Sequel: In Unexpected Places

Against the Odds

Chapter Forty One

With the exception of the paparazzi incident involving Emma’s school, Alex and Emma had navigated Harry’s life with an extraordinary ease in the year that Harry and Alex had been together. Alex had held up well under the media onslaught, against the rumors, and against the stories that tried to trash her. She had kept it at bay, heeding Harry’s advice to not look at it as much as possible. Whenever she saw something that brought her down, Harry was always right there, giving her the reasons why it didn’t matter and the reasons why no one that mattered would think anything of it.

In truth, what shocked Alex more than the stories, more than the ridiculous things the reporters would come up with, was the fact that somewhere along the last twelve months, she had acquired fans. Fans that ran blogs on her, supported her, and went to great lengths to debunk rumors and false stories. But as much as Alex knew that just like she could never defend herself against those her put her down, she could never thank those who defended her, but sometimes she really, really wanted to.
It was towards the end of January when the biggest scandal to rock Harry and Alex’s relationship so far hit the media. This one wasn’t the same as the cheating accusations that were tossed around so easily online. It wasn’t like the constant claims that Harry and Alex’s relationship was just a sham set up but the Palace to make him look like he had matured and put his “Party Prince” days behind him. This wasn’t one of the many snarky, mean-spirited stories and blog posts made daily that accused Alex of being a gold digger who somehow snagged Harry through some elaborate plan that included her creating her organization simply with the intention that he would one day visit.

This story was different. It didn’t hit the media through rumor or anonymous source.

This story came straight from the horse’s mouth.


When Alex’s phone rang out one afternoon as she was finishing up at work she picked it up and seeing it was Charlotte, answered it immediately with a smile.

“Charlotte,” she greeted as she relaxed back into her chair. “I hear congratulations are in order. I’m sorry I didn’t call sooner.”

“Congratulations? What?”

Alex laughed. “Your promotion? You know, the one where Harry made you his private secretary. That’s huge deal.”

“Oh,” Charlotte said, and Alex could just imagine her waving her hand in the air. “He only did it because he hates me and wants to torture me.”

“You love it,” Alex chuckled.

“I really do…usually,” Charlotte said; her voice laced with something that put Alex on instant alert.

“Usually?” Alex asked quietly, her forehead scrunched together. She could hear Charlotte take a deep breath on the other end of the line.

“I’ve just gotten a call from a contact at the Daily Mail. Within the hour a story is going to run on their website. I need you to get Emma and get home. The paparazzi are going to descend on you.”

“What?” I mean…Charlotte…” Alex blinked several times. “I don’t…Emma is at Molly’s; she got her from school. What is the story?”

“Good,” Charlotte said, matter-of-fact and ignoring Alex’s question. “Actually that’s better. Go to Molly’s. I’ll meet you there. Harry is being pulled from training on base right now and will be driven into London. I’ll send the driver to Molly’s.”

“Charlotte!” Alex barked into the phone, her frustration starting to well up. “What in the hell is going on?! Why is Harry being pulled from training? What is the fucking story?”

“Alex, maybe it’s better to wait for…”

“No,” Alex said firmly, her voice rising steadily. “I am not waiting for Harry…oh God,” she gasped, her hand flying to her mouth. “Is he being deployed again?”

“No no,” Charlotte was quick to assure. “Look, it’s probably nothing but…”

“Charlotte, I swear to God if you don’t…”

“It’s Caroline Fletcher-Jones,” Charlotte sighed, giving in.

“Caroline Fletcher-Jones?” Alex’s brain worked fast and then her eyes went wide when she realized who Charlotte was talking about. “Caroline? As in Harry’s ex-girlfriend?” What can she possibly…”

“She went to the media and says she has a sex tape.”

Alex’s nose scrunched up. What did that have to do with her? “A sex tape?”

“She says she has a sex tape of her and Harry, Alex.”

Alex immediately felt like she was going to be sick.


No sooner than Alex was in her car and on her way to Molly’s her phone was ringing out, the ringtone indicating that it was Harry. Though her head was reeling from the news there was never a question as to whether or not she would answer his call. She leaned forward and punched the hands-free button on her dash, her stomach fluttering with her nerves.


