Title: Friendship at first sight
Author: leetah47 and Shakayla (originally started by Gina06)
Rating: MA - pears coming up!
Disclaimer: we don't own any of these characters. The Princess Diaries and its characters are the property of Meg Cabot and Disney. In all honesty, though, we have had a helluva lot more fun with them (and they with us) than either Meg or Walt would allow!!
Summary: A tale of friendship and love. Clarisse observes Joseph jogging on a hot day and the borders of their friendship is tested.
Thanks: To Gina06 who started this whole thing with a few sentences!

Note: In our world Rupert is a good guy, so there’s a little ‘royal love’ included…..


Joseph had discovered many years ago that the best way to focus his thoughts or merely give them free reign was to jog. So he jogged every morning, when the weather and his duties permitted. He would let his feet decide the route around the palace grounds and just think. He would think about work; problems that needed solving, trips that needed to be planned, important people he needed to make arrangements for. He would think about life in general, the state of the country, things like that. But most often he would think about Clarisse.

Queen Clarisse of Genovia. He couldn’t pinpoint the exact time he knew he had fallen in love with his queen. When he thought back over the years he had served the royal family there was never one specific thing he could put his finger on and say ‘that day, that’s when I fell in love.’

He had not been in love with her from the first day; that much he knew. It was not love at first sight. It was, without a doubt though, friendship at first sight. He remembered the day he started working for the royal family very well…

A position at the palace had opened up when King Rupert had sent two guards with his sons as they went to their respective schools. Philippe had gone to America to study and Pierre had gone to France. Although the King had his own security, he had felt the need for a guard for the queen now that her sons and their security had left the palace.

Joseph had lived in Genovia most of his life and knew much about the royal family. His mother loved the royals and had always made a point of following everything she could about them. Her enthusiasm had undoubtedly rubbed off on her son. Joseph didn’t hold much hope for getting the position, though, as he suspected King Rupert would wish to hire a native Genovian. Fortunately for Joseph…The King did not. The King must have seen something special in him that no one else could bring to the job; and he was hired immediately.

He met the Queen the same day as it was her safety for which he would be responsible. He was not surprised by her beauty; he had seen her often enough on the television and in magazines. What had surprised him, though, was the warmth with which she welcomed him; a total stranger entrusted with her life. She had sat down with him over tea; and when that first conversation was over, they were friends - friends at first sight. It had been an amazing feeling, being so connected and in tune with another person so quickly.

His old mother had been so proud when he had gotten the job and he had shared this information with the Queen. She had smiled warmly at him and told him to bring his mother for a visit. It had been a high point in the old woman’s life and Joseph had cherished his Queen for the very thoughtful gesture.

Clarisse had been very supportive when his mother died the year after and he in return had listened to her as she agonized when Philippe’s girlfriend in America got pregnant. It was a hard decision for her then, to keep her distance and not get to know her first and, as it turned out, only grandchild. He was so glad that she was getting to know her now; as she was being prepared to rule Genovia one day.

He had been with the royal family for nearly twenty years now and he had treasured every day. Even the bad days; and, unfortunately, they had had their fair share of bad days. When the King died, Clarisse had assumed a great deal of responsibility; ruling the country until arrangements could be made for Philippe to take over. The world saw her strong will; but alone in her suite, he saw her loneliness at losing her longtime friend and husband. He offered whatever support she would take from him. Luckily she had never turned away from him. She had realized that she could not do this alone.

Clarisse’s heartbreak the day she had heard that Philippe had died still stabbed at his heart. He had been with her when she had been informed of the accident; he had stayed with her in the hospital room as she held her son’s hand when he took his last breath. He then had held her as she broke down by his bed, her tears seemingly unending. He felt pride in his heart when she, once again, had risen from the heartache to do what was right for her people and the country of Genovia. She had put aside her personal grief; and, about a month after Philippe’s tragic death, she started making preparations to go to America and find his daughter: The last Renaldi heir to the throne of Genovia.

His steps faltered only slightly from the path his thoughts had taken him. His heart was filled with pride as he admitted to himself how much he admired her strength at handling both the loss of her husband and son and her current endeavor to reveal the princess that both he and Clarisse knew Amelia truly was.

He shook his head as he kept jogging. He didn’t know where those sad thoughts had come from. He traced his thoughts back to the beginning. Oh yes - he was trying to pinpoint the exact moment he had fallen in love with her. He still might not be able to do that; but he remembered the evening that it became clear to him that he had feelings for her - that he felt…yes, it was desire, for her…


The evening started out just as any other ball the royal family had hosted since he had started working at the palace. He stayed at the edge of the dance floor; observing, as he always did – always being watchful for anything out of the ordinary. Luckily for him and the security detail he led, the guest lists for the balls were very selective and there was no one in the room he suspected would do any harm. Of course, there was always the occasional bad seed, like Viscount Mabrey or Baron Von Troken; but they had, up to this point, never given him cause to think they would attempt anything to bring harm to the crown. So, for Joseph, the balls were an occasion to relax and observe people.

The King seemed pleased this evening and shared his attention with many different guests. The Queen, too, appeared happy; smiling and laughing as she enjoyed several dances. Joseph was mildly surprised when she appeared in front of him, offering her hand. “Joseph, will you dance with me, dear friend?” She asked, her eyes shimmering in the candlelight.

He was taken aback for a moment; she had never asked him to dance before. He paused as he considered whether or not it was appropriate to dance on duty. Her hand was still stretched out to him; her eyes asking again while a small smile played at her lips. He looked around making sure his men were all where they should be and then bowed to his queen. “It would be my honor.” He took the offered hand and led her to the dance floor.

He was amazed at how well they moved together to the rhythm of the slow song; as if they had done this many times before. The dance had started innocently enough, both of them smiling at each other; but as the dance progressed, the atmosphere grew more serious – almost sensual. Joseph couldn’t help but notice the deep blue of her eyes and the softness of her skin under his hand where it rested on her bare back. His eyes fell to her mouth; he realized with sudden clarity that he wished he could kiss her, press her close, and bury his face in her beautiful hair. He was a disciplined man, though, and he never missed a dance step; there was no outward sign of his thoughts.

