Genre: Man from UNCLE - het
Prompt: lindafishes8 Nurse Nelly, original MFU. Possibly exchanging gifts.
My thanks to lindafishes8 for a great prompt and to sparky955 for her beta.
I hated Confession and don’t give me any crap about it being good for my soul. My soul never felt any better after leaving that little booth. Still, it made Mamma happy when I went because I guess she sees me as her pure and innocent daughter. At her time of life and health, it’s for the best.
I stepped into the booth and knelt. “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been ten days since my last confession.” It was probably longer, but who cared? I did and I’m pretty sure Father Malone was dozing off again.
He sat upright at my voice and nodded. “Go on, child.”
Oh, the stories it could have told him! I could have told him that in the last ten days, I’d had sex at least twice that many times in some very interesting spots and positions. I could tell him things that would set his cassock on fire. Instead, I cleared my throat.
“I really hate Secret Santa at work. The guys are jerks and they like to embarrass us by giving us suggestive presents.”
“Oh, dear. You mustn’t hold their youth and exuberance against them.”
Of course not. If I woman acted like that, she would be branded a hussy, a fallen woman, and a good deal of other names that are even worse. “Why is it okay for men to act like that and not women?”
“Aw, this must be Nellie. How is your mother, dear?”
“Dying because her doctor refuses to listen to her or me.” Yeah, I wasn’t exactly in ‘man’s’ corner at the moment… well, there were a couple of guys who were okay, but most of them were self-serving jerks.
“Nellie, we have been over this before. God teaches us that a woman’s place…”
“Should be wherever she wants it to be.”
“But, alas, it isn’t, and by railing against God’s teachings, you are going against God. Four Hail Mary’s and five Our Father’s.” That was what he always gave me.
I muttered something and left the booth. My mother’s eyes never left me as I knelt and began to recite. I’d said the words so many times, I didn’t even hear them anymore. I knew God didn’t.
Thankfully, the mass was short. Father Malone must have had an early appointment or something because he raced through the service.
“Where would you like to go for lunch?” I asked Mamma this every time we went out and she always picked the same place, Vic’s on 23rd.
“Have you ever been to the Russian Tea Room?”
I nearly stumbled at the suggestion. “No, Mamma, I haven’t.”
“Then I would like to take you.”
I should have known something was up then and there, but I was just too happy that Mamma, who showed interest in very little, had suddenly perked up.
As we got closer to the restaurant, I began to have a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach, like someone was watching me. I looked around, but didn’t see anyone or anything out of the ordinary.
“What’s wrong, sweetheart?” Mamma had picked up on my discomfort, so I shook my head, smiled and said nothing.
When we arrived, the place was packed and my heart sunk. The waiting list had a waiting list, but then Mamma waved to someone… her next door neighbor… who was sitting there with her son… My heart and stomach sank.
I draped myself over the table in the Canteen and moaned. “Sharon, it was awful. He collects tacks. Who collects tacks?”
“You mean like tax forms?” Sharon calmly regarded me from behind the safety of her coffee cup.
“No, I mean, like thumb tacks.” I sat back in my chair. “And his mother thinks he’s a genius for it.”
“A mother’s love knows no bounds. She’s worried about you.” Gail, my other coworker, sipped her juice. “She doesn’t want you to be alone.”
I gestured with my arms. At this time of the morning, the canteen was packed.
“Uh oh, Section Two front and center.” Gail sat up just a little straighter and Sharon’s hands quickly checked her hair. I was a nurse. I saw more Section Twos than anyone. They held no interest to me. Well, one did, but he was supposedly in Germany at the moment. It was, in fact, his partner, and the usual gaggle of women followed behind him, desperate for any sign of affection from him.
Napoleon locked eyes with me and winked. I smiled and nodded.
“How are you on such good terms with Napoleon?” Sharon seemed to deflate as he walked past her.
“It pays to be on good terms with someone who might be using a catheter on you.” And who’s sleeping with your partner, I added mentally.
Gail leaned in. “Speaking of such, are what they say about him true?”
I gestured them in closer. Eagerly, they both leaned in. “Yes, he’s a womanizer and a bit of a cad.”
Gail sighed. “I wouldn’t tell anyone.”
“I’m just helping you hold to that promise,” I murmured back. “So, changing subjects, have you gotten your Secret Santa gifts yet?”
Sharon sighed. “Oh, heck no. I got Hamilton in Communications. I have no idea what to get him.”
“Socks. I swear he never changes his. I got Sammy in the mail room,” Gail said. She looked over at me. “What about you?”
“The worst.” I pushed my cup away and pointed skyward.
Gail gasped. “You got Mr. Waverly?”
