Parting Gift

By: Shakayla and Leetah47
Rating: MA Adult material. If you are underage, you should go read another story.
Disclaimer: We don't own any of these characters. Princess Diaries 1 & 2 and its characters are the property of Disney, Buena Vista, and Meg Cabot.
Summary: This is in response to a challenge to write a threesome with Rupert, Clarisse and Joseph.

Thanks: To Susan for betaing and to Miyabinohana for the idea


If anyone had told me that I would be making plans such as this, at my age, I would have told them they were a fool. I am the King – I do not weaken. I do not get sick. And I most certainly do not… DIE!

Yet, here I find myself, standing very near death’s door; nothing really left to do but prepare my country, myself, and…yes…my wife for what is to come. The sense of responsibility I feel for my wife goes far beyond that of what I feel for my country or myself. Even though our marriage was arranged by forces well outside her control, she has stood devotedly by my side; been my confidante and my friend since the beginning. She has done this even though I knew deep down that she did not love me - not as a wife normally loves her husband. She loved her King and was fond of her husband; but I never saw the embers of passion burn deep within those mesmerizing blue eyes. Every time I looked deep into her eyes, I saw kindness, friendship, loyalty and respect. I suppose there are worse things a husband could see when he looks into the eyes of his beloved.

It is with considerable regret that I admit to myself that I have never been able to awaken the passionate woman that I am confident lies deep within her soul. As God as my witness, I have tried. Although she was very kind in her responses to my advances and lovemaking, it would take a fool not to realize that I was only scratching the surface of her desire. I long to see her, just once, respond with complete abandon. To see her lose control as she gives in to experiencing nothing but feelings…her body flushed with desire. I know that I am not the one who is destined to engender that type of response from her. That fact does not, however, stop my desire to witness such a moment.

As my death approaches, I have spent a lot of time thinking about her and what her future will hold. She refuses to talk about it…even refuses to acknowledge that I am going to die. She knows what my death will mean to the country and to her sons. She won’t even stop to consider what it will mean for her. So even though she won’t consider it, I believe my pondering on it for many of my waking hours will provide sufficient consideration for both of us.

After many months of careful thought, I have decided what I must do. It will require all of my powers of persuasion and perhaps calling on the sense of duty of the involved parties. I will make it an order from their King…if I must; but I would prefer they agree that this is best…for everyone. With my illness limiting much of my activities, I have spent a lot of time simply watching. My main focus has been on her. I have always enjoyed looking at her. I first noticed her when she was a very young woman. She had a beauty about her that left me breathless. It was what led me to choose her as my wife. Her ability to take my breath away has not lessened over the years.

I first noticed the attraction they held for each other at a diplomatic function several months ago. I was seated on an elevated platform watching the assembled group moving fluently around the dance floor, when I saw him extend his hand to ask for a dance. Her face brightened as a hundred candles would a darkened room. As she grasped his hand, I could have sworn I saw sparks of electricity emanating from everywhere they touched. She moved effortlessly in his arms and I saw a tenderness exchanged between them that surpassed even the years of friendship they shared. It was subtle…not noticeable to anyone else in the room, really; but I recognized it immediately. I am closer to them than any other person and know them perhaps better than they know themselves.

As the dance came to a close, I watched as he kissed her hand. The rise and fall of her chest indicated to me that her breathing had not quickened as a result of her activity on the dance floor; but rather her heart was racing at the mere brush of his lips against her gloved hand. After that night, I paid rapt attention to their interactions with each other. I recall one night, in particular, that further demonstrated to me that he was the one that could unlock all of the emotions she held tightly reigned within her heart. I had taken a turn for the worse and she was very upset after visiting with me for most of the night. She kissed me gently on the forehead, tears glistening in her eyes as she left. I knew she was going to go to her garden - for that is where she always went when she sought solace from the pressures of life…and I knew that he would be there with her.

I summoned all of my strength to make my way to the window to watch them in the moonlight. Believing they were alone, he took her in his arms and held her as she wept. Several minutes passed as he simply held her, gently stroking her back as she released the pain that she would not show to me. Once she had gathered her composure, she lifted her head from his chest. I could see her tear-stained face bathed in moonlight as clearly as if I were standing next to her. What kept him from kissing her, I cannot fathom. He simply wiped her tears away with his thumbs as he held her face and then extended his arm to lead her back to our suite. I knew right then that he was likely the most loyal, honorable man that I had ever met.

Careful thought after that night has prompted me to speak with Joseph tomorrow regarding my plans. Once I speak with him, I will tackle the more difficult challenge of convincing Clarisse of my intentions.

**The next day**

“Clarisse, I wonder if I may ask a favor of you?” Rupert began.


“Would you mind terribly attending the session of Parliament with Philippe today? I wish to conserve my energy for the ball tomorrow night.” What he had said was true, but the real reason was that he wanted to have an hour or so with which to speak with Joseph in private.

She placed a kiss on his forehead as she got up from their morning tea, “Of course, darling. I’ll ask Charlotte to clear my schedule for that time. I’ll find you when we’re finished and bring you up to date on any important matters.”

His hand went to hold her cheek in a caress as he drank in the sight of her morning radiance. “Thank you, my love. Please ask Charlotte to arrange a private dinner for just the two of us in our suite tonight. I don’t wish to eat in the dining room with everyone else…I would rather have a quiet dinner with just you. Is that acceptable?”

Clarisse thought he was acting rather strangely; but decided that she would not press him at the moment, “Of course, dear. You know I would do anything for you.”

He smiled briefly at her and then watched as she turned to leave the suite. She did not hear his quiet comment. “We shall see, my love…we shall see.”

**A few hours later**

“You wished to see me, Your Majesty?” Joseph entered the King’s private sitting room.

“Yes, Joseph. Please come in. Have a seat.” Rupert gestured to the chair opposite his.

When Joseph was seated, Rupert began,” First, I would like to thank you for your many years of loyal service to the crown and to the Renaldi family.”

Joseph was quick to respond, “It has been my honor to serve, Your Majesty.”

“I have also come to realize many things over the past several months. I believe you to be the most honorable man I have ever met.”

“Your Majesty…I don’t know what to say….thank you.” Some of Joseph’s internal alarms were starting to go off. He couldn’t determine exactly why…but he sensed there was going to be more to this conversation than the King giving him the proverbial “pat on the back”.

“I fear my time is drawing near, Joseph; and it is critical that I ensure my house is in order.”

Joseph started to object; but Rupert raised his hand to silence him.

“Joseph, please. I know that no one wants to accept this; but understand that whether or not acceptance is forthcoming, it will not change the inevitable. And today I do not have the strength to debate that fact with you.”

Sensing urgency in his Monarch’s tone, Joseph simply replied, “Understood, Your Majesty. Please continue.”

“The most important part of my household that I must ensure is taken care of is my wife.

Nothing in the world is more important to me than her and her future happiness.”

“As it should be, Your Majesty.”

“And that is why I have asked you here today, Joseph.”

“I’m afraid I don’t follow, sir.” The alarms were now resounding at a frightening rate inside of his head.

“I believe that you are in love with my wife and she with you.” There, he had said it.

Joseph was flabbergasted! He had never done anything to give any indication of the secret feelings he harbored for his Queen. “I assure you, Your Majesty, that I have never done anything…”

Rupert once again raised his hand to silence his defense. “I am very much aware of that, Joseph. Both of your actions are above any reproach. I did not see it in your actions…rather in your eyes. The eyes do not lie, Joseph, and they tell the truth far better than any words or deeds ever could.”

