“We are,” she agreed, her voice husky.

He lowered his head so that his lips were almost touching hers. “But we may be late for dinner,” he teased.

Her eyes grew dark, her face flushed. “Will you lose your place in line for the throne if we are late for dinner?”

His shoulders shook with laughter and his eyes danced as he looked down at her. “No, I’d say my place in line to the throne would not be affected one bit.”

Alex grinned and then she pushed him right up against the shower wall and finally got to have her way with him.


“So this is the infamous ‘Club H’?” Alex asked as the group wandered into the basement later that evening. They had all enjoyed a relaxed supper and were now ready to have some drinks a little bit of fun.

Harry grinned cheekily. “Well, it’s not quite the same as it was in its glory days. The bar is much more well stocked now.”

Charlotte snorted. “It’s not like it was lacking back then.”

“Oh come on, Charlotte,” Harry called. “We always had a blast at the parties down here.”

She nodded, moving further into the room to the bar, pulling out bottles and glasses to start off with some drinks. “We did. Until someone had to go and ruin it when they got caught smoking pot.”

Harry shrugged. “I was excellent at being a stupid teenager, but never very good at being sneaky about it.”

“I still don’t know why everyone made such a big deal about that whole thing,” Zara said as she pulled Mike over to one of the big comfy couches and sank down into it. “You were young and it was just pot. I mean, I can hardly think of anyone who didn’t try it at least once.”

Matt snickered from the chair he had relaxed into. “I can. My sister.”

That didn’t surprise anyone in the room one little bit. Alex raised her eyebrows at them all. “Do you all see me as a goody-goody?”

There was a moment of silence and then Mike was the first to speak up. “Yep.”

“You are a goody-goody,” Matt said with a laugh as Charlotte brought him over a drink.

Alex shook her head and turned to Harry. “And you?”

“Oh no; don’t you bring me into this,” he warned with wide eyes and a smirk of a smile.

“Why not? You know me better than anyone here besides Matt.”

Harry’s lips tilted as he tried to hold back his laughter. “You are absolutely right. I do know you better. I also know you differently. Which is why my opinion on this particular subject doesn’t count.”

“Of course it counts.”

Harry shook his head with a smirk. “Nope. Not here.”

Alex opened her mouth but shut it quickly, knowing she wouldn’t pull anything from him. She suspected it had to do with everyone around them and so she didn’t push. Instead she just threw up her hands. “Fine. Since you all think I’m such a goody-goody, somebody make me a shot. I’m getting drunk. Goody-goodies do not get drunk.”

Laughter rang throughout the room and Harry moved to the bar to do what she asked. He made a round for everyone and they all toasted and drank them down.

The night moved along, as did the conversation. Drinks were poured freely. Harry turned on the music and it hummed lightly through the surround sound, creating a fun, casual atmosphere. They all told stories about each other, most of which were highly embarrassing and had probably been embellished on over the years.

By the time that Harry leaned over into Alex’s ear and asked her in a hushed tone if she wanted to accompany him on a walk somewhere, she was more than a little tipsy and her cheeks were flushed from all of the laughter.

She nodded her agreement and without and explanation to the others, Harry took her hand and began to lead her from the room.

“There they go again!” Mike hollered when they were almost to the stairs. “Late for dinner and now scooting out early.”

“Mike,” Zara said, slapping him on the arm and throwing him a look.

“What?” he asked. “I didn’t say it like it was a bad thing.”

Harry chuckled at the exchange but Alex halted and turned around, striding all the way back into the room.

“Oh shit,” Matt mumbled. He was the only one in the entire room who had ever seen Alex get really, really mad, and he was almost sure that is what was about to happen.

“Just so y’all know,” Alex sassed, directing her gaze around the room. “I smoked pot when I was sixteen.”

There was dead silence.

“No you did not,” Matt finally called, firmly shaking his head.

She nodded. “I did. I smoked pot, got incredibly high, ate an entire bag of Cheetos and passed out.”

Matt’s face broke into a wide grin. “That’s why you don’t like Cheetos?”

“Yep,” Alex confirmed with a nod of her head. Then she turned on her heel and strode from the room, followed by a slightly shocked, but also slightly impressed Harry.

