Sequel: In Unexpected Places

Against the Odds

Chapter Fifty Six

Life after the engagement announcement got incredibly busy. Alex had been worried about that; worried that not being at HFTF, not having a place to go to everyday would leave her feeling bored or even worse, useless. However, nothing was further from the truth.

The wedding planning began in earnest, with the date being set and the venue being chosen and announced. They would be married in the middle of May at Westminster Abbey.
That had been a surreal experience in itself, visiting the venues that were up for selection – St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. Both were incredibly beautiful churches with so much history behind them, but in the end they had selected the Abbey, wanting the more intimate atmosphere it provided. And although she would never say it to anyone but Harry, she was glad that it hadn’t been insisted upon that the wedding be anywhere else. She thought St. Paul’s was gorgeous of course, but something about the Abbey really struck a chord within her and she knew it was really the perfect place to marry Harry.

Based on a glowing recommendation from Kate, Alex hired the same wedding planner her future sister-in-law had used, and the ever efficient Melanie Walker – who insisted that Alex call her Mel – immediately had lists and lists of things for Alex to go over, decisions that had to start being made.

Before they knew it, the weather had turned cold and it was the middle of November. Their annual trip to Texas for Thanksgiving was the following week and they were all so excited to go. And there was one event that occurred the week before their vacation that only served to up the level of excitement in the soon-to-be-Sussex household.

In the second week of November, little Mia Grace Tindall made her appearance into the world. Once the new mother and father were home and settled, Harry and Alex took advantage of a free weekday and took a drive out into the country to visit and to meet the new addition to the family

They cooed and cuddled the tiny, perfect, beautiful little bundle and Alex laughed when Harry joked that it was going to come to blows if she didn’t stop hogging all the time with sweet little Mia. But the truth was that Harry loved watching Alex cradling Mia up against her, his eyes loving over her as she kissed the sleeping baby’s soft forehead and inhaled that new baby smell. It made his heart swell and it made his lips pull into a wide smile; the knowledge that it wasn’t too long before they could start trying for another one of their own.

And when it was time to go, to let the new parents and new baby get some rest, no one was at all surprised when Zara almost had to pry her daughter from Harry’s arms.

“Get your own, Wales,” Mike joked.

And when Harry’s puppy dog eyes turned to her, Alex couldn’t help but laugh. “Easy there, buddy. One thing at a time.”

A light chuckle went around the room, but as soon as they had said their goodbyes and stepped out of the door of Mike and Zara’s home and to the waiting car, Harry’s arm slipped around Alex’s waist from behind, his lips dipped close to her ear, and he whispered, “How about some practice then?”

Alex grinned and then slid warm, teasing eyes up to her fiancé. “Practice makes perfect, Harry.”


The trip to Texas was easy and uneventful, but the excitement among the group was high. This was the last time Alex would be home before she and Harry got married and she was looking forward to cherishing her time there. Harry always loved spending time in Texas with the Emersons, and couldn’t wait to be in their company again. Emma was, of course, beside herself with excitement to see her Mimi and Poppy and she could barely sit still for the entire plane ride in.

Matt and Charlotte were coming as well, of course. This being the first time Charlotte had seen Donna and Mike since her breakup and subsequent reunion with Matt a few months before, she was very much looking forward to it and to thanking Donna in person for the role she had played in getting Matt to London and back to her. She would forever be grateful for the open minds and big hearts of the Emerson family.

Once they landed at the airport, they collected their luggage, the security detail secured the cars that they would be using for the week, and they made their way towards the house.

It was hours later, after they had arrived, after Mike and Donna had welcomed them in with open arms, warm smile, and lots of hugs, that they all sat around in the kitchen chatting and catching up. The topic had inevitably turned to Harry and Alex’s upcoming wedding, with Alex praising all of the hard work Charlotte had been doing to get things moving on the technical side and Charlotte rolling her eyes and telling her it was her job.

“I actually have another, rather large, request in regards to the wedding,” Alex said with a smile and a soft laugh.

“Rather large?” Charlotte smirked and raised her eyebrows as she took a sip from her water bottle. “This whole wedding is ‘rather large’ Alex, I’m not sure there are any small requests.”

“Well, this one is a bit more…personal,” Alex replied. Her gaze slid to Harry for a moment and she saw him smiling, waiting for Charlotte’s reaction to what Alex intended to ask.