Joseph was at a loss as to what to say next. He could not…would not lie to his King; but he could not outright confess his love of another man’s wife…especially not when that man was sitting right across from him – when that man was his King! “I must be honest and admit that I don’t know what to say, Your Majesty.”

“Say that you love her and that you swear to take care of her after I’ve gone.”

“I promise to watch over her and guard her with my life. You have my word on that, my King.” He hoped that would be enough to allay the King’s concern about Clarisse’s future.

Rupert used the one card against Joseph that he knew would work, “Are you saying that you don’t love Clarisse – as a man loves a woman?” He knew that he was not wrong about Joseph being an honorable man – he would not outright lie to his King.

With a deep sigh, Joseph said the words that he never thought he would utter out loud. “Despite my best efforts to the contrary, my King…I’m afraid that I have fallen in love with my Queen. But please be assured that I would never have acted on those feelings, Your Majesty – NEVER!”

Rupert gave Joseph an understanding smile. “I believe you, Joseph. I also know how hard it is not to fall in love with her. I consider myself the luckiest man in the world that I have been able to call her my wife for well over the past thirty years.”

“I assure you, my King; it is not my practice to go around falling in love with another man’s wife.”

“If I were a younger man I would, perhaps, challenge you to a duel; but as I am an old man with a limited number of days left, I propose to challenge you to prove your love to my wife in a very tangible way…so that I may know you are the right choice to whom I might entrust her heart, body and soul, when I am gone.”

The small sigh of relief, that Joseph had just begun to breathe, quickly vanished as he tried to absorb the King’s meaning. “Your Majesty? I’m afraid I don’t understand.”

“I believe you do, Joseph. You are a very smart man and I was very clear in my request. I want you to come to our suite tomorrow night after the ball and we will, shall we say, engage in a ceremony of sorts…a proverbial passing of the torch, if you will. Before I can go to my grave, I must know firsthand that I am not wrong about the fact that you two belong together. She deserves nothing less than the best, Joseph. She has been content with settling for less than the complete happiness she deserves and I will not permit it to continue after I am gone.”

“Your Majesty…I….even if I were amenable to your request, Her Majesty would never allow such an event to occur.”

Rupert grew tired as the exchange drew on. He would play his last and final card in an effort to bring this discussion to a close, “Joseph, I am asking you, man to man, to grant me this one request. If you refuse, I will be forced to make it an order from your King. I would rather not do that; however, as I mentioned, my time grows short and I do not have time to play games. I have forgiven you the trespass of desiring my wife and all I am asking in exchange is that you prove your love for her in the manner I have deemed necessary. As for Clarisse, I will speak with her privately tonight. While she may be reluctant at first, I am certain I can persuade her to honor both her husband and her King’s request. Now…what say you, Joseph?”

A million emotions were running through Joseph’s head at that very moment…but years of service and loyalty to his King demanded only one response. He rose from his chair and knelt before the King and spoke, “It will be my honor to grant His Majesty’s request. Simply let me know what I am to do and it will be done.”

**That evening**

“Dinner was wonderful, Rupert. Thank you for suggesting a quiet dinner for just the two of us – it was a nice change,” Clarisse offered as they finished their meal and tea was served.

Rupert smiled and nodded his agreement before turning to the servants. “That will be all for the evening. Please leave the dishes until morning as I would like to spend a quiet, private evening with my wife.”

The servants nodded and bowed. “As you wish, Your Majesty. Simply ring the kitchen in the morning when you’re ready and we will ensure it is taken care of.”

Once they were alone and had enjoyed some of their tea, Rupert put his cup down and looked lovingly at his wife. “Clarisse?”


“I want to let you know that I appreciate the love, loyalty, and devotion you have shown me over the years. A King could ask for nothing more.” He waited – he had been very careful in his choice of words and wanted to see if she noticed and responded.

Clarisse had been enjoying the quiet of the evening. She was semi-reclined on the couch watching the fire, while Rupert was in his easy chair watching her. She noticed that he had seemed to be doing that more and more over the past few months. While it was a bit disconcerting, she found that there was little she would deny him, if anything, as he continued to weaken from his illness. She had determined that she would choose the path of denial when it came to her husband’s health. He had chided her for it on occasion and lately had been challenging her about it; but she still found that path easier to walk down than the idea of losing her dearest friend. She was roused from her thoughts by his words; and despite her best intentions, she found herself challenging his statement, “And my husband? What would he ask for that has not been granted him?”

He continued on, not answering her question. “You are a most gracious Queen to the people of Genovia. You have been everything they could ever want in a Queen – beautiful, graceful, intelligent and compassionate. You have served them well alongside your King.”

She was sitting upright now. She had the distinct impression he was flattering her and baiting her all at the same time. “Rupert? Have I not been a good wife? I have tried to give you everything you could want. We have had a good relationship, have we not?”

He took a deep breath and held her intense gaze. “Clarisse, my love, it is I who has been unable to give you everything you could want. But know that I fully intend to remedy that before I die.”

She closed her eyes against the feelings of hurt and sadness that were rushing to the surface. She spoke quietly, calmly and deliberately, “You are NOT going to die!” Her eyes remained tightly shut as tears began to slip through the closed lids.

She sensed him coming to kneel in front of her. He took her face in his hands and spoke quietly, but forcefully, “Clarisse, open your eyes and look at me.”

She reluctantly obeyed and found his face mere inches from hers as he held her gaze with his eyes. “Yes, my beautiful but stubborn wife, I am.” He paused for a moment, letting his words sink in as her tears fell freely now. He brushed them away with his thumbs as he had seen Joseph do only a few short weeks ago; but he did not resist the urge to kiss the tears away. He tasted the salty liquid as his lips moved over her wet cheeks; he was enjoying being close enough to her to smell the last remnants of her daily application of perfume. He inhaled deeply, wanting to remember that scent always. When he sensed she had calmed some, he asked, “Did you mean what you said earlier today – that you would do anything for me?”

She pushed back a bit and he rose to a sitting position next to her on the couch. “Anything but accept that you are going to die.”

His frustration level grew…God, this woman was stubborn! “Then your words are nothing more than that…words!”

“Rupert, please don’t ask me to accept that. It is too painful for me to even consider.” She pleaded with him.

“So rather than honor my request and allow us both to be at peace with it; you would have me endure further mental anguish knowing you are suffering at my expense. I’m sorry, Clarisse; but I have endured that for years now…I refuse to add to that any further.”

His words stopped her cold. “What are you talking about? Why do you think that I have been suffering at your expense?”

They were both standing now at opposite sides of the fire place, rigid stances indicative of the tension that now filled the room. After a few moments, he took a deep breath and asked, “Do you remember when we were first married?”

“Of course I do.”

“Do you remember how, in the beginning, I always asked you to open your eyes during the climax of our lovemaking?”

She flushed slightly, remembering how embarrassed she was by his request. “Rupert! I fail to see how that has anything to do with what we’re talking about right now.”

Her outburst did nothing to sway him from his agenda. “Do you remember?”

She sighed heavily, “Yes, of course.”

He looked at her, a strange expression on his face. “Did you ever wonder why?”

This question took her off guard. “I…uh…no…I just thought it was something you wanted; so I did as you asked.”

He continued, “Did you ever wonder why I stopped asking you to do it?”

