Sequel: In Unexpected Places

Against the Odds

Chapter Thirty Six Part One


Alex’s eyes slid slowly open into the early morning light at the small voice that called her name. She turned toward it and found Emma standing at the door to the bedroom, peeking her head in. “Emma? What is it baby?”

Emma moved inside the door and shut the door quietly behind her before she padded across the carpeted floor to stand in front of Alex’s side of the bed. “Mummy, it’s thundering and lightening outside. It woke me up.”

As if on cue, lightening flashed into the room and the thunder clap was almost immediate. Emma jumped and her eyes widened. “That must have been really close.”

“Sounds like it,” Alex murmured with a smile as she pulled back the blanket. “Wanna climb in with us?”
Emma nodded quickly and she climbed in next to Alex who grunted as a wayward gangly elbow shoved into her side.

“Sorry, Mum,” Emma whispered. She glanced back at Harry to see if he was still asleep and he was, his t-shirt covered chest still rising and falling softly.

“It’s okay, baby,” Alex whispered as she pulled the covers up over them. She smiled softly as Emma curled up into her, tucking her back into Alex’s chest. She wrapped her arms around her daughter and sighed, loving these moments. Emma was so on the go, much like Harry, always into something, wanting to be in the middle of it all. Alex adored that about both of them, but she also adored the quiet moments like these with Emma, when she could just cuddle up with her daughter and enjoy her.

“Mum?” Emma whispered.


“I’ve had so much fun here this week. I’m glad Harry could come.”

Alex smiled sleepily and kissed the top of Emma’s head. “Me too, Em. Now let’s go back to sleep. It’s too early to get up.”

“Okay,” Emma sighed. “I love you.”

“I love you too, baby.”

Alex pulled her daughter a little tighter against her and closed her eyes. Her mind drifted back towards sleep even as she felt Emma’s breathing even out against her. She was just about asleep when she felt the bed shift and then felt warmth against her back as Harry moved into her.

“Look at you two,” he whispered into her ear. His lips tilted up into a smile as he peeked over her shoulder at Emma snuggled up.

“The thunder woke her up and she came crawling in,” Alex whispered back. “She just got back to sleep.”

“I’ll be quiet then,” Harry murmured as he shifted a bit closer and slid a gentle arm around both of them, holding them close.

And that’s how they drifted back to sleep; Harry holding both of his girls in his arms, completely content.


The day continued to be rainy, which wasn’t so bad considering they didn’t have anything specific planned, but it did keep them confined to the indoors. Of course, Emma jumped at her chance and suggested a Disney movie marathon in the theater room. No one saw any reason that a movie marathon wouldn’t be a perfect way to spend a rainy day, so that’s what they did.

During Cinderella, their second movie of the day, Alex began to get a tiny bit restless and decided she needed to move around a bit. She nudged Harry and she gave him a small smile when he turned to look at her. “I’m going to go see what Mom’s doing in the kitchen and stretch my legs a bit.”

“Okay, do you want me to come with you?” he asked.

“No,” she shook her head. “Stay. Watch Cinderella,” she said with a wink.

He chuckled and pulled her to him for a quick kiss before she stood and made her way out and across the house to the kitchen.

“Hey Mom,” she said as she found Donna going through cabinets. “What are you doing? Do you need any help?”

Donna turned and smiled at her daughter. “I’m just going over my list of things I need for Thanksgiving dinner. Whatever I don’t have I need to go to the store later and get. Tomorrow the stores will all be madhouses. I don’t need help, but you can sit and talk to me.”

“Okay,” Alex smiled as she slid onto a stool.

“I don’t even need to ask about our resident Disney fan Emma, but are you and Harry enjoying your visit?” Donna asked.

“Very much,” Alex said with a firm nod of her head. “He likes it here. He really likes you and Dad.”

Donna grinned at Alex and then dipped into the pantry for a moment before coming back out with a package of Oreos. She pulled the package open and slid them over to Alex. “I know you love them,” she winked. “Want some milk too?”

Alex laughed, loving that her Mom didn’t even ask if she wanted cookies. She just knew shoved them at her, knowing she would eat them. “Yes, please.”

Donna quickly poured them each a glass and leaned on the counter across from Alex, grabbing a cookie after Alex did and dipping it into her glass. “We like him too, baby. Very much.”

“Yeah?” Alex’s face softened.