Charlotte caught the look between the two of them and her eyes narrowed. “Alright Alex, spit it out. Whenever you two do that look it makes me nervous.”

Alex laughed and shook her head. “Don’t be nervous. I just wanted…” She stopped, took a deep breath, and sat up straighter on her stool. “You know Emma is going to be my maid of honor?”

“Of course,” Charlotte nodded. “And what an adorable maid of honor she’ll be.”

“She will,” Alex nodded. “And I think you’d make a beautiful bridesmaid.”

With the way that Charlotte and Matt reacted to Alex’s statement, you would have thought she dropped a bomb in the room. Charlotte’s eyes flashed wide and nervous and then flew to Matt who standing at across the breakfast bar from her. Their eyes locked for several seconds, unspoken communication flying between them and something about the way the silence hit, the way that a low undercurrent of tension developed between Matt and Charlotte drew the attention of both Donna and Mike to them as well.

“What’s going on?” Harry chuckled a bit nervously, biting his bottom lip as he looked between the two of them. “This feels odd to say, but why does Charlotte look like she’s going to cry?”

The silence went on for a few more seconds and then finally Matt sighed, a soft chuckle leaving his lips. He smiled wide at Charlotte and then waved his hand. “Go ahead.”

“Go ahead what?” Alex asked, her forehead crinkled with concern. “Charlotte, if you don’t want to, I’ll completely understand…”

“No no,” Charlotte rushed to assure her, leaning forward to place her hand over her friend’s where it rested on the dark marble of the breakfast bar. “Alex, I’m so happy that you’re asking. You have no idea how much…” She shook her head and blinked back the tears that were threatening to come. And then, she took a deep breath and then she spoke the words that leveled the entire room. “It’s just that by the time June comes around, I’m going be about as big as a house and I’m not entirely sure you want a lady with a big ol belly waddling down the aisle in front of you.”

And it went completely silent; like everyone in the room forgot how to breathe. All eyes focused right on Charlotte and it was almost like everyone in the room was waiting on someone else to speak, someone else to ask the specific words that would confirm what Charlotte had just laid out. And finally, Alex couldn’t take it anymore.

“Are you…” Her eyes welled up and her fingers pressed to her lips as she glanced from Charlotte to Matt and back again. “Charlotte, are you pregnant?”

Charlotte’s eyes slid to Matt’s and the softest, sweetest smile tilted her lips as she nodded and confirmed the news, “Yes. We’re pregnant.”

And chaos erupted right there in that kitchen. The noise level shot from dead silence to almost overwhelming as soon as Charlotte’s words were out of her mouth. There were squeals and hoots and hollers and Emma, who had been down the hall in the living room, came running into the kitchen wondering what the commotion was all about. And when she was told the news she joined the rest of the people in the kitchen in the excitement, jumping up and down and clapping her hands together in excitement.

Both Charlotte and Matt were enveloped into hug after hug; Donna, Mike, Alex, Harry, and Emma all wanted a turn with each of them. They offered words of congratulation, of excitement, of support and it was no surprise to anyone when both Alex and Donna had to reach for tissues, their emotions getting the better of them.

But when the excitement calmed a bit, when the noise level dropped a bit, Donna clapped her hands together excitedly and grinned, turning towards Charlotte – now with Matt by her side. She wrapped the mother of her future grandchild in another tight hug and then pulled back, smiling wide. “Alright, tell me everything,” she said, leaning forward on the counter, ready to take it all in. “When did you find out? How far along are you? Have you thought of any names yet?”

Laughter moved throughout the room at Donna’s onslaught of questions, but every one of them would be lying if they said they didn’t want to know the answers to those questions just as much as Donna did.

“We literally found out two days ago, Mom,” Matt laughed. “We’re still kind of processing it ourselves.”

“Wow,” Alex breathed, her eyes wide. “You just found out? So that would make you what? Four, five weeks along?”

“Right about that,” Charlotte nodded. “I haven’t even been to the doctor yet but we took like…ten tests to be sure and they all said the same thing. I actually think Matt might have plans to frame them all and hang them in his office.”

Matt grinned at the loud laughs from the people in the room and shook his head. “What can I say?”

“Harry would do the same thing,” Alex smirked, turning a teasing glance to her fiance.