Her head dropped in shame. “No…no, I didn’t.” She was ashamed because she had been immensely grateful when he stopped asking.

“I stopped…because I realized that what I was looking for in your eyes, I was never going to find. With your eyes closed, it was easier to pretend it was there.” His voice sounded sad as he shared this with her for the first time.

Her tears were falling again. “And what did you hope to find?”

“Desire – passion – unrestrained emotion…call it what you will. Not seeing that time and time again was forcing me to realize the undeniable fact that, while you loved me…you were never in love with me.”

Sadness was in her voice now. “Rupert…I am so sorry. I don’t know what to say.”

He sensed his opening. “Say you’ll let me make it right. You’ll let me ensure that your suffering will not continue after I have gone. You’ll grant me a parting gift that will allow me to make peace with the fact that you have stood by my side all of these years never truly experiencing what love can really be like.”

“And how would you propose that you would do this? I have no regrets – I would gladly spend another thirty years by your side…it is only that for which I have prayed.”

Rupert was more animated now as he closed the distance between them. “No – Clarisse…it is I who have prayed for a solution. As a man staring at death’s door, I have gained a new perspective. I knew I could make it right – it was just a matter of God answering my prayer. He answered it in the form of Joseph!”

Her head snapped up at his last statement. “Whatever do you mean, Rupert? How is Joseph the answer to your prayers?”

Rupert’s gaze was fixed solely on her face as he repeated the statement he had made earlier in the day to Joseph. “Because he is in love with you…and you with him.”

“Rupert! How could you say such a thing?” The color began to slowly drain from her face even though she was trying to feign outrage.

“Very easily, my dear; I know he loves you because he admitted as much to me this afternoon. I know you love him…because, well…I know you. I see something in your eyes when you look at him that has always been painfully absent when you look at me.”

She only had a little fight left in her; but she made good use of it. “And why, pray tell, even if it were true, would Joseph admit something like that to you, my husband, of all people?”

“In all fairness, Clarisse, I didn’t give him much of a choice. He is an honorable man and would not lie to his King. Can I expect the same truthfulness from my wife? Will she lie to her King? Or, more importantly, to her husband? You do love him, don’t you? You feel something that you have never felt before when he looks at you, touches you, dances with you…don’t you?”

She sank back onto the couch, her head in her hands. He watched as she battled with herself as to the best path to choose. She finally rose and stood directly in front of him. She looked long and hard in his eyes trying to get a sense of what had brought them to this place. Finally, she took a deep breath and answered. “Yes…I didn’t plan for it…wasn’t looking for it…but it found me and I have been helpless to stand against it. Please forgive me for not being stronger and for not loving you as you deserved to be loved. You, too, deserve to be loved with complete abandon and I feel ashamed that I could not do that for you. I will do whatever my King; my husband asks in order to right this injustice. Simply say what is to be…and it shall be. You have my word.”

**The next afternoon…a few hours before the ball. **

“Do you have any idea what’s going on, Charlotte?” Shades asked quietly as they made their way into the Grand Ballroom to do the last minute preparations and security checks for the festivities that evening.

“I keep telling you, no! The Queen has been very quiet and withdrawn. The King has been resting in his suite. He says it is to gather his strength for tonight; but his servants say that he seems preoccupied and not like himself; and Joseph has been nowhere to be found! He said he was going out to check the grounds and ensure that the security was in place for tonight…but that was hours ago. I know he’s thorough, but this is ridiculous! And the tension was almost palpable for the few moments they all were together this morning to go over the last minute details. Something is up, Shades, between the three of them. I don’t know what it is…but I know there’s something!” Charlotte answered in an urgent whisper.

Shades simply nodded his head in agreement…if Charlotte didn’t know, no one did. He could only hope that whatever was causing the tension between them would be resolved soon.

**Later that night**

The ball ended far too quickly for Clarisse and Joseph. While they had not taken the opportunity to speak to each other about what was to happen tonight; both knew they would honor the King’s request and do as he asked. Joseph – to prove himself worthy of the King entrusting Clarisse to his care; and Clarisse – trying to set right what had gone so wrong…and to give Rupert the peace he so desperately sought.

Clarisse and Rupert made their way back to their suite, hand in hand. It had been agreed that Joseph would arrive a short time later. They quickly changed in their respective dressing rooms, Clarisse emerging just a few minutes after Rupert.

He was wearing dark burgundy colored silk bottoms and matching robe. She had donned the outfit Rupert had selected for her, but voiced her disapproval when she came into the bedroom. “Rupert, darling, considering what will be taking place here shortly, I hardly think white is appropriate.” She gestured to the white silk night gown that fell midway on her thigh and matching robe he had chosen.

He was nonplussed. “Unless I am grossly mistaken, this will be your first night with Joseph, will it not?”

“Of course!”

“Then it’s highly appropriate. Now would you please pour some wine while I select the music?”

She smiled, ever so slightly, more so in exasperation than humor. “You are incorrigible. You know that, right?”

He simply returned her smile as he hit play and music filled the room. They shared a glass of wine to pass the time and to ease their nervousness.

Outside the doors of their suite, a different story was unfolding. Joseph had grabbed a bag containing his change of clothes as it would not be appropriate to be seen going into the suite in his night clothes. He made his way to their private suite and dismissed the guards for the night indicating that he would take the night watch. Both guards were grateful as everyone sensed the King’s time was near and no one wanted to be on duty when it happened. Joseph was relieved as he knew that, for security reasons, the walls of the royal suite were not highly soundproofed. If he intended to rise to the King’s challenge tonight and release Clarisse’s passions, he didn’t want her worrying about being heard just outside the doors.

He finally found the courage to enter. He made his way to the bedroom and found the King and Queen, already changed, sitting in chairs and sharing a glass of wine. Candles had been lit and soft music filled the room.

“Good evening, Joseph. Thank you for coming…we’ve been waiting for you.” Rupert offered.

Joseph chuckled slightly at the irony of the situation he now found himself in, “I don’t believe you left me much choice, Your Majesty.”

He ventured a glance at Clarisse and found that his breath caught in his throat at the sight of her bare legs extending from under the short white robe she wore. They were uncharacteristically crossed as she studied him covertly above the rim of her wine glass. He finally found his voice and nodded in her direction. “Your Majesty.”

She took a rather large, unladylike gulp of her wine. “Good evening, Joseph.”

An awkward silence filled the room until Rupert’s voice broke through their reverie. “Perhaps you’d like to change, Joseph, while I persuade my wife to dance?”

“Yes. Yes, I will do that.” He moved off into the bathroom while Rupert pulled Clarisse into his arms and began to sway to the music.

Joseph emerged a few minutes later in his standard black silk bottoms and a short black robe. He drank the wine that was left for him and watched as the couple danced slowly around the candlelit room. They looked comfortable together – like two old friends sharing a special moment. He found it to be very sweet and could have watched them all night; but the King sensed his presence and caught his eye, indicating that it was time he cut in.

He stepped forward and tapped the King on his shoulder. “May I cut in?”

Rupert smiled at him and then kissed Clarisse on the hand. “Of course, Joseph.”

Joseph bowed slightly and then took Clarisse’s hand and bowed to her as well. “Your Majesty?”

His nearness was unnerving her. She didn’t know if it was their lack of attire, the romantic atmosphere in the room, or the look of pure desire he no longer made an effort to hide. She finally found her voice, and managed to say, “Clarisse – please call me Clarisse.”

