The Mirror's Reflection

Chapter 9

Mia walked slowly back to her suite, fingering the envelope Joseph had given her. She wasn’t sure how she felt about everything she had just learned. She had cared so much about André and the hurt was intense when she learned that he had used her and deceived her. But could someone truly fake everything they had shared? There was a tenderness he had shown her…a tenderness that had not been necessary. Protecting her from seeing the horrible things Jacob was doing to her grandmother, gently bandaging her wound, and not using the thirty minutes he had alone with her to press a physical advantage.

Of course she couldn’t forget what he had done or tried to do…it was almost like there were two very different people vying for control of his soul. She wasn’t ready to face the others just yet. She diverted from her intended course and found her way into the library. Like her grandmother, she found a solace and quiet contentment among the books and the view from the large bay window. She gazed for a moment at the stars hanging in the dark sky over the mountain tops of the country she had come to love. She thought about the thousands of people that lived beyond those mountains for which she would soon be responsible. Then she thought about André’s words to her: “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.”

She sat down on the couch that faced the window, slightly trembling. Was she just playing at it? Had she taken it as seriously as she should? She exhaled slowly before slipping her nail under the seal. Tears slipped slowly down her cheeks as she read the letter he had penned to her moments before taking his own life.


I am writing this letter to let you know that you were right. The mirror is not reflecting what I want to see…there’s someone else inside of me. Please know that while my initial reason for insinuating myself into your life was less than honorable…I found that I did grow to care for you…far more than I was supposed to…far more than I should have. Despite what I may have said to you over the course of that last fateful night, know that I found you to be honorable and well suited to rule the great country of Genovia. You may be young and have much to learn; but Queen Clarisse is an able mentor. I…my family…should have known better than to challenge such a formidable foe. While I will not live to see it…long live the Renaldi line and the beautiful, powerful women who lead it.

Please forgive me.



At his question, Clarisse stood and moved towards the fireplace. Her back was to him as she couldn’t bear to look in his eyes as they had this discussion. “I’ve given that a lot of thought. I really only have one answer. I thought it was you…doing what you’ve always done for me.”

“I’m afraid I don’t understand.” He admitted to himself that it was partially because he didn’t know what had transpired in those three days.

After a few moments, she quietly spoke. “I’m sure you picked up on the fact that I was not entirely pleased with the way our physical relationship was progressing…or lack thereof.”

He smiled, remembering the night she threw him out. “You were fairly clear about that fact.”

“Well, he was able to hear all of that thanks to the locket Mia gave me and you placed around my neck that night.”

“I see.”

“So when he became more assertive and open to furthering our physical relationship, I assumed it was you doing what you had always done for me…meeting my needs.”

“What did he do?” He had to know.

She turned slowly to face him. Tears were starting to slip from her eyes. “I’m so ashamed, Joseph; I don’t want to talk about it.”

Joseph exhaled slowly and then stood and joined her in front of the fireplace. He pulled her into his arms and let her cry. When she had quieted somewhat, he lifted her chin so he could look her in the eyes. “You have nothing to be ashamed of…you believed you were with the man you loved and planned to marry.”

Her next words were spoken quietly, but with conviction. “I’m so sorry, Joseph. I know you deserve to know…but if I tell you, I fear you will never want to be with me - never want to touch me or kiss me again.”

“Nothing you could say could make me feel that way, Clarisse.” Seeing the resolve in her eyes gave him pause, though. Somehow he would have to convince her; but he wasn’t certain that it could happen tonight.

“I hope you will give me another chance.” He whispered.

Slight disbelief registered on her face. How could he possibly still be interested in a relationship with her? “Chance for what?”

He let his hand slide up her neck to her cheek, his thumb caressing her lip. He could feel her body trembling, but he wasn’t certain what the source was…fear or desire. “To meet your needs.” He decided to push things a bit and let his left hand slide up her side, barely grazing her breast. “All of them…” he added huskily.

Clarisse couldn’t believe her body…it had betrayed her so many times in the past week that she had lost count. Now she had just resolved to let Joseph go as she was too ashamed of her inability to not realize that she was with a complete stranger rather than her soul mate and what did it do? Begin to tremble under his touch…would she never gain control of her wayward body again?

