None of these characters belong to me, they belong to Meg Cabot and Disney. Ok, so you know I like to use artistic licence with age! What do you think , please R&R, we're going to meet a very nasty Rupert.
Clarisse sat down on the blanket on the deserted beach, it was an unusually hot summer and she had been enjoying every moment. Philippe and Pierre were playing with Joseph in the sea, splashing about and frolicking in the water. They were so full of life, so un-like Rupert's children. She sighed, but they were. Their marriage was literally plummeting down hill. She had been married nearly all her life, well since she was 15. One year of marriage and she was pregnant not out of the love she had hoped would grow, but out of duty. A duty she couldn't forget, a duty to Genovia.
A dripping wet, 10 year old Philippe broke her chain of thought. He smiled a toothy grin and sat down beside her. He looked very much like her. He had the same blue eyes, the same dirty blonde hair.
"hey, mama", he grinned, placing a sloppy kiss on her cheek.
"mmm,", she laughed, wiping her cheek with the back of her hand, " hello angel".
"can you come and play in the water?", he questioned, begging her with his puppy dog eyes.
"No, darling", she laughed, ticking his side a little.
"oh but Mama!", he moaned, leaning on her, " Pleeeeasse".
"no", she said a little sternly.
"fine but Mama, you don't know what you're missing", he said, standing up and adjusting his swimming shorts ran back to the shore and jumped on josephs neck.
She watched her body guard wrestle her son off lovingly and throw him in the water. Her body guard, he was so much more than that. He was Joseph, her dearest friend and proverbial father to her sons.
A dear friend who was getting far too close, they were becoming dangerously appealing to each other. They were finding time to be alone together, needlessly. They were flirting mercilessly and she was enjoying every moment. He was so alluring and she wasn't going to deny she knew how to work her charms, but there was so much more than that.
He understood her, he knew how she felt about everything he…… she found it so hard to admit - he loved her and god help her, she loved him back.
She had seen the looks, she had felt the electricity any time they touched, she had read his diary. What had possessed she really didn't know. It had just been sitting there and she had lifted it. It pretty much contained exactly what hers did- sole thoughts about him telling her how he felt. If only he could read hers.
She tore herself away from damaging thoughts and from staring at him, but he had caught her. He waved and smiled, she returned it and tried to concentrate on her book. Thoughts like she was having would never do for a queen.
The sun was setting as they packed up. Clarisse handed a groaning Pierre the pick nick basket.
"oh don't groan my darling, you'll grow muscles if you carry it", she charmed, picking up her hand bag.
"what like Joe's?", he smiled, flexing his arms. Joe's laugh resounded round the beach.
" I think, from Joseph's reaction to that", she laughed, frowning at her Body guard, " you'll have to do as many laps as he does in the pool a day".
"yes, I think your mother's right, Pierre", he smiled, doing up his shirt buttons.
"but it wouldn't do any harm to try", Pierre said, a little disheartened.
"ohhhh, come on Mama!", Philippe moaned suddenly, " I'm soo hungry, I could eat a horse", he chattered through the little teeth he had. He was dancing from foot to foot and pulling his gigantic towel tighter round him.
"Oh stop your winging", she laughed, making her way up the uneven path with Joseph behind her. Suddenly she lost her footing and Joseph caught her just in time. His hands were on her back as he saved her just before she hit the uneven ground.
He felt his chest tighten as he grabbed her, his breath caught in his throat and suddenly the only two people in the world was the two of them. Her eyes were sparkling with something he'd never seen before, love?
"I-", he tried, his heart beating considerably.
"thank you", she muttered, turning her face away.
He wasn't sure what to do. He could feel his face turning red and he was sure he could hear his heart thumping.
Clarisse could feel her body heating up, she could feel his hands gently rub her back. This was not good or right, but she felt as if it was. Her heart was racing and she couldn't help but look into his eyes. What she seen frightened her, not in a bad way- just that what was in his eyes were a reflection of her own. She tried to pull away but she could muster little energy or maybe she just didn't want to.
"I'm ok now", she whispered, remembering her two children were watching them intently. He let her go immediately, composing himself. He noticed how flushed she looked, it might have been only 10 second but for him, it had felt like eternity.
"Mama, Mama!", Pierre exclaimed, unaware of what had just happened.
"yes?", she questioned, still coming down from what had just taken place between her and Joseph. She knew what had happened, they had both completely admitted themselves without even meaning to.
"can we got to the diner on the way back? It wont be busy, no one will be there!", he continued. Clarisse shook her head, it was too much publicity too attract.
"oh but Mama!", Philippe joined in.
