Sequel: In Unexpected Places

Against the Odds

Against the Odds - Chapter Twenty Seven

“Mummy, I’m okay,” Emma said, even as she sniffed and wiped tears from her face.

Alex and Harry were both leaning over Emma in Harry’s garden, checking her for cuts or bumps and making sure nothing was wrong.

“Emma, what in the world happened?” Alex asked. She pushed back the hair that had fallen into Emma’s face and cupped her daughter’s cheeks in her hands, looking down at her with eyes that were still scared and shaken.

Emma bit her lip and looked sheepish. “I was climbing,” she finally said timidly.

Harry’s eyebrows shot into the air. He was still trying to stop himself from shaking that the immediate terror he had experienced when he heard Emma’s scream. “Climbing on what?”

Emma’s eyes slid to Harry. “The playhouse.”

“Emma Rose Morgan,” Alex said softly, but sternly. “You know you shouldn’t be climbing on the playhouse. You scared us half to death.”

“I’m sorry,” Emma whispered. “I made a mistake.”

Alex shook her head and then pulled her daughter up and into her arms. “You didn’t make a mistake; you made a bad decision. And I’m sorry Emma, but you are grounded from the playhouse for two weeks.”

Emma’s eyes welled with tears. “No…”

“Yes,” Alex said with a nod. “You knew you shouldn’t be doing that, you did it anyway, and then you fell; scaring the mess out of me and Harry. So, you’re grounded and you know you deserve it.”

Emma blinked and a few tears slipped from her eyes, but she didn’t fight Alex. “Okay, Mummy. I’m sorry. I won’t do it again.”

Alex smiled softly at her daughter. “Well, in two weeks you can prove that you mean that. But for right now, it’s bed time.”

Emma opened her mouth in her usual bid to protest, but shut it quickly, knowing she was in deep enough for the night. Harry bit back a smile at that; it was something he would have done in his younger years.

Alex stood then, still holding Emma in her arms and close to her. No matter how mad she was at Emma for breaking the rules and scaring her half to death, she was still relieved and incredibly happy that Emma was okay and it was nothing but getting the wind knocked out of her and maybe a bump on her head. She set Emma down after giving her a kiss and a tight hug and had her say goodnight to Harry. After Emma had hugged and kissed Harry, Alex took her daughter’s hand and led her through the cottage and up to the guest room. She got Emma changed, tucked her under the covers, and then sat on the side of the bed. She reached up and pushed a few stray locks of hair from Emma’s face and smiled down at her.

“You know that even though I grounded you, it doesn’t mean I don’t love you or that I’m mad at you. It just means that you did something against the rules and I have to punish you for it,” Alex told Emma softly.

Emma nodded. Her eyes were sleepy but apologetic. “I know. I’m really sorry.”

“I know you are. Next time, use your judgment and remember the things I’ve told you.”

“Okay, Mummy.”

“I love you very much, Emma Rose,” Alex whispered as she leaned over to kiss her cheek.

Emma smiled brightly. “I love you too, Mummy.”

Alex tucked the covers up around her daughter as she moved from the bed. She flipped on the small nightlight that Harry had put in for Emma and then moved out of the room with one last little wave at her daughter, making sure to leave the door propped open just a little bit like Emma preferred.


Alex found Harry in his garden, sitting on one of the plush outdoor chairs on the patio. He was staring straight up into the night sky and hands were folded in his lap. Anyone else may have just thought he was deep in thought, but not Alex. He was being too still. He was never that still unless his nerves were getting the best of him.

“Harry?” she called out to him as she moved towards his chair. His gaze immediately moved from the sky to her, but even then he had to blink a few times before he could focus on her. “Are you okay?” she asked softly. She stood a few feet from him, unsure if she should go to him or sit in the chair next to him.

He gave her a small smile and nodded. “Come here,” he said softly as he opened his arms for her. Alex breathed a sigh of relief as she moved to curl up on his lap. “I’m sorry,” he said quietly once Alex had settled in his lap.

She turned a startled gaze towards him. “Sorry for what?”

“Emma almost got hurt…on the playhouse that I bought her.”