“Harry will do the same thing…eventually,” he corrected with a wink.

“You guys are all going to kill Donna if you keep talking like that,” Mike chimed in as he handed his wife another tissue.

“Don’t you dare make them stop!” Donna laughed as she wiped her eyes with the tissue. “We want to encourage grandchildren around here, husband.”

“I have a question!” Emma piped up from where she sat on the counter, Harry having lifted her up there so she would be on the level of the adults and feel included.

“Go for it, Bug,” Matt encouraged.

“This baby will be my cousin, right?”

“It will,” Charlotte answered, a smile on her face.

“Does that mean…you’ll be my Aunt Charlotte?” Emma asked with a hopeful smile, almost sending Harry to the ground with the memory of how she asked him if she could call him Daddy.

“Oh come on, Emma,” Charlotte grinned. “Even if there was no baby, I would still want to be your Aunt Charlotte.”

“Cool!” Emma cheered, clapping her hands together. “Now I have an Aunt Kate and an Aunt Charlotte.”

“Well I am so lucky to be in that club,” Charlotte winked at Emma, thinking she was utterly adorable.

“You really are,” Emma said seriously.

And the whole room burst into laughter again.


“I wanted to ask you something,” Matt said softly as he sat with Alex later that evening, looking out over the lake behind the house. In contrast to the previous year, the weather that week was chilly, but thanks to warm coats and several alcoholic beverages, both Matt and Alex were comfortable as they stretched out on pool loungers.

“Parenting tips?” Alex tossed out with a grin.

“Ha!” Matt laughed, his head tipping back into the cushion of the lounge chair. “Believe me, I’ll probably need some of those too.” He turned to look at her and Alex could help the way her heart warmed at the utter happiness on her brother’s face. “But actually, I just wanted to run something by you.”

“Alright,” Alex nodded, sensing the seriousness in Matt’s words. “What’s up?”

Matt took a deep breath and then turned his head towards her, his eyes serious as they met hers. “I want to ask Charlotte to marry me, but I just want to make sure that it won’t take away from…”

“Matt!” Alex squealed as she sat up straight and reached over to him, slapping him on the chest. “Don’t you dare hesitate because of me. Of course it doesn’t take away from…God, Matt…” Alex sighed and pressed her hand to her chest. “It makes it so much better.”

His eyebrows lifted and he smiled. “Yeah?”

“Yeah,” Alex nodded. “Just…I hope you’re not asking her because of the baby or because you’ll both be involved in the wedding and you’re worried what people…”

“I bought the ring months ago, Alex. Right after I moved to London.” Matt interrupted in a soft voice and Alex immediately teared up.

“You did?”

“I planned to marry her from the very second that she was back in my arms when I went to her in London. I just…there isn’t anybody for me but her. I can’t live without her.” He stopped and took a deep breath, his mind working over what he wanted to say. “I had been trying to find the right time to ask. I kind of put my plan on the backburner when you and Harry got engaged…”

“Matt…” Alex sighed. “You didn’t have to do that.”

“I know,” he nodded. “I had planned on talking to you soon and making sure you were okay with it. But now…” He smiled wide and Alex swore she saw the sheen of tears in his eyes. “I don’t want to wait any longer. I can’t wait any longer.”

“Wow…” Alex breathed, swiping at the tears in her own eyes with her fingers. “I can’t believe this. You’re going to be a daddy and Charlotte’s going to be a mommy.”

“Well, being as she’s British and we live in England she’ll probably be a mummy,” Matt quipped, chuckling to himself as he took a sip of his drink.

“I’m a mummy,” Alex grinned.

“Yes you are,” Matt nodded with a soft smile, settling back into his chair.

“Hey Matt,” Alex called, her voice soft and gentle as she called out to him.

“Yeah?” he turned his head towards her, the smile that seemed to be permanent these days in place on his face.

“I’m really proud of you.”

Matt groaned. “I know what you’re doing; I can read you like a book. You’re not going to make me cry, little sister.”

“Damn it!” Alex laughed, slapping her hand against the fabric of the lounger and bringing more laughter from Matt. “I had to try.”

"Of course you did," Matt chuckled. "I would expect no less."


“You’re going to be an aunt.”

Alex grinned at Harry in the mirror of the bathroom as he moved his arms around her from behind. She had just finished brushing her teeth and washing her face and he thought she looked beautiful; fresh faced and incredibly happy.

