Sequel: In Unexpected Places

Against the Odds

Chapter Fifty Two Part Two

After the celebration brunch that had taken place at Harry’s that morning, as the day moved into evening it was time for another, and very important event that evening.

Alex drew a deep breath as the car carrying her, Harry, and Emma pulled up to the gate at Clarence House for dinner with Charles, Camilla, Will, and Kate.

“Are you okay?” Harry murmured, smoothing his tie as he leaned in close to her.

“Absolutely.” She turned a wide smile to him. “Just…don’t take this the wrong way but…”

“Okay…” he chuckled, waiting for her to continue.

“Sometimes…” she shook her head and laughed lightly. “Sometimes it’s still a little surreal. And this is one of those times.”

A soft smile appeared on Harry’s face. “You want to know a secret?” he whispered so that Emma wouldn’t hear, even though she was completely involved in Angry Birds on his phone.


“Sometimes it’s surreal to me too.”

Her eyebrows lifted and she smirked. “Going to having dinner with two future Kings and Queens of Great Britain is surreal to you too?”

“No,” he shook his head. “The fact that I have you and Emma is.”

Alex’s lips curled up and she leaned into him, kissing his lips lightly as the car rolled to a stop. “Thank you,” she whispered, her eyes bright.

“You’re welcome,” he winked, squeezing her hand just as the car doors were pulled open.

“Emma. Phone,” Alex said, holding her hand out for Harry’s phone.

“Mum, I’m almost passed this level,” Emma squeaked, trying in vain to finish up before climbing from the car.

“Emma,” Alex laughed. “Only you would keep the people inside waiting on us for Angry Birds.”

“Not true,” Harry grinned as Emma finally gave up the phone and he slid it into his pocket. “I’ve kept them waiting plenty of times because I was determined to get past a level.

Emma giggled and Alex rolled her eyes as the three of them stepped from the car. Harry moved out first and then turned to help out Emma and then Alex, squeezing her hand tightly and giving her a wink.

The door opened as they turned to move up the walk and Charles stepped out, Camilla right beside him. There were kind, happy smiles on both of their faces.

“Good evening!” Charles’ deep, smooth voice called out to them.

“Father,” Harry greeted warmly, stepping forward first to receive a hug and words of congratulations from Charles before he moved to Camilla, kissing her cheeks and hugging her as well.

Alex and Emma stepped forward then and although normally she wouldn’t do so, she dipped into a small curtsy, followed by Emma, just as they had practiced. She wanted to pay respect to not only his title, but to the man who had always supported her relationship with Harry, who had been so incredibly kind and welcoming to her and Emma from the very beginning.

“Alexandra,” Charles said warmly when she rose. He leaned in to kiss her cheeks and then pulled her into a tight, fatherly hug. “Congratulations my dear, we are so incredibly happy. Welcome to the family.”

Alex’s smile pulled wide and it was a miracle she didn’t cry. “Thank you, Charles. I’m incredibly happy to be a part of your family.”

He nodded and patted her arm, offering her one more genuine, delighted smile before Alex stepped to Camilla, dipping into a curtsy just as she had with Harry’s father.

Charles turned to Emma then, leaning over a bit to get closer to her. “That was quite a lovely curtsy, Emma.”

“Thank you, sir,” Emma said sweetly, bringing out her perfect manners.

Charles smile pulled wide. “I think you can call me Charles,” he winked, tapping her on the end of her nose. “Now tell me, are you very happy that your mum is marrying Harry?”

“Yes,” Emma nodded, her eyes lighting up at the topic.

“Are you going to help keep him in line?” Charles joked, bringing laughs from Alex and Camilla and a groan from Harry.

“Oh, I already do,” Emma immediately answered, her sass peeking through, bringing everyone to a laugh.

“I can see that is most definitely the case,” Charles chuckled as he stood back up straight and patted Emma on the head.

Emma turned to Camilla and curtsied to her as well, bringing an affectionate smile to Camilla’s face.

“Emma, I hear you helped Harry propose,” Camilla said.

“I did,” Emma said excitedly. “I really did!”