Alex tilted her head to the side, regarding him with a small frown. “It’s not your fault she fell, Harry. She fell because she was being careless and disobeying the rules. I’ve told her a hundred times not to climb on that thing.”

“Yes, she was. But…”

“No,” Alex interrupted. “No buts. Listen baby, kids fall. They get bumps on their heads. Hell, they even break bones sometimes. I had like, three broken arms as a kids from doing stupid shit. If she wasn’t climbing on that playhouse, she would have been climbing something else. It’s no one’s fault. Besides, she’s fine.”

“I know. I know that. I mean, I was the king of doing stupid shit when I was a kid. Hell,” he laughed, “the press still makes me out to be the king of doing stupid shit.” He reached up and cupped her face in his hands. “I just…I got scared when I heard her scream.”

Alex sighed. “Me too. But she’s okay. And grounded…she’s definitely grounded.”

Harry laughed, the anxiety fading away a bit. “I have to admit; it was kind of sexy watching you ground her.”

She scrunched her nose. “What? That’s not sexy.”

“It is to me.” Sliding his hands around to the back of her neck from her cheeks, he pulled her face down to his. He nudged his nose along hers as he slid his hands into her hair. “I love watching you doing Mummy things.”

“Mummy things? Even grounding my kid?”

He grinned. “Yes. Is that strange?”

Alex chuckled and held her fingers up in the air, holding her thumb and forefinger close together. “Little bit.”

“Ha! I don’t care if it’s strange in the least,” he laughed. His eyes crinkled up in the corners with his amusement. Alex brought her fingertips to the corners of each of his eyes, tracing the lines there. “I love you, Alexandra Mae,” Harry said gruffly as her fingers sent sparks shooting through him.

“And I love you, Henry Charles Albert David.”


The dream started off the same as always. He was running towards the flashing lights. His heart was beating fast in his chest, knowing something was wrong. He came upon the medical crew and ran through them, catching their sad faces as he went by. He stopped by the helicopter as they pulled the stretcher from it. But the dream felt different here than normal. The body didn’t look the same. It was smaller, way smaller than Geoff had been. He walked over to it just as they pulled the sheet from the face.

He screamed in absolute anguish. The body wasn’t Geoff.

It was Emma.


Alex drifted into consciousness. A few weeks ago, she would have been confused and disoriented, but now she knew right away what was happening; she knew why Harry was waking her up in the middle of the night. He was slowly arousing her body awake. His hands were all over her. He was running them up her legs, sliding them over her hips, belly, and sides, before moving them up and teasingly running them over her breasts. They had made love before bed and hadn’t bothered to put pajamas before they fell asleep and they were both naked, so when Harry pulled Alex back against him, she moaned at the contact. His body was warm from sleep and being under the covers and Alex relished the feeling as his hot skin pressed against hers.

“Harry…” she whispered, her voice hoarse from sleep. She sighed; a sleepy but happy sort of sigh, as his hands slid back down her stomach and cupped her sex. She moaned and pressed her backside against him. She felt him; hot, hard, and ready to go.

“I’m starting to think you are an insomniac,” she said with a light laugh. But as he parted her folds with his finger and slid it down into her wetness, the joking smile left her lips. She moaned and her head fell back against his shoulder. She reached down and grasped his wrists in her hands, effectively holding his hands against her as he softly stroked her core.

“Hmmmm…” he hummed. “Not an insomniac. I just need you, Alex.”

She groaned and pressed herself back and harder into him, his words and the delicious, light circles he was making around her clit shooting sparks through her entire body. “Ohhhhh…”

Her words lit a fire inside of him and he moved then, pulling himself up and over her. He grabbed her wrists and pulled them over her head, holding them tightly there as he looked down at her, capturing her gaze.