The song ended and Clarisse was asked to dance by another gentleman. Joseph moved to his spot near the wall; but, for the first time in many years, he found it hard to focus on his job. His eyes followed Clarisse as another man led her around the dance floor; he didn’t notice anything else going on in the room. When had friendship turned into desire? The revelation that he desired his queen and dear friend shocked him deeply; he cast his eyes downward…afraid someone would see.

The ball ran its course and Joseph breathed a sigh of relief when he finally closed the door to his suite, seeking solace in the place he called home. He felt confused, frustrated and angry with himself. How could he have fallen in love with his best friend without knowing? How could he have fallen in love with her, period? This was impossible. She was his queen and she was married!

He sat on his bed and put his head in his hands, closing his eyes tightly. That turned out to be a bad idea as images of Clarisse’s smiling face appeared in his mind. He groaned and lay back on the bed, staring at the ceiling, trying to calm his mind enough so he could sleep.

The evening’s events, however, wouldn’t leave him alone. He kept seeing her; felt her warm skin on his hand and her small, yet strong body in his arms as they danced. The subtle scent of her perfume seemed to linger in the air and he finally gave up all pretenses that he could banish the desire his thoughts were creating. He decided that a cold shower may be in order.

He shed his clothes and turned on the shower, stepping under the warm spray. His hand was on the cold tap; but at the last minute he changed his mind. Perhaps another course of action would serve him better. He would indulge his fantasy this night and hopefully later find the strength to suppress his feelings.

He took his hardness into his hand and stroked slowly; letting all the forbidden thoughts of Clarisse that he had fought all evening come to the forefront of his mind. He groaned in pleasure as he moved his hand steadily over his sensitive flesh. The warm water slid down his back as he braced his other hand against the shower wall. His breathing increased with his movements and he remembered the feel of Clarisse in his arms. It didn’t take long; and, as his release claimed him, Clarisse’s name tore through his mind. He bit down on his bottom lip, however, not allowing himself the pleasure of calling her name out loud.

As his climax faded, he felt guilty. What was he doing, fantasizing about his friend; another man’s wife? This time he did turn the water to cold; but more to relieve his guilt than his desire. When he was done he climbed into bed and fell into a less than restful sleep.


The day after had felt awkward; but he had tried his best to act as he always did around her. He had noted, with some weird sense of satisfaction, the she hadn’t seemed herself that day either. For a while he had tried to suppress the feelings; but soon found that was impossible. Instead, he threw all his energy into his work and all his emotions into being the best friend to Clarisse that he could; letting his love for her become a part of him, a part he would not want to live without. It had worked out well; he was confident that Clarisse never realized his feelings…until maybe that day in San Francisco, when HE was the one to ask her to the dance floor with him.

Their relationship had shifted that day. Rupert had been gone for a while and Clarisse was handling the loss of Philippe as well as could be expected. He had decided that maybe the time was right to test the boundaries of their friendship. The chemistry between them on the dance floor had been stronger than ever. He continued to press forward and they had spent the evening, after Mia’s acceptance of her role, talking all night in front of the fire in her suite. They had held hands and he delighted in the fact that she had been touching him more these days. She seemed to be more flirtatious with him and he never missed an opportunity to return the flirting. Something was changing between them and he had a feeling it was headed in a very positive direction.

He was letting his more amorous feelings for her surface from their hiding place these days, again testing how far they could take this new development. Of course, that also made it necessary for him to take some very cold showers some days. It was becoming hard to reign in those strong feelings of desire that seemed to spark between them.

He stopped in front of the palace, deciding he had run long enough. He certainly didn’t need his thoughts to go in that direction right now. He took off his tank top and wiped his face. That was when he felt it: her eyes, watching him. He had become very attuned to Clarisse’s presence through the years, a result of his work. He always knew when she was near or if she was watching him; he lifted his gaze to her office window and their eyes met…

Sensing the heat in her gaze, he decided that maybe this morning was the perfect time to think such pleasurable thoughts after all…


Clarisse had woken early this morning and had gone to the greenhouse to tend her flowers. The greenhouse had always been the place where she collected her thoughts and discovered solutions to her problems; it had a calming effect on her. Sometimes, she just thought about things she wouldn’t allow herself to think about anywhere else...most often, she would think of Joseph.

He truly had been her friend from the first day they met, when he was hired to be her personal security. Rupert had assured her that she would have final approval over the person they hired; but she never doubted for a second that Joseph was the right man for the job. He had quickly learned the ropes and she had found him to be of great help in many aspects of her life: most importantly, as a sounding board and confidant when Rupert was away.

These days it felt like she was constantly smiling; life had become good again. Things were going well with Amelia; Genovia was flourishing; Pierre was happy with his work; and Joseph, well he made her smile every day…ever since their trip to America.

She thought of their dance in San Francisco; they had always danced well together. Like the night they shared their first dance. The smile slowly faded from her face. The memory was bittersweet and she didn’t know what made her think of it now; but the memory surfaced and Clarisse made no effort to stop it…


There was nothing different about this evening than any other where she and Rupert hosted a ball. The company was delightful and both she and Rupert tended to many different guests during the evening. Clarisse took a great deal of pleasure in the music and danced with many gentlemen.

At some point during the night her eyes had fallen on Joseph and that had made her smile. He had such a stern look on his face tonight; taking his job very seriously. He had been given more responsibility and did not take it lightly. Maybe it was her good mood or a desire to take that serious look off his face that made her do it; she wasn’t sure. Before she could stop herself, though, she found herself in front of him, holding out her hand, asking her friend to dance.

He hesitated at first; but she persisted, not willing to back down now. She saw the surrender in his eyes. He scanned the room and then he accepted her hand with a bow. Clarisse was delighted; they had never danced before, but she had no doubt that he was an excellent dancer.

