The group got as far as the Canadian border by hopping trains. Yuri managed to convince the Canadian border guards that he was West German exchange student Franz Schmidt, so they allowed him into the country.

Erica was amazed at the difference between the country she'd just entered and the one she'd just left. No demolished buildings, downed power lines, destroyed homes, scattered goods, or evidence of suffering and death were to be seen anywhere.

"I'd forgotten what peace time looked like," she remarked to Yuri, who squeezed her hand sympathetically. It took her a while to realize that she no longer had to fear being suddenly shot or blown up as she moved from one place to another.

Eventually the group reached the home of Jed and Matt's uncle and aunt, where they said farewell to Jed as he headed back to the United States to join the army. Then Erica said good-bye to Matt and promised to keep in touch.

A shelter for American war refugees was nearby. Erica told the shelter's management that they were Mr. and Mrs. Franz Schmidt, and they were given a room together. They'd arrived just in time for the evening meal, after which they were given extra clothing and other necessities.

"Canadians are very nice as well," Yuri observed.

"They're one of our closest friends," Erica told him. "Like your country and Cuba, I suppose."

"Cuba is nothing, tiny island nation." Yuri chuckled. "If not for my country, they would be helpless."

"Guess what? Electricity!" Erica sang, switching the lights on in the room they'd been assigned. "I can take a nice hot shower for the first time in so long I can't even remember!"

"Ladies first." Yuri grinned.

Although she enjoyed the sensation of the warm water splashing her skin, Erica took care to save some hot water for Yuri. After his own shower, he emerged from the bathroom with wet hair and a towel wrapped around his waist. Erica felt unexpectedly aroused. Yuri noticed her staring at him and smiled uncertainly.

"I'm sorry." Erica blushed slightly. "I was just admiring your body."

Yuri grinned widely and flexed his biceps. Erica went to him and began to run her fingers over his skin, caressing his shoulders, his arms, his chest, his belly.

"I want to see all of you," she murmured. Yuri chuckled and dropped the towel, and her fingers continued their journey, gently exploring his hips, his thighs, his private parts.

"You have such gentle touch," Yuri murmured approvingly. She smiled.

"Now I want to see you. It is only fair." Yuri laughed.

Erica undressed, and Yuri's fingers gently explored her body as hers had his. At last he paused with his fingers between her legs.

"I know how to make you feel really good," he said, almost shyly.

Erica looked at him questioningly.

"Lay back," he said. She did, and he parted her legs and began to pleasure her with his tongue. Shocked at first, then delighted, she was over the edge in seconds. When she finally opened her eyes, she saw Yuri grinning devilishly down at her.

"That was wonderful!" she exclaimed. Yuri laughed. "Would you like for me to do the same for you?" she asked.

"That is up to you," he said.

"Would you enjoy it?"

"Of course I would. But I will not pressure you."

"I don't want to hurt you."

He chuckled. "Just do not use teeth."

Awkwardly she took him into first her hands, then her mouth. She licked him as she would an ice cream cone. From his moans she could tell that he was enjoying what she was doing immensely.

"All right. That is enough," he said after awhile. She lay back again, and he made love to her. This time there was no pain at all, only exquisite pleasure.

The next day, the testing began. It lasted for several days, and then Yuri and Erica were both assigned to work in a factory manufacturing weapons to sell to the United States. They were also given permanent living quarters in a nearby apartment complex. Having told the Canadian authorities that they were married, they were, fortunately, assigned to live together.

On her first day off, Erica went to visit Matt at his aunt and uncle's house. He seemed really happy to see her.

"Have you heard anything from Jed?" she asked him.

"He's in boot camp now," Matt told her. "In six weeks he'll find out where he's going to be sent."

"What about you?"

"I work with my uncle now. He's a mechanic."

"Yuri and I both work in a factory making weapons," Erica told him.

Days turned into weeks. Erica stayed in close touch with Matt and learned that Jed had been stationed in California after completing boot camp. Life at the factory settled into a comfortable routine for Yuri and Erica. They both worked the same shift, so they had plenty of time to spend together.

Then came the day Erica fainted at work.