Clarisse Talks

"The year was 1961. It was February when the Crown Prince Rupert Renaldi came to me to ask for my hand in marriage. Of course it had been arranged years before but the way was still ask a lady and not to mention her father.

"My mother passed away when I was a young girl, barely into my teens. I still had enough feminine influence to become half the lady I remember her being.

"My father then passed away before my wedding. The last time I saw him before he died was the month before when he was at a meeting of Parliament. See Mia, my father was a member of parliament and that's how I was chosen to one day wed the prince of Genovia.

"A week after Rupert came to propose to me, I was in the town's best café with my best friend Blake. I still keep in touch with Blake but only through letters and postcards. As I was getting up to leave, a man collided with me. It was Joseph. I was smitten with him right from the start. After that, I wanted to see him again but I knew I never could because I was engaged to be married. I had no idea that a month later I would see him at the palace.

"He was hurt I didn't tell him I was engaged but we soon became good friends. I secretly loved him though. And he loved me as he later confessed. We didn't mean to start the affair; it just sort of happened. And we let it. We didn't think. I knew I loved him and never wanted to be without him.

"I married Rupert with a heavy burden on my heart. I was marrying one man but I loved another. We made it work though and it was a wonderful marriage. I found out I was pregnant in May of the next year. I had every doubt from the beginning that it was Rupert's and my premonition was right.

"Seven months later, I gave birth to a healthy beautiful baby boy. William Anthony Pierre Gérard and there was still speculation on who the father was. But when I saw my son's eyes for the first time, I knew. Rupert's and mine's child should have had blue or green eyes. My entire family has blue eyes and his has blue or green. Genetics thrown aside, our child should have had one of those colors. But he didn't. He had brown eyes.

"That's when be became William Anthony Pierre Gérard Calvera. I knew right then he was Joseph's. Pierre knows, has ever since he turned twenty-one. That's when we told him and it seemed to make absolute sense to him.

"There's not much to tell about the next three years. Rupert never found out Pierre wasn't his but in my mind, I think he must have suspected it after time. Phillipe was next but there's no story because he was Rupert's. Isabella you already know about.

"Time after time, Joseph and I told ourselves we were going to stop the affair and time after time it never happened. You're great grandmother knew of our relationship. She kept it to herself. I'll forever be grateful for that. She's a terrific woman.

"There was once we finally managed to stop the relationship, for six months but that was only because Joseph left for the States. I'd rather not talk about that story.

"He came back a week after Rupert died. I was at the hospital with Rupert the week before the day he died. I was the last person he spoke to. He told me he knew about Joseph and me. You have no idea how much that shocked me.

"He wasn't angry or at least he said he wasn't. He told me all he ever wanted was for me to be happy. I was devastated when he died. He was a great friend.

"Joseph came back and it was like he never left. It wasn't the same as before though; there was something missing. Maybe that would explain why two months later we were in Gstaad and getting married."

Mia jumped up from her spot. "You guys are married?" she practically yelled interrupting her grandmother for the first time.

"Yes, we are. We have been six years, almost seven." Mia brought her grandmother's left hand up to her vision. The diamond sparkled playfully at her as if letting her in on the big secret.

"Wow, that is some rock. How'd Joe managed to buy that? It must have been so expensive," Mia mused.

"It was his grandmother's and a family heirloom. It holds a lot of meaning to me but someday, I have a feeling it will be circulating the family. Now where was I?"

"You and Joe eloped in Gstaad."

"Ah, yes. You must keep this to yourself. Only three people other than you know," Clarisse warned.

"Who?" Mia just couldn't help herself.

"Your uncle, your great-grandmother, and Charlotte. I suppose there's also the judge who married us as well so that's four."

"Even Charlotte knows? How does Charlotte know and I don't?" Mia complained.

"Because she does and I better not hear from her that you've been bothering her for the answer." Mia rolled her eyes and flopped back down on the bed. "That's all I can think about that you don't know that you've requested to know. You now know the well kept secret of my royal life. I hope you understand now, Mia."

"Yeah, I do." Her voice was soft with a tone for understanding laced in.

She was telling the truth this time. She did understand. Now she knew how important it was to follow her heart and find love before she was married. She also saw how her grandmother's face lit up when she spoke of Joe. She'd never seen true love before but now she could say it was absolutely beautiful. Now if only it would happen to her.

"Mia, have I ever told you how happy I was when you decided to take over the throne?" Clarisse said softly.

"No, you haven't."

"Well, I am. I'm glad you decided to. I'm also glad you're my granddaughter. You're the best granddaughter any grandmother could ever ask for," Clarisse told her, a tear of joy coming to her eye.

"And you're still the coolest grandmother and queen," Mia reminded. Clarisse smiled.

"I love you Mia. More than you'll ever know," she whispered.

"I love you, too, grandma."

Hours later Joseph entered his room only to find Clarisse asleep in bed with Mia next to her.

He smiled to himself. It was a lovely sight to see.

He got a blanket from the sitting room and draped it over Mia, placing a kiss on her forehead. Waking around the bed, he placed a kiss good night on his wife's lips, causing her to wake up.

"Hi," she whispered, opening her eyes to see his.

"Hi," he repeated in the same quiet tone. He gave another kiss. "Go back to sleep. I'll be in the sitting room."

She gently caressed his cheek with a hand before she fell back to sleep. Sweet dreams invading her mind.

Joseph closed the doors to the bedroom, letting them sleep in silence without the noise the sitting room acquired in the morning.

He took off his shoes and watch and fell to the couch. He covered his legs with a blanket; crossed his arms over his chest.

Yes, it definitely looked like everything would be fine around the palace now. Everything would hopefully go to normal soon and maybe even one day, they could announce their marriage to the country.