Sequel: In Unexpected Places

Against the Odds

Chapter Thirty Nine Part Two

“I cannot believe you bought her a horse,” Alex laughed with a shake of her head. She was standing at her sink, washing the last of the dishes from the evening with Harry, her family, and Charlotte. They had all left a bit earlier, and Emma was in bed – clutching the picture of her brand new horse – leaving Harry and Alex alone. This was the last little bit of time they would spend together before he left the next day for the drive to Sandringham.

Harry grinned as he set his wine glass on the counter and moved in behind her. “Are you mad I didn’t tell you first?” he asked softly as he brushed her hair aside and pressed a soft kiss to her neck.

“Mmmm…” She shut off the water and leaned back against him, her eyes drifting closed. “No, I’m not mad. If you wanted to keep the horse in my flat, then I’d be mad.”
“Good,” Harry chuckled, his breath tickling her neck. “And now that I’ve done Emma’s presents, how about we do yours?”

“Wales, I swear to you that if you’re about to say my present is in your pants…”

“Ha! No, no,” he laughed as he moved slightly back from her, allowing her to turn around in his arms. “I mean, of course I always have something in there for you…” He trailed off as she swatted at him laughingly. “No, your Christmas present. Do you want to open it now?”

“Only if you open yours now as well,” Alex smiled as she wound her arms around his neck.

“You didn’t have to…”

“Oh, stop,” she laughed as she clapped a hand over his mouth. “Of course I got you a present. Don’t even bother with the ‘you didn’t have to’ stuff. Of course I did, and of course I wanted to. This is our first Christmas as a couple and I love you.”

Harry smiled softly. “I love you too.”

“Good,” she winked. “Let’s go do our Christmas, then.”

He nodded and pressed a quick kiss to her lips before stepping back from her. He waited for her to pick up her wine glass from the counter and then he took her free hand in his and led them from the kitchen and into her living room. They each went to the tree and found the presents they had bought for the other and then made their way to the couch. Harry sat and Alex moved in next to him, curling her feet up under her and tucking herself under his arm.

“Here, you first,” she grinned as she handed him the small wrapped box.

Harry grinned as the box slipped from her hand and into his. He lifted his eyes to hers for a moment before he untied the ribbon on it and then swiftly pulled the paper from the box. “Alex…” he murmured when he saw the word printed on the box.


“You’ve had the one you wear forever,” Alex, explained with a soft, slightly nervous smile as he pulled the top of the box off and the shiny, brand new watch came into view. “If you don’t want a new one or want something else…”

“Shhh…” He whispered as he reached for her, brushing her hair from her face before he tugged her lips to his. “It’s fantastic, Alexandra,” he smiled against her lips before pulling back and finding her eyes. “I love it.”

“Yeah?” Her eyes were happy and a touch relieved. He laughed.

“You thought I wouldn’t?”

She shrugged. “I didn’t know how attached you are to the watch you already wear.”

“It’s just a watch I bought myself,” he smirked. “Now this one…” His eyes turned towards the watch in cushioned in the black box. “This one I’m already very attached to. Just like the beautiful, wonderful woman who gave it to me.”

“So cheesy,” Alex teased him with a smile. He immediately chuckled and she loved that she could tease him like that; that he knew that she really did love his sweet words to her. “I’m glad you like it, Harry.”

“Me too,” he winked. “Now, you’re turn.” He handed her the present he had so carefully selected for her, wrapped up in a box a touch smaller than the one his watch had come in. She pulled it from his hands with a suddenly shy smile and ran her fingers over the beautiful paper before pulling gently at it, tearing it open at the corner. When the paper was off her lips tugged up at the corners and her gaze slid sideways to Harry for just a moment before she lifted the top off of the small white box.

“Harry…” she breathed as she took in the beautiful earrings nestled in the box. “Wow…” Her eyes moved to his. They were wide and surprised and Harry was quick to move in, knowing her first reaction would be to claim it was too much.

“I had them made for you,” he said softly. “I wanted you to have something that you could wear that no one else had, something that was made with you specifically in mind.”

Alex shook her head slowly as she stared down at the large diamonds. Each one was surrounded by a pave of smaller diamonds and set in rose gold. They were beyond gorgeous and something she knew she would wear often. “I absolutely love them, Harry,” she said softly as her fingers moved out to touch them lightly. Her eyes shifted from the earrings back to him, her head tilted to the side, and her lips tugged up at the corners. “I know you think I’m going to say it was too much, and believe me, part of me wants to, but I love that you did this for me.”

