Sequel: In Unexpected Places

Against the Odds

Chapter Forty Four

“Oh my God…” Harry breathed as his world spun around him. His eyes were wide and his entire face grew at least two shades whiter than normal and it made Alex cry harder, made her awful for having to do this to him.

“Harry, I’m so sorry.” Her voice broke and her tears spilled over as she looked at him. “I know better than that and…Harry I swear I didn’t do this on purpose. I wouldn’t…”
“Oh God, Alexandra…” he groaned as her words snapped his from the fog it had slid into with her revelation. His eyes refocused on her and his stomach dropped, utterly heartbroken that she felt that she needed to explain herself to him. He moved to her quickly, running his hands up over her shoulders and to her face, cupping it gently in his fingers. “I know that Alex.” His voice was firm as his eyes held hers, steady and conveying the truth he was also speaking. “I would never, ever think that you would purposely…” He trailed off as his voice caught and instead of trying to continue on where he knew he wouldn’t be able to, he pulled her into his arms and she went easily, burying her head in his chest as he wrapped his arms tightly around her.

“I don’t know what to do…” she mumbled into his chest.

Harry took a deep breath and forced his mind to focus, to think rationally. This was a situation that was just as new and shocking to him as it was to her, but he also knew that for her the fallout could be so much worse, more than he wanted her to ever have to deal with.

“Okay,” he finally said, trying for conviction. “Let’s just…” He shook his head as he pulled back from her just enough to look down into her face. “I assume you haven’t taken a test.”

She shook her head. “No…I can’t just go out and by one, the paps would be all over me. And I didn’t want to go see my doctor before I talked to you and I didn’t even know if I would still be allowed to see my own doctor still and…”

“Okay, okay, okay,” Harry rushed in, his voice soothing over the rising panic in hers. “Okay love, let’s just take this one step at a time.” He paused to wait for her reaction and when she nodded he took a deep breath. “We need to take a test. We need to figure out a way to get one without tipping off the press.”

“Who can we trust to do that that wouldn’t send up red flags everywhere if they were seen picking up a test?”

“Charlotte?” Harry suggested with the first name that hit his brain.

“No, she’s on holiday with Matt, remember? She left last night.”

“Shit,” Harry groaned. “Sorry. Of all people I should know that, my brain is just…fuck.”

Alex sighed. “God Harry, this is Kensington Palace. Are you sure you don’t just have some lying around somewhere?”

“Kate,” Harry said instantly, startling Alex.

She blinked in confusion. “What?”

“I’d bet money Kate has some from when they were trying for Henry. I went over there once and she had them just…stockpiled.”

And despite the situation, despite the potential fallout from what was happening, Alex laughed. She couldn’t help it. It sort of just gurgled up her throat and left her lips, catching both her and Harry by surprise.

Harry’s lips twitched. “You were just imagining an entire room in their apartment filled with pregnancy tests, weren’t you?”

Alex nodded, her shoulders shaking with the humor of the image. “My mom is addicted to this show they have in the US called ‘Extreme Couponers’. The people in this show buy like, five hundred things of deodorant or whatever because they’ve figured out how to use coupons to get them for free and every single one of these people has a stockpile room…”

Harry shook his head and couldn’t help but chuckle at the image she was painting. “And that’s what you pictured?”

“I can’t help myself,” she giggled.

Harry smiled softly at her and then sighed, pulling her close again. He was glad they had been able to laugh in that moment, that she had been able to find humor. He wasn’t surprised though; it was so much like her to be able to ease the situation in her own way.

“I’ll call Kate,” he finally said quietly. He leaned down and kissed her softly and then stepped back and reached for his phone in his pocket. He dialed quickly and pulled it to his ear. “Kate, it’s Harry. I have a…favor to ask.”


Kate was at a meeting and wouldn’t be able to be there for at least an hour; an hour in which Harry knew that there were some things that he desperately needed to address with Alex. Before they took this test, before they walked into whatever the future might have thrown at them, he needed her to know some things.

“Alexandra,” he said quietly as they face each other in the foyer. “Before Kate gets here we need to…I think we should talk. I need to explain some things before we take this test.”

Alex’s lips turned down into a frown. “You want to tell me what you think we should do?”

“No, no,” he shook his head and stepped closer. He reached for her hand and pulled it into his. “But I think we need to talk about the possibilities. I think…” His eyes were serious, incredibly serious, as they searched hers. “I think that you need to know what happens if you are pregnant, Alex. This is more than just an accidental pregnancy, if this is what has happened. There are either steps that need to be taken or…things we will have to come to terms with.”

“But what if it’s false? Then we don’t have to…”

“But what if it’s positive, Alex?”