Charles turned an impressed look to his son. “Well then, let’s go inside, find William and Catherine, and you can all tell us that story. What do you think?”

“Absolutely,” Harry grinned. He would tell the entire world that story if they wanted to listen.


Dinner that night at Clarence House only served to make Alex realize even further how truly blessed she was. The conversation was warm and the air buzzed with the excitement over her engagement to Harry.

Kate and Camilla were full of questions about what Alex envisioned for the wedding, to which Alex couldn’t even begin to answer. Kate graciously offered her assistance and said she would make sure that the wedding planner hired was the same as helped with her wedding to William, for which Alex was incredibly grateful.

Initially, when she had told Harry she wanted two weeks to get everything in order before they announced the engagement, it seemed like it would be the longest two weeks of her life. In reality however, it turned out that those days moved so fast she barely had time to blink.

The first step Alex took during those two weeks would be the hardest and the saddest for her as she moved into her new life with Harry.

On the Monday following their engagement, she pulled Susannah in her office first thing in the morning, and with a deep breath she did her best to keep her emotions in check, and she formally asked her to take over Healing Family Through Friends.

Susannah’s eyes went wide as she looked at Alex from across her desk. “You want me to take over? But…there is only one reason I could think of for…” A slow smile spread across her face as realization dawned on her. “The only reason I could think of for you to leave this place is if you were engaged to a certain ginger prince.”

Alex couldn’t help the grin that appeared on her face. Susannah’s hands flew to her mouth but Alex was quick to hold up a finger, to pause Susannah’s reaction for just a moment.

“Okay,” Alex whispered. “What we are about to discuss is absolutely to stay between us. I know you know that, but I have to say it.”

“Of course, of course,” Susannah nodded quickly. “I would never breath a word.”

Alex paused for a beat; a heavy, anticipation filled beat, and then she nodded. “I am engaged to a certain ginger prince.”

“Oh my GOD! Alex!” Susannah squealed. She jumped out of her chair and moved around Alex’s desk to hug her. “I’m so excited for you!”

“Thank you,” Alex said softly. She stood and hugged her friend and then pulled back, holding Susannah’s hands in hers. “I’ve been hoping that when this happened you would agree to take over. It makes sense, with you being a war widow…” She paused as she watched Susannah’s eyes grew soft as she thought of Geoff. “And you fit here. You do wonderful work here. I want you to keep this going and I know you’ll be amazing. What do you say?”

“Are you nuts?” Susannah laughed. “I'll miss the hell out of you, but I'd be incredibly honored and proud to run this place.”

Alex’s smile pulled wide. “Yeah?”

“Of course,” Susannah nodded.

“Okay then,” Alex breathed, relaxing a bit. “Then I’m going to go ahead and tell you this next part while you’re happy and excited.”

Susannah’s eyes narrowed playfully. “You better not be telling me I’m not invited to the wedding.”

“No no,” Alex laughed with a shake of her head. “Of course you are.”

“Excellent,” Susannah replied with a wink.

Alex giggled and squeezed Susannah’s hands in hers again. Then she took a deep breath and continued, “I’m going to ask Mia to come work as my personal assistant.”

Susannah’s eyes flew wide and Alex rushed forward to make assurances.

“You can keep her on until you train a replacement. They will have someone come in and be my assistant until Mia comes in and they will train her on the specifics. I could have an assistant who is already well trained and versed in everything, but Mia is so smart; she’ll pick it right up. And she’s been with me since the beginning here. She knows me so well and…”

“Alex,” Susannah laughed and held her hand up, cutting Alex off. “Hey…I’m not mad that you want Mia with you. I think it’s great.”

“Are you sure?” Alex asked, her eyes wide.

“Absolutely,” Susannah nodded. “I was just picturing her reaction when you tell her, that’s all.”

Alex burst out into laughter and pulled Susannah into another hug. “Want to be in here when I tell her?” she asked when they pulled away and moved back to their seats.

“Oh God. Yes, please.”

Alex giggled and reached for her desk phone. She dialed Mia and asked her to come in the office and then sat back, chatting with Susannah for a moment until Mia arrived.

