The Mirror's Reflection

Chapter 3

“Permission to speak freely, Your Majesty.”

“Of course.”

“With all due respect, you two need to address whatever the issue is between you and resolve it. Frankly I, along with the entire staff, feel like we’re walking on egg shells when you two are in the same room.”

Clarisse didn’t even need her to explain. She knew exactly who ‘the two’ were to which she was referring. “It has gone on too long…”

“Yes ma’am it has.”

“And what am I to think of him spending time with this Alexandra?”

“He’s like a father figure to her…she talks and he counsels her. The only thing they have in common is an appreciation for scotch whiskey.”

“Very well, I will speak with him tonight. Thank you, Charlotte.”

“It’s important to me that you two are happy.”

“It’s important to me as well…” Clarisse silently hoped that she could fix what had gone wrong between them.


The day had finally ended. Joseph was extremely grateful. Clarisse still wasn’t really speaking to him and he was at a loss for what more to say to her. They walked in their now customary silence to her suite. Once at the door, she turned and looked at him. “Would you join me for dinner tonight?”

“Is revenge on the menu?” He didn’t want to start anything, but he didn’t want to eat dinner in strained silence when more accepting company would await him in the staff dining area.

“I suppose I deserved that.” She offered quietly. “I’m trying to make amends here since you seem to be content to let things stay as they are.”

He bit his tongue slightly, but remained in control. “I believe, Your Majesty, that you were the one that asked for time. I was simply abiding by your request.”

Just as you always do…she thought, but said. “So will you have dinner with me?”

“Of course, what time should I arrive?”


“Yes ma’am.”

Clarisse watched him turn and walk away and wondered silently if they would ever make it to dessert…


Joseph arrived promptly at seven, still dressed in his usual black attire. Clarisse had changed into black slacks and the teal blouse that Charlotte had given her for her birthday. Joseph thought he would start by extending the proverbial olive branch. “Charlotte did a wonderful job selecting that blouse for you – it brings out your eyes perfectly.”

Clarisse blushed. “Thank you.” She gestured to the small table that had been set. “Shall we eat?”

As dinner progressed, there was no big discussion over what had happened or who was right or wrong. Instead, they allowed themselves to fall back into a comfortable place where they could discuss business and even the occasional personal item without feeling uncomfortable. It wasn’t a solution; but it was progress. As they ate dessert, Clarisse shared the news of the phone call she had received a little earlier. “It appears Amelia has convinced her professors to let her finish the rest of her studies for the semester via telecourse…whatever that is.”

“Do you think that’s a good idea?” Joseph asked.

Clarisse shrugged. “I’m not sure, especially since she’s really only doing this so she can see André sooner. Her teachers must think it is acceptable since they are allowing her to do so.”

“Or perhaps she has inherited her Grandmother’s negotiation skills.” Joseph teased.

For the first time in two weeks, he saw a genuine smile on her face. “Perhaps.”

“So she will be back next week?

“Yes, that’s my understanding.”

“I’ll make sure the security team is aware.

Joseph finished his dessert and stood. “Thank you for dinner. It was very pleasant.”

Clarisse walked him to the door. He took her hand and kissed it. She stepped closer to him and whispered. “I may be willing to give you a little more time to recognize the benefits of a physical relationship between us…but I’m not willing to go back to the beginning.”

He felt the soft satin of her blouse against his hands as his arms went around her. Her lips were soft and insistent, melding with his as though they had found their home again. She may have let him win this battle, but it was not her style to go down without a fight. She grinned as she broke the kiss, enjoying the rapid beating of his heart against her chest demonstrating how affected he had been by the kiss. “Good night, Joseph.”

His hand feathered through her short hair. “Good night, Clarisse.”


The middle of next week, the Princess returned to Genovia. As requested, Charlotte had arranged for André to meet them at the airport. Clarisse watched with growing interest as her granddaughter’s face lit up when she saw the young man. Clarisse knew she would need to speak with her soon about getting too swept up in a relationship with him…she needed to focus on preparing to become Queen. Seeing the happiness on Mia’s face, though, she silently agreed with herself that the conversation could wait until next week.