They stood about a foot apart and waited as one song ended and the strains of another began. He undid the tie of his robe and let it drop to the floor. He was silently pleased at the look of appreciation he saw cross her face as she surveyed the broad expanse of his chest, now lightly sprinkled with graying hair. He stepped forward slightly; but rather than take her into his arms to dance, his hands went to the belt on her robe. He slowly undid the knot and pushed the robe off of her shoulders revealing far more of her creamy skin than his eyes had ever been privy to before. He pulled her into his arms and whispered into her ear, “Then Clarisse it is…shall we dance?”

She was able to follow his lead; but it was purely out of instinct…for all rational thought was quickly dissipating. She wanted to blame the wine; but knew that was a lie. Her inability to form a coherent thought was for no other reason than the man whose body now touched hers, awakening every nerve ending on the surface of her skin.

He held her closer than would have been considered appropriate for ballroom dancing; but he decided he didn’t care as it was slowly dawning on him that a lifetime of fantasies was about to become a reality tonight. He let his hand slip lower to cup her bottom and pull her even closer so she could feel exactly the effect she was having on him. He was rewarded with a gasp of pleasure and their closeness allowed him to feel her pulse quicken as well.

She was quickly becoming lost in the sensations infusing every pore of her being. She had to get hold of herself – they were just dancing! What kind of woman would he think she was if she just melted in his arms the moment his flesh touched hers? “The kind of woman that her husband had wanted…one that would get lost in his touch…” She couldn’t believe she was arguing with herself at a time like this! Fortunately, she didn’t have to worry about the debate much longer as any lingering thoughts fled like the wind as she felt Joseph’s hand slide down her back to cup her bottom and pull her close. A gasp escaped before she could stop it and her heart started to beat faster of its own accord.

Just as she was about to wrap her arms around Joseph’s neck and pull him in for their first, long awaited kiss, the sound of coughing erupted from behind her. She quickly pulled away from Joseph to see to Rupert. “Are you alright, my love?”

Rupert coughed a bit more and then took the wine that Clarisse offered. “I’m fine. I think perhaps I got so caught up in the moment that I forgot to breathe.” He chuckled a bit to attempt to lighten the mood once again.

Joseph moved to the other side of the bed as Clarisse helped him calm his breath. Rupert took a sip of the wine and the coughing stopped; but his breathing was still slightly labored.

“Rupert, you are not well. Perhaps it would be better if we…” Clarisse started; but he interrupted her.

“No! No, I’ll be fine. Just give me a moment.” His breathing slowly returned to normal and Clarisse placed the wine glass on the bedside table.

“Are you really sure you have the strength for this, darling? It could wait for another night.” Her voice was filled with concern.

“Please, Clarisse. I’m fine.” She held his cheek for a moment before returning to a standing position next to the bed. She fixed her gaze first upon Rupert and then on Joseph. He gave her a slight nod indicating he believed the King would be fine. She closed her eyes for a moment and took a deep breath. Exhaling slowly, she opened her eyes and decided to take the next step.

She began to slowly untie the few pieces of silk that were primarily responsible for holding her gown in place. She glanced at Joseph standing on the opposite side of the bed and then to her husband. Ever so slowly, she slid the straps of the night gown over her shoulders. Knowing she had the rapt attention of both men, she let the gown slip to pool on the floor, revealing that she wore nothing underneath.

Rupert took in the amazing sight that she presented, deciding once again that the years had been very kind to her. “You are as beautiful as the day I married you.”

Clarisse blushed and looked down, but a small smile played over her lips. As a result, she missed the strong look of desire that raged again in Joseph’s eyes. He turned his back under the pretense of retrieving some more wine; but he really had thought it wise to give them a moment.

She climbed in to the bed positioning herself next to Rupert. She looked to her left at the large space left for Joseph and then back at Rupert. “It’s a good thing this bed is so big,” she teased, wanting to ease some of her own nervousness. She looked towards Joseph’s direction; but his back was still turned – she wasn’t sure why, but thought he may be trying to give them some privacy or perhaps collect his own thoughts.

Rupert chuckled and she smiled at him. He took her hand in his and asked her seriously, “Are you ready for this, darling?”

Clarisse took a deep breath and realized that yes - she really was. “Yes, Rupert, I believe that I am…or will be soon. I told you I would do anything for you – I want you to be at peace. So as long as you feel strong enough for this; then I am certain I can be as well.”

He brought her hand to his lips once again as they exchanged a smile and a look that reinforced their commitment to each other – to what they were about to do. Her attention was pulled away as Clarisse heard the rustling of silk. She automatically turned toward the sound and watched, mesmerized, as Joseph finished undressing.

He stood there, unashamed, in his nakedness. He was nothing short of magnificent and she found that the image she had formed in the brief moments she had allowed her subconscious to picture what he looked like under all that black paled in comparison to the real thing now standing only a few feet in front of her. His skin seemed to glow in the candlelight; and the flames highlighted each taut muscle throughout his body. Her nervousness and excitement spiked. Unconsciously she squeezed Rupert’s hand and let out a small gasp; leaving him with no doubt as to her desire towards Joseph.

Joseph stood still, observing the scene unfolding in front of him. The royal couple was lying in the bed; a sheet was covering their lower halves. Clarisse was nestled up against the King and they had been talking quietly. Her body was slightly flushed, providing a beautiful contrast to the King’s slightly darker skin tone. In his mind, he imagined that they had spent many nights over the past thirty years in such a position and decided that image created a very beautiful picture that would forever be a part of his memory.

The sound of sheets rustling drew him from his reverie. He brought his attention back to the present to see Clarisse turn and look at him. She was a vision; the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and she was looking at him with…could it be desire?

He slowly moved toward the bed, her eyes following him the whole way. Rupert changed his position so he was on his side behind her. She finished turning so that she was also on her side; but facing Joseph. He hesitantly moved onto the bed so that he was facing her.

Clarisse felt very tense and nervous now that the moment was upon her. Rupert was lying behind her; his body touching hers peripherally. Joseph was lying in front of her, seemingly afraid to touch her now that there was nothing between them but mere inches of empty space. She admitted to herself that she wanted him…wanted him as she had never wanted another. She wanted him to run his hands all over her body, firing up the passion she kept hidden behind a fortress she had spent a lifetime building. There was no denying it…her entire body ached for his touch. Fearing he would be hesitant to make the first move, she arched, ever so slightly, towards him. The subtle movement snapped Joseph into action. His gaze caught hers and he clearly read the invitation in her eyes; she wanted this…wanted him.

Joseph reached out and touched his hand to her face. She closed her eyes at the touch and let out a breath she was unaware she had been holding. He leaned in and their lips met in a gentle kiss.

Rupert ran his hand slowly up and down her arm and whispered to her softly, “Let go for me, darling, enjoy what this night has to offer. Let us love you as you deserve to be loved. I love you, Clarisse. Follow your desire. Unlock all of your passion.” A small sound of pleasure emerged from her throat. She could not deny his words. With his encouragement, Clarisse decided that if this was what Rupert really wanted; she would take every second of enjoyment she could. She would no longer deny that she wanted it as well. She reached out for Rupert’s hand and placed it on her waist. If they were going to do this, they were going to do it right - all three of them - together.

She laced her fingers with his and reached out with her other hand to hold Joseph’s head to hers as he deepened their kiss. His tongue slipped over her lips and she allowed it entrance into her mouth. Her hand on the back of his head pulled him impossibly closer; she moaned into the kiss as his hands started moving over her body.

