Sequel: In Unexpected Places

Against the Odds

Chapter Forty Eight

“Would you listen to that?”

“Listen to what?” Alex giggled as Harry moved in behind her, his breath tickling her neck as he whispered in her ear. He was warm, scruffy, naked, in her bed, and she loved it. They had gotten back from Texas the day before, and since Emma was staying in Texas with Alex’s parents for another week, both Harry and Alex had taken the day off, choosing to sneak in some alone time.

“Silence,” he murmured in her ear. “No one is here but us. You can be as loud as you want…”
“Ohhh…” Alex sighed when she felt him against her backside, hard and ready.

“And no one can interrupt,” he continued, his hands running up and down her soft skin, rousing her body to the state his was already in. And then, just as Alex was about to turn in his arms, ready to bring his mouth to hers, a ball of yellow fur came flying into the room and jumped up onto the bed, his tongue hanging out and his tail wagging as he let out a yelp of a bark.

Harry groaned and fell back to his pillow, which Gus took as his invitation to move in for a lick attack. “Remind me why I talked you into getting Emma a puppy again.”

“Ha!” Alex laughed and watched as Harry dodged Gus’s tongue and tucked him up against his chest, loving on the young pup even as he scowled over the interruption. “Because you spoil her. I’m sure he needs to go out.”

Harry pouted playfully at Gus, who was in heaven with the attention. “I think what Mummy means is that she wants Daddy to take you out, isn’t it Gus Gus?” He turned to Alex to tell her he would take Gus out for his morning business, but stopped when he saw that her entire face had gone soft. “What?”

Alex’s lips tugged into a small smile. “You called me Mummy.”

Harry grinned and leaned in closer to her, momentarily sidetracked from the puppy that was now whining its request to go outside. “You are a mummy.”

“I know,” she nodded, sighing as his lips met her neck. She would forever be amused at just how this topic turned him on. “But you said it like…I don’t know. Like, I was a mummy to something of ours.”

Harry let out a groaning sort of chuckle into her neck and pressed closer. “Oh Alexandra…I can make you mummy to something of ours. I can do right now if you’d like.”

“Ohhhh Captain…” she giggled, loving when he was like this, when he couldn’t keep his hands from her, when his base level desires went unchecked.

And then, just as both of them were about to get caught up in each other again, Gus got tired of waiting, lifted up his leg, and peed right there on Alex’s comforter, sending both Alex and Harry flying out from under the covers and into action. Alex plucked Gus from her bed and then squealed as he didn’t stop, pee flying everywhere until she finally dropped him onto her hardwood floor.

“God,” Harry groaned as he pulled on boxers and hurried about quickly to help her. “I feel like a terrible parent.”

And Alex couldn’t help the laughter that burst from her lips. “Aw honey,” she winked at him, “You’ll learn. But first…someone has got to clean up this mess.”

"Of course," Harry nodded, his lips twitching. "Let me go get a towel.”


“Mmmm…that was delicious love,” Harry groaned as he sat back in his chair at Alex’s small kitchen table. After they had finally gotten Gus’s mess cleaned up, taken him out for an extra-long walk to make up for waiting so long to take him out in the first place, and come back to her place, Alex had taken it upon herself to make the two of them a delicious brunch, which Harry had obviously enjoyed. “I’m definitely glad you can cook.”

Alex arched a brow. “Are you picturing me as the little wife in the kitchen, working hard to have dinner on the table when you come home from work?”

“Ha!” Harry laughed, shaking his head. “No, of course not. I’m picturing my barefoot and pregnant wife in the kitchen, working hard to…”

“I’d stop right there if you know what’s good for you, Wales,” Alex groaned with a roll of her eyes.

He grinned and reached out for her hand and pulled her from her chair and over into his lap. “I’m teasing. Besides, hopefully most of the time when I come home from work, you’ll have been working with me.”

Alex couldn’t help the shy smile that hit her lips, even as she was settling herself on his lap, her legs moving on either side of his. The thought of what he was talking about, about being his wife and working with him, it made her almost giddy. “Yeah?”

“Yeah,” he nodded. He moved his arms around her and pulled her tighter against his lap. “I can’t wait for that.”

