They made love gently in the morning before Kim left, neither quite certain of when they could have as much freedom with the other as they had the last few days.
Before Kim entered the terminal she had a question. “Could you live here in Mexico? Could we stay here? They seem to like you -- you're safe here.”
“Not safe, Kim. I guess they like me well enough, or at least the odd jobs I do. But they can only do it as long as they pretend they don't know who Medianoche Sombra is.”
“Isn't that name silly? Don't people ask about it?”
“I say I had my name legally changed to my stage name -- then I ask them if they want to buy one of my CDs. It shuts people up real fast. Seriously, though, if the US files an extradition request the Mexican government won't fight it. If I'm lucky they'll ask for a couple days to look it over, then tip me off and let me run. If I stay too long on any trip I increase the odds against me.”
“I wish there was a way.”
“So do I.”
“You'll be at the house tomorrow?”
“If there're no problems, I should be back in Middleton in plenty of time.”
The Drs. Possible picked Kim up at the airport. They couldn't ask the question that was on their minds, to which they knew they would receive an answer they didn't want to hear. When Kim made the choice to spend Christmas in Mexico they realized they had to work even harder at accepting Shego, but it wasn't any easier.
Shego arrived back in Middleton the next day. Drakken was not there to pick her up, but the blue guy could be forgetful. She caught a cab and gave an address a couple blocks from the lair. She really needed to level with the Doctor. She planned to suggest Drakken declare another holiday truce. A couple times there had been a suspension of hostilities in the Christmas season. It might be the time to tell him she was sleeping with the enemy.
Sleeping with the enemy, God that sounded good to Shego. She was smiling for the entire ride and the three block walk over unshoveled sidewalks.
“Hey, Doc! I'm back. Did you miss me? I brought you a big bottle of real vanilla.”
Her words echoed back. “Damn, what's going on?” Both hovercraft were there. The hovercraft were not very practical in cold weather, however, and that was not cause for alarm in and of itself. Even the lab seemed clean and tidy -- definitely a sign of something wrong. There was an envelope on her end table with a short note. “Shego -- Here's what I owe you from last month and a Christmas bonus. Doing research, may be gone a couple months. -- Drakken.”
Okay, something bad had happened. She didn't need letters down the left hand edge of the paper to spell out “Help me” to know something was wrong. It was never a Christmas bonus from Drakken -- it was always a holiday bonus. The fact there was enough cash in the envelope didn't help either -- It had almost become a running joke between them that she had to threaten him with bodily harm before she got her full salary.
“Hello, Mrs. Lipsky? … Yes, your son's assistant… No, I just got into town, that's why I'm calling you. … Really? … Well, I don't think we need to be really worried, I'm just concerned because he wasn't here when I got back. … Yes, I will have him call first thing when I see him. … Good-bye.”
Shego kept repeating to herself, “He just went on a little vacation of his own. He'll be back in a couple days. Everything is fine.” She wanted very badly to believe that, and it was possible -- which allowed her to head to Kim's party.
Kim had arrived home in time to help get the house ready for the New Year's Eve party or parties -- it wasn't quite clear if the Possibles had one or three going on that evening. And with the amount of preparation that had to be done it made sense to invite a close friend or two over early to help. Kim answered the doorbell…
“Miss Possible, Kim, I seem to be early…”
“No Will, I needed a couple people to come early and help gets things set up. You've always seemed so nice I thought I'd take advantage of you. Can you come this way to the kitchen?”
“Monique, this is Will, he works at Global Justice-- Can I tell her that?”
“It appears that you already have.”
“Oh, Will, this is Monique. We've been friends for years; she's really nice. Can you two slice up vegetables for tonight? Thanks. Bye.”
They stared at Kim as she left for another room. “Ah, Monique? How would you assess Kim's behavior?”
“I don't want to say, what do you think?”
“I don't want to say either, which means we both are thinking the same thing.”
“She wasn't terribly subtle, was she? I've worked with her on some missions and have a high regard for her abilities. Therefore, I am wondering why she did it in such an obvious and clumsy fashion.”
“Uh, Sherlock, before you get too analytical I've got to tell you that while Kim may think fast on a mission she isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer in social situations. There is a chance she thought she was being subtle.”
“That is awkward. What do you propose?”
“Well, let's start by slicing up the veggies. Here's a peeler -- work on those.”
“What are they? Turnips?”
“Jicama. Open your mouth.” She gave him a slice from the pile she had prepared.
“There's not much flavor. Nice and crisp though.”
“Yeah, no fat, and it doesn't mess up the flavor of the dip. Of course you still get lots of fat from the dip.”
“But you get to pretend you're eating something healthy. But getting back to the immediate problem… I see three obvious approaches to the situation.”
“And they would be?”
“Well, if we resent being set up we can pointedly ignore each other for the rest of the evening -- thereby telling her we would prefer not be treated in such a fashion. Or, we could try and make her happy by being seen together tonight, leading her to believe her plan was a success.”
“That's two. You said you had three ideas.”
“It was just an idea, I was thinking perhaps we could also try and find out why Kim thought it would be a good idea to introduce us.”
“Tell you what, Mr. Bond--”
“The name is Du.”
“Okay, Mr. Du, Will Du. I say we hang some and let Kim feel like she's done something nice. And I am curious why she wanted to introduce us. Any chance you could unbend just a little and sound like a human instead of an automated answering machine?”
