The Mirror's Reflection

Chapter 10

Clarisse woke the next morning with a small measure of peace. She could feel Joseph’s steady heartbeat against her back; his warm breath on her neck; and the protection of his arm over her body. Her thoughts drifted back to a few hours ago when she had finally felt Joseph’s love surrounding her, filling her, and accepting her. There were still demons that she had to deal with – nightmares that would haunt her and self-doubt and recrimination which she was certain would be a constant companion.

However, there was also hope. Hope that perhaps the love she and Joseph felt for each other would be enough to overcome this most unusual turn of events. Hope that he would forgive her for her indiscretions with Jacob. While his actions last night certainly seemed to indicate that he had forgiven her, she couldn’t help but let doubts linger. In the quiet of the night, would he allow that same doubt and curiosity to creep in? Her mind flashed back to the nights with Jacob…the words he uttered, the demands he made of her, the reactions he created in her, the inhibitions she lost with him – how could she have been so weak? She felt his mouth hard and demanding over her tender flesh, fingers plundering, probing, violating…

Clarisse sat up with a start, shaking her head trying to clear the negative thoughts and trying to prevent the tears from falling yet again. Joseph had been awake, enjoying the feel of Clarisse’s warm body next to his. He was so attuned to her emotions, though, that he felt the switch from contentment to unrest. When she bolted from his arms, he knew that there was still much healing to be done. “Clarisse?”

She didn’t look at him, just whispered. “I’m sorry.”

He exhaled slowly. “No need to be sorry…I’m just worried about you. Perhaps it will help if you know that I have some things I feel remorse for over the past week.”

She turned slowly to face him, a mixture of curiosity, pain, and gratefulness on her features. “I find that hard to believe.”

He patted the mattress next to him. “Come, lie beside me and I’ll tell you – then you can decide for yourself.”

The tension eased somewhat once she was in his arms again. His lower body stirred at the breathtaking view she made in the morning as the warm sun filtered over the freckled expanse of skin well within his line of vision and touch. It would have to wait, though. He wanted to kiss her, but knew that once that started…any talking would fade away as a distant memory. “I never told you how I escaped.”

Clarisse propped herself up on one elbow as she looked into in his eyes. “That’s right, you didn’t. With all the drama, I never thought to ask. I was just so grateful you had and just in time, too.”

He let the back of his hand drift over the swell of her breasts, noting that the marks were almost gone. “No, not in time, but better late than never.”

She returned the gesture, placing her hand on his chest. “It was much better than – even ten seconds later. I will forever be grateful that you prevented that final humiliation…I’m not certain I would have ever been able to recover from that.”

“I would have killed him, Clarisse; and I would have never forgiven myself.” He offered sincerely.

Clarisse saw his haunted expression and knew the words were spoken from the very depth of his soul. She cupped his cheek, leaned in and kissed him gently. “Thankfully that wasn’t necessary.”

Feeling her lips on his brought his thoughts back into focus. Their sapphire eyes locked as he confessed. “I kissed Alexandra.”

She pulled back, somewhat surprised by his confession. “What?”

“In order to escape, I took advantage of her naiveté and coerced her to come closer to the cell by feigning disappointment that she had only pretended to be interested in me. She told me that I just came off as unavailable since I only had eyes for you.” He grinned at the slight blush that covered Clarisse’s face at the compliment.

“Why did you kiss her?” She was trying not to be jealous – knew she had no right to be; but just like him…she needed to know.

“It was necessary so I could get my hand around her neck. It lasted only a few moments before I used the grip I had on her neck to slam her head into the iron bar and render her unconscious.”

“Oh my…” She had known Joseph was capable of violence, it was necessary in his line of work. He was always so gentle and protective with her that she had forgotten that the same hands that cared for her were also capable of harm. She was grateful that, unlike his brother, his skills were used for good rather than evil purposes.

The jealous woman in her demanded an answer. “Was she a good kisser?” She asked shyly.

Joseph couldn’t help but smile now. He let his hand slip around her neck and pulled her towards him. His mouth brushed lightly across her lips in a teasing manner; his tongue traced gently before deepening the kiss. Clarisse fell into sync with his movements just as they did on the dance floor. There was give and take, fulfilling and receiving, the recognition of a connection that went far beyond the physical. Her taste was addictive and he knew he would never get his fill. He finally pulled away. “The kiss was nothing more than a wisp of smoke compared to the flame that burns between us.”

