Sequel: In Unexpected Places

Against the Odds

Chapter Fifty Three Part Two

The day before the Announcement

“I’m coming!” Alex called out as she hurried into the foyer of Harry’s home at Kensington, towards the knocking on the front door and, after flipping the lock, she opened it with a wide smile to Charlotte, standing on Harry’s front porch alongside a tall, willowy, sharply dressed blonde who was holding a rather large garment bag. “Good afternoon, ladies.”

“Alex,” Charlotte grinned, stepping forward to kiss Alex’s cheeks and hug her tightly before pulling back and turning to the tall blonde beside her. “Alexandra Morgan, this is Anna Lyons; your stylist. Anna, this is Alex.”
Even though she had known her new stylist would be arriving with Charlotte, the actuality of it washed over Alex and her smile went shy for just a brief moment. It was a barely visible reaction to the fact that she was someone would not only have a stylist, but that one was hand-picked for her - carefully and with much discussion – by the palace. But she recovered quickly from her momentary slide into the strangeness of the life she was stepping into and her smile pulled wide and welcoming.

“Anna,” she greeted warmly, extending her hand to the woman. “It’s so good to meet you.”

“You as well, Miss Morgan,” Anna replied in a voice that was much softer and sweeter than Alex had expected.

“Please, call me Alex,” she chuckled and waved a hand in the air. “And please come in.” She stepped to the side and ushered the two women in before shutting the door behind them. “Can I get you ladies something to drink before we head upstairs?”

“Just water would be fine,” Anna said with a smile as she adjusted the garment bag in her hands.

Charlotte snorted and shook her head. “Water? No no. This is a champagne occasion. Don’t you think, Alex?”

Alex grinned at Charlotte and then turned to Anna with a wink. “I think that’s an excellent idea.”


“Did you find Harry dashing and utterly charming right away or did it take a few minutes for it to sink in?”

Alex pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes at the man sitting cross-legged opposite her on the big bed in his room. Charlotte had left a list of potential interview questions with them and they had agreed to go over them and get some basics down before the big interview the next day. Once Emma was asleep Harry had grabbed a bottle of wine, two glasses and then they had crawled into bed to read the questions to each other, although Harry only goal seemed to be how to make the questions as hilariously ridiculous as possible.

“I’m sorry, by dashing and utterly charming did you mean cocky and arrogant?” she deadpanned, her eyes brows raised.

“Ouch,” he laughed, shaking his head. “Don’t say that tomorrow, love.”

“I absolutely will if you don’t ask me a real question from that list.”

“Okay,” Harry cleared his throat as he scanned down the list of questions. His lips pulled up into a smirk and he looked up to Alex, his eyes dancing. “Ready?”

Alex rolled her eyes and it made Harry laugh. “Come on Wales, be serious.”

His smile grew wider and he took a sip of his wine. “I am being serious.”

Alex lifted a brow. “What’s the question?”

He grinned. “Do the two of you plan to have children? Any idea of how many you would want?”

Alex’s eyes narrowed even as her lips twitched up into a smile. “It doesn’t say that.”

“It does!” Harry laughed. He turned the paper around to her and pointed at the question. “Will and Kate were asked about kids. I don’t doubt that we will be either.”

“This is all your fault, you know,” she teased, her eyes dancing.

“My fault?” His eyes widened and he pointed a finger at his chest.

“Sure,” Alex shrugged taking a sip of her wine. “What was it that you said in that interview…that you’ve longed for kids since you were very young?”

“I said that.” He wasn’t even a little bit ashamed. “I also said that I was looking for the right person and…” He leaned closer and his voice dropped, “I’ve found her.”

“You did,” Alex nodded, her eyes growing soft.

“And now she won’t talk about how many children she would like to have with me…”

“Hey now,” Alex shook her head, a smile pulling at her lips. “I didn’t say I wouldn’t talk about it…I would love to talk about it…”

Harry’s eyes held hers for a long moment, heat and emotion passing between them before he took a deep breath and turned, setting his wine glass on his nightstand before turning back to her. “Alright then,” his pulled her hand into his and kissed her fingers. “I know we’re planning to have children; that part of the question I can answer.” He kissed her palm and smiled against her skin. “So how many will it be? Two? Four? Six?”