She was slowly losing herself to the sensations: Rupert’s warm breath on her neck, Joseph’s delirious kisses on her lips, both of their hands caressing her body. She felt Joseph’s hand encounter her and Rupert’s entwined hands causing him to stop for a brief moment before resuming the kiss.

Joseph felt the entwined hands and opened his eyes. He glanced at Rupert over Clarisse’s head – no words were needed. A look of understanding passed between the two men. Rupert was now sure he had done the right thing. He saw the love Joseph held for Clarisse shining in his eyes and he could feel desire and anticipation humming through Clarisse’s body. He would leave his beautiful Queen with a man that could love her and fulfil her needs in a way he had never been able to. He felt a peace settle over him unlike anything he had ever experienced before. He leaned in and started kissing the back of Clarisse’s neck. He felt a momentary pang of regret that he had never been able to awaken the passion in her that Joseph was bringing to life now; but this was not a time for regret, this was a time for sharing love.

Clarisse felt Rupert’s warm lips on her skin. She turned slightly, moving one arm and angling her neck, so she could bring his lips to hers for a passionate kiss. Joseph took advantage of her new position and placed heated kisses in a path down her elegant neck.

His tongue traced the delicate outline of her collarbone before he moved to the hollow of her throat. The light scent of her perfume infused his senses and his kisses became more insistent as he continued a trail down her body. His hands and mouth were on her breasts, lavishing the attention on them that he had always dreamed of. He lifted one tip to his mouth and slowly circled it with his tongue.

Clarisse was enjoying kissing Rupert. Her aroused state had not only started the slow release of her emotions; but another very powerful force…need. She needed to touch and be touched – kiss and be kissed. Feeling Joseph’s lips begin a painstakingly slow journey down her body, she sought Rupert’s mouth as an outlet for her growing need. It wasn’t until she felt Joseph’s tongue on her highly taut nipple that her need was refocused to the area that now held Joseph’s attention. She arched her back in an effort to bring his mouth into even closer contact with her body.

Her subtle movement created a chain reaction that increased the heart rates of all participants. As Clarisse arched into Joseph’s mouth, Rupert enjoyed the benefits of her bottom moving seductively against his groin area, resulting in a small stirring beginning in an area he had long thought non-responsive.

Joseph nipped and sucked on her nipples as his hands caressed the soft flesh of her breasts. He was enjoying the small sounds of pleasure escaping her lips. Rupert continued to caress her arms and back, placing firm kisses along her neck and shoulder. Joseph decided he would have feasted on the delicacy she was offering all night, but the movement of her lower body caught his attention. With each suckle of her tender flesh; her hips would rotate slightly as the sensations were starting to build throughout her entire body. He was certain that the movements were purely instinctual and he found the idea of that increased his desire ten-fold.

He continued his journey downward, letting his hand run along the curve of her waist and over her hip and thigh. His kisses became feather-light as he neared the blonde curls that were quickly becoming the new focus of his desire. Before he continued, he tapped her lightly on the hip to get her attention.

Clarisse was finding it harder and harder to maintain any semblance of control. Between Rupert’s warm affections being whispered in her ear as his hands lovingly caressed her and Joseph sending shards of sensation throughout her body every time his mouth touched her, she was losing control. She felt Joseph begin to work his way down her torso causing the tension in her body to heighten even further. Surely he wouldn’t attempt such a bold move their first time together…she felt a light tap on her hip and she opened her eyes to find his eyes asking the question that he could not voice…

Rupert continued to encourage Clarisse, telling her how amazingly beautiful she was and how the sight and feel of her body so close to his was making him feel as a young man once again. He nibbled and sucked on her delicate ear lobe as Joseph was doing the same to her full breasts. He, too, was encouraged by the beautiful sounds of appreciation she was murmuring. As Joseph moved lower, Rupert took advantage of the opportunity and moved Clarisse slightly so her body was draped more over his. This allowed him the use of both hands and arms. He encircled her body and his hands found the tender flesh of her breasts that was vacated only moments before by Joseph.

He was slightly surprised, but impressed, that Joseph was planning on making a move that he, himself, had only tried a scant few times in his married life with Clarisse. Either she didn’t like the idea of a mouth touching her there…or perhaps it was his mouth that she objected to, he wasn’t sure. He assumed that he would learn the truth very shortly as Joseph got Clarisse’s attention and, with his eyes, asked for permission to venture into this uncharted territory.

She wanted to say no. She knew a simple shaking of her head would be enough to dissuade him; but she, at that moment in time, could not summon the willpower to do just that. Rupert had wanted her to do this a few times, early on in their married life. Whether she was too shy or prudish or there were other factors at play, she wasn’t sure. But with years comes wisdom and the willingness to learn to try things and to live life to the fullest…for one never knows when an illness or tragedy may strike. She turned her head slightly so she could whisper in Rupert’s ear, “I want us to try this…together.”

Rupert gave her a gentle squeeze indicating his approval and she responded by giving Joseph a slight nod to indicate her willingness to continue. Joseph placed kisses along her thigh and then gently separated her legs, draping one over Rupert’s sheet covered legs and the other resting comfortably on the bed.

Clarisse raised her arms above her head, encircling Rupert’s neck and pushing her breasts further into his welcoming hands. He began to gently trace circles over the entire surface as he watched, with fascination, Joseph begin to gently taste her creamy essence.

Joseph used his tongue to delve just below the surface of her curls to the awaiting treasure hidden below. His touch was light and gentle – done specifically to relax her. He noted that the King was matching the intensity of his efforts with that of Joseph’s – together; they would create an experience that Clarisse would never forget!

As her breath started to quicken with Joseph’s efforts, she made a very astute observation about herself. While her mind was still trying to convince itself of the merits of her journey into the unknown, her body was again, slowly betraying her. With each pass of Joseph’s tongue, she felt the coil inside of her start to wind just a bit tighter. After a few minutes of both his and Rupert’s light touches, she felt a warm flush cover her entire body. Not super intense, but highly erotic and arousing…it was almost as if her body was being prepared for something…something that she had never experienced before. She couldn’t help the, “mmmm, oh yes….” that escaped her lips before she could stop it.

Joseph heard her response and took that as his cue to increase his efforts. His fingers separated the protective covering, revealing the glistening pink flesh that was now quivering with anticipation. He blew warm air onto the surface garnering a quick response from Clarisse in the sudden jerk of her hips. His tongue sought the warm depths of her womanhood. He tasted and teased, caressed and licked her…slowly at first and then with increasing intensity as he felt her pulse quicken under his touch and her breathing become more erratic.

Rupert was mesmerized. Clarisse was abandoning her well constructed walls and moving more towards pure feeling with each passing stroke of Joseph’s tongue and caress of his own hands. Her body was arching at irregular intervals now as she fought to understand the sensations that were mounting at an unstoppable speed. He, too, was not unaffected. Watching her respond with abandon and receiving the continued benefits of her rotating and arching hips, his manhood began to do more than stir. Noting that Joseph had stepped up his efforts once again; he, too, began rolling the taut buds between his thumb and forefinger – not squeezing hard…but enough to keep her attention a little diverted and add to the sensory overload she was experiencing.

