In Her Majesty's Secret Service
Summary: This is a story from Joseph's POV regarding a special service he provided to his Queen.
Rating: MA Adult material. If you are underage, you should go read another story.
Disclaimer: The owners of these characters would NEVER allow them the fun that I do, and I do it all for FREE!!
First I want to thank Clarisse and Joseph for being such wonderfully complex characters that allow me (and others) such a wide variety of emotions and facets to their personality to explore!
Second, thanks to Leetah47 for the inspiration and idea for the library scene!
And last, but certainly not least, to my very busy (and popular) beta, RevSue! Thanks for finishing up your beautiful roses and doing the beta on this.
Chapter 11: It’s rarely that simple…
The next three days had been unexpected to say the least; the happiness that the Royal Family and those closest to them had felt that first evening before and during the birthday celebration had quickly faded. Parliament had decreed, thanks to Viscount Mabrey, that Princess Mia had thirty days to find a husband and marry or Lord Deveraux would be allowed to rule. That afternoon had been most unpleasant for everyone in the palace.
“…it’s a big trick to make me have an arranged marriage or…no…there’s no ‘or’ about it…I don’t have any choice…it would have to be an arranged marriage. What kind of person agrees to an arranged marriage?” Mia was in a complete state of disbelief. All of her dreams of falling in love and a fairytale marriage had dissipated as quickly as the vapor from a tea kettle. She saw the look on her Grandmother’s face as she stared at the portrait hanging on the wall. “Umm…well…YOU agreed to an arranged marriage…right...”
“That’s right, I did. It turned out rather splendidly, he was my best friend. We grew very fond of each other.” Even as Clarisse spoke the words, she wasn’t sure if she was trying to convince herself or her granddaughter that for Mia to have an arranged marriage was a good thing. Was there a small part of her that wanted Mia to marry so she could assume the throne and free Clarisse to, for the first time in her life, live her life as she chose?
She focused her thoughts back to Mia in time to hear her say, “I’m sure, Grandma…but I dream of love, not fondness.”
“But you don’t have to do this, Mia…you don’t have to become Queen.” Clarisse wanted to sound more convincing, more heartfelt…but, in reality, she felt uneasiness in the pit of her stomach as centuries of Renaldi rulers looked down on her with dismay as their right to continue to rule the great nation of Genovia was slipping slowly through her grasp.
Her heart broke as she watched tears threaten to escape down Mia’s face. She heard her say, “It’s so unfair…”
Clarisse didn’t know what else to say…Mia appeared to be deep in thought. She watched, curiously, as a change came over Mia. Her next words were spoken quietly, but with resolve, “…courage is not the absence of fear, but the judgment that something else is more important than the fear. There are 500 years of Renaldis up there…I’m sure I want my chance to make a difference as a ruler.”
Clarisse determined that the change that came over Amelia must be what Joseph alluded to when he mentioned the Queen mask arriving on her features. Seeing it in Amelia was truly amazing and it made her heart swell, “Spoken like a true Queen.”
She watched as Amelia walked away - shoulders back and head held high, having made her decision to move forward. Clarisse couldn’t help but notice the glint of sadness she caught in her Granddaughter’s eyes…she recognized it as being the same one she had seen in her own eyes many years ago; and, just as she had done, Mia buried it as quickly as she had allowed it to surface.
Clarisse stood there, staring at the portrait of her and Rupert, thinking about the life they had had together. It hadn’t been terrible; as a matter of fact, until about five years ago, she had not even realized that there was anything missing from her relationship nothing of any lasting importance anyway. She thought back to her last night in San Francisco and the conversation she had had with Joseph after a rather intense, emotional time of love making:
“I could have gone on living my life the way it was. I wasn’t happy, but I could have lived with the hand that life had dealt me. I had suppressed that side of me for so long I forgot it existed. But this…” she gestured with her hand to their entwined bodies on the bed, “….I don’t know how to do this…How am I supposed to go back to Genovia and pretend that nothing happened that I am the same Queen that left a few weeks ago? That seems a lifetime ago, Joseph. What am I to do?”