The constant smile she had had on her face all evening started to falter though, as she became aware of his very warm hand resting on her bare back and his intense brown eyes staring into hers. She broke the eye contact for a moment; but that made her gaze land on his mouth and suddenly she wished that he would kiss her. The thought startled her, but she was well schooled in hiding her true feelings and her expression never changed. She looked to his eyes again and she caught a flicker of....could it be desire?... in his warm eyes. It disappeared as quickly as it had appeared; but the sight had sent a shiver through her body that pooled low in her abdomen. Before she could give it any further thought, the song ended and she was asked by a Spanish delegate to dance. She automatically accepted and was led away as she watched Joseph return to his post near the wall, his eyes following her…


Somehow the evening had taken a different turn than she had expected. What had started out as any other ball had ended in a rather frustrating manner. Other than her earlier thoughts, she still didn’t know what had made her ask Joseph to dance; but never in her wildest dreams had she imagined that one dance would trigger this intense response in her. The feelings of desire coursing through her had been a revelation, a level of pleasure she had not previously felt…but the guilt that had followed was strong and far more powerful. Could she be falling ‘in love’ with her friend – her bodyguard? No! She told herself - she was married! She was angry with herself and she was pacing the bedroom, trying to let the anger dissipate before Rupert noticed her state of mind.

When she heard Rupert re-enter their bedroom, she hurriedly sat down; breathing deeply to calm herself. Rupert, who had made no indication that he noticed her unsettled state, sat down on the bed, and began reading over some papers. As she sat at her vanity she observed him in the mirror; and, not for the first time, she cursed the power that decided that she should not love this man with all her heart. She felt cold and alone, longing for…she didn’t really know what.

She rose from her chair and walked to their bed to sit next to him. He met her with a gentle smile that she could not return. He took her hand in concern and asked what troubled her. She hesitated…feelings of guilt swirled in her mind. She needed to assuage her guilt and she could presently only think of one thing that might allow her to do that. She didn’t respond with an answer, only a request. “Make love to me, my husband. I…I need to feel you close…holding me, loving me.”

She had rarely asked this of Rupert in their many years of marriage. Tonight, though, she needed to feel the closeness of his body moving against hers; to drive away the guilt, the anger and the unbidden feelings that now possessed her.

Rupert did not question her; he knew her well and that she would not have asked if she did not need him. He framed her face gently and kissed her before answering, “Of course, my love.”

Clarisse stood at the side of the bed and turned off the bedside lamp. She waited for their eyes to adjust and then pulled her night gown over her head, tossing it to a vacant chair. Her eyes closed as she felt Rupert’s appreciative gaze slide over the length of her body and tried not to remember seeing the same gaze flicker, for only an instant, in Joseph’s eyes. She returned to the bed as Rupert put away his papers and shed his pyjamas before he joined her on the bed. She welcomed him into her arms; his powerful presence into her feminine softness, relishing the feel of his weight upon her – silently praying it would press all other thoughts out of her mind and body.

Their lips met gently at first, but Clarisse soon took it further and let her tongue slip into Rupert’s mouth, begging him with her actions to go faster. His hand caressed her breast, making the nipple harden as she combed her fingers through his hair. He released her mouth and moved to a sensitive spot on her neck, laving it with his tongue, before moving his mouth to her breast, his lips covering the tip.

Clarisse tried to focus on the physical sensations; shutting her mind to every other thought. Rupert had always been a very tender and gentle lover; passionate was not a word she would use to describe their lovemaking. She had never really been disappointed; but, for the first time, she sensed there was something missing…the fire that needed to burn between them in order to totally consume them was painfully absent. She needed to push him – to push herself to see if she could create something that had never been there before.

She fought to contain her impatience as she attempted to move them so she could feel him possess her completely. “Love me Rupert, please love me.” She begged him.

He heard the pleading in her voice and moved back up her body to look into her eyes. “I do, Clarisse.”

With his admission, he finally slid into her warmth. She let out a soft sigh, wrapping her legs and arms tightly around him, holding him as close as possible. He began a slow rhythm, building their desire. She found his mouth again, making sure that every part of him was touching her; his tongue caressing hers, his hands tangled in her hair, his hardness moving steadily within her. Needing to feel the passion, she whispered. “More…Rupert, please. I need more.”

His eyes were a mixture of concern and surprise at her request. She knew he wondered what was going on in her mind; but she could no more tell him than she could understand herself. Rather than trying to explain anything further, she closed her eyes, trying to lose herself in Rupert's movements. She felt him lift up some and could feel his eyes on her as he increased his pace. She felt the coil begin to tighten with his efforts; but rather than being washed away in the sensation, her mind’s eye saw Joseph's smiling face at the moment he had allowed desire to colour his features. That image initiated an intense climax throughout her body. She kept quiet; biting her lower lip as she rode out her release, to prevent herself from calling out the name and face she had been unable to banish tonight…Joseph.

She didn’t loosen her hold on Rupert as she felt him find his own release. She felt shame and sadness as she heard her name on his lips before he buried his face in her soft hair. She kept her eyes closed tightly as she fought back the tears threatening to spill as she whispered her thanks to her husband for sharing himself with her.

A short time later, they said good night. As Rupert fell asleep holding her close, Clarisse silently cried for the feelings of love she had never truly felt for this wonderful man with whom she shared her life; and those feelings that were now slowly blossoming in her heart for another...


It had been the only time she allowed herself to be loved by Rupert while thinking of Joseph. She had felt terribly guilty afterwards and she had had a hard time looking Joseph in the eye the next day. He hadn’t seemed himself that day either. She had called upon all her strength to bury those feelings of love she felt for Joseph; to keep them locked tight within her heart; and she tried her best to be a good wife, mother and queen. She had still kept her friendship with Joseph; that was most important to her…she NEEDED that. She did her best not to show him that anything had changed for her; and it seemed to work well. He had been the support she needed through all the hardship that followed and she thanked God that He had sent Joseph her way. After that night, the only time she allowed herself to think about him in any way other than as her friend was when she was alone in the greenhouse, tending her flowers.