“I believe you.” She whispered.

“Will you forgive me then, for the kiss?”

“Of course.” She answered without hesitation.

“So if you are willing to forgive me for knowingly taking such an action, why can’t you accept my forgiveness for you unknowingly doing so?”

Clarisse searched his eyes and found love and sincerity – he truly didn’t hold her responsible. She believed that time healed all wounds; and perhaps, over time, she could fully accept his forgiveness and forgive herself. “I will try – that is all I can promise.”

“I’ll take that…for now.” He kissed her quickly. “NOW, we need to get cleaned up and I have some calls to make and you and your granddaughter have a country to run.”

She grudgingly agreed as her old master of duty called. Now that her healing had started, she was better equipped to support those around her again. She knew that Joseph would provide the additional strength she needed when the business of the day faded away. Until then, though, they both had responsibilities. “I’d rather stay here in bed with you.” She teased.

His eyes raked over her body and he was truly tempted. There was an urgent matter he needed to attend to, though. “If it were anything less important, I would agree. But…”

Clarisse couldn’t resist teasing him a bit. “What could be more important than pleasing your Queen?”

He moved quickly so that his body covered hers; his hands holding hers above her head. Soft kisses covered her neck, deftly finding the pulse points until he knew he had her undivided attention. “Only one thing…getting rid of the need for that damned camera.”

Clarisse focused quickly on his statement. “You have an idea?” She asked hopefully.

“I have an idea.”

“Then you win – I get the shower first.” She announced with a smile.

Joseph rolled off of her and pulled them both to a standing position. Taking her hand in his, they walked towards the bathroom. “We’ll share.” He advised.

Clarisse leaned into him and smiled as they made the short journey. “Not only the most powerful, but also the most intelligent.”



An hour later they were showered, dressed and on their way to Mia’s suite. At the door, he kissed her on the cheek. “I’ll meet the two of you in an hour in your office. Good luck.”

She squeezed his hand and then disappeared behind the double doors. Joseph made his way to the security office to call in a favor from an old friend.


Joseph watched with pride as his “girls” came striding confidently in. Knowing them as well as he did, he knew that part of it was the mask that they always wore when they were not in the privacy of their suite. A closer look, though, revealed that the eyes were clearer and less haunted than they had been in a week. He smiled. “And how are my two favorite ladies today?”

Mia hugged him fiercely and whispered. “Getting better, Joe. Thanks for helping Gramma too, she seems much better today.”

“You’re welcome. I’m honored she would let me help her.” He whispered in reply.

“That’s because she loves you.” She replied quietly so that her grandmother couldn’t hear as she knew she would not appreciate the meddling in her personal life.

They separated from the embrace and he smiled warmly at Clarisse. At that moment, Charlotte walked in as well. “How are you feeling today, Charlotte?” He asked.

“Much better, thank you…both emotionally and physically.”

“Did the doctors determine why you were so sick that day? I don’t think you had ever missed a day of work before.

Charlotte blushed. “It was the shrimp I had at dinner the night before…food poisoning. I’ve never felt so sick before. I was too weak to even pick up the phone.”

“Well I’m glad that was the case and we didn’t have to arrest you for being a co-conspirator.” Joseph teased.

“Joseph!” Clarisse admonished.

Blue eyes sparkled as he feigned remorse. “My apologies both to you, Your Majesty and to Charlotte.”

Charlotte blushed and Mia laughed. “It’s nice to know that no matter what…some things never change.”

Joseph saw an opening and took advantage of it. “Sometimes change is good, Princess. For instance, I would like to propose a change in the security protocols.”

“What kind of change, Joe?” Mia asked, her natural curiosity bubbling to the surface.

“A sub-dermal microchip.” Joseph answered.

“A what?” Clarisse asked - confusion clearly evident on her face.

Joseph smiled. “It’s a very small electronic device that is planted under the skin and transmits a signal, similar to a GPS, that would allow us to determine your location…even when a camera is not available.”

Recognition dawned for Mia quicker than it did Clarisse. “So if we had these GPS things, we could do away with the cameras in our suites?”


“Count me in!” Mia offered excitedly.

Clarisse was a little more cautious. “I would like to hear more, Joseph.”

“If you will join me in the infirmary, I have a friend who will explain everything.”