Donna chuckled. “We do. He’s unbelievably polite and so easy to talk to. I honestly wasn’t expecting him to be so…” she trailed off, not really knowing how to phrase it.

“Open?” Alex offered.

Donna scrunched her nose and nodded. “Yeah, I mean, given who he is and everything.”

Alex nodded as she dunked an Oreo. “It was kind of wild how he was never that way with me. Closed off I mean. He just seemed to instantly trust me, and I him.” She shrugged and turned her eyes up to Donna as she bit into a cookie, chewing thoughtfully. “His family as well; they were all very accepting of me and Emma right away.”

“Think about it though, Alex. You were the same with him. You never let anyone in, not since John. And you just let Harry right in.”

“I did,” Alex agreed. “It just felt…I don’t know…” She stop smiled almost shyly at Donna. “This is going to sound so silly and cheesy, but it felt completely right instantly for him to be in my life. Once he was there, it was like…he fit, Mom. With me and Emma, he just fit in.”

“She adores him,” Donna said softly. “Her eyes when she looks at him, Alex…”

Alex’s eyes snapped to her Mom’s from where she was dunking an Oreo in her glass. She heard the catch in her voice. “She loves him. And he her,” she said simply, making assurances to her mother the best way she knew how.

“Yes, I can see that.” Donna blinked away the emotion that had surfaced and she quickly put a smile on her face. She grabbed another cookie and they sat in companionable silence for a few moments before suddenly Donna stood up straight. “Oh goodness! I almost forgot to tell you. Erin called this morning, she said that her, David, and the baby can come for Thanksgiving after all.”

“Did I hear someone say something about a baby?” Harry asked, smiling wide as he moved into the kitchen.

“Ha!” Alex laughed as he moved over to stand behind her, putting his hands on her shoulders and kissing the top of her head. “Mom just told me that my cousin Erin, her husband David, and their new baby will be here for Thanksgiving. Last I heard they weren’t going to be able to make it.”

“Are you a fan of little ones, Harry?” Donna asked with a smile. “Other than Emma of course.”

Alex snorted and Harry shook his head and laughed at her reaction. “I love kids, Donna.”

“Your brother and sister-and-law had a baby in July, right? I think I remember seeing something small about it on the news,” Donna joked.

Harry grinned and reached around Alex for an Oreo and dunked it in her glass of milk. “They did. Little Henry. He’s amazing.”

“Will and Kate have to throw an extra protection officer on Henry any time his uncle here comes to visit. He keeps trying to make off with him,” Alex teased.

Donna laughed. “Well, baby Abby doesn’t have any protection officers, so we will just have to keep a close eye on you, Harry.”

“Noted,” he chuckled. “Although, I am pretty sneaky.” He moved from behind Alex and slid onto the stool next to her. “Remind me of who all is coming to Thanksgiving again,” he said as he grabbed another cookie. They were all making quite a dent in the package.

“Well,” Alex began. “There is Erin, David, and baby Abby of course. Erin’s parents, my Uncle Alan and Aunt Wendy, who is Mom’s sister, will also be here. Also, my dad’s brother, Uncle Nick and his wife Susan will come. Their two kids, my cousins Sam and Charlie will also come with their wives. Sam and Carly have a daughter, Taylor, who is four. And Charlie and Jess have two boys; Jack is five and Carter is three.”

“Sounds like a blast,” Harry said, his lips curling up at the corners.

“Oh God,” Alex laughed. “You’re going to want to sit at the kids table, aren’t you?”

Harry’s eyes widened, bringing laughter from both Alex and Donna. “There’s a kids table at Thanksgiving?”


The weather finally cleared in the late afternoon. Despite her dream day of watching Disney movies, Emma was definitely suffering from cabin fever and bouncing off of the walls. Matt, seeing an opportunity to get some alone time with his niece, asked Alex if he could take Emma on a campout on some land a friend of his owned about thirty minutes away.

“But it rained all day, Matt. How are you going to camp? The ground is soaked,” she asked, her nose scrunching up.

“Muuuuuum,” Emma whined. “Please don’t say no!”

“Emma, I’m not saying no. I’m just trying to figure out how the heck he thinks you guys can camp on muddy ground,” Alex laughed as Emma hung off of her waist, pleading with her to let her go.

“I’m going to set us up in my truck, Alex. Remember that old makeshift tent I built years ago that fits over the bed of the truck?”