“Okay, okay,” Alex stopped him with a chuckle. “Let’s not get carried away here.” She leaned over Harry and placed her wine glass next to his. Then, sitting back up straight she turned sweet, hopeful eyes to him.

“After I had Emma, I never really thought that I’d have more children. It wasn’t that I didn’t want more, because I do love kids and I adore being a mom; I just never thought…” Her eyes filled with tears and she squeezed his hand. “I never thought that kind of love would be in my life again. I never thought I would get married again. I wasn’t against it; I just didn’t think it was in the cards for me. I thought it was just be me and Emma and that was fine. But then you came along…” She smiled through her tears when Harry’s eyes softened and his thumb rubbed softly across the back of her hand. “And you just changed everything.”

“Alexandra…” His voice was gruff.

“You did,” she nodded and laughed; a happy, sweet sound that warmed every inch of Harry’s body. “And all of the sudden I saw those things again. A husband, a family, and lots of little red hair babies running around…”

Harry’s eyebrows lifted hopefully. “Lots?”

Alex shifted closer to him and moved her hands to his chest. She turned her eyes up to his. “Well ‘lots’ is a relative term, and if it were feasible I would have told you to keep going past six, or eight, or…”

Harry chuckled and his arms moved around her, pulling her tighter against him and over his lap, completely wrapped up in their conversation. “So what are you thinking love? Three or four?”

“Hmmm…” Alex settled her legs on either side of him and moved her hands around his neck. “I would love an even four, including Emma.”

“I do like even numbers,” Harry grinned.

“So do I.” Alex’s giggle moved into a sigh as Harry’s lips moved to her neck.

“So the only question left here is…can we get started right now?”

Her shoulders shook with soft laughter. “Sure. If you don’t mind me walking down the aisle with a big belly.”

“I really don’t mind at all,” he breathed and his mouth opened up over her neck, his tongue slipping out to tease at her sensitive skin as her head tipped back, the feeling of him taking over everything else.

“Ohhh…but I think everyone else might…”

Harry chuckled into the curve over her neck and then he pulled back and looked up at her, all flushed cheeks and heavy eyes. “How about we just practice then?”

“Definitely,” she nodded, her eyes dancing. “Lots and lots of practice.”

Then, with a wicked grin Harry moved, flipping her over, her back landing on the mattress. A fit of giggles left her lips as he moved in over her, the list of questions all but forgotten.


Announcement Day

When Alex’s eyes blinked open on the morning of the announcement, her very first thought was that – judging by the lack of light coming through the curtains – it was too early to wake up. But as soon as she shut her eyes she knew that there was no way on earth that she was going to be able to get back to sleep. She was too excited; too anxious about the day.

Her eyes slid back open and she turned over, deciding that if she was up then Harry should be up with her. Her smile pulled wide when her eyes found him; he was already awake and watching her, leaning up on his elbow, his head propped up in his hand.

“You’re awake,” she murmured, her body moving closer to his under the covers.

“I am,” he nodded. He wrapped an arm around her and pulled her to him.

“How long have you been awake?”

“Not long. Just a few minutes.”

Alex settled against him, loving the warmth and comfort and ease that came with him. “What time is it?”

He nuzzled his nose into her hair and inhaled her familiar scent. “About six. The troops will start arriving in about an hour.”

“The troops?” Alex laughed, pulling back to look at him.

“I mean, did you see all those crazy weapons that your stylist had yesterday?”

Her lips twitched. “You mean…curling irons?”

“Yes. Weapons,” he nodded, a look of mock seriousness taking over his face.

Alex couldn’t help the giggle that slipped from her lips and she couldn’t help the way they turned into a soft sigh when Harry leaned in and pressed his lips to hers. “Whatever shall we do with our one hour, Harry?” she murmured, pressing herself against him suggestively.