She was brought from her thoughts by a deep male voice speaking in hushed tones, “Penny for your thoughts?”
The sound of his voice and his nearness caused a warm feeling to spread throughout her body. Was it only yesterday that they had shared such a passionate afternoon? It was amazing how quickly one’s outlook on life and the future could be changed by forces outside your control.
He watched her, trying to get a sense of what she was feeling. He was having a difficult time getting a lock on her. He wasn’t sure if his judgment was being compromised by his ever-increasing love or the fact that she was usually one of two personas: the Queen or Clarisse. Each had the same woman at their core; but how they viewed and reacted to events occurring in their life was two very different matters. Joseph knew both women extremely well; today, however, the duo seemed fused and neither he nor Clarisse knew how to handle or interpret that fact.
She felt his hand on the small of her back, guiding her to a different area in the throne room. At her questioning gaze, he simply stated, “Blind spot in the security cameras,” he continued, “which I fully intend to correct after we talk.”
He was standing behind her. She leaned back slightly and allowed herself the momentary respite from the chaos of her life to draw on his strength, support, and…yes…love. She felt his hands rest gently on her hips and his head leaned slightly into hers. There was nothing sexual about the contact, just two souls connecting and giving solace.
After a few moments, he sensed the shift. The Queen had returned. She stood; her posture perfect and turned, a look of determination on her face. “She was so brave this afternoon, Joseph. She spoke about courage not being the absence of fear, but rather the knowledge that something else was more important. It sounds so much like something her father would have said.”
“She reminds me a lot of her Grandmother.” Joseph added.
She shook her head, “No. Her Grandmother told her she didn’t have to do it. Fortunately, Amelia reached the right decision so the Queen didn’t have to point out that it was her duty to her family and to Genovia.” Clarisse inwardly cringed as she heard herself say out loud the mantra that she had been taught and had repeatedly reminded herself over the years. “She is not; as you say, Joseph, free to love.”
Joseph was not quick enough to mask his expression at her statement. He wanted to ask if the same still applied to her; but found, for once in his life, he hadn’t the courage to hear her answer. He couldn’t form an adequate response, so he simply nodded in acknowledgement of her statement.
His lack of reply was not lost on her; but she knew that she could not afford to lose her focus on the matter at hand right now. She would think of a way, at a more suitable time, to reassure him. She did the best she could, for the moment, as she smiled the special smile she reserved only for him and cupped his cheek with her hand.
Time stood still as their gazes locked in an effort to provide reassurance where words and actions had failed. Clarisse’s gesture had provided some comfort; but for the first time since declaring his love for her, Joseph felt doubt about their future creep into his heart.
He was pulled from his contemplation when he felt her hand move away. She straightened her posture and began to move out of the throne room, “So here’s what we’re going to do…”
Twenty-four hours later, Joseph smiled as Mia and Clarisse primped in front of the mirror, waiting the arrival of Viscount Mabrey and his nephew. He couldn’t help but grin as he watched Clarisse tuck an ‘errant’ strand of hair behind her ear. Only he and Charlotte recognized this gesture for what it truly was, a way to suppress her desire to fidget when she was nervous. His smile broadened as he remembered how, when he first met her, Mia would twirl her unruly hair to quell her nervousness. Looking at the two of them, he could see so many similarities some already known, some still to be discovered. He heard them animatedly discussing Lord Deveraux.
“Oh no, Parliament didn’t invite him, I did.” Clarisse confessed with a slight smirk to Mia.
“I offered to have him hung by his toes in the courtyard,” Joseph commented.
“Yeah! How about what Joe said?”
Joseph’s comment had garnered him a quick smile from Clarisse. He could feel her gaze follow him across the room as he took his position at the door to await their guests. He granted himself a quick grin as both ladies let out a dramatic sigh when the Viscount and his nephew were announced.
Things got decidedly worse from there as they discovered the identity of the Viscount’s nephew. Mia’s welcome of Nicholas certainly did not meet with the approval of the Queen, but her Grandmother had found a bit of humor in the situation.