"I said no", she smiled. Joseph opened the car door for her. Usually she would smile her thanks but she couldn't bring her self too look at him never mind smile at him.
"Mama!", Pierre moaned. She turned too look at him, putting on her best motherly glare. They both receded, giving up.
"perhaps", Joseph suddenly growled in her ear, making her shiver, " we could go, after all I am her to watch you."
Clarisse knew they'd be braking the rules, they were already braking the rules anyway. Two royal heirs and the queen travelling in one car. Biggest rule in the book broken, she refused too split her children up and anyways, she trusted Josephs driving. She trusted Joseph and everything he said and done.
"well ok then", she caved, " but I want not one word of this to your father", she said hand on hip, pointing a loving finger at them.
They both nodded like a double act, huge grins spreading across there childish features. This was what they loved about their mother, the fact she let them be normal once in a while.
"we wont tell Rupert", Pierre said bitterly, climbing into the car. For a 12 year old, he was pretty mature and intuitive. He had already figured out his parents relationship a long time ago- he had even seen his father with his many mistresses. He knew they practically hated each-other, they weren't even friends.
Clarisse frowned at him.
"he is your father, and you will address him as such, Pierre Renaldi", she scorned, looking at Joseph for the first time. He avoided her, knowing all to well how horrid Rupert was to her.
"yes, Maybe he should act like my father then", the young boy continued coldly and pulling out his book from his rucksack, buried his head in it.
"Joe?", Philippe questioned, pulling Joe from his thoughts.
"yes?", Joe answered, opening the front of the car and sitting in the driver seat.
"can I drive up front with you?", he smiled.
"yes", Joseph laughed, " if that's ok with your mother". Joseph watched Clarisse make her way to the edge of the cliff, looking down to the beach. She was hugging herself from the cold, looking terribly vulnerable and upset- obviously Pierre's comment had struck a very raw nerve. She still looked beautiful. Her sun hat propped on her head and her long skirt blowing about in the wind.
"your Majesty", he whispered. Closing the gap between them. A young Philippe had already settling himself in the passenger seat and slipping on Joseph sun shades. He looked a little like a bug he thought but if Joe looked like a bug, he wanted too as well.
"Oh, Joseph!", she startled, wiping a tear from her face, " I'm sorry, I'm just coming".
"Clarisse…", he tried, putting a hand on her shoulder. He had seen her like this before, her deep sadness crystal clear at certain moments.
"I just need a moment- just a moment", she repeated, to reinforce her point.
"if you need me…", he whispered, clutching her shoulder tighter.
She paused for a moment, registering his deep words.
"I-", she faltered, and then continued weekly, " I do need you".
He nodded his head and continued,
"do you need me just now, or is solitude what you need?", he questioned.
"no what I need is too pretend everything is ok", she replied, full of resolve. She turned too look at him and she smiled gently. They stood looking at each other, everything clear now. Her desperate unhappiness, his desperate want. She cupped his cheek gently, let go instantaneously and brushing past him got in the limo and shut the door.
Clarisse opened the door to Pierre's suite. They had went to the diner and had fun. She had pretended to be 'Mama' as always, not showing any hurt. The suite was covered in shelves full of books and maps and pictures. Pierre's self required collection of paintings adorned the walls. She smiled as she noticed him, sitting by the fire with a glass of milk and cookies, head buried in a book about religious symbology and wearing his pyjamas.
"hello, angel", she smiled, making her way across the room and climbing over the train set on the floor.
"hey, Mama", he said, half- heartedly.
," Pierre I need too speak to you", she said directly and sitting down on the chair across from him.
He put his book down by his side and looked at her inquisitively.
"listen to me, my darling. I know how you feel about your father but he is your father and you must respect him", she said gently. Pierre snorted- he'd start respecting his father when his father paid that to his mother.
"please try to - at least once in a while. Do it for your little brother", she almost begged.
"Mama, he's nasty to you. Why should I respect him, I have more loyalty to you than I do to that-", he stopped, frightened to say something that would make her angry. She looked at him and studied his features, a mirror image of his father but his personality took a completely different path.
His fierce loyalty to her was unwavering, so much so she was sometimes frightened of the things he'd say or think of Rupert. She loved both her children so much. They say a mother always has a special spot in her heart for her oldest and youngest, she was lucky to have an oldest and youngest with no-one in between.
"I don't want you to ever give up what you believe but sometimes we must do things we do not want to for the sake of others, that is all I'm asking of you", she smiled, standing up and kissing his forehead, " but don't ever change what you believe".
" I wont Mama", he smiled, returning to his book.
" I know, Pierre".
Hope you liked, please R&R.