Sequel: In Unexpected Places

Against the Odds

Against the Odds - Chapter Twenty Nine

“Knock, knock.”

Alex looked up from her computer where she was immersed in a project for work. She grinned in surprise when she saw Harry standing in her office doorway. “Hi! What are you doing here?”

He grinned back and moved towards her as she stood from her desk to greet him. “Well, I have a meeting and then after that I thought I’d take you to lunch,” he said as she moved up to him. His hands found her waist and he leaned down, pressing a soft kiss to her lips. Alex leaned into him and rested her hands on his chest as he pulled back from the kiss. She loved how soft and tender he had been with her in the days since his intervention; just sweet kisses here and there that spoke of his love and respect for her.

“I can do lunch,” she said with a smile. “But why would you come here before your meeting? You could have just called.”

“Because my meeting is here.”

“Your meeting is here?”

His eyes danced. “Yes.”

Alex rolled her eyes. “You know I hate when you do that.”


“Purposely try to confuse me.”

Harry chuckled. “I know. But it’s so cute to watch you try to figure out what you are missing.”

Alex tried not to smile as she shook her head slightly. “Anyway, so your meeting is here? What do you mean by that?”

Harry stepped back from Alex then and pressed his hands together. He grinned and took a deep breath. “My meeting…is with Duncan.”

“Duncan? Our counselor Duncan?” Alex asked. A wide smile spread across her face.

“One and the same.”

“Harry…that’s wonderful…” Alex breathed. “What made you decide to come see him?”

“Ah. The answer to that is simple. What do you think of Duncan, Alex? As a professional?”

“He’s the best,” she answered immediately.

“Exactly,” Harry grinned. “You trust him, so I trust him. Plus…”

“Plus what?”

Harry looked behind him and realized Alex’s office door was open. “Can I close this?” he asked her, pointing to the door. She nodded quickly and leaned her hips back against her desk as he shut it and then moved to sit in the chair right in front of her. He leaned forward in the chair and smiled up at her as he took hold of her hands.

“I was hoping we could do some couples counseling together,” he said softly. “Nothing too intense; just enough to talk about how to manage the PTSD together and to…um…learn how to fight better.”

A slow smile moved across Alex’s face. “Fight better, huh?”

He nodded, pulling her fingers to his lips for a moment before answering. “We’ve had exactly two fights and you know, both times ended in you leaving. I don’t think that needs to become a recurring theme with us.” He pulled her closer to him and she moved to stand between his legs, settling her hands on his shoulders. “Do you agree?”

She nodded over the lump in her throat. She was so happy that he had taken the steps to do this. She was happy that he had chosen Duncan, who really was an amazing counselor and had helped turn the lives around of more than a few people who had come through the doors of HFTF. And most of all, she loved that he was asking her to do some counseling with him, wanting to strengthen not only himself but strengthen their relationship as well.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea,” Alex finally said. “I’d be happy to do some sessions.”

“Yeah?” Harry responded, his lips turning up at the corners.

Alex leaned down and moved her hands from his shoulders, placing them on each side of his face. “Of course. I love you for asking.” She leaned forward and pressed her lips to his, moving them softly against his.

Harry’s hands moved up to her arms, pulling her in a little closer. He was dying to deepen the kiss, to kiss her deeply and fully and explore her sweet, sweet mouth again. They hadn’t kissed like that since they night that they had fought a week and a half ago. He wouldn’t do it though unless he was sure she was okay with it. He had pushed her the last time they were intimate and so he was going to let her call the shots as far as all of that went. He wanted her to tell him when she was ready to go back there again.

But when Alex tipped her tongue out and teased lightly at his lips it was like a shock to Harry’s system. He groaned against her lips and opened his eyes, finding hers already open wide and regarding him hopefully. “Kiss me,” she whispered. “Please.”

There was no way Harry could resist that. He pulled her down on his lap and slid a hand into her hair. Then, searching her eyes one last time and finding the same hope and want there, he pulled her lips to his. His tongue immediately dove into her mouth, his heart slamming against his chest as her tongue rubbed along his, kissing him back as hard as he was kissing her. Her hands went into his hair and she held him to her as he loved her mouth with his. He kissed her and kissed her as long as he could, as long as time and his body would allow him to, before he finally had to pull back from her, and it was with regret that he did so.

“Alex…damn…” he breathed. “I would love to sit here and kiss you like that all day. God…you have no idea. But…”

“But you have a meeting to go to,” she grinned, loving how his wits were scattered just a bit by her and her kisses.

“I do,” he nodded. “And it’s important. Still want to go to lunch after?”

“Absolutely. Where should we go?”

He tipped her off his lap then and stood, adjusting himself and smoothing down his shirt and pants from the time Alex spent on his lap. “There’s an excellent little place around the corner. Although, you know the paparazzi are going to know I’m here, I’m sure they saw me come in. They’ll definitely follow us to lunch.”