Clarisse was having one of her legendary internal arguments with herself. On one hand the thought of having privacy within her suite was very compelling – especially now that her relationship with Joseph had become intimate. On the other, the thought of a tracking device, no matter how small, being forced under her skin was rather frightening.

“Clarisse?” Joseph’s voice cut through her musing.

“Yes…yes, perhaps we should discuss this with your friend.”

“Charlotte, will you call Shades and ask him to meet us there too?” Joseph asked.



After a lengthy question and answer session, Joseph’s friend, Michael – former member of MI6 in England, had sufficiently explained to Clarisse how the device worked. “So both Amelia and I along with Joseph and Shades will have the device?”

“Yes, Your Majesty. In doing so, we will be able to determine not only where you are but the proximity of your respective security personnel.”

“One last question, I promise.” Clarisse announced.

Michael smiled, totally enamored with the Queen. He could see why the people of Genovia loved her so much. “Anything you desire to know, Your Majesty.”

She smiled gratefully before asking her final question. “How did you decide on the location for the implants?”

He glanced at Joseph, hoping he would answer this one. It was true that the request was a bit unusual, but under the circumstances he understood. Joseph spoke up. “It was my idea, Your Majesty. While one would hope that the throne will never undergo a threat such as it did recently, I don’t want to ever underestimate my opponent again. By putting the chip in a non-standard location, it is my hope that if they scanned for one on your arms and didn’t find one, they would not consider looking any further.”

Clarisse considered his words carefully and knew that he would never forgive himself if someone got past his defenses again. She nodded her head in agreement. “Then let’s proceed. I don’t want too long to think about it as I may decide the benefits of some modicum of privacy won’t outweigh my fear of the procedure.” Clarisse admitted honestly.

She felt Joseph’s hand on her shoulder, slightly squeezing to offer encouragement as Michael’s voice instructed. “Then let’s get started.”


Clarisse had changed into one of the gowns that had been provided and was sitting restlessly on the examining table. She heard the curtain pull back and her heart rate pounded loudly in her chest. Her head turned to see Joseph in black shorts and t-shirt. “How come you don’t have to wear one of these attractive gowns?” She asked.

“Because, unlike you, I happen to own a pair of shorts – just as Mia and Shades do. You are the only one, my dear, who didn’t have that item in your wardrobe.”

“What possible need could I have for a pair of shorts?”

He chuckled. “Well, it would allow you to not wear a hospital gown just so someone could get to your upper thigh.”

“You are not amusing, Joseph.”

His eyes sparkled as he stepped between her knees and kissed her, hoping to distract her for a few minutes. His hand smoothed over the cotton gown eliciting a small gasp from her as his thumb circled a hardening tip through the double layer of fabric from the gown and her bra providing coverage. “Perhaps after Michael is through you and I can play doctor?” He whispered.

A blush crept over her entire body as heat suffused her from the inside out. “Perhaps.” She whispered in reply. “Are there other fantasies you would like to share with me?” She asked.

Joseph thought of one of his most prevalent fantasies that involved his Queen. “I have many; but one in particular that far outweighs the others. Maybe I will share that with you soon.”

Clarisse’s body responded to the tone of his voice and the meaning of his words. Her voice was sultry as she answered. “I look forward to that.”

Approaching footsteps forced them to separate. Michael suppressed a grin as he suspected that there was more between his old friend and the beautiful Queen that they let on. If his friend wanted it kept a private matter, though, who was he to interfere? “Would you like to go first, Your Majesty? I can ask Joseph to leave if you like.”

“I’d like him to stay, if that’s alright.” She admitted.

“Whatever you wish, ma’am.”

Joseph moved to the side opposite that Michael needed to perform the procedure. He let his hand slip into Clarisse’s and held it tightly as the gown was moved just enough to make her upper thigh available to the instrument that would deliver the microchip. She heard the sound of air being forced through the barrel of the device and felt a pinch as her skin was pierced.

Michael was impressed that she neither flinched nor made a noise as the chip slid into place under her skin. Joseph, on the other hand, thought there might be permanent indentations from her nails as they imbedded into the tender flesh of his hand. The garment was returned to its original position and the procedure was then repeated on Joseph. Within five minutes, it was finished.

“Ok you two, you will probably feel a little soreness or tenderness at the point of injection for a few days but after that, you’ll forget it’s even there.”

