"So, you finally dragged the workhorse out of the barn"? Mona said in her usual satirical tone.

"Mona"--Tony warned; he wasn't quite sure why, but Mona's constant jabs at her daughter's expense always bothered him somehow. Angela was...well, Angela. She worked hard, granted, sometimes too hard, but hard work earned her success and respect in the male dominated business world. Just then, an image of Angela flashed in his mind…Blonde hair…Brown eyes, the color of the sweetest chocolate, and that smile... a smile that could melt the snow crunching beneath his frozen feet. Thoughts of her brought a grin to his shivering lips. The image vanished as Mona's quick wit snapped him out of reverie, and back to reality.

"What"? Mona said innocently. "You have to admit, I supply the comic relief in this household, and we can't rely on Angela for that." She shifts her eyes toward Angela, who is gazing at her yard in wonderment as though she is seeing the snow for the first time.

"Ay, Oh, Oh, Ay," Tony said, coming to Angela's defense, "Angela has fun…"

"Yeah", Mona mused, "But not my kind of fun..." With that said, she hurled a snowball at Tony, aiming for his butt; the snowball lands, leaving Tony with a soaked backside.

"Direct hit", Mona shouts gleefully.

"That's it, Mrs. Robinson…you asked for it…Don't look now, an avalanche is coming your way", says Tony playfully.

Soon snowballs are flying in all directions. Each family member takes turns at being enemy and ally. Mona cowers behind Jonathon to avoid being the target of Tony's pitch.

"Grandma, why don't you hide behind someone your own size?" Jonathon whines.

"Yeah", interrupts Samantha, "How do you expect a little squirt like Jonathon to protect you from the wrath of dad?"

"The little shopaholic has a point", Mona thought to herself. She spots Angela from across the yard, who is picking up pine cones in her gloved hands.

"That girl needs to get into the game…and I need a place to hide, Mona mischievously said.

"What better camouflage can I find than a 5'8 blonde bombshell to distract a comely Italian from my whereabouts?" "I have not yet begun to fight…or for that matter, hide. With a plan mapped out in her scheming mind, and a sly smile creeping across her lips, Mona marches off in Angela's direction.

Mona rushes up to Angela and tugs at the back of her coat with childlike insistence.

"Mommy, Mommy…you have to protect me….Tony's been pelting me with snowballs again." she imploringly whined.

"Jonathon, sweetheart, Angela said in a saccharine voice, "Just pretend that you're hurt and Tony will stop throwing them at you, and come to your rescue." "Will a hug make you feel better?" She turns around with open arms to face Mona.

"Oh Mother, it's you…" Angela reluctantly responds.

"It's nice to see you too, dear…do I get a hug?" Mona asks dryly.

"Of course", Angela nods affirmatively, and embraces her lightly. "Mother, do you think these pine cones will make the house look more festive?"

"Yeah, whatever", Mona says dismissively…Never mind the pine cones, I need to use you as a decoy."

"That damsel in distress routine may work for you with Tony; after all, he only has eyes for you,"she said knowingly. "But he can see right through my devilish ways".

"Mother, what..."? Before Angela can utter another word, Mona interrupts her.

"Darn, I blew my cover," Mona says. To avoid a snowball heading directly towards her, Mona ducks down behind Angela.

"Ahh… I've spotted the enemy and her unsuspecting ally; you might as well surrender, Mona." Tony begins to gloat.

"Never," Mona spats." "Your butt is still mine, Micelli."

"If war is what you want, then war is what you going to get…" Tony counters back.

Another snowball is hurled into the air...instead of hitting Mona, as Tony had intended, the snowball grazes the side of Angela's face; narrowly missing her eye, knocking her glasses of her face, and into the wet snow.

"Foul ball", Mona cried

"That's it, Micelli, you're going down", Angela said teasingly. Impetuously, she leapt onto his back, arms wrapped around his muscular shoulders. Her breath felt warm against his bare neck… The next thing he knew, he and Angela were a tangled mess, wrapped together in the snow.

"Gee Angela, talk about an element of surprise...I didn't expect you to jump on top of me like that" said Tony, who was still reeling from their impromptu tumble.

There's something to be said for spontaneity, wouldn't you agree, Mr. Micelli"? Her voice lowered an octave, on the edge of flirtation.

"Well I…" Tony started to say.

Angela interrupted, "It's funny, I could say the same thing about your current locale."

"What"? Tony was then suddenly aware of the compromising position he and Angela were both in. He was lying on top of her, his arms around her neck, their faces inches apart. The warmth in her eyes seemed to invite him to come closer. Hesitation—as always, once again restrained him. His arms dropped from around her neck as he feigned interest in finding her glasses.

"Looking for these Madame?" he asks as he teasingly dangles them in front of her face. Angela lifts her head up out of the snow and nods affirmatively.

"Oui, Oui" she quips, mimicking Tony's Brooklyn accented French. She looks up at him expecting to find an impish grin decorating his face. Instead, his eyes portray somber warmth as he gazes at her intently.

"Angela—he whispers, you look like an angel." There she was the image that incessantly appeared in his mind; her eyes gleaming with a mischievous sparkle. Wordlessly, Tony leaned toward her and brushed her lips with his. As Angela responded, a blush rose in her cheeks.

"Dad, Angela?" Samantha's voice called out, causing a fairytale moment to come to an abrupt end.

Still on top of Angela, Tony hastily puts her glasses on her face, leaving her fumbling to adjust them.

Mona, Sam, and Jonathon stood silently watching this exchange. Sam is the first to speak.

"Umm… Dad, Angela, we came to see if you wanted some hot chocolate,' she said.

"Oh great, a flustered Tony laments; an audience," he says looking up at the trio.

"I think we're too hot for that," Angela says sheepishly.

"I'll bet…Mona says wily.

"How can you be too hot"? Jonathon naively asks. "It's freezing out here."

"I'll explain when you're older kid, Mona said. "Hopefully sooner than later…"

"On second thought, hot chocolate sounds like a great idea", Angela said. She shot Mona a warning glare as Tony pulled her up out of the snow.

After the last cup of hot chocolate was sipped and savored, Tony and Angela found themselves alone once again. Samantha hurried up the stairs saying the phone was calling her name; Jonathon followed suit, informing the family he was going to feed his snake some snow, and Mona headed back to her apartment to pick out a dress for her date the following day.

"Did you have fun today Angela"? Tony asked. The crisp, cold Connecticut air did her good, he thought. Angela reflected on the day's events. She answered slowly, a smile spread across her face.

"Yes, Tony—yes I did", she murmured.

"I've been meaning to tell ya somethin' Angela," he said, stammering slightly. He took her hand and led her to the couch. Once seated, her smile urged him to go on.

"That's it"…he said emphatically. "It's your smile… did you know you could light up an entire room with that smile"? A blush began to warm her cheeks. He continued, "You look relaxed, all aglow." The last word erupted from his lips, "...beautiful".

"That's because you're looking at me." she said shyly; allowing only her profile to be seen.

"I'll never turn away", he whispers tenderly as he turns her face toward his.

She closed her hand over his, and they sat in silence; each contemplating the way only 'they' are.

5