His voice was tense as it came across the line. She could almost feel the stress. “Alexandra.”

“Hi…” she said softly. “I’m on my way to Molly’s. Emma is there already. Charlotte says she’s calling your driver to meet us there.”

“I know,” Harry sighed. “I hate this shit. We just got over the whole thing with Emma’s old school and…”

“Harry,” Alex interrupted. “I don’t want to do this over the phone. I want to talk to you and understand what the hell is going on; but not on the phone.”

“It’s not true, Alex,” Harry said low but clear. “We don’t have to talk until I get there, but I couldn’t…It’s not true. I…”

“I know,” Alex answered, tears welling in her eyes. “I just…I know that.”

He was quiet for a beat, surprise taking him over. He was used to having to explain himself to people, to have to ease their doubts about him. “You do?”

“Of course. You aren’t that stupid. Stupid for dating her, yes. But filming…” she stopped, swallowing the bad taste in her mouth. “Look. Just get here okay?”

“Okay,” he said quietly. “I’ll see you in a little over an hour. And…I love you.”

“I love you too,” Alex answered immediately. “See you in a little while.”

She took a deep breath as she punched the button to end the call. A month and a half after the incident at Emma’s old school and they were about to be under siege again. Her eyes welled up again and she choked back a sob as she blinked them back quickly. She was driving and was about to be at Molly’s and she just could not lose it right then. She needed to hold it together and find out exactly what was going on, why this was happening, and why this woman was so insistent on inserting herself back into their lives.

She had pulled herself together by the time she reached Molly’s townhouse and parked her car. She walked up to the door and knocked once before letting herself in. Just as she expected, Molly was waiting for her, moving into the foyer just as Alex entered.

Alex offered Molly a small smile as she put her bag down and pulled off her coat, hanging it on the hook next to the door. “Hi Molly.”

Molly leaned against the wall, crossing her arms over her chest. “Charlotte called me.” She cocked an eyebrow. “Bossy little thing, isn’t she?”

Alex couldn’t help the laugh that bubbled through her lips. “I figured she would call. And yes, she is, but she gets stuff done. She’s Harry’s right hand.”

“Well, he certainly picked the right person for the job. Charlotte said she was coming here and that Harry would meet you here as well?”

“Yes,” Alex sighed and then her eyes widened and pulled to Molly’s. “Oh God! We just took over your home. I didn’t even ask. I was just going wherever Emma was and…”

“Stop,” Molly broke in, holding up a hand. “Why are you always so damn worried about me? Alex, you’re my daughter. I could go on and on about why that is, but the end result is that you are. This has always been your home as well. If you need to be here then be here.”

“Okay,” Alex whispered, biting her lip. “I knew that, Molly. I know that. I just…I feel like this stuff that follows me around, that will continue to follow me around…I just hate the thought that it makes your life harder.”

“It’s just a couple of extra people in my house,” Molly laughed and shook her head. “Believe me, Alex, I’ve dealt with worse.”

“Okay, okay,” Alex smiled, holding up her hands in surrender, knowing that Molly had in fact, dealt with a lot worse in life than this and was more than capable of holding up against it. “I get it. Where is Emma?”

“Doing homework in the kitchen. She loves her new school.”

“She does,” Alex nodded. She was opening her mouth to continue on when a knock at the door sounded. “Ah, that would be Charlotte.” She turned and, after checking and confirming that it was Charlotte, she opened the door and the pretty brunette came bustling in.

“Alex,” Charlotte said, turning to friend and pulling her into a hug. “Are you okay?”

“Yes,” Alex nodded and pulled back to look at her friend with a small smile before she moved to take her bag and coat. “I kind of want to punch Caroline in the face, but I suppose that wouldn’t help.”

Charlotte tossed back her head in laughter and Alex could hear Molly snicker from behind her.

