Being sick is no picnic, but it's even less fun around Christmas. NOTE: This is based on the movies, NOT the books.
"Good morning, Clarisse," he murmured softly the moment she opened her eyes.
She smiled, reaching up to stroke his cheek as she had done so many times before. "Good morning, Joseph."
"Are you ready for the holidays?" he asked, turning his head to kiss the palm of her hand.
She sighed, closing her eyes. "Strangely enough, no. I just want to sleep."
"You're sure?" He sounded a little disappointed.
She nodded, cracking open one eye to peer at him. "Yes, I am, Joseph."
"I thought queens aren't supposed to sleep in," he teased, combing his fingers through her hair.
She smiled, tilting her head into his hand. "As you have pointed out to me so many times since Mia's coronation, I am no longer queen."
"You know she'll be disappointed if you aren't there." He leaned forward and kissed her forehead.
She sighed. "I know, Joseph, but I don't seem to have any energy right now."
"I understand. I'll let her know." Joseph kissed her softly before rising from the bed. "You just conserve your strength for the festivities tomorrow."
She caught his hand before he could move too far from the bed. He looked at her questioningly. "I love you, Joseph."
"I love you, too, Clarisse." He raised her hand to brush a kiss across the back.
She smiled and watched as he dressed and left the room in order to speak with the queen. Sighing softly, Clarisse drifted back to sleep.
"Merry Christmas, Clarisse," he greeted her the following morning with a soft kiss the moment she opened her eyes.
She smiled into the kiss, quite pleased with this new tradition. "Merry Christmas, Joseph."
"Do you still feel tired?" he asked, clearly remembering how late she'd slept the previous day.
She sighed. "I feel like my whole body aches, Joseph, and I don't think I'll be able to eat Christmas dinner."
"It's probably just a cold, Clarisse." He stroked her hair back from her face. "Everyone gets sick, including former queens."
She sighed, nuzzling his hand. "I know, I just wanted our first Christmas together to be special."
"It already is, Clarisse," he murmured, a gentle smile on his face. "I received the best Christmas present of all the day we were married."
She smiled, touched, both by his words and the utter sincerity in his eyes. "Oh, Joseph, what would I do without you?"
"I'd rather not think about it," he answered with a chuckle. "Oh, you might want to look up."
She did so and blinked fuzzily when she saw some sort of plant hanging from the ceiling. "What is that?"
"That, my dear, is mistletoe," he informed her, amusement twinkling in his eyes.
She laughed softly, turning his gaze back to him. "Oh, I do love you, Joseph."
"I love you, too, Clarisse." He leaned forward and kissed her gently.
"Good morning, Joseph," she greeted him the following morning when his eyes opened.
He smiled fuzzily up at her. "Good morning, Clarisse. You seem to be in a good mood."
"Oh, I am." She smiled brightly, kissing the tip of his nose. "I'm feeling much better today."
He chuckled, rolling onto his back. "That's very good news."
"Yes, quite good news," she agreed, tracing patterns on his bare chest with one manicured nail.
He covered her hand with his. "My dear, are you hinting at something?"
"Queens and former queens never hint, Joseph," she lectured playfully before leaning down and kissing him warmly.
He returned the kiss with equal warmth. "Hmm, I see your point."
"I thought you would." She kissed him again.
He chuckled, pulling her on top of him. "I love you, Clarisse."
"I love you, too, Joseph." She kissed him a third time. Neither of them left the room for several hours, much to Mia's amusement.