Clarisse gave up any illusion of control as both men stepped up their efforts. When she felt Joseph’s mouth close over her clit and draw the tiny bud into the warm cavern of his mouth, the tiny shards that had been shooting through her body became the size of daggers. She was certain she would have flung her body off of the bed at that very moment if it were not for Rupert’s loving hands holding her captive to the most exquisite torture she had ever experienced.

Joseph was finding it harder and harder to control his own body’s reaction to the woman now writhing erotically on the bed. It wouldn’t take much more and he would send her over the edge. Under different circumstances, he would have continued his assault for a while until she was begging him to give her release…but that would have to wait for another time. Tonight his body was screaming for relief; and, if he were a betting man, King Rupert was being affected as well. He held her open for his final onslaught; but first he caught the King’s attention and signalled that he was ready to finish this.

Clarisse’s eyes were closed; but she noticed, through her haze, that the hands and mouth had stopped for a few seconds. She opened her eyes in time to see the gleam in Joseph’s eyes as his mouth descended on her once again. Simultaneously with Joseph’s restart, Rupert began pinching and pulling on the highly sensitized nipples. She felt like she was dangling on the edge of a precipice and it would only take the breaking of a small thread to send her careening over the edge. When she felt Joseph’s fingers slip inside her canal at the same time Rupert gave her a love bite on the tender flesh of her neck, the thread broke and her soul skyrocketed upwards at a frantic rate. Her body began to buck wildly until she felt Joseph’s hand come to rest on her abdomen, partially containing her movements – most likely to offer protection to the King whose body was bearing the brunt of her actions. Despite the fact that her body had been restricted, the energy continued to burn through her body searching for a means of release. Escape was found in the form of a primal scream as the fortress she had built around her heart and emotions shattered into a million tiny pieces…”Oh Joseph! Oh Rupert! Oh God!!!”

Clarisse was breathing heavily as Rupert continued to massage her breasts and kiss her neck. Joseph continued to gently caress her with his tongue as she made her way back down; enjoying the taste of the juices that now flowed freely. After a few minutes, he sat up and took in the sight before him. Rupert’s hands were still holding the fullness of Clarisse’s breasts and her hands rested on his. He watched the rise and fall of her chest, enjoying the flush of desire he could see colouring her usually creamy white skin. His own breathing was heavy as he became more and more consumed by a desire to completely possess this woman.

Rupert noticed Joseph watching them intently. He could read the naked desire in Joseph’s eyes as he looked at Clarisse. Rupert had had that look many times when gazing upon his wife – she seemed to inspire ravenous thoughts among the general population. He had noticed it on many occasions throughout their life together. But tonight – tonight was different. He understood and had encouraged this behaviour in Joseph and now it was time for him to carry through on his commitment. He leaned in and whispered in Clarisse’s ear. “Go to him, my love. Show him our appreciation for sharing such a special gift with us.”

Clarisse opened her eyes at Rupert’s words and saw the raw need in Joseph’s gaze. She felt Rupert gently helping her rise from her reclined position. Joseph extended his hand and pulled her to a kneeling position in front of him. His mouth claimed hers with a fiery passion that belied his normally calm demeanour. She could taste herself on his tongue and found the experience highly erotic. His hands made their way down her back and pulled her body flush with his. She gasped as she felt his hard erection pressing against her body, leaving no doubt as to his intentions.

Joseph was quickly becoming crazed with desire. Her body was soft and willing and fit perfectly with his hard contours. Her gasp as she came in contact with his shaft only served to fuel his fire. His mouth left hers and went to the soft curve of her neck. His kisses were fierce and she responded in kind as her hands went around his neck as she adjusted to allow him further access. His eyes opened briefly as he moved to claim the other side of her neck and he saw the King watching them with great interest. He remembered the King’s words to him about the fact that they eyes do not lie. He knew if he was to convince the King, beyond all doubt, that he was the right one for Clarisse, Rupert would need to see it in her eyes. So he stopped and whispered in her ear, “Turn around.”

She found his gaze and saw that he was sincere in his request. She was too far down the path of desire to even ask why…she just knew that she had a deep need to be completely possessed by him – there had been something missing in her life…and she sensed that he was just the thing to fill the empty space. She turned around so she was now facing Rupert. Joseph used his knee to gently urge her to separate her legs. As soon as she had complied, his arms encircled her and began massaging her breasts while his mouth resumed exploring every inch of her neck and back. She reclined her head slightly to rest against his shoulder and she began to rotate her hips as her excitement began to build again.

Rupert did not miss the intent of Joseph’s actions and silently applauded his ability to rise to the challenge that he had been presented; he also silently thanked him for the magnificent view of Clarisse that he had as Joseph prepared her for his lovemaking. He noticed that her curls were glistening in the light being given off by the candles and he gave in to the urge to reach out and touch her wet, swollen sex.

She felt another hand comb through her curls and dip into her moisture. Her eyes opened to find Rupert looking up at her – the dark look of desire present in his eyes as well. His fingers provided a glorious friction that sent her world reeling and her hips jerked as he slowly removed them. Her eyes followed his hand, out of curiosity, to see what he was going to do. A small moan escaped her lips as she watched him carefully remove all of her juices with his tongue and then lick his lips. His eyes had remained fixed on hers throughout the entire exercise.

Joseph determined that he could wait no longer. He put his hand on her cheek and turned her head so he had her attention. He whispered in her ear, “Clarisse…” He applied gentle pressure to her back to get her to lean forward some. She followed his lead and placed one hand on the pillows that she had used when the night had started and found Rupert’s hand waiting to provide the support she needed for the other. He was bracing her hand in his against his chest.

She felt Joseph’s hands skim down her back and then one moved in between her legs distributing her juices to ensure she was ready. She was tempted to hold her breath…it had been a long time… but both men had, through their loving attention, ensured that her body was more than ready to be possessed tonight. She felt his lips touch her back as his manhood began to slowly make its way inside her hidden depths. It was as if with each inch by painstakingly slow inch, he was claiming her entire body as his own.

Rupert could feel her grip on his hand tighten as Joseph entered her. She slowly let out the breath she had been holding. He found the courage to look up and venture a glance in her direction. He found her gaze fixed solidly on him. The exchange passed wordlessly between them; but they spoke volumes. She was asking him to look in her eyes and find the proof of Joseph’s love and worthiness…and so he watched….

Joseph had fully seated himself within her warmth and had granted her a few moments to allow her body to adjust to the welcome intrusion. Feeling her move against him, he took that as his cue to begin. His hands went to her hips as he pulled slowly back and then in one swift movement, buried himself fully within her again. Her cry of pleasure almost sent him over the edge before he had even started. He willed his mind to gain control of his wayward body and set a rhythm in place designed to keep her off balance and begging for release.

Clarisse could not remember any experience in her life that could compare to the torrent of sensations now careening through her body. With every quick thrust, the fire inside of her would build to an unbearable level…just about the time she thought she might spontaneously combust from the heat, he slowed the pace to generate a sensation that reminded her of warm rain falling gently on her bare skin. He seemed to sense exactly what she needed and when…and knew just when to back off to keep her from exploding over the edge. She finally uttered the words that he had been waiting for. “Oh god, Joseph, please…please!!!”

Rupert’s eyes were locked with Clarisse’s. With each varying thrust from Joseph, her face and, more importantly, her eyes, spoke of the desire that was burning deep within her like a volcano preparing to erupt. He watched as the tempest rose until her eyes registered the look of a woman who was completely consumed with nothing but sensations. He decided that it had to be the most beautiful sight he had ever beheld and that he could now die a happy man with this image of her forever etched in his mind.