“Well, that would certainly help release some anger. Believe me, I’ve wanted to punch her in the face for some time.” She winked at Alex and then turned to Molly, greeting her with kisses on her cheeks. “Thank you for letting us come here, Mrs. Morgan.”

“Of course. And call me Molly, please,” she smiled with a wave of her hand. “Now come on girls, let’s get out of this entryway. Would you like some tea?”


Harry arrived within the hour, and after his PO made a sweep of the house, Harry stepped in. His face was drawn and he was upset and Alex immediately hurt for him. Even Emma, though Harry grinned wide when she ran to hug him, could tell something was wrong and asked Harry if he needed a nap.

“No Emma,” he chuckled as he kissed the top of her blonde hear. “But thank you for the concern.”

“Harry, I’ve consulted…” Charlotte started as Harry moved to Alex, his eyes holding hers, unspoken communication flying between them.

“Charlotte, that can wait,” he said firmly as he turned to her, having picked up Alex’s hand and pulled it to his chest, needing at least some part of her close. “I need to talk to Alex first.”

Charlotte blinked. Her mind was focused on work, focused on the task at hand, and switching that off wasn’t so easy on her. “But…”

“Look Charlotte,” Harry sighed, his eyes pleading. “I know we need to discuss options and game plans and legalities and all of that. But right now I need to shower; they pulled me right from physical training. And I need to talk to Alex. Everything else will keep for an hour or two, right?”

“Of course,” Charlotte nodded, finally pulling back into friend mode. She took a breath and looked around Molly’s living room. She spied a shelf stacked with board gamed and she pulled a wide smile. “I’ll hang here with Emma and Molly while you talk, maybe take them to town in Monopoly.”

“I always win at Monopoly!” Emma piped up, a smug look on her cute face, bringing a light moment into the room.

“I’ll bet you do,” Charlotte laughed. “Come on,” she reached out for Emma’s hand. “Help me set it up and then you can teach me all you know.”

Emma grinned and took Charlotte’s hand as they went for the shelf to get the game down. Molly turned to Harry and Alex and gave them a soft, sympathetic smile.

“Alex, take him up to the guest suite, the one with the attached bathroom. Let him shower and you guys can talk up there.”

“Okay,” Alex nodded with a grateful smile. “That’s perfect.”

“Thank you, Molly,” Harry sighed, leaning in to hug her. She pulled back and patted him lightly on the cheek before she turned and moved off to join Charlotte and Emma.

“Shall we?” Alex asked, her voice a bit shaky, her nerves rising to the surface.

He pulled her hand to his lips and nodded his head before turning to reach for his bag, hoisting it over his shoulder. Keeping ahold of his hand she led him from the room and to the stairs, leading him up to the third floor of the townhouse and pushing open the door. She moved in and Harry moved in behind her, dropping his bag on the guest bed and turning to her.

“Come here,” he said gruffly as he tugged her into his arms and held her there, her head against his chest and her arms wrapped around her waist. “I’m sorry…”

“For what?” Alex asked softly, letting him hold her, knowing he was struggling.

“For fucking upheaving your life again.”

Alex couldn’t help the giggle that slipped from her lips. She shook her head into his chest as her shoulders shook with laughter.

“Are you laughing?” Harry asked incredulously, pulling her back to look down at her face. “Why are you laughing?”

“Because you are so damn dramatic, Wales. Jesus.” She turned wide eyes up to him. “My life is not in upheaval. Yes, this sucks. And yes, I want to understand how the hell she can say this if it isn’t true. I want to know what you’re going to do about it. But the only thing that you could do to throw my life into upheaval would be for you not to be in my life. And you’re not suggesting that this…claim…will send you from my life, right?”

Harry’s face registered shock at her words. “What?! No. Absolutely not. I could never…”

“Okay,” Alex cut him off. “Then don’t act like your life is ruining me.”

“I…I don’t…”

She sighed and pulled back from his arms. “Every time some bullshit happens are you going to worry that you are somehow damaging me? Are you going to worry that at some point I can’t take this anymore?”

“Alex,” Harry’s voice grew tight. “It’s different. You have a choice.”

