promises whispered. Silliness in the snow. Caution: Silliness ahead.
Following Boats Afloat Affair
Illya looked into the lab before he entered the room. He hadn’t been avoiding Gloria on purpose since they returned from the assignment but he didn’t seek her out either. The fact that Napoleon and he were on assignment most of the time had also contributed to him not see her.
When he was in the city, he often saw her sitting with Jo in the cafeteria. The two seemed to be becoming friends but when he joined them, he didn’t say more than hello to Gloria.
He knew he felt guilty about the afternoon they had spent together the last day in Saint-Tropez. He wasn’t someone who believed in one-night stands and hoped Gloria didn’t feel he had taken advantage of her or used her for his satisfaction.
Gloria noticed him standing at the door looking in. She was worried that he thought she only wanted his comfort that day and that it wasn’t serious to her. She really liked him and would like to see him again, finding him sensitive and caring. Not that he showed it at work, but she had seen that special side of him and couldn’t forget it.
Illya went into the lab then walked up to her.
“Hello how is our honorary Section Two agent.” He said trying to lighten his discomfort.
“Ready to stay in the lab, thank you,” she laughed.
“You can keep all the danger, expense accounts, boats, traveling all over the world. I think it safer in here. “
“Except for the bugs, germs, and other things that can cause agents to go nuts,” he smiled at her as he headed toward his office.
Later that afternoon, Gloria was sitting at her microscope when she here a shout from Illya’s office.
“Shtopatʹ veshchʹ prosto ne poluchit•sya (The darn thing just will not work out,)” He shouted out in frustration.
“What’s the problem?” she asked sticking her head into his office.
“I am sorry to have disturbed you,” Illya answered. “Waverly wants an answer as to what is in this formula that makes our agents become unconscious. I have found a number of difference chemical strings of C15H10Cl2N2O2, and C18H21NO4 HCl. but then there are other chemical strings that seem to be adaptions of those two. I cannot figure out how they have affected our agents.”
The two of them worked together for hours trying to figure it out. Finally, both of them admitted defeat for the night as well as being hungry.
“Perhaps we could talk about this over dinner,” Illya suggested.
Gloria smiled. “Sounds like a wonderful idea.” Together the two of them walked out of the lab.
After dinner when the two returned the lab refreshed and well fed, they solved the problem to their and Waverly satisfaction.
Over the next couple of weeks, the two went out to dinner, saw movies and visited a few jazz clubs. They discovered that they liked many of the same things and had many similar interests.
When Napoleon invited Illya to join Jo and he at his Aunt Amy’s mountain cabin for some fun in the snow at New Years, Illya asked if he could bring along a friend. Though surprised by his partner’s request, Napoleon was happy to agree to the arrangement as he often worried about his partner’s loneliness.
When Illya arrived at Napoleon’s apartment with Gloria, Napoleon was shocked to see her there.
But Jo just smiled and winked knowing how Gloria felt about her brother and how he felt about her, as Illya had been speaking differently about the woman lately.
The ride up to the cabin was filled with discussions of plans for the next four days, including skiing, dining out, and taking a sleigh ride.
The ladies who were sitting in the back were whispering and laughing making Napoleon elbow his partner.
“I think they’re up to something?”
“I am sure whatever those two can come up with we can handle.” Illya replied.
“I wouldn’t be so sure about that tovarisch. One thing I know about women is to never underestimate them.”
They rest of the ride was enjoyable with each of them looking forward to a few days of fun and snow in the mountains.
When they arrived at the cabin, Napoleon opened the door and let everyone in, dropping the suitcases that he was carrying. Illya followed him and dropped the rest. The two women brought in the groceries, cleaning supplies, and other odds and ends ‘that they had brought with them.
The three agents quickly searched the cabin for any signs of bugs or video equipment.
“Do you have to do that every time you enter a building?” Gloria asked still finding the lives the agents lived unsettling.
“It’s more a habit than anything else; no one knew where we were going but we’d rather be safe than sorry,” Napoleon explained to her.
As soon as everyone was satisfied that there were no unwanted electronics; Illya and Napoleon took the suitcases to the bedrooms. The cabin was really more like a home with four bedrooms, a living room with a fireplace, a small dining area, and a full kitchen. Outside the kitchen door was a hot tub.
“Wow, this is an unbelievable cabin,” Jo exclaimed as she and Gloria looked around.
“I cannot wait to try out the hot tub, I hear it can be very stimulating in the winter,” Jo said as she wiggled her eyebrows at Napoleon.
The grin he gave her suggested he was anxious to try it out as well.
After lunch, the four of them went skiing at a nearby slop. Later, dinner was a wonderful family style meal that had many of the other diners sneaking glances toward them as they watched Illya refill his plate numerous times.
Napoleon took a detour on the way back to the cabin, driving through a small park decorated for the season. The day and the fresh air took its toll on the group and all went to sleep quickly when they arrived back at the cabin.
The next morning after breakfast, the women went for a walk through the woods that surrounded the cabin. But when they came back they found the men having a snowball fight. It was obvious the two had stockpiled a supply of snowballs before it had started.
“Hey Jo look at those two, just like children.” Gloria said laughing at their antics.