Alex’s lips twitched and she leaned forward, pressing her chest against his. “Look at you.”

“What about me?” he asked softly. He reached up to brush a piece of hair from her face.

“This morning it was babies and this afternoon it’s the thought of working with me that turns you on.”

“No,” Harry corrected with a smug grin. “It’s the thought of being married to you that turns me on. But to be fair, there isn’t anything about you that doesn’t turn me on.”

“That’s definitely fair,” Alex murmured. Her eyes danced and she leaned even closer. Her hands slid up his arms, over his broad shoulders, and around his neck. “Hey Harry?” she whispered, “do you hear that?”

“What?” His lips turned up at the corners and his voice dropped almost to a whisper, matching hers.

“Silence…” Her mouth curved into a slightly naughty, but impossibly alluring smile and Harry’s smile grew wide. “No one can interrupt us…I can be as loud as I want…”

Harry groaned and his hands lifted from her and moved to her hair, sliding into the silky strands and pulling her down to him. Their lips met in a slow, hot, passionate kiss. Their tongues tangled together in a dance they had perfected, yet never grew tired of. Harry’s hands clutched at her, the need between them rising fast and intense.

And just at Harry was wrapping his arms around her and preparing to pick her up and take her to the bedroom or the couch or wherever he ended up with her…the buzzer to Alex’s door rang out.

“You’ve got to be kidding me…” Harry groaned against Alex’s lips. “We’re not answering it.”

Alex sighed and although she didn’t want to, she pulled slightly away from his mouth. “We’ve got to.”

“Who could it possibly be in the middle of the afternoon on a Tuesday?” Harry murmured as he tried to pull her back to him.

The buzzer rang out again and Alex frowned. “I don’t know, but that’s what makes me want to answer it. It’s an odd time for anyone to be coming by.”

Harry pouted but he knew she was right. He only hoped that whoever it was wasn’t going to derail their entire afternoon. He had planned on spending a day making love to her all over her apartment, and so far it wasn’t happening at all like he had hoped.

“Alright, off you go then,” he grumbled. He kissed her quickly and then helped her off his lap and to her feet. She chuckled lightly at the frown on his face.

“You’re so spoiled,” she teased with a wink and she reached out to ruffle his hair as she moved out of the kitchen and to her front hallway. She pressed the button on the intercom to the speaker downstairs at the door. “Hello?”

“Alex? It’s Charlotte.”

Alex blinked and her forehead knotted together. She turned towards Harry, who stood in the archway into the kitchen. “Why would Charlotte be here?”

He shrugged. “I have no idea love. With her it could be anything.”

Alex gave a small smile in return, but something didn’t sit right. Charlotte knew that Harry and Alex had taken the day off and that they had planned to spend the day together. She instantly felt ill at ease. Something was going on.

“Come on up,” she turned and said into the intercom and then then pressed the button to let Charlotte in. Her lip pulled into her teeth as she waiting for the knock at the door.

“You look worried,” Harry observed quietly as they waited.

Alex sighed. “I have a feeling…that whatever the reason she is here isn’t good.”

“Are you worried it’s another tabloid scandal?” His voice was low and her eyes snapped to his.

She was just about to assure him that even if it was she wasn’t scared of the papers but the knock sounded at the door and Alex immediately turned and unlocked it, pulling it open. “Charlotte?”

And then she took in her friend’s appearance. The worn t-shirt, loose fitting jeans, her hair pulled back and damp, and no makeup on. She had never, ever seen Charlotte look like that. “What in the world…”

“I fucked up, Alex,” Charlotte whispered as tears spilled from her eyes. “I slept with someone. Someone who isn’t Matt.”

Alex gasped. “You did what? When?!”

Charlotte blinked and opened her mouth but closed it quickly, looking very uncomfortable as she stood in Alex’s doorway. “Last night…” she finally managed to whisper.

Alex’s face instantly hardened. She couldn’t help it. Charlotte wasn’t just confessing cheating on some guy; she was talking about Matt, her brother that she loved so much. “You cheated on my brother? Not even twelve hours after we got back from Texas you went and…”

“Hey hey hey,” Harry broke in gently, starting Charlotte with his presence and causing Alex to bite off what she was going to say and take a step back. “Let’s not do this in an open doorway,” he said softly, moving forward to the door. His hand was gently and steady on Alex’s back as he stepped up beside her and motioned for Charlotte to come in.