Joseph needed no further encouragement than her sweet pleas for release. He increased the pace, not offering any respite from the assault as he stoked the fire to a brightly burning blaze. She was meeting him thrust for thrust and he was quickly losing the rhythm as his climax grew near. As he made his final plunge, he moved one hand around to her front to touch her tiny bud. It created a spike of sensation that sent them both hurdling over the edge and into a place where spirits could meet and exist together for a brief period of time before slowly floating back to the body of their respective owners. “Clarisse!!” was the only name he could ever imagine calling out in the throes of ecstasy and was thrilled to hear her response, “Joseph!!”

As their spirits descended, so did their bodies and they fell to a sitting position on the bed; Clarisse resting against Joseph’s broad chest as her hand continued to hold Rupert’s in her lap. Her breathing started to return to normal when she felt Rupert pulling her towards him. She followed his lead and leaned in to kiss him. As they continued to kiss, he drew her hand lower to slip under the sheet that still covered his lower half. Her eyes widened as she encountered his hardness.

“See what you do to me, my love?” He offered before claiming her lips in a passionate kiss.

She finally broke their connection and whispered, “Make love with me, my husband.”

Her choice of words was not lost on him; she was acknowledging that this time it would be different. They would be together – as equals – sharing the gift of love and desire. He nodded his agreement.

She turned to see Joseph watching their exchange intently. He ran his hand down her back and thigh before rising on his knees to provide assistance wherever she may need. She lowered the sheet; and, with Joseph providing support, she moved to straddle Rupert’s lower body. Joseph sat back on his haunches and watched as his closest friends began to make love.

Rupert was more aroused than he could ever remember being before in his life…and it had everything to do with the fact that he knew Clarisse wanted him at that very moment in time. He could feel her lips moving against his, her tongue invading his mouth, and her scent, heavy with the smell of arousal, infusing his senses. His hands went to her breasts and she responded openly as they were highly sensitized from her constant state of arousal that evening. Her wet, slick heat was moving against his erection coating it and coaxing it to harden even further.

Rupert felt his control begin to slip somewhat from all of the stimuli Clarisse was sending his way. He was unsure if it was his weakened state or the simple fact that it was his beloved wife that was doing this for him – to him – with him…but whatever the reason…he was ready to make love to…no with his wife. He stilled her movements by placing his hands on her hips.

Joseph saw the King put his hands on her hips and knew that he was ready. Clarisse turned to Joseph and extended her hand towards him. He moved in behind her to provide support and to whisper encouragement to her as she gave the most wonderful gift a woman could give a man…all of herself. His hands were on her waist as she rose up, positioned herself and then accepted all Rupert had to offer in one swift motion – both Rupert and Clarisse cried out at the intense pleasure. Her head rolled back to rest against Joseph’s shoulder as she worked through all of the emotions of the moment…Rupert’s eyes had closed as he did the same.

Sensing she was ready, Joseph whispered to her. “Love him Clarisse…with all that is in you…everyone deserves a gift like that at least once in their lives…”

She pulled his hand from her waist and kissed it briefly before releasing it and returning her full attention to her husband. She watched the emotions playing across his face and felt a wave of emotion wash over her as she was filled with gratitude at having been given an opportunity to truly love him as he wanted…needed… before it was too late. Her voice was barely above a whisper, but enough for him to hear. “My love…open your eyes and find all that you have been seeking…”

He heard her words and opened his eyes to find pure love and desire shining in the crystal blue orbs. Her eyes never left his…though the emotions surfacing made it almost unbearable not to close her eyes and let the feelings overtake her…but she wanted him to see that happening…so she kept her eyes open…just as he had requested oh so many years ago.

They moved in a rhythm as old as time – one that joined their bodies; and, more importantly, their hearts as all of the unspoken feelings from the past, the love and forgiveness of the present, and pain regarding what the future may bring shortly were brought to light through this shared moment. Clarisse poured all of her pain and hurt over his illness into her movements as she neared climax. Her soul felt raw over the potential loss…but at the same time she felt the healing touch of love from the two most important men in her life: Rupert, holding her hips and thrusting with her…giving all of himself to bring her to the top of the mountain…and Joseph, solid and sure, was behind her; supporting her emotionally and now physically as the toll of accepting Rupert’s impending death began to weigh heavily on her. She felt her back come into contact with his strong chest and his arms circled around to aid her movements and comfort her.

Surrounded by love, she felt the coil deep inside of her begin to tighten near the breaking point, replacing the pain with a wonderful tingling sensation that served as a precursor to her orgasm. Her energy felt renewed – she leaned back against Joseph, his hands now on her breasts, his lips near her ear whispering encouragement…Her slight shift caused a change in the angle of their movement sending them at an even faster pace to the edge. With one last thrust, she cried out, “My love!”

Rupert was revelling in the feel of hot silk sliding up and down his shaft and watching the unguarded emotions of his wife present in her eyes. She was letting him see it all – the pain, the pleasure, the love…through the windows to her soul. For a brief moment, he saw that the grief almost consumed her…He began holding her even more tightly and without a moment’s hesitation, Joseph was there, sharing his comfort with her. He watched as her bared soul registered the love and comfort being offered and was privileged to witness the change…when the pain in her eyes was replaced with pure, unadulterated desire. He knew he had been wrong earlier as this was the most erotic thing he had ever witnessed in his life; and he responded by thrusting even harder into her, touching the very core of her being. Their mutual cries of love resounded throughout the room as they achieved release…together.

Joseph was the first to move…helping Clarisse back to her initial position with her body spooned up against Rupert. Joseph lay down, facing her, gently caressing her cheek and tucking the many errant strands of hair behind her ear.

Rupert was exhausted…but felt surrounded by a peace that he knew would see him through until the end. He knew Clarisse and Joseph loved each other and that they would eventually find happiness together. He knew Joseph would have a tough road ahead of him – Clarisse could be an incredibly stubborn woman and would not accept Joseph’s love and presence in her life simply because it would be the best thing for her. She had a way of making life inexplicably more complicated than it needed to be and used the cover of duty to her country and others to negate the duty she had to herself. But he had confidence that Joseph would win the heart of his Queen…and, oddly enough, he couldn’t be happier about that.

Because of the great gift that had been bestowed on him that night, he wanted to return a small portion of what had been given to him. He leaned over to kiss his wife again. “Thank you, my dearest. I’m afraid there aren’t words to sufficiently express my gratitude.”

His gaze found Joseph and he clasped him on the shoulder. “You have honoured your King as well as any Knight and have proven that you are worthy of my wife’s love and affection. When the time is right, I know you’ll do what is necessary to convince her of just that fact.”

Before either Clarisse or Joseph could respond, the King continued. “Now, if you both will excuse me…”

Clarisse looked at him questioningly, wondering what he was up to. “You will come back, won’t you, love?”

His hand cupped her cheek. “Or course. I just want to clean up. I’ll be back shortly.” As he started towards the bathroom, he looked at Joseph and said, “Love her well, brave Knight.”

Joseph couldn’t believe it. As he had caressed Clarisse during her lovemaking with the King; he had found his desire resurfacing. He was certain that she must surely be spent; but that didn’t stop him from wanting her yet again. He closed his eyes to prevent her from seeing his need. He felt her turn back towards him once the King got up. His eyes opened, though, when he heard the instructions to love her well from the King. She was looking at him intently and he knew that she saw what he had been trying to hide. His pulse quickened as she touched his cheek and then arched her body closer to touch his.