Alex was almost startled by the intensity she found in his deep blue eyes. The look was there, the look he always had when they made love, full of lust and love and intensity. But there were something else there, something she had never seen before. He looked utterly wild and desperate. She tried to tug her hands from his, wanting to touch him, to soothe whatever was bringing that look to his face. Instead Harry just shook his head and bent down, quickly capturing her mouth with his. She moaned when he tipped his tongue out just a bit, encouraging her mouth open. When she immediately parted her lips, he plunged his tongue in to slide along hers. She shifted at the feeling of his mouth fused with hers, tilting her hips up instinctually towards his. He gripped her wrists tighter and then nudged her knees apart to settle in between her thighs. He changed his hold on her wrists, pulling them both into one of his large hands and continuing his hold there. His other hand reached down to her core again, stroking quickly against her. The fact that he held her wrists tightly and that she was at his mercy only served to drive her towards the edge faster. It wasn’t long before she cried out loudly against his mouth as he quickly and firmly pulled an orgasm from her shaking body.

“God, I love making you come for me,” Harry murmured hotly against her ear as her harsh, raspy breaths tickled his own ears. “I’m going to do it again…and again…and again…”

“Harry…please,” Alex moaned. Her eyes fluttered open and found his. She almost gasped at the wild look that had taken him over. Something was wrong. He wasn’t ever like this. They had experimented before; played at being rough and restraining each other, but those times he was with her every step of the way, making sure she was okay and talking everything over with her. Right now, even as he began to stroke her again, he was taking from her and they were on two different wavelengths. He wasn’t hurting her, he wasn’t doing anything against her will, but he was taking from her and…and in the weirdest way, Alex felt like he was punishing himself.

“Baby…I need you. Please…I want you inside of me…” she whispered, trying to get through to him. She searched his eyes and saw them flicker at her words. She thought for a moment she had made an impact on him, but then his mouth crashed down on hers in another scorching kiss and he moved his hand against her, sliding down and pushing two fingers inside of her. “Oh God…” she cried out into his mouth at the sensations he was creating in her body. She struggled against the hold he had on her wrists, wanting to put her arms around him, wanting to hold him against her as he brought her to another peak.

“Alexandra…let me make you feel good…” Harry whispered as he trailed hot kisses on her jawline and down to her neck. She groaned and twisted her body under his at his words, at the way he was licking across her chest, at the way he was moving his hand against her sex. And then he pulled a nipple in his mouth, sucking hard on it before catching it between his teeth, worrying it gently. His actions sent flames directly from Alex’s breast to her core and she bowed off of the bed, arching as she felt another orgasm approach quickly.

“Harry…please…” she pleaded as she felt the wave approach. “My hands…”

But he wasn’t to be swayed. He held tight to her and bit down a tad bit more sharply on her nipple at the same time as he ground down on her sex with his hand. She cried out and exploded, her body pulsing sharply around his fingers. He groaned against her chest, ready to burst himself at the feeling of her coming apart against his hand.

“Alex…” Harry whispered against her heated skin. His breath blew against the fine sheen of sweat that had begun to form on her body and it made her shiver, goosebumps appearing on her skin. “You are so responsive to me. I love touching you…tasting you…” He moved his mouth from her breast, leaning down to kiss her stomach.

“No…” she whimpered as his intentions became clear. “Harry, I can’t take any more. Please…just make love to me…”

“Not yet, baby…not yet,” he breathed against her skin. But at the same time as he spoke he released her hands, not being able to hold on to them as he kissed his way down her body. She breathed a sigh of relief and then her hands were moving down to him, pulling at his shoulders, and then moving into his hair, tugging gently.

“Henry,” she called out to him. “Love…come here…”

He looked up to her, his eyes still dark, still intense. “Don’t you like when I do this?” He placed a light kiss to the top of her sex to punctuate his question.

“You know I do, Harry. I just want…ohhhh…”

Her words were cut off by his tongue, moving out swiftly to swipe against her swollen, sensitive flesh. She jerked against him and her hands tightened in his hair. He was being absolutely relentless. He intent was clear, to drive her to the edge as quickly as possible. His particular brand of tenderness was missing, and although she still responded, although he still brought her to the cliff quickly, she felt uneasy and almost anxious as she toppled over the edge for the third time in a very short amount of time.

Alex’s world was spinning and she was disconnected from the man between her thighs; a man she had always shared such a strong bond with when they were making love. She couldn’t take it anymore. She was close to tears and she just wanted Harry back. She wanted him to be sweet with her and caress her while he moved above her. She wanted to love him like she knew how.