Charlotte bit her lip, looked to Alex who was visibly angry, and then back at Harry. “Maybe I should just go,” she said, her voice hoarse from tears.

“For fuck’s sake, Charlotte, you aren’t going anywhere,” Harry rolled his eyes. “Get inside this door.”

“Okay,” Charlotte nodded gratefully, a ghost of a smile appearing on her lips at Harry’s words.

Alex stepped back as Charlotte stepped in, but she refused to meet Charlotte’s eyes. Her cheeks were flushed, her lips were pressed into a hard line, her entire body was tense, and frankly Harry was sure that he had never seen her mad like this before.

“Listen Charlotte, why don’t you go into the living room,” Harry directed. “I’m going to talk to Alex for a minute.”

Charlotte nodded and swallowed at what was now becoming a permanent lump in her throat. Alex was going to hate her, if she didn’t already. She could see it on her face and in the way she wouldn’t look at her and it was almost as bad as if it had been Matt standing there and giving her the same treatment. Alex had become a constant in her life and a wonderful friend to her. New tears spilled from her eyes at the thoughts spinning through her mind, but Charlotte swept them away with her fingers and nodded, glad that at least she wasn’t being turned away at the door. “Thank you,” she said and then with one last glance at Alex she stepped passed them both and into the living room.

Alex immediately turned to Harry but he shook his head, silencing her. He took her hand and tugged, pulling her from the entryway and down the hallway towards her bedroom. Once they were inside he shut the door behind them before turning to look at Alex.

“I cannot believe her!” Alex hissed, her eyes flashing.

“Well, Alex…” Harry began cautiously. “I’m shocked as fuck but I’m telling you right now, she’s here for a friend, and if you can’t be one, I’m going to be.”

Alex’s eyes widened and she crossed her arms over her chest, her anger now cast in his direction. “Harry…”

He shook his head and his eyes narrowed. “Don’t do this, Alexandra.”

“She cheated on my brother Harry!” she replied, her cheeks growing more flushed and Harry knew her emotions were getting the better of her. He wasn’t mad and he wasn’t upset; he just needed her to understand his position.

He stepped forward and with gentle hands he pulled her arms out of their position crossed over her chest and then he took her hands in his. His eyes met hers and he held them, firm and open. “And Charlotte has been one of my closest friends, one of the most important people in my life for almost as long as you’ve been Matt’s sister.”

Alex yanked her hands from his and stepped back, her eyes flashing. “Are you taking her side?”

“No,” he said quickly, with a shake of his head. “I’m not taking any sides, Alex. I don’t even know what the fuck happened. I’m just saying that I’m not going to turn away from her!”

“You think I’m being unfair?” she retorted, raising an eyebrow, almost daring him to answer in the affirmative.

But Harry wasn’t backing down. He understood her anger but he wasn’t going to let her dictate his actions in this situation. “Yes, Alexandra. I think you’re being terribly unfair. You’re mad at her. I get it, Alex. But she came to you, love. Did you see her surprise when she saw me here? She didn’t come here for me. She didn’t go to Bea or Genie. She came to see you.”

“I’m not sure why she thought that was a good idea,” Alex snapped. “Like I’m just going to stand there and hold her fucking hand while she cries about how she fucked over my brother.”

“Damn it, Alex,” Harry’s voice rose to match hers. “Don’t yell at me like I did something wrong here.”

“I’m not!” she huffed. “I’m not…I just can’t believe you’re supporting her!”

Harry groaned and scrubbed his hands over his face before running them through his hair. “Alex, I don’t even know what happened! I’m just saying she obviously needs someone to listen to her, to…I don’t know, to help her get through this. And I’m a little fucking pissed that you think I would turn away on my best friend when she needs something like that. Who the hell do you think I am?”

And Alex decided she’d had enough. She knew that maybe she wasn’t being entirely rational, but she was furious that Harry wasn’t worked up over the whole thing and that he was giving her shit for defending her brother.