That evening, the six were reunited at the dinner table once again. Although, with the attention each couple was paying to their partner, they might have just as well dined alone. Clarisse decided it was up to her to keep the conversation going. “So, Amelia, how much more work do you have to do to finish up your classes?” She directed her attention momentarily to Charlotte. “We will need to make sure there is time allotted in the schedule for her to complete her studies.”

“I have about a week’s worth of work left and then I will just need to take my exams. So about fifteen to twenty hours should do it.” Mia answered.

Charlotte made a mental note. “I’ll take care of scheduling it after dinner tonight.”

Clarisse looked from Charlotte to Scott. “I’m certain it can wait until tomorrow, Charlotte.”

A blush crept over her features. “Thank you, Your Majesty.”

Clarisse nodded and tried to hide the blush that she felt creeping over her body as Joseph’s hand squeezed her leg under the table and then remained there.

“Have you been wearing your locket?” Mia asked Clarisse.

“Yes, I never take it off; that way you stay very close to my heart always.”

Mia knew it was inappropriate but she risked it anyway. She leaned over and hugged Clarisse. She whispered in her ear. “Both of us close to your heart.”

Clarisse knew Mia was referring to Joseph. She decided not to share any of the troubles she and Joseph were having, even though the situation had improved greatly. She whispered back. “Yes, both of you.”

Once dinner was finished, each couple hurried off to be alone. Charlotte had been given the night off and Shades had promised her that they would see the movie of her choice. He had highly recommended her choosing one that she had already seen as he did not plan on letting her watch much. Mia and André had made their way to the fountain. Felix had offered to stand watch for Shades as Joseph had assured him he would look after the Queen.

Joseph escorted Clarisse back to her suite. “I need to make my rounds. Unfortunately, they will take longer tonight with Shades being off for the night. I’m not sure I’ll be able to make it back before it gets too late.”

Clarisse was disappointed, but she knew he had a job to do. A job he took very seriously. She cupped his cheek and kissed him softly. “I understand. Sleep well.”

Seeing how beautiful she looked tonight, he cursed the fact that he had been sentimental and granted Shades’ request for a night off. He let his hand slip slowly down her cheek to her neck and under the delicate chain. He watched as the locket rose slowly from its hiding place well below the vee of her blouse. His voice was husky as he admitted, “I love it that you keep me so close to your heart.”


He placed a kiss on the locket before lowering it slowly again to disappear in her cleavage. Clarisse’s eyes closed at the implied sensuality of such a simple gesture. “You better go.” She whispered.

“Yes ma’am.” He smiled and kissed her on the forehead before reluctantly turning to walk away.


After he finished his rounds, it was about 11:15 pm…too late to return to Clarisse’s quarters for a late night chat. He walked slowly to his suite and was surprised to find Alexandra waiting at his door. She was in full uniform and held a bottle of “their” scotch and a glass. She smiled brightly when he walked up. “Good evening, sir.”

“Good evening, Alexandra.” He looked around to see if anyone else was in the corridor and was relieved to find it empty. “It’s probably not a good idea that you are here, even if you come bearing gifts.” He smiled, nodding towards the bottle.

She blushed. “Oh, I know and I’m sorry. It’s just…well, the Princess is back so it might be a while before I will be available for any more of our wonderful chats. You’ve been such a help to me, I just wanted to say thank you. I would consider it an honor if you would take this bottle and have a drink or two…without me…” she added before he could get the wrong idea. “…and then you can save the rest for a rainy day or special occasion.”

“The Princess isn’t back in her suite yet?” Joseph asked, concerned.

“She’s due back in about fifteen minutes, according to Felix. He is going to drop her off and then resume his night watch at the Queen’s suite.”

“Very good.” Joseph was glad when his security detail operated efficiently. He looked at the bottle and decided it couldn’t hurt to accept her gift. “Thank you, Alexandra. I promise to have a drink…or two…in your honor tonight.”

