Title: Coming Home
Summary: COMPLETE AU. Joseph is a U.S troop who comes home from his deployment in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. He surprises his long time girl-friend, Queen Clarisse Renaldi, of five years, at the Garden Party in Genovia.
In Loving Memory Of: Jeremie Border. Outside the Border home in Mesquite, the American flag flies and yellow are ribbons are all around to honor the men and women who serve our country. Border died Saturday in Afghanistan. His father says he was killed in fire fight. R.I.P Jeremie. Thank you for your services. You will be missed by many and forgotten by none!
Inspiration: To my dear friend, Delgado, darling I miss you. Come home safe and sound. I love you and can't wait for your SAFE return home. Figs, I'm so proud of you and I know you will serve our country well. I am here for both of you 110%! Hooah!
Disclaimer: I do not own Princess Diaries, nor do I own Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, I also do not own any of the Cast members. They belong to Meg Cabot and Disney & all of the other respectful owners. I do however own my writing, so please don't steal Johanna-002©.
Congratulations: Yay, my 70th story! Thank you everyone: Reba fans, Svu fans, Golden-girl fans and now my latest supporters- Princess Diaries' fans! Thank you for all the support and encouragement! Love you all! (:
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Clarisse Renaldi, Queen of Genovia, was beyond livid.
Her granddaughter, Amelia, had to be married in less than thirty days and the girl was running around with a man of who was not her betrothed.
Clarisse gave into temptation, her hands coming up to rub her temples as she let out a very un-queenly frustrated sigh. She just wanted all of this to be over.
Clarisse's eyes opened and she smiled sadly as she caught sight of the picture on her desk.
A black frame, displayed proudly to her, cased the picture of her and her long-time lover, Joseph Torres.
Joseph was an infantry officer in the United States Army. He had been in Afghanistan nearly three years and she missed him greatly. The last time she saw him was a little over seven months ago.
His contract was almost up and he would soon be eligible for retirement. He and Clarisse had talked about going public after he retired. They had decided, once he made it back for good, that they would wed as soon as possible and that he would live in Genovia with her.
They were an open secret.
He'd spend his leave time with her in Genovia. They attended galas and balls together, even walked publicly around Genovia a few times holding hands.
Her people didn't seem to mind that she was 'dating' an American Solider. Reporters would poke around for information and they would ask questions, but for the most part, everyone's attention, especially for the past five years, had been on Princess Mia.
Clarisse picked up the frame, her finger tracing over his form. He looked so dashingly handsome in his Dress Blues.
She smiled as she recalled the first time she had ever met him.
It was seven years ago. She had been in Germany for a conference. Joseph, at the time was training to move up in rank as infantry officer. They had literally run into each other.
Clarisse hastened through the lobby of the five-star hotel she was staying in. Her mind was else where as her Head of Security followed at a discreet pace a few steps behind her.
Rupert, her husband and King, had passed away about four months ago, and now she was left to run Genovia until her youngest son, Philippe, would succeed her to the thrown.
Lost in thought, and with Head of Security paying more attention to her backside than their surroundings, she didn't realize the man- whom lost in own thoughts- was heading straight towards her..
"Ouch!" They both cried out, her hand flying to her forehead and his flying to his mouth.
Clarisse looked up to apologize, when suddenly her eyes met with the bluest and dreamiest pair of eyes that she had ever seen.
"Hi," she said softly, not being able to stop the smile forming on her lips. Her eyes raked over his body. He was dressed in a Dress Blue uniform, his body well defined,
"Definitely American," she thought as she surveyed the uniform and the way it formed to his very obvious built and lean form.
Joseph's attention was pulled away from his busted lip to look at the woman he had collided with.
She was gorgeous! She was clad in a beautiful, form-fitting red dress, and the black pumps she wore gave her that perfect amount of added height.
"Hello, you're self." He said softly, smiling at the light blush that washed over her.
"Oh, your lip!" She cried out. She turned to her Head of Security. "Please get this man some ice!"
"But Your Majesty-"
"I can take care of my self." Clarisse reassured, to prove her point she turned back to the soldier in front of her. "You wouldn't hurt me would you?"