“I am,” she nodded. She set down her washcloth and turned around to face him, her hands running up his arms, her lips pulled wider as her fingers danced over his wide shoulders and then curled her arms around his neck. “And look at you…” Her eyes danced as she leaned closer to him. “You’re just getting new titles all over the place, Uncle Harry.”

“New titles?”

“Well, maybe Uncle Harry has been yours for a while,” Alex shrugged. “But let’s see…there is fiancé…” she giggled when Harry’s grin pulled wider. “And then in a few short months you’ll get to be…husband.”

“Oh…I like that title,” his voice dropped and he took a half step forward, his arms tightening around her as his hips pressed her into the counter.

“Yeah? More than…Duke of Sussex?” she teased him as her hands slid up into his hair.

He leaned in closer, his lips quirked up, and then his head dipped, bypassing her lips altogether and moving straight to her neck, right where to that sensitive spot where he could feel her pulse beneath her skin. “So much more,” he breathed against her skin.

“Ohhh…” Her head tipped back slightly, allowing him better access, and Harry wasted no time moving in further and drawing another deeper, longer moan from her. “How about…” She took a deep breath. “How about the recently acquired title of…Daddy?”

Harry’s lips stopped their journey south, and he couldn’t help the chuckle that left his lips as he shook his head against her neck. “We really have the most bizarre dirty talk sometimes, Alex.”

She giggled out into the bathroom and he lifted his head from her neck, his eyes dancing with humor as they met hers. “It’s not my fault that’s what gets you going, Captain.”

He smirked. “You’re what gets me going, Alexandra.” His lips curled up at the sides and Alex recognized the smile immediately. She felt her entire body flush; felt the warmth spread through her and pool right at her center.

“Oh God,” she breathed, her own smile pulling up. “I love when you get that look.”

“Oh yeah?” Harry murmured. His hands moved to her hips and his fingers pushed up under her pajama top, the hot skin of his fingers meeting the smooth skin of her stomach making her gasp. “And what look is that?”

Alex’s lip pulled into her teeth as his hands moved higher, pushing her top up with them. “That look that says you’re about to…ohhh…” Her eyes grew heavy when his hands moved up over her breasts, warm and rough as he pulled them into his palms. “That looks that says you are about to do something amazing to my body.”

“Ah,” Harry nodded. His eyes had grown dark and hazy and Alex could feel the anticipation humming through her. His hands stroked over her breasts, his thumbs moving to strum over her pert nipples. His hips pushed harder against hers and her eyes flashed when she felt him, hard and pressing right against her. “Well, Alexandra,” he whispered, his lips tilting closer to hers. “You are absolutely right.”

His hands left her breasts only to push her shirt up, her arms lifting from around his neck to let him pull it off, and then her hands were back on him, hungry and pushing into his hair just as his lips covered hers in a searing kiss. With a moan, Alex’s lips parted for him and his tongue sank into her mouth, finding hers with a groan and running hot strokes against it.

And then his mouth moved from hers and he slid a hand up to her neck, cradling her head as he kissed hotly down her jaw and to the other side of her neck. His tongue lapped out against her, his slight stubble rubbed against her, and she couldn’t help the sigh of a moan that fell from her lips.

“Jesus Alex,” Harry groaned, his lips making their way across her collarbone. “You taste so fucking good.”

“Ohhh…are we going for a different kind of dirty talk now?”

He grinned against her skin. “A little bit of dirty talk, a little bit of…” His eyes flashed up to hers as he bent and captured a hard nipple in between his lips and Alex groaned, her head tipping back as he worked his lips around her. “And then maybe a little bit of…” His hands slid down her sides and to her hips. His fingers moved into her sleep shorts and he watched her with dark eyes as pushed them down over her hips and thighs.

“Oh God…” Alex breathed, her eyes flashing heat and her chest flushing pink when Harry dropped to his knees and pulled her shorts the rest of the way off, tossing them to the side and leaving her standing there in only a pair of sexy white lace panties.

His hands were quick to return to her, his long fingers wrapping around her thighs, nudging them apart as he moved in closer. “Maybe a little bit of this…” he whispered huskily as he leaned forward and pressed his lips right over her lace covered sex.