He smiled against her lips and then pulled back slightly. “As much as I love the way your brain is working this morning, you’ll have to put that thought on hold.” He chuckled and her pout and shook his head. “Only for a few minutes baby. I have something I want to give you.”

Alex’s brows pulled together. “Give me? Like a present?”

“Exactly like a present,” he winked as he untangled himself from her arms and turned to his nightstand and opened the drawer.

“Wales, every time you give me presents it makes me cry,” she said as she watched him pull out a slim rectangular box from the drawer.

“Which is exactly why I’m doing this before you start getting your makeup done.” His smile was cheeky and it made Alex’s smile grow bigger. He held the velvet box out to her and nodded towards it. “Here, open it. I can’t explain it until you do.”

He watched as Alex bit her lip and then, looking slightly nervous, she took the box from his fingers and flipped the top with soft hands. Her lips turned up into a smile and her eyes rose to his. “It’s beautiful Harry.”

He took a deep, steadying breath, trying to keep his own emotions in check. He swallowed at the lump in his throat and then he said three words that instantly made Alex want to cry.

“It was my mother’s.”

Her eyes flew wide and her fingers shook as they moved to her lips. “Harry…”

He reached for the box and with gentle fingers he pulled the timeless Cartier watch from it. “When she died, Will and I both got to choose something of hers. I chose her engagement ring and Will chose her watch. But…” His smile grew softer as he went through his memories. “When Will told me he was going to propose to Kate, I offered him the ring. I just felt…I don’t know…” He chuckled a bit and watched as she bit her lip, trying to keep herself from unraveling. “It made sense for Kate to wear the ring. She will be the Princess of Wales and then Queen someday. Mum would love that she has it.”

“Of course,” Alex nodded, completely overwhelmed with this moment, with the information he was sharing, with this monumental gift he was giving her.

“So…” Harry continued as he reached for her hand. His fingers stroked over hers softly before he moved to lay the watch over her wrist. “When I told Will that I was going to ask you to marry me, he gave me the watch.” He fastened the clasp on the band and then ran his fingers over the face of the watch before his eyes lifted to hers, finding the light blue depths filled with tears. His own emotions surged and he struggled to speak. When he finally did, it came out hoarse and low. “And now, I’m giving it to you.”

Alex held his gaze for a long moment before she blinked, tears spilling from her eyes as she looked down at the beautiful time piece on her wrist. It was stunning really; a classic piece that would always be in style. But that wasn’t why she instantly loved it. It was the history of it that took her breath away; that was sending her emotions into chaos. It had belonged to a woman the world would never forget and the mother that Harry had adored and loved so deeply. And now he was giving it to her and she felt so incredibly loved in that moment.

“Harry…” she finally breathed. She swiped tears from her cheeks as she her gaze moved up to meet his again. “I don’t even…it’s…” She laughed a bit and shook her head at her inability to form a sentence. “I don’t know how to thank you for this.”

“Well, that’s easy, love,” he murmured, moving closer and lifting his hands to her face, cupping her cheeks with soft fingers. “You can stand by my side today as we tell the world that we plan to spend the rest of our lives together.”

“You’re right,” she smiled, blinking at fresh tears. “That’s incredibly easy.”

“God I love you,” Harry whispered. He leaned in and pressed his lips to hers and the passion surged between them instantly, heightened by the emotions they were both feeling, by everything this day meant to them. “Alexandra…”

“Yes?” she breathed against his lips as her arms moved to wrap around his neck.

“We’ve got another hour before…”

“Make love to me, Henry,” she interrupted, her mind already right where his was. Her eyes opened to his, full of love and need. “I want you to love me like only you can.”

Harry groaned and tugged her lips back to his. He shifted, moving her back onto the bed and covering her body with his.

This was their last hour before it all started to roll towards the chaos that was bound to erupt. They were absolutely determined to spend it wrapped up in each other.

And so they did.


It wasn’t until Alex was sitting in front of the mirror in the spare room the stylist team had commandeered when it hit her; just what was about to happen. The day had been a whirlwind of people and paperwork and notes and hairsprays and tools and creams and lint rollers and finally…she was alone for just a moment.

