When all were assembled at the campfire before bedtime, Pavel addressed us.
“We are going to make some slight changes to the sleeping arrangements. Kirill will move from sleeping with me and Sue to sleeping with Volchuk, Mr. Butterfly, and Yuri. Aleksei will join us in our tent in Kirill’s place. I have intended this continued mixing from the start so that we can all make new acquaintances. Are there any questions about this new arrangement?” He looked very briefly around the campfire and saw there were none. I looked at Aleksei and tried to not to giggle. He winked at me surreptitiously.
We all stood to go to our tents. Aleksei and Kirill had to grab their things from their old tents and then go to their new tents. Kirill was in our tent for a few moments while he collected his things. Pavel looked at me and said “Kirill told me that you and he had sex.”
“Oh, so that is what this is about,” said I, as if I hadn’t figured that out.
“I’ll still get to see her during the day,” said Kirill.
“So what! Blabbermouth! You think I’m gonna let you get lucky again after you spilled the beans? What are you nuts?”
Pavel laughed and Kirill shot him an angry look.
“I’ll not have any fighting over this!” I demanded. Men are such children sometimes. But just then Aleksei was coming in and there was no room in the smallish tent for all of the heated emotions, so Kirill had to go.
Aleksei said “Did I miss something?”
Pavel and I simultaneously said “NO.”
After a quick explanation of the sleeping arrangements to Aleksei, mainly my need for combined body heat, we joined our three sleeping bags and all got in. Pavel possessively put his arm about my waist but didn’t draw me too close as he knew I wouldn’t tolerate that. I motioned to Aleksei to turn his back to me and I put my arm around him and pulled him close to me. He was very warm. I put my arm under his arm and across his massive chest with my elbow on his waist. My hand just rested on his pec. I could feel his nipple stand erect. I wondered what else would be erect, but didn’t think it was a good idea to check. Slowly, we all drifted off to dreamland.
Meanwhile in the other tent, a grumpy Kirill had arrived. Volchuk and Mr. Butterfly were all tucked into two sleeping bags zipped together and were cuddled closely, trying very hard not to get anything started as Yuri was all alone.
Yuri said to Kirill “Hey handsome, want to cuddle? I promise to keep my hands to myself…”
“Nyet. But thanks for thinking of me Yuri.” Then he unrolled his sleeping bag and got in.
The next morning everyone was anxious to get to work, charging off in different directions as soon as they had finished their coffee and seed bread.
Yuri and Mr. Butterfly spent their day together shooting photographs of smallish Lepidoptera. They, the butterflies, seemed to be quite healthy, diverse and everywhere. Mr. Butterfly took careful notes. Both were extremely optimistic of their findings, but concerned for what it meant for Global Warming.
Suddenly, Yuri spotted two Arctic fox cubs. He pointed them out to Mr. Butterfly who was also excited and they both photographed them, while staying well clear. They certainly didn’t want to upset the mother fox.
Sheepishly Mr. Butterfly said “So, Volchuk kind of told me that he wanted to include you in our, you know…”
"Da,” said Yuri. “I was wondering when you were going to bring that up. I’d be happy to help you guys out in any way I can.” Then he gave Mr. Butterfly an encouraging pat on the back.
“Thanks, we appreciate that Yuri.”
“Da. It is no problem. I am experienced in what Volchuk wants to do. You guys just let me know the time and the place and I will be there.” Then he gave Mr. Butterfly a big smile. “Don’t be so serious, you are going to love it!”
“I hope you are right,” said Mr. Butterfly with concern in his voice.
“You are such a fucking asshole Kirill! You promised me on your life you would not tell anyone we had sex; then you go blabbing it to Pavel. Of all people, Pavel! I am furious with you!”
“Give me a minute to explain!”
“Shut up! I don’t owe you anything with all I have been through. For Christ’s sake! I was fucking raped out here! Go fuck yourself!” Then I stormed off. My rage at him continued. But where could I go? I had to work with him. Fuck I hated myself for trusting him enough to have sex with him. What a fucking retard I must have been. Aghh! Fuck, fuck, fuck! I took a deep breath and let it go. I walked back to where he was.
“Okay. I forgive you. I don’t want to hear your explanation. Let’s just get to work.”
He looked down at the ground and then apologized very sincerely. I thanked him and we got to work. We made our grids for the day and began recording plants and looking for orchids. We worked very hard all day and our findings were consistent with previous ones. We found more orchid plants growing more closely together than we should here in
We had some time and decided to check out the salmon stream as Kirill had brought some fishing gear. When we got there he began to fish.
Right away one hit at his line. I was so excited, as was he and he fought hard to pull it in. But, he landed it finally and it was a large and beautiful salmon that he put right next to me. Then he tried for another one. He had caught three when I spotted a large bear quite a ways off and pointed it out to him.
“We should leave immediately,” he said with alarm in his voice.
“That brown bear will be here in no time for our fish. Brown bears have been problematic here in
“Can we take the fish with us?”
“That would not be wise, as the bear is after the easy meal and would probably chase us.”
I saw his point and we withdrew, backing away so that we could keep an eye on the bear. Sure enough, the bear headed straight for our fish, and gobbled them up.
We headed for camp at a quick pace.
Upon our arrival, the group was assembling for dinner. We regaled them with our story of the brown bear and all were warned to stay away from the salmon stream. Mr. Butterfly and Yuri told about the fox cub they had seen and showed their photos of it. Conversation became relaxed and vodka was passed around. The sun sank on the horizon, but never really set fully this time of year until quite late.
Around , the sky turned a bright yellow-gold and there was a gorgeous aurora borealis.
For some of the Russians this was nothing special, since they had traveled in northern climes frequently and they were not impressed by it. But for the rest of us, it was really something to be seen. We lay on our backs and gazed up on it. It was me, Mr. Butterfly, Yuri, and Kirill. We were mesmerized. But, eventually it was bedtime.
So, we obediently went to our sleeping bags. In one tent, Volchuck and Mr. Butterfly shared two bags zipped together, while Kirill and Yuri were uncomfortable neighbors. In the other tent, Pavel, Aleksei and I shared three zipped together sleeping bags. Everyone was cozy and the events of the evening were just beginning as the northern lights swept silently overhead...