Her smile reappeared now when she thought of him. Ever since that afternoon in San Francisco when he had asked her to dance, she had become more aware of him; letting the walls she had built around her heart so long ago crack just a little. They had spent a wonderful night after Amelia’s speech in her suite; talking and holding hands. After they had returned to Genovia, they seemed to be moving closer to a new beginning of some sort. She didn’t know exactly what yet, but it was becoming harder and harder to be alone with him and not let her body respond to his closeness.

Clarisse finished in the greenhouse, satisfied with the look of her flowers and went to her office to tend to the plants there before starting her work for the day. She was busily doing just that when something caught her eye outside the window: Joseph was on his morning run.

She dropped the flower duster as she stared out the window. She found she couldn't even form a coherent thought as she watched him jog by in his black shorts and tank top; his tanned muscles rippling in the sunlight as sweat glistened off of his face and neck. She watched with her mouth agape as he suddenly stopped and took off his shirt to wipe the sweat on his head.

She felt a similar sensation as heat suffused her body causing small beads of sweat to emerge on her forehead. Her heart almost stopped as he turned and caught her heated gaze moving down his body. She wanted to turn away; but found her body too languid for such a task. Their eyes locked and the internal heat thermostat in both bodies increased several notches. Clarisse raised her hand to her cheek; whether to hide her embarrassment or assuage her need to be touched, she couldn’t be sure.

Time seemed to stand still until somewhere, in the back of her mind, she could hear a voice calling her. For the life of her, she couldn't determine where it was coming from; and, to be honest, she couldn’t find it within herself to care. The next thing she knew, somewhere in the sexual haze she now seemed to find herself in, Joseph was by her side. She was slightly startled, not having realized he was no longer in her direct gaze in the window. "Your Majesty?" Joseph couldn't keep the huskiness out of his voice. "Are you all right?"

She tore her gaze away from the window and turned quickly, colliding with his solid and very warm mass. She noted that he had a different shirt on; but other than that, he was still in the clothes he had been running in just a few moments ago. His arms went quickly around her waist to steady her. A heated flush broke out over her entire body as she replied quickly. "The heat...very hot..."

Joseph's voice was low and matched the timbre in hers as he asked, "Is there anything I can do to help with that?"

A surprised look crossed her face, whether it was from his forwardness or her desire for him to actually help dispel the heat that was growing in intensity at his nearness. "I...I...I'm not sure." She stammered in a very uncharacteristic manner.

Sensing her discomfort, he decided to fight against the fire raging in his body at her nearness and offered, "Perhaps a glass of lemonade?" as he moved back a bit. He didn't want to; but was afraid that her proximity could cause an involuntary reaction in his body that he would not be able to hide if he didn't give them some space.

She found her voice somehow and answered. "Yes...yes that would be nice, thank you."

"Mind if I get myself a glass of ice water as well?"

Feeling her composure back in place somewhat, she replied. "Of course...please, help yourself."

He returned a moment later with a glass of lemonade for her and ice water for himself. She started to take a sip of the lemonade while she watched him over the rim of the glass. She almost choked as she watched him roll the ice cold glass on his forehead, his throat emitting a small, "mmm…nice." as the glass cooled his heated skin.

The lemonade escaped from the glass as she coughed and made a trail down her chin, neck and disappeared into the vee of her blouse. Her gaze immediately went up to meet Joseph's to see if he realized what had caused her reaction. He smiled slightly; but she saw no indication either way.

He closed the distance between them and offered. "Maybe the lemonade wasn't such a good idea?"

She couldn't find her voice so she simply nodded her head in agreement.

"Let me help you...or you'll be all sticky." He said before he dipped his fingers into the icy water in his glass and wiped the area where the lemonade had been on her chin. He waited for a moment to see if she would let this continue...sensing no objection from her, he dipped his fingers again and slowly followed the trail of sticky down her throat.

Her eyes closed to the sensations that were being brought out by Joseph's touch. She knew she should stop him; but found that she could not muster any objection that would warrant merit. The effect of the cool liquid was negated because his touch was leaving a trail of fire down her skin. Her breath caught in her throat as she followed his fingers back to the glass...knowing full well where their journey would take them next.

His eyes caught hers, silently asking for permission to continue. She held one finger up indicating he should wait as she picked up the phone. "Charlotte? I'll be in a meeting with Joseph for the next hour, could you please make sure we're not interrupted? Thank you, Charlotte."

He smiled at her and returned the gesture by holding one finger up to her as well. He turned and walked over to the door of her office. He quietly turned the lock, thereby ensuring that they would not be interrupted.

When Joseph turned back around, he saw the look of desire in her eyes. While it was mingled with some uncertainty, there was no mistaking that it was there...pure desire - directed solely at him. When he had once again invaded her personal space, he whispered. "Are you sure?"

She smiled. "No; but I'd like to move forward anyway."

He nodded his understanding. "We'll move slowly and I promise to stop...well try to stop." He grinned. He figured he might as well be as honest as she had been.

She quirked her mouth up in a half smile. "You should know, sir, that I have an entire Royal Guard at my disposal...should I feel threatened or in danger in any way."

Joseph smiled at her statement, a deep chuckle emerging from his throat. Clarisse's smile quickly faded into a more sensual look as she responded to the sound of his laugh. She found it ironic that she was attracted to everything about this man, even his laugh.

He noted the change in her demeanor and decided to take advantage of the opportunity he had been given. His fingers slipped into the cool water again. He took the cool digits and traced the outline of her lips. Her eyes closed instantly as long forgotten sensations were surfacing at his touch. She couldn't help it…a small sound of pleasure escaped from her now parted lips.

Joseph was in heaven. Never before had he touched her silken lips; their texture and softness far exceeded his dreams. He traced them a couple of times, his touch feather light. He observed, with pleasure that her chest was rising and falling in a deep, steady manner. She was as excited as he was...and he had barely touched her!

