Sequel: In Unexpected Places

Against the Odds

Chapter Sixty Five

This chapter starts off with a portion written by one of my readers from a one-shot competition I hosted on Tumblr. The end of their part is marked with an *OS*. The rest was written by me. Enjoy!



Emma sat a little away from the group as they watched Harry and Alex go through their final rehearsal before the wedding. Any other time Emma’s uncharacteristic quietness would have drawn attention but in the fuss of wedding planning and Mike’s recovery her nerves seemed to have been missed by everyone. Or rather almost everyone.

Camilla gently slid into the chair beside her soon-to-be granddaughter, “The excitement getting to you?” she asked quietly.

Emma silently shook her head, avoiding Camilla’s gaze.

“What’s wrong Emma?”

“People don’t like me.”

That shocked Camilla, it was so sudden and unexpected that she didn’t really know what to say, “That’s not true my darling! What makes you say that?”

“I saw it in the paper,” Emma explained, “Mummy and Daddy tried to hide it but I saw it. They’re mad at Daddy for wanting me to be a princess.” She looked up at Camilla with huge, tearful eyes, “I don’t want to be a princess if it makes people be mad at Daddy.”

All eyes were on Alex and Harry and the happy couple themselves so Camilla held out a hand to Emma and guided her out of the row of chairs and up behind the high altar, knowing if she took Emma for a small walk to talk her, she wouldn’t be missed for just a few moments.

“People were upset when I married Grandpa Charles,” she confessed as they made their way up towards the Henry VII Chapel.

“Really?” Emma gasped.

“Oh yes, there are still people who aren’t happy about it, they think I’m trying to replace Harry’s mummy.”

“That’s mean.”

“A little bit yes, but I don’t mind.” Camilla explained. “Do you know why?” Emma shook her head as Camilla knelt down to her level. “Because all that matters is that I love Charles, and William and Harry, and Kate and your mother, and you and Henry, and I want you all to be in my life. What is in here,” she pressed her hand over Emma’s heart, “is a thousand times more important than anything anyone out there can say about you, alright?” And just as she went to move her hand from over Emma’s heart, the little girl reached up to hold it where it was as she considered her words. Finally she nodded.

“Yes I think I understand now,” She said and then after a few moments more of consideration. “But don’t tell Mummy and Daddy that I saw! I don’t want them to be sad!”

“I promise; it will be our secret,” Camilla said, smiling.

Happy to see that Emma was more herself again, Camilla opened her arms wide for a hug which Emma gave enthusiastically. Then the quiet of the chapel was broken by the sound of Alex’s voice.

“Emma! Emma, where are you?”

Camilla stood up as Alex came into view on the steps of the chapel,

“I was just showing Emma some more of the Abbey,” she explained. “We’ve got a regular little history buff on our hands here!”



“I hate that we have to spend tonight apart,” Alex murmured as her fingers ran up the lapels of his blazer, her eyes wide and happy as they turned up to his. Their rehearsal was long over and after a dinner – and several glasses of delicious champagne – at Clarence House for their families, it was time for them to part for the night evening. Alex and Emma would be going back to their home at Kensington to stay with her family and Harry would remain at Clarence House with William and his father and Camilla.

“But after tonight, we get to spend every night together for the rest of our lives,” Harry replied in a soft, reverent voice. His hands ran up and down her arms, bringing warmth to them in the cool night air.

Her lips turned up and the corners and she leaned into him further, finding that she hated the thought of any sort of distance from him at the moment. “Are you nervous?”

“No,” Harry smiled wide and shook his head. “Are you nervous?”

“The whole thing – the enormity and the number of people watching – makes me a bit nervous. But…” She smiled wide and her eyes danced. “I’m not at all nervous about marrying you. Never about marrying you.”

“Yeah?” Harry whispered as his face dropped closer to hers and his fingers moved to brush a piece of hair from her face. “Does that mean you’ll definitely show up tomorrow?”

Alex laughed and rolled her eyes slightly even as she leaned her cheek into his hand, seeking his warmth. “Come on, Harry. I don’t think the whole of the British Armed forces could keep me away.”

Harry chuckled and then his eyes grew a bit serious. His thumb stroked at her cheek and he took a deep breath, savoring the quiet moment between the two of them. “Thank you for agreeing to jump into this crazy life with me, Alexandra.”

“Ah well,” she shrugged, her eyes sparking with the sass he’d come to know and love so well. “There were no better options, really.”

