Pictures, Popcorn and Perfect Mates
Rating: T There is the required kissage.
Story Requirements: No angst, humour and kissage - Written for: Rev_Sue
Thanks to my beta leetah47 you did a wonderful job!!
Disclaimer: The usual I get no monetary compensation, just pleasure from using these characters that belong to Meg Cabot, Disney, etc.!
“Baron Johann Klimt.” Charlotte offered.
“No. Not appropriate - he’s a compulsive gambler.” The Queen replied.
The next slide appeared showing a very handsome Prince William.
“Oh yes! Yes. I accept. I…I…I absolutely accept!” Mia interjected excitedly.
“Prince William is not eligible because he’s in line for his own crown,” Charlotte explained.
“Oh…” Mia replied.
“If he’s not eligible, why is he included in these pictures?” Joseph asked.
Charlotte smiled and sighed, “I just love to look at him!”
“Mmhmm…me too!” The Queen added.
Joseph was shocked, “Your Majesty?”
“Next…” Clarisse instructed with a gleam in her eye. She didn’t want to give Joseph a chance to prod her appreciation for Prince William any further.
Charlotte continued, “Antoine Suisson of Paris. Plays the harp no title, but good family.”
“What about the title of husband?” Lilly asked.
Mia quickly added, “Yeah…he’s cute.”
“His boyfriend thinks he’s handsome also,” Joseph offered.
“Right on!” Came the joint reply from Mia and Lilly.
“No matter put him on all the invitation lists. He’s a divine dancer. Next.”
Sir Laurent Wilson’s picture appeared. Clarisse quickly interjected, “Too old.”
Then Prince Jacques Dubé “Too young!”
Lilly interrupted the Queen’s elimination process by asking, “Does this popcorn taste like pears?”
“Mmm Genovian specialty,” Mia explained.
Charlotte continued the slide show with Sven Gustaffason. Joseph quickly added, “Arrested too many times.”
The Queen was losing her patience, “No! We need someone titled someone who can help you run the country without letting ego getting in the way - someone attractive, smart, but not arrogant -someone with compassion,” she had moved to stand beside Joseph.
Mia pointed to the screen, “Someone like him?”
“Yes!!” Clarisse exclaimed, “Someone very much like him. Good choice, Mia. I wonder I didn’t think of him before….Andrew Jacoby Duke of Kenilworth.”
“Well…he looks decent,” Mia offered as the slideshow completed.
**A few hours later**
“Your Majesty, might I ask a favour?” Joseph asked as they were walking back to her office after lunch.
“Certainly, Joseph - what can I do for you?”
“Would you join me in the viewing room this evening? I need your opinion on something very important to me.” He was being a bit evasive, but giving her enough to get her intrigued.
"Certainly you’ve come to the right place I always have an opinion about everything.” She smiled brightly as she teased him.
He laughed in response, “Oh really? I hadn’t noticed.”
She swatted him playfully on the arm before straightening and regaining her composure as she entered the office. Before leaving him standing guard at the door, she leaned in and whispered, “What time will you be picking me up?”
His smile matched hers, “Oh…shall we say seven p.m.?”
“It’s a date then.” She replied as she walked towards the endless pile of paperwork that Charlotte kept ever ready for her review.
Joseph slid back into his “security” mode, but began to plan his payback for her comments from earlier today.
**Promptly at seven p.m.**
“Ready to go, Your Majesty?” Joseph asked as she answered his knock on the door to her suite.
She emerged from the suite in a pair of black slacks and a light blue, short-sleeved silk blouse. She had opted to leave the jacket off as they were staying within the palace. She felt a slight tingle on her bare skin as Joseph took her by the arm and guided her towards the viewing room.
Once they were seated on the loveseat that Joseph had arranged for earlier in the day, feet propped up in front of them, with popcorn in hand, she asked the question, “So what do you need advice on, Joseph?”
“Well, your Majesty, in a very short time, I will no longer be the Head of Security. Once Mia takes over, Shades will become her Primary and I will be retiring. As a result, I’ve been thinking about my future. Seeing Mia selecting her future spouse this morning inspired me to do the same. You were very helpful to Mia, so I’ve put together some potential choices and I’d like to get your input.”
Clarisse was a bit shocked at his statement…she had thought that there might be a chance for them once Mia took over…she felt a pang of regret shoot through her; but she caught herself before she lost herself in any unhappy or negative thoughts. If Joseph needed her, she would put a smile on her face and go along with him, “Of course, Joseph…I’d be happy to do what I can to help.”
He held her gaze for a moment and tried to keep the twinkle out of his eyes as he responded solemnly, “Thank you, your Majesty. It means a lot to me.”
Now that she realized his intent, she decided she just wanted this to be finished so she could go back to her suite. She sat back and fixed her gaze on the screen, “Very well then…let’s get started.”
