The Mirror's Reflection

Chapter 5

As the day drew to a close, Clarisse decided it was time to determine how good of an actress she could be. She removed her glasses and began rubbing her temples, exhaling slowly. It only took a few minutes before Mia noticed. “Are you alright, Gramma?”

“Just a headache, dear…nothing serious like poor Charlotte.”

“Can I get you something? Some aspirin or ibuprofen?” Mia asked.

Clarisse stood and stretched before putting away the remaining paperwork. “No, thank you. I think I’ll just retire to my suite and take dinner there later after I’ve had a chance to rest. A hot bath could do me a world of good.”

“Ok, then I’ll see you in the morning. You call me if you need anything.”

“I’m sure Priscilla and Olivia could handle any of my needs that may arise.”

“That’s not the same as family…you call me if you need anything.”

Clarisse gently hugged her granddaughter, grateful that they had been able to become so close in the last few years. “Goodnight, dear…sleep well.”

“You too, Gramma.”


Trying to hide their grins, they walked towards her suite. Once out of earshot of the Princess, he smiled and complimented, “If I may say so, I think you should get an academy award for that performance.”

She chuckled. “Not too over the top I hope?”

“Just perfect…” He let his hand slip from her lower back down to caress her bottom, igniting a small tendril of desire. “…just like you.”

“The next hours are going to go by entirely too slow.” She sighed…tired of the hurry up and wait game they had been playing all week.

“Patience, my Queen. Perhaps you should indulge in that bath you mentioned…it will relax you and help pass the time. Plus it will leave that delicious scent of lavender over every inch of that beautiful skin of yours.”

“Quite the charmer, aren’t you?” She teased.

“Only in your presence.”

They arrived at the door of her suite. He kissed her gently, not wanting her to think he was teasing her any further. He whispered, “I’ll see you tonight. You have the instructions?”

She chuckled. “Yes, I found them after page ten of the trade agreement. You were taking quite a risk that I would get that far, weren’t you?”

“You are many things my Queen…and you always do your duty. I knew the trade agreement was on the agenda today, so I didn’t worry.” He winked. “I’ll see you later.”

She touched his cheek. “Yes, you will.”


Clarisse passed the time just as she had planned. A light dinner, followed by her tea…caffeinated, of course, and then a long soak in a lavender filled bubble bath. She was still slightly unsettled by the change in Joseph over the last week or so; but if she were honest with herself, he had exhibited traits that she had secretly longed for in a relationship. She had to be in control and have all the answers for an entire country of people. It was nice to think that at least from time to time, someone else would take control – someone who knew her so well that they knew what she needed, even when she didn’t.

After her bath, she carefully slipped on a matching panty and bra set. She opted against a short nightie…if she were caught roaming the back corridors and passageways of the palace, she wanted to be dressed at least somewhat reasonably. She decided on a light blue satin pajama set. The ensemble consisted of a pair of shorts that were secured by a crisscross pattern of a delicate lace and a short sleeve shirt that had tiny pearl buttons that began below the plunging neckline. The lingerie hidden underneath was black lace as she suspected that was Joseph’s favorite. She turned slowly, surveying her appearance in the mirror. It was chaste, yet held the potential for more if just the right amount of buttons or lace were undone.

With a last look at the clock, she grabbed her robe and the instructions and headed out through the secret passage in her bedroom.

Fifteen minutes later, she had traversed the circuitous path that had been outlined for her. She wasn’t sure she even knew what part of the palace she was in anymore…much less how she would find her way back when the time came. Any concerns she was considering faded away as she saw him walking towards her. His voice was deep and sensual as he pulled her body close to his. “Hello, love…it feels as though I’ve waited a lifetime for this moment.”

Clarisse felt her back against the wall as his lips descended on hers. Their lips met with a gentle pressure that quickly rose to a new level. This time there would be no worries about time – they had almost two hours in which to fully express their love for each other. They were free to experience all of the passion and love they had subdued for weeks, months, perhaps even years. She felt his hardness in front of her; his lips soft and insistent all at once. She let an “mmm” escape from somewhere in her body in response to the pleasure she was experiencing.

