For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls

Illya was sitting at his desk going through his mail. Why does it seem that the moment Napoleon and I are away on a mission, everyone in UNCLE suddenly decides to contact me about something? The next envelope he picked up contained a smaller, cream colored envelope with his name printed in calligraphic writing with no return address. This is different, he thought.

"Napoleon," he said after he opened it, "Melody Beauchamp is getting married. She has sent me an invitation to the wedding."

His partner looked up from his own pile of mail. "Really? Who's she marrying and when's the big day?"

"Jonas Williston from Human Resources and, one month from today. Napoleon, is it usual in America for a former girlfriend to invite her ex to her wedding?"

"Absolutely, especially if she's trying to be a bitch. Seriously, Tovarisch, I think that is very tacky of Melody to invite you. You haven't heard a peep from her since you broke it off eight months ago and now, you're invited to her wedding? So you can watch her stroll off with someone else? And, in her mind, you're drooling over what you can't have? She's being a jerk; throw that crap in the trash!"

Illya was staring at his partner the entire time he had been speaking. "Napoleon, I will not say you are wrong but, I have never heard you speak so harshly about a woman. What has brought that on?"

Napoleon checked his watch and said, "It's five – thirty. Let's get ready to go home." He put the work he hadn't finished back into his inbox. "I'll finish this in the morning." He stood up to get his coat.

Illya continued to sit. "Napoleon?"

The brunet sighed in exasperation, "Melody didn't just stop seeing you, Illya; she stopped seeing Leona Nicole, too."

"Leona never mentioned Melody to me."

Napoleon smiled and replied, "I'm not just saying this because she our daughter but, Leona is one of the brightest four year olds I've ever met. And, she's very intuitive. She asked me why Melody and you are no longer friends awhile back."

"She did?" Illya said in surprise, "She has not mentioned Melody to me at all."

He tossed Illya's coat to him. "I told you she is intuitive. When I asked her why she wasn't speaking to you about Melody, she said she thought talking about her might make you sad and she didn't want that to happen. She told me she missed seeing and talking to her."

"To be fair, Napoleon, I broke it off with her. What was she supposed to do; say 'Look, Illya, I still want to come by, not to see you but, to see your daughter.'"

Napoleon stepped through the door first followed by his partner. "I know, I know," he said looking back over his shoulder, "That wouldn't be acceptable, either, but I just do not like the idea that someone Leona obviously liked is out of her life through no fault of her own."

They handed in their badges and exited through Del Floria's to the street. Napoleon hailed a cab which they directed to Leona's preschool/daycare, collected her and headed back to the penthouse.

"Go change your clothes, Young Lady," Napoleon said after he took off her coat and hung it up.

"Yes, Daddy!" she said as she picked up her backpack. "Papa, come with me? I have something to show you." She grabbed Illya's hand and began to lead him to her bedroom.

"I'll be right there, Leona. Let me hang up my coat and talk to Daddy for a few minutes and then I will come. Change your clothes in the meantime like Daddy told you."

"Da, Papa!" she replied before bounding down the hall into her room.

That little girl makes me smile, Illya thought as he watched her go. He looked at his partner and said, "I will not make the mistake of introducing anymore…friends of mine to Leona again. I had hoped that Melody would have understood what it meant to date a Section II but…" He shrugged.

Napoleon handed Illya a glass of pinot noir. "This will pair well with the steak we're having," he said. He took a sip from his own glass and said, "Illya, my friend, let me tell you something about women. I have dated many, many women and the reason I do that is: They may tell you they understand your situation but, deep down, every last one of them is hoping to be the one to make you want to change your reality to suit them..."

"That is very cynical."

Napoleon put his glass down and started preparing dinner. "Don't get me wrong. I don't believe it starts out that way. I think that, if you continue to see the same woman over the course of time, she begins to develop feelings for you. Those feelings cause her to start in with those 'what if' scenarios like Melody did. And once that starts, it is all downhill from there, Partner."

"Well, right now, the only female I am interested in spending any time with is down the hall waiting to show me something. When she is old enough to date, we have to make certain to let her know how to deal with boys."

Napoleon laughed, "Illya, moy droog, when she is old enough to date, one of us is going with her until she is old enough to go alone; which should be when she's, I don't know, like thirty."

Illya snorted, "If you say so. I better not keep her waiting." He started down the hallway and then, turned and came back into the kitchen. Reaching into his jacket pocket, he pulled out the wedding invitation. Handing it to Napoleon, he asked, "Throw that away, please?"

"With pleasure."