Harry laughed, his eyes crinkling up at the sides in that way she loved. And then he dipped his head just a bit further, pressing his lips against hers in a soft, sweet kiss. “I love you, Alexandra Mae,” he whispered against her lips, suddenly finding he didn’t want to let her go. “So much.”

“I love you too, Henry Charles Albert David,” she whispered back, her lips curling as she repeated all four of his names precisely, just as she had practiced over and over again in rehearsal.

His chest rumbled with soft laughter, his arms tightened around her, and he pressed one more kiss to her lips…and then another, and another, and another…

“Harry…” she giggled against his lips. “If you keep kissing me...”

“I can’t help it love,” he said with a grin, but he took a deep breath and pulled back, knowing she was right. “It’ll be a while before I get to kiss you again.”

“Yeah,” Alex sighed. Her hands flattened out on his chest, patting it lightly. “But, the next time you do kiss me…we’ll be married.”

“See now,” Harry groaned. “That only makes me want to kiss you again.”

“Sorry, Wales,” she laughed with a shake of her head as she stepped back from him. “No more until you make an honest woman out of me.”

“Ha!” His head tipped back with laughter and when his eyes moved back to hers they were dancing with humor and pure excitement. “Tomorrow then?”

Alex smiled wide. “Tomorrow.”

And then, after a warm, emotionally filled look between them she squeezed his hands one last time and then turned from him, slipping out the door of Clarence House and to the car that waited to take her home for the night.



Alex let out a slow breath as she stepped into the bedroom and shut the door behind her softly. She leaned back against the door and her lips curled up into a soft smile as her eyes traveled over the intimate, warm space that she shared with Harry. Anyone else might not think that the room looked so very much different now than it had the first night she spent there over two years before; but to her it looked incredibly different.

The room had been Harry’s then. His belongings had been on the surfaces and tucked away in the drawers and closets then, but now those surfaces and drawers and closets all held her belongings as well, dwelling happily alongside his. Her jewelry box sat open on the dresser next to his ‘catch all’ bowl that his wallet and mobile phone were tossed into every night. Her clothes were hung neatly in the closet on the opposite side from his. Her toiletries and lotions and makeup were all arranged neatly around the sink next to his.

Her smile pulled up even higher and her already hazy eyes grew soft as she moved to the dresser, pulling out one of his old, soft t-shirts with those thoughts on her mind.

Hers and his.

And tomorrow, he would pledge everything of his to her and she would do the same. They would become man and wife. They would be sharing their entire lives with each other. In the eyes of the law and of God, it would all become theirs.

Theirs. Their life. Together.

“Well, I think I’ll just go ahead and consider this ours,” Alex murmured to herself with a slight giggle as she pulled the t-shirt over her head, reveling in softness and the smell; a bit of detergent and a bit of him.

She made quick work of washing her face and brushing her teeth before stepping from the bathroom, flipping off the light behind her and then moving straight to the big, plush bed she loved so much, yawning as she did. She was tired; tired and more than a little tipsy from the champagne at dinner and the shot that Matt had talked her into downstairs. And it had been a long day with the next promising to be even longer. But as she snuggled down into the covers, closing her eyes and chasing sleep wasn’t her immediate intention.

She wanted to use this bit of quiet, alone time to reflect on everything and to have a completely girly, ‘I’m about to marry the man of my dreams’ moment to herself. She wanted to enjoy this incredibly crazy journey she was on where she was going to go to Westminster Abbey in the morning and marry this incredible, amazing man who just happened to be a Prince. She wanted to give into the urge to laugh in a bit of disbelief at the fact that she was going to be a Duchess and that her adorable little daughter was going to be a real, live Princess.

And so for the first time since she had met Harry, she did just that. She let all of those thoughts wash over her. Then, because she couldn’t help herself, she smiled wide there in the dark, reached for Harry’s pillow, pressed it to her face and let out the girliest, most excited giggle of a squeal that had left her lips in a long, long time.

“If only you could see me now, Harry,” she giggled as she pulled the pillow from her face and shook her head at her own silly outburst. She took a deep breath and wiped tears of laughter from her eyes. “You’d make so much fun of me.”

The smile remained on her face as she turned to her side, intent on curling up with Harry’s pillow and getting some sleep. And that’s when she saw it; the thin, rectangular shaped wrapped present laying on the bed right where she had pulled Harry’s pillow from.

“Henry,” she whispered, her lips curling up as she sat back up and reached for it. She turned to flip on her lamp and a soft laugh fell from her lips as she studied the present in her hands. “You hid a present under your pillow for me, you cheesy, cheesy man.”