The day had brightened considerably for Mia, though, when she received the royal tour of her suite and discovered Lilly in the closet. Their squeals of joy had brought Clarisse’s hands to her ears and a smile to her face.
“By the way, I’m getting married.” Mia explained.
“I don’t know.”
“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 question her any further about her comment.
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.
Clarisse was rather pleased with the outcome of the afternoon. She turned to say something to Joseph when she saw him walk quickly out of the room and Shades coming to stand by her side. She exhaled deeply as she knew, for some reason; he was not pleased with her. She forced her concern to the back of her mind for the next few hours as phone calls to Andrew’s parents would need to be made along with arrangements for his travel to Genovia to meet with Amelia.
Several hours later
“Charlotte, have you seen Joseph?” Clarisse had been roaming the palace looking for him. She hadn’t seen him since the slideshow ended a few hours ago.
“I…well…not for a while…” Charlotte stammered…she had never been good at lying.
Clarisse stopped and placed her hands on her aide’s shoulders. She looked at her imploringly, “Please, Charlotte, tell me where he is. I must speak with him.”
Charlotte knew that things had been a bit strained the last day or so between the Queen and Joseph. She decided that she had to betray Joseph’s confidence just a bit…in the interest of the greater good of her monarch and friend. “He’s in the library,” she sighed.
Clarisse smiled and pulled Charlotte into a quick hug, “Thank you, Charlotte. Could you please see that we’re not disturbed?”
The young woman had been slightly caught off guard by Clarisse’s affection; but recovered quickly, “Of course, your Majesty. I can give you an hour.”
Clarisse nodded her understanding and quickly made her way to the library. She entered quietly and locked the doors behind her. She found him standing in front of a large picture window, watching the sun begin to set over the mountains of Genovia.
He sensed her presence; but did not turn to look at her. He had spent the last few hours berating himself for his feelings of jealousy and doubt. It was only three…three days ago that he had spent a wonderful afternoon with her in his arms - watching her face transfixed in ecstasy at his touch. Yet here he was wrestling with his emotions from her comments over a mere child…Prince William. He knew that his doubts went deeper than Prince William, but at least the young Prince provided a solid point on which to concentrate his dismay.
Clarisse stood in the shadows, just watching him. The rays from the setting sun streamed through the window creating a picturesque display of shadows and light; the light in seeming contrast to the aura of darkness that surrounded Joseph at his negative thoughts.
She finally spoke, still hidden in the shadows, “Were you planning on staying in here for the rest of the evening?” She asked quietly.
“May I ask why?”
“On what?” She was curious now.
“On whether it is a command from my Queen or a request from my…from Clarisse.”
He heard a slight rustling from just a foot or so behind him. He wanted to turn around and see what she was doing; but would not grant her the satisfaction of his curiosity. He felt her gaze fixed on him. She waited a reasonable period of time before her husky voice asked, “Joseph?”
He exhaled his breath slowly, “Yes, your Majesty?”
“Your lover would like to know what’s bothering you.”
Her statement caused him to turn, a slightly shocked expression on his face.
“You were going to say lover earlier, weren’t you?” She smiled gently as she spoke.
He moved from his current position, around her, to sit on the sofa that was facing the window, “Perhaps.”
She crossed her arms in front of her and, grabbed the hem of her silk blouse, pulled the garment over her head and tossed it at the end of the couch next to her jacket. She observed that his eyes grew darker, but he made no other outward acknowledgement of her actions. “So I don’t even get a hint? You seemed very upset after the slideshow earlier.”
“Prince William…I mean; come on, Clarisse. He’s a child!” There he had said it. Maybe not what was truly bothering him…but she didn’t need to be burdened with that right now. There were too many other matters at stake.
She didn’t react other than to simply reach behind her to unhook the clasp on her skirt, letting it fall to the ground. He looked up and swore he saw an angel. The light filtering through the window created a silhouette of her body beneath the satin chemise. She reached inside of the bodice part to unhook her bra and removed it from under the slip as well. It joined her pile of clothing at the edge of the couch. As she began to lift the chemise to reach her lace panties, she asked, “Don’t you know by now that there is no one else in my mind, no one else in my heart?”
