Disclaimer and rating - see first part.
Chapter 17: A brighter tomorrow??
After a quick shower and change of clothing, Clarisse and Joseph joined Mia for breakfast. The final preparations were being made for the evening’s festivities and the coronation the next day, turning the Palace into a hub of activity.
Kissing Clarisse as he rose, Joseph said, “I’m going to check on some things in the security office and I’ll see you later. Alright dear?”
“Yes, my love. I shall see you later.”
Clarisse stood as well, “Mia, my love, please make sure you practice your reading one last time before tonight.
Mia sighed, “Sure, Grandma I’ll practice for like the hundredth time.”
Clarisse smiled, “It is almost over, Mia, and then you shall be Queen of Genovia.”
Mia lit up; but not solely at the prospect of being Queen, “And then you, former Queen of Genovia, will be free to go on your honeymoon.”
A blush crept over Clarisse’s face, “Amelia…”
Mia stood, leaned over and kissed her Grandmother, “It’s ok, Grandma. You and Joe were very sweet to wait until after the coronation to officially go on your honeymoon - you waited so long to be together and now you have had to wait even more because of me.”
Clarisse looked with tenderness at her Granddaughter. “Because of you, my love, Joseph and I were able to take our friendship to another level. I shall never be able to thank you enough for that. As for our honeymoon, it will come in due time. Joseph and I have shared our past, the present, and now, our future. Right now, getting you crowned Queen is on the top of both of our priority lists.”
“Well, in about twenty-four hours, you will accomplish your priority.” Mia turned very serious, “I love you, Grandma. I promise to make you and my father very proud of me.”
“Oh Mia, I am already so proud and I know your father would be too.” Clarisse hugged Mia as they shared what would more than likely be their last moment of privacy before the ceremonies were concluded.
Mia broke from the embrace first, “Well, I guess I should go practice again- to make sure I don’t talk or read too fast tonight. I’m sure you’ll give me that little signal if I do, though, right?”
Clarisse smiled as she turned to walk out of the room, “Well dear, you never know when that tickle will surface and I will need to clear my throat.”
Mia just shook her head and laughed as her Grandmother exited the room. She followed not long after to look for Charlotte to practice her reading.
Clarisse looked after a few things in the office and then went back up to her suite. Once safely inside, she picked up the phone placing a call that she had wanted to make since she and Joseph had left Phillipe’s suite last night.
“Yes. This is Clarisse Renaldi; may I speak with my son, please?”
“Oh I see. Could you please get a message to him for me?”
“Please ask him to call me as soon as possible I must speak with him regarding an urgent matter.”
“Yes, thank you.”
Having placed the call, she decided to rest for a bit before she would have to prepare for the activities of the evening.
Meanwhile in the security room
“What did you learn, Shades?”
Shades pulled Joseph over to the side of the room and spoke to him in a hushed tone, “I learned that Paul was recommended for palace duty by Lord Palimore.”
“Lord Palimore? How long had he known Paul before he recommended him for service to the King?”
“From what I’ve been able to learn, I can’t determine how he knew him or that he had even met Paul before.”
“Why would Lord Palimore recommend him then? That is a high level clearance position and must come with a recommendation from Parliament. Each member of parliament is cautious, though, because if a recommendation doesn’t work out, they lose the privilege of any future recommendations as well as sanctions from Parliament.”
“I don’t know, Joe. From all appearances, it worked out, though.”
Joseph’s mind was working at full speed now, “Worked out if you consider that everyone he ever dealt with in the Royal family is now dead or has abdicated the throne…”
“Think about it, Shades. He was personal assistant to King Rupert he died prematurely; then he moved on to Prince Pierre who later abdicated the throne; finally, Prince Phillipe who died in a car crash shortly after Paul went to work in the garage.”
“That’s all circumstantial, Joe. There’s no way to prove he was responsible. They were all accidents and Pierre joined the church, just as he always wanted.”
“I know, Shades. It just doesn’t sit well with me.”
“We need proof, Joe, before we can accuse him or keep him from being at the palace.”
Joseph’s frustration was rising now, “I’m well aware of that, Shades. I’m asking you to find that proof. I think I am going to arrange a discussion with Lord Palimore as soon as possible.”
“I’ll see what I can do, Joe. You’re never going to get to meet with Lord Palimore, though, until after the coronation. Parliament is in session later today to take care of administrative items on the agenda and then will be in recess to attend the final coronation activities. Then you are going on your honeymoon.”
“I need to speak with Lord Palimore.”
“Joe you need to go on your honeymoon. When you get back, you can talk to him.”
“Speaking of the honeymoon, you’ve arranged the things I asked?”
“All take care of.”