Alex rolled her eyes. “Stalkers are what they are. They should call them that, not paparazzi.”

Harry’s brows furrowed together. “Have they been bad? I mean, have they truly been stalking you?”

Alex sighed and gave him a small smile. “No, not bad. Though, I feel like they’ve been steadily picking up recently, you know? There was that first rush when you first came back and then they tapered off. Maybe after Matt left and we weren’t going out in public as much they thought there wasn’t that much of a story and they weren’t camping out across from my building or here. But something has got them interested, I can’t figure out what it is. Nobody knows that we were fighting. Nobody knows about what happened between you, Will, your father, and me this past weekend. I’m just not sure.”

Harry ran a hand through his hair as he thought about it. “I hate to ask this, but have you checked the papers or the weeklies?”

“Yeah…I know I shouldn’t, but I wanted to see what was going on. But there was absolutely nothing. The only thing I can think is that your birthday is this weekend…”

His eyes snapped to hers. “Oh God…that’s it. That’s why they are amping up.” He laughed then, his eyes crinkling at the corners. “I must not be on my game at all.”

“They are following you because your birthday is this weekend?”

He shook his head slowly. “No, they are following both of us because my birthday is this weekend and whenever there is a major holiday or a birthday they think something big is about to happen…”

Alex caught it immediately. “They are thinking…or hoping…that we…”

Harry gulped. “Yes.”

Alex lifted her chin and looked him square in the eye. “We aren’t, right? I told you that I’m not ready to talk about that again yet.”

Harry immediately put his hands on her arms and looked down softly into her face. “Of course not, Alex. Even if…even if I hadn’t said those things, it wouldn’t be the right time. And I know you were serious when you said that I’ve lost that right. I won’t talk about those things until you are ready. I promise.”

She sighed and gave him a sweet smile as she leaned into him. “Thank you. I do love you though. We can talk about that all you’d like.”

Harry grinned before glancing at the clock on her wall. “I love you too, Alexandra. And I really want to talk about that…a lot. But I’ve got to go.”

“Go,” she said with a laugh. “Come down and get me when you’re done.”

“Deal.” He kissed her quick then and turned and slipped out of her office with a flash of that confident smile she loved so much.

He was getting back to himself more and more every day.


“So, for my birthday this weekend…” Harry said as they sat at lunch an hour and a half later.

Alex looked up from her food. “What do you have planned? Dinner and going out?”

Harry shook his head. “No, I was hoping we could go somewhere; you, me, and Emma.”

Alex cocked her head to the side. “Really? Where did you have in mind?”

“Would you be worried if I said I wanted it to be a surprise?”

“A surprise? No, I wouldn’t be worried. Are you sure you want to go out of town though? I mean, it is your last birthday in your twenties,” she grinned and winked at him. “Next year you’ll be thirty. All the fun stops then.”

Harry’s lips twitched. “You aren’t that much younger than me, love.”

She shrugged and took a bite of her food, chewing slowly before she looked at him with a sly grin. “Two years. Which means I’ve got three more years of fun while you’ve only got one.”

Harry couldn’t help the burst of laughter that left his lips, drawing the attention of several of the other diners. He knew he had just gained some extra recognition of their presence in the restaurant, and probably some extra mobile phone photos to be posted to the social networking sites, but he didn’t care. He loved that she didn’t have one single problem with teasing him like that.

“Just wait until you turn thirty and I get to make fun of you,” he responded cheekily, pointing his fork at her.

Alex pursed her lips. “You wouldn’t if you knew what was good for you.”

Harry’s shoulder’s shook with his laughter. “You’re right. I know better than that.” He stopped and took another bite of food before continuing. “This weekend though? Can you and Emma join me? We will leave Saturday morning and come back Sunday afternoon. It’s just a short trip, but there is really something I would like to do with you.”

“And you won’t tell me where we are going?” Alex asked with an eyebrow raised.

Harry’s lips turned up at the corners. “I’ll tell you that we are driving out into the country.”

Alex rolled her eyes playfully. “Okay, okay. I get it. I’m not getting anything from you. But yes, of course Emma and I will go.”

“Excellent!” Harry exclaimed. “Oh, one more thing, Alex…”


“No presents.”

“What? It’s your birthday, Harry. Of course you…”

Harry shook his head quickly. He reached across the table for her hand and squeezed it as his expression grew serious. “No presents, baby. Not this birthday. I’ve already gotten everything I could ever need or want from you. Having you and Emma with me on my birthday on Sunday is what I want. It’s all I want.”

Alex’s heart swelled at his words and she couldn’t believe how much she loved him in that moment. She squeezed his hand back and spoke clearly, assuredly. “Then you shall have us, Harry.”