It was just when they hit the top of the stairs that they heard a chorus of laughter break out below. Alex couldn’t help herself and started to giggle; her shoulders shaking and tears forming in her eyes.

“They all looked so shocked,” she finally managed, wiping the tears from her eyes.

Harry, who had been biting back the laughter himself, reached for her, cupping his face in her hands. “I love you. You never fail to surprise me.”

“Does it really shock you that I smoked pot?” she asked, the giggles overtaking her again.

He shook his head, a playful smile on his lips. “No. It’s just…that’s what I meant when I said I didn’t see you as a goody-goody. You’re feisty and sassy and sexy…but sometimes they don’t see that. I understand that. But, I always see it.”

“Harry…” she said softly, her lips curving up into a sweet smile at his words.

He leaned over and gave her a soft, sweet kiss and then pulled back and reached for her hand. He tugged on it and started to pull her through the quiet house. “Come on.”

“Where are we going?” she asked as they moved through the quiet rooms.

“You’ll see,” he said with a secretive smile.

They reached the back door and Harry opened it, motioning for her to go out in front of him. He kept eye contact with her and winked as she moved past him. He closed the door behind them and they moved out into the warm night. He took her hand in his again, bringing it up to kiss her palm softly before threading his fingers through hers. Instead of letting their hands swing down together, he pulled hers up against his chest, holding it there as they walked.

“These gardens are amazing,” Alex breathed, taking in everything as they moved slowly through the famous Highgrove gardens. “Your father has done such…I mean…just wow.”

Harry smiled down at her as he watched her eyes travel over everything. “I wish he was here with Camilla this weekend to give you the guided tour. I don’t know all of the names of everything.”

“We will have to come again soon when they are here,” she responded softly.

“Hmmmm,” he agreed with a contented smile, squeezing her hand.

They walked in comfortable silence for a few more minutes until finally Harry stopped and nodded into the dark. “We’re here.”

Alex squinted as they moved closer and then she saw where they were going. Her face lit up into a huge smile.

“A treehouse?”

“My treehouse. Well, I had to share it with Will of course; but you get the picture,” he smirked as he pulled her towards the tree. He offered his hand when she went to step up onto the ladder, but she shooed him away.

“I’ve got this. I’ve climbed plenty of trees – without ladders – in my time,” she sassed.

He chuckled and waved her on. “Sorry love; by all means, go for it.”

Alex winked at him and then started climbing, making it quickly to the top. She moved off to the side on the little deck that surrounded the entire tree house to wait for Harry. When he made it, she smiled at him haughtily and crossed her arms over her chest.

“What?” he asked with an amused smile.

“Could you have taken any longer? I’m sure I had you beat by at least three seconds.”

His lips twitched. “And you always wonder where Emma gets her need to race everyone at everything?”

Alex threw back her head in laughter. “Oh my God. I never thought about it, but you are completely right.”

“Stick with me, baby. I’m pretty observant,” he replied smugly.

She rolled her eyes. “Yeah, yeah.”

“Okay, come on,” Harry chuckled. “Let me show you around.”

Of course, it was a child’s tree house, so the tour consisted of one grand gesture of Harry’s arm followed by, “Here it is!” which brought a small giggle from Alex.

“We used to have some small furniture in here; a toy box, some games…lots and lots of toy guns and swords…” he trailed off softly, looking around the now empty space, his eyes growing solemn.

And she understood why. This was such a place of joy for him as a boy. It was a place where he played at being soldiers with his brother, a place where he was allowed to be just a little kid, not Prince Harry of Wales.

“Hey,” she said brightly. “Why don’t we sit…over there,” she pointed to a corner of the room. “And you can recreate it for me; tell me what it looked like and tell me some stories.”

His face lit up immediately. “Yeah?”

“Yeah,” she grinned, moving towards the corner she pointed to. “Sit,” she instructed him. He did, placing his back against the wall and stretching his legs out. She moved in between his legs and sat as well, placing her back against his chest. His arms immediately went around her and he already felt more at ease with her against him, as he always did.

With a smile, he started telling her story after story. She laughed and laughed while he weaved his tales, until eventually he was done, having reminded himself of the times he had there and what they had meant to him. Gone was the part of him that had arrived when they first stepped into the tree house; the part that wished he could be that carefree little boy again.