Joseph stood and shook his hand. “Thank you, my friend.”

As they walked back to the office, Joseph whispered in her ear. “So what shall we do with no camera to watch over us at night?”

She didn’t look at him, but her smile said it all. “I’m sure we’ll think of something.”


Three Days Later

Once away from prying eyes, Joseph took her hand as they made the rest of the journey. He secretly hoped he was not making a mistake by taking her back to the proverbial ‘scene of the crime’, but he felt it was important she face the fear and put it to rest. His desire was to create a much happier memory there to replace the horrors from before.

Clarisse walked happily alongside of Joseph; her left hand absently rubbing her hip where the chip had been forced under her skin a few days ago. It was slightly uncomfortable, but Michael had assured her that within a week, she would totally forget it was there. “Where are we going? All of these steps are not as easy to traverse as they used to be…and I am in heels, need I remind you?” Clarisse teased.

Joseph smiled. “We’re almost there and…” he leaned over and whispered conspiratorially, “…have I told you lately how sexy your legs look in heels?”

Clarisse blushed good naturedly at his comment and secretly hoped wherever he was taking her was designed for afternoon delight. They arrived at the ‘T’ in the long corridor and Joseph placed his hand on the knob of the only door. “Will you trust me?”

His tone made her wary. “I always do; but I must confess you are making me a bit nervous with asking such a question.”

He opened the door and led her inside. He felt her hand squeeze his as recognition dawned. “Why have you brought me here?”

Joseph embraced her from behind, totally enveloping her in his arms. “You need to heal, my love. These fears need to be faced and I want to help you do that.”

Her eyes were fixed on the bed that sat so presumably innocent on the other side of the room. In the light of day, she could see the door next to the ‘mirror’ that she had not noticed that fateful night until Mia and André had emerged. She realized, belatedly, that she had no idea how much Mia had witnessed of what happened that night. Neither of them had spoken about it. She also noticed, with a small sigh of relief, that all of the pillows had been removed as well as the spread. The top sheet was turned down to reveal another plain white sheet. Nothing menacing was hidden on the bed today.

She decided to try to delay the inevitable for a bit. “Do you know the origin of this room? How long has it been here? What was it used for?” She asked as she walked over to look out the small window in the room. From her vantage point, high above the palace grounds, she surmised they must be in one of the towers.

“I became aware of the existence of the room shortly after joining the security detail. It apparently was used by members of the royal family for… entertainment purposes.”

Clarisse turned away from the window to meet his gaze. “Entertainment?” Recognition dawned.

“Rupert?” She needed to know.

“Never to my knowledge…” He answered honestly; although he wasn’t sure that knowing how close he and Clarisse had always been if the King would have shared that knowledge with him.

“I see…well, I suppose it is irrelevant now…not that it would’ve mattered then either.”

He took her hand and led her across the room until they were standing in front of the mirror. Joseph stood behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist. “Do you know what I see when I look in the mirror?”

Clarisse allowed a small smile. “Hopefully not the same thing you saw before.” She replied. Now that she and Joseph had become lovers, things had changed between them…fortunately, in a very good way.

Joseph kissed her neck tenderly. “No, not the same as before. This time I see a Queen and her Head of Security who found a way to come together to secure the Renaldi rule demonstrating that they could put personal issues aside when duty called them. I see Joseph and Clarisse – two friends who found a way to come together…despite betrayal, deception and personal trauma. And, finally…” his fingers began to slowly unbutton her blouse. “…I see a man and a woman who have shared the ultimate expression of love and now have a lifetime to make all of their secretly harbored fantasies become reality.”

Clarisse inhaled deeply as she watched her skin being revealed in the mirror; a flush of desire already creeping up her pale body. Her breath remained caught in her lungs as the garment was slowly lowered from her shoulders and tossed onto the bed. Her body shivered slightly from the loss of contact with his body; but that sensation was short lived when he returned to his original position.

Joseph’s fingertips lightly caressed her front, loving the way her body arched slightly into his touch. He whispered in her ear. “Do you see how beautiful you look? Every element in this room…the sun filtering through the window, the shadows cast in the darkness – all dance across your fair skin as though they were created solely to enhance your beauty.”