Joseph smiled, "No ma'am."
Clarisse nodded, turning her attention to the man behind her once more. "Please, get the ice."
Clarisse led him to sit down in the lobby lounge chair. "So 'Your Majesty' huh?" He asked her softly.
Clarisse nodded. "Have you ever heard of Genovia?"
"Yes ma'am. I actually just arrived from their last night. Beautiful little place."
"Thank you," She said with a grateful smile. "Genovia is my country, Queen Clarisse Renaldi. I am pleased to make your acquaintances."
"Oh, but Your Majesty, the pleasure is mine." Joseph squeezed her hand, not wanting to get blood on it if he were to kiss her.
"And who might you be?" She asked softly.
"Sergeant Major Joseph Torres, Infantry division for the U.S Army."
Clarisse grinned at the memory. She had invited Joseph to dine with her that night and from there a beautiful friendship had blossomed. She had invited him to visit her in Genovia as soon as he could and he had happily accepted her offer.
It was a long year of phone calls and letters, and only two one-week visits, before their relationship had progressed to one of an actual relationship.
Joseph had been so easy to talk to and he was very understanding. But that was probably because he understood 'duty to your country' and all the energy it took out of one.
What had really done it for Clarisse was when Joseph had strings so he could make it to her youngest son's funeral. Of course, he hadn't been able to make it until a week after the funeral, but she had greatly appreciated all the effort and he had offered his mourning token by having her escort him to the burial site to lay down a dozen white roses.
Joseph had seemed to understand the very core of her. He understood her marriage and her children, and he understood her delima with getting in contact with her at the time, estranged granddaughter.
Joseph was a father, an ex-husband and grandfather himself. Through-out his time in service, he only saw his kids a few times a year. And even know that they were grown, they weren't in much contact. He and his grandchildren we're also minorly estranged. He could relate well to both her situation and Delima.
Clarisse was drawn from her thoughts completely when her office door was opened. She looked up and smiled softly as Amelia entered.
"Hello my dear," Clarisse sat the picture back down on her desk.
Amelia smiled, "Hi." She recalled the frame her grandmother was holding- a picture of her and some U.S soldier. Come to think about it, Mia noticed many pictures of her grandmother and that soldier. She had often wondered if her grandmother had a secret lover…
The last five years that she'd come to the palace for holiday breaks, she had never met, nor seen the man. Clarisse didn't speak of him either.
"Is there anything you need, my dear?" The question seemed to draw Mia out of her deep thought.
Joseph closed the phone with a slap and smiled. In a matter of two weeks he'd be making his way back to Genovia to surprise his long time girl-friend, Clarisse Renaldi.
He was so excited! His retirement papers had been processed and he was just waiting for them to be approved. He wouldn't know until after he had arrived in Genovia but he was hopeful that he would get to stay with Clarisse. He planned on proposing to her the moment he saw her.
He had spoken to her a few days ago; she wasn't expecting him home for another month. She was never going to believe her eyes when she saw him! Her words before they hung up were "I can't wait for you to come home… I'm ready to just be with you… forever! "
They had talked about marriage, and she had mentioned on more than one occasion that she had wanted to marry him. She had been willing to marry him many years previous, but Joseph still belonged to the Army. He didn't wan to make any promises he couldn't live up to.
Being her husband was something he definitely wanted to live up to. He had promised her marriage as soon as he retied. He asked her to just wait a while longer. She agreed. Told him she'd wait forever.
He had smiled and said, "Not forever my love, just a while longer. Just until I can love you and not worry about being shot or bombed to my death."
In the making to surprising Clarisse: (Italics are part of the film Joe's making)
Joseph smiled into the camera that one of his fellow troops, Staff Sergeant Norma Valencia, held- recording him as he documented his surprise for Clarisse… That way, in their future years she would be able to see all the work he had put into coming home to her.
A slide show with a few written words would begin the video, and those words would read: "After a long deployment over seas to Afghanistan… I have waited months to come home to my wonderful girlfriend."
"Hey so," Joseph smiled into the camera, a little description popping up reading 'Helmand province Afghanistan'.