“Oh yeah!” Alex exclaimed, remembering. “That sounds fun.” She looked down at Emma then, who still had her arms wrapped fiercely around Alex’s waist. She put her hands on Emma’s face and grinned. “Okay, Em. You have to all clear. You may have a campout with Uncle Matt tonight. I’ll go pack you a bag.”

“Yay!” Emma squealed as she squeezed her mom in a tight hug before bouncing away from her to Matt. “I’m so excited, Uncle Matt!”

“Me too, Bug,” he grinned, ruffling her hair. “Why don’t you go help your mom pack your bag? I’ll go to my house to get the truck and everything we’ll need. I’ll be back in about half an hour and then we can go.”

“Okay,” Emma said with a smile before taking off towards to stairs. “Come on, Mum!”

“Never a dull moment with that kid,” Alex said with a playful roll of her eyes before she moved off to follow Emma up the stairs.

Matt immediately turned to Charlotte who was sitting on the couch with Harry, watching the conversation go down. “Are you sure you’re okay with me going off with Emma for the night?”

Charlotte rolled her eyes, but Harry caught the small smile that tugged at her lips. “Yes, Matt. I’m a big girl. I’m going to stay here and get drunk with Alex.”

“You are a bad, bad influence on my little sister,” Matt teased.

“Ha! No worse than this one right here,” Charlotte tossed back, nodding towards Harry.

“I doubt it,” Matt laughed. He walked over then, and surprising both Charlotte and Harry, he leaned over, balancing with his hand on the arm of the couch, and dropped a quick, soft kiss to Charlotte’s lips. “I’ll see you in the morning,” he said softly.

Charlotte blinked and Harry’s couldn’t help the way his mouth dropped a little bit at what he just saw.

“Okay,” Charlotte said, blinking a few more times before she seemingly recovered herself a little bit. “Now go, you don’t want your niece to wait on you.”

“I sure don’t,” he grinned. And then with another quick kiss to Charlotte and handshake to Harry he was gone, seemingly just as excited as Emma was.

Charlotte immediately turned toward Harry when she heard the front door shut. “Don’t even,” she snapped, pointing a finger and narrowing her eyes.

“Hey…” Harry chuckled, holding up his hands in front of him. “I’m not the one who just kissed you like that. Don’t get mad at me.”

Charlotte lips pulled tight. “Harry, I said don’t…wait, what? Kissed me like what?”

“Like he was going to miss you.”

Charlotte groaned. “Oh shit.”

“You are in so much trouble,” Harry laughed.

“Shut up.”

“You really should be nicer to me, Charlotte. I mean, not only do you work for me, but my girlfriend’s brother is totally enamored with you. I mean, that’s a lot of power for me to have,” he teased.

“I hate you.”

“Aw,” Harry chuckled as he leaned over and wrapped an arm around Charlotte’s shoulders, pulling her to his side. “You do not. You love me….and Matt. You love him too.” He bit his lip in an attempt to keep from laughing when Charlotte turned to him with a death stare.

“I’m gonna kill you,” she murmured, her eyes narrowed.

“Ha! Oh, I know. But it will have been all worth it, just to see this look on your face.”


Matt and Emma got out to the land right before the sun set, giving Matt just enough time to get everything set up before it got too dark. Blankets and pillows galore were placed in the bed of the truck and the tent went up over it. The top of the tent was mesh, allowing the night sky to be visible once they were under it. Matt smirked to himself as he got everything ready, remembering just how popular with the ladies this particular brilliant idea of his had made him in high school.

“Alright Bug, we are ready,” he called out to Emma, who was about twenty feet away from him, entertaining herself by turning circles under sky, watching the stars that had just begun to twinkle as she spun around. He laughed as she stopped and then immediately stumbled from being dizzy. She giggled as she caught herself and then came running over. Matt caught her with a grin and lifted her onto the tailgate.

“Shoes off, Emma. You don’t want to get mud on the blankets.”

“Oh yuck,” Emma agreed. “No I don’t.”

Matt chuckled and helped her get her little boots off and then directed her to crawl in, which she did. Then, hopping onto the tailgate himself, he pulled off his own boots and crawled in after her. He laid back on the blankets and turned towards Emma, who was staring up at that sky.

“This is a fun idea, huh Em?”

She turned towards him. “Yeah! Thank you for thinking of it, Uncle Matt.”

“Sure, Bugger.”

“What do you think Mum and Harry are going to do tonight?”