“No I don’t!” Alex cried out, her voice louder than she intended it to be. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and took a moment to gather herself, her thoughts. “I don’t have a choice. Do you think I could just up and walk away from this?”

Harry’s eyes were sad as they looked into hers. “You could if you wanted to.”

Alex lifted an eyebrow, her entire body radiating tension and her voice tight. “Do you think I want to?”

“They are going to assume it’s true, Alex. No matter what. I can’t prove that I wasn’t this fucking idiot that has such a big ego that I would tape myself having sex with someone. People will come out of nowhere; women who I’ve never said more than two words to but where photographed at a party near will say that I tried to get them to tape it too, just to make money from the papers. And Alex, when Caroline says she’s not going to make the ‘sex tape’ public but gives absolutely no reason for it, most everyone will assume it’s because I fucking paid her off. It will hardly occur to people, and certainly not to the media, that she doesn’t fucking have one.”

Alex blinked as she looked at him, as she let his words sink in. “Harry,” her voice was quiet, serious. “I’m going to ask you again. Do you think I want to walk away?”

He shook his head slowly. “No.” He was certain she didn’t want to.

A tear slipped from the corner of her eye and down her cheek. “Then why are you trying to give me the reasons why I should?”

“I’m not, Alexandra,” he immediately tried to soothe, taking a step toward her. “I’m just telling you that…”

“I’m not stupid, Harry.”

His mouth dropped. “I know that.”

“Really? Because it sounds like you are trying to explain to me why I shouldn’t want to stand next to you.” She swiped at the tears on her face and held up a hand as he opened his mouth. He shut it right away, his eyes wide. “It’s like you think that the fact that people can make bullshit claims and people believe them or the fact that people will think you made a sex tape with an ex-girlfriend are reasons why I would decide to say ‘fuck it.’ Those aren’t reasons. In the last year of my life I stuck with you through deployment and your PTSD where you stood in front of me in your bedroom and told me to my face that you didn’t want to marry me or have babies with me. I stuck with you through that. I went to counseling with you. I wasn’t walking away.” She stepped closer and before she could help herself she had laid her hand against his chest and she was pushing him backward, as if it would somehow get her point across faster. “Don’t you get it? Yes, it fucking sucks that Caroline is doing this, but it’s the personal stuff, the stuff between you and me that matters. And when you constantly worry that I’m going to run when the media prints some fucked up story, you are taking the stuff that isn’t about us, stuff that doesn’t matter and you are giving it so much more credit than you should.”

“Alex…” Harry’s voice was hoarse, his eyes glossed over with tears as he tried to break in. His hand covered hers on his chest and he tried to step forward.

“No! I’m not finished Harry.” She shook her head and he stopped his advance on her. “And you know, when those papers rip me down, when they say I trapped you or that I’m a gold digger, or whatever crazy shit they come up with, you are always there, telling me it doesn’t matter. You always tell me that you know who I am and so does everyone who matters. How come you won’t let me be that person for you? Why can’t you hear those things when they come from my mouth?”

And Harry couldn’t take it anymore. He reached for her and, wrapping his hands around her arms he pulled her against him, wrapping himself around her. “Alex, I don’t want you to walk away. I am not trying to tell you why you should. I could never…Alexandra…” His hands slid up her arms and to her face, cupping her cheeks and tipping her face up to him. Her blue eyes were wide and swimming with tears and his heart hurt. “All of my life I’ve had to explain myself. When stories would hit the press, I would have to explain myself, convince people…girlfriends and sometimes even my Dad, that these stories weren’t true or that they were embellished. And you…” He leaned down and brushed a soft kiss on her lips. “You never expect that. Today when I called and told you it wasn’t true you said you knew that; immediately.”

“I know you, Harry. I know…”

“I know,” he nodded, his eyes growing softer. “Listen, I have insecurities. I expect people to run from this bullshit. When you don’t, when you never question that I’m not the bad guy they make me out to be sometimes, I worry…”

“That I’m naive?” Alex bit at her bottom lip.

“No,” Harry shook his head slowly. “I worry you ignore it. I worry that you’ll keep ignoring it until one day, some story just hits you and you can’t ignore it anymore.”

