A/N: Thanks to all my readers and reviewers... you all rock!

The Princess Diaries doesn't belong to me!

I'm sad to say this story is coming to an end, just a few more chapters to go. *Kleenex*

-23-

4 months later- April

"I don't like this," Joseph commented.

"Neither do I," Clarisse sighed, her heart literally crumbled into tiny pieces. "My baby is at the Palace Joseph, and I'm here. I am her mother; I should be there with her, not here… We should be at home with our baby."

Joseph placed a soft kiss to his wife's temple. Currently, the couple along with many other fine dignitaries we're at a baby shower for lord Palimore' granddaughter, Katherine.

"I don't even know why we came. I hate everyone here. You know they actually had the Gaul to release a degrading press statement about my daughter!" Clarisse continued.

"Yes darling, I was with you." Joseph reminded, his hand rubbing soothingly over her hip.

Since Nova's homecoming in December it seemed to be constant battle with the standing men and prissy women. Clarisse had made a complete 360 in the last four months. She was no longer the royal maiden living the high life. She was an average woman- a normal mother.

Gone were her ball gowns and Prada hand bags- she was now a casual camisole and caprice type lady… although that had more to do with the fact that Nova constantly spit up her bottles. Clarisse could also no longer hold her tongue, her sarcasm rolling a lot more freely since shedding all royal inhibitions.

Joseph. He was awesome! He was indeed a wonderful father- always had been. He was so supportive and so helpful- never complained about changing a diaper and even volunteered to take the night shift when the baby awoke.

"Oh, Clarisse, come- Katy is opening her gifts." Isobel Palimore, Lord Palimore's wife, exclaimed.

"Great!" The former Queen fake cheered, Joseph chuckling softly as he watched her walk away.

-o-o-o-

This was supposed to be about presents, not a royal interview on my behalf! Clarisse's conscious yelled. It seemed as if all attention was being sorely focused on her and not on Katherine.

A big no, no in Clarisse's book!

"So how's mother hood?" Isobel asked.

Clarisse smiled, her baby girl was everything to her. "Wonderful. She's a dream come true."

"I still don't understand why you did it." Isobel said dryly, "Why start over?"

Clarisse's smile fell, "What do you mean?"

"I just don't understand why a woman of your age would worry with children. I know I could never possibly do it again."

"To each their own…" Clarisse sighed, lifting her lemonade to her lips. "To each their own…"

The question of, "So what happened to the baby's real parents?" immediately reared Clarisse out of her haze, her eyes narrowing at Heather Mackinder, a friend of the Palimore's a challenging flick crossing across her blue orbs.

"I beg your pardon?" Clarisse challenged.

Heather, not realizing the challenge continued, "Her real parents, what happened to them?"

"I didn't know I was a fake parent. I assume you mean her biological parents. And that is a highly personal question."

"How much did she cost?" Katherine asked.

"You have to be kidding me! Did I ask you how much you spent on lingerie, wine, dinner and whatnot on the night you conceived? Again, a highly personal and inappropriate question," Clarisse barked angrily.

Isobel then asked, "Do you think she'll ask you about her real mom?"

"I am real. I am her mom. She asks how I am every morning- through her tiny and happy squeals. And, when she's older, we'll also talk about her birth-mother."

"So then you'll tell her she's adopted?" Another woman asked.

"Well of course, it's not like telling her she's a criminal!"

Becky, Katherine's sister commented, "She seems pretty normal for now. I guess she got lucky!"

"Normal is just a setting on the dryer around here, babe. And, yes, we are incredibly lucky to have her."

"I'm just very surprised it all went through and you and Joseph kept it a secret for as long as you did." Katherine added, "You've heard about Lady Melody and Lord Jefferson's path in adoption haven't you- the adoption went un-finalized at the last minute in court. They had to give the baby back!"

"Gee, when you announced you were having a baby, did I launch into a discussion of the most horrifying outcome I could think of?" Clarisse asked angrily, her cheeks burning red from the sudden outburst they were sending her into. "No. I said congratulations, and that I was happy for you."

Turning and walking out of the room, Clarisse marched back into the dinning hall. "Joseph, we're leaving. I want to go home." She said as soon as her husband came into her path.

"Yes dear."

-o-o-o-

"So, do you want to tell me what happened this afternoon?" Joseph asked as they traveled down the Genovian road.

Clarisse glared out the window, her anger boiling to its peak. How dare those monstrous women! Turning to face him, she exploded.

"They asked me how much I paid for her, Joseph! Paid! She is my daughter and they… paid… Can you believe that?" Clarisse ran a hand through her hair, "They insinuated that I bought her! Then they had the nerve to ask me about her real mother!"

"Cl-"

"I am her mother!" Clarisse cried. "I am the one who feeds her and changes her and nurses her when she's sick- me. I am real! I am her mother! This is not a game to me Joseph, I am not playing house."

Taking her hand in his and he brought it up to his lips. "I know sweetheart. You're a wonderful mother, you know that don't you? I love watching you every morning with our baby; it's amazing to see you so relaxed and happy."

Clarisse smiled. "You know it's only been two hours and I'm missing her like crazy."

-o-o-o-

"Hi baby!" Clarisse cooed enthusiastically as Olivia came into view with a very awake Nova.

Smiling, Olivia handed Nova over to her mother. Her smile faded slightly when Nova began to fuss. "Ma'am…"

"Why are you so fussy lately?" Joseph asked as he took the baby from Clarisse. "Why are you so unhappy my princess?"

"Sir…"

"Olivia," Clarisse questioned, her hand running over her daughter's full head of dark chocolate hair, even traveling down to caress the tiny studs in her little ears… Yes she had relented and allowed Joseph to pierce the baby's ears.

"Nova has been extremely fussy all day and I couldn't get her to lie down. She's also been grabbing at her ear a lot- I think she may have an ear infection."

Joseph frowned, placing a gently kiss to Nova's temple, her cries starting to subside. "Oh no, that's no fun." He kissed her temple once more, "We'll go home and daddy will make you all better, okay."

Nova seemed to actually understand what he had said, for she had cuddled further into his arms, her face burring in his neck.

Clarisse smiled, her hand patting Nova's back lightly. "Okay my loves, let's go home. Thank you Olivia."

Joseph passed Clarisse the baby, and drawled his wife into his arms. Clarisse frowned when indeed, Nova reached for her ear.

"My poor baby," she whispered, her hand stroking over Nova's features. "Joseph…"

"I'll take you two home and I'll get some medicine for her. Callie used to get ear infections all the time. She'll be okay Clarisse."

Clarisse pressed a kiss to her daughter's forehead, "I'm sorry you don't feel good my precious little one." Nova curled into her mother's cleavage, her right hand curling around her right ear.

Yes… Clarisse was 110% mom.

Author's Note: I am so sorry for the long delay... Life is being oh so difficult.