“I’m going to take Gus and go…I don’t know…for a walk or something. I can’t do this. It’s ridiculous that you’re mad at me and…”

“I’m not mad at you, Alex!” he broke in, throwing his hands in the air in frustration. “I’m trying to talk to you here, to make you understand that she’s my friend – our friend – and I’m not going to…”

Alex held up her hand in front of her and closed her eyes. “Stay here and talk to Charlotte if that’s what you really want to do.” He eyes opened and met his, sad but set in her decision. “But I can’t.”

Harry stared at Alex for a long moment before he nodded. “Fine.”

Alex lifted an eyebrow. “Fine?”

“What else would you like me to say? You already told me that you are leaving so I’m respecting that.”

Alex bit her lip and her features softened for just a moment before she turned with a sigh and moved to her closet to slip on her shoes. When she stepped out Harry was still out there and because, even though she was mad, she still loved him, she went to him and pressed a light kiss to his cheek. Then, without another word she moved around him and walked from the bedroom and he turned to follow.

She walked into the foyer and her eyes fell into the living room where Charlotte sat on the couch with Gus in her lap. He was enjoying the attention she was giving him and he was providing her with a little bit of a distraction, but her head lifted as she heard Alex walk in and, for the first time since they had stood in the front Hallway, their eyes met.

Charlotte sat up straight. “Alex, I…”

Alex shook her head and held up a hand, cutting off Charlotte’s words. “Listen, I’m mad as hell. It would be unless for me to try to talk to you. I…” She took a deep breath. “Harry is going to stay. Talk to him. I’m going to take Gus and go out for a bit.”

Charlotte blinked at the tears but she nodded. “Okay. I understand. Thank you.”

“Yeah…well…” Alex swallowed hard and gave a small shake of her head and then she turned and pulled Gus’s leash from its hook on the wall. “Come on, Gus,” she called out. “Let’s go for a walk.”

Gus, happy to be going on yet another walk, leapt from Charlotte’s lap and scrambled over to Alex, who bent down to attach his leash. She grabbed her small bag, pulled it over her shoulder and then plucked her keys and phone from the table by the door before she turned to Harry, who was leaning against the frame of the entryway the living room.

“I’ll call you when I’m done. Or call me when you’re ready to come back and I’ll be done,” Harry said quietly.

“I can amuse myself until you’re done,” Alex said pertly.

Harry hated that she was being cold, but it was obvious that trying to talk to her want going to help. So instead he just nodded and leaned forward to press a soft kiss to her cheek. He watched as she turned without another word and walked out of the door with Gus, leaving him behind with Charlotte, whose heart broke a little bit more as her friend shut the door – and put up a wall – between them.


Alex walked her usual route to the park, stopping on her way to buy a lemonade as the summer day was hot and it seemed like something that would lift her spirits, as strange as that may have been. Her thoughts ran wild as she wandered through the park with Gus. They played and ran and took a break here and there to sit and enjoy the sunshine before getting up and walking some more.

Gus was happy to be outside for so long and it gave Alex time to think, to try to figure out how the whole thing was going to go down with Charlotte and her brother. She knew Charlotte would tell Matt, that’s just who she was. And she was sure that Matt would end it, that’s just how he was. But she couldn’t shake thought that there would be a lot more to the situation. Charlotte was her friend…really, Charlotte was her best friend. Sure, she had been Harry’s friend for longer but Charlotte had been there for her every step of the way for the last year and a half, even when she didn’t have to be. Would she really be able to just toss that to the side over Charlotte’s mistake? And if she did, what would that mean for her relationship with Harry? She would never ask him to choose, but would they all still be able to be friends?


She looked up, startled at someone calling her name. She squinted up into the sun from where she sat on the lush green grass of Hyde Park, Gus relaxing by her side. It took a few seconds to find the face that belonged to the voice, but she was certainly surprised when she did.


The tall brunette smiled at Alex from where she stood on the path, joined by her protection officers and her dog Lupo, who was on a leash that was attached to the stroller she was pushing that contained a sleeping Henry. “Am I interrupting?” she asked brightly.

“No,” Alex said immediately as she stood to go greet Harry’s sister-in-law. Gus jumped up right away and as Alex got to Kate, Gus found Lupo and they instantly went to sniffing each other. “I was just out for a walk with Gus and got lost in thought.”