“I’m not sure about Harry, but I know that your mum is going to hang out with Charlotte for the night.”

Emma turned and grinned at Matt. “You could have asked Charlotte to come if you wanted to, Uncle Matt.”

Matt’s eyebrows rose and his lips turned up at the corners. “Now why would I do that?”

“You like her.”

“You think so?”

“Yep,” Emma said, matter of fact. “I notice these things. Besides, she’s pretty.”

“She is,” Matt agreed with a laugh. “But not as pretty as you, Bug.”

Emma giggled prettily and reached down to bring a blanket up over her as the night had grown chilly. They both grew silent for a moment, just watching the stars.

“Harry thinks my mum is pretty,” Emma said, her voice happy with the knowledge.

“He absolutely does.”

“And he makes her happy,” Emma said, a little more serious this time.

Matt’s eyes softened. “Unbelievably happy.”

“Did my daddy make her happy?”

Matt immediately turned to her. “Yes, he did. And he gave her you, which really is the happiest thing that’s ever happened to her.”



“I have a question, Uncle Matt…” Emma said, a little hesitantly.

“Shoot, bug,” he prodded gently.

“Can someone have two daddies?”

Matt blinked, stunned for a moment. “Well, Emma. Why don’t you tell me why you are asking that question and then I will do my best to answer.”

“Okay,” she agreed in a small voice. Her little fingers twisted nervously. “I never knew my daddy…” her voice trailed off and Matt was quiet, knowing she was mulling something over, trying to wrap her brain around it. Then her big blue eyes turned up to his. “But I was hoping someday that Harry might want to be my daddy too. I just don’t know if it’s allowed.”

“Oh sweet girl,” Matt murmured. Unconsciously his hand came up to his chest, resting over his heart. “It’s allowed, Emma. It’s very much allowed.”

“Do you think my daddy would be okay with that? I know he watches from Heaven.”

Matt couldn’t help it; he reached over and pulled Emma into his arms. He laid back and tucked her into his side. “Your daddy would be very much okay with it. Harry loves you and your mum very much. I know your daddy sees that and wants that for both of you.

“Okay,” Emma said simply, accepting Matt’s answer without a second thought. “Can you tell me about all the stars now?” she asked, completely changing the subject, causing a low rumble of a laugh to roll through Matt’s chest.

“All of them? That’s quite a bit.”

“Yes, all of them! Please?”

He chuckled and adjusted them both so they were both looking straight upwards. “Okay,” he pointed upwards. “See that star, the really bright one high in the sky?” Emma nodded, looking to where he was pointing. “That’s called the North Star, but I call it Emma’s Star.”

Emma smiled prettily. She had heard this before, no doubt, but she never tired of it. “Why?”

“Because it shines the brightest, of course.”


“So what are we doing tonight?” Alex asked Charlotte as she flopped down on the couch in between her friend and Harry.

“Getting drunk,” Charlotte responded immediately.

“Yeah?” Alex chuckled, leaning into Harry’s side. “Any particular reason you want to get drunk?”

“Do I need a reason?”

“No,” Alex laughed. “Not at all. I was just curious if…”

“Matt kissed her,” Harry interrupted, his voice smug.

“Shut it,” Charlotte said immediately, causing Harry to dissolve into laughter.

“So what if Matt kissed her? I’m pretty sure they’ve done more than that.” Alex said, scrunching her forehead and turning to Harry.

Harry shook his head, fighting off the urge to laugh again. “He kissed her like this,” he finally said, leaning over and dropping a soft kiss to Alex’s lips. “And then he said, ‘I’ll see you in the morning.’”

Alex immediately turned and pointed to Charlotte. “Aw! He’s going to miss you!”

“Jesus Christ,” Charlotte swore, throwing up her hands. “What is with you two? You are the sappiest, most ridiculous…whatever. Are we getting drunk or not?”

“Absolutely,” Alex nodded. Both Donna and Mike walked into the room right then and Alex grinned as her eyes fell on her mom. “Hey Mom?”

“Yes, Alexandra?” Donna asked as she walked over and sat on one of the chairs across from the couch. Mike followed and took a seat on the chair next to her.

“What kind of wine do you have?”

“Plenty of whatever you need I’m sure. Why? Would you like a glass?”

“Actually,” Alex said, a smile tilting her lips. “Charlotte and I were hoping to have a few glasses. Want to join us? We can have some girl talk.”