"I'm once again coming to surprise you… It's been a long time out here since I've seen you. So, I'm on my way, starting off today- it's about, 2:45a.m and we're waiting here at the terminal getting ready to take off. I'm coming home early… You don't know this… At least I think you don't know this. I hope you don't. But I'm trying to surprise you, I hope you're excited- it'll probably be a week before I make it to you, and of course I'll be documented every second of it. Can't wait to see you babe, love you!"
The video picks up in Manas, Kyrgyzstan.
"Alright so… we're in Manas now… and it is freezing!" Said Joseph as he was bundled up in ACU warm-wear, a scarf wrapped around his face- only his eyes visible as the rest of him was clothed fully.
"Just one more step to seeing you my love. I still have a few days though… We got in last night and it was like 1 degree Fahrenheit… My eye lashes are freezing! Ugh, but, we have Norma here, helping me again. I can't wait to see you! Hope you're doing well. I'll see you soon!"
The Video picks up once more in Leipzig, Germany.
"The second stop of our trip… It's also very cold here! I think it's like 15 degrees. We're just one step closer… We're getting their slowly. We have to go through England and then make our way their. The videos won't be as clear now… Norma is on her way to Maine. I'm the only one staying here in Europe… Next stop is England, 10 hours. I'm almost there my love!"
Days later, just before the Garden Party
"Your Majesty," Charlotte said with a smile, Clarisse and Mia turned their attention from practicing the art of the fan. "Your Majesty, Sergeant Major Torres is on the phone for you."
Clarisse's eyes widened a light flashing instantly through them. She couldn't contain the smile on her if she had even dared to try.
"Amelia," She said, setting her fan down, and heading towards the door. "Excuse me while I take the call, practice a while longer will you?"
Mia nodded, not missing the sudden sparkle in her grandmother's eye and the dreamy smile on Charlotte's face.
"So, who's this Sergeant Major guy?" Mai asked, pulling Charlotte from her dreamy daze.
"Hello," Clarisse smiled into the phone
"Hello to you,"
"What are you up to?"
"On break. I'll have to get back to patrol in twenty-minutes." Joseph lied.
"I miss you." Clarisse said, her eyes automatically wanting to spill over with tears.
"I miss you too. Don't cry my love. I'll be home before you know it."
"I love you."
"I love you more."
"Be safe, okay Joseph? I need you to come home to me."
"I will. I love you."
The Video then resumes in Genovia, at a pear-palace hotel.
"So I may have lied about going to England. We flew straight threw into Genovia- 14 hours. I got here about 2a.m. Your time, same time, we're in the same time zone. I've been talking to you over the phone, hoping you thought I was still in Afghanistan. You seem to have bought it."
"It's been interesting to come up with ways to trick you. I was scared the intercom at the air port would come on and give me away. Any way, I'm here," Joseph moved so the camera could peer around the hotel room. "I love you Clarisse. I'll see you as soon as I can. But right now I need to catch up on some sleep. I almost told you I was coming home today, on the phone, you sounded sad and I wanted to cheer you up. And I really wanted you to know. But I decided I wanted to surprise you. I'm very excited. I can't wait to see you. Bye babe, love you!"
The Palace, day of the Garden Party
Clarisse smiled, she had been having a pretty crappy week but ever since she had talked to Joseph yesterday she was feeling a lot better.
Man how she missed him!
A butterfly sensation erupted throughout her body. Ever since her phone call with Joseph something inside had been on high-alert. She just had a tingly feeling…
She had expressed her feelings to Charlotte who smiled and said it was probably just nerves for Amelia's first Garden-Party.
Clarisse's attention was drawn towards the stage. In just a few moments both she and Mia would get up there and thank everyone for attending… as if on cue, Charlotte signaled for her to go ahead and start making way on to the stage.
"You're here!" Charlotte screeched as she enveloped Sergeant Major Torres in a tight hug.
Joseph chuckled retuning her embrace. Charlotte pulled back and smiled the biggest smile she had ever seen.
"And you look so nice in uniform!" Charlotte ran a hand down the arms of his Dress Blues.