The two women hugged each other in greeting and Kate’s smile pulled even wider when they parted. “It’s a long walk you’ve taken from home, no?”

Alex blinked and looked around her. Jesus, she had gone quite a ways. She wasn’t very familiar with this part of the park, but she was pretty sure she was closer to Kensington than she was to her own building. She didn’t live that far from Harry, but it was far enough that she knew she must have been out walking for a couple of hours.

“I…goodness…” Alex laughed. “It’s a long story but I had to get out of my apartment.” Kate’s smile stayed in place but Alex saw a look flicker across her face, something that said maybe Kate knew more about the reason she found Alex in the park than she let on. “Kate…” Alex drawled, her eyes narrowing playfully.

Kate laughed and then tilted her head towards the path. “Come on, Alex…walk with me.”

Alex peered at her. “Walk with you?”

Kate’s lips twitched. She leaned a bit closer and her voice dropped. “Listen, there are like…thirty mobile phone photos of you on Twitter right now and you look…sad. And you’ve been out here for hours and…”

And it dawned on Alex; Kate wasn’t here by accident.

“You are here to make it look like I’m meeting you, aren’t you?” she asked softly.

“You did meet me here,” Kate shrugged. “Maybe by surprise, but you did. Anyway, are you going to walk back to KP with me? We can let the dogs play and you can cuddle Henry and we’ll have tea.”

Alex felt her mouth pull into a smile for the first time since Charlotte had rang her buzzer a couple of hours before. “Sure, that sounds lovely.”

“Great,” Kate grinned. “Let’s go.”

“Kate?” Alex asked, her eyes twinkling with a bit of humor as she eyed her friend walking beside her.


“Twitter? Really? Please tell me you don’t read the shit about you on there.”

Kate laughed, a warm, genuine laugh that spoke of just how comfortable she had become with Alex, with how much she trusted her. “No, no. Someone in our Press Office at KP saw it. I happened to be in the office and overheard. I called Harry…” Understanding flashed in her eyes and Alex knew that this was something they did in this family; they looked out for each other. That’s what Kate was doing for her. “He said he was going to come get you. He sounded worried. But I told him I could really use a girl’s day and…here I am.”

Alex couldn’t help the soft smile that tilted her lips. “You didn’t have to…”

Kate waved a hand, dismissing Alex’s protest. “No worries. Now come on, let’s get back. We’ll have tea and eats lots of sweets and as soon as Will gets home, we can crack open a bottle of wine.”

Alex grinned. “I’m in.”


It was later in the evening when Harry finally got back to Kensington. It had been a hard afternoon, watching Charlotte go through heartbreak. He had talked to her, listened to her, helped her make sense of her feelings, and then, in the way these things sometimes work, just when Charlotte had finally realized that she was in love with Matt, she’d had to place the call to tell him that she had cheated on him. Harry had stepped out of the room to let her talk in private, but when he heard the loudest, most heartbreaking sobs coming from Alex’s living room he went back, his own heart hurting at just how broken Charlotte was.

Matt had ended it. And Charlotte was more lost than he’d ever seen her.

He sat with her and let her cry on his shoulder until there were no more tears left, until her eyes were so swollen and her nose was stuffy and there was nothing left for her to do but wait for more tears to build up so she could cry those out too.

He had offered to bring her back to KP and let her stay in the guestroom overnight so she wouldn’t be alone, but Charlotte refused. She knew Alex would be there and she couldn’t face her, not with how she had just crushed her brother’s heart. So Harry took her home, made sure she got in safe and that she would be okay, and then with a deep breath he had gotten back into his car, exhausted and mentally fried from the day.

Kate had texted him and told him that she was with Alex over at his place, having left Will at their apartment with Henry so that they could have girls night and so he wasn’t surprised when he stepped out of his car in front of his home and the lights were on inside and he could hear music blasting from the surround sound. He smirked as he walked up the path. He could only imagine what those two had gotten up to.

He pushed open the door and walked quickly through the foyer and into his living room, finding Alex and Kate both spread out on his big, U-shaped couch. Kate was in pajamas and Alex had on one of his t-shirts and a pair of his sweatpants, which were huge on her, and there was about four empty bottles of wine on his coffee table.