“No more!” Alex finally called out. “No more, Harry! Please! Stop…” She choked out the last word, her voice breaking with her emotions.

The frustration and the hurt in her voice is what finally got through to Harry. His head snapped up and the cloud that had consumed him dissipated.

And he saw her. He saw that she was upset and uncomfortable and his heart broke for her, for what he was doing to her, for how far he was pushing her just to deal with his issues. He moved then, leaning forward to gather her into his arms and then sat up, cradling her gently against him. She wasn’t crying but she was shaking and worked up and he hated that he did this to her.

“Alex, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” he murmured gently in her ear as he stroked her back, trying to calm her down. “Please, baby…forgive me.” She shuddered against him he swallowed back the lump that formed in his throat. He didn’t know how to fix this and didn’t want to upset her any further, so he stayed just like he was; rocking her gently back and forth, stroking her back and her hair with soft hands, and whispering apologies in her ear.

It took a while, a long while, for Alex to relax and feel comfortable again; for the anxiety and the nerves to fade. Finally though, finally she sagged in his arms, wrapping her own arms around his neck and pulling herself closer to him.

“Alexandra…” he whispered tentatively.

She took a deep breath and then pulled back, finding his eyes and searching them. The darkness was gone from them and what remained was Harry, her Harry. It was only then, when he was back with her that her eyes filled with tears. “What was that?” she asked softly.

Harry shook his head. “Alex…I’m sorry.”

A tear spilled from her right eye. Harry reached up to swipe it automatically. “I know you’re sorry, Harry. But something is going on with you. You are waking me up during the middle of the night for sex every night that we stay together. And when we don’t stay together and I see you the next day, you always look exhausted. You aren’t sleeping if I’m not there, Harry.”

She felt him tense with her words and she physically watched his guard go up. “You don’t know that, Alexandra,” he said stiffly.

She blinked and more tears fell to her cheeks. This time he didn’t move to brush them away. “You are lying to me,” she whispered brokenly.

Harry’s jaw clenched. “I’m not lying.”

“Yes, you are.”

He held her gaze unflinchingly. “I don’t know why you think you can question me like that.”

Alex gasped. She immediately pushed away from him, moving backwards off of his lap. “Are you serious with me right now? I can question you like that because I’m your girlfriend and I love you and something is wrong with you. I don’t know how you think you can push me out!”

“I’m not pushing you out, Alex.” Harry said to her, his voice rising with his anger. “Nothing is wrong with me. Just because you have an organization that deals with people’s mental issues, doesn’t make you an expert. You don’t know anything.”

Alex’s mouth dropped open. He saw the hurt well in her eyes and he almost broke. He almost let it all out. But he didn’t. In his misguided attempt to deal with his problem himself and to keep her from getting hurt, he made his problem worse and hurt her a million times worse than if he would have just told her.

“I think I should go,” Alex murmured, dropping her eyes away from him. She couldn’t look at him anymore. She immediately moved off of the bed and went to her overnight bag. She pulled out a shirt and shorts and quickly tugged them on before zipping her bag back up.

“Where in the hell do you think you’re going?” Harry shouted from the bed.

She whirled on him. “I’m going to sleep with Emma. I won’t wake her up in the middle of the night and drag her home, although there is nothing I want more in this moment.”

“You don’t want to be here with me anymore?”

“No! I don’t! You need to sort your shit out, Wales. This distant and mean person isn’t you. And until you can come to terms with whatever it is that is eating at you, we should spend some time apart.”

“Are you leaving me?” Harry’s voice was so cold that it sent shivers down Alex’s spine.

“No,” she whispered, her eyes searching his. “I’m not leaving you. But obviously you are using me to make whatever problem you have go away. And if you won’t tell me what that problem is, then I can’t help you and I won’t continue to let you use me like that Harry. I will not be your crutch, do you understand me?”

Harry moved from the bed then, going to his dresser and pulling out a pair of boxers. “Oh I understand alright, Alex. I guess I shouldn’t have ever told you I wanted to marry you. And I sure as shit shouldn’t have told you just tonight that I wanted babies with you. I don’t. I don’t want to marry and have children with someone who thinks I’m a liar who has mental problems. If you can’t trust me, then there is nothing left here.”