I nodded. “In the flesh. Why could I have gotten someone else?” What do you give to the man who signs your paycheck?
“He’s easy. Get him pipe tobacco, that nasty Dog stuff, he likes.”
“He probably has tins and tins of it from people who think that.” I shook my head and glanced quickly at my watch. “I have to go. I’m due on the floor in five.”
The rest of the day was filled with busy work. We didn’t have many patients in the ward and the few that stopped by for repairs were all minor. The doctor stitched up a couple of fingers, checked an injured ankle, sprained, not broken, and so forth. As Christmas draws closer, we see fewer and fewer people. I’m not sure if it’s because THRUSH backs off a little or if people are just extra careful.
It was spitting snow as I left the building. Gail, Sharon, and a few others were headed over to a nearby bar, but I just wanted to curl up with Mr. Snookums, my cantankerous cat, a Christmas movie, and a mug of hot chocolate. I watched people from the bus window, scurrying about, arms laden with gifts, and bags. That was me a couple of weeks ago.
While it was smarter to shop when the weather was a bit warmer and people were a bit less crazed, I now sort of missed being a part of it. It was just like when I finished my term paper weeks before it was due and then watched as my classmates struggled at the end and envied their desperation. I couldn’t explain it.
I also couldn’t get my head around what to get Mr. Waverly. I wanted my gift to mean something and not to be tossed in the closet along with five hundred tins of pipe tobacco. And I wondered what sort of monstrosity waited for me at the Christmas party. Just once, I’d like a nice sensible and not juvenile gift. One more peek-a-boo nightie with some stupid medical phrase written over the breast and I would scream.
I kicked my way through the slush, happy that I wore flat sensible shoes and not heels. Those would be treacherous tonight. Hopefully my friends and their slender ankles would be okay in the morning; otherwise, they would be paying me a visit.
The walk up the stairs was slippery, but I conquered and finally got into the safety of my building. There was the usual assortment of bills, flyers and cards. Those made me smile. Then I saw the note written in a familiar hand and my heart whammed to a stop.
Quickly, I made my way up the stairs to my apartment. There was a rose on the welcome mat and I quietly squealed my glee and I picked it up and rubbed the petals against my cheek.
Gone were the thoughts of some cheesy holiday cartoon and a shedding cat. I got the door open and laughed. The tree literally glowed, there was soft music playing and him.
“Is this why Napoleon was winking at me all day?” I managed to get out before throwing myself into Illya’s arms. Oh, it felt so good just to be held in warm familiar arms. “I thought you were in Berlin.”
“I was, yesterday. Now I’m headed for Sweden.” Then we kissed and nothing was said for a long time as our bodies did all the talking.
“It’s so good to see you and see you well.” I managed to peel myself off him and looked him over. “You are well?”
“Fit as a fiddle.” Illya slapped his stomach. “And starving. I made dinner.”
“All this and you cooked, too. I am in heaven!”
My little tree never looked brighter, although Mr. Snookums did not look happy with the invasion. That only lasted until Illya slipped him a bit of filet mignon. Then Mr. Snookums had a new best friend.
“Huh, tossed over for a side of beef,” I murmured as Mr. Snookums did figure eights around Illya’s ankles.
We ate, rarely taking our eyes off each other, as if afraid we’d suddenly vanish.
“Let’s have our coffee by your tree, shall we?” We were carrying our plates to the kitchen, carefully avoiding stepping on the cat.
“Okay!” Out of habit, I checked the water level and adjusted one of the ornaments.
“It’s beautiful.” Illya came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist. “Like you.”
“Hmmm.” I leaned back against him, pretending for a moment that no other world existed, that we could stay like this forever. However, one chirp of his communicator and he would be out that door. I was forever destined to be the other woman.
“You look sad now,” Illya whispered into my ear.
“I was thinking of Mr. Waverly.”
Illya’s arms dropped and he dramatically clutched his heart. “Done out by an older man. I knew it.”
I loved that he could be playful and mischievous. Most people never saw that side of him.
“Doofus,” I said laughing. “As if.” I took a step closer to the window. The weather had turned downright nasty and for just a second I worried about everyone out there. For just a second. I turned back to Illya, who was sitting on the couch, drinking coffee and looking altogether too edible. “I just don’t know what to get him.”
“That reminds me.” Illya bounced up to his feet and went to where his coat was hanging. He checked one pocket and then another, finally finding and pulling out a small box. “Napoleon told me that you’d gotten him and I found those in Berlin.” He tossed the box to me and I caught, then opened it. Inside were two pipe cufflinks. The detail was incredible.
“Oh, Illya, these are perfect.” I hugged them. “What do I owe you? How can I pay you back?” His responding smile was shy and sly at the same time. “Besides the obvious.” I put the cufflinks in a drawer. Mr. Snookums led a life of crime and I’d learn to be careful around my cat burglar.