Before she could say anything further, Joseph swept her up into his arms and carried her to the bedroom. “You need your rest…it has been a long and exhausting day. We can talk more tomorrow.”

She snuggled into his embrace; it had been so long since anyone had carried her. His strong arms around her made her feel protected and safe. He set her down gently next to the bed and pulled the comforter back for her. Kissing her forehead, he added. “Sleep well, my Queen.”

He started to move away towards the chaise lounge that had been his bed for the past couple of nights. Her hand on his halted his steps. “Sleep with me tonight…please.”

“I’ll have to wait until after midnight.” He cautioned.

She shook her head slowly. “No. I don’t intend to hide in my own suite. If security knows you slept in my bed with me…so they know. I hear they are a trustworthy group.” She stated with a half smile.

He returned the smile. “Far more so than the maids.”

She laughed. It was a glorious sound that Joseph had missed sorely over the past week. “Is that a yes?”


Clarisse watched with disguised interest as he removed everything but the black silk boxers. He returned the gesture as she removed her robe, revealing an emerald green satin gown that fell to her mid thigh. The bodice was a scooped neckline that was held in place by thin straps. He noticed small marks on her breasts that were fading, but still noticeable. She saw that his gaze lingered on her chest and realized instantly that it was not the normal reasons that held his gaze there. She climbed into bed and turned on her side away from him.

Joseph sighed, more concerned than ever about what his counterpart had put her through. What bothered him, though, was that he couldn’t be sure if those marks had been incurred while she was a willing participant or if it had been done while she was restrained. He picked up the phone and instructed that the ladies’ maids were not to disturb the Queen – she would ring for them when or if she needed them. He hung up the phone, turned off the light and crawled into bed.

A few moments later he had settled in. They were both on their right sides and she had adjusted her body until she was spooned against his chest. His arm fell protectively over her waist. There was no sound in the room save the ticking of the grandfather clock in the corner. Finally after several minutes, she clasped his hand and moved it up until he could feel the marred flesh he had noticed earlier. Her voice was barely above a whisper. “It happened Thursday afternoon…in my office, during lunch.”

He didn’t say anything…he wasn’t sure if it was from shock or not wanting to interrupt whatever further information she may provide. He let the pads of his fingers gently smooth over the area. “The night before…the night you were abducted, he came to my suite just before midnight and told me he was sorry for being such a fool and then proceeded to demonstrate for me what he said he should have done the night of my birthday.”

Joseph felt a deep pang of regret. Jacob had heard everything that had transpired and had used it; skillfully it seemed, to emotionally manipulate her. “I’m so sorry.” He whispered.

“I wanted to be with you so badly, Joseph…I couldn’t seem to control myself once I thought you wanted me that badly too.” She admitted.

He pulled her closer to his body, his hand cupping her breast. “How could you think I didn’t want you? I’ve dreamed of making love to you so many nights. Not acting on those desires has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

She turned in his embrace, her tear stained face only inches from his. “That was the problem…don’t you see?” Her voice was pleading…needing him to understand. “You could control yourself…I couldn’t. I wanted your feelings for me to be so strong that you couldn’t stop.” Now that the words had started, she couldn’t seem to stop them. “That’s what happened while you were away, Joseph…I lost control. His touch was aggressive and inflamed me even higher…he pushed me to do things I would have never considered.”

He knew she was waiting for an answer – some explanation as to why he had not been able to do those things for her. “Perhaps that’s because he knew he was only going to be around for a few days. I, on the other hand, wanted a lifetime with you. As I said that night…I wasn’t willing to risk forever for one night of passion…as memorable as I know that night would be.”

She exhaled slowly. “My mind knows you are right, Joseph; my heart and body just can’t seem to catch up. I’ve given my life to this country and now that I am in my twilight years, I don’t want to sacrifice the happiness that I’ve found in you.

Joseph rolled over onto his back and pulled her body partially onto his drawing her into a comforting embrace. He slowly stroked her back in an effort to calm her. “We’ll figure this out, Clarisse. We’ll find a way…” He stopped talking as he heard the clock start to strike midnight. He pulled the comforter over their bodies and closed his eyes in an effort to feign sleep. Tomorrow he would devise a work around for the camera check…it would be a priority. From a security standpoint, he understood…but from a privacy standpoint for Clarisse and Mia, it was very intrusive.