Joseph looked dashing! Shiny back dress pumps, blue pants, with two yellow lines running down both the outside of his left and right leg. The darker blue jacket concealing the white regulated dress shirt, and black tie- his jacket was decorated in metals and ribbons, his ranks displayed proudly on the outside of the left and right sleeve. His hat donned proudly on his head.
"Her Majesty is just about to make her speech on stage. You have beautiful timing!"
Joseph laughed softly. "I am so nervous," he admitted, his white gloved hands holding tightly to the stems of the dozen red roses in his arm, and his left hand coming to bump against his left hip, he smiled feeling the small jewelry box in which contained the ring he would propose to her with.
"She has no idea!" Charlotte smiled. "You don't know how hard we all worked to keep this a secret from her."
"I appreciate that." Joseph said with a smile, Charlotte's arm looping through his as they walked together towards the party.
She would have him hide out in the sun room, watching out the window at the party, and when Clarisse and Amelia got on stage he would come out.
Charlotte made sure he was comfortable before trotting off to direct Clarisse onto the stage.
Clarisse smiled at her guest as both she and Amelia ascended the small steps that lead to the stage that lifted a foot from the found.
"Hello Everyone, I'm so-" Clarisse stopped, her eyes immediately coming to rest on the ever dashing uniform clad soldier.
Mia looked from the crowd to her grandmother nervously. Her grandmother never choked up! Noticing the very focused looked of her grandmother, she scanned the crowd again, her eyes coming to rest on the U.S Soldier a few feet away.
'Hey! That was the guy from the pictures!'
Before Amelia could ponder any longer, a loud shriek came from next to her.
"Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!" Clarisse cried out, her hands flying to her mouth as Joseph began to walk towards her, the biggest of smiles on his lips.
All eyes were now focused intently on them. Joseph came to stop mere inches from the stage, and he chuckled when he felt Clarisse throw her arms around his neck.
Clarisse felt her body float mere seconds before she she was lowered back to her feet onto the soft, very green and luscious grass.
One are was around his neck, while the other covered her face as she let out her very surprised and happy cry. Clarisse was laugh and crying all together, continuingly chanting "Oh my god!"
Clarisse finally pulled back, the brightest of smiles on her face and her eyes red. "What is wrong with you!" She yelped pushing him away slightly, before pulling him into another bone crushing hug.
Clarisse pulled away from the hug, her hands cradling his face as she pressed hard but gentle kisses to his mouth. She had become completely oblivious to anything else around her.
Kiss "Oh my god!"
She never gave Joseph a chance to answer. "I knew it! I knew something was happening today! Where's Charlotte?"
Charlotte appeared, the biggest of smile on her face.
"See I told you!" Clarisse shrieked, turning her loving attention back to Joseph. "I was like I have butterflies in my tummy, something's going to happen today! Ahhh! I knew it!"
Clarisse pulled his lips to her again. "I love you,"
"I love you too," he said, his left arm still holding the roses. Joseph continued to accept her soft kisses as he sank down to one knee in front of her, he passed the roses smoothly into her arms once he was kneeled completely in front of her.
Clarisse let a scream rip through her. "You are… Ahhh!"
The many guest continued to stare at the scene in front of them. What in the world was going on?
The microphone so close, it picked up every word that was said.
"Clarisse," Joseph said gently, his voice carrying because of the microphone. Holding her left hand in the both of his, "Every day I love you more and more, and if you would do me the honor," Joseph pulled the small back box from his pocket, flipping open the lid to reveal a 14 karat white gold band, set with a round halo and round brilliant cut diamonds. "Clarisse Renaldi, will you marry me?"
Every one in attendance shrieked a very loud, "What!"
At this moment Clarisse was not a Queen, she was not a mother or grandmother, she was a woman in love.
Not being able to form a vocal response, she leaned down to press several soft kisses to his lips, Joseph rising up from the ground.
"Yeah… Yes… Yes!" She said each time getting louder and louder.
"My hands shaking!" Clarisse yelped, shaking vigorously as he slid the ring on to er left ring finger.