Clarisse was soft, warm and willing…willing to give him all of her. His body was so close, she could feel him breathing and every solid beat of his heart. She moved against him to silently plead for action. There was a fire that burned deep within her soul that only he could quench and she didn’t intend to be left unfulfilled again tonight.

His head moved back slightly. “Shall we go inside?”

Not trusting her voice, she simply nodded and followed him into the darkened room. She let her eyes adjust to the candle lit room. The only pieces of furniture were the large bed that was placed near the opposite wall and the two night tables that provided the resting place for the candles. She noticed a large mirror that was hanging on the wall next to the bed…it seemed an odd place for a mirror in her opinion; but she was sure the original decorator saw a purpose in it.

She felt his presence behind her as he started to kiss her neck. “Does it meet with Her Majesty’s approval?”

She felt his hands go to the knot on her belt and untie it; moments later, her robe was carelessly tossed onto the bed. His hands moved up to cup her breasts as his mouth continued to lavish attention over her shoulders, neck and back. His breath was hot on her skin and sent pleasant shivers of sensation up and down her spine. Clarisse turned in his embrace, her body moving seductively against his. They swayed in time to a song heard only in her head as his hands continued to move up and down the long line of satin covering her back and bottom.

His hands made quick work of the tiny buttons and his look was one of pure male satisfaction as he caught a glimpse of the black lace. Clarisse caught the look and asked, “My choice meets with your approval?”

He answered by moving his hands up her body until they came to rest on the full mounds. While he placed hard kisses along her neck, his thumbs circled until the hardened tips strained against the lace. Their movements took them backwards until Clarisse’s legs bumped up against the bed. They tumbled backwards, their bodies a tangle of limbs as they adjusted until they were lying properly on the bed.

Clarisse groaned her approval as she felt his body slide over hers. His hands captured hers and raised them above her head. He whispered. “I do so love the feel of your body stretched out underneath mine. I think I want to ensure you stay that way for a while.”

A moment later, she felt both of her hands being held fast by one of his and what had to have been a silk scarf being secured around her wrist. She had never been bound before and was not sure that she liked it. She and Rupert had never played games such as this or engaged in anything remotely like this. She started to struggle against it. “Joseph. No…I don’t want this.”

She could feel his smile against her forehead, his strength very easily overpowering her. “Shh…relax. You have to learn to trust, Clarisse…to expand your boundaries.”

Her eyes closed against his words and the feeling of helplessness that now rested upon her soul just as sure as his weight rested upon her body.

**C/J ~J/C**

**Present Day**

Despite her best efforts to allow self-reflection to disconnect herself from the events taking place on the other side of the wall, Mia had to cover her mouth to stifle another gasp as she looked up just in time to watch a small struggle between the couple in the next room which ended in silk scarves tied to Clarisse’s wrists – effectively binding her to the headboard.

Her grandmother seemed unsure – trying to determine if this would ignite or cool the passion that had been transpiring between them. Even in the dim light, Mia could see her body language change and her eyes grow wary. It appeared that Joseph was trying to reassure her; but Mia knew that if there was one thing her grandmother didn’t like…it was loss of control. Thinking briefly of the knife still resting pointedly against her body, she knew that they both were miserably out of control at the moment.

Now transfixed to the scene, she swallowed hard. Strangely, she didn’t seem as concerned for her own welfare anymore as much as she was now worried about her grandmother. This was an interesting paradox as she was with the man that professed to love her and Mia was certain that the man threatening her with a knife had played her unlike she had ever been played before. Something was very, very wrong.

Joseph’s hands were smoothing over Clarisse’s body and Mia could tell that he was saying something to her. Whatever it was, it wasn’t being received well as her grandmother seemed reluctant and was growing more agitated with the direction of the conversation with each passing moment. Before she could see anything further, André spoke. “Look at me, Amelia.”

She kept her eyes on her grandmother. “I’ve asked you not to call me that.”