“Oh fuck!” Alex cried out. Her hands reached out, desperately needing something to hold on to, one gripping onto the counter behind her and the other shoving her hand into his mess of red hair. His lips kissed her, warm and soft, and then his tongue tipped out against her and Alex’s knees went weak.

“Mmm…” Harry moaned against her. He loved her reaction to him. His hands gripped tighter to her thighs as he lapped against her, wetting her already soaked panties.

“Oh my God, Harry…” The sensation was intense. The lace between his tongue and her created an unbelievably hot friction. Her hips arched out, asking – begging – for more.

“I love it when you moan my name,” Harry groaned as he pulled back to adjust, to give her what she wanted. His fingers looped around her panties and he pulled them aside, exposing her center to him. His eyes flashed up to hers and with a grin and a look of determined lust that almost sent Alex to the ground, he moved back in. His tongue slid out against her, running up her center as he savored it all; the taste of her, the sounds that pulled from her lips, the way her body moved in reaction to him. He watched the way her lip pulled between her teeth, the way her chest rose and fell with the gulps of air she took.

“Harry…” she moaned out, her fingers tightening in his hair. She almost couldn’t stand it, the way he was loving her.

And then suddenly, in a move she never expected, Harry moved, pulling away from her and rising to his feet. Her eyes flew open but before she could ask him what her was doing, his mouth was on hers. His arms wrapped around her, pulling her tightly against him as his tongue pushed into in between her lips.

Harry kissed her hard and deep, knowing she could taste herself on him, wanting her to know how good he thought she tasted, how it was one of his most favorite things in the world. And when she moaned out into his mouth he knew she understood, that it made her want him even more.

He pulled back from her, leaving her breathless and flushed and a bit scattered.

“Harry…what was…” she shook her head, not even sure she remembered where her train of thought was going.

“That was a preview,” he replied, his smile so smug that she wasn’t sure if she wanted to slap him or jump him.

“A preview?”

“Oh yes,” he grinned. His hands slid down her body, moving down her sides to her thighs, wrapping his fingers around them and lifting her, loving her gasp as he pulled her into his arms and she wrapped her legs around him. “Come on Alex, you don’t really think I’m done with you, do you?”

“God I hope not,” Alex breathed, her body already arching towards him, her arms tightening around him.

He chuckled and then tightened his hold on her and turned, moving them from the bathroom and out into the softer light of Alex’s childhood bedroom. “Are you sure you want the full deal, Alex?” he teased as he came to the bed and knelt, laying her back onto it and moving in above her. “The preview wasn’t enough?”

“So much talking when there are better things that delicious mouth of yours could be doing,” she bantered back, cocking her eyebrow at him suggestively.

“Oh-ho!” he laughed and shook his head and then he leaned forward to press his lips against her neck. “So sassy.”

Alex moaned out, moving her hands up into his hair and pressing him closer as he moved from her neck to the swell of her chest. “Please Harry…”

He groaned, his own desires heightening with the way she said his name, the way she begged him to love her. He lifted up, smiling as she moaned at the loss of him and at the adorable little pout on her lips. “Shhhh…” he whispered. “I’m right here, love.”

And he was. He wasn’t going anywhere. He quickly divested himself of his own clothes, his eyes never leaving hers as he stood from the bed to push his boxers off of his legs and then knelt in front of the bed, in front of her.

“God damn, Alexandra,” he murmured as his eyes traveled down her body. “You’re so fucking gorgeous it hurts.

She flushed at his words and then rose up on her elbows. She watched him as his fingers reached for her panties, curling into the lace at her hips and tugging them down over her hips, down her legs, and tossing them off to the side without a second thought before he moved in. His hands brought heat and desire as he ran them down her legs and then, wrapping his long fingers around her slim calves, he lifted her legs over his shoulders and leaned in closer.

“Oh my God…” Alex gasped as his breath warmed her again, as the anticipation of his amazing month and tongue back on her coursed through her body. And then his head dipped and his tongue tipped out against her and Alex’s mind faded altogether.

It wasn’t teasing, the way he moved against her. It was purposeful, thorough, determined. The tease was over. He had given her that in the bathroom and now he had one goal in mind, one intention as his tongue flicked over her again and again, as he brought his fingers to her core and slid one inside of her.