“Oh Joseph…” Clarisse turned in his arms and kissed him with a force that caught him off guard. Her mouth melded with his as their kiss reflected the love and newly found connection and commitment to each other. They were bound…mind, hearts, souls and now bodies. Clarisse needed to feel his body against hers again. Within moments, her fingers had deftly undone the buttons on his shirt and it joined hers on the bed.

Joseph was forced backwards until his legs came in contact with the bed. He sat down and then used his hands to still her body. He watched as her eyes slowly opened; they were filled with such passion and desire that he could feel his arousal level steadily increase. Blue eyes piercing blue with an intensity that creased his very soul, she was a force of nature that left a permanent mark deep within his very being.

She felt his hands slip under her skirt, slowly stroking her thighs. “So toned, so strong yet so feminine…” he praised.

“All those years in heels…” she explained through a rush of air that escaped her lungs as her pleasure gained momentum. Her hands found his shoulders for balance as his large hands cupped and stroked her bottom.

“I want to tell you my fantasy.” He huskily admitted.

Clarisse thought of everything that Joseph had done for her over the years and, most recently, the amount of compassion and forgiveness that he had extended to her. She could think of very little that she would deny him. “Tell me what it is, love. If it is within my power, I will make it come true for you.”

Instead of speaking, he slowly removed her remaining garments and then followed with his own. He moved on his knees on the bed and guided her to do the same. He caught a quick glance over her shoulder to see the reflection of her very beautiful backside in the mirror before he pulled her into his embrace.

She felt thirty years younger as she felt Joseph’s mouth meld with hers as his hands moved around her body to stroke her backside with a pleasant intensity that brought each nerve alive and forced all distractions from her mind. The kiss left her breathless and ready for more. Her head tilted back, allowing him access to the long line of her neck. His lips were warm and his tongue found every pulse point on her neck and anointed them until she could feel her heart beating throughout her entire body.

Joseph spoke reverently as he admired the goddess that had been put before him. “If it pleases Her Majesty and if I have found favor in her sight and if I be pleasing to her eyes, let her honor my request.”

Clarisse immediately recognized Joseph was quoting from the story of Queen Esther. She smiled and replied, “What is your petition? Whatever it is, it shall be granted you. Whatever your request it shall be performed, even half of my kingdom.”

“Let me show you, My Queen. I have no need of half of your kingdom - only of you.”

She allowed herself to be moved so she was facing the head of the bed; her hands resting on the mahogany headboard that she had been unwillingly secured to a little over a week earlier. The fear was present, but was not all consuming. She tried to remain focused on Joseph and the feel of his soft lips as they slowly made their way down her freckled back.

Clarisse turned her head to the right to catch a quick glance at their actions in the mirror before she could no longer think straight. Joseph’s long lean body was now lying comfortably on the bed, his head resting between her legs as his hands slowly stroked the back of her thighs. Her hands tightened their grip as open mouthed kisses were placed on the sensitive skin of her inner thighs.

She cast one final glance at the erotic scene unfolding in the mirror of which she was a very involved participant. A rush of passion overwhelmed her, forcing her eyes closed as his hands guided her body lower…until she felt the brush of his tongue as it slid through the damp curls to stroke and tease her aching center.

Her body arched as shards of pleasure began to suffuse her entire being spreading outward from the point where the tip of his tongue touched her. The pressure continued to build causing involuntary responses in her body that she fought diligently to try to control. The blood coursed through her creating a pulsing sensation of need that weakened her limbs to the point she would start to sink lower on the bed. As her body dropped, the intensity of Joseph’s ministrations increased as he was able to delve deeper into her core.

Joseph was in heaven…living out a fantasy that he played through his mind more times than he could remember. He could feel the throbbing of her desire; the small spasms in her legs as they struggled to accept the bursts of energy from her nervous system; the taste of her unique essence as it flowed readily onto his greedy tongue; and the muscles in her derriere tightening to match the arching of her upper body. He wished he could see her face, watch the look of ecstasy the moment it contorted her normally serene features as she surrendered to the pleasure that would consume her.

Clarisse could barely hold herself up; desire had weakened her to the point where she no longer had control over her twitching, jelly like muscles. Joseph’s large hands were firmly grasping her backside and his mouth had melded with her body to the point that she no longer knew where he ended and she began. When the thick muscle of his tongue slipped into her tight canal, the dam erupted and desire coursed through her body at an unyielding pace. “Oh god….Joseph…oh…yes….Yes….YES!”