The first slide appeared containing the photograph of former Miss Genovia, Hildegard Hoffman. Clarisse tried to hide her initial reaction of shock, “Joseph…surely you know that Ms. Hoffman is a compulsive gambler. She is definitely out of the question.”
Joseph fought to keep a straight face before he turned to her, “See that is exactly why I need your advice.”
She shot him a strange look, but said nothing.
“Ready for the next slide?” He asked.
The image of a 5 foot 7 inches tall, beautiful blond appeared on the screen. Joseph gave an appreciative grin, “Portia DeRossi - Australian lawyer turned actress…very beautiful.”
Clarisse laughed, “Her girlfriend, Ellen DeGeneres, thinks so too.”
Joseph laughed as well and mimicked Mia and Lilly’s response of earlier that day, “Right on! Should I put her on the invitation lists? I’m sure she’s a divine dancer.”
Clarisse cut him a definite, “I don’t think so!!” look and he responded with, “…or not!”
Meanwhile, Shades stood guard outside the door to the viewing room. Joseph had asked him to ensure that no one disturbed him and the Queen this evening and had promised it was for a good reason…but wouldn’t say why. He was turned sideways at the door to provide a better opportunity for hearing whatever was going on behind closed doors. He normally wouldn’t take such liberties, but Joseph had been purposely evasive and had asked him to cover during his off-time, so he determined he was entitled to a little entertainment. After about fifteen minutes, Charlotte arrived at the door, “Good evening, Shades.”
“Good evening, Charlotte. How can I help you?” He offered.
“I was looking for Her Majesty. Is she in there?” She asked pointing to the viewing room.
She started to reach for the doorknob, but his hand caught hers, “I’m sorry, Charlotte. I’m under strict orders that, barring a national emergency, they are not to be disturbed.”
His use of the pronoun ‘they’ caught her attention, “They? Who is she in there with? And why are you listening? The Queen would not approve of eavesdropping.”
Shades mentally kicked himself for the slip, “I’m not at liberty to say, Charlotte. But, you’re a smart woman who do you think would be in there with her?”
Charlotte knew Mia was spending the evening with Lilly, so that only left one obvious choice: Joseph. Her curiosity got the better of her and she leaned in to listen as well. She noted, as an aside, that Shades had left his hand resting on hers as they both quieted to try to hear what was happening inside.
The next slide revealed the image of Betty White. Clarisse quickly interjected, “Beautiful but too old!”
Joseph just smiled and switched the next slide, revealing a young Lindsay Lohan, “Again, beautiful…but too young you can’t be serious, Joseph!” She gave him an exasperated look.
He couldn’t resist teasing a bit, “You don’t think I’m handsome and young looking enough to attract a woman such as that?” He gestured toward Lindsay’s picture.
She let out a small sigh and turned towards him, “That is definitely not the point, Joseph!”
He smiled brightly, “So you think I’m handsome then?”
She gave him the benefit of a small smile and winked, “Next slide, please.”
A slide of Winona Ryder appeared…”Arrested too many times!” Clarisse exclaimed.
Joseph acted indignant, “Only once!”
“That’s too many times!” came her quick reply.
He smiled as he put up the next slide which was a breathtaking photo of Kate Mulgrew.
Clarisse was mesmerized as she took in the classic beauty of the woman now pictured on the screen. It took a moment, but then she found her voice and asked, “Joseph?”
“Yes.” He sat up some and turned towards her slightly reclined figure.
“She’s married very happily as I recall, isn’t she?” She asked, still looking the image.
He looked at the image and gave her the benefit of his best ‘dreamy’ look and said, “I know.”
“Then why, may I ask, is she up there?”
“Because just like so many others; I just like looking at her.” He teased.
She looked at him and swatted his arm, “Joseph!”
He made his move quickly as his hands sought out her ribs. She shrieked as she felt his fingers come into contact with the highly sensitive area and felt them curl in a tickling motion she held her breath to ward off the threat of laughter…but knew it would only be a matter of time…
Charlotte and Shades had been listening intently at the door, enjoying the verbal sparring and teasing going on between the Queen and Joseph. They heard the Queen shriek and Charlotte’s instinct kicked in and her hand went to the doorknob. Fortunately Shades’ hand was still resting on hers and he was able to stop her. A look of panic crossed her face, but he calmly added, “Wait…listen…”
A moment later the sound of laughter filled the air. Charlotte giggled slightly and blushed as she realized what was occurring ‘behind closed doors’, “We really shouldn’t be listening now, Shades…this is a private moment.”
“Just a few minutes more…then we’ll stop. Come on, Charlotte, you want to hear what happens as much as I do. Admit it!”
She couldn’t deny that she was curious. The Queen was always so proper and in control…this was a rare glimpse into the other side of her persona…Clarisse, the woman. “Ok, but just a few minutes more.”