“Yeah?” His grin was happy, but she could see the cockiness lurking there in the way his lips tugged up at the corners.

“Well, it is Christmas, Harry. I suppose there is at least one day out of the year I can be okay with you spending ridiculous amounts of money on me and Emma.”

“Ah well, that’ll do for now,” he smirked as she moved closer to her. He reached into the box and pulled out the earrings. He held them up with raised eyebrows and she rolled her eyes playfully but nodded and took them from his fingers one at a time to place them in her ears. “Beautiful,” he whispered when she was done.

“Hmmm…thank you,” Alex murmured, her lips tugging up at the corners. She leaned forward to place the now empty box on the coffee table and then she turned back to him, moving into his side and tilting her face towards his. “I’m going to miss you.”

“I know, love. I’m going to miss you too,” he smiled before he dropped a soft, sweet kiss to her lips. “It’s only four days though; we’ve been apart for longer than that before.” He turned his body towards hers and wrapped his arms fully around her, pulling her even closer.

“I know,” she sighed. Her hands slid up his arms and over his shoulders before moving to his neck, her fingers playing lightly in the hair there. Her lips tilted into a smile that was playful and happy as they wrapped themselves up in each other. “I’m just being a pouty girlfriend because I don’t get to see my boyfriend on Christmas. I’m sorry, I can’t help it.”

“I like that you want to be with me on the holidays,” Harry said quietly. “I only wish I could do more than just see you the day after.”

“Hey…I understand. You know that right? I don’t mean to complain.” Her eyes were wide, hoping he understood.

He smiled and shook his head. “I know you aren’t." His expression grew serious and he pulled her even tighter. “I would give anything for you to be there, Alex. You and Emma."

“I know,” she nodded. And then because they were done talking about it, and they both knew that instinctively, they moved on to things words couldn’t say. Alex’s fingers pressed into Harry’s neck, bringing his lips down to hers. She sighed into his month and he took the opportunity, his tongue tipping out and sliding in between the lips that moved against his in that way she had, the way that made his blood run hot and sent anything flying from his brain but her.

"Alex…" he groaned against her lips as he shifted, pulling her up against his chest and moving her backwards onto the couch. He moved over her, and she shifted immediately, her legs parting so that he could move between them as he kept his month firmly and hotly attached to hers, his tongue stroking maddeningly against hers.

She gasped when his hand slid down her side and to her thigh, pulling it higher around him and pressing closer to her. She could feel him, hard and ready against her, and her entire body immediately blossomed with an intense and incredible want for him. She arched against him and moaned, signaling that she was just as ready as he was; that she wanted this just as much as he did.

He tore his mouth from hers with a harsh breath and his lips instantly moved to her jaw, blazing a trail down her soft skin to her neck. His lips and tongue moved wildly against her and in return her hands moved wildly over him, running through his hair, stroking over his arms and then down his back where she reached the bottom of his sweater. Her hands pushed up under it just as Harry pulled at the neck of her shirt and pressed a hot, wet kiss to her exposed cleavage. She moaned and arched, trying to press more of her herself in to him. He groaned and pressed his hips into hers, needing the pressure.

And just as Alex’s hands moved from Harry’s back and to the buckle of his belt, just as Harry’s fingers tugged Alex’s shirt and bra down even further, exposing a pert nipple to him, just as his lips were about to close over it, both of them heard the slight creak of a door down the hallway.

“Mummy?” Emma’s small, sleepy voice drifted towards them.

“Shit!” Alex hissed as her eyes snapped open to Harry’s, wide and surprised. Her hands left his belt buckle and she shoved against his chest, pushing him from her. She jumped up and quickly pulled her shirt in as much order as she could before she rushed to catch Emma before she came around the corner. “What is it Emma?” she asked as she disappeared around the corner and into the hallway, allowing Harry to sit back and compose himself, to calm himself down in case Alex came around the corner with Emma.

Luckily for him, Alex returned just a few minutes later, without Emma, but with a slightly horrified, slightly amused expression on her face. “She just needed a drink of water but…oh my God,” she giggled as she walked back over to the couch. She stood before him and clapped her hands over her mouth as the humor really overtook her.