Her lip pulled into her teeth and her eyes filled with tears. “You want me to have it all, all the scenarios of what could happen, don’t you? You don’t want me to let the…feelings…that would come with me being pregnant with a baby we made override the reality of the situation.”

“I want us to be real about this.” His voice was soft, pleading. “If you are pregnant, I want us to be able to make decisions as parents that best benefit our child.”

“Okay…” she nodded, her heart aching just a little bit. It wasn’t the way she’d always envisioned talking about a potential child with him. It wasn’t sweet or giddy or filled with hope. But he was right. They needed to be real about this. “There is one thing you should know first Harry, before we talk about what decisions we would have to make.”

He stepped closer and nodded, waiting for her to speak.

“If I am pregnant, if there is a baby…our baby…I’m having the baby. Let’s make it clear that what we discuss is what will happen if I have the baby. I won’t…” she trailed off as her voice broke and she swallowed the lump in her throat. “I can’t…I would love our baby. Just like I love Emma.”

“Okay,” he nodded. His eyes were wide, open, letting her see how much he agreed with her. “Absolutely, Alexandra. I’m with you there, love.”

“I don’t begrudge anyone their options on that issue, but for us…”

“Alex,” he interrupted, his voice low and full of emotion. “If you are pregnant…” he resisted the urge to look at her stomach, to move his hands there. “Then we have the baby. We are on the same level there.” She nodded, her eyes swimming with tears. He tugged her close and pressed a kiss to the top of her head. “Come on love, let’s go sit and talk.”

He led her back into the living room and to the big, comfy couch. She slid onto it and he moved in beside her, turning so that he was facing her as she pulled her legs up under her and automatically reached for the blanket he kept draped across the couch for her and pulling it across her legs.

“Okay Harry,” she said, taking a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves. “What happens if I’m pregnant?”

His lips curved slightly at her directness. He reached for her hand and took it in his, pulling it over to his lap. He looked down at her hand tucked inside of his for a moment, his thumb moving tenderly back and forth across her skin while he gathered his thoughts, while he pulled the side of him that had to consider the consequences of every action he made to the front of his brain.

“There are very old laws that are still very much in place in regards to children born into my family,” he began, already cringing internally at how this was going to sound to her. “If a child is born out of wedlock, he or she is illegitimate. Even if the parents were to have the baby and marry later, the baby is still illegitimate.”

Alex gulped. “Meaning they wouldn’t be…”

“The baby wouldn’t be in the line of succession. The baby wouldn’t be a royal.”


“Heavy,” Harry nodded. “Gran could technically issue letters patent and change that, but honestly Alex…I can’t see that happening. It would set a precedent that I can guarantee you the powers that be don’t want to be set.”

Alex lifted her eyebrows, her gaze hardening just a bit. “The powers that be? As in your grandmother?”

“Yes and no,” Harry continued, wanting to be honest, even though he knew some of what he said was shitty. “She’s the head of the Monarchy, yes. But the Palace is a machine that she doesn’t run alone. She has people to answer to as well. As much as she loves me, and as much as she likes you and Emma, the rules wouldn’t get changed for us. You have to know that.”

“So, if we choose to wait until after the baby comes to get married…”

“Then the baby would be ours, but he or she wouldn’t be a royal.”

Alex bit her lip, trying to wrap her brain around all of it. “But if we did get married later, then any future children would be royal.”

“Yes,” Harry nodded. “And listen to me when I tell you this and know I’m not trying to sway you here, but it’s one thing to be a spare; it’s one thing to be the ‘back-up’ just in case something happens to the heir. Up until Henry was born I was the spare, and to some extent I still am, at least until Will and Kate have another one. I’ve had to carve a path that made me more than just the ‘spare’ in life. But I can’t imagine being a child that was saddled with something viewed by people as…not important at all. Not by us,” he rushed ahead, trying to make her understand. “Emma, a new baby, and future children…they would all be loved the same by me and by you, but the public can be harsh, Alex.”

Tears sprang to her eyes and she blinked, letting them slide slowly down her cheeks. “That’s…that’s a hard pill to swallow, Harry.”

“I know,” he whispered, his eyes full of sympathy for her. “So that leads us to the other way this could go.”

“Marriage?” Alex asked quietly; her voice was soft, nervous.

Harry’s eyes turned down to her fingers, still entwined within his in his lap, before swinging back up to hers. “Marriage.”

Her lips twitched. “Shotgun wedding?”

Harry couldn’t help the shout of laughter that left his lips. “No one would ever have to brandish a shotgun to get me to marry you, Alexandra.”

“Good to know,” she winked, letting the moment of lightness hang for a moment before they moved back to serious.

