"Finish the story! We want to hear the end." Lillian begs her sister and brother-in-law.
"Well, I stood in front of Joseph with my hands clasped in front of me being terribly nervous. Once he came close enough that I could whisper and he would be able to hear me I said, "Is it too late to ask you to accept my hand in marriage?" He paused for longer than I anticipated. It made me even more nervous if that was even possible. He barely looked at me when he was pausing. Finally I heard him sigh heavily and I thought he was turning me down. Then he said to me, "I thought you'd never ask." He tossed his grey gloves into his top hat and pulled his earpiece out of his ear and tossed it into his top hat as well. He turned to his second in command and said, "Shades, you're in charge now. Good luck with Lionel. I'm going to a wedding." I sighed a contented sigh as Joseph smiled at me and took my hand. I was so happy." Clarisse daydreams about that moment in her life.
"I was instantly nervous when Clarisse took my hand in public for the first time. I was worried about the reaction of the public. I didn't want her reputation to be ruined by me. She was beaming as we walked down the aisle and even managed to joke, whereas I looked like I was about to be executed I was so nervous. I wanted to look happy so badly so people didn't think it was being forced. The Archbishop made the situation light and funny which made it easier for me. All I could see as I walked down the aisle was all the members of parliament sitting on the bride's side of the cathedral. I'm certain my tension showed all over my face. I loved knowing that Mia was supporting me. It made the moment so much more special. I know that having Mia standing next to her was wonderful for Clarisse. It really relaxed her." Joseph says as he sips his coffee.
"Tell us the story about the reception. We saw the ceremony on television, but the reception was all a mystery. What was it like?" James pressures his sister.
"Well, I'm fairly certain that we had more fun in the lead-up to the reception than anyone who had to get the reception to look as if it had been created for us. I know that they had to change the tapestries so they were ours, change the banner so it had our names on it and they even had the cake topper changed to look more like us. We went to talk to the Archbishop and sign all of the official papers. I could see the fear, when we were about to walk out to the carriage, on Joseph's face. The reaction of the crowd had him on edge and he wasn't used to not being my security personnel and he went from that to my husband in a heartbeat, hardly an easy transition. He wanted to protect me, but as it turned out he needn't have worried. In the carriage, on the way back, my cell phone rang several times with questions about what song we wanted for our first dance, how we wanted the head table to be arranged, where we wanted to take pictures in the grounds. I actually had to confer with Joseph on what song we wanted to dance to because unlike most married couples we didn't have memories like that with each other." Clarisse smiles at Joseph.
Joseph chuckles at his wife. "I remember that moment. She turned to me and said, "What are we going to do? We don't even have a first song!" It was hard because we had to come up with song titles on our own without a list in front of us. I finally decided that I liked "You Light Up My Life" or "You Fill Up My Senses" and Clarisse decided she liked "You Fill Up My Senses" better, but all the decisions we had to suddenly make were surprised me. I thought, typical guy that I am, we could just use everything Mia was going to use, but it didn't work that way. I suddenly realized that we'd probably have to make a speech and I had nothing prepared. I had a pad of paper and a pencil in my jacket and I scribbled something down in the carriage and figured I could improvise the rest. Clarisse looked at me with panicked eyes as she realizes she has a speech, but it's written as a proud grandma, not an ecstatic bride. I tore a couple of pages out of my notebook and let her borrow my pencil. She smiled gratefully at me. I hopped out of the carriage first when we got back to the palace and swung Clarisse down into my arms. Helen hugged us both which took me aback slightly, but made me very happy. We went off to get pictures taken and Clarisse dragged Mia with us out to the gardens. The first picture she wanted to take was in the gazebo where I'd proposed. I still think my favourite was one we took in the rose garden and I was holding Clarisse in my arms as if I was carrying her across the threshold of a room. I only got one copy and it sits on the bedside table in our bedroom. There's a beautiful picture that Mia has on her desk of the two of us in the maze kissing and Clarisse has her foot popped just like the rest of her family. Mia loves that photo. Clarisse is very photogenic. I was just a prop."