Clarisse lost the battle quickly as Joseph seemed to know instinctively where all of her tickle spots were. The popcorn flew as she called on her hands to try to find his and stop them from their onslaught. Her laughter rang out in the room and Joseph’s mingled with hers as they manuevered for position and control on the couch. “Joseph! Joseph! Stop this instant or…”
His hands found the ticklish area right above her knee and stopped her ultimatum from being spoken. She wriggled in an effort to get away and batted at him as she continued to laugh, but she was not being successful. She finally found some leverage and pushed hard against his chest, pushing him back into the pillows of the couch. She cried out again as he pulled her body along with his so she was laying almost completely on top of him her face only inches away from his.
The tickling stopped and the only sound in the room was their laboured breathing. His hands were on her arms and hers were resting on his chest, providing the support for the small space that separated their upper bodies. She could feel his heart pounding under her hand…she couldn’t be certain if it was from their activity or from her nearness. She only knew why hers was pounding so fast; and knew it had everything to do with the warm strength she found herself so close to at that moment in time.
While tickling her and vying for position on a love seat had not fallen into one of his top three fantasies, Joseph decided that the end result…her body flush with his and the sparkle of laughter in her eyes beginning to be clouded over by another emotion…was definitely a win-win for him. He allowed only a few moments to pass before he spoke quietly, “Unless you can give me a very good reason not to, I am going to kiss you now.”
The combination of the endorphins released from her laughter and the warmth she felt radiating beneath her was just the right mixture to allow her to throw caution to the wind for just a moment and give in to the strong desire to kiss him. Her voice was husky as she lowered her head the few inches necessary for contact with his soft and waiting mouth, “I can’t seem to think of one…oh Joseph…”
The couple standing outside the door had enjoyed the sound of mutual hilarity from inside the room. They were facing each other with their ears close enough to the door to hear every peal of laughter and rustle of clothing against the sofa as the occupants frantically moved about in an effort to continue the tickling. Charlotte blushed as she heard it go very quiet…almost too quiet. The movement had stopped, the noise had stopped…she closed her eyes and would swear that she could hear the breathing and the quiet whispers. Her eyes flew open and she pulled them abruptly away from the door as she heard the unmistakable voice of her Queen and friend whisper, “…oh Joseph…”
A blush covered her face as she realized what must be happening, “I think that’s long enough, Shades.”
She lifted her face to find him staring intently at her. He lifted his hand to brush her cheek with the back of his hand, “I agree.” He closed the distance between them, “Unless you can give me a very good reason not to, I am going to kiss you now.”
Her blush deepened and she hesitated. Shades took her silence as agreement and closed the distance between them, pulling her to him. Charlotte let out the breath she had been holding and barely got out, “Oh Shades…” before his mouth claimed hers.
Clarisse revelled in the feel of the strong, yet soft lips that were now melding with hers. She could tell he was holding back a bit she sensed he wanted her to initiate taking this kiss any further. She decided if he was going to go choose another woman, she was going to let him know exactly what he would be giving up. She adjusted her body slightly so that she fit perfectly against him, slanted her mouth across his and deepened the kiss.
He sensed the change and felt her body pressing into his, their mouths fusing with an unspoken passion. A small moan escaped from the back of his throat at the sensations being elicited from her intimate touch. His hands left her arms and circled around her body; one to the small of her back, the other tangling in her short hair, pulling her even closer.
She felt their mouths move together…a primitive dance that brought their desire ever closer to the surface. She felt him pull her lower lip into his mouth with a gentle sucking motion…this time the moan escaped from deep within her soul. Her tongue snaked out to seek entrance into the warm recesses of his mouth. They continued to move bodies and mouths together, only breaking momentarily for a quick gasp of air. Clarisse felt intoxicated…his lips were a drug that she knew she could never get enough of and to which she could quickly become addicted.
Finally, breathless, she pulled back and laid her head on his shoulder. Her hand, resting over his heart, felt it thumping wildly from deep within his chest. His hands gently caressed her back as he waited for her breathing to return to normal as well. Once their breathing had gained some semblance to normal, he retrieved the remote from the floor and said, “I think what I need is someone I can stand beside who is titled. Someone I can support no matter what life sends her way, without letting my ego get in the way. I need someone who is attractive, smart…but not arrogant someone with compassion. I need someone exactly like…” He pushed the button on the remote and used his other hand to gently turn her head to see the picture. He kissed the top of her head as he said, “…someone exactly like her…”
She saw the picture and turned back to look at his face, her smile bright and eyes twinkling, “Well, you’re no Prince William; but to quote my excitable granddaughter...Yes. I accept. I absolutely accept!”
Before he claimed her mouth again, he returned her smile and said, “Poor Prince William…he just doesn’t know what he’s missing.” Their laughter quickly turned to sighs of happiness as they kissed to seal the promise of a future that would be spent together.