Disclaimer: Blah-blah-blah, I own nothing, blah-blah-blah, all belongs to Disney and Meg Cabot, blah-blah-blah.
Summary: Clarisse writes her New Year's Resolutions. She finds out that they are easy to make, but hard to keep.
Rate: All Ages.
A.N.: My first Princess Diaries fic ever! Are you proud of me, Joe? I know it's not an original plot, and it's a bit too late for New Year's fics, but the idea got stuck in my head and it just wouldn't let me write anything else. Okay, I'm gonna shut my mouth now, so… enjoy it. (Set sometime between the first and the second movie)
My New Year's Resolutions, by Clarisse Renaldi
1. Come closer to my granddaughter, Amelia.
2. Don't tremble every time she says "Shut up". It's just slang.
3. Learn the names of every single employee of the castle. While I can say all my maids' names, I have no idea of who is guarding my door right now.
4. Tell Joseph how I feel about him.
With a heavy sigh, Clarisse immediately erased the last item of her list. What was she bloody thinking? What if someone see this? And, well, she knew that this was one resolution she could not afford to keep. Telling Joseph that she loved him was a real big step that she wasn't prepared to take just now. Oh, who does she think she's fooling? Of course she was ready, she was more than ready when it came to Joseph, but Genovia wouldn't accept their Queen involved with her Head of Security.
Clarisse threw the paper on a bin, and got back to work. How foolish of hers, she thought, writing New Year's resolutions. "I'm a Queen; I don't have time for this silliness. I have more important things to do", she said to herself. So she started doing those 'more important things': signing papers, reading agreements, supporting charity campaigns. That's all her life was about, being a queen. She was never Clarisse, the woman; she was always seen as Clarisse Renaldi, Queen of Genovia.
After hours trying to get a certain Head of Security out of her head, she gave up and headed to the gardens for a walk. She found it hard to concentrate on her work ever since she realized she loved him. She couldn't think straight when he was near. Her head went in overdrive, just like her heart, every time he touched her.
She sat on a bench shadowed by a huge tree. She was trying to forget him, but she knew it was impossible. Oh, the power that man had over her! And he didn't even know it. Or did he? The way he would put his hand on the small of her back to guide her trough a crowd, or the way their hands were always touching…
She felt his presence behind her. It was his scent, she knew it. But she didn't turn around. He spoke first.
"Hello, Your Majesty".
"Hello, Head of Security", she answered.
It was a little game they played. Every time he called her "Your Majesty" instead of "Clarisse", she would use formal terms as well, to remind him of what he should call her.
"Sorry, Clarisse." He corrected himself.
She pointed to the empty seat next to her, indicating him to sit down. He did as he was told. She looked so beautiful, with the sunshine bathing her face, that he just intended to watch her from a distance. It was safer to keep distance from her.
"Something's troubling you?"
"Oh, no, no, Joseph. Just the usual, you know"
"Already made your new year's resolutions?" he asked.
She gasped. How could he have known that this was exactly what was troubling her?
"I don't make new year's resolutions" she answered shortly.
"Come on, everyone does. Even if you don't intend to keep them, it is funny and helps you get in the mood of the holiday" he had a playful smile forming on his lips.
"Well, everyone but me, it seems."
"So what was it? Be a real grandmother to Mia, do more for your country, what?" he insisted, and she knew the battle was lost. He knew she had written them.
"Yes, something like that." She was amused on how much he knew about her.
"Oh, Clarisse, Clarisse. You're always doing things for the others. Don't you think it's about time to do something for yourself, for a change?" he stared into her eyes, and she felt like he was seeing trough her very soul.
"I did think about myself this time" she answered softly, so softly that he almost didn't hear her. Almost.
"And what was it then?" he was curious now.
She'd had enough. She stood up to leave, she wasn't going to explain herself to him, nor was she going to tell him about her resolutions. He grabbed her wrist just when she was walking past him.
"Don't go. Please." He begged her. He enjoyed her company too much to let her go just now.
She sat down again, but refused to look at him.
"Clarisse, what…?" he began, but she cut him off.
"I'm not going to tell you about my new year's resolutions"
"Fine, fine. But I would really appreciate if you listen to some of mine."
That interested her.
"Okay." She said softly.
"Well, first thing, I'm going to try and wear some other colors…" he trailed off, for she was laughing so hard that couldn't hear him anymore.
"Oh, God, sorry, Joseph. It's just that…y-you, wearing…Sorry, I've just thought of you wearing pink." She apologized.
"I'm not gonna comment on that" he said, pretending he was hurt.
"I'm sorry, I really am"
"It's okay, it's okay. So, second, I will be more patient with the new security guards." He continued.
"Yes, that would be useful" she teased.
"And, last but not least," he made a dramatic pause "I will finally tell the woman I love how I actually feel about her"
Her heart fell. This was it. He was in love. She didn't know what to think. She had lost him for some other woman she didn't even want to hear about. She felt tears welling up in her eyes, and once again, she stood up to leave. And once again, he didn't let her go.
"Please, Joseph, let me go. I have a lot of work to do and…" she tried to free herself from his grasp.
"No, I won't let you go." He stood up and was face to face with her now.
"Why? You have a woman to court, or whatever it is that you intend to do with her, so why aren't you with her now?" the tears were rolling down her cheeks now, but she didn't care.
He lifted up his hands to her face, and wiped away her tears, placing a soft kiss on her cheek while doing so. He then looked into her eyes, and said:
"That's exactly what I'm doing".
Her head was spinning. Had she heard him right? What did he mean by that? Before she could process the information, he bent down and kissed her passionately.
It was the most amazing sensation Clarisse had ever felt. His lips were so strong, yet so soft, and his hands making their way up and down her arms in a firmly grasp, was a lot more than she'd ever dare to dream about.
When they parted, both breathless, he leaned in and whispered in her ear:
"I love you"
Simple. Short. Soft. He made all her dreams come true with these three simple words, whispered shortly and softly against her ear.
He had taken her silence as rejection, and started to pull away. But then he saw that she was smiling. Her smile was wide, happy, a true smile, one she hadn't given in years. He had this effect on her.
"I love you too"
His smile mirrored hers. Now, she had made him the happiest man on earth.
As they leaned in to kiss again, Clarisse vowed to write her resolutions every single year, without fail.
Later on, she told him about the resolutions she wrote and threw away. He was more than pleased to confirm that she was telling the truth, when he saw himself the piece of paper in the bin on her office. She also told him about why she had given up on telling him: her duties as a queen, the country, and all the people that looked up on her. He understood that. It was Joseph, after all.
For now, their new found relationship had to remain a secret, but neither of them cared. They had each other, and that was enough. Joseph knew that Clarisse had a country to rule, and he would never pressure her for anything. He didn't care if he couldn't kiss her in front of everyone on the countdown to the 'Happy New Year'. He would wait for the right time to take their 'friendship' out of the shadows. At the same time he wanted the whole world to know that he loved her and that, most importantly, she loved him back, he wouldn't complain about their situation.
Years later, after their first night as a married couple, Clarisse admired the figure of the man sleeping beside her and remembered how it all began. It was because of that that they choose to wed on the first day of the year. Most of the people didn't understand the choice of the day, but for them, it meant not just a new year, but also a new life and some more resolutions fulfilled.
A.N.: Okay, I know it's not that good. But it can't be that bad, can it? You know that lilac button over there? The 'GO' button? It is calling your name…