"Oh, now that's not true! Joseph is very photogenic! My favourite photo or one of them, from that day is one of Joseph, Mia, and I standing under an oak tree in the back garden. Both Joseph and I have one hand on each of Mia's shoulders. We look like a perfect family. My favourite photo of just Joseph and I is one standing on the balcony of the ballroom just looking at each other. It's a simple photo, but our eyes carry so much emotion that it looks very special. That one sits on my desk, so I can look at it when I'm having a bad day. That day was so wonderful and looking at those photos allows me to relive it. Joseph looked so handsome that day in his tuxedo. I'd seen him in a tuxedo before, but this somehow felt different. The tone on tone accents in the vest were so very Joseph. We had a little bit of time before the reception started and for the first time in my life I felt awkward and nervous in front of Joseph. We both knew that we had to finish writing our speeches and so we went to my office and we both sat on the sofa and I leaned against his chest and we finished writing our speeches together. Suddenly Mia burst in and said, "Hey, we can't start the party without the newlyweds!" I remember smiling at Joseph when she said that. It was sweet to hear. Joseph looked at me knowingly when Mia spoke. He stood up and reached for my hand. I sighed and got up. I honestly wanted to just be alone with Joseph and talk, but I wanted to have the party too." Clarisse continues to tell the story.
"I felt the same. I wanted to enjoy the party, but I wanted to talk to Clarisse. I didn't have the words to talk to her right then. I could hear the guests as we started to walk down the stairs. I vaguely remember Mia telling us all the things that were going to happen at the reception. I barely heard a thing. I was watching Clarisse, but apparently Clarisse was listening because she kept me on track all night. Mia walked into the ballroom to await our entrance and suddenly Prime Minister Motaz came bursting out of the ballroom door and said, "What title are we going to give Joseph? When we introduce him it should be with a title. I know you probably haven't given it any thought, but I'd better give you a chance. Clarisse looked shocked. She didn't know how to respond. I automatically wanted to say that I didn't want a title, but I knew I didn't have an option. Clarisse took a deep breath and said, "Introduce him as Sir Joseph and I can knight him at a later date and then figure out what other titles he got on marrying me." I was shocked. I didn't realize I was going to get all her titles. I didn't want the titles, but I knew that in my position I was going to have to have titles. Sebastien was furiously scribbling in a notebook and then said, "Are we introducing you with just your new last name or shall we hyphenate your last name?" Clarisse looked surprised. I don't think she was prepared for all the questions she had to answer in rapid succession. "I think we better use the hyphenated last name just so there's nothing too jarring for me or the guests." I had my hand on her lower back the way I always walk with Clarisse. Finally Sebastien left and the double doors had guards at them. I kissed Clarisse on the cheek before she nodded to the guards and the doors opened and in we walked, side by side, for the first time. It felt so surreal. The ballroom erupted in a cheer when we walked in. Mia had changed out of her wedding dress and she ran across the room and hugged us. Helen and Patrick came over to hug Clarisse and congratulate us. Clarisse took Trevor in her arms and the scene just seemed so perfect. I could see Mia out of the corner of my eye and I saw her pick up her glass of champagne and a knife and I could see others doing the same thing. I gave Mia a glare as the clinking in the room got louder. Neither Clarisse nor I were or are terribly comfortable with public displays of affection. I felt Clarisse's hand on my shoulder turning me back towards her and she leaned forward and kissed me gently. I slipped my arm around her waist and pulled her close and really kissed her unlike the way we kissed in the cathedral. Mia whooped from the platform. Clarisse's eyes were sparkling when we pulled apart. I held her hand as we walked up to the head table and I pulled her chair out for her." Joseph says as he reminisces on that day.