The young girl smiled and then curtsied before running back towards the Princess’ suite. Joseph let himself into this suite and changed into his black silk boxers. He settled into bed and then poured himself a glass of the amber liquid. He raised the glass. “To Alexandra…may she find her way in this tumultuous world we live in.” The glass was drained and then refilled. This time he toasted to a future with the woman who filled his dreams with such passion that it made it hard to sleep. He savored the second glass a little more and then turned off the lights and allowed himself to consider whether Clarisse slept in satin or silk.


Clarisse tried to sleep, but the look in Joseph’s eyes as he kissed her locket was driving her slowly out of her mind. What was wrong with the man? He told her they had to be patient and wait…but then he kept doing things that fed the fire that burned strong within her. They were going to have to talk about this…they needed to establish some common ground that they both could live with. How could she be expected to run a country when her entire being was focused on the thrumming need, deep within her soul, that threatened to overtake her if the flames of desire were not extinguished soon? With those unsettling thoughts, she checked the clock one last time before dimming the lights.


The usually dark room was bathed in moonlight courtesy of the full moon that hung effortlessly in the dark sky. Unfortunately, it was not helping her sleep. She was contemplating the possible ramifications of sneaking into Joseph’s suite to…to what? She shook her head…she was as bad as Amelia – being driven to distraction by microscopic hormones. It was amazing how something so small could have such an intense impact on one’s life.

She was just about to consider a glass of wine to help calm her wayward thoughts when she heard the tell-tale scraping of the wood signifying the secret entrance to her room was being opened. She reached for the emergency panic button that was under the nightstand next to the bed, but stopped just prior to pushing it as she saw Joseph emerge into the beam of light flooding her room. “You scared me!” She scolded.

His eyes drank in the sight before him. Besides roses, Clarisse’s other indulgence was satin. Her bed was adorned in white satin from sheets to comforter…a bed truly fit for a queen. Her deep blue satin nightgown was a vivid contrast to the white and spurred all sorts of improper thoughts. Despite his best efforts, he couldn’t tear his eyes away from the stunning vision.


His feet moved him forward until he was standing at the edge of her bed. “Forgive me for being such a fool.” He sat down on the bed and pulled her body towards his. “This is what I should’ve done the night of your birthday.”

Clarisse’s heart pounded in her chest as his mouth descended on hers with considerable force. The kiss was bruising and intense and…exactly what her body craved. Her mouth opened, allowing him to deepen the kiss until it was all consuming. She was slowly being forced back against the cushion of the mattress and her pillows. Her arms wrapped around his waist, pulling him further into her embrace. The hormones were being sated somewhat as her body experienced an odd sense of relief as she felt the comforting weight of a lover upon her once again. The feel of hard muscle against soft curves, the sprinkling of coarse chest hair against smooth skin, and hopefully soon, the hard evidence of his desire against her warm and waiting entrance.

She felt his hand move the comforter that was covering her lower half away from her body. A quick flick of the wrist allowed him access to the long line of her legs. He knew time was short and wanted to make sure she knew that before the week was over, he intended to claim her body as his. A large hand moved slowly up her thigh as he broke the kiss to find a new target. The kisses moved lower as his hand moved higher until Clarisse felt the soft wisp of satin and lace being pulled away. There was a momentary pause in his action and she opened her eyes to see a look of pure male desire as he gazed upon her exposed breast. The look caused tiny goose bumps to emerge over her entire body. There was no tenderness in his touch as his mouth captured the taut bud in its warm depths and drew it in…sucking, tasting and teasing. Her back arched as a torrent of sensation careened through her body originating from that one point. “Oh god…Joseph!” Her fingernails imbedded themselves deep within his shoulder as the pleasure coursed through her, clouding everything but the feel of his mouth on her.

Somewhere in her haze she heard a beeping noise. It sounded like an alarm. A momentary panic surged through her body…had this all been a dream? She felt him smoothing his hands over her body, setting her gown back into place. “Clarisse?”

She blinked a few times and focused. The coil in her abdomen was wound tightly and it distracted her enough to make it hard for her to understand what he was saying. “Yes?”