A life time of avoiding impropriety and crossing invisible lines came into play. Their bodies were strung tightly in anticipation of the pleasure that had been denied them for far too long. He watched her intently as he removed his finger from her glistening lips. He had to fight the temptation to use his tongue to remove the moisture he had just been responsible for placing there. His desire grew by leaps and bounds as her tongue emerged from the warm recesses of her mouth to trace her lips and remove the said liquid.

He wanted to continue to watch her; but his eyes closed in an effort to control the fire coursing through his veins. If he didn't find a way to control the baser instincts that were asserting themselves very directly, this was going to be over much sooner than he had anticipated or wanted. His control slipped another notch as he felt her delicate fingers, which she too had immersed in cold water; trace the outline of his lips. His heart rate increased and his breathing matched. When she removed her finger, he exhaled. "Oh Clarisse."

His eyes opened to find hers staring intently into his. She answered him huskily, "I think I rather like hearing the sound of my name on your lips. Will you say it again for me?"

He moved even closer, his face was now scant centimeters away from hers. He could feel her heart beat in her chest and knew, without a doubt, that it matched the rhythm of his. He tilted his head and his hands went to frame her face. The deep resonance of his voice seeped into every fiber of her being. Her knees went weak as he repeated "Clarisse" before covering her mouth with his.

Nothing in her previous experience could prepare her for the onslaught of feelings and emotions that surfaced as she felt Joseph’s velvet soft mouth against hers. She slowly became lost in the magic of his touch as his kiss warmed her to the very depths of her soul.

His control slipped another notch as he felt her arms encircle him and her hands splay across his back and neck allowing their connection to deepen even further. When her mouth opened slightly as an invitation, his body groaned in anticipation of his first taste of her tongue. He experienced an onslaught of emotion as he remembered watching her lick the cool water off of her lips earlier. The sigh of pleasure that slipped past her lips as his tongue ventured in caused his body to react and his heart to soar – she wanted this as much as he did!

Time lost all meaning as two souls took their friendship to a new, more physical level. Hands and mouths explored – sometimes languidly, sometimes frantically as they learned the taste and feel of the other. During the learning process, as they moved together, Clarisse was backed up against her desk. While no harm befell her, it was enough to bring her back to her senses somewhat. She reluctantly broke away from the kiss, her breathing heavy as she whispered. “Joseph?”

His forehead rested against hers as he fought to gain some semblance of control. He hadn’t heard any regret in her whisper; but his heart clutched as he responded; his voice matching the whisper in hers. “Yes?”

“I…” She started.

He interrupted, lifting his head to find her eyes. “I’m sorry, Clarisse. I don’t know what came over me; please forgive me.” He was rambling; but he wanted desperately to make sure their friendship came away from this unscathed. He inwardly cursed his lack of self control. As his eyes dropped and saw her swollen lips, his body cried out to kiss her yet again. He wasn’t sure he COULD go back…

Her hand on his cheek brought his thoughts back to the moment. He noted a small smile on her face as she quietly added. “I was going to say…I think we should move to a more appropriate place.”

Relief washed over his features. He returned her smile and let his thumb graze over the lips he had been admiring moments earlier. He was rewarded with her eyes closing and her lips slightly parting in response. He couldn’t resist and leaned in to kiss her again before answering. “You are wise, my Queen and my friend. I agree. Where would you like to go?”

Her eyes opened and found his. She knew that this was the turning point; if they moved forward now, there could be no going back. She knew deep within her soul that once she and Joseph consummated their love, the bond would be one that would not be broken…tried and tested, yes; but never broken. The woman in her demanded that she not deny herself this opportunity. “You’re the head of security; where do YOU suggest we go?” She smiled and then added, “preferably someplace where you can shower.”

His laughter broke any remaining tension or doubt she might have felt. “You mean you don’t like my manly scent?” He teased.

“Not that manly!” She replied good naturedly.

He pulled her toward him, turning her at the last moment so her back was resting against his solid form. His arms circled her waist; his hands resting just below her breasts, which were now acutely aware of how close he was to being able to touch them. His mouth was tucked in the curve of her neck as he offered in a very sultry voice. “Might I remind you that you started this…at the END of my jog? After feeling your eyes burn into my soul, I didn’t want to waste time with something as mundane as a shower before I sought you out.”

She could feel every muscle in his body pressed into her, branding her and making her want to feel them rippling under her hands and over her body as they finished what had been a lifetime in the making. Her voice was thick with passion as she answered. “You are wise, my bodyguard and my friend. You made a good choice to come quickly to my side and into my arms.”

His thumbs moved just slightly, enough to graze the underside of her breast causing a small gasp to slip unbidden through her lips. Chills ran down her spine as she heard him respond. “So here’s what we’re going to do…”

Moments later, they had composed themselves. Joseph placed a call to Charlotte to let her know that the Queen had started feeling unwell during their meeting and he was going to escort her to her suite and to please cancel her morning appointments. No, she didn’t require a doctor, just some rest – the heat had gotten to her; but he would make sure she got plenty of fluids and would contact Charlotte in a couple of hours to advise of her progress as he would stand guard in her sitting room while she rested so he could be close by should she need anything. Having formulated and put the plan into motion that would allow them some uninterrupted time together, they made their way towards her suite; stopping by Joseph’s first to get a change of clothes.

Once inside her suite, Joseph kissed her gently and promised to make his shower as quick as possible. Clarisse heard the water running and inwardly mused that she wasn’t sure she would ever think of her shower the same way knowing he had now occupied it. She tried to occupy herself; but the thought of the rivulets of water running over Joseph’s lean body was providing a serious distraction.

She finally gave up any pretense of trying to do something else and ventured closer to the bathroom door. She gingerly opened it just enough to allow her a small viewing area. The steam made a clear view impossible; but she could see well enough through the glass shower door to see his strong muscles move fluidly under his skin as he lathered his body. Her hand covered her mouth to prevent an audible response to the visual stimuli as she imagined his hands smoothing over her body in a similar manner. She let her gaze slip downward; unsure if she was relieved or disappointed that his back was turned to her. When she saw soap bubbles slide down his back and over the tight curve of his bottom, a rush of adrenalin surged through her body as she imagined her hands following the path the suds had taken as his body moved within her. She closed her eyes as an image that resembled her thoughts filled her mind.