The knife moved slightly forward, effectively putting a small gash in the satin and slicing into her skin, just under the surface. Pain receptors in her brain registered little more than mild discomfort – she knew it had just been a warning. She turned her head towards him as his free hand captured her neck and pulled her mouth to his. She knew that a physical rebuff would only result in a larger slash in her side; but she refused to give him the satisfaction of any type of response to his kiss. A few moments later, he pulled her head to rest on his shoulder, effectively preventing her from seeing what was happening.

André watched as his accomplice availed himself of living out a fantasy he had harbored for the last few years. Despite having a dark heart that would do whatever was necessary to ensure success in their mission; he had grown fond enough of the brunette beauty to spare her from watching her grandmother endure this violation. He just hoped the man hurried – time was running out.


Clarisse wasn’t sure what she felt. There was an element of fear – she was effectively helpless. Her wrists were securely bound to the headboard and no one knew where she was. She couldn’t order him to release her – that would just be…laughable. She couldn’t threaten him – that would be…foolhardy. To accuse him would incriminate her as she was engaged in a less than appropriate relationship with him. He had taken control and was at liberty to do whatever he wanted with her – to her. That thought struck a chord of uncertainty and fear deep within her psyche. She considered a different tactic. “Joseph, please. I am prepared to give myself to you willingly. These…” she pulled at the restraints, “…are not necessary.”

He smiled at her attempt to sway control back in her favor. It was endearing in a way. She was trying logic with was time he gave her some logic in return. His hand caressed over the swell of her breasts, teasing the tips into hardened points. “May I ask you a question?”

Her eyes were closed as she battled with her inner self over whether she should just trust him and enjoy whatever this night had to offer or fight against this turn of events. She had trusted him with her life for decades – why did she feel such an abnormal fear now? “Am I really in any position to refuse you?”

He chuckled. “Not really.” He let his hand slip a little lower while his mouth lavished attention on the now taut buds. After a few moments, he asked. “Did you give yourself willingly to Rupert?”

She was taken aback by his question. She had rarely discussed her private relationship with Rupert with anyone…other than the night of her birthday and that had not ended well. “I…that was different.” She protested.

“How so?

“Joseph, please – I came here tonight to be with you, not discuss the relationship I had with my husband.”

He positioned himself so he was kneeling between her legs, his hands smoothing along her inner thighs. “Answer the question, Clarisse. I’ve waited patiently for this night for years. I’ve played by your rules. I’ve stood quietly by while you decided what we discussed and, up until recently, how our physical relationship would progress. I think I’ve earned the right to ask a few personal questions.”

Clarisse let out a frustrated sigh; this night was not turning out the way she had hoped. Joseph was behaving…so unlike the man she had grown to know and love. Seeing no other way to end the misery this night had become, she answered. “If you’re asking if he raped me, the answer is no.”

“Did you want to make to love to him?”

“I had no choice.”

“That’s ridiculous and you know it.”

“I don’t know what you want me to say.”

“Say that you yielded control to him…that you let him possess your body – that’s what happened, isn’t it?”

Clarisse thought about his words – they way he had phrased it. Perhaps he was right; maybe that truly was what had happened. “I hadn’t thought of it that way; but I suppose that I did…I yielded control to him.”

“So why him and not me?”


“Why did you let him take control, even though you didn’t love him and didn’t want to make love to him, but have done nothing but argue with me and protest since I’ve tried to take control? Do you love me?”

“Of course I do. I wouldn’t have come with you tonight if I didn’t.”

“So why him and not me?”

“Joseph, please.”

He grew tired of the exchange; time was running out. He leaned forward, effectively pinning her body under his. His voice was a low whisper in her ear. “Or is it that you will only spread your legs for the most powerful man in Genovia and I don’t fit that bill.”

Clarisse had had it with this line of questioning and conversation. Her voice took on an edge of its own that seemed strangely superior considering her current predicament. “How DARE you! You want control? Then I suggest you be the man you are professing to be and take it. Do what you want to me and let’s finish this. Over the past few days, I’ve given more of myself than I ever gave him…but that doesn’t seem to be enough for you!”