Charlotte had come and gone, dropping off a last bit of notes before she returned to take them to Buckhouse. Matt had breezed by in his carefree way, scooping Emma up to take her for the night. The impeccable stylist that Charlotte had introduced her to had just stepped out to find Alex’s shoes, which seemed to have gone missing.

And so Alex seized this single, solitary, quiet moment and looked at herself in the mirror. Was this really her life? Alexandra Emerson—sweet, shy Texas girl? Alexandra Morgan—wife and mother and so unexpectedly a widow?

She looked down at her hands, shaking slightly in her lap and she took a deep breath. When her eyes lifted back to her reflection, her heart thudded.

The Duchess of Sussex.

It had felt surreal all day; people dancing around her, catering to her, orchestrating this enormous moment in her life as though she were a mere player.

But there, in that seat, looking at herself, it had never ever been more real. Today she would step out in front of the world with Harry – warm, funny, loving, amazing Harry – and tell them all that they planned to start a life together. They would tell them all about how they met, they would talk about their daughter, they would pry into her marriage to John a bit; but at the end of it all, when the cameras stopped rolling and the footage was scurried off to be edited and aired, it would just be her and Harry and Emma.

Yes, she was going to be the Duchess of Sussex. But she would also still be all the things she always had been; the sweet, shy Texas girl, John’s widow, and the mother of a precious little girl. And she would always be those things – along with being Harry’s wife.

And really, at the heart of it all, that’s what she wanted, a life with the man she loved. The man who had captured her heart and held it so safe for all of this time, the man who had loved and protected both her and Emma from the very beginning, the man who her daughter now called ‘dad’.

She wanted a life with Harry. And today was a giant step towards getting everything she ever wanted.

A knock at the door interrupted her thoughts and she blinked at her reflection, bringing her mind out of its haze before turning towards the door just as it cracked open.

“Am I allowed in yet?” Harry called out through the crack in the door, humor in his voice.

“Yes,” Alex laughed. She moved to stand from the chair, smoothing out her dress with her hands. And when Harry stepped through the door and his gaze fell to her, his smile pulled wide and his eyes went completely soft.

“Alexandra…you look…”

“Like a future Duchess?” she joked, biting her lip to keep from smiling.

“No,” he shook his head, his voice a bit gruff. He stepped forward and his hands moved to her waist. “Like my future wife.”

Alex’s lips tilted up and her cheeks flushed. “I was hoping you would say that.”

Harry’s chest rumbled with quiet laughter. “So that was a test?” he teased. His arms moved around her and pulled her close.

Her hands smoothed up the lapels of his blue suit coat and over his tie, her lips twitching at the tiny bunny rabbits on the silky material. Her fingers adjusted the knot gently and then she slid her eyes up to his, a playful smile on her lips. “Well, if it makes you feel any better, you passed with flying colors.”

“Nice,” Harry laughed, his eyes crinkling up at the sides in that way she loved. He held her gaze for a moment, his hands smoothed over her back, and then his face grew a bit more serious. “You doing okay love? Anything you want to go over?”

Alex shook her head and wrapped her arms around his neck. “I’m fine. I’m prepared. I’m more than ready to tell the world.”

“Well…” The corners of his lips tugged up. “I’m not sure you’re entirely ready.”

Alex’s brow furrowed. “What are you talking about?”

Harry’s hands moved to cup her face and he leaned down and brushed her lips with his, careful not to mess her makeup. Then he pulled back from her just a touch and whispered. “You don’t have shoes on love. It’s entirely up to you, but I’m fairly certain you don’t want to do this in your stockings.”

A burst of laughter left Alex’s lips and she pulled back from Harry, slapping him lightly on the chest. “Anna went to find them. Although now I’m half tempted to go without them.”

Harry shrugged. “Fine by me. Shoes or no shoes, I’m still going to marry you.”

“Good to know,” Alex smiled and just then the door opened to the room and Anna stepped in, Alex’s shoes firmly clasped in her hands.