“I would marry you, Alexandra.” He scooted closer to her on the couch and reached out with his free hand to cup her face in his hand. “If that’s what you wanted, I would marry you.”

Her eyes filled with tears and she leaned into his hand. “Is that what you would want, Harry? Because if it’s just what I want, then that’s no reason…”

“Baby or no baby, Alexandra…you know that’s what I want. But I don’t want you to think that’s what you have to do. I’m simply laying the options out. You obviously know which one I think would be the better option for us and for a child, but Alex…” His voice was low and soft and filled with emotion. “I would support you and throw myself into this full force no matter which option you would want. You would be my family whether you married me or not. I love you and you know I’d go to the ends of the earth for you. I’d stand up and be proud of you and Emma and a new baby whether you were my wife or not; whether the baby were royal or not.”

“People would still know,” she whispered. “It would have to be done fast and then the baby would be here…they would know. It wouldn’t take a genius to put it together.”

He gave a small smile and shrugged. “It wouldn’t be the first time.”


He shook his head. “No.”

She was quiet for a moment, chewing on the corner of her lip. He could tell she was debating on something, on whether or not to say something. He let her have the moment, let her work it out in her head. And then finally, she swung her gaze up to his, her wide and nervous eyes meeting his.

“They’ll say I trapped you.”

His jaw immediately tensed. “Alex…”

“They will,” she rushed ahead. “You know they will. They will say it for the rest of our lives. The baby would have to deal with that too, eventually.”

He sighed and closed his eyes for a moment, trying to calm the anger that came with the knowledge that she was right. But when he felt her move, when he felt her coming closer his eyes opened and he smiled softly as she moved into him, crawling into his lap and settling her legs on either side of him.

“I’m sorry that it has to be this way,” he whispered, his voice tight with emotion.

“I’m sorry too,” she whispered back. “But you know what, Harry?”

“What?” he responded as she leaned down and rested her forehead on his.

“No matter what, if I am pregnant, we will have a baby. And we will love that baby…and Emma will be a big sister and she will love that baby too.”

His eyes turned up to hers and he softened, moving back with her to a place where they didn’t have to talk about all the negativity that a positive pregnancy test might mean. “Emma would be a great big sister.”

Alex smile pulled wide and she nodded. “And you, Harry…you would be an amazing father.”

And if nothing else that day had made him cry, that did. Those words, that simple sentence from Alex, from the woman he loved more than anything on the earth who was facing this potential situation, this impossible situation with him; it made him cry. The tears sprang into his eyes hot and fast and he didn’t even bother to hide it.

“I love you, did you know that?” His voice broke as his spoke, as the tears slid from his eyes and she wiped them away with soft brushes of her fingers. “You’re the most amazing woman, Alexandra Morgan.”

Her heart beat heavy in her chest and her throat constricted, the threat of tears once again very real for her. She leaned forward and, wrapping herself around him, she buried her head in his neck, holding on to him with all she had. They stayed just like that for a while, just wrapped up in each other, holding the moment. The moment before everything could potentially change.

And then, a knock on Harry’s front door broke the moment and Alex leaned back, her eyes finding Harry’s as she sucked in a breath.

“That will be Kate,” he whispered.

“Even her timing is perfect,” Alex joked with a small smile.

Harry chuckled and then his gaze met hers and locked there, heavy and anxious. He leaned forward and pressed his lips to hers. It was a soft, sweet kiss and when he pulled back from her he gave her a reassuring smile. “Come on,” he said. “Let’s go let her in.”

They moved from the couch and into the foyer. Harry held her hand the whole way, dropping it only to move to the door and let Kate in before he took it up again.

Kate moved in with the air of grace and easiness that was so much a part of who she was. She smiled sweetly at Harry and stepped close; pressing kisses to his cheeks before she turned to Alex. “Oh honey,” she murmured, feeling sympathetic for her friend and her brother-in-law. She moved in to kiss Alex’s cheeks and then handed her the bag containing a pregnancy test. “Here…it looks like you are going to throw up if you don’t take this soon.”

Alex let a laughing breath out and she nodded, smiling just a bit. “I might. I…” She swallowed and shifted on her feet. “I can’t thank you enough for bringing this over.”

“It’s nothing,” Kate said with a wave of her hand. Then, knowing she needed to leave the two of them alone, knowing they were anxious to have answers, she took the small opportunity she had and stepped forward to give Alex a hug, wrapping her arms around the shorter woman. “Will and I had a scare once,” she whispered in Alex’s ear. “These things happen. No matter what though, Harry will still love you…we will all still love you.” And then, with a warm smile and another quick hug, she was gone, leaving Harry and Alex to deal with all of it themselves.

Alex stood in shock at the revelation Kate had just whispered in her ear. She didn’t have to tell her that, Alex knew that.

