So glad you all are enjoying this. Thanks so much for the nice comments! Here's a new one….
"I understand Sir, but I feel you may want to see this one...He says he has actually guarded the Queen before."
Clarisse froze for a split second after faintly hearing Oliver. She looked up to see both men staring at her with puzzling expressions.
"Me?" she asked stunned.
"Yes, ma'am" Oliver replied.
"Oh really?" Rupert asked curious as to who this person was. "Well then I suppose you should show him in."
"Very well Sir."
As Oliver left to fetch the gentleman Clarisse felt her stomach twist and turn. She carefully tried to place her tea cup and saucer gracefully on the coffee table to not show that she was anxious from this surprising news.
Rupert noticed her hands shook a bit and that she looked a little frazzled.
"You alright darling?" he asked.
"Oh yes, yes I'm fine."
"Any idea as to who this may be?" he asked her.
Before she could speak there was a knock at the door.
"Enter," Rupert said with distinction.
"Your Majesties may I present the man who I told you about… Joseph Romero."
Rupert stared at him as he stood up from his desk and without breaking eye contact he walked closer to Oliver and the man.
"Mr. Romero, His Majesty King Rupert," Oliver said.
"Your Majesty," Joseph replied as he bowed to him.
Rupert acknowledged the man's respect with a quick nod, but examined him closely.
He then slowly shifted his gaze towards the sofa. "Darling do you recognize this gentleman?"
Joseph followed the king's gaze. He watched as Clarisse slowly and gracefully stood up from where she sat. As she turned to walk next to her husband Joseph noticed her protruding stomach. Seeing her pregnant caught him off guard.
Oliver then added "Her Majesty Queen Clarisse."
Their eyes met. With a nod and a smile Clarisse answered Rupert, "Yes, I do." She then stepped nearer to Joseph.
"Your Majesty," he said bowing with a grin while tilting his head slightly sideways.
"Mr. Romero it has been a while since we've last seen each other," she said mimicking his head tilt and grin.
"Indeed ma'am, but I happen to see you more often than you do I since I usually catch glimpses of you in the newspapers and on television."
"Unfortunately so I'm afraid," she said as she put out her hand for him to take.
"No fortunate is more like it," he said as he tenderly took her hand and kissed it.
The act made the hair on the back of her neck stand on end.
He looked her over quickly noticing her belly again. He cleared his throat, "And may I say you look very well."
"Thank you Joseph."
Curious of the exchange between his wife and this man Rupert interrupted the moment and walked closer to them.
"So I have been told that you have guarded my wife before?"
"Ah yes Sir I was a member of the security team that was hired by the Gerard family. I was personally assigned to guard Lady Clarisse."
"You mean Her Majesty," Rupert reminded.
"Oh yes of course, forgive me Sir."
Rupert did not answer he just took the resume listing Joseph's credentials from Oliver and began to read it over. Clarisse however, reassured him with a small smile and then looked away. She knew she should not make long eye contact with Joseph.
"It says here that you have obtained decent ranks within the military. Many accomplishments as well for a man who just turned twenty-three."
"You come with very high recommendations…" He smirked and then handed the resume back to Oliver. "Well we, my wife and I, shall discuss the individuals who are being considered for the position and someone will be in touch with you no later than tomorrow afternoon."
"Very good Sir. Thank you for being so generous with your time."
"It was very nice seeing you again Joseph," Clarisse quickly added before he turned to leave.
"Always a pleasure Lady Clari…" he laughed "Excuse me I mean Your Majesty."
Clarisse chuckled but Rupert wasn't amused at his lack of respect towards his wife.
Realizing she had laughed a bit louder than she had expected, she quickly stopped and nervously glanced at her husband. Playing it smart she ignored his raised eye browed expression and instead patted him on the arm.
After Joseph was gone Rupert leaned back against his desk folding his arms.
"Well?" he asked.
"Well you seem to have clearly made up your mind and I don't think I need to ask who you think should get the job."
"He's a very qualified guard who I have seen in action and a very nice individual as well."
"Yes well that's what I'm afraid of. You two seem to have a connection with one another."
Clarisse realizing where this was going walked over and stood in front of Rupert. She leaned in and placed her arms around his neck.
"Darling listen, he guarded me and he did a wonderful job and that was before his formal military training so I'm sure his abilities have only improved."
"How old were you when he began?"
"I was sixteen."
"How old was he?"
"Ermm… younger than I."
"Yes by three years, but what does it matter?"
"Well I'd bet a million dollars that he was interested in you." Rupert said brushing her cheek with the back of his hand.
Clarisse smiled, but the next few words Rupert said where muffled… she instantly flashbacked to quick memories of her and Joseph flirting, than on his motorcycle, than horseback riding, running into one another, than kissing…
"…I mean I saw you at sixteen and I couldn't keep my eyes off of you."Rupert continued.
She smiled at him again pretending she had been listening intently. "We were friends if that is what you are trying to get out of me? I had a few friends from university, but Joseph was the only other person around my age at my parent's villa besides my brothers."
Rupert took a deep breath and then let it out. "So you feel comfortable with him"
"And you feel he will protect you well?"
"Will it make you happy to have him around?"
Clarisse said to herself "very," but out loud she said "Indeed."
He kissed her forehead. "Well what makes you happy makes me happy. I'll have Oliver put a call through to him as well as the others so they are informed that the spot is filled."
Rupert walked back around to his desk chair. "Do you trust him?" He asked her as she walked back over to take one last sip of tea.
"Do you?"She asked in return.
"Well I think I have to get to know him better, but I trust your instincts and character judgment."
"Give him a chance. I'm sure in time he will prove his capabilities to you."
"Fine then. We'll have him come in tomorrow after lunch. I'll have Henry show him around the palace."
"I could show him around a bit as well since I don't have too many things scheduled after lunch," she said offering.
"Alright then, but only for a bit as I don't want you to tire yourself out."
"Oh tush! The exercise will be good for us," she said rubbing her belly. She thought how it would also give her a chance to catch up with Joseph.
Noticing Rupert had picked up some papers and was becoming preoccupied, she decided it was time for her to leave.
"Well I suppose I'll let you get some work done before dinner," she said as she headed for the door.
Halting for a moment Rupert looked up "Are you happy with the decision?"
She stopped and turned around slowly. "My dear, I am very happy that we have found someone for the job and that I don't have to look at another resume again for a very long time."
They both chuckled and Rupert shook his head. He then watched for a few seconds as his queen walked away from him down the long corridor.