Harry couldn’t help but laugh along with her, his shoulders shaking with it. “You know, the one time we don’t go to the bedroom and lock the door before anything starts…”

“I know,” she snorted, shaking her head.

Harry grinned as he stood and pulled her into his arms. His eyebrows lifted. “Maybe we should start that over…in the bedroom, with the door locked?”

Alex giggled and nodded as she leaned into him. “Absolutely.”


“So when does Charlotte come back from her mother’s?” Alex asked Matt as she sat beside him on her couch on Christmas day. Donna and Molly were in the kitchen, whipping up an amazing dinner. They had kicked Alex out earlier in the morning, insisting that they were cooking dinner and that Alex should go enjoy herself. Michael had taken Emma out for a walk in the park; it was snowing again, Emma desperately wanted to make snowmen, and Michael had only been too happy to volunteer.

“Tonight,” Matt grinned. “Late.”

Alex studied her brother for a moment when he turned back to the TV where A Christmas Story was playing. “Matt, can I ask you a question?”

He swung his eyes back to her. “Sure, Boot.”

“What exactly are you and Charlotte?” She pulled her lip between her teeth, a bit nervous about the question. She wasn’t scared to ask Matt anything, but she had never seen him was as taken with someone as he was with Charlotte. And since Charlotte was a closed book as far as her brother was concerned…

His head tilted a bit to the side. “You’re looking for an official title?”

“No…yes…I don’t know,” she laughed lightly. “I guess I’m more looking for assurance.”

“For her?”

“For you.”

“Ohhh…” Matt nodded. “Because she’s…”

“Yeah,” Alex nodded, knowing what he was saying. “She’s said on more than one occasion that she doesn’t believe in love; not for herself anyway.”

“Whoa,” Matt laughed. “No one said anything about love, Alex.”

“No. No, that’s not what I meant. I…”

“I know, Boot,” he chuckled in that easy way of his. “I know what you meant. You’re looking out for me, hoping I don’t get my heart broken…” He trailed off and met his sister’s eyes. She nodded slowly and he took a deep breath before continuing, his eyes serious. “I’m not scared of getting my heart broken, Alexandra. Not even a little bit. If she breaks my heart in the end I can deal with it. But at least I tried, you know? At least I made every effort I could to hold on to an amazing woman.” He grinned as he saw tears spring to Alex’s eyes at his words. “And you know just as well as I do just how amazing she is, Alex.”

“She’s wonderful,” Alex smiled. “Funny and smart…and completely bitchy most of the time….” Alex giggled and bit her lip with Matt’s shout of laughter. “But I adore her. And Harry adores her.”

“As do I,” Matt grinned. “And to answer your question about what we are…”


“We talked the first night we got into London and I told her I haven’t been seeing anyone else and that I don’t want to.”

Alex almost had to stop herself from bouncing up and down and clapping her hands together in glee. “Okay. And what did she say?”

Matt shrugged. “Not much.”

Alex blinked. “What? She didn’t have anything to say?”

“Not really…” Matt drawled with a twinkle in his eye. “Charlotte is more the type to show her feelings about things through actions, not words.”

Alex’s forehead wrinkled. “What are you….ohhhh…” she groaned as realization dawned. Her lips twisted and she landed a smack right on Matt’s chest. “Gross, Matthew. You could have just said she was fine with it. Jesus Christ.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Matt chuckled as he fended off another smack. “Says my little sister who borrowed my truck to go get it on with her boyfriend at Thanksgiving.”

Alex’s eyes immediately went wide and her mouth dropped. “You knew?!”

“Of course I knew, Alex,” he smirked. “People only go down to the creek for one reason at night, plus your smile was so damn smug when you brought my keys back.”

“Ugh,” Alex moaned. “I think I’m going to burst into flames.”

“Oh come on, Alex…” Matt began, but much to Alex’s relief her front door burst open right then and Emma came rushing in, Mike hot on her heels.

Emma didn’t bother to divest of her thick winter jacket, hat, or mittens before running straight into the living room and to her mother. Her cheeks and nose were pink from the cold and her clothes and even the tips of her hair were wet from all of the snow.

“Mummy! We made lots of snowmen and snow angels and Poppy said I make the prettiest snow angels there ever was!”