“What did she say?” Harry asked, seeing the look on Alex’s face.

“Nothing,” Alex shook her head quickly. “She just…she gave me her trust in return for mine, that’s all.” Then she turned and changing the subject, Alex took a deep breath as Harry turned to her, his eyes moving to the bag in her hands. “Well…I guess we should…”

“We should,” he nodded. He reached for her hand again and wrapped it firmly in his, leading them up the stairs and down the hall to his bedroom. He pushed open the door and she moved in, her nerves building as she stood inside of his room, unsure as to what to do next. “Do you want me to go in with you?” He asked her, trying to his best to give her as much support as she wanted.

A small, nervous giggle fell from her lips. “No…” she shook her head. “I’ll go in and take it and then you can come in and wait with me. How about that?”

“Okay. I’ll wait out here for you,” he agreed with a squeeze of her hand. And then, even though it was the last thing in the world he wanted to do, he dropped her hand and watched as it fell slowly to her side.

“I’ll just be a minute,” she whispered, not wanting to turn away from him in that moment. When he nodded she took a breath and turned, walking to his bathroom, the bag shaking in her hands, her heart pounding wildly. She made it to the bathroom door before she stopped and turned back to him. “I…I don’t think I can go in there by myself, Harry. I didn’t want you to be in there while I peed on a fucking stick but I’m being ridiculous and…I need you in there. Can you come with me?”

He moved to her in three quick strides, his hands moving to her face. “Of course. Of course, baby. Come on…let’s do this.”

Together they stepped into the bathroom and suddenly it was all business. There was no more waiting, no talks to get through, no waiting on Kate to bring the test, nothing standing in between them knowing if their future was about to take a huge, unexpected turn.

Harry leaned on the counter as Alex pulled the box out of the bag and quickly opened it, pulling out the stick and the instructions. She glanced quickly at Harry before she read them over and then, steadying herself as much as she could, she moved over to the toilet and went about taking the test. Harry averted his eyes, not out of embarrassment or discomfort, but knowing she was already nervous enough without him watching her pee on a stick.

“Okay, done.”

He turned back to her as she stood and set the test carefully on the counter and buttoned and zipped her jeans, pulling her shirt back down into place over her stomach. “How long?” he asked, his voice shaky.

“Three minutes.”

It was the longest three minutes of their lives. They stood there, almost afraid to move, afraid to disturb anything in the room as if that would change the outcome, as if it would make any difference as to what the test said. Harry glanced at his watch again and again, watching the seconds tick by as Alex kept her gaze firmly planted on him, afraid to look down, afraid of what it might say. She chewed on her lip as her nerves worked themselves crazy and it broke Harry’s heart to watch it happen to her.

And then Harry’s watch ticked the last second of those three minutes.

“It’s time,” he said, his eyes wide and dark as he looked from his watch to her.

“Okay,” she nodded, her voice tiny, her eyes closing for just a moment to gather herself.

“Alex,” he called before she could look down at the stick on the counter. When her eyes opened back up to him he stepped forward and pulled her hand to him, laying it flat against his chest, covering it with his. “No matter what it says, I love you. I love you and I will support you. For the rest of my fucking life, Alexandra. I promise you that.”

“I love you too,” she whispered. “Thank you, Harry.”

And then she turned and looked, and because Harry couldn’t quite bring him to do so yet, he watched her, waited for her reaction.

She gasped and immediately sagged, one hand reaching the counter for support, the other tightening in Harry’s shirt. Harry’s heart slammed in his chest and his head whipped down to where the test sat on the counter and he let out a harsh, long held breath.

Her reaction was one of relief; the test was negative.

“Oh God, Alex…” he groaned. “Come here.” He tugged her to him and she went, burying her face in his chest and wrapping her arms around him tightly.

She stayed right there and let Harry hold her while she cried. She cried out all of the tension from her body. She cried out all of the nerves and the uncertainty. She cried out all of the worry and the ache. She even cried out that tiny little part of her that had been already in love with the baby that never really was.

And as he pulled them down to the bathroom floor and pulled her tight against him and rocked her in his arms, Harry cried with her.


The days after the pregnancy scare were quiet days. They were both shaken from it and even when Alex got her period a couple of days after the test; it still hit her emotions. That was the final confirmation that she wasn’t pregnant. It was still relief and it was still with a little bit of sadness.

But with everything that had happened, Alex had gained something from Harry, something she never knew she needed until he gave it to her. He would stand by her through anything; without question. She had never doubted him there, but hearing the words from him only solidified the knowledge in her heart that she was on the right path with him.

And as they moved into springtime and warmer days, they left that cold day behind and focused on Emma, on each other, and on the future; which for them, was very, very bright.