He opened his eyes and saw the red light of the camera go off…they were alone again. He kissed the top of her head as his hand gently rubbed up and down her back. Her leg was lying across his and he could feel her tears falling on his chest. “What can I do to make this better, Clarisse? Whatever you want or need to heal…just tell me.”

“Prove to me you still want me – that you forgive me for betraying you…even if it was unknowingly. I need your forgiveness before I can even begin to consider forgiving myself.”

For Joseph, there was no tomorrow…no next week, next month or even next year. There was this moment; the here and now. If he had any hopes of any of those future times with her, he had to get it right tonight. He reached under the comforter and let his hand slide down her back, over her bottom and thigh until he reached her bent knee. Using it as leverage, he pulled her body until it was flush on top of his. Clarisse was startled, but adjusted her arms and legs so she was effectively straddling his body. Her face was just above his and her eyes were searching his. “There is nothing to forgive…but if you insist, I shall acquiesce. I forgive you and I want you more than I want air to breathe.”

With those words, his hands threaded in her short hair and pulled her mouth to meet his, guiding her movements in the kiss. It was a passionate kiss borne of sorrow, anger, and barely restrained desire. Each giving and taking equally as their bodies communicated what mere words could not. Clarisse’s body moved against his as the kiss deepened. Tongues battled as the connection grew, breaking only for scant seconds to allow a small breath. Both Clarisse and Joseph were being swept away, getting lost in the pleasure of the other’s taste and feel. Finally, the kiss was broken and Clarisse collapsed on his body, her head resting in the curve of his neck.

Clarisse was the first to speak. “Tell me what you are thinking.”

She felt his body vibrate under her as he chuckled slightly. His hands skimmed over her back and bottom before answering. “If you have to ask me that…you don’t know me nearly as well as I thought you did.”

Clarisse rose up slightly, touching the lamp on the table at the side of the bed to softly illuminate the room. Her voice was low and sultry. “I know…I just wanted to hear you say it.”

Joseph used his hands to assist her to a sitting position. His hands slid up the creamy thighs on either side of his torso and then up the smooth satin of her gown. His blue eyes darkened as her back arched to meet his touch. “You are the most beautiful creature that has ever been placed on this Earth, Clarisse. I want to make love to you; I want to make love with you. I love you so very much.”

His breath caught in his chest as her hands grasped the hem of her gown and raised it over her head until her upper body was fully revealed. Strong hands caressed her, moving upwards until they held her soft mounds, supporting their weight as his thumbs began to slowly circle the burgeoning peaks. Though he couldn’t see, he could feel the tiny bumps emerging on her flesh in response to his touch.

Clarisse was certain this had to be the most wonderful dream she had ever experienced. Her Joseph – her knight – her everything was in her bed and they were about to make love for the very first time. Her eyes closed as shivers of desire coursed through her body from his touch. She could feel the evidence of his desire strengthening under her. She leaned forward; needing to feel his heated skin against hers.

Joseph could never remember a time that he felt as aroused as he did at this moment. The silky, soft feel of her body was a pleasant contrast to his hardness. Her breath was warm on his neck as she whispered. “You are the love of my life, Joseph. I have never loved another as I love you.” Her words were like adding fuel to an already blazing fire. He needed to possess her – to make them one…he realized in an instant…

“I know what it feels like now, Clarisse…I feel as though I can no longer control myself. I wanted our first time to be different…slower; but your body and touch is driving me to distraction.” He rolled to pin her body under his.

“Finally…” she teased before claiming him in a fierce kiss as her legs wrapped around his.

The kiss fed their desire until Joseph knew that he needed their bodies to join as their hearts had so long ago. With one last kiss, he rolled off of her body and stood next to the bed.

“Joseph?” Clarisse thought she might have to definitely hang someone in the courtyard tonight if he left her again.

Her fears were allayed as she watched him lower the black boxers to the floor. “Oh my…” she whispered as she witnessed him in all of his glory. Her body responded to the visual stimuli and to the feel of his hands as they slipped under the waistband of her remaining garment, slowly lowering it…removing the final barrier to the realization of all their dreams and desires.