Joseph felt her body release the energy that had been building over the last several minutes. As she cried out her release, her upper body went rigid while her lower body rode the waves of pleasure. He held on tightly and took the ride with her, loving every moment of this most intimate experience and embrace.

Finally her body quieted and she was able to pull herself back up to its previous kneeling position. Her knuckles were white from the effort of holding on and were still firmly ensconced around the smooth wood; her forehead found a resting place against the cool comfort of the wall. She felt Joseph slide down further on the bed and then gentle, soothing kisses being rained lovingly again on her shoulders and back.

“Thank you.” He whispered. “That was far better than the fantasy that had played out so many times in my head.”

He assisted her to a sitting position on the bed, holding her gently in his arms. “Tell me, Clarisse…tell me your fantasy. Let me make it come true for you.”

Only recently had Clarisse allowed herself the indulgence of sexual fantasies. She had tried that avenue of escape during the lonely years of her marriage and found that they had only left her feeling more alone and unfulfilled than ever. She thought over her fairly limited experience and Jacob’s words came back to haunt her. “You yielded control…” As she considered that, she knew what she wanted to experience.

“I want you to yield control to me…that is my fantasy. In my experiences, I have always been the one to yield control…I want to know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of that control.” She stated quietly.

He slowly stroked her body and quietly replied. “To my thinking, my love, you have had control all along as my heart and body felt compelled to do your bidding. I sense, though, that there is more to your request…so I will grant you the fantasy and yield control of my body to you.”

She turned in his embrace, pushing him onto his back as her body moved over him. “Wait a moment, Clarisse.” He stilled her movements and gently moved her off of his body.

“That didn’t last long.” She teased.

He reached over to the night stand and opened the drawer retrieving two silk scarves. He felt her body tense and her demeanor change. He closed the drawer and turned back to her, pulling her close. "They are for you to use on me…not the other way around."

She pulled away slightly. “I fail to see the need for them at all.”

He pulled her back into his embrace and kissed her gently as he held the silk in his hands, using it to caress her. “It’s symbolic, Clarisse. I’m giving myself to you – yielding control.”

To further demonstrate, he moved to secure a scarf to two of the spindles on the headboard before he lay back down and stretched his arms over his head, looping the scarves around his wrists and holding on.

Clarisse was nervous; but she trusted him, and she knew he trusted her. She let her eyes do a slow survey of the man who was her most trusted friend and now her lover. Someday very soon, she hoped to make him her husband as well.

His eyes were closed and his breathing even. Strong hands held the silk material, but not too tightly – indicating he was relaxed and comfortable with leaving himself in her care. His hands were soft and capable of delivering tender caresses to a lover or striking blows to an adversary. She felt a slight shiver of pleasure course throughout her body as she remembered the thrills experienced at his hands. His arms were tanned and muscular with just the right amount of hair. Fingertips delicately caressed the toned skin, feeling the strength that lay just below the surface.

His chest received the same slow, sensual perusal of touch and sight. Her hand paused over his heart, feeling the strong and steady beat – excited by the revelation that it increased several beats when her tongue traced the nipple on the other side of his chest. “Do you like that?” She whispered.

“What does my body tell you?” was the husky reply.

She repeated the action before blowing warm air over the damp area. She was rewarded with a faster heartbeat, increased breathing and a slight pull against the restraints. “I’ll take that as a yes.”

She continued her journey lower – making sure she touched, viewed and tasted every part of his chest and abdomen. Her fascination with this erotic exploration allowed her the opportunity to truly get to know her lover on a level that she had never been afforded before. She was thrilled by the discovery that there was a small strip of smooth skin just above his pelvic bone. Her tongue gently traced the area, eliciting soft murmurs of approval from Joseph.

Not wanting to give him any respite from the languorous torture she was bestowing on him, she carefully avoided the area that was actively seeking her touch. Instead, her hands caressed the masculine thighs, distinctly remembering how they felt pressing against hers as their bodies joined; coarse hair against her soft flesh as he moved against her in poetic counterpoint just as nature had dictated. “…and the two shall be as one. As it was in the beginning, is now until the end. Woman draws her strength from man and gives it back again.” The words to a song from her youth filled her mind as she thought about what it felt like to make love to Joseph and to share yourself with your soul mate. “Joseph.”

