None of these characters belong to me, they belong to Meg Cabot and Disney. Neither does Gucci. ENJOY! And thanks for all the wonderful reviews.

They were all sitting out side in the hot evening air at a pretty large table. Clarisse couldn't really count how many were there- she just knew there was a lot of children and adults, but no Miguel she noticed.

"where's Miguel?", she whispered, leaning close to Joseph's ear.

"I think he'll be late, he's always late", he smiled reassuringly.

A tall figure slumped onto the patio, brandishing a bottle of wine. Every body stooped their conversations and looked up at Miguel. He shuffled from foot-to-foot a little and Clarisse noticed his unease.

"Miguel!", she exclaimed, standing up right away and walked over to him closely followed by Joseph. She pulled him into a hug.

"we're so glad you could come", she smiled, motioning for him too sit down.

"Nice too see you, little Brother", Joe smiled, relieved that his wife had managed to break the ice.

"hello", Miguel said nervously to the whole table. Immediately they took to him and marvelled at Clarisse's acceptance of him. Any doubts they had about her at the beginning were immediately put to rest, she was clearly willing to do anything for their brother.

O0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o

"all of this food looks wonderful, Joey", Roberto teased.

"yeah did you really cook it yourself, brother?", Diego quipped.

"or, did you get Clarisse to cook it?", Marina questioned innocently.

"as much as my beautiful wife may be very talented, cooking is one department in which she lacks", he smiled, handing his wife a glass of wine. She rolled her eyes and hit him on the arm;

"he's right. I was never quite able to master culinary skills but I can host a party to perfection and hire all the right staff. and anyways we all lack in departments, Joey", she said haughtily, looking at her husband with her best regal stare. She felt comfortable enough around all of these people to make fun of her Queenly image, they had the exact same effect on her as Joseph. Roberto snorted as Joseph turned bright red at his wife's nasty little quip.

"is that right?", he said, raising an eye brow.

"not that I'm suggesting anything", she smiled, standing up and taking every ones plates.

"I'm sure you're not", he laughed, taking them from her hands and placing them on the table. She looked at him quite confused, as he gripped her wrists. Roberto and Diego were now about to burst, having already seen a completely different side of Clarisse.

"but just to make sure….", he whispered, pulling her to him.

"Joseph-", she hissed but couldn't continue, his lips were now firmly pressed to hers in a passionate kiss. She wrapped her arms round his neck and closed her eyes, then remembering where they were she gently pushed him away.

"satisfied, your Majesty", he smirked, sitting back down and relaxing lazily in the chair. Roberto and Diego winked at their brother, who was looking far to smug for his wife's liking.

"most thoroughly and don't bloody call me "your Majesty!" ", she retorted, more than annoyed as she made her way through the doors and into the kitchen with Marina, Eva and Marina helping. His three sisters swatted Joseph on the arm for his childish behaviour on the way in.

"sure you are", he smiled, lifting up his glass of wine.

O0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o

Clarisse woke the next morning, her head reeling again. This was the second time in the space of two days- she'd seriously have to have words with her husband. She kept her eyes closed and groped the other side of the bed for him, he wasn't there. She sighed, giving into the fact she'd have to get up. She startled when she opened her eyes and seen him looming over her, clutching a mug of tea.

"tea?", he questioned, holding up the mug. She smiled gratefully and took it from his hands.

"good morning", she croaked, after sipping the tea.

"morning, love", he smiled, stuffing his hands in his pockets, " you slept late".

"you kept me up late", she answered, wrapping her robe around her and standing up.

"apologies, my dear", he smiled, sipping his coffee.

"you're forgiven", she laughed, making her way towards him, " I don't want to go home", she added as an after- thought.

"you will when we get there", he smiled, hugging her gently.

"no, I'm not so sure now", she smiled, placing her hand on his chest, " I like the peacefulness, I like not having to be queen".

"mmm, I think you'd soon miss it, darling", he smiled, kissing her forehead. She smiled and screwed her face up slightly, he could tell she was thinking.