Their kisses were gentle, yet powerful. They were filled with need; but rather than the intense physical one that had been abated earlier tonight, this passion was fuelled by a need to connect more than just their bodies. True to the King’s earlier words, neither of them had any idea what the future would truly hold for them; and both wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to openly express their love for each other.

Joseph’s tongue gently grazed her lips, asking for permission to enter her warm depths. She complied and he began a leisurely search along with a light game of tag with her tongue. The gentle loving and almost playful caresses continued and slowly the fire began to build between them again.

He pushed her shoulder so she was now on her back and moved so his body was covering hers, before he resumed caressing her flesh with his hot mouth. Before this went too far, he stopped long enough to whisper in her ear, “Are you sure?”

She gave her answer by claiming his mouth once again and wrapped her legs around his hips, cradling him in her lower body. Both were so intent in each other that neither noticed the King watching silently from across the room as his closest friends consummated their love for each other.

Joseph rose up on his elbows and prepared to enter her. “I love you, Clarisse Renaldi, with all that I am.”

Her hand caressed his cheek slowly before trailing down to lightly graze his chest. “And I, you, Joseph. Thank you…for tonight…for everything.”

He entered her slowly as his head lowered to her shoulder. Her arms encircled him and pulled him close as her legs had done only moments before. He felt her grip tighten as their bodies fused; her lips gently kissing his neck right at the pulse point. He was certain that she could feel it increase several beats as her tongue darted out to lick his skin.

She felt him move slowly within her, his breath hot upon her skin. The scent of his cologne was faint, but enough that she could inhale his familiar scent. Her body was pleasantly pinned to the mattress while her arms and legs held him as close as humanly possible. His slow movements were creating a sweet friction that was building at a steady pace. She responded with the only avenue left to her; kissing the tender flesh of his neck. Her tongue darted out of its own accord and she was rewarded by feeling his heart rate increase both under her tongue and against her chest.

She loosened her hold on him slightly as she felt him start to increase the pace. Her arms still held him close, though, as she could not bear to lose the closeness of this moment. He made no attempt to disengage either…he would happily stay in her arms for the rest of his life. He knew that eventually dawn would come; and, with that, the knowledge that it could be a long time before they could share such a moment as this again.

His pace continued to increase until he felt her begin to tremble under him as her climax was nearing. Her nails bit into the flesh of his back as the sensations began to overwhelm her. She arched even further into his assault wanting to draw it out as long as possible. He knew he was getting close; but didn’t want it to end just yet…so he slowed his movements and tried to focus on anything but the warm body responding so eagerly below him.

She noticed the change of his pace and whispered, “Joseph? Are you alright?”

He exhaled slowly and smiled into her shoulder. “Just trying to delay the inevitable, my love. I…don’t want this to end…”

She wanted to comfort him…to find the words to say to alleviate his fear about the future; but she knew anything she offered would sound like empty words. So she did the only thing she could; she moved under him slightly so her mouth could find his. She poured her love and emotion into her kiss; her hands cupping his face as she demonstrated her love in a very tangible way.

Rupert watched the scene unfold across the room, touched by the tenderness he saw there. He understood Joseph’s desire to prolong this night for as long as possible – it had been ideal in every way. He knew that old wounds had been healed and that the possibilities of the future had been revealed…but in the space of a few hours, they had achieved nothing short of….perfection.

Joseph was lost in her sweet kisses; her lips were a drug to which he could quickly become addicted. His hips started moving again setting a strong, sure pace. Her hands were moving up and down his back, her legs locked around his waist allowing him deep penetration. She felt as though he were reaching in and touching her very soul. He broke off their kisses and buried his head back into the curve of her shoulder.

She felt the sensations build again until volts of electricity shot out from her womb to every nerve ending in her body. Her cry was muffled in the warmth of his neck. “Joseph…”

He collapsed into her embrace, hearing her whisper his name as their lovemaking rose from crescendo to completion. He felt the steady rhythm of her breathing and heartbeat, her hands continuing their gentle caress of his back. He was momentarily overcome with the intensity of his love for this woman…over her capacity to love and to make others love her. She was truly unique. A small tear slipped, unbidden, from his closed eyes.

She held him as they floated back to reality together, gently caressing him to continue to show how much she loved him. She felt a drop of moisture hit her shoulder and she lifted his face to see the trail from the tear that had escaped. She kissed away the tear and smiled as she softly said, “There is no need for tears, Joseph – we will find each other again.”

He nodded and kissed her again. “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

He moved back to his original position next to her; but this time she tucked herself in the crook of his arm so that she was still very close to his warmth and strength. Just as they settled in, Rupert appeared at the bedside again, offering warm, wet towels.

Once everyone had tidied up, Clarisse lay back onto her side and Rupert snuggled up behind her. She took Rupert’s hand and intertwined it with hers, bringing it to rest, once again, on her waist. Her other hand clasped Joseph’s and she held it close to her heart. Exhausted from the evening’s activities, Clarisse fell asleep to the gentle caresses and sweet whispers of both men.

Sensing she was asleep, Rupert spoke softly to Joseph. “Promise me again, Joseph. Promise that you will take care of her…no matter what.”

“Always, your Majesty…she is my life.” Sensing the night and the experience had come to an end, Joseph made an effort to disentangle himself from Clarisse’s hold. He heard the King’s whisper. “Going somewhere, Joseph?”

“Your Majesty?”

“Please…stay. You’ll need to leave early in the morning…but, for now; I know she would want…we want…you here.”

Joseph nodded and lay back down. “As you wish, my King; as you wish.” Both men cuddled close to the woman sleeping between them. Pulling the covers over their combined bodies, they quickly fell into a peaceful and sated rest.


When Clarisse woke the next morning, she found herself alone. The bed felt strangely empty after having shared it with two men the night before. Her face flushed with colour as she remembered the previous night’s activities. She closed her eyes and allowed herself the luxury of remembering the shared passion; even if only for a little while.

As the memories flooded her mind, she was now amazed that she had been so bold as to agree to such an experience; but she also knew that she would never regret it. In one night she had discovered how well she and Joseph fit together. Their love had been openly expressed through both giving and receiving – not only from a physical aspect; but also on an emotional level. She had discovered all of the deeply buried passion that she had kept well hidden. Not only had she discovered it; but also released it with such an intense explosion of emotion that she felt it in every pore of her being.

Not only had there been the connection with her future; but also resolution from her past. She had experienced a connection with Rupert that she had never had before. She treasured all the gifts she had received and saved them in her heart. No one but the three of them would ever learn what had transpired behind the closed doors of the royal suite last night.


About a month after their special night, King Rupert, who Clarisse knew would now rest in peace, passed away quietly in his sleep. Clarisse mourned the loss of her husband - her best friend; and Joseph was there, as always, to support her whenever needed. But his support went no further than that of a best friend. Clarisse took over the responsibility of ruling Genovia with a heavy heart. It was agreed that she would rule until Philippe was ready to assume the throne.

Clarisse and Joseph both agreed to wait - to see what the future and more time would bring. They had admitted to loving each other; but knew they could not be together while she was the ruling monarch. Perhaps once Philippe took the throne, they could be together as Rupert had intended. Until that day, though, they would be the best of friends privately and the perfect Queen and Head of Security to the world.

*The End*