Title: Moonlight Dance
By: leetah47
Rating: Tame – kissage.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters. Princess Diaries 1 & 2 and its characters are the property of Disney, Buena Vista, and Meg Cabot.
Requirements: Clarisse and Joseph must share a dance alone and Joseph must say “I love you” in another language. I chose “te quiero” which is Spanish for “I love you.”
Summary: Clarisse and Joseph share a dance in the moonlight
Thanks: To my beta!! Thanks a million, Diana.


Queen Clarisse declined Asana’s offer to stay on the stage and moved to her chair. She had been coerced into singing for all the young princesses at Mia’s party; but she would not dance with them. She may be able to sing with them, but she could not dance like them. She sat down and Mia bounced over and hugged her fiercely, thanking her for the song.

Clarisse sat for a while longer, observing, but then decided to leave the young ones to their party. They didn’t need to be chaperoned by her. Charlotte moved to her side when she got up to leave. “Do you need anything, Your Majesty?”

Charlotte was ever observant and a constant support to her; and she didn’t know what she would do without her. However, Clarisse didn’t need her tonight; besides Charlotte could use some time off to just have fun. "No, Charlotte, dear; stay and have fun. I’m just going back to my suite.”

Charlotte nodded her head, and opened the door for her Monarch. Clarisse walked down the hall and spotted the open door to the terrace. The moonlight beckoned to her and she stepped out into the fresh night air. Even though she was dressed only in her light blue night clothes, she was not cold. Summer nights in Genovia were warm.

The music from the party could be heard out here and Clarisse took a moment to herself and moved graciously to the music. For a brief moment, she felt happy and was sure that everything would be fine. And then she felt it...Joseph’s presence.

He stood just outside the door, on the terrace, in the shadows. He had been watching her all night from a distance, as his job dictated, but tonight had been a joy to observe. To see her loosen up and have fun. And now, as she was standing here, framed by the moonlight, he thought she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.

“You can come out Joseph, I know you are there,” she smiled to herself. She always knew when he was watching her. He was always watching the Queen; but she also knew when he was watching HER, Clarisse. It always made her feel warm and cared for.

Joseph stepped out of the shadows with a smile of his own. “I saw your mattress surfing,”

She laughed lightly. “Oh it’s been so many years; but I knew I could do it. I think I shocked all those young girls!”

“And the song was beautiful.”

“You don’t miss anything, do you?” She smiled at him. She liked that he kept an eye on her.

“No,” Joseph made his way across the terrace to stand directly in front of her. Clarisse caught the scent of his cologne and inhaled the familiar fragrance. She could still hear the music from the party mixed with the beautiful sound of a nightingale somewhere in the garden.

This whole night seemed a little surreal to her and she decided to be forward, “I feel like dancing. Will you dance with me Joseph?

“Here??” Joseph was surprised.

“Yes. Right here in the moonlight,” he hesitated only for a second then held out his arms for her to step into. He led the dance and they moved easily around the terrace together.

“You look very beautiful tonight, Clarisse,” she blushed, but smiled nonetheless. She moved further into the warmth of his arms, just wanting to be held by him. The dancing became nothing more than a simple swaying to the music as they both held the other close. Clarisse couldn’t remember being more comfortable than when she was in Joseph’s arms; and they so rarely had a moment like this. She wanted to savour every second of it.

Joseph was getting lost in the scent and feel of her. He always felt at peace when he held her like this. They so rarely got to spend time alone together; he wanted to savour every second of it. He was so lost in the moment and his love for her that, unconsciously, the words slipped out: “Te quiero.”

Clarisse stopped moving in surprise; she lifted her head to look at him. His puzzled look told her that he had no idea why she stopped. Suddenly she didn’t know what to think or say; so she said the first thing that came to mind, “You’ve never said that before.”

Joseph was surprised that she had stopped so suddenly and was trying to figure out what he had just said that stopped her cold. Then, with an uncomfortable trickle down his neck, he realized his mistake. He had just told his Queen that he loved her. He could have kicked himself. He had promised himself to give her space to think after their talk in the gazebo a few days before; not to pressure her. Yet here he was, doing just that. He moved out the embrace, thinking retreat would be the best option. “I must apologize, Clarisse, it was not my intention to speak out loud. I had no right. I will leave….”

Clarisse grabbed his hand before he could move very far, “Please don’t go, Joseph. And please do not be sorry. You should never have to apologize for your feelings.”

Joseph looked down at their joined hands. He felt ashamed for his transgression; she did not need the added burden of his feelings, “I did not mean to add to your troubles.”

Clarisse put a hand on his cheek, making him look at her, “You’re not. You are the main reason that I can handle all the difficulties and responsibilities it takes to rule my country. Knowing that you care for me makes me strong. Please don’t ever be sorry.”

Joseph didn’t look entirely convinced, “Your words make me feel beautiful, Joseph. Will you please stay and dance with me?”

This time he hesitated longer, not really sure he should stay. She held out her other hand for him. He decided to take it, drawing her nearer, but still holding her at a more appropriate distance than before. Clarisse, however, moved in to her previous position in his arms, but now the tension was of a different kind – not the same charged as before, and she felt she had to at least reassure Joseph that she was not angry with him.

She lifted her head to look at him. “Tell me again, Joseph.” He looked back at her, unsure, “Please, I….I need to hear you say the words again.” He brushed his thumb over her soft cheek and willed all his emotions to show in his eyes, “Te quiero.”

She closed her eyes and let the words sink into her soul. She then looked at him again. “I am still thinking Joseph, but know this - I love you too.”

Joseph let out a silent relieved breath. He smiled gently and gratefully at her. His thumb was still stroking her cheek and her hands were tightening on his back. It seemed the most natural thing in the world for them to move toward each other. Clarisse closed her eyes in anticipation of the kiss and Joseph moved in to close what little distance remained between them.

Their lips met in a slow, tentative kiss, softly brushing against each other. They were in no hurry as they explored each other. Their mouths moved together as if they had done this many times before. Joseph’s hand moved from her cheek to tangle in her hair. Clarisse parted her lips and Joseph took the invitation and slipped his tongue into her mouth to find its mate.

Clarisse clutched Joseph’s back, pressing herself impossibly closer to him. She couldn’t remember kissing ever being like this; so amazingly good. Joseph buried his hands deeper in her hair and gave up all pretence of control and poured all his emotions into the kiss. He felt like he was free falling. Was it possible for just kissing to feel this good? Time seemed to stand still as they lost themselves in each other.

All too soon breathing became necessary and by mutual agreement they moved out of the kiss. Not willing to break the connection completely, they gave each other small light kisses as they caught their breaths. Clarisse looked up at Joseph, her eyes shining with happiness in the moonlight. Her lips slightly swollen; beautiful...he had no other words.

He moved her back into his arms and they started swaying gently to the music again. He desperately wanted her to make a decision soon; but for this moment in time, he was content knowing that she loved him as he loved her.

Clarisse knew she would have to make a decision regarding Joseph’s proposal soon, but for this one brief moment in time, she let Joseph hold her as if she were just a woman. A woman with no responsibilities simply dancing with the man she loved.

The End