“Oh Joseph, I’m glad to catch you before you start your shift.” Charlotte was seemingly nervous so the head of security paused for a moment to pay closer attention to what she had to say. She seemed to be waiting for an audible invitation to continue the conversation though. “I’m all ears, go on.” He gave her a weak smile and turned fully in the direction of the assistant.
“The queen she… it appears that she caught a head cold at the concert a few days ago and she requested to be left alone in her office unless, of course, in the case of an emergency.” This did not sound good. The queen rarely got sick. So, this really had to be bad. “Do you think it is wise for her to work if she is unwell? Maybe she should take the day off and let the maids nurse her back to health with tea and hot brew.” Oh, how he hated to see her suffer. She was such a gentle soul and she did not deserve any kind of pain or discomfort.
Charlotte’s faint smile was answer enough. Of course, the queen of Genovia would not stay in bed just because she was sick. She would force herself to function as per usual until either her body gave up or she overcame the sickness. The latter was obviously the less likely outcome. “Yeah I thought so. Well I’ll do as she asked but this does not include my lunch break so I will make sure to pay her a visit and try to talk some sense into her majesty.” A faint giggle was all the response he got before Charlotte turned on her heels and made her way over to her own office.
//For hours later//
Joseph pondered if he should knock or just step into her office unannounced. She would of course know it was him either way. No one else would even think about entering the queen’s office when she officially did not want to be disturbed. He settled for a light knock but did not wait until she called him in. He slid through the half open door, anxious to get into the room and finally see her. Usually she was one of the first people he saw each morning and it unsettled him that, up until noon that day, he had not seen her. She was an anchor point in his daily routine. Without her around he felt uneasy, restless.
And there she was. Clarisse Renaldi, queen of Genovia, dressed in her usual light-colored blazer with matching skirt. But she did not look as radiant and effortlessly stunning as usual. Her shining blue eyes were matt, red rimmed and puffy. Her always perfectly styled hair was slightly tousled and the healthy glow in her skin was gone. Instead she looked pale and tired. It was a painful thing for him to witness. The only thing that he recognized was her smile. This bright and carefree smile that she only reserved for him.
“Your majesty, I’ve been informed that you are feeling unwell and therefor want to be left in peace. But I couldn’t resist checking for myself just how bad you were feeling and to offer my assistance in any which way to maybe ease your suffering a bit.” It was their little game. Each morning their first interaction would be strictly professional and proper. Whoever broke character first and said something informal lost. Joseph had been proud record holder so far. The left corner of Clarisse’s mouth twitched. “And tell me kind sir, what do you have in mind to… how did you put it? Oh yes, ‘ease my suffering’?” Now it was Joseph’s turn to fight the broad smile that wanted to form on his face. “Well, I am not sure yet but I am willing to accept any challenge your majesty might give me.” He even bowed his head.
Clarisse was about to answer something equally coy but a coughing fit interrupted her. It went on for a good minute and she looked even more exhausted afterwards. Concern jolted through Joseph like a lightning bolt. He moved to her side immediately and started rubbing her back soothingly. Eventually she calmed down and leaned heavily into his side. “I’m sorry I ruined our little game. Looks like you won again.” She had her eyes closed and her hands were shacking in her lap.
“Don’t be ridiculous Clarisse, who cares about silly games when you are seriously ill. It’s reckless really, that you even went to your office to do paperwork.” His words were serious but his eyes still shone with concern and maybe even a slight hint of fear. He was afraid she would take it too far one day. That her body would not forgive her for putting her job before her own health.
“I can’t afford lying in bed all day. I mean, who’s gonna rule the country when I’m not here? It’s my responsibility.” The blond opened her eyes again and lifted her hand to touch the cheek of her head of security. “But what if you overdo it and the country loses its leader before her time? Do you think Mia would be ready to follow you in your footsteps just yet? She’s only 18. And what would I do, hm?” “You are terribly dramatic. It’s just a head cold. I am not going to die any time soon.” Her lips replaced her hand on his cheek.
Joseph felt the heat radiating from her body and knew she was at least running a slight fever. It was time for him to intervene. She would go back to her suite, and if he had to carry her. Of course, the staff would find that most entertaining and he himself would not mind being close to her like that. But Clarisse herself would surely be furious with him. “Either way love, you’re coming with me now and if you don’t come voluntarily, I will carry you. You need rest.” He put his arms around her to emphasize his point and felt her leaning back against him. “Hmm ok convinced. But you can’t say I have been completely useless today. Look, I finished all my paperwork. I sorted it even…” just in this moment the graceful queen of Genovia sneezed not so gracefully and around half of the papers on her desk landed on the floor.
It was tough to keep a straight face, especially after Clarisse moaned a few uncharacteristically inappropriate words. “Now if this is not a sign from above telling you to lie down, I don’t know what is.” He chuckled and earned himself a mild smack against the chest from his queen. “When Charlotte asks why the papers are on the floor you tell her I opened the window.”