His eyes opened at her calling his name – most others had shortened his name to Joe…but with Clarisse, it had always been Joseph. He liked that it was reserved solely for her. “Yes, Queen of my heart.”

“I love you.”

“And I, you.”

Her eyes remained fixed on his as her mouth lowered over his erect member. Joseph fought the urge to move, gripping and pulling hard on the silk restraints instead. Watching her demonstrate her love for him in such a tangible way – a way in which he had never imagined…alright perhaps fantasized about – but never expected to happen – was almost too much. “Clarisse, please.” He begged through clenched teeth as he tried to remember to breathe.

While it was certainly an unfamiliar sensation, Clarisse loved the feeling of feminine power it gave her. She could feel his whole body fighting for control – a battle which, if she chose, he would most certainly lose. It was still too new into their relationship, though, for her not to want to feel him inside of her.

Her hold was released and he breathed a sigh of relief. Her body skimmed along top of his as she moved into position. It took every bit of Joseph’s willpower not to release the silk and return the favor of touching her body until she couldn’t think straight.

Clarisse sensed his struggle and wanted to speak the words that would free them both – but somehow felt that would defeat the fantasy. It was ironic that even though this was supposed to be a test for him – to yield control…there was a struggle for her as well. She welcomed him into her body in one swift movement; her eyes never leaving his face.

Sparks of desire ignited from the joining and sought to be fed by the fuel of their mutual passion; a need that had to be sated before normalcy could continue. She lowered her body to increase the contact; lips seeking to abate and enrage the building fire. Her tongue sought access to his warmth while her hands outstretched to hold the scarves with him; her lower body began to set a slow tempo for their primitive dance.

Time stood still as their bodies moved against each other, creating a friction that would serve as the spark that would soon cause the fire to blaze out of control. Unable to hold his kiss any longer, Clarisse broke free and quickened the pace. Joseph bent his legs to assist the efforts. The sounds of love filled the room as they neared completion. Joseph couldn’t resist, he turned his head to look at their reflection in the mirror. The sight nearly caused him to lose control: her body accepting the thrusts of his, countering them with her own; breasts, full and beautiful, swaying in time to their love making; the beautiful line of her neck and back as it arched seeking to deepen their connection; and, finally, her head bowed in concentration as the mind tried to process the overload of the brain from logic to emotion and sensation.

That was all it took…he wanted and needed to finish this; but he had promised – she had the control. Just as he was about to plead his case, her eyes opened and her head turned to view the same image that he had just witnessed. The difference being she focused on the fluid motion of his body as every muscle worked together to drive his body further into hers; the look of concentration on his face as he battled to keep control of his body.

It was time.

“Now, Joseph.” No further words needed as he moved quickly to bring them release.

Clarisse felt the rhythm falter and the fire spread. Her nails imbedded well within his hands only served to spur him higher. Adrenalin spread like wildfire and ignited every tendril of passion that had been smoldering between them. Cries of mutual release filled the room as the white hot heat of their love consumed them – no longer leaving two individuals, but one.

She collapsed onto his body and gasped for breath; she had no will to move. Joseph released the scarves and held her tightly – the wild beating of their hearts still playing the refrain loudly in their chests.

When Joseph could finally speak, he offered. “Beauty is a summation of the parts where nothing is needed to be altered, added, or taken away. That was beauty in its purest sense.”

Clarisse moved so that her body was in its now familiar position draped across his upper body while her leg covered his. “Carletti was a very astute man.” She murmured in reply.

Joseph pulled the sheet over their lower bodies and kissed the top of her head before replying. “As long as I live I will never forget the beautiful reflection of our lovemaking in the mirror.”

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully, just as I have also been fully known. Reality is far better than a mere reflection, my love.” Clarisse offered sleepily.

“Far better, my love…far better.”

With those final words, the lovers drifted off to sleep knowing that together they would conquer the demons of the past and any threats from the future.

A dark figure quietly opened the door to the ante-room and gazed at the sleeping lovers. This was an interesting development indeed – one which he would store away for future use. He took one last look at the long, graceful line of the Queen’s back and, for a moment, felt a pang of jealousy that he had never been able to win the affection of the beautiful woman. He consoled himself with the fact that while he may never have the Queen, soon he would put into place a plan that would net him something far better – the Crown of Genovia.

The End.