Hidden Moments

Scene: Beginning of PD1 – what takes place the night after Amelia flees from the consulate after learning she is Princess of Genovia and the sole Renaldi heir.

"Clarisse, Your Majesty…surely you can't be serious?" Joseph asked the woman sitting across from the table. They were sharing a late night cup of tea trying to sort out everything that had gone wrong earlier that day when she shared with her granddaughter that she was the sole heir to the Genovian throne.

Clarisse fought the urge to rub her temples in frustration. She looked across the table to her most trusted adviser and friend. She knew she was asking a lot from him; but what choice did she have? "Do you have another suggestion?"

"Let me arrange for security for her. We have several good men here. You are my responsibility, Clarisse." He offered earnestly. The thought of spending time with an American teenager didn't appeal to him – even if she was Clarisse's granddaughter.

"Your duty is to the crown and protecting the Renaldi line is your responsibility, Joseph…surely you haven't forgotten that." She knew she was being unduly harsh but desperate times called for desperate measures. She had lost a great deal of sleep to nightmares that involved handing the throne over to that weasel, Baron Von Troken.

His tone was equally direct, tempered only slightly out of respect for her and her position. "I never forget my duty, Your Majesty."

She sighed and decided on a softer approach. Her hand tentatively covered his and her eyes locked with his. "Please, Joseph…I need to know she is safe and being watched over by someone that I trust implicitly. There is no one I trust more than you. The thought of losing another member of my family…" Her voice drifted off as the pain of the recent loss of her son and husband seeped into her conscious thoughts.

He turned his hand under hers so he could clasp her hand and offer support. "I'm sorry, Clarisse. Of course, I will do as you ask…don't I always?" He asked with a slight tease in his voice in an effort to make her smile.

He was rewarded with one corner of her mouth upturning slightly. "Eventually…"

Clarisse felt him clasp her hand as he smiled in response to her answer. There was something about this man that touched her on a level that went far beyond the normal employer/employee relationship. The slight flutter she felt in her chest when he touched her suggested that perhaps it even went beyond friendship. For the moment, though, she could allow herself no thoughts in that direction. The future of Genovia was at stake; therefore her personal future was irrelevant at the present moment. She allowed herself a few more moments of his comforting touch before pulling her hand away. "Thank you, Joseph."

Joseph immediately felt the loss as she withdrew her touch. What was it about this woman? What was it about him that he set his sights on the one woman in all of Genovia that was most definitely off-limits? She was his employer! His Queen! His friend… He fought to contain a sigh and then pushed all of those feelings into the back of his heart to be examined later. Right now, they had to win over a princess. "So here's what we need to do…"