“But I’m not…”

“You aren’t everyone else,” he continued on, knowing what she was going to say. Her lips tipped up at the corners at that, at how well he knew her. His eyes shifted around and settled on the bed. He moved there and sat, pulling her to him and on his lap, settling her legs around him. “Remember when I told you I was being deployed and you left me? Why did you leave?”

And Alex knew. The insecurities Harry had; she had them too. She sighed and leaned into him, moving to rest her arms on his shoulders. “Because John died in Afghanistan doing what you do.”

“I realize that it’s different because your husband died and I’m just talking about stupid tabloid articles, but do you see what I mean?”

“Yes,” Alex nodded. “I do. I get the insecurities. But listen, Harry. I will always believe you first, unless you give me a reason not to. And you’ve never given me a reason not to.”

“And I never will.” His eyes held hers, strong and firm. “I’m sorry I made you think I wanted you to leave. That is the last thing I want. I want you to stay forever.”

Alex grinned, her eyes welling with tears. “Will you promise not to assume I think my life is falling apart when these stupid scandals hit and not get so worked up about it?”

He nodded, his lips tugging up at the corners. “I promise. But if I happen to break that promise will you slap some sense into me?”

She laughed then, his heart warming as she tossed her head back with it. “Yes, I promise.”

“Good. I love you, Alex,” he said softly, his hands moving to cup her cheeks.

“I love you too, Harry.”

And then he leaned forward and captured her lips with his, both of them smiling as they moved back into each other, putting the fight and the stress of the scandal Caroline created behind them, at least for that moment.

“Mmmm,” he groaned as she moved closer into him, wrapping her arms fully around his neck. “Alex…” he chuckled as he pulled regretfully back from her lips. “We cannot start this right now. I have to shower and then we have to go talk to Charlotte or she’ll kill me.”

Alex pouted prettily, her eyes growing wide and innocent and her lower lip jutting out slightly. “Don’t tell me you are afraid of Charlotte…”

“Ha!” he laughed. “Alright then, you get to be the one to explain why we kept her waiting.” He laughed harder as Alex immediately climbed out of his lap, abandoning any thoughts of lovemaking that were in her head.


The scandal caused a media firestorm when it broke and there was no doubt that Caroline Fletcher-Smith was the star of the show. She did her rounds on the TV news networks, both in England and in foreign markets.

There was one tiny statement put out by the Palace on the day the scandal broke, simply denying the existence of a tape. It was short, sweet, and to the point. Nothing else would be said.

But for a week it continued, Caroline carrying on very publicly, baiting the Palace in every way she could think of. She would tell anyone who would listen that although she knew people would think she was wrong to release this “tape” she had, but she sold a sob story along with it, claiming Harry had been a mean-spirited and unfaithful partner when they were together and this allowed her conscience to be clear.

But her continued media blitz was met with silence. Dead silence.

Finally, on day seven, Caroline’s lawyers contacted Harry’s office to inform them that miss Miss Fletcher-Smith would be willing to cease talking to the media and to not release the “tape” in exchange for a monetary sum.

They were shut down instantly and their rebuttal was simple. There was no tape and therefore it could not be released.

The next day Caroline released a statement that she had decided not to release the tape and stopped her media campaign.

And Harry was right; the overwhelming consensus was that the palace had paid her off. The doubts existed that there was ever a tape, but most believe that Caroline has successfully gotten hush money from Harry.

Alex learned a lot from that week in which she was hounded and chased by the paps and took refuge most nights with Emma at Harry’s house. It was a fine line that Harry walked with the press. He couldn’t fight back on things that what had happened with Caroline. He couldn’t come straight out and say she was lying and trying to extort him. It was simple denial and then silence. It was against every instinct that they had as humans to try and defend themselves.

But eventually the firestorm died down; eventually the papers and the public stopped talking about it and moved onto the next thing.

It wasn’t the last storm that Alex and Harry would weather together, but they did weather it well. At the end of everything they were stronger, more connected, and more in love than ever.