His kiss was hard and demanding; his tongue plundering her mouth as his body moved against her. Despite her anger, despite her misgivings about his actions…her body betrayed her by responding to his touch. She fought it – fought it hard. There was a battle going on and she would not surrender until she had no choice. She felt him move slightly off of her body; but the reprieve was small as his hand slipped under the waistband of her silk pajama bottoms. A gasp escaped her mouth and her body arched in a combination of pain and pleasure before she could stop it as his fingers buried themselves in her innermost sanctum. She fought against the restraints and tried to move her lower body away from his touch; but he was too strong.

The voice in his ear stopped him from going any further. He berated himself for spending so much time talking and less time acting. Hearing her scream his name would have to wait for another time, there was business to be done. He allowed himself one final heated kiss while he stroked her in an effort to unsettle her before he took the next and necessary step.

Clarisse felt his hand pull away as he stood up abruptly. She had no idea what had made him stop; but she was grateful. Her thankfulness was short lived as he reached under the pillow next to her head and pulled out a gleaming and very sharp…


“KNIFE! André what the hell is going on?”

Mia’s heart jumped into her throat and she quickly stood, the action causing the knife tip to slice through the satin of her robe and gown into her side. She didn’t even notice as the candlelight had found a new target to reflect its light…

The knife glinted like a diamond as the reflection of the flames licked against the shiny surface that hung only a few feet above her grandmother’s heart. Any calm she had feigned dissipated like smoke in the breeze as she realized that this whole evening had been an elaborate ploy in which both she and her grandmother had played their role completely unaware of its true, dark intent. In a moment of clarity, she understood that she had been a pawn in their game over the past several months and that there was only one thing the people behind this deception could want…the throne of Genovia.


Mia’s eyes never left her grandmother; her voice was calm as she asked the question she knew was expected. “What do you want?”

“Your signature, of course, and that of your grandmother’s.”

“You want us to abdicate.” It was a statement, not a question. “And if I refuse?”

“Then I’m afraid Queen Clarisse will endure a very painful and sordid demise – the details of which I’m sure Elsie Kentworthy would pay generously to report. The Renaldi name would be tarnished and you would lose the crown anyway. I’m giving you a peaceful way out.”

She thought about the history lesson she had suffered through over her spring break. Apparently knowing ancient Genovian law was important. “You’re a bastard – you know that, right? How do you even stand to look at yourself? Do you like what you see in the mirror?”

“You have no room to talk, Princess. At least I know who I am and I’m not afraid of it. You’re still trying to be a girl playing at being Queen. It’s time you grew up and accepted who you are. This isn’t a game.”

Mia ignored him as she studied her grandmother intently. Her eyes were closed and her breathing was shallow. Mia then let her gaze drift to the man who had betrayed them both. How could Joseph have done this? While she had wanted her chance to make a difference and be a great leader for the people of Genovia, the cost was now too high. She wasn’t even Queen yet and she had already experienced more deceit and betrayal from those she believed loved her than she ever thought possible. “Let’s get this over with. I want my grandmother released and I don’t want him to touch her again.” She gestured towards the man still leering at her grandmother’s exposed body as he held the knife, ready to strike if given the order.

André led her through another secret door that opened into the room. Mia didn’t even wait for the door to shut when she voiced her opinion. “You’re a son of a bitch and you should be hung in the courtyard for what you’ve done here tonight.”

Clarisse opened her eyes at the sound of Amelia’s voice. In the first heartbeat, she was proud of the way she was acting…confident, even in the face of great odds. In the next, she noticed the blood stain shining brightly through her satin night shirt. “Are you alright, Amelia? You’re bleeding!”

André spoke up. “While this reunion is touching, everyone is fine. There is work still to be done.”

Mia spoke up before he could continue. “Free her.” She looked towards Joseph. “Now!”