He swallowed hard as she lowered the delicate white lace undergarments to the floor, catching a glimpse of her adequate cleavage barely concealed behind the satin and lace. His eyes were transfixed on her body.
She allowed him to peruse the length of her body with his eyes before asking, “May I sit down or do you plan on using what little private time we have left to simply stare at me?” She caught a quick upturn of one side of this mouth before the scowl resumed. He gestured to either side, indicating she was free to sit wherever she liked.
His eyes widened considerably as he watched her lift the skirt portion of her slip to mid-thigh before maneuvering her knees on either side of his legs until she was comfortably straddling his lap. His hands were resting on her partially covered thighs and his face was barely more than a few inches away from her ample bosom. Her rose scent completely surrounded him now. Although he couldn’t see her face, he knew she was smiling as she offered, “There now that’s better, don’t you think?”
The only response she received was his thumbs tracing small circles on her thigh. He felt her full, moist lips delivering kisses to the top of his head the tips of her fingers gently combing through the fringe of his hair. Her fingers continued to caress his head, moving to trace the tips of his ears, down to the catch his earlobes between her thumb and forefinger toying playing with the earring that adorned his lobe. She always thought it added to his mystique and definitely his sex appeal.
Her fingers continued to trace along his jaw line until they came to rest under his chin. She tilted his face upward to meet hers. Joseph closed his eyes as her thumb moved over his bottom lip while her fingers framed his face. Her head lowered to cover his lips fully with hers, her hands guiding him in the kiss; her hips slowly rotating as she grinded her lower body against his.
She felt the physical evidence of his desire grow as she deepened the kiss further. Feeling him harden under her sent a shudder of pleasure through her body. She broke the kiss and stated in a husky whisper, “Although your demeanour indicates you are still angry with me…your body seems willing to forgive me.”
She scooted back slightly in his lap to allow her hands the opportunity to begin undoing the buttons of his shirt. Once she had sufficient access, her hand slipped under the fabric to give the same treatment to the sprinkling of chest hair as she had to his head only moments earlier. When her nails grazed the taut nipples, a low growl erupted from the back of his throat as his hands slid up her thighs and around to cup her bottom, pulling her back to her original position on his lap.
“Mi zorra!!” he exclaimed quietly as he buried his face into her cleavage and began to alternately kiss and nip at the soft flesh that he deemed was begging for his touch.
“Mmm…” Her back arched as she pushed herself further into his touch. His arms journeyed up and down her back as her hands freed themselves from their trapped position between their bodies to move to the back of his head. His hands slid up enough to catch the satin straps that were hanging loosely on her shoulders. He lowered them, on either side, just enough to allow the garment to drop another inch or so.
Clarisse threw her head back with abandon as she wanted him to have access to any flesh that his mouth could reach in their current positions. She let out a small moan of satisfaction as the heat from his mouth finally found and suckled one of her satin covered points.
Joseph continued to pay loving attention to her breasts, using his hand and mouth to heighten every nerve ending; his tongue laving her scented flesh while his affection helped to cleanse her mind from the impurities of life caused by an unrelenting sense of responsibility that always seemed to leave the duty she had to herself resting at the bottom of a deep, unreachable ravine. She knew it was a fleeting reprieve; but she opted to take even the momentary relief being offered.
His face turned up toward hers, his eyes full of love and a touch of embarrassment. He started, “Clarisse, I’m…” but she hushed him by putting her index finger on his lips. She whispered, “We’re in a library…no talking…and…no apologies.”
He closed his eyes as he kissed the finger resting on his lips. He felt her move off of his lap; but before he could protest, he felt her hands working on his belt and zipper. He assisted her efforts and in a matter of moments, his lower half was unclothed enough to accomplish their end result. She quickly moved back to her previous position; but before settling in, she guided his member to her waiting entrance and in one swift motion took him fully into her depths. She permitted a hiss of air to escape her clenched teeth in an effort to not cry out her pleasure.
