None of these characters belong to me, they belong to Meg Cabot and Disney. Ok, Dame Jules my boyfriend had to drag me away from my computer lol! ( it's a real shame my boyfriend isn't Joe and he wouldn't have to drag me)

P.S. does anyone want to proof -read my stories for me? It means you get to read the stuff before everyone else.

Joseph stood, transfixed as her eyes met his in the gleaming white of the room. Life had returned to her deep eyes, full of love and tears and feelings. She smiled a watery smile, still too weak she tried to sit up. He was standing, not moving at all - just being there was enough to stop his heart. She was perfectly alive looking, something which filled him with such warmth and contentment that he was rooted to the spot. Suddenly, all traces of what had been such danger left his thoughts. Her screams were silenced by her even, steady breathing as he managed to put one foot in front of the other and run toward her. Suddenly she was kissing him, hot tears that seeped from her eyes falling onto his scorched skin. Her kisses breathing life into him, making the torment disappear.

"Clarisse…..my darling", he whispered, cradling her shaking body too him," it's ok now, it's over". She sighed against him, squeezing his back tighter, her perfectly manicured nails digging into his skin. He flinched a little, gently pulling her back from her emotional reverie.

"I'm sorry", she smiled sheepishly, rubbing the scratches gently and slightly releasing him as he straightened up. He smiled at her then, casting her apology aside wordlessly. His hand, resting on hers was reassurance of his love for her - of his need for her.
"I didn't think….", she faded again, the hot tears streaking there way down her face, " they wouldn't call for you". He smiled, his heart doing a flip at the thought that she had been desperate too see him.

"they didn't have a chance to stop me coming to see you", he smiled, his fingers making little traces on the back of her hand. He took in her appearance then. She was tired looking, her eyes drooping but yet, they still contained the wonderful zeal and life that often enraptured him. The bandages around her wrists gave the wrong impression and he only hoped that she wouldn't have too suffer anyone knowing they were there. A constant reminder of what she had endured.

In some ways, he felt as if he was to blame. After all, if he hadn't known Xavier, if he hadn't left him on the side of the road years ago, perhaps she wouldn't have suffered so much. He moved away from her, dropping her hand gently on the bed as he made his way toward the window.

The sun was setting, coating the tiny city in an orange hue. The road below bustled, people on the street unawares of what others were suffering, ignorant to what they didn't want to know.

His heart was heavy and sore with guilt and she knew it from the deep rooted concentration evident on his face. She sat, propped up on the hard pillows studying his handsome figure intently as the light shadowed over him. The guilt was not necessary, in fact, perhaps for the last two day she was grateful.

" don't blame yourself", she said quietly, dipping her head and looking at her clasped hand in her lap, "I don't blame you". He looked up quickly, his look questioning her. He went to speak, but she help up a hand - knowing if she didn't say it she never would.

" I don't think, if it weren't for this, the last two days I mean - I wouldn't know how much you mean to me. I loved you before it, don't doubt that but I didn't know it. It was just an affair to me, an affair with more that mutual and platonic feelings but not the love I know I feel for you. I'm not being rash and I'm not saying I didn't love you before it, I just never knew what I was feeling. Yes, that night there was lust and love but not love that was deep enough to last any turmoil. But when you weren't there to help me, to protect me, to make me laugh I was lost, I needed you. I needed your voice and your laugh and your reassurance……", she trailed off looking at him. She could tell he was drowning in her words, taking every one of them in and analysing it.

To anyone who was listening, her jumbled, confused, incoherent words would have sounded insane but to him, to him they were the words he heard once in his life with such clarity and sense that he wanted to cry with pure emotion. She was telling him everything he'd felt over the last two days, now he felt that no matter how, or why, or what - they'd overcome whatever they had to face now and in the future.

"I'm sounding mad, I know………".

"no", he said softly, his tone gentle and reassuring, " no, you're making sense, wonderful, beautiful sense." He moved away from the window, walking through the dust dancing in the last light of the day. As he reached her, she smiled cupping his cheek in her hand in such an intimate gesture.

"I love you Joseph". She said, not dragging it out as if it burned her, not letting it roll of her tongue carelessly. She said it this time, without a trace of guilt lacing her rich voice or lingering in her story telling eyes.

"I love you too", he whispered, his voice gravely and rough, " I love you too".

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Joseph sighed as the winter moon streaming in the window caressed his body, and that of the beautiful woman lying beside him. She was older - they both where. She was a grandmother, a woman who had lost her child, a woman who had endured the vicious hounding of the ruthless media, a former queen, a married and widowed woman - she was the woman who was his wife.

Her hand, entangled with his showed no signs of being older- her body only a little. They said that as you got older, you earned your wrinkles and in his mind Clarisse should have earned a lot, but yet they were not evident if they existed at all.

The warmth of the room was comforting as he watched the drifting snow gather on the corners of the windows in the glow of the moon light from his comfortable position in their bed. Her head buried in his chest, his chin resting on top of her head, there lower bodies tangled around each other in a blissful, relaxed state.

He would, as he often did, watch her asleep as sleep often proved elusive to him. Her chest rising and falling against his, her face screwing up in a child like manner as she met someone in a dream, or dreaded someone in a nightmare.

Her body, next to his was heaven as they lay in the quiet stillness of the room. The soft heat swirled about, languidly taking over each one of his senses. The silence enraptured him, the only sound her wonderful, deep breathing. The silk sheets wrapped expertly over them, keeping them warm as the last glowing embers of the fire danced in the dark, letting out the last of the heat. The smell of the wine they had drunk, her perfume, his cologne floated in the cold air, warming it up.

Her bare, silky skin, touching his under the silk of their sheets. Her hand squeezing his fingers as she dreamt, her breath on his neck, her leg over his, her body shivering as the slight cold reached her.

Her reached down, pulling the covers over both of them as she snuggled into him - sighing a little. He looked over to the bedside table, looking at the bed side clock flashing in the silvery light of the room. The wine bottle lying on the bed side table, glasses half drunk, their clothing - her ball gown discarded carelessly on the plush carpet beside his tux.

He smiled again as she squeezed his hand, perhaps she wasn't sleeping - simply revelling.

"tell me what you're thinking", she whispered, eyes still closed as she moved impossibly closer. He seen them then as he took in her beautiful body once more - the circular scars that encircled her wrist. Her eyes still closed, her body radiating heat into his - the memories of those days distantly horrifying as he ran his hand along her side. She shivered, a flicker of pleasure crossing her face.

"just that I'm glad we're here, like this", he smiled, taking her wrists and kissing them. She smiled, cupping his face in her hands as she reached up, kissing him gently. He smiled and rolled her over, his hands roaming, taking control. Making love to her, his moment where everything but the beutiful woman he loved was forgotten - his moment of clarity.

Clarisse closed her eyes as he made love to her in the moon lit midnight, everything they had endured not being forgotten, simply let go.

Distant memories, buried were they deserved to be - in their hearts.

Lol, this is the shortest chap. Story I've ever written, anyways I hope you enjoyed it and please R&R. thanks to all you wonderful people who reviewed - thanks again.

Yours,

M