He resumed a position next to her on the bed as his hands moved over her entire body, learning and worshipping the shape and feel of the woman he adored. Kisses were placed on each of the fading bruises to provide a healing touch and show acceptance. As his fingers combed through her curls, seeking a deeper touch, he felt her body stiffen slightly. He immediately stopped and let his hand rest on her thigh. “What’s wrong?” He whispered.

“I’m sorry…it’s just…” She hated that the moment was being ruined.

Recognition dawned on Joseph. “He hurt you that night, didn’t he?”

She exhaled slowly. “Yes.”

He pulled her into his arms and held her. “I tried to get away…I swear I did. He was just too strong and…”

“And what?” He knew…but he had promised Mia he wouldn’t say anything…this needed to come from Clarisse.

“He had me tied to the bed…I felt so helpless.”

He held her tightly, whispering comforting words, reassuring her that she had done everything that she could. When he sensed she had calmed some, he stated. “We can continue this another time.”

“No.” It was quiet, but firm.


“I won’t let him have any more power over me. He will not ruin what you and I have.”

He saw the determination in her eyes. For looking so delicate and graceful, she had an inner strength and toughness when facing challenges and heartbreak that would bring many lesser people to their knees. His hand caressed her cheek. “At least let me kiss the hurt away.”

Clarisse felt gentle kisses being rained on her, starting at her forehead and moving slowly down her body. Her legs moved to accommodate his body as he moved lower and lower until she felt his tongue swirl in her belly button. She chuckled slightly as she realized that no one had ever done that to her before. Her giggle became a gasp as his mouth sought refuge well within her golden curls. His tongue was warm and soothing, slowly erasing the bad memories and replacing them with new and more powerful ones. “Oh Joseph…”

Joseph left no area untouched as he kissed, licked and teased until he felt her body begin to spasm. His hands caught her knees before they closed in on him as her body warred with itself…both wanting to escape the sweet torture and never wanting it to end.

Clarisse was delirious with pleasure…it had begun to slowly build until she could feel the blood pounding throughout her body as waves of sensation centered at the apex of her thighs under Joseph’s careful ministrations. Time stopped as the waves crashed throughout her entire body lifting her until the damn burst and flooded into her very soul; the nectar from her release washing away the hurt and pain of Jacob’s assault. She grabbed one of the pillows to smother her cry of completion as she felt Joseph’s gaze, filled with love and desire, raking over her body.

A warm smile awaited her when the pillow was removed. “Better?” He asked.

She returned the smile and pulled his mouth to hers. The kiss was gentle and exploratory as she tasted herself on his lips. She could feel the hard evidence of his desire against her thigh. She opened her legs further until he nestled against her warm and very wet entrance. Her look was intense and sincere as she admitted. “He accused me of only submitting to Rupert because he was the most powerful man in Genovia. He didn’t realize that you, my love, are the most powerful man in Genovia.”

He felt her hand caress his check. “I am?” He knew he held a position of importance within the royal family, but truly didn’t think of himself as powerful by any means.

“Yes, because you hold my heart and my very life in your hands…that is the power you have over me. I love you.” With her final words, she moved her body upwards igniting the fusion of their bodies as one. Joseph surged forward, relishing the feel of her surrounding him – joining them. He could feel her body pulsing around him, causing him to harden even further. He had a strong desire to touch her innermost core…the very soul of her being.

Clarisse felt him thrust hard into her body over and over again. There was no rhythm, no teasing, nothing but the pure unadulterated need to be consumed by another – to reach into their very soul and join on a level that only few can attain. She reveled in his loss of control and let rational thought escape as she turned her soul over to pure emotion.

Incoherent cries were escaping into the quiet of the room as they soared into the clouds where joined souls could fly. They succumbed to the winds as it pushed them over the edge.

“Oh god…Joseph!”

“Mi amore, Clarisse!”

He collapsed onto her frame – their mutual heavy breathing and pounding hearts slowly returning to normal as they floated back down from the natural high. After a few moments, he rolled onto his back, pulling her back to her original position lying half on his chest, leg resting over his. “I’m sorry.” He panted.

She looked at him incredulously. “Whatever on earth for?”

He tried to look serious. “For not letting you seduce me much, much sooner.”

She started laughing…the beautiful, rich sound that he so loved to hear. “Well God knows it wasn’t for lack of trying. Thank you for finally letting me!”

**C/J ~J/C**