They sat in silence for a few moments, enjoying each other, until Alex yawned loudly, not being able to help it.

“Tired love?” he asked softly.

She nodded against his chest, turning her cheek to rub against him. He smiled when she did that, how she always did that; nuzzled him when she was exhausted and ready for sleep.

“Alright, let’s go back. It’s late,” he murmured.

They moved to stand, taking the time to have one last small glance around.


He turned and met her eyes. “Yeah?”

“I think you should bring Emma up here tomorrow before we leave. I’m sure they have some of your old things around here somewhere. She’s not just all Tea Parties and Disney. I’ll be she could handle a toy gun or two.”

Harry’s face broke into a wide smile. “I would love that. And yes, I’m sure Smith could find some old toys somewhere,” he said, referring to the head of the household staff who had been at Highgrove forever.

“I think Emma would love that,” she said softly.

Harry smiled and nodded, trying to contain his excitement at the idea. He motioned towards the door of the tree house. “Come on, my love. Let’s go to bed.”


“Harry! Quit trying to take my gun! You have your own,” Emma screeched as Harry playfully tried to sneak the toy rifle from her for the fifth time.

“But yours is bigger, Em,” Harry pouted, sticking his bottom lip out.

Emma put a hand on her hip and shot him a look. “So?”

“Don’t you want this shiny one right here?” he asked, holding up a tiny little silver thing. The silver paint had chipped heavily off over the years and it looked…well, it looked quite sorry.

Emma rolled her eyes. “No. Now quit being a cry baby.”

Harry cracked up laughing, rolling back onto the floor with his hand to his stomach.

“What are you doing?” Emma asked, exasperated as she came over near him. “We are supposed to be looking out for the…” she stopped and looked around. “Enemy,” she whispered.

“I’m sorry. Really, Em…I’m…” he tried not to laugh as he said the words, but it didn’t work. He’d had so much fun with her. She was so playful and up for anything. He would forever be grateful to Alex for this suggestion.

“Harry! Come on!” she squealed in frustration.

He looked up at her cute little face and made an effort to get himself under control as she started down at him expectantly, tapping her little foot on the floor. “Emma?” he called up to her, once he could find the will to talk without laughing.

“Yeah?” she asked, her eyebrows lifting.

Harry waited just a beat before he snatched her into his arms, pulling her down with him to the floor and ticking her quickly in the ribs. She squealed and screeched and giggled while she tried to get away from him, but he wasn’t going to let her go. Eventually he settled, have tickled her until they were both out of breath and just lying there on the floor of the tree house, staring up at the ceiling.

“Harry?” Emma finally asked softly.

“Yeah, Em?”

“Thank you for taking me up here.”

He turned and looked at her, his heart clenching as her big blue eyes stared up at him. “Oh Emma, you’re welcome. Thank you for coming up here.”

“Mummy said you used to come up here when you were a little boy,” Emma said.

Harry nodded. “I did. My brother and I used to play up here.”

“Did your Mummy and Daddy play up here too?”

Harry blinked. He knew he hadn’t ever talked with Emma about his mother before. She had met his father, but he didn’t know if she knew that his mother had died.

“Sometimes, when we were very young they did,” he responded quietly. “But…but after my Mum died I didn’t really come up here anymore.”

Emma nodded. “Yeah. Mum told me that your Mummy died when you were little. Do you miss her?”

Harry immediately fought the lump in his throat. He could usually talk about her no problem, but for some reason, with Emma it was more innocent, more emotional.

“I miss her every single day, Emma. Every single day.”

“Remember when you told me before you left how my daddy was in Heaven watching me?” Emma asked sweetly.

Harry nodded slowly. “I do.”

“I’ll bet your mummy is with my daddy since they both left their kids behind.”

Harry immediately looked towards the ceiling. He wasn’t sure if it was subconscious, like he was looking towards the Heavens, or if it was a knee jerk reaction to keep his emotions in check. Either way, the moment slammed into him with full force and he swallowed hard, blinking back the tears. He didn’t know how long it was before he regained himself, before he turned back to Emma, but when he did it was with a smile, a sense of peace.

“I think you are absolutely right, Emma.”