Harry watching as Alex reacted to his words. He watched as she blinked, absorbing the shock of what he said to her. He steeled himself against the sob that escaped her. He was so mad, so blinded by the fact that she was pushing him and wasn’t letting it drop like he desperately wanted her to do, that in his broken mind he really thought the only way to make her drop this subject was to make her apologize to him and beg to stay.

“I changed my mind,” Alex whispered as the tears rolled from her eyes and unchecked down her cheeks.

His brain sparked as he thought his plan had worked. “You have?”

“Yes,” she nodded as she went for her overnight back. “I’m going to wake Emma up and we are leaving tonight. I’m not spending another minute in this house with you.”

Harry’s jaw clenched and his hands balled into fists at his sides. “I’m not stopping you.”

“You couldn’t if you tried,” Alex said, needing to toss a barb at him. She wanted to hurt him like he was hurting her.

“Do you see me trying?” Harry tossed back.

Her lips twisted as she fought a sob. “No, Harry. I don’t.”

And with that, Alex walked calmly from Harry’s room, shutting the door behind her. She stopped and leaned against the wall outside of his room to gather herself, to wipe the tears from her face before she went and woke up Emma. She was praying that he would come out of the door after her, that he would apologize and tell her what the fuck was going on with him.

But he didn’t come out of the door. He stayed in there and refused to give in to her.

And so she pulled herself together and willed herself to move. She just prayed she had the strength to keep moving once she made it through the night.


Alex didn’t sleep a single wink when she got home from Harry’s. She told Emma that Harry had an emergency and had to leave his house so they had to go to, which is why they left in the middle of the night. She was grateful that Emma accepted the excuse and went right back to sleep.

Once Emma was down, Alex went into her living room and sat at her window seat. She just stared off in the distance for hours, until the sun was rising into the sky. She went over and over the past two months in her mind. She tried to piece everything together. She tried to figure out what was going on with Harry.

It all started to come together when she remembered the nightmare she’d witnessed him having last month. She didn’t doubt he had been having more and that it was most likely the reason he’d been up at night. It made sense. He would have a nightmare and wake her up for sex, trying to forget what had happened.

She fought into the recesses of her mind, pulling out the wording he had used during the nightmare that she witnessed.

“It should have been me!”

What should have been him? How did she go about figuring it out?

Suddenly she had an idea. She went into her room and found his journal, the one he wrote in everyday while he was in Afghanistan. They had gone through some of their journals together, but they had been so busy recently it had gotten put to the side.

She flipped through the pages quickly, not finding anything until she got to the last entry. The date was two weeks before he got home. He had called her that night. It was the night Emma had woken up and he talked to her too. Why hadn’t he written anything after that? He had faithfully written every day until then, so why….

Then it hit her.

An Apache pilot had died that night.

In Harry’s dream he said it should have been him.

Alex closed the journal and set it gently on her desk. She took several deep breaths and tried to work through how to confirm that information, find out what happened, and figure out why Harry felt it should have been him. Clearly, Harry had pushed it too far back to acknowledge it. She moved to sit down on the edge of her bed while her mind raced. He needed help. He needed to deal with this.

“Of course…” she breathed as she reached the solution to her problem in her head. She turned and looked at her alarm clock, thankful that it was past eight in the morning and she wouldn’t be placing her call at some ungodly hour.

She darted from her bed and into the living room, pulling her mobile phone from her bag. She scrolled through her contacts until she found the one she was looking for. She hit the call button and pressed the phone nervously to her ear.

He answered right away.

“Alexandra?” The deep, rich voice on the other end was immediately concerned. His son’s girlfriend had never rang his phone before, even though he always told her to call if he needed anything.

“Charles, I’m sorry to call so early.”

“I’ve been up for hours my dear. Is something wrong? You sound distressed.”

She took a deep breath. “I am. I need your help with something. Would it be possible to see you today? I wouldn’t ask normally, but this is important. It’s about Harry.”

There was a muffled silence on Charles’ end of the line, and Alex knew he was talking to someone, checking his schedule.



“How soon can you be to Clarence House?”

Alex breathed a sigh of relief. “Two hours?”

“Good. See you then.”