Alex couldn’t help but smile as she responded to Emma, as they talked excitedly about the snow and how there was hardly anyone at the park and she got to run around and play wherever she wanted. Alex would never say she was surprised at how happy Emma was, but she would admit to being a little surprised at how well her daughter had rebounded back from the craziness that had occurred weeks earlier with the paparazzi. She had been so afraid that Emma wouldn’t want to venture out anymore, that she wouldn’t want to do things like Michael had just taken her to do, out of fear that the photographers would be there. But it hadn’t taken Emma down.

And in truth, that little fact, the fact that Emma had come through it with what seemed like a determination to face her new path in life head on, to not let it get her down, was what made Alex say yes to Harry the night he asked her to meet him at Sandringham on Boxing Day.

Because Alex had never been worried about herself in all of this. She could handle it. She had survived her husband dying and raising a baby by herself; she was strong. And now she knew that Emma was too.

As the evening moved forward, as they went from hanging around casually, laughing and enjoying each other’s company to the wonderful dinner that Donna and Molly prepared, as they moved closer and closer to the next morning they would leave for Sandringham, Alex felt more and more calm about it.

She was ready to take this next step down the road to her life with Harry.


For all the assuredness she felt the night before, the next day Alex was undoubtedly nervous. She dressed both herself and Emma carefully. She was eternally grateful Charlotte’s presence and her final approval that their outfits were appropriate for who they were going to be meeting that day.

Then, at 10 am sharp her buzzer rang out.

It was the driver of the car Harry had set up to pick her and Emma up for the two and a half hour drive out to Sandringham. They gave everyone quick hugs, Michael and Donna both gave Alex warm words of encouragement, and Matt offered a joke meant to ease her nerves, which earned him a swift kick in the ankle from Charlotte. With a final laugh at her crazy family, Alex and Emma waved good-bye and made their way down, out into the cold, and into the warm car.

The drive was smooth and easy, the roads still somewhat deserted due to the holiday. Alex casually went over things with Emma; when to curtsy – they had been practicing for days – and what to call Harry’s grandmother and grandfather.

And then, because she knew that stressing about that stuff wasn’t going to do anyone any good and that Emma could handle those basics, she let those things drop, instead preferring to enjoy the countryside with her daughter before they embarked on what was sure to be an unforgettable afternoon.

It was just after noon when they pulled into the gates at Sandringham. Both Alex and Emma couldn’t help but lean into the windows, taking in the estate around them that was beautiful, even more so in the snow.

“I’ll be taking you back to one of the guest buildings ma’am,” the driver said, bringing Alex’s attention from the window. “You’ll be staying there tonight. I’ll bring your things in for you. I’ve just gotten the call that Prince Harry is already there, awaiting your arrival.”

“Thank you,” Alex said, smiling wide at the knowledge that Harry was there and they would be seeing him within minutes.

“I’m so excited to see Harry,” Emma said softly, echoing Alex’s thoughts.

“Me too, Em,” Alex winked as she reached over to smooth Emma’s hair. “We missed him, huh?”

“We did!” Emma nodded fast.

Alex laughed lightly and then her attention was pulled back to the window of the car as they made a small turn and slowed.

And then she saw him, bundled up in what looked like his hunting gear, waiting for them with the biggest smile on his face. Her heart beat faster in her chest at the sight of him and Emma squealed, already diving for her seatbelt, ready to jump out to Harry, just as her mother was.

The car finally stopped and the driver got out, opening the side closest to Harry first, which happened to be the side Alex was on. Unfortunately for Alex’s toes, this didn’t stop Emma in the slightest and she was climbing over Alex, out of the door, and into Harry’s arms before Alex could blink twice.

“Goodness Emma,” Alex laughed as she stepped from the car herself, smiling a thank you to their driver before turning to Harry who had just pressed a sweet kiss to Emma’s cheek and was setting her back on her feet. “Hi…” she said softly as she walked up to him. He looked as handsome as ever and God, she had missed him the last four days.

She expected him to softly greet her back, to lean into her and press a light kiss to her cheek with the promise of more later on. Instead, much to her surprise, he smiled wide and as soon as she was within arm’s length he reached out and tugged her to him, her body coming right up against his.

“God, I missed you, Alexandra,” he grinned before turning and looked down at her daughter. “Emma. Hands over your eyes. I’m going to kiss your mother now.” Emma’s hand clapped over her eyes and Alex giggled right before Harry lips pressed firmly against hers. She leaned in slightly, sighing into him after four long days at the Holiday’s away from him and she just couldn’t help the way her lips tugged up into a smile against his mouth before he lifted his lips from hers.