“I have to go…it’s almost midnight.” He whispered.

Recognition dawned. She knew he was right; but oh how she needed just a few more minutes of his attentions. She exhaled slowly and smiled. “Damn you.”

He allowed himself the liberty of letting his hand trail down her front, circling a few times in an effort to help calm her slight panting. “I promise to come back tomorrow night. There won’t be enough time for…well, to fully experience our time together, but I think I can take care of the immediate need.” As he spoke the words, he let his hand slip to the warmth at the apex of her thighs. He could feel the tension as the blood coursed through her body, ready to supply the necessary oxygen to whatever body part may require it.

“I’ll hold you to that. I should have you hung in the courtyard now for mercilessly teasing your Queen without enough time to bring her relief.”

The alarm beeped again…he kissed her fiercely, leaving her breathless and feeling more alive than she had felt in years. Every nerve in her body was attuned to her reactions and the powerful way he had just consumed her. Before she could say anything further, he disappeared into the corridor just as the clock began to strike midnight.


“Good morning, Amelia.” Clarisse walked into the office that she shared with her granddaughter when she was in residence.

Mia looked up from her books. “Good morning, Gramma. You look a little tired. Are you ok?”

Clarisse waved away her concern. “Too much late night caffeine, I’m afraid.”

“You should just switch to decaf tea in the evening – problem solved.” Mia smiled.

Clarisse chuckled…Oh if that was all she needed to ensure she slept at night. “I’ll keep that in mind, dear. You are up very early.”

“Just finishing my studies up for the day, then Queen lessons, lunch with John – the director of the orphanage, and then my afternoon Queen lesson and…” she took a deep breath, “…dinner with André at the Genovian Grill.” She held her breath to see what her Grandmother would say.

“Did Scott agree?”

“He definitely thought two Queen lessons in one day was a great idea.” Mia teased.

“Amelia…” Clarisse warned.

“Relax, Gramma, of course he did. He and Charlotte agreed to come along for a double date of sorts.”

She visibly relaxed. “Then I think it will be fine.” She had to add, though. “Amelia, please be careful. André certainly seems like a nice young man, but you have a long time before you can be in a committed relationship. There will be plenty of time for that later.”

At that moment, the object of her earlier thoughts walked into the office, keeping Clarisse from noticing the rolling of her granddaughter’s eyes at the words of caution she had just received. “Good morning, ladies.” He offered.

“Morning, Joe!”

Clarisse nodded her head and gave him the benefit of a small smile. “Joseph.”

The morning seemed to go by fairly quickly despite discreet looks being exchanged between the two elder individuals in the room as they fought to keep their minds focused on the work at hand. Mia had completed her school lessons and was reading through “The Art of Negotiation”. She was even taking notes…Clarisse was impressed.

At 11:30 a.m. promptly, Charlotte arrived to retrieve the Princess for her luncheon. Mia kissed her Grandmother. “I’ll see you in a couple of hours.”

“Alright dear – have a good meeting.”

The door to the office had barely shut when she felt his hands on her shoulders, kneading away the tension that had settled there from a morning hunched over a desk. “You’re muscles are hard as a rock.” He stated.

“Yes. One would wonder what has me so tense and tight…any thoughts on that, my diligent head of security?” She replied sarcastically.

He let his hands slip down her front to massage her breasts, a startled gasp escaped at his brazenness. Her body, however, betrayed her and arched further into his touch. “Joseph…we can’t.” She whispered.

“We have two hours…why not?” He asked as his fingers delicately circled the tiny buds now beginning to strain proudly against the fabric holding them captive. Without saying anything further, he turned her chair so she was no longer facing the desk. He knelt in front of her, pushing her skirt up enough to allow him to move between her knees. His hands stroked the tender flesh of her inner thighs, enjoying the contrast of the hosiery and her bare skin.