“Found them!” she called out as she bustled in on a mission, failing to notice at first that Alex was no longer alone in the room. “Oh!” she gasped when she lifted her eyes and she took in Harry’s presence. “I’m sorry, I had no idea you were in here. I can just…” She waved her hand towards the door, and moved to step out of the room again.

“No no,” Harry smiled. “I was just teasing Alex about her shoes and you’ve got them, so I’m sure she appreciates that you are here.”

Anna visibly relaxed and a small smile tilted her lips as she stepped to Alex and handed her the nude pumps they had selected.

“It was actually about my lack of shoes,” Alex giggled. “Which we’ve now corrected. And…” Her smile flashed wide as she stood straight and tall, feeling beautiful and proud, with only a hint of nerves peeking through. “I think we are ready.”

“One more thing,” Anna said, holding up a finger to stall them for a moment. She turned and reached into one of her many cases and pulled out a small plastic baggy. “Here is extra lipstick and gloss, as well as tiny bits of the base and powder I used on you, just in case. Although, if this one…” She tossed a smirk and a teasing glance towards Harry as she handed Alex the bag. “Would keep his lips to himself, you probably wouldn’t need it.”

Harry snorted and Alex couldn’t help the loud, happy laugh that fell from her lips. “Never gonna happen,” she said with a wink to Anna. “But I will do my best to make sure he doesn’t completely mess me up.”


They slid into the waiting Range Rover bound for the short trip to St. James Palace right on time. And, wanting to keep normality about themselves as they moved closer and closer to what was going to be a roller coaster ride, Alex immediately slid over to the middle of the seat, right next to Harry. And with a smile he put his arm around her and tucked her into his side.

They were only a few minutes away from St. James when Harry’s phone buzzed in his pocket.

“It’s Charlotte,” he informed Alex before he pulled the phone to his ear. A quick, business-like conversation and one bright smile from Harry later, he pulled the phone from his ear and slid it into his pocket before turning to Alex. He took a deep breath and reached for her hand.

“The official announced has been released by Clarence House,” he said softly, his eyes bright and happy. “The world knows love.”

Alex felt the breath suck out of her and she blinked several times in quick succession, working her best to stem the emotion somewhere other than the seemingly inevitable tears. She couldn’t cry, not right now. Anna would kill her.

“Hey, are you okay?” Harry asked, his face pulling into a look of concern. His thumb rubbed the back of her hand tenderly.

She nodded, biting her lip as she looked down at where his hand held hers, at the beautiful diamond ring he had slipped on her finger two weeks earlier, at the priceless watch he had placed on her wrist just that morning. She sucked in a deep, steadying breath and raised her eyes to his, miraculously tear free.

“I’ve never been more okay in my life, Harry.”

“You know, when you say things like that…” he murmured, his eyes soft as his head tipped to the side. “It makes it really hard not to kiss you.”

Alex’s head tipped back with soft laughter and she squeezed his hand. “I can’t help it.”

“Good,” he grinned. He glanced up as the Range Rover slowed and prepared to make a turn. The familiar gates of St. James Palace came into view and he turned back to her. “We’re here. Are you ready for this?”

And there was no hesitation – not even a single second – before she answered loud and clear and proud, “Yes.”

And as they stepped from the vehicle to greet Charlotte, various other staff, and Charles and Camilla, as they stepped into St. James Palace, as they took each step closer towards the room where the press with their cameras and flashbulbs awaited them, as the stepped up to the doors and Charlotte briefed them on several small, final details before the doors opened, she was. She was so incredibly ready.

And when the doors were pushed open, she tucked her hand into his arm, looked up at him and held his warm, protective, loving gaze for several long seconds.

“Come on, love,” he lowered his head and whispered.

“I’m already there,” she whispered back, squeezing his arm through the sleeve of his jacket.

And they stepped through the doors together.

And the flashbulbs went crazy, taking the whole world with them.

A/N: The actual interview would have made this crazy long. You’ll have it and the next chapter within the next couple of days :)