“Ladies,” Harry called out into the room, raising his voice to be heard above the music.

Both of their heads jerked around and they burst into giggles, causing Harry’s lips to twist up into a smile. He strode across the room to the surround sound control and turned the knob, bringing the blaring Spice Girls down to a more acceptable decibel level.

“Boo!” Kate called out. “Party pooper!”

Harry lifted an eyebrow. “Let me remind you whose wine you are drinking.”

Alex snorted her laughter into her glass of wine as Kate shrugged and leaned forward to tip the very last of a bottle into her own glass. “We took out the most expensive stuff too.”

Harry chuckled as laughter burst forth from Alex’s lips. Her eyes lifted to meet his and he felt his heart tug. They had left each other on a bad note earlier today, and there was still unfinished business between them, but they were still able to smile and laugh and not tiptoe around each other before they worked everything out.

“Don’t worry,” Harry laughed, winking at Alex before he turned his attention back to Kate. “I’ll send the bill to Will for the wine.”

“Sure,” Kate nodded, her eyes dancing. “He’ll enjoy putting that through the paper shredder in his office. He loves that fucking paper shredder.”

Alex howled her laughter and tipped backwards onto the couch. Harry leapt forward and barely plucked the wine glass from her hand before it tipped back with her. He slid it onto the table and then shook his head in Kate’s direction.

“Look what you did to my girlfriend.”

Kate laughed and clapped her hands together. “I accept complete responsibility here,” she said with a bright smile. She tipped the last of her glass of wine back and then plunked it down on the table. “I should go, though. My husband and son await me at home.”

Alex turned and smirked up at Kate from where she laid on the couch. “You’re going to go home and pass out, Cambridge. Don’t lie.”

Kate giggled. “You’re absolutely right.”

Harry shook his head and pulled out his phone. He dialed Will, who said he would be right over to pick up his wife. Then, after tossing his phone on the coffee table, he went to help a wobbly Kate from the couch. Alex rose and gave Kate a giggling hug, thanked her for everything, and then sank back to the couch as Harry walked Kate to the door and handed her off to William, a look of humor passing between the two of them.

Then he shut the door behind them, locked it, and went back into the living room, finding Alex moving to clear the wine bottles from the table.

“I’ll get it,” he called out as he moved around the couch to the table. “I would rather not have broken glass everywhere.”

“Ha ha,” Alex smirked as he moved to take the bottles from her, but she was grateful as she sank back into the couch. She wasn’t wasted, but she was definitely more than a little drunk. But more than anything, she was glad Harry was there.

She watched as he strode back into the room and over to the couch, sinking down onto it gratefully. She sat up and turned so she was looking at him. She looked him over; he looked tired and sad and she decided she didn’t want to dance around anything.

“Did she tell him?”

Harry’s eyes lifted to hers and he nodded slowly and his hand reached up to rub the back of his neck, massaging out the tension. “Yes.”


“He ended it.”

Alex bit her lip as the tears rose to her eyes. She was sadder than she expected. She knew he brother had been in love with Charlotte and she knew how destroyed he must have been. She took a deep breath and blinked back the tears. She looked down at her hands in her lap before lifting her eyes to Harry again.

“I hate her a little bit right now, Harry.”

Harry swallowed and then sat forward, leaning his elbows on his knees. “I know.”

And suddenly she couldn’t stand to be apart from him, to not be touching him. She pulled herself up and crawled over to him, surprising him when she crawled onto his lap, settling her legs on either side of him.

“Hi,” he smiled softly up at her. His hands lifted to her arms and he rubbed up and down slowly, just need to touch her.

“I don’t know that I’ll always feel so mad,” she continued, feeling better now that she was closer to him. “But right now…”

“I get it,” Harry nodded quickly, his emotions rising to the surface.

“I don’t think you do,” Alex shook her head. Her hands moved to his face and she pulled his eyes up to hers. “If you ever cheated on me Harry, I’d expect everyone I know…and I mean everyone…to hate you.”

“Alex, I would never…” he began, his eyes widening at her words.