"That kiss at the reception was phenomenal. I never thought I'd be bold enough to do that. Of course my cheeky granddaughter started the whole thing. It felt very surreal and I wanted to stay close to Joseph all night until it felt real. I felt strange even being able to hold his hand publicly. I could feel the tension in Joseph's hand when I held it. Mia had suggested that I change into something white before the reception, but I didn't want to change out of the outfit I'd been married in. Luckily I'd picked out the place setting for the reception and Mia and I had picked out all the food, so it wasn't all that different from the way I would have planned my wedding. We were enjoying the moments together. Mia sat next to me and we had Helen and Patrick sit at the head table with us. There were glasses of champagne on the table and Mia got up and said, "Everyone else will have a chance to make toasts to my grandma and Joe later, but I have to do this before I get too emotional after everything that has happened today. Today my grandmother made a very brave choice to follow her heart instead of doing her duty. When I met Joe when I was fifteen I was struck by how dedicated he was to the family. He was my protector, my advisor, my dance teacher, and my confidant while he was in San Francisco. My grandmother knew that Joe was the best person to help me. He talked with me about my grandma when I needed to. I watched them together when I got the chance and I realized that they had become very good friends through my grandfather's death and my father's death. My grandmother is a very private person and she never said out loud how she felt about Joe, but I could see in her eyes and his how much they cared about each other. When I went to my first Independence Day Ball I saw my grandma dance with Joe for the first time and grandma seemed so happy. It was nice to see. Joe and grandma were meant to be together and with a little push they changed their relationship. They could always talk to each other about anything. I also have to thank Joe because he was my support when I first found out I was royal. It wasn't uncommon, when I came to Genovia during the summer, to see grandma and Joe bent over a table looking at maps, or walking in the rose garden whispering together. Charlotte and I were standing on the terrace watching them and I said, "They make a cute couple." Charlotte was shocked. "They're not a couple!" she said indignantly. I remember rolling my eyes at her and saying, "Then you're blind." I'm glad my grandma has found someone she can be happy with because soon she won't have to be queen anymore and she and Joe can enjoy their retirement. Congratulations grandma and Joe, you deserve all the happiness in the world." To sit next to Joseph and not be worried about someone interrupting us was so nice. I felt slightly nervous. I kept worrying that someone would come up and ask me what Joseph was doing and it would all have been a dream."
"I remember Clarisse looking at me during dinner and saying, "This doesn't feel real." It certainly didn't. I don't think we'd even had a meal with anyone else before we got married, in fact, I don't think we'd ever had a meal just the two of us either. I felt wonderful getting to show my true emotions towards Clarisse publicly. I didn't have anything ordered for dinner because I was supposed to be on duty that night, so someone had to come out and ask what I would like. My kept bumping against Clarisse's under the table. Everything felt right with the world although I still felt slightly out of place. My clothes fit the part, but I didn't feel like I did. I began to resent the crowd around us because they kept clinking glasses to get us to kiss, which I suspect was Mia's idea, and I could see that it was making Clarisse uncomfortable. After dinner Sebastien announced the first dance and for the first time all night I relaxed. Clarisse and I stood up and walked to the centre of the dance floor. I pulled Clarisse close to me as the song we picked for our first dance started playing. Clarisse laid her head on my chest as we moved slowly around the room. It was clear Clarisse was more comfortable in the situation than I was. She looked so beautiful and relaxed." Joseph tells the story of the reception.
"We always dance well together and that night was no different despite the pressure of the occasion. I relaxed into the moment and just enjoyed it. I could feel the tension in Joseph's shoulders, but he soon relaxed into my touch. The song seemed to fit us beautifully and I was so glad we'd chosen it. When our song finished Joseph whispered in my ear, "I think I'll ask Mia to dance." I was so happy that he was so comfortable with my family, so off he went to ask Mia to dance and I went to sit back at the head table to watch my granddaughter and husband. The two of them floated across the floor and I could see both of them laughing and enjoying the company. Sebastien came up and asked me to dance. Joseph smiled as me as I came back to the dance floor. Joseph also danced with Helen. The formal part of the dancing ended and Sebastien ushered everyone back to their seats so we could do more toasts. There were so many people who wanted to make toasts it surprised me. I wasn't sure how people were going to react and I wasn't anticipating so much support." Clarisse smiles at the memory.