“Good. Now find out more about Paul.”
With that Joseph left to find Clarisse.
About 30 minutes later, he had concluded his search and found his wife asleep on the couch in their suite. He watched the gentle rise and fall of her chest. The emerald green satin of her blouse set off her skin tone beautifully. She had removed her jacket and placed it on the chair before resting. Her crème colored pants still appeared perfectly pressed. Her stocking feet were crossed daintily at the end of the couch.
He sat down on the edge of the couch and let his fingers trace along her jaw line to the hollow of her throat and down the middle of her chest. His hands drew gentle circles along the fabric of her blouse. She stirred slightly as she began to awake to the sensations Joseph was creating.
He placed feather-like kisses starting from her forehead and following the trail his fingers had grazed only moments before. He began to unbutton her blouse and kiss the exposed flesh. Clarisse was definitely awake now. Her hands went to his neck to caress the back of his head as her body began to respond to his touch.
Joseph looked up at her, “Yes, my love.”
“As much as I love where this is headed…do we really have time?”
He chuckled slightly, “Probably not but I’d still like to try.”
He continued unbuttoning her blouse and began placing kisses on her breasts and stomach.
“Oh Joseph…” His kisses were leaving a trail of fire everywhere his lips had touched. She sat up to allow the complete removal of her blouse.
He was sitting on the couch beside her now. Their lips met in a passionate kiss. Their impatience over the wait for the honeymoon was becoming too much for even their resolve. Clarisse worked at the buttons of his shirt exposing his bare chest to her touch. Her hands sought the warmth inside his shirt, nails gently grazing over his back while their mouths melded together and their tongues danced. She pulled his shirt from his trousers and removed it completely.
“Clarisse…you are so beautiful. I feel like it has been forever since I’ve seen you touched you.” Joseph’s eyes raked over her half clothed body enjoying seeing it blush under his gaze.
She stood, pulling him with her, and leading him by the hand to the bathroom.
“What are you doing, my love?”
“I believe the old adage is, ‘killing two birds with one stone’.”
Joseph was confused now. “I’m sorry?”
She laughed at his confusion and turned to embrace him. “It seems, my dear that neither of us can wait until the honeymoon; and, it seems that we have a limited amount of time before the duties of the evening are upon us. So, I thought we might save some time and shower together. Would that be alright, my love?” Her smile and faux innocent look turned him into a school boy a rather naughty school boy, though.
He swept her into his arms enjoying her quick yelp as he did so. “I think that is a wonderful idea, my dear.”
Once in the bathroom, he turned the shower on and let the steam begin to fill the room. They removed their clothing quickly and then joined for another embrace before stepping under the warm stream.
Joseph used the soap and lathered his hands up. “Turn around.” He whispered in her ear.
A shiver ran down her spine as she felt his breath on her neck even though the water was warm. The shiver was replaced with the warm feel of Joseph’s hands as they massaged her shoulders and back. He was very methodical as he washed her backside and worked his way down her legs. He was crouched down behind her as he washed the soles of her feet. She was bracing herself with her hands on the shower wall.
He started moving slowly back up, but this time concentrating on her front. She gasped as his hands moved to the inside of her thighs. “Oh yes…” was the only response she could muster.
He smiled as he knew she was getting close. He reveled in the fact that he didn’t even have to touch her in a typical erogenous zone and she still responded to his attention no matter where it was lavished on her body.
His stopped for a moment and re-lathered his hands. Before she could even complain at the loss of his touch, he was circling her abdomen. Pulling her closer, he allowed her to feel the evidence of his desire. She finally found words, “I am looking forward to returning the favor, my love. We must make sure you are clean and tidy tonight as well.”
He grinned at her as he responded huskily, “I shall look forward to it.” With that, no further words were spoken as his hands finally claimed her breasts. His hands circled and massaged each one in turn emitting sighs of contentment, alternating with gasps of excitement. When he caught her nipples between his fingers, she arched against him pushing them even further into his touch.
One hand snaked down her stomach to tease the curls while the other continued to lavish attention on her breasts. As his fingers sought their treasure, she braced herself once again, separating her legs ever so slightly to allow him better access. He could feel the rise and fall of her chest and her head was bowed as she reveled in the fire he was creating within her.
As he began to massage her womanhood, his desire, which he had been keeping at a smolder, began to ignite. Feeling her body involuntarily respond to his touch had to be the most powerful aphrodisiac he had ever experienced. He began placing kisses along her neck, coaxing her to lift her head and allow him even better access to her graceful neck.
