Night Shift

10:00 pm. Right on the nose. He settled in for the night shift, and what proved to be a long night. He was taking over what Shades usually did, as Shades had gone on with the King to America. Joseph was not a happy camper at that moment either. He hadn't had more than three hours of sleep in the last few days, and the cups of coffee he couldn't stop drinking were making him jittery.

But he sat in the black chair in the black room, straightening his black pants and turning on the black and white screen. He hated his job sometimes. Everyone loved the queen, no one was after her. At least not in a bad way. Some were obsessive, but who could blame them, such a beautiful, classy woman. A beautiful and classy woman that Joe was watching all night on the various security screens. Twice in a span of three minutes he reached for the button that would leave the view to her bedroom on the screen.

Until he saw a flash of white across the screen. But it wasn't a burglar, intruder or even a guest, it was the queen herself entering her room in her white ball gown from that evening. He knew quite well that the gown came in many pieces, he carried them all in yesterday. With the knowleged of also how uncomfortable she must be, he finally pressed the button.

And it produced a very wonderful view.

She looked herself up and down in the mirror, admiring the beadwork on the elaborate gown. Her eyes widened and she leaned in to check that they were still the same gorgeous blue that Joe saw every day. Her hands roamed across her breasts, her waist and her hips, making sure the shape stayed as perfect as it always was. Joe realized he was staring when she turned around and unzipped her gown with flawless form. He rubbed his weary eyes and reached for the button, he shouldn't be intruding on her few moments of privacy a day.

But it was impossible to look away.

He may never have this chance again, right? So he watched as the first piece of the gown fell to the floor. It was no longer elaborate and glamorous, it's inner core resembled a nightgown. (If you didn't count the hoop.) The hoop was next to fall to the floor, and he blinked twice as she stepped out of it. The pieces left were the top and the bottom lining, and he tried to guess with would come first. At least it was one way to stay awake.

But if he were caught, he'd be sacked.

He heard her whispering, and swore he heard his name breathed out of her perfect lips. But he shook it off, thinking he was beginning to hallucinate. The top was unbuttoned slowly, and he silently cursed himself for wishing he were the one to undo the six pearl buttons down the front. A hint of peachy lace showed through now, playing peek-a-boo with Joe's mind. The skirt fell effortlessly to the floor, making Joe shift uncomfortably in his seat. She ran a hand through her hair at almost the same time he was wiping the tiny beads sweat off his forehead.

She stood in front of the camera in just her underwear, checking her figure once again in the mirror. Of course, no one had told her that a camera was in her private bedroom. So she didn't know she was parading herself in front of Joseph, the man who wanted so badly what he couldn't have.

He didn't think she would actually take it off.

But while he had been thinking, she had done just that. The peach lace bra lay dormant on the floor. He forgot his manners entirely by now, and sat and stared at the video screen. He wanted so desperately to get up and walk to her suite, to knock on the door and...but that would be wrong. So now he watched as she examined her perfect breasts, and he had to wonder if she did this every night. If she always second guessed herself.

If only he could show her how perfect she really was.

When she faced the security camera, and looked at it as if she knew it were there, he stood up in fright and knocked his coffee over, narrowly missing dowsing his pants with the hot liquid. He knew there was no way for her to see the camera, but didn't sit back down. Instead he started down the hallway.

"This is wrong. This is so wrong!" He whispered, wringing his hands. He turned around twice out of nervousness. "What will I say?" He spoke again, almost nearing her door. "Whatever you do, Joe, just don't tell her you were watching her." His hand raised to knock on the door. He felt the cool air engulf his hand, and knew it had been opened.

"Joseph?" She asked nervously, tightening her robe around herself. "Is something the matter?"

"No..." He breathed. God, she is so beautiful.

"Then what. . .?" Come on...spit it out, I don't want to stand here all night.

"I was watching you on the security screen." Damn.

"What do you mean?" Isn't that what your supposed to do?

"In your bedroom." Stop. Just stop talking.

"I...Oh. My goodness. I...didn't know there was a camera in there." I wonder what he thought...no what am I thinking, why do I care what he thinks?

"I wanted to apologize." Well, it sounds better than I want to snog you senseless, doesn't it?

"Of course, apology accepted." She waved him off, knowing, hoping, that wasn't what he really had come here for. Being curious in nature, she invited him in. He sat on the couch, trying not to look like an idiot as he almost fell asleep. Her perfume was intoxicating and her room warm and dark. "So." She almost purred, Joseph though he had imagined it. "Why did you," She sat next to him on the couch, looking regal even in a bathroom. "really come here?"

To make love to you. "To apologize."

"Now, see," She seductively crossed her legs. "I don't think you did."

She's good. He gulped"Well, my queen, you are wrong there, I shall be going. . ." He heard a grumbling sigh from her throat. "What?"

"Your not going to. . .make a move?"

"Of course not." He tried to act appalled.

"Then tell me this; did you like what you saw on the security screen?"

"More than anything."

"Really?" Her eyes lit up with hope.

"Really." He looked her in the eye, kissing her forehead gently. "Why do you doubt yourself, Clarisse?"

"Because I don't feel like Rupert loves me. At least not in that way." He answer was plain and simple, as if she'd been rehearsing these painful words all her life.

"What?"

"He doesn't...make love to me anymore."

"Maybe he thinks you don't want to."

"Well, that's not entirely untrue. It's like kissing my best friend. It's weird to me. I don't love him like that."

"Then what's the issue?"

"He doesn't...want to. I used to have to fight him off, tell him no. But now I don't even get the opportunity."

"Tell him, Clarisse. He'll listen, you've got yourself a good husband."

"I think I like tired Joe." She laughed kissing his cheek. "Sleep here. On the couch. That way you can say you watched me, but you don't have to die of sleeplessness."

"Thank you. I love you, your majesty." He said jokingly. She smiled and whispered as she turned out the light.

"I love you, too." But he was already asleep, and didn't hear her confession.