He wanted to send her flying over the edge. He wanted her to cry out his name. He wanted her legs to clench around his head. And most of all, he wanted to feel the pulses of her body as she came apart around him.

And within moments he had brought her there, within moments her hands were clenching in his hair, her thighs tightened and trembled around his head, and her breaths were heavy and fast as her release approached. And then, with a flick of his tongue and a stroke of his fingers, she came apart, crying his name out hoarsely into the room as the waves of her orgasm washed over her.

She barely had time to catch her breath before Harry was moving up and over her. His big, strong body covered her and he lifted her, moving her back onto the bed and moving between her still quivering thighs. And then, with one long, deep stroke he entered her just as his mouth covered hers, catching her gasp of surprise.

“Fuck,” Harry groaned against her lips. “Jesus Christ, Alex. You’re so wet…”

He pulled out and pushed back in, slow and intense and Alex felt like all of her nerves were on fire. She almost couldn’t handle it; the slow, deliberate motions. It was too much and she was way too sensitive to deal with that right then.

“Harry,” she gasped, her eyes pulling open and her fingers shoving into his hair, tugging his face to hers. His eyes were just as wild as she knew hers was and it only made the fire – the need – inside of her worse. “Please…” she whimpered. “Please…”

“Please what, baby?” he asked as he pulled out and pushed back in again, watching the intensity pass across her flushed face. “Tell me what you want, Alexandra.”

“Fuck me, Harry,” she demanded in a hoarse, needy voice. “Please fuck me. I want you…fast and…”

With a groan his mouth covered hers; that was all it took from her. If she wanted him to fuck her, he was going to fuck her.

He adjusted around her quickly, moving one hand up into her hair, cupping her head gently. The other hand slid down her body to her hip and, gripping her tightly, he began to move over her.

“Oh fuck,” Alex cried out, her lips tearing from his and her head tilting back into the mattress. “Yes…yes, Harry!”

He moaned and dropped his face into her neck as he pounded himself into her body. He wasn’t sure he could hold on. She was too hot, too wet, too sexy and he could already feel his end approaching much too fast.

“Alex,” he panted as he lifted his face from her neck and tilted her face to his. “I can’t…you feel too good…”

Alex whimpered and wrapped her legs around him, a shudder ripping through her body as he sank deeper, as he hit something deeper inside of her. “Oh God. Please don’t stop,” she panted, bringing a groan deep from within him.

His jaw clenched and he brought forward every single ounce of willpower and self-control and he pressed on. He pounded into her harder, faster. His mouth covered hers and he thrust his tongue into her mouth, stroking hers in time with the strokes he was making into her body. “Come on, Alex,” he commanded in a strangled voice. His lips pulled from her and eyes found and locked with hers. “Baby, I’m not going to make it.”

Her hands moved up into his hair and she held him to her, his forehead to hers, his eyes to hers. She shook her head just slightly and her lips tilted up. “You…oh God…” Her eyes closed briefly before flashing back up to his. “You don’t have to…”


“Come with me, Harry,” she gasped, her eyes flashing wide and her body tensing around his. “Come with me, baby.”

“Oh God,” Harry groaned. He smashed his lips against hers, thrust hard into her, and just as he thought he couldn’t hang on one more second, she cried out his name against his lips and exploded around him, bringing him with her over the edge with a wild, animalistic groan.

“Oh my God,” Alex breathed as they came down, when she finally felt like she could open her eyes and see straight again. “You really were planning to do amazing things to my body.”

A groan of a laugh left Harry lips, his breath blowing against her neck. “Well, you did amazing things to mine as well,” he chuckled, lifting from her neck to look at her. She was flushed and slightly sweaty and utterly gorgeous.

“Oh, I know,” Alex giggled as her hands moved up into his slightly damp hair. “We’re all sweaty, Wales.”

“We are,” he agreed as he lifted from her, kissing her softly before he moved back, pulling from her body with a soft groan and sitting back on his heels.

“I think we need a shower,” Alex said, her eyebrow raised suggestively.

“Jesus Christ,” Harry shook his head, but his eyes had already sparked with the idea. “You’re going to kill me, Alex.”

“Ah well, you’d die a happy man…”

He watched her as she moved from the bed and back to the bathroom they had so recently left and when she tossed him a look over her shoulder there was no way he wasn’t going to follow her; he’d follow her anywhere.