Illya caught me and we danced around the small area of my living room. We kissed and we laughed and what a surprise, we ended up in bed.
Illya is very fastidious and very thorough in everything he does and that includes love making. By the time he finished, I’d had not one but two mind blinding climaxes and I swear his tongue had been in nearly every crevice of my body.
We were hot and sweaty, despite the frost building on the windows. He looked doubtful at it. “T’aint a fit night out for man or beast,” he drawled and I laughed. I’d introduced him to W.C Fields.
“Then stay. There’s no reason to go out. I can do your laundry here.”
“I… um, already repacked my bag,” he admitted with a smile.
“You seem pretty sure I was going to invite you to stay.” He was nuzzling my right breast and I sighed.
“Pretty sure, but I’ll go if you prefer.”
“Never!” I crushed his face to my chest and waited for the results. For the record, they were glorious.
I woke up and rubbed my eyes. The room was gray and uninviting. Mr. Snookums was sitting on the bureau glaring at me and Illya was stretched out, asleep and naked as the day he was born and as self-conscious. It was a lovely sight to wake up to. I checked the clock and groaned. Ten more minutes and I would have to peel myself off the sheets and face an uncaring world.
I sat up and got one foot free from beneath the bedclothes and stuck in out. A hand wrapped around my wrist and that was when I realized a pair of blue eyes were studying me.
“Some of us have to work for a living.” My voice didn’t sound very convinced.
“Call in sick.”
“What?” I’d never called in sick a day in my life. “I couldn’t do that.”
“Why not? How many nurses are on duty today?”
“How many patients?”
“And what were you going to do today?”
“Inventory the bandages.”
“I rest my case.” Illya pulled my unresisting arm back. “Call in and spend the day in bed with me.”
“I couldn’t…” Could I? I had more sick leave than just about anyone. In a daze, as if hypnotized, I dialed the number and mumbled that I was having GI issues. Niceties were exchanged and I hung up. I started to giggle.
“I feel so deliciously naughty.” With a roll, I was straddling Illya’s waist, grinding against him. The things that man did to me. When I was with him, nothing was out of bounds, everything was right.
The next time I woke up, every muscle in my body was screaming at me, at least the ones that were still talking to me were. It was dark again and Mr. Snookums was sound asleep on the bed, snoring.
“Oh my god…” I moaned and that’s when I realized Illya was standing there dressing. He was fresh from a shower and looking none the worse for wear. “How do you do it?”
“I can barely move and you…” I gestured at him. “You look like… that!”
He laughed and bent to kiss me softly. Even my lips were sore. “I have no choice. I have just enough time to make my plane.”
I sighed. “Gosh, Sweden. Will you be home for Christmas?” My voice was wistful.
“Sadly, no, but if all goes well, you will see me for New Year’s.” He cupped my cheek and touched his forehead to mine.
“Be safe.” I was careful never to use the ‘l’ word around him.
Then he was gone and my apartment was abruptly cold and empty.
So many questions the next day as I hobbled my way in. I must have looked awful because everyone was so sweet to me, especially Napoleon. The days trickled by, uneventful save for the usual Christmas drama. With my Secret Santa issue resolved, I neither dreaded nor anticipated the annual Christmas party. I still railed against the sophomoric humor of the Section men, but not as aggressively as before. Now my focus was just on getting through everything to New Year’s.
Gail and Sharon noticed the difference, but they didn’t say anything… much.
Mr. Waverly loved his cufflinks and praised my thoughtfulness. I would tell him later and in private just who had found them. It was only right.
Napoleon, a Santa cap perched jauntily upon his head, held out a box to me. “Here you go, Nellie.”
I shook it and there was a soft rattle in it. Knowing this crowd, it could be just about anything. Slowly and very carefully, I unwrapped it. It was a small jewelry box. Inside was a St. Frances medal.
“St. Frances, the saint who looks after animals and fools. I guess that covers most of Sections Two and Three,” I quipped and Napoleon looked wounded. “Present company excepted.” I flipped it over and something was written on it. It was so small I had to squint to even see it. “I can’t…”
“It’s Cyrillic,” Gail announced. “Guess we know who it’s from. What’s it say?”
“Hopefully exactly what I asked them to say.” Napoleon winked and I laughed. I hugged him and he whispered. “There’s something else, but it’s being delivered to your apartment.”
I pulled away, confused. “What?”
And he just winked. That devil.
I won’t go into details and I’m still not exactly sure how it all happened, but when I got off the plane in Stockholm, Sweden the day before New Year’s, Illya was there to greet me. And can I just say, boy, what a night… well, several of them.