"you're right, I can't stop being royal but I'd like to do this more often….much more often", she concluded, taking a sip of tea.

"as often as possible, I promise but right now we must get ready - we're flying out at 3pm, it's 12 already sweetie and you haven't even packed", he admonished gently, walking over towards his own case. She sighed, making her way to the bathroom. She wanted to go home but she didn't. life here was easier, just Joseph and herself, something she'd always wanted.

O0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o

The plane taxied along the runway, slowing as it came to a halt at the terminal. Miguel looked apprehensively at Joe, who smiled reassuringly back. Then towards his wife who had fallen asleep on his shoulder.

"Clarisse, darling, we're home", he whispered, kissing her forehead lightly. She lifted her head, feigning sleep away and opened her eyes. Smiling at them lucidly she stretched her les and arms in a highly un queenly manner. Joe snorted a little, earning himself a glare.

"mmm, I could quite happily go back to sleep", she yawned, reaching for her handbag and pulling out her compact. Joseph watched in amusement as she combed her fingers through her hair, trying to make herself presentable.

"there wont be any press, you know", he laughed, standing up. She smiled lightly and leaning over his body, causing his chest to tighten a little.

"want a bet?", she teased, motioning to Amelia, charlotte and security standing on the tarmac with a throng of reporters behind them. She lifted herself off him and smiled sadly.

"welcome home", she sighed.

O0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o

Clarisse hugged Mia as the flash bulbs clicked away.

"hello, darling", Clarisse smiled, " you're looking wonderful".

"thanks grandma, so are you", Mia gushed, squeezing Clarisse tighter.

"Joe!", Mia continued, noticing Joseph at the top of the stairs.

"hello, dear", he laughed, kissing her hand.

"it's so good to see you both. God grandma, I don't think I could have functioned any longer", she moaned. Clarisse and Joseph looked at each other and both raised eye brows.

Mia noticed the young man standing behind Joseph. He was like a younger version of him, he had the same deep eyes, the same stance.

"and this is?", she questioned, mimicking towards Miguel.

"oh Amelia darling, I'd like you to meet Miguel - Joseph's brother", Clarisse flourished.

"hello, I'm Amelia but you can call me Mia since we're practically related", Mia said at an unbelievable pace.

"slowly, Amelia", Clarisse scolded, " Miguel shall be working as a security detail at the palace".

"oh great, if your anything like Joe…..", Mia laughed, " now grandma, the press want some shots. You don't mind?". Clarisse shook her head and smiled.

This was home, as much as she didn't like it. She had been naive to think that things like this would ever get better but with Joseph, at least it was easier.

O0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o

Miguel had proven himself to be more like his brother in the following weeks, more than Clarisse could have thought possible. He was funny, smart, intelligent and he was even a womaniser. Nice to think I turned Joseph, she thought wryly as she sat down at her desk and stared mundanely at the pile of letters before her.

She lifted the first one and recognised the writing immediately. Neat and efficient - it literally had Joseph written all over it.

He watched her from the door, quietly. Her smile grew larger as she read.

My darling,

It just wasn't long enough. No Genovia one, no Miguel, no Mia. You and I, and plenty of free time.

Yours,

Joseph x x x x.

She smiled as she studied the two plane tickets, laughing.

"you like it?", he asked.

"yes", she startled, standing up and walking towards him.

"good", he answered, taking her hand in his.

"I love you", he added, kissing her cheek.

"I know", she answered, kissing his lips gently and running her hand along his chest.

Perhaps it was the realisation that he'd never leave her, or the fact she didn't have to hide from him but later that night as she lay in his arms, she cried. She could never change who she was, or what she was and that pained her. But he relieved her of some of that, even if he just smiled. To think if she hadn't done as Mia had said at the "nearly wedding" - it was unthinkable. She wasn't sure if she could function without him now, by any means she didn't want to. It didn't matter where they were or what happened, he'd always keep her safe.

Ok, sorry it took so long, I hope you enjoyed it.

Yours,

M

And thanks to all the very encouraging people who reviewed this. All of your stories are great as well.