"Oh god!" She cried as she saw the ring on her finger, It was beautiful! She pressed another serious of kisses to his mouth, never noticing the cheers and applause that erupted through-out their guest.
As Clarisse moved away from him she knocked one of his ribbons of his chest. After bending down to retrieve and re-pin it to him, she had to give up.
"I'm too shaky!" She said not able to pin it.
Joseph laughed softly, taking the ribbon from her to re-attach it from its hook. "Do you like it?" he asked as Clarisse admired her ring, holding her hand out in front of her.
"Yes!" She cheered, before letting a very un-queenly scream rip through her as she leaned into kiss him. "I love you. I love it!" she shouted. Clarisse wiped at her eyes, careful not to smear her make up, "But why didn't you tell me you were coming home?"
"It wouldn't have been a surprise!"
"I hate surprises."
Joseph laughed, "You loved this surprise."
Clarisse nodded, "I did! But no more, okay?"
"Well then I guess you don't want to know I've sent my paper in for retirement?" Another shriek left her as she pulled him in for another hug.
"Can I retire for the day?" Clarisse asked Charlotte excitedly.
Charlotte, laughing, nodded her head. "Whoa! Okay!" She yelped in surprise as Clarisse pulled her into a hug.
Clarisse pulled back from Charlotte to yell excitedly, "I'm Engaged!"
"Grandma, you never told me you had a boyfriend!" Amelia shouted excitedly.
Clarisse just smiled, casting an 'awe' expression towards her ring. "You never asked."
The party had ended a few hours ago, the press already lining up at the gates for a glimpse at the Queen and her beau.
Currently, Clarisse and Mia were in Clarisse's sitting area in her suite, Joseph outside the room talking to his friend, Norma, who had helped him pull off the video documenting his trip- she was currently heading to Maine.
"I've been wondering who he was." Mia said, her eyes catching a glimpse at a picture across the way.
Clarisse nodded. "We met about seven years ago. Your grandfather had just passed away a few months previous and I was in Germany. We literally ran into each other- our heads were somewhere else. Anyways, I ended up busting his lip with my head and as I was helping him clean up, I invited him to join me for dinner. I felt awful. It was me saying 'sorry'. We just… really connected. We kept in contact- became pen-pals while he was away on duty, and he would call me when he could… and as they say the rest is history."
"Who's history, what, where?" Joseph asked upon entering the room.
"Joseph," Clarisse said standing up. She had not properly introduced her granddaughter and fiancée. "You two have not been properly introduced, this is my granddaughter Amelia."
"Mia is fine," Mia said as she and Joseph shook hands.
"You look like your father." Joseph said after a moment.
Mia's eyes widened. "You met him?"
"Once, and only briefly. I did attend his funeral though. I am very sorry for your loss."
Mia smiled. She liked this guy already. So caring, was he. "Thank you. And I shall call you?"
"My apologize Your Majesty," Joseph said, his lip twitching into a smile when Mia rolled her eyes at the use of her title. "Joseph, or Joe, will be fine. Under no circumstances are you to call me Joey. I will revoke that right, and make me you, use my rank- Sergeant Major."
Mia smiled, "Noted. Don't call me 'Your Majesty' ever again, and we have a deal."
"Well I'll leave you love birds alone…" Mia said. "I should probably find Andrew." The door closed behind the young monarch leaving the newly engaged couple alone for the first time since he had proposed.
Clarisse grinned as she pulled him towards her, her lips mere inches away from his. She whispered, "Welcome home Solider," before kissing him passionately.
Author's Note: Yay! I've made it to 70! So proud of myself. Also, check out my PD story: "You Know My Name; Not My Story"
Also, I will be re-posting: "If You Really Knew Me". I am so sorry I keep re-posting that story! 1st time- the link was glitchy and wouldn't go through. 2nd time- I didn't realize I posted the contents of my Mia story: "You Know My Name; Not my story", under this title and summary -used the wrong file- So I am very truly sorry. I know you are all sick of getting this "New Story" update to that story.
But once again, thank you all so much for the support. I believe I have come a long way in the last four years and I've had so much fun and have met so many awesome people! Thanks a bunch y'all!