She pulled off the card that was taped to the front and pulled it from the envelope, her heart beating a bit faster when she read the simple line written in his familiar scrawl.

I knew then…

Love, Harry

Brimming with curiosity, Alex set the note carefully on her nightstand and then her fingers went to work on the wrapping paper. “Oh, Harry…” she whispered when she pulled the paper away to reveal the beautiful picture frame. She recognized where the picture was from instantly, although she had never seen it. It was from his official, public visit to HFTF – the second time they had met. She was turned away from him, already stepping forward to lead the group inside, but Harry was rooted to his spot, staring at her as she walked away with the biggest, brightest smile on his handsome face.

She remembered that moment so well. They had just shaken hands and the spark between them that she had convinced herself was all a part of her imagination when they'd first met, had proven itself to be very, very real. And the smile on Harry’s face in the photo showed that he had felt it too; that little tiny moment between them wasn’t really little at all for either of them.

Alex’s eyes grew moist at the memory and even though they had promised not to talk to each other until they saw each other at the Abbey in the morning, Alex reached for her phone, wanting nothing more in that moment than to talk to him. She dialed his number and held the phone to her ear, her lip pulling between her teeth as she waited for him to answer.


She could hear his grin through the phone and she couldn’t help but laugh. “You were expecting my call, then?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” he chuckled.

“Really? Then who left this amazing present under your pillow for me?”

“Ahhh. Went searching under my pillow did you?”

She laughed softly. “You knew I would.”

“I was hoping,” he said softly, his voice growing more reverent. “I meant it, Alexandra. That was the moment…”

“I know,” she interrupted with a smile, her eyes pulling back down to the picture and her fingers running over the picture. “And then, after that…you just went right ahead and fell in love with me.”

A burst of laughter pushed from Harry’s lips, warming Alex’s entire body as she listened. “I absolutely did; you and a certain adorable little blonde kiddo.”

“I wish you were here with me,” Alex sighed. “I just…I’m so excited and giddy and I want you right here to share it with me.”

“Ah, love…” he breathed, his own emotions welling with her words. “Will you still be excited and giddy tomorrow?”

“Absolutely.” Her voice was firm; certain.

“Then how about you meet me at Westminster Abbey at say…eleven o’clock in the morning?”

She couldn’t help but laugh. “Okay, it’s a date.”

“It’s a date,” he chuckled. “And Alex?”


“Tomorrow, my smile will be twice as big as in that picture.”

Her own smile pulled wide at his words. “You and me both, Wales.”


“Alex! Wake up! You overslept!”

Alex sat straight up in the bed with a gasp, her eyes wide and panicked. She had already started pulling at her covers with the intent of scrambling out of bed when she saw her brother standing in her doorway, laughing his ass off at her.

“Matt!” she yelled, realizing that he was messing with her and she had not, in fact, overslept. “What the hell? What are you, twelve?!” She reached for a pillow and hurled it at him, unable to keep the smile from her face when he only laughed harder as he dodged the pillow. She turned towards her clock and groaned out at the time on the digital display. “Matthew Scott Emerson! It’s 5:45 in the morning. I had fifteen more minutes to sleep!”

“It’s like high school all over again,” Matt chuckled with a shake of his head. “And I wish I could say I’m sorry, but that would make me a liar. Besides, I wasn’t even the official mastermind; only an accomplice.”

Alex eyebrows lifted. “What are you talking about?”

It was then that Emma peeked around the corner, a mischievous smile on her adorable face. “Happy Wedding Day, Mummy!”

Alex couldn’t help but laugh, even as she narrowed her eyes playfully at her daughter. “Alright you,” she said, pointing a finger at Emma. “For that, you get to spend the next fifteen minutes snuggled up with me before the troops come in and we have to start getting ready for the day.”

“Okay!” Emma agreed with a giggle. She ran over and jumped up on the bed, immediately moving to pull the covers up around her.

“I’ll let you two hang out,” Matt chuckled. “Fair warning though, Charlotte is already up and I’m sure she’ll be busting in here at six am on the dot.”

“Noted,” Alex laughed as she pulled her daughter into her arms.

Matt grinned as he moved from the room and shut the door behind him, leaving Alex and Emma alone for their last few minutes of mother/daughter time before the craziness began.


All of the small anxieties and nerves that had hit Alex in the days before the wedding had faded by that morning, and in their place was a sense of calm and peace that allowed Alex to relax and really enjoy the time with her family and friends as her stylist, makeup artists, and hairdressers descended onto her house to get them all ready for the wedding.