“I missed you more,” Alex winked.

“Doubtful,” he laughed before he pressed one more light kiss to her lips. She looked so adorable, wrapped up in her warm coat, her cheeks pink from the cold air. He almost wished he didn’t have to usher them inside and then up to the main house. He almost wished he could spend the afternoon outside with them, showing them everything the estate had to offer.

But he couldn’t, they had places to be…people to meet.

“Okay Emma,” he chuckled. “You can look now. Kissing is over.”

“Thank goodness,” Emma sighed dramatically.

“I really, really hope you always keep that attitude,” Harry joked, earning an eye roll from Alex before he laughed and then stepped back from her, clapping his hands together. “Okay ladies. Let’s get you inside and comfortable. I’m going to shower and change here and then it’s time to head up to the main house for afternoon tea. Granny and Grandpa are expecting us.”


“You ready?” Harry asked quietly, seriously as they walked through the main door at Sandringham House. Alex held Emma’s hand as they stepped inside and she took a deep breath as she looked around before her eyes settled back on Harry’s.

“Yes,” she said simply, clearly. Her smile was happy and bright and no one but Harry would have ever been able to detect the small nerves that were still there, hiding right under the surface.

“Good,” he nodded as he reached for her coat and then for Emma’s. “Remember, she’s just my grandmother and he’s just my grandfather and…”

“Harry?” Alex smirked.


“When you do that, it makes it worse.”

He couldn’t help the laughter that burst from his lips at her words. “Right. Sorry,” he chuckled before turning his attention down to Emma. “How about you Em, ready?”

“Can I finally do the curtsy that Mum’s been making me practice?” Emma asked hopefully.

“Absolutely,” Harry grinned. “Let’s go let you show off that thing.”

He turned and motioned for them to follow him through the huge entryway. Alex took Emma’s hand and they followed him down several huge hallways hung with what Alex was sure were completely priceless paintings and antiques. Finally he came to a stop in front of a large set of mahogany double doors, from behind which Alex could hear music playing and shouts of laughter. She smiled instantly, feeling a bit more at ease knowing that the occupants of the room were having a good time.

“Don’t worry about where to go first, I’ll lead you around to make introductions,” Harry said quietly. “Granny and Grandpa are first and then I’ll introduce you those you haven’t met. And whatever you do Alex…” His voice was serious.

Her eyes went wide. “Yes?”

“Believe absolutely nothing my Uncle Andrew says about me.”

Laughter left Alex’s mouth in a rush of air and she shook her head. “You’re the worst.”

“I know. But I do love you…and you,” he winked down at Emma.

“We love you too,” Emma answered for both of them.

“Good, let’s do this,” Harry nodded.

And he pushed the door open.

For the rest of her life, one thing Alex would always remember about this moment was the warmth she felt when that door opened onto the large sitting room. His whole family was in there; laughing and joking, playing games, have deep discussions, and making fun of each other, just as any family would be.

They all looked up and called out greetings when Alex and Emma stepped into the room with Harry. Emma immediately brightened and waved a greeting, bringing a wide smile to Alex’s face. And then Harry caught her eye and nodded for him to follow her. His grin was big and his eyes were dancing with excitement and suddenly Alex felt the nerves fall away. He was so thrilled, so damn excited to be doing this, to be having her meet his family like that Alex knew instantly that he wouldn’t feel so free, so easy about it if she had anything to worry about.

And she was absolutely right, she didn’t.

He led them over towards a comfortable looking sofa near the fireplace, where his grandparents, the Queen of Great Britain and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh were just rising to their feet, soft smiles on both of their faces.

“Granny, Grandpa,” Harry greeted warmly, leaning over and pressing kisses to both of their cheeks. “I would like you to meet two very special ladies.” He came back to stand next to Alex just as Alex’s eyes first met the Queen’s then the Duke of Edinburgh’s. “This is Alexandra Morgan and her lovely daughter Emma Morgan. Alex and Emma, meet my grandparents.”

Both Alex and Emma immediately dipped into curtsies. “Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness,” Alex greeted softly but clearly as she dipped. Then she raised upright, caught Harry’s proud grin, and moved to focus her attention on the lovely elderly couple in front of her.

“Alexandra, Emma, please sit,” the Queen gave them a warm, welcoming, comforting smile and motioned to the couch across from hers. “And please, call me Elizabeth.”