The week in Texas passed quickly. They were busy, planning lots of activities for their week that kept them moving, but they had so much fun that no one would have thought to complain.

They went to the zoo again, Emma’s favorite pastime. The spent a night at the dance hall, and everyone was surprised with Charlotte didn’t even complain once that she couldn’t drink. She was just fine with that. They even went out to the drive in movie theater about forty five minutes from Mike and Donna’s house one night, something Harry and Charlotte had both never done but enjoyed immensely.

Thanksgiving dinner was wonderful, with all of the kids around and the warm, family feeling that came with those types of gatherings in the kind of family that the Emerson’s had. Of course, Alex and Matt’s cousins had all kinds of questions of the wedding and what they should wear and where they should stay and Alex was quick to assure them that their accommodations would be taken care of and closer to the date, she would all make sure they were clothed properly.

It was a wonderful week that everyone enjoyed immensely. And when it was over, when they were packing up to go, all of them wished they could stay a little longer, that they didn’t have to go just yet.

But they did, they had to get back to London. They were busy and all of their lives were taking off in new and incredible ways. But that didn’t mean Alex didn’t cry a little bit when she had to hug Mike and Donna goodbye. That didn’t mean that Matt didn’t get a little choked up himself, having to say goodbye to his parents who he used to see on a daily basis. And that didn’t mean that both Harry and Charlotte wished the Emersons didn’t live so far away; they both felt like part of the family. And they were.

But finally, with a few tears shed and the reminders that they’d all see each other in a month’s time at Christmas, they finally got into the cars and headed off back to the airport.

Back to London.


“That was an easy flight,” Harry commented as their plane taxied on the runway at Heathrow. He smiled over at Alex and reached for his phone, sliding it from his pocket and pressing the button to turn it on.

“It was,” Alex nodded as she helped Emma pack up the stuff she had taken out during the flight. “I’m glad to be back, but I’ll miss Texas.”

“Me too,” Emma joined in. “Mimi and Poppy’s house is so much fun.”

“It really is,” Alex agreed with a wink and a smile to her daughter. “You’ll go back this summer though and guess what?”

“What?” Emma responded, intrigued.

“You’ll be a Princess by then.”

Emma’s eyes widened and then she sighed dramatically. “Sometimes it just doesn’t seem real.”

Alex couldn’t help the peal of laughter that left her lips. “It really doesn’t,” she agreed. She turned towards Harry, wondering if he had heard what Emma said, but when she saw the look on his face as he scrolled through his phone and she felt the tiniest, unexplainable feeling of uneasiness creep up on her. “Harry? What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” he said, his brow furrowing further before he looked up at her. “Well, I mean nothing that I know of. But I have a text message from my father – he wants me to call him as soon as we get back to KP. He said it’s urgent.”

“Do you want to call him now?” she asked, not wanting him to have to worry.

“No.” He shook his head and then his lips pulled into a reassuring smile as he slid his phone back in his pocket. “I’m sure it’s nothing. Probably just something I forgot to do before we left.”


“Is Emma settled?” Harry asked, looking up to Alex as she walked into his office.

“Crashed right out,” Alex nodded. She chuckled as she moved around his desk and leaned back against it, looking down on him. “She hit the bed and was gone. That’s what she gets for staying up for the entire plane ride.”

“And miss the chance for ten uninterrupted hours of Disney movies? I don’t think so,” Harry laughed.

“Ah, true,” she smiled down at him. “Did you call your father?”

“Yeah,” Harry nodded. His lips turned down a little bit and Alex felt that tiny little shiver of alarm again.

“Did he tell you what is going on?”

“No,” he replied quietly. “Actually he’s on his way over here from Clarence House.”

“He’s coming here?” Alex’s brow furrowed. “It can’t be over something minor like you forgetting to do something. Not if he’s coming over here in person.” Her lip pulled between her teeth and her eyes flashed wide. “Oh God…they aren’t…do you think you’re being deployed?”

“No,” he shook his head with a soft smile. “Not right now. We just announced the engagement and excitement is high…they won’t send me right now. I’d be way too much of a target. But…” he sighed and leaned forward a bit in his chair. “I just…have a feeling it’s not good.”

“You didn’t take a trip to Vegas that I’m unaware of, did you?” Alex joked, trying to lighten the moment; not only for Harry but for herself as well.