His movements increased as her body began to lose its composure. Her hips were grinding into him as he continued his assault on her most sensitive spot. As first one finger then two entered her, she pushed away from the shower wall and leaned into him. He was practically lifting her body with his hands as his fingers slid in and out of her heat. Her arms went around his neck caressing the fringe of hair and whatever else was within her reach. Her body stilled momentarily before she achieved her release. The fire having grown to a point of no return, she jerked against him as he held her close with his other arm securely around her waist.
As the tremors subsided somewhat, he removed his hand and allowed her to turn into his embrace. Assuming she would be spent, he was unprepared for her next move. She pushed him back against the shower wall and crushed his body between hers and the unmoving partition. Her mouth claimed his as her tongue demanded entrance. They both were lost in the sensations that their mouths and hands were creating. The feel of the water as it rained down over their bodies; the look of pure desire in their eyes; the friction of their hands as they roamed over the other’s body giving pleasure through the sensation of touch it was a work of poetry the way the unspoken lines of their love were being played out. Moving together, they achieved a rhythm and cadence that was uniquely theirs.
Clarisse broke the kiss, her breath coming in short, fast gasps. “Joseph?”
“I know I promised to return the favor; but, I am feeling rather wanton right now and I do believe I will be unable to keep my promise at least at this moment in time.”
Joseph smiled, grabbed her waist and exchanged their positions so she was now up against the wall. His body crushed hers as he leaned in to whisper in her ear, “Well, I do believe there are other ways you can make it up to me, don’t you?”
“Oh yes…I do,” was her husky reply.
His mouth claimed hers once again as her arms went around to his back. His hand grabbed one of her legs and pulled it up to his waist. Understanding what he wanted to do, she moved her hands to his shoulders for added support. Placing one hand on the wall behind her head for leverage, he thrust in and claimed her body as only he could do. Both gasped at the initial shards of pleasure coursing through them at their joining; then they remained still for a moment just enjoying the sensations.
Clarisse thrust against him to indicate she was ready. Joseph smiled as he looked into her beautiful blue eyes now dark with desire. “Well, someone is very wanton today, isn’t she?”
“Joseph, now is not the time for teasing. This is one of those orders from your wife we spoke of last night now!!”
He couldn’t help but laugh at her reference to his teasing last night, “As you wish, my wife.”
With that he began to move against her slowly at first and then increasing the rhythm until there was no discernible tempo to their song. Sensing she was ready, he lunged forward one last time crying out her name. Her only response was not coherent; but he could have sworn it was in another language.
He let her leg down as he leaned against her for support. “I do hope that what you cried out was my name just in another language.” He teased.
“Mmm I’m sure it was as my every thought was of you at that moment. Thank you, Joseph.”
He quickly washed off as she watched, admiring the beauty of his body and how well it fit with hers.
“You’re welcome, my love. I do look forward to the day when you repay the hand washing you received today.”
“My, you are good at collecting on old debts and promises, aren’t you?”
“The best, my love.”
“Oh, Joseph you certainly are.” She offered with genuine love and appreciation for the woman he brought out in her.
“Only with you, my dear.” He switched off the water and they began to get ready for the evening having put the hormonal demons at bay for a while.
Later that evening
Joseph and Clarisse stood proudly by as Amelia finished her reading and speech. Clarisse waited anxiously for the wonderful quote that Mia had chosen to finish her speech.
“…’The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today’. I encourage all of you: members of Parliament, citizens of Genovia, and other honored guests to put aside your doubts and join with me as we take Genovia into a stronger, brighter and fantastic tomorrow. Thank you.”
The applause was thunderous as Mia finished her speech. Her progress in the area of public speaking was nothing less than phenomenal. Only a few years ago, she had threatened to throw up on those who were witnessing her speech. Yes, she had come a long way, indeed. Clarisse beamed with pride at the young woman who stood only a few feet away from her the young woman who would become Queen…tomorrow. She felt Joseph’s arm go around her waist and squeeze her tightly, he was proud as well.
They watched as Mia took the golden goblet that was handed to her by the Arch Bishop. The goblet contained the very best pear wine that Genovia had to offer; and, as tradition stated, Mia would offer a toast to the continued prosperity of Genovia and then drink the wine.
Out of habit, Joseph scanned the room to make sure all was in order. He stopped his scan as he saw Paul standing just off to the side watching the toast. The gleam in his eye was exactly like the look on the faces of the onlookers that Clarisse had seen in her nightmares.
Clarisse had followed Joseph’s gaze admittedly to tease him later about being on the job yet again; but then she saw where his gaze had stopped. The color drained from her face as she saw the look on Paul’s face.
The realization hit both of them at the same time. They looked at Mia and saw her lift the goblet to her mouth. Out of pure instinct, they both ran toward her yelling, “MIA NO!!!”