Shego parked the hovercraft behind the garage, “Stupid vehicle in the cold!” and walked around to the front door. Jean answered the bell.
“Hello.” She took it as a good sign that Jean was wearing the earrings Kim had purchased for her in Mexico.
“Uh, Kim suggested I spend the night after the party. I don't know if she flew that one by you.” Shego raised the hand holding her small Land's End duffel slightly to show she had luggage.
“She did. I know James and I promised to try and be accepting. It's just a little hard.”
“I don't have to stay.”
“No, that's all right,” Jean sighed. “You don't need the guest room, you can stay with Kim. We're trying to adjust, but I'm just warning you, I'm not comfortable. Take your bag upstairs.”
Shego found Kim changing clothes when she opened the door. “Can I watch, Princess?”
“Better, you can change too. Catch! It's a Christmas present from Monique.”
As they went downstairs ten minutes later Shego realized they would not be helping Jean's comfort level. Monique had given them coordinated outfits -- Kim black stretch pants and dark green Club Banana cotton sweater, for Shego the colors were reversed, green pants, black top.
As the party got underway Shego demanded, “Kim, who's the stiff with Monique? He gets real tense whenever I talk to her.”
“Uh, he's someone who knows who you really are.”
“Oh, was he the guy in the Global Justice uniform when you tried to stop that one robbery? I warned you it was dangerous for me to come.”
“Yes, that's him. You could wait in the room.”
“And risk someone else giving you a New Year's kiss?”
The party was primarily for friends and co-workers of the Drs. Possible, with more hospital staff than research center staff there. Kim's friends from high school tended to stop by for a time as they cruised various parties to see old friends. Some new college friends stopped by also -- Ron and Monique had been told to invite any of their new friends. There were a number of foreign students who had not made it back to their home countries over semester break. All the high school cheerleaders were there at one time or another, except for Tara -- but no one had expected her to be out. Only Bonnie stayed on from the cheerleading crowd.
The research people tended to congregate in the television room, the hospital staff in the living room, and the college crowd and Will Du in the Rec Room, where the tweebs dominated their one small corner and the video games. The kitchen represented something of a no-man's land with everyone welcome to the food -- but the superior numbers of the hospital contingent gave them an edge and they threatened to convert it into a medical annex.
Shego felt ill at ease among all these strangers, but didn't want to cling to the few friends she had and ruin their evening. She spent much of her time being useful -- keeping hors d'oeuvre trays full, collecting disposable champagne flutes, and making sure the coffee pot stayed fresh. She noted with approval that Jean had gone over to a locally produced French Roast. A couple times one Dr. Possible or the other would call her over and introduce her to people she would never see again as Kim's very good friend Sheila.
Down in the basement trouble brewed at the pool table like a pot of bad coffee. Kim and Ron had spent years in the Possible rec room, sharpening their skills.
“Come on, Kim,” Monique complained. “He's hogging the table. He says he gets to play as long as he's the winner -- the rest of us can only challenge the winner. Beat him and give someone else a chance.”
“Sorry, Monique, but I'm too busy to play.”
“I believe I have the next game, perhaps I'll be able to defeat him.”
“I doubt it Sherlock. You don't look like the eight-ball type, and Ron's good.”
But not good enough. As Will sank the eight-ball Ron surrendered his cue. Will bowed to Monique and handed her his cue. “Who would you like to play?”
Bonnie laughed, “Let me try.”
Ron racked, and the grudge match between Monique and Bonnie began.
“You're holding the cue all wrong.” Ron told the brunette.
“Then show me how to hold it right, Stoppable.”
Ron put his arm around Bonnie to demonstrate how to bridge your fingers properly. Bonnie giggled. Monique rolled her eyes. “Men are so clueless.”
Felix and Justine arrived together, which Kim took as a good sign. They almost immediately went in different directions, which disappointed her. Justine joined a conversation with a group of scientists from Dr. Possible's research center. Felix joined the rec room crowd, and kept Ron and Kim too busy with stories of California for Ron to make another run at king of the pool table. Felix never mentioned Justine. Ron assumed that meant there was nothing to tell. Kim hoped it meant there was something to hide.
The two left together around eleven. Kim couldn't image a party at Justine's, and Felix's best friends were here. The two were either terminally dull or had something they wanted to do as a couple. She thought about Justine. She thought about Felix. She almost asked Shego to follow them and find out what was going on.
It was minutes short of midnight. Several television sets had been turned up to broadcast the ball dropping in New York. Kim couldn't find Shego. She had gone through the house twice and was starting to worry. Halfway through the third search two hands grabbed her from behind and dragged her into a closet.
“Gotcha, Princess. I don't think your Mom or Dad, or any of their friends, wants to see the New Year's kiss you're about to get.”
When a broadly grinning Kim got back to the rec room Monique gave her a piercing look, “Uh, Kim, weren't you wearing the green top the last time I saw you?”
Ron appeared to be in too much of a state of shock to notice Kim's wardrobe malfunction. “Bonnie kissed me and wished me a Happy New Year. Can I borrow a New Testament, Kim, is that a sign of the apocalypse?”
After all the guests left Kim and Shego snuggled together in Kim's bed.
“Did you have fun at the party?”
“I always have fun with you pumpkin. Oh, I'm not sure your dad will ever speak to me again. I asked if your mother screams like you do when she cums.”
“You didn't! You're teasing me, right? Don't do this to me!”