Donna clapped her hands together and smiled wide. “I would love to! Come on ladies,” she said, standing up and motioning to the girls. “Let’s go raid the wine fridge.”

Alex and Charlotte quickly nodded in agreement and the three women quickly moved from the room, talking and laughing and leaving their men completely forgotten in their wake.

Mike looked towards Harry, a mock horrified expression on his face. “Harry, what do you say I grab a bottle of scotch and you meet me on the back porch and we can talk more about that…environmental stuff you were telling me about the other day?”

Harry had a moment of confusion, not knowing what the heck Alex’s dad was talking about, but then the realization hit him. Mike wanted to get the hell out of this room before they got sucked into the inevitable drunken gossip; and in true man form he had found a way to express that without expressing it. He grinned. “I think a discussion about the environment over a bottle of scotch sounds right up my alley.”


Three hours and four bottles of wine later, Donna, Alex, and Charlotte were sufficiently drunk. Both Mike and Harry had called it a night an hour before, much to the delight of the three tipsy women in the living room, who were more than happy to tease the men about not being able to keep up.

“Okay, Charlotte,” Alex turned towards the brunette on the couch next to her. She giggled as wine threatened to slosh over the side of her glass at her sudden movement and took another quick gulp in the interest of not letting it happen again.

“Okay, Alex,” Charlotte mimicked, smirking at her friend.

“Tell us the truth,” Alex said, smiling wide. “Tell me and mom the truth. You like Matt, don’t you?”

“Oh come on!” Charlotte groaned. Her head fell back into the couch as Alex and Donna both giggled into their wine glasses. “Why do you insist on this line of questioning?”

“Because I know you do,” Alex said. “And I’m determined to make you admit it.”

“I do not.”

“Mom,” Alex called, looking towards her mother. “Matt likes Charlotte, doesn’t he?”

“He does,” Donna nodded. “He told us all about you before you got here.”

Charlotte snorted. “I’m not sure there was much to tell.”

“Well,” Donna drawled, a slow smile spreading across her face. “I believe his exact words were, ‘She’s snarky and disagreeable, but when she smiles it’s all worth it.’”

Charlotte was stunned for a moment. She was stunned by the words; stunned that Matt said them to his parents. And for the few seconds that it took for Alex’s face brake out into a wide smile and whip back around to Charlotte, she tried to process that Matt had said something so…nice about her.

“Oh my God!” Alex squealed, snapping Charlotte from her thoughts. Charlotte’s momentary stunned look was quickly replaced by one of indifference.

“Stop,” Charlotte grimaced, glancing towards Alex.

“I will not,” Alex continued, determined. “Damn, he likes you…a lot. Matt doesn’t say stuff like that. And you like him too. I mean, you’ve stayed at his house for three nights now and you haven’t once said you want to kill him.”

“That doesn’t mean I like him,” Charlotte sighed. “It just means I…”

“Like him?” Donna offered teasingly, much to Alex’s amusement.

“Okay, look.” Charlotte rolled her eyes. “Matt is fun. Matt is amusing. He’s funny and witty and of course I…like him. But…” she trailed off and narrowed her eyes at Alex when her own eyes widened and she opened her mouth to speak. Alex quickly snapped her lips shut and Charlotte took a deep breath and continued on. “But, it doesn’t go beyond the fact that when he isn’t being annoying I enjoy his company.”

Alex and Donna were both silent for a moment and Charlotte was convinced she got her point across. She relaxed back into the couch and pulled her glass of wine to her lips. And then Alex sidled a little closer to her and Charlotte immediately knew that nothing she had said had penetrated though the alcohol haze in Alex’s brain.

“Charlotte?” Alex asked sweetly.

“No, Alex. Whatever your about to ask, the answer is no.”

Alex wasn’t deterred. She leaned in a bit closer and put her head on Charlotte’s shoulder. “When you and Matt get married can I be in the wedding?”

“Oh God. And you’re done,” Charlotte moaned, snatching the wine glass from Alex’s hand and moving it to the table beside her.

Alex dissolved into laughter and collapsed backward onto the couch and Donna joined in, her laughter joining with her daughter’s to bring a smile - even though it was small - to Charlotte’s lips.


It wasn’t too much later when the ladies decided to call it a night. Alex was sufficiently drunk, Charlotte was pretty much passed out on the couch, and Donna, while not as inebriated as the other two, needed to get to bed as she had to get up early and start preparing for their Thanksgiving dinner in two days.