They sat perfectly still for a moment, foreheads touching, as they focused on the simple yet profound pleasure that came from being joined in such a physical and emotional manner. Clarisse was the first to move. Using the back of the couch as leverage she straightened her body in preparation for initiating the tempo for the lovemaking that was to come.
Joseph’s eyes opened and caught his breath at the sight now before him. The sun had started to set changing the sky and its rays to a brilliant orange hue. The light surrounding his beloved gave the illusion of fire and radiant passion…his angel, now turned vixen, poised and ready to exert her feminine powers over him. He whispered his plea, “Make love to me now, mi zorra.”
Clarisse held her hands out to her side and in front of her. Joseph followed her lead and their hands clasped and fingers intertwined. She began to rise slowly until only the tip of his manhood remained encased in her body; then she slowly lowered. She repeated this several more times, slightly increasing the speed each time. Their hold on each other’s hands increased as the movements and reactions of their bodies continued to build.
Sensing they were getting close, Joseph moved their entwined hands to her waist and stilled her movements. He took control of the tempo, holding her body as he began to thrust harder and faster to bring them to completion. He couldn’t resist breaking his concentration for just a moment to steal a glance at her face… he always loved looking at her; but when desire coloured her features, she was quite a vision to behold.
Her eyes were closed and she was biting her lower lip in an effort to maintain the quiet; the flush of arousal covering her body provided a beautiful contrast to the creamy beige of her slip; and the fading light from the window made her appear as though she were surrounded by a cloud of muted colours.
Their joined hands moved to cover her breasts, providing minor relief to the aching Clarisse had felt there since his attentions moved away only minutes ago. She felt the tension mount with each skilful stroke he delivered until nothing but feelings of pleasure coursed through her entire body.
Neither made a sound as they achieved their completion only the whiteness of their fingers caused from squeezing their hands so tightly gave any outward indication of the passion that was just shared. Clarisse noted the deep indentations left by her nails on the back of Joseph’s hands. She raised each one to her mouth to deliver healing kisses before pulling him back into her embrace.
Joseph’s head rested near her heart and he remained still in order to listen to the slowing of her heart beat as it made its return to normal. Finally, he raised his head to look at her, “Remind me to speak to the person responsible for your manicures…I think some adjustments are necessary for my continued safety.”
She smiled and kissed his hands again, “I am truly sorry, Joseph. Do you see and feel what you do to me? I don’t know how you could ever think that I would be interested in someone else. If I may say so, black looks much better on you than green.”
Joseph was slightly confused at the last part of her statement and his face expressed his confusion. He felt her hand cup his cheek as she offered, “The typical green of a jealous lover.”
“Ah yes…Although the object of my jealousy is anything but typical, my love.”
“Oh, I imagine more than one man has been jealous of Prince William,” she teased as she began to get up and get dressed. She knew the time she had been allotted by Charlotte was upon her, if not already passed.
Joseph stood and started dressing again as well. He looked thoughtfully out the window…the sun had now set and darkness had settled over the land. He chose his next words carefully, “You know as well as I that this has little to do with Prince William…or any other man…it is not that simple.” He turned to look into those beautiful eyes that had captivated him from the first day he laid eyes on her.
She stopped her activity and returned his gaze. She sighed and let out a deep breath, “It rarely is, Joseph…my life has been anything but…simple.” She moved over and stood behind him, pulling his back against her chest, “We’re closer than we have ever been, though. Once Mia has married, my duty will be fulfilled and I will be free to love you; just a little more time, lover, that’s all we need. You can do that…we can do that, can’t we?”
He didn’t speak but wrapped his arms around hers and squeezed gently. She placed a kiss on the back of his neck before she grabbed her jacket and turned to leave. Before stepping through the door, she kissed the tip of her fingers and blew him a kiss, “Just a little more time, love.”
As he watched her leave, his quiet words followed after her, “It’s rarely as simple as that…”