Clarisse stepped back quickly when she heard the water turn off; she couldn’t believe she had just been the equivalent of a…she wasn’t even sure what the appropriate term would be: Peeping Tom, perhaps? All she knew was that watching him; what she had been able to see through the steamy mist had only served to heighten her desire; making her both excited and slightly nervous.

She smiled at him as he emerged from the bathroom, smelling much more pleasant and looking as handsome as ever. The black ensemble fit him well and lent an air to the mystery that always surrounded him. She took a deep breath and then exhaled slowly as she brought her eyes to meet his. “Now that the moment is upon me, I fear I’m not quite sure how to proceed.” Clarisse spoke softly as she met Joseph’s gaze.

He could see that she was nervous; to be honest, he was too. What if he didn’t live up to her expectations? They had, obviously, never discussed her intimate side and he had no idea what her experience level was. Doubt started to creep into his carefully constructed façade. He knew, though, without a doubt that she loved him and that their friendship ran deep. He would do what he had always done…pay attention to every sound, every move, every thing and strive to make this an afternoon they would never forget; and, if he played his cards right, something he would get the honor of repeating in the very near future.

He held her gaze and slowly unbuttoned his black shirt. Once finished, he tossed it onto a nearby chair. His eyes challenged her to respond in kind. She took a moment to enjoy an unrestricted view to the body she had just been admiring earlier and felt her pulse increase at the thought of it pressing into her softness. Her hands only trembled slightly as she mimicked his actions and slowly unbuttoned her blouse. It was his turn to gasp as white satin and lace was revealed as she removed the teal blue blouse and tossed it next to his. She felt slightly subconscious as his gaze dropped from her face to the swell of her breasts that rose above the covering of the lace, which seemed grossly inadequate to her at the present moment.

He wanted to go to her and feel her skin against his, her softness being melded to his form – that thought alone could cause him to lose control. He had to get a grip! He forced his gaze back to her eyes, which were as heavy with desire as his. He exhaled slowly and lowered his hand to his trousers. With painstaking slowness he undid the button and lowered the zipper before letting the trousers fall to reveal his black boxers. He stepped out and lifted them to join the other clothes. He heard her whisper her appreciation. “Magnificent.” Her eyes unashamedly taking in the details of his physique, he offered a silent prayer of thanks for all the miles he had jogged that allowed him to still be in decent physical shape.

After allowing her the perusal, his expectant eyes found hers. Both held their breath as she reached behind her to unzip her skirt. A lifetime of fantasy was about to become a reality for Joseph; he didn’t dare breathe. She exhaled as she let the skirt drop unceremoniously to the floor, praying that he would not be disappointed with what he saw. It had been a long time since any one, besides her ladies’ maids, had seen her in such a revealing manner. She stepped out of the skirt; but could not find the strength to bend over to pick it up. Her heart rate increased as she saw appreciation, love, desire, and lust in his eyes as he allowed himself the same slow perusal of her body that she had taken of his.

He had to be dreaming; she was a vision – a goddess, standing right there just out of arms’ length from him. Her legs were stunning; long, graceful, and well toned from years of dancing. The skin on her lower body was a creamy white, dotted by a few of the freckles that so graciously adorned her chest and back. Her voice quietly broke into his reverie. “So where do we go from here?”

He closed the distance between them and pulled her into his embrace, relishing in the first feel of her skin against his. “There’s a blank page before us, Clarisse. Our future – this moment, is still to be written. We can write it however we choose.”

Her head had been resting on his chest, listening to his heart beating steadily and the vibrations resonating in his chest from the deep timbre of his voice as he spoke. She lifted it and spoke the words he knew he had been waiting an eternity to hear her speak. “Make love with me, Joseph.”

At her words, he knew that there could be nothing more right in the world than making love to and with his very best friend. He turned her around before pulling her back into his warm embrace. He flattened his hands over her smooth stomach; her chest rising and falling steadily as he caressed her gently.

Clarisse knew he was trying to be gentle and take it slow; she, however, had had a lifetime of that kind of lovemaking and was anxious to lose herself to the passion that she truly believed Joseph could bring out in her. She placed her hands over his and guided them upwards until they covered most of the satin and lace adorned mounds. A low moan slipped from her lips as his large hands emanated heat, power; and, at the same time, almost a reverence for the precious gift she had just given him.

Joseph was certain he had died and had gone to heaven. The object of his desire stood in his arms; his hands, covered by her smaller ones, gently kneading the soft flesh within his grasp. It was his turn to voice his pleasure when her hands left his and went above and behind her head to caress his neck; the arch of her body caused his hands to fill even further. His thumbs began to tease her through the soft fabric. Her head fell back into the curve of his neck as her lower body undulated, her nipples hardening in response to his touch.

Clarisse was slowly being driven mad by his gentle, but persistent caress. She remembered the feel of his mouth against hers and wanted to feel that again; not only on her mouth, but over her entire body. With some effort, she turned in his embrace and wrapped her arms around him. Her hands slipped lower while her face turned upwards to seek the pleasure of his mouth.

Joseph felt wonderfully ensnared by this amazing woman. Her hands were alternately gripping and caressing his derriere, causing any muscle in the near vicinity to tighten in response; he could feel himself grow more aroused as her mouth and hands explored, learning his body inch by precious inch.

His hands went to her waist and he gently guided her towards the bed; his mouth never leaving hers. Their mingled breathing along with sounds of pleasure intermittently escaping from somewhere deep within their bodies was the only sound that filled the otherwise quiet room. He finally broke away from the kiss, his breath coming in short quick gasps. He found her eyes and noted they were as heavy with desire as his.