The morning went quickly, full of excited chatter and laughter as the ladies were made up and their hair pinned to perfection while Matt and Mike relaxed in another part of the house. And before Alex knew it, it was her turn in the stylist chair and she couldn’t help but smile wide with excitement as she slid into the chair to let them get to work.

Her make-up was applied quickly but precisely; heavy enough so that she wouldn’t look washed out through the TV cameras, but soft enough so that she still looked like her when she stepped up to the altar. Isaac, the wonderful young man who had worked with her in the previous months to come up with a hair style for the day that worked for her, the dress, and the tiara, immediately went to work on her hair when her make-up was done. He pulled her hair from the large rollers he had placed her in at the beginning of the morning and quickly started pinning her long blonde hair up into classic but soft up-do they’d come up with.

Emma and Charlotte were both fully dressed by the time they finished, having been carefully put into their dresses by Alex’s stylist Anna and by the dress designer himself, Stuart Parvin, who wanted to make sure there were no last minute alterations needed. Then, it was Alex’s turn to be dressed in the gown that was designed and created just for her, the very last step before the tiaras would be pulled out to be placed and secured on hers and Emma’s head.

The room fell silent as Alex carefully stepped into the beautiful lace and satin creation and it was pulled into place on her. Anna and Stuart immediately went to work on the long row of buttons on the back and adjusting everything into place. Molly and Donna both blinked back tears as they watched and Alex couldn’t help but stare at her own reflection in the full length mirror she was positioned in front of. She felt so incredibly beautiful in the amazing dress was everything she had wanted it to be and more. It was classic enough for an Abbey wedding, but held the small modern elements that Alex had wanted.

“I have to hand it to you, Stuart,” Charlotte said, her own smile wide and her hand resting on her bump as she looked at Alex. “Everyone is going to go insane over that dress.”

“Especially Daddy,” Emma joined in with a wide grin, bringing laughter from around the room.

“Yes, especially him,” Charlotte agreed with a wink at Emma.

“Well, thank you,” Stuart nodded with a warm smile before he turned to Anna. “Dresses are on, love. They are all yours now to finish up.”

“Just one thing left,” Anna said with a big smile as she clapped her hands together and looked from Emma to Alex and then back again. “Tiaras.”


Emma’s tiara was pulled from the safe in the house and was quickly put into place on the giddy eight year old princess-to-be, the team going to work pinning and securing it so it would stay in place throughout the day.

And then, it was Alex’s turn.

When the tiara entered the room, she was sure that it came with a palace official or security of some sort. But Alex saw none of that.

Sure. She saw diamonds and sparkle. She saw history; past and present. But what stood out above all else, what shone the brightest was the significance behind this beautiful piece of jewelry.

She was becoming a Duchess.

She was becoming his wife.

As a team of people moved around overhead, pinning and primping, she was basking in this moment, this realization that continued to wash over her.

The day was here. This was it.

It seemed that the moment that the tiara was in place, things really started to move quicker and quicker around them.

Donna, Molly, and Matt were first to leave Kensington Palace by car. And Alex’s heart beat faster when they did, knowing that if they were leaving that meant Harry was already at the Abbey with William, waiting on everyone to arrive.

Waiting on her to arrive.

Charlotte and Emma, along with the two adorable page boys who had only arrived at Kensington shortly before, were the next to leave for the Abbey. Alex kissed her daughter’s cheeks and hugged her tight before she watched her little girl walk out the door, looking every bit the princess she was about to become.

And then, at 10:47 am, Melanie smiled wide at Alex and nodded, letting her know it was time. She handed Alex her bouquet, a stunning white flower creation that was accented with Bluebonnets as a nod to her Texas roots. She took the bouquet with a deep breath and surprisingly steady hands.

As she stepped out of the door of the home she shared with Harry at Kensington Palace and she took her father’s arm as he led her to the car, a wide, brilliant smile spread across her face.

The smile remained as she was carefully put into the car, her father and Anna making sure that her dress was tucked in carefully around her.

The smile remained when her father slid into the car next to her, looking handsome in his morning suit and so incredibly proud to be accompanying her on this drive.

And the smile remained – and grew just a bit wider – when the car began to pull from the drive and to the gates where she could see people waiting to catch a glimpse of her.

The nerves she felt while on this very same drive to the Abbey the night before were a distant, forgotten memory. Because this time – this drive – was bringing her to finale of all of the build-up and planning and work of the last few months. At the end of this drive the kind, sweet, funny, amazing man she loved would be waiting for her, looking undoubtedly handsome and with a great big smile on his face.

Finally, finally…she was on her way to marry Harry.