“No, I know,” she nodded, her eyes filling with tears. “I know you wouldn’t. But I’m telling you, if you did…I’d expect Matt to hate you. I know he’s your friend now too. But I’d expect him to hate you. You need to understand that, because when it comes to my brother…” She took a deep breath and worked hard to keep the tears back; she didn’t want to cry. “If he wants me to not be her friend anymore…”

Harry shook his head and his hands slid up her arms, over her shoulders, and to her face, cupping her cheeks and pulling her down closer to him. “I know, Alexandra,” he whispered. “But you have to understand that I will always be her friend. You have to understand that.”

Alex bit her lip and her eyes searched his. And the truth of it was that in that moment she loved him even more for being loyal to Charlotte, to knowing that this had all the potential in the world to be a fucked up situation and still sticking by her.

“I understand that,” she said, her voice soft and sweet but honest.

They stayed just like that for a long moment, holding each other’s eyes, letting the moment wash over them and then with a deep breath in and a deep breath out, Harry relaxed a bit and Alex followed suit, letting the tension ease from them and from the room.

“Hey Harry,” she called softly, her hands moving from his face to rest on his chest.

“Yes baby?” he responded as his arms moved around her, pulling her closer.

“Wanna have drunk sex?”

His shout of laughter rang through the house, even startling Gus who was fast asleep on his bed in the kitchen. “God I love you,” he grinned as he pulled her to him, his lips finding hers.

“Is that a yes?” she giggled hopefully.

With a groan he sat up, tipped her back onto the couch, and moved in above her with a smug grin.

It was definitely a yes.


It wasn’t until late the next afternoon that Alex finally got ahold of her brother. She was sitting her office, trying to concentrate on work when her cell rang out, Matt’s name flashing across the screen. She had called him several times that day, but his voicemail had picked up right away every time.


“Hey boot…” Matt’s voice was low and sad and Alex immediately felt the tears coming.

“Matt,” she said softly. “I’m so glad you called. I tried to call a few times this morning.”

“Yeah,” he sighed. “I had to go get a new phone this morning. I broke mine last night.”

“Oh Matt,” Alex breathed. “I’m so sorry.”

There was a long silence on the other end but Alex knew he was still there, that he would talk when he was ready. So she sat and waited, letting him take as long as he needed.

“Alex…I don’t hate her. I want to hate her, but I don’t. But I can’t be with her…not after…”

Alex closed her eyes against the emotions welling at the heartbreak in Matt’s voice. “I understand,” she murmured. “Harry was with her yesterday. He talked to her, sat with her…but I…I couldn’t. Not after what she did to you.”

“Don’t do that, Alex,” he responded immediately, his voice pleading, startling her.

“Don’t do what?”

“Don’t shut her out.”

“Matt…” She was in disbelief. “But she…”

“I know what she did, boot!” Matt interrupted her, his voice a little wild. “But I don’t want you to stop being her friend. Please don’t do that. Don’t shut her out.”

Alex felt the tears slip from her eyes and she sniffled as she wiped at them. “Why are you so good, Matt? Your heart is just…God, you don’t deserve this.” She heard him take a shuddering breath on the other end and she wished more than anything that she could hug him, that she could comfort him. “Okay,” she finally whispered as she wiped at her tears. “I won’t shut her out.”

“Thanks boot,” he murmured. “Listen, I’m gonna go. I need to…fuck. I need to get drunk and play my guitar and just not talk about this right now. But thank you for calling me and I love you.”

“Okay,” she replied. “Call me if you need anything. I love you too, Matt.”

And then with a couple of whispered goodbyes the call was over and Alex pulled her phone from her ear. She looked at it for a few moments, trying to process the conversation she had just had. With a sigh she tossed her phone on her desk and then grabbed a tissue, wiping at her tears. But her attention seemed to be drawn right back to her phone and she knew why. She knew she had a call to make. She knew she had to so what Matt wanted her to do.

With a deep breath she picked it up again, found the number in her contacts and then pressed it up against her ear. It was picked up on the first ring.

“Hello?” came the surprised and nervous voice across the line.

“Charlotte…it’s me. I was…” She took a steadying breath. “I was hoping I could come by after work and talk. I thought…I thought you might need a friend.”