He didn’t think he could wait one more second to see the full beauty of her breasts; they had grown heavy with her excitement and the taut nipples seemed to cry out for attention. His hands moved upwards on her side; he was careful not to let his touch be too light as he didn’t want to tickle her. When they reached her breasts, his fingers gently traced the swell moving towards the center of her cleavage. His fingers finally reached the front closure of her bra. He paused before unhooking it and whispered, “May I?”

She thought her heart might melt at the sweetness in his voice. Her Joseph – her best friend; always the gentleman. Her voice was throaty and breathless as she replied. “Please.”

Joseph was surprised that his hands did not tremble as he unhooked the last small barrier that stood between him and an unobstructed view of Clarisse in all of her magnificent beauty. As the wisp of garment fell away, he let out the breath he had been holding and offered sincere praise. “Breathtaking.”

Before she could respond, he pulled the comforter back, scooped her up in his arms and laid her on the bed; her creamy flesh created a stark contrast to the burgundy satin sheets now framing her body. He couldn’t stop himself; his eyes drank in her beauty, knowing that he could never get enough of her. Clarisse closed her eyes after a moment at the intensity of his gaze. Her voice finally broke the silence. “Joseph, please – I need you; I want you.”

He lowered his mouth to cover hers in a passionate kiss filling her with such heat and desire that she thought she might never cool down again. When his mouth moved lower, she felt the temperature rise again…’so much for him helping with the heat’, she thought. She inhaled sharply as his tongue moved nearer to the taut nipple. She wasn’t sure if she was disappointed or aroused even more when he cautiously avoided the hardened tip in favor of the soft flesh just around it. He licked and then blew cool air on the damp skin, enjoying the goose bumps that arose on the darkened circle surrounding the tip. “Oh God…Joseph.”

He repeated the action, enjoying the way he could feel the muscles tense throughout her body as she fought to remain still. He finally succumbed to her impassioned plea and could resist no longer; he sucked hard, pulling the berried tip into the warm cavern of his mouth. This time he was rewarded with a sharp gasp, “Aahh!” as her hands clenched the sheets. He lifted his eyes momentarily to venture a glimpse at her face. It was contorted in pleasure and the sight caused Joseph to step up his endeavors; he wanted her to have so much pleasure that she would never forget it. He kissed her briefly before moving back to repeat his attentions on the other side.

Clarisse was in heaven. Joseph’s attention to her body was unlike anything she had ever experienced before. His mouth – his tongue was everywhere; kissing, licking, and eliciting any number of responses from her body. She felt him move steadily lower on her body and felt a cool breeze as the last remnants of her underclothes were slowly removed. The sexual haze that she had been in since she saw Joseph outside her window just a couple of hours ago came into sharp focus as his tongue licked a straight line just above her blonde curls. She suddenly became nervous.

”N..no, Joseph, I’ve never…”

He stilled his progress; his hand on her stomach, his confident eyes meeting her unsure ones. He caressed her skin in a soothing motion, trying to make her comfortable. “I will not do anything you don’t want and you can stop me at any time.” He reassured her. “But I wish to do this for you; love you, taste you….give you pleasure.”

The intensity in his voice and the desire in his eyes convinced her to take this leap with him. She nodded her head yes, although hesitantly. He smiled that wonderful warm smile at her then lowered his lips to the soft skin of her stomach. After paying significant homage there, he slowly moved lower; one hand began caressing her thigh, encouraging her leg to fall to the side.

Clarisse was uncertain; this was new and different. But then didn’t she wish for new and different? And passionate? Joseph’s butterfly kisses so near her center was stoking the heat within her again. Nothing in her married life with Rupert had prepared her for this experience, and that was what made her nervous. But as Joseph gently pushed at her leg and pulled the other one over his shoulder, a longing for him to touch her intimately rose from deep inside her. His lips were on her inner thigh, nearing her center at a slow pace. Her breathing increased as he moved closer and closer to where she wanted him most.

Joseph accepted her hesitant nod as a sign to proceed and he did so with great care, making sure he didn’t scare her. He was silently pleased that he would be the one to do this for her for the first time; he wanted to make it a memorable first experience. He lifted her leg over his shoulder and took a moment to gaze at the sight before him. He could see the evidence of her desire for him glistening on her curls and her intoxicating scent filled his senses. His desire for her increased, but he wanted – needed - this to last. To distract himself and her, he started kissing her smooth inner thigh, moving closer again to her core. He could feel her breathing and heart beat increase with his progress. His friendship with her made him stop; he wanted to give her one last chance to say no. He lifted his head and caught her eyes, searching for the hesitation he had seen earlier - it was nowhere to be seen.

Clarisse thought her heart would stop as Joseph halted his progress. She looked down to see what was wrong. Had he changed his mind? She breathed a silent prayer of relief as she saw in his eyes the unspoken question; her friend giving her one last chance to stop this course of events. Her love for him washed over her like a warm rain; and, without any lingering doubt this time, she nodded her head giving him the permission and acceptance he sought. No other thoughts were in her usually crowded brain as she realized that all she wanted was for him to alleviate the desire that had been thrumming through her body since she saw him jogging outside her window earlier today.

As his tongue finally made intimate contact for the first time, she closed her eyes at the sensual feeling and lay back against the pillows. She let herself go and moaned in pleasure as he continued to caress her swollen bud with his talented tongue. Her one hand tangled in the bed sheets and her other moved, as on instinct to cup her own breast, slender fingers teasing the nipple. She opened her eyes and looked up to the ceiling and for a short, and very “unqueen” like moment, she almost wished there was a mirror above them, so she could watch him loving her – consummating a union that had been a long time in the making.

She raised her head again to watch him and at that moment his eyes met hers. His efforts didn’t falter and the combination of his ministrations and the intense look in his eyes triggered a climax of such intensity as she never had before. She couldn’t hold back the scream of completion that tore from her throat and Joseph slid his hand over her abdomen to limit her movements as she bucked against his lips. He didn’t let up and he added a finger to his efforts, pushing into her tight sheath.

