A/N: A light and fluffy story about birthdays... let's see where we go with this!
The Princess Diaries doesn't belong to me!
"So, Grandma, what are we going to do for your birthday?" Mia suddenly burst out over the dinner table, and Clarisse gave a start before she quickly gathered her thoughts- the question had been unexpected so she didn't know exactly how to respond, although she was aware that Mia and everyone else (in being Nicholas, Charlotte, Pierre, the Motezes and Joseph) at the table were waiting for an answer.
"I'm actually quite happy not to have anything special organized for my birthday," she said after a moment, hoping that was the end of it.
"Come on, Grandam, surely there's something you want to do!"
"Maybe a dinner with a few friends?"
"No! Come on, we HAVE to celebrate your big day!"
"Big day?" Clarisse echoed weakly- this conversation was getting further along than she had expected.
"Your BIRTHDAY," Mia said with a touch of impatience. "Seriously, we can't ignore your day! Let's have a party- we've still got almost three weeks to organize it and if you can organize a wedding and coronation within a month, I can organize a birthday party!"
Clarisse couldn't help but smile- Mia had always been amazingly persistent, one of her most endearing qualities, and while she did appreciate Mia's thoughts for her, she was looking forward to a very low key birthday- after so many years of balls and expensive presents (although Rupert's never meant as much as the boys), she was content to have dinner with a few friends.
"Thank you dear, that's a very sweet thought, but I'm more than content to have a simple dinner... Mia," she continued after a moment, seeing that Mia wasn't giving up without a fight- again, another endearing trait and one she also had inherited from her father. "I've had all of the balls and celebrations over the years, and I'm just happy to have a quiet simple birthday this year, and possibly from now on... so, Sheila, how are your roses?" and it was made abundantly clear, from the distinct change in subject, that Clarisse considered the matter closed.
Joseph knew why Clarisse felt like she did- her reasoning that she had had attended so many balls in her lifetime made sense, as well as her longing for a simpler life- but he could see that Mia was genuinely disappointed in her grandmother's decision and that she had wanted to do something special for her for her birthday.
It was that realization (and his secret desire to give Clarisse a surprise party- after all, it was their first celebratory occasion since they were married and he would be able to stand at her side, rather than pretend that he wasn't in love with her) that made him move towards Mia, who was talking to Charlotte, after dinner, while Clarisse had moved away with Sheila, still talking gardening, and said simply:
"Hmm?" Mia sounded distracted as she turned away from her conversation with Charlotte, having almost completely forgotten about her earlier suggestion. "Joe? What are you talking about?"
"You SHOULD do something for your grandmother for her birthday- so do it, plan a party."
"Really?" her face lit up.
"Really," he affirmed. "Only, I have a little piece of advice for you- don't make it an enormous party- she is quite shy and she has been to so many of them over the years..."
"Of course, it wasnt going to be a big party anyway," Mia amended quickly. "Will you be able to help me? Charlotte?"
"I'll have time to help," Charlotte said quickly. "And I'm sure Pierre will be able to help too."
"As will I," Joe added. "I'm sure Sebastian and Sheila could help out too... although we are definitely going to have to make sure that Clarisse doesn't suspect a thing."
"That should be easy," Mia said confidently before giving Charlotte a sidelong glance. "For me, anyway, and Charlotte... although according to Grandma, she isn't good at lying," she finished with a giggle and Charlotte's face flushed slightly.
"I can assure you that I will not say anything about this!" she half protested and Mia only chuckled.
"I know that, Charlotte, I just couldn't resist teasing you... I'm more worried about Joe..." she trailed off as she gave Joseph a meaningful smile and he grinned.
"Don't you worry about ME, Your Majesty," he strongly emphasized her title, although his eyes were twinkling mischieviously. "My wife won't hear a thing from me!"
"Hear anything about what?" came a voice from behind Joseph and he turned to see Clarisse standing there, having finished her conversation with Sheila. "Have I missed something here?" her eyes took in the three of them standing together, and Joe suddenly realized that this might be harder to pull off than expected... she hadn't been Queen of a country for nothing- she had always been sharp and alert...
"No Grandma," Mia said easily. "We were just just talking about something that happened in parliament the other day, about a certain gentleman that was trying to insult me but I didn't let him, and we didn't want you to hear it because..."
"It's alright, darling, I know you are more than able to handle anything those men throw at you," she was now distracted and the three of them let out inaudible sighs of relief as she moved over to talk to Pierre- hopefully, with some assistance, this would all work out in the end...