Alex managed – barely – to make her way up the stairs to her room. She opened the door to the room and she smiled hazily, seeing Harry sleeping in the bed; in her bed. He was lying on his stomach, his face turned towards her, completely relaxed in sleep. She walked over to the bed and climbed on top of it on her knees, scooting over to Harry and placing her hand on his back.

“Haaaaaarrrrry,” she called as she shook him. “Haaaaaarrrrry. Harry…”

His eyes pulled open slowly at her actions, blinking a few times as he took her in. “Alex?”

“Hi Harry!” she said brightly.

His eyes opened wider and his lips tugged up at the sides. “Oh God. You’re sloshed.”

“Incredibly,” she nodded as she sat back on her heels, smiling down at him.

He laughed as he turned over and sat up, running a hand through his hair. “Did you drink any water?”

“Water?” Her nose crinkled, confused. “No. I drank wine. You can’t get drunk on water.”

“Ha! No, love, I know that. Did you drink any water before you came to bed?”

“Nope,” Alex grinned. She scooted closer to him then and wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling her close to him. “I just came straight to bed. Bed with you.”

Harry chuckled. “I do appreciate that, baby. However, you need water and Advil, or you’re going to hate life in the morning. Let me get you some,” he offered, leaning over to kiss the tip of her nose before sliding out of her arms and out of the bed.

Alex grinned as she sat back on the bed and watched him move around, pulling the Advil bottle from his travel case and then going into the bathroom to run her a cup of water. He was back quickly and came around to her side of the bed to stand in front of her.

“Here,” he said, holding out the two small pills. “Take these.”

“Okay,” Alex shrugged, taking him from them with the glass of water. She tossed them back with a gulp of water and went to hand the glass back to him.

“No,” he shook his head with a smile. “Drink all of it.” He watched as she drained the glass and then held it up proudly in front of her. He took it from her and went back into the bathroom and filled it up again, bringing it back. “Okay, now drink this one and I’ll get you something to sleep in.” His voice was amused but loving and it made her feel warm, warmer than the alcohol. It made her feel taken care of.

She took smaller sips as she watching him go and pull her clothes from the drawers. “You love me,” she sighed when he came back to stand in front of her.

“I do,” he smiled as he took the glass from her and set it on her nightstand. He pulled her shirt from her head, quickly replacing it with a tank top.

“You love me a lot,” she grinned as she moved to stand so he could help her from her jeans and into her sleep shorts.

“I really, really do,” he laughed as he tugged her shorts over her hips for her. Her eyes were hazy and her cheeks were rosy and he couldn’t help but find her amazingly sexy in this moment, even though he would never act on it, not with her level of inebriation.

Alex wrapped her arms around him and leaned into him. She rested her chin on his chest as she looked up at him. “You love me so much that you’re going to marry me someday, aren’t you?”

Harry’s eyes widened in surprise before he shook his head slowly and his hands came up to smooth her hair from her face. He smiled softly down at her. “I’m absolutely not having this conversation with you now. Not while you’re shitfaced.”

“It’s okay, you don’t have to, Harry. I know. I know that you love me and you want to marry me and put babies in my belly. You told me…and…” Suddenly she perked up. “And you know what I thought of today, Harry?”

He chuckled. “What did you think of today?”

“You know the movie, Up?”

“The one with the old guy?”

“Yeah!” Alex exclaimed, clearly excited he knew what she was talking about. “And you know the talking dog?”

“Yeah…where are you going with this?”

Alex grinned. “You’re that dog, Harry.”

His forehead crinkled and his lips twitched. “Okay, what in the hell are you talking about?”

Alex giggled and moved back from him, sitting back on her heels on the bed. “When mom and I were talking about my cousin’s baby and you came in all excited cause you heard the word baby. When someone says, ‘Baby’…you are that dog. You just snap to attention like he does when he sees a squirrel. Someone says, ‘Baby’ and…” Alex suddenly sat straight up and snapped her head to the side, seemingly concentrating on something in the distance. Then she turned back around to him with a wide, proud smile. “See? You’re the Up dog.”

Harry stared at her for a long second before breaking out into laughter. “Okay love,” he said, guiding her back onto the bed and then moving around to his own side, climbing under the covers. He pulled her to his side and kissed the top of her head. “No more wine for you until you can come to bed without comparing me to a dog. Even if it is a cartoon one.”