At Alex’s request, Mia shut the door behind her, but it didn’t really matter. When Alex relayed her news and asked Mia if she would like to come work for her, Mia’s squeal of shock and sheer delight could be heard by anyone within ten feet of Alex’s office.

And just like that, Alex had taken the next step into a Royal life.


Another change that took place over those two weeks between the engagement and the announcement was the amount of time spent at Harry’s place.

They couldn’t move in quite yet; movers in front of Alex’s building would give them away instantly. However, Alex found that now that she was engaged to Harry, that he was officially going to be her husband, she didn’t want to live apart from him. And so Emma and she found themselves staying at his place at Kensington almost exclusively, with Alex stopping by her apartment every few days to pick up a few things for them and to check and make sure everything with okay at her place.

And Harry loved it. He absolutely adored it. He loved that Alex was with him every single night. He loved that Emma asked him to tuck her in and read to her at bedtime. And he loved that one night, after he had read her book with her, instead of moving from the bed he stayed for a bit and looked around the room that had become hers, making plans with her on how they could re-decorate it once they officially moved in.

It made his heart full, to do those things with Emma, to have her wanting to make part of his home hers.

And as Harry sat in his office one evening, three days before the announcement, he chuckled to himself at how weirdly peaceful the atmosphere was in his home. Three days until they announced and the storm began. Yet, it all felt so normal right then. He was reading briefs and going over some plans for the announcement that Charlotte sent over and he was relaxed and at ease, much different than he would have ever thought he would feel with just seventy-two hours before he invited the world into his relationship with Alex and Emma.

"Harry?" Emma's voice was quiet and hesitant and Harry’s head pulled from his paperwork, smiling wide as he saw her standing in his office doorway. She was in her pajamas and her hair was still wet from her bath and she looked incredibly adorable.

"Hey Em, what's up?"

She blinked and then looked down at her hands, her fingers fidgeting together. And it clicked in Harry's brain. She was nervous about something.

"Emma? What's going on?" he asked softly, bringing her eyes up to his.

"I...I wanted to ask you something..."

Harry immediately set his papers down and moved from behind his desk. He walked over to her and knelt down on her level. "Hey, why are you so nervous? You can ask me anything Emma."

"It's a big question," she said softly, her eyes wide.

"Is it big enough that you should ask me over a bowl of ice cream?" Her lips twitched a little and he watched the nerves fade a bit.

"I think so," she nodded.

“Where is your mum? Do you want her to have ice cream with us?”

Emma smiled a bit. “Can it just be us?”

"Sure," he smiled encouragingly as he stood up and held his hand out for her. “Lead the way, Princess.”

Emma smiled brightly, took his hand, and then turned, pulling him from his office and down the hall towards the kitchen. Once they were there Harry lifted Emma up onto a stool and then set about dishing out two bowls of ice cream for them. He handed Emma one and then moved to the stool across from hers, settling in as they each dug in to the delicious treat.

"You ready to ask now?" Harry questioned softly after they had each taken a few bites. Emma nodded slowly and slid her spoon into her bowl. She turned serious eyes to him and Harry immediately put his spoon down too.

"When you marry Mummy, what am I supposed to call you?"

Harry's heart thumped in his chest and he couldn't help the way his lips tilted up at the sides. He had known at some point this topic would come up but he hadn't really anticipated it yet, not after they had only been engaged a couple of weeks.

"Well," he took a deep breath and kept his gaze steady on her eyes. "That is entirely up to you, Emma. You can call me Harry like you always have or you can..."

"Can I call you Daddy?" Her voice was barely above a whisper.

The lump in his throat was immediate and almost overwhelming. His vision clouded for a split second before he blinked it back, needing to remain just a little bit calm, to keep himself in check at least until they finished this conversation.

"Do you want to call me Daddy?" he whispered back, his ice cream all but forgotten.

And then Emma said the words that would bring tears to Harry's eyes every single time he thought about this moment for the rest of his life.

"Yes...” she nodded slowly. “More than anything in the entire world."

And as he stood and rounded the island to pluck her from her stool and into his arms, he didn't even bother to blink back the tears.

Because sometimes it's okay when daughters see their fathers cry.