Clarisse couldn’t believe she was allowing him to take such liberties with her…in her STUDY! If anyone were to walk in, the scandal would spread like wildfire throughout the country before she had time to adjust her clothing back to its proper position. Just as she was about to insist they stop…or at least move to a more appropriate location, she felt the pads of his fingertip graze the bare skin at the top of her garter hose. Her breath drew in sharply as she felt a rush of molten desire flood throughout her body. Her hands were gripping the arms of the chair so tightly that they were turning a ghostly white. “Joseph…please…you must stop teasing. I can’t take much more.”

His fingers trailed from their hiding place under her skirt, back to her knees before moving up to the tiny pearl buttons of her blouse. Their eyes locked…his were tinged with lust and a bit of humor while hers were wild with desire and a bit of apprehension. She knew they should stop…not because she wanted him to – there could be nothing further from the truth. Every nerve within her body was screaming for his touch…for him to release her from the prison she had constructed around her heart to protect her from being hurt…for him to fulfill all the fantasies she had been harboring for a lifetime.

With painstaking slowness, he undid the buttons on her blouse, revealing the black lace hidden beneath. The breath that she had been holding was expelled as his teeth nipped at her tiny bud through the lace…the sensation was exquisite. He looked up to see her watching him intently, eyes heavy with desire. “Raise your arms and put them behind your head.” He instructed.

She complied without hesitation, the action creating an arch that made her body more accessible to his touch. “This is insane…” she whispered when his mouth found its target while his hands slid up her thighs.

“Do you want me to stop?”

“I want you to make love to me properly…to make me cry out your name as waves of pleasure consume us.”

“You’re very wanton today, aren’t you?”

She laughed at the obviousness of his statement. “It’s your fault.”

“Guilty as charged…now be quiet and enjoy what time we have.” His hands and mouth resumed their dual attack on her senses. After just a few minutes, she was too aroused to even think straight. He had started to pull her towards the edge of the chair to deepen his caresses even further when his phone rang. Clarisse heard the noise and exclaimed. “You have got to be kidding!”

His eyes raked over her disheveled form. Her skirt was bunched up to her waist, blouse open, breasts covered with small love bites and her arms still behind her head. “Don’t move.” He whispered before answering. “Joseph.”

Clarisse couldn’t open her eyes and, at that moment, didn’t care if the Queen of England herself walked in on her.

“Charlotte is on her way…ETA less than five minutes.”

His words spurred Clarisse into action. She may not care about the Queen of England…but Charlotte was another story. She quickly stood and began to attempt to put herself back together. “I thought she was with Amelia.” She exclaimed as she struggled to button her blouse.

“Apparently she dropped her off and then returned to the Palace…something about not wanting you to have to eat alone.”

“Oh tosh…the way some people think they need to take care of me is just…”

He tried to help her, but she smacked his hand away. “That will not be helpful.” She smiled slightly. Her eyes averted lower to witness the evidence of his desire. She added. “You might want to figure out how you plan on returning yourself to normal.”

“That is not funny, Clarisse.”

She couldn’t help it, she laughed out loud. They were worse than two high school kids that had just narrowly escaped being caught by their parents. She twirled slowly. “Am I back in order?”

He moved to stand behind her chair as she sat down. He whispered, “except for that flush of desire that is now spread over your entire body.”

“You are an evil man, Joseph.” She teased.

“You have no idea, my dear.”

A few moments later, Charlotte entered the office to find Clarisse reviewing paperwork and Joseph standing with his back to them, looking at something out the window. Clarisse looked up. “Charlotte, what a surprise, I thought you were assisting Amelia this afternoon.”

Charlotte blushed. “I felt bad about leaving you alone.”

“I wasn’t alone, dear. Joseph had agreed to keep me company until the two of you returned.

“Well that was very sweet of him; but I’m back now. Why don’t you go ahead and take your lunch, Joseph?” Charlotte asked.

He turned and walked towards the door. Before he left, he turned to Clarisse and offered. “I’m sorry if my company is not as…exciting…as Charlotte’s, Your Majesty. I shall endeavor to be more attentive and entertaining in the future.” He watched the blush deepen on her features, bowed and then excused himself. Once outside hearing range, he hit the redial button, his voice low and secretive. “Thanks for the warning, Alexandra…I owe you one.”