“To be happy takes a lifetime, for one sparrow does not make Spring.”
They lounged on the porch of the cliffside cottage they had built, watching the sun set over the waters of Limestone Bay. Below them on the beach, a frigatebird preened, wings outstretched, its soft red belly exposed. Tradewinds rustled the nearby palm trees, shaking loose a few fronds. Illya threw his head back, filling his lungs with the sweet scent of acacia blossoms. He felt utterly free, pleasantly sated, magnificently content.
He touched the simple silver ring adorning his left hand, the first jewelry he had worn since losing his plain gold band during the Thor Affair so many years ago. He twisted the ring this way and that, feeling its solidity, reliving the moment when Napoleon had slipped it onto his finger. Married. We are married. Legally! It was indeed a brave new world.
He glanced over at Napoleon, snoring softly in his wicker lounge chair. In retirement, his face was relaxed, peaceful, as though he hadn't a care in the world. Illya decided that it was worth waiting forty years just to see him like that. He thought about waking him, but relented. After all, we were up half the night. And at our age! The thought made him blush with pleasure.