He could feel the gentle remains of her climax contracting around his finger as he slowly moved it within her, coercing another response from her body. He sucked her pearl into his mouth just as his finger hit the right spot deep within her and Clarisse exploded again, her body arching against his mouth and her cries were sweet music to his ears.

Clarisse had never been very vocal during lovemaking, but the feelings coursing her body were unmatched. It was good, so good and she cried out her delight as he made her climax a second time. “Oh God ….Joseph…Oh GOD!”

He brought her down gently, smoothing his hand over her body as he moved his kisses back to her inner thigh, before moving upwards again. He could feel her whole body shake with the aftershocks; and when his eyes met hers, they were dazed. She reached for him, needing to feel him in her arms. “So good….” She whispered and Joseph couldn’t hold back a satisfied smile. She pulled him close and took his mouth in a ravenous kiss, their legs tangling and trapping Joseph’s hard length between them.

Clarisse snaked her hand in between their bodies to caress his length as she ran her tongue against his lips, feeling bold. “I would very much like to return that wonderful experience for you.” She offered as she wrapped her hand fully around him.

Joseph moaned at both the caress and the image her words presented. “I would very much like that…later.” He groaned in answer as he rolled her onto her back, claiming her mouth once again. Joseph eased out of the kiss and their eyes met. "I don't think I can wait much longer.” He whispered.

"We've been waiting a lifetime; I think we've been patient enough...Please don’t make us wait any longer – make us one, Joseph." Clarisse stated with a mix of calm certainty and urgency.

His gaze found hers and he gave her one last opportunity to change the course of events. "Are you sure?"

“I have never been more certain of anything.”

Seeing the certainty in her eyes, along with the love and friendship she held for him in the blue depths, he positioned himself and, in one smooth movement, joined their bodies until the two had, in fact, become one.

Clarisse gasped loudly. It felt so right. The part of her that had always felt empty, in this defining moment suddenly became complete. She revelled in that emotional sensation and it meant as much to her as the physical pleasure she was experiencing as warmth - no heat - flooded her entire body. The cool, smooth satin sheets, which she now found herself magnificently pressed into, offered minimal comfort for the raging fire building as Joseph started to move within her.

Joseph was trying to go slow, to make it last; but the feel of Clarisse moving with him, her moist heat surrounding him was making it difficult. Clarisse wanted more – wanted to lose herself in his love and passion. She sensed his predicament, knowing he didn’t want to hurt her by unleashing all of his desire. She whispered in his ear. “I won't break - I want all that you have to give, Joseph.”

Those words alone were almost enough to send him over the edge. He felt her nails against his back, her thighs cradling him in her heat and softness, and the velvety warmth that he was fully seated within; he needed no further encouragement and increased his pace.

Her hands fell away as the tempo increased and found their way to her breasts. She knew in an instant that THIS was what she had been waiting for her entire life...the passion, the fire, the heat burning out of control within her; his hardness stoking the fire again and again...Her back arched off the bed, trying to get closer as she gasped out in pleasure "Ooohh God!"

Her cries spurred him on and he moved faster and deeper, her body arching beneath him creating a slight shift in the angle of his thrusts. He made one more slight adjustment that he knew would be enough to send her spiralling over the edge.

Clarisse allowed her eyes to open and saw the intense look on his face. Her gaze ventured lower to the view she had admired from a distance earlier while he was in the shower. She let her hands flatten and caress the hard planes of his chest, feeling the raw power and sheer strength on full display as all of the muscles from his chest and stomach worked in tandem, moving above her to bring them both to new heights of pleasure. The intensity of it all was unlike anything she had ever experienced before.

Even though he had increased his efforts, he was concentrating hard on bringing her with him. As he felt her delicate hands smooth over his chest, his concentration faltered and he groaned in pleasure. With a final burst of adrenalin, he drove so deep he was certain he touched the innermost core of her being; the coil within her snapped and she surged over the edge allowing herself the ultimate pleasure of calling out his name as the fire consumed her. "Joseph!!"

Hearing his name on her lips and the clenching and spasms of her body around him sent him careening over the edge with her. He, too, permitted himself the luxury of speaking the name of the only person he had ever loved. "Clarisse!"

He fell into her embrace, breathing hard completely exhausted from his efforts. She held him close as she rained kisses to his temple and cheek whispering again and again. "I love you."

He slowly raised his head to meet her eyes. He reached up and smoothed her hair before saying. “I love you too, Clarisse.”

He leaned down and placed a gentle reaffirming kiss on her lips before pulling her into his arms and holding her close; once again, only the sound of their breathing filling the room.

After a few minutes, however, the real world intruded upon her bliss. She moved out of his arms to sit up and her concerned eyes met his questioning ones. “What do we do now, Joseph? Please tell me we didn’t just toss our friendship out the proverbial window?”

He smoothed her tousled hair again. “I don’t believe we’ve tossed anything out the window; but maybe we need to redefine what our friendship is now…” He kissed her lips gently. “I love you Clarisse; and if you wish us to be ‘just friends’…as difficult as that will be; I will accept your decision. It is my wish, however, that you will accept my love and let this new level of ‘friendship’ blossom, even if we have to keep it in the shadows.”

A shimmer of tears appeared in her eyes. “I could never go back now, Joseph. You are the only man, besides my husband, of course, that I have ever given myself to. That only happened, my dearest friend, because I love you. I will accept your love and give you mine in return, even if it must flourish in the shadows.” She leaned in to accept his kiss of friendship – of love – of recognition of what they had just discovered about each other. They held each other tightly, revelling in their newfound love.

They remained that way until Clarisse broke the silence. “Do you think we could sleep a few hours before I have to be the queen again? I would not want to make you a liar with regards to Charlotte. You did tell her the queen would be resting.” She said as she tried to smother a yawn.

Joseph laughed gently as he gathered her closer. He manoeuvred the comforter up with his foot and covered their naked forms. As she snuggled into his embrace, Clarisse whispered. “I love you, my best friend.”

Joseph kissed her hair and said, “And I love you…my best friend.

The End!