They were ducking behind trees throwing each ball with the accuracy that came from years of training. Their heckling and taunts could be heard ringing through the air as they challenged one another.
Jo grinned at Gloria. “Shall we?” She said indicating the pile of snowballs that the guys had hidden.
The two women moved the snowballs to where they could take some cover behind a bush. Then they waited for them to come and get more ammunition before ambushing them. Soon the sounds of surrender reached Jo and Gloria.
“I do not trust them,” Jo said. “I have never known them to surrender so easily.”
Coming out from behind the bush, they were attacked and pushed into the snow.
Instead of fighting, the women swept their arms and legs beginning to make snow angels. Seeing that Gloria and Jo weren’t going to get up, Illya and Napoleon soon joined them.
Cold and wet after laying in the snow, they went into the cabin changing into swimsuits and sat in the hot tub after grabbing sausage, cheese and wine for a snack.
The afternoon when by quickly and supper was a wonderful Italian meal that the girls put together. The guys were responsible for cleaning up and soon were in a water fight that ended when the kitchen was soaking wet.
Jo handed them each a mop. “Make sure it’s completely dry.”
“But he started it,” Napoleon complained.
“Me, you threw the first glass filled with water,” Illya countered.
“That’s because you criticized my dish washing skills,” Napoleon pouted.
“We don’t care who started it. We managed to cook a whole meal without a mess, now clean it up or not hot chocolate for either of you.” Gloria threatened them.
As the women returned to the front room Jo said, “You handled that well.”
“Older brothers,” Gloria confided.
Later that evening they all enjoyed sitting by a wonderful roaring fire. Illya played the guitar while they all sang songs about snow and getting sillier as the evening wore on.
Jo noticed that Illya and Gloria were getting very close to each other on the couch and poked Napoleon in the ribs.
“Napoleon, I am tired. How about we go to bed?”
“I’m enjoying the fire right now.”
Jo elbowed him in the rib again making him gasp.
When he looked her way, she nodded toward her brother and Gloria who were snuggling together on the couch.
“Now, you can warm me up,” Jo suggested.
Napoleon grinning stood and announced, “Night you two.” He helped Jo up and they headed toward her room.
After they left Illya apologized to Gloria, “They were not very subtle. I am afraid.”
“I think it was nice of them to give us some privacy.” Gloria was happy to have some time alone with Illya as well.
Illya didn't want to admit it, but he was falling for Gloria and falling hard.
“Gloria,” Illya began. It was hard for him to say what he wanted to say to her.
“I like you and would like to see you once in a while.”
“And I like you, Illya.”
“However, you must understand. I am whom you see. A Section Two agent first. You would never be able count on me keep a date I made, or even tell you what I was doing and when I do return from an assignment I may not always be in the best condition.”
“I’m beginning to understand what you do and I’m willing to give it a try,” she assured him. “I may not always like it, but I will try to understand it.”
Illya kissed her gently at first then more demanding. She answered his desire with her own. Later that evening as they headed to the bedrooms, Illya opened his door in invitation; she accepted it.
While Illya and Gloria were talking in the living room, Jo said to Napoleon.
“Have you noticed my brother is not so lonely anymore? He smiles more and even tries to be more open about his feelings.”
“You know I’ll do anything to make my partner happy. I’m concerned that Illya could get hurt with this. I mean Gloria isn’t one of us.”
“Napoleon, moya lyubov, Illya will make his own decisions. I have heard how Gloria talks about him. Did you know she has taken some classes in self-defense? She told me she never wants Illya to be compromised because he has to protect her.”
“But can she accept what we do?”
“You forget, she has already seen what we do. She will not hurt him; trust her to give him what he needs. Now how about you give me what I need?” she asked snuggling up to him.
The next morning the women decided not to go skiing again.
“I can handle Thrush tortures but find skiing more than my body can handle,” she confessed. Gloria agreed that she wasn’t in shape to do a third day of skiing.
After the men left, the two women talked about Napoleon and Illya
“They are really the compliment of the each other. Both care totally for anyone they call a friend which are few.” Jo explained.
After walking, Jo and Gloria decided to build snowmen, and when the men returned they laughed when they saw what the girls had built.
“I think they look more like snow kids,” Napoleon teased them.
“If you can do better, Mr. Solo,” Jo demanded. “Then prove it.”
The challenge was met as the two men began building their own snowmen. Soon they were arguing about what was the best way to build and the competition was on.
Gloria and Jo sat on the bench outside the cabin laughing as each man built taller, higher and larger snowmen. Neither man would give the other an inch. When they finished each snowman stood over eight feet tall, Illya’s sculpted with muscles while Napoleon’s was fat.
Standing proudly before their creations, the girls took pictures of the finish product. The reward for each was a kiss from both of the girls. Their time off was coming to the end.
The final night a sleigh ride through the countryside had been arranged. The four of them were sitting, snuggled together in the sleigh lost in their own thoughts.
The driver handed each man a blanket that they used to wrap tightly around themselves and their woman.
As the night passed, the sleigh moved along as one year ended and another
began. The driver opened a bottle of champagne and handed a glass to each of them. With a toast to the New Year under the clear moon and sleigh bells echoing in the background, each of them took the moment to wonder what the future would bring.