“Ha!” He laughed, his eyes crinkling up at the sides in that way she loved. “No love. No nude Harry scandals today.”

“Good,” she said with a smile as she leaned forward to kiss him. “But the day isn’t over yet. We can have our own, private nude Harry scandal later,” she murmured against his lips.

“God, I love you and that dirty mind of yours,” he groaned out. His hands moved up to her face, cupping her cheeks as he prepared to deepen the kiss. But just as his tongue tipped out to her lips, the phone on his desk rang out sharply, the extension from the security gate flashing on the screen.

“That would be your father,” Alex said quietly, pulling back from him.

Harry sighed, pressed his lips to hers one more time, and then moved away from her to reach for the phone. “This is Harry…yes, thank you. We’re expecting him.” He set the phone down in its cradle and then turned back to Alex as he stood and held his hand out for her. “Ready, love?”

She smiled and slipped her hand into his, walking close to him as they move out of his office and down to the foyer. Dropping her hand, Harry moved to open the door just as his father came up the walk.

“Dad,” Harry smiled in greeting to his father, leaning in to kiss his cheeks.

“Son,” Charles returned in his soft, deep voice. He turned to Alex with a smile and even though she tried, she couldn’t get a read on him. His face was friendly and businesslike; a lifetime’s worth of hiding emotions resulting in the perfect poker face. “Alexandra,” he greeted her with an affectionate smile, pulling her close and kissing her cheeks as well.

“It’s wonderful to see you, Charles,” Alex said. “How are you?”

“I’m well, thank you,” he said. “How was your trip to Texas? And where is my newest grandchild? You didn’t leave her in the states did you?”

Alex blinked in confusion, a brief moment of silence passing before she realized that Charles was talking about Emma. She glanced quickly at Harry, the sweet smile on his face mirroring her own. “She’s taking a nap,” Alex said, her smile pulling a bit higher. “She didn’t sleep on the plane.”

“Ah, of course,” Charles chuckled warmly. “As much as I regret not being able to see her, it’s better that I have just you two anyway. Harry,” he turned, addressing his son quickly before either of them could ask questions. “Shall we step into your office?”

“Yes of course,” Harry nodded. He stood aside, letting Charles lead the way and following close behind with Alex. When they stepped into the room, he shut the door behind them, his hand falling on Alex’s back, staying close. “Would you like a drink, Dad?” he asked, pointing to the small liquor cabinet in the office.

“No thank you,” Charles shook his head. “I’d rather just get right to this, if you don’t mind.”

“Sure,” Harry replied, his eyes going a touch wide at his father’s tone as it switched from friendly to serious and he felt Alex tense next to him. He nodded at the seating area and they moved toward it. “I have to say Dad, this is all making Alex and I a touch nervous,” he said as Alex sat down on the leather couch and he moved in next to her, taking his hand in his and squeezing it tight, letting her know he knew she was nervous and so was he. It was all too weird, too sudden.

Charles’ gaze remained serious as he took a seat in one of the chairs across from his son and soon to be daughter-in-law. “I’m not going to beat around the bush here. Today my office received a call from our inside guy at the Sunday Express…”

And Alex felt all the hair on the back of her neck stand up. It was a story, and because it was the Express it would be somewhat reliable.

“Okay,” Harry replied cautiously. “And what did they say?”

“They are going to run a story tomorrow and you two will be at the center of it. It seems as if…” He took a deep breath and as much as he didn’t want to, he continued. “Alexandra, the Sunday Express is going to run a story claiming that your husband is still alive.”

“What?!” Alex gasped, feeling like all the air was being sucked from her body. Harry’s arms immediately went around her, holding her shaking body to his, even as the shock of the impending story knocked him speechless. “But…how can they do that? How can they say he’s alive? He’s not. He died over eight years ago. I would know if my husband were still alive!”

“Alexandra,” Charles said softly, his eyes full of sympathy. “They have an interview.”

“An interview?” Harry’s voice was quiet, almost deadly as he shot the question at his father.

“Yes,” Charles nodded. “An interview with a man who says he is John Morgan – a man who says he is your husband, Alexandra…and apparently it’s credible enough for them to run with it. And they are. They’re going to run with it and at this point…all signs point to that the story is true.”

And Alex and Harry’s entire world flipped on its head in an instant.