He looked to André and, receiving a slight nod of his head, he used the knife to sever the scarf from the headboard. Clarisse’s wrists were still bound together, though, and he used the remaining piece of scarf to pull her to a sitting and then standing position.

André’s look was placating as he asked. “Better? Now, let’s complete our business here – time is running short.”

Clarisse spoke up. “Yes, I suppose it is – you only have until midnight.”

Mia was confused. “Why midnight?”

“The changing of the guard occurs at midnight, as well as a camera check on the sleeping chambers of the royal family. As soon as that is done, the rest of the security team will know that we are missing and the palace will go on high alert. Any chance they have of securing our cooperation for abdication…and that is what you’re after isn’t it? will become a bit more difficult when the entire royal guard is looking for us.” She glared directly at André. “You also broke a pact that has existed for generations here in Genovia…you dishonor your country and your ancestors.”

“No pact was broken.” André replied angrily.

She looked to Amelia’s side. “Blood has been shed in an effort to secure the throne.”

“She did that to herself…”

Momentarily forgetting the gravity of their situation, Mia interrupted. “They can watch us while we are sleeping? We’re going to have to discuss that with…” she looked pointedly at Joseph. “our NEW head of security.”

“Enough! I will take the Princess to her suite to get changed and you take the Queen. We will meet in the throne room no later than thirty minutes. That will give Her Majesty enough time to retrieve the Renaldi family seal from the vault and both of them to sign and seal their abdication letters and for us to be on our way before they are discovered missing.”



Clarisse stepped into her bedroom through the small passageway that had provided them a way to avoid any security detail or cameras that would alert the team that the Queen was in danger. The knife pressed against her lower back had prevented her from trying to yell for help. The knife…and the threat of bodily harm to Amelia should she do anything to call attention to their position in the castle.

Before she could move away, she felt his arm around her waist – pulling her body flush against his. She had to suppress a shudder as his lips found the soft curve of her neck. His tone left no doubt that he expected his order to be followed. “You are going to undress and then wait for me on the bed.”

There was a hint of sarcasm to her anger as she replied. “Are you sure you have time for that? I can assure you that my offer to succumb willingly is certainly off the table in light of recent revelations.”

She had to fight the bile that was rising in her throat as he threatened. “You will do exactly what I tell you to do or your Granddaughter will pay the price. Now either you undress or I will do it for you.”

She broke away from his grip and angrily undid the buttons of her night shirt. “I find that I no longer will be in need of your kind of help.” The bra followed as her tirade continued. “You are more a fool than I if you think the people of Genovia will accept that I willingly abdicated the throne to you…no matter whether they believed you were my lover or not.”

The ice cold feel of metal against her heart effectively ended her tirade. “I think we’ve talked enough for one night.” He stepped back and gestured for her to finish. Her eyes were locked with his…she didn’t even recognize the man that stood before her. His reflection in the mirror of her soul seemed clouded. The most intense disappointment she had ever felt in her life infused every cell in her body. She exhaled slowly as she lowered the final barrier between her body and the man she thought was her best friend. There was resignation in her voice as she held his gaze for a few moments longer. “You may have my body tonight, but you have lost my heart forever.”

She shook her head slowly as in disbelief that she could have so misjudged him. Had he been playing her for a fool for decades or was this something that happened recently. As she lay back on the bed, her mind turned inward…seeking to give her refuge from what was about to happen.

She felt the now unwelcome weight on her body as he nestled his body against hers. She knew he was looking down at her. She opened her eyes to look at him one last time. “I’m so very disappointed in you, Joseph. I thought you were better than this.”

“I have two more things to say to you, Clarisse. First, I’ve never wanted the throne…only the woman who sat upon it.”

Her eyes opened wider at his admission. If all of this wasn’t for him to assume the throne, who was behind this most elaborate deception? If that revelation surprised her, nothing on Earth could prepare her for what he said next.

“And second…”

She could feel his hardness pressing against her vulnerable entrance…she tried to listen to what he was saying while preparing herself mentally for the pain that was about to come.

“I am not Joseph!”

**C/J ~ J/C**