They sat side by side in the recliners that Paige had bought for them for their fiftieth wedding anniversary, which coincided with their move further out in the suburbs, into a much-downsized ranch. The ceremony was rather disappointing to watch, all told; poorly attended, rainy, and of course the new President was a wretched public speaker. She had railed against him for a year, despite all the work they had done. "Why can't he just keep his mouth shut?" she would yell while washing dishes. "Won't he listen to anyone?" she would shout while checking her Facebook. But Kompromat wasn't easy to come by, and they had a wealth of it, so they had to stay the course.
And finally, after years and years of work, their plans had come to fruition. Two of the highly-placed staffers in the new administration had been maneuvered into place by the two of them, using decades-old contacts and even a few of their old tricks. Neither had done anything in the field since the mid-90s, but the Center had asked for them specifically, and for good reason. They knew what they were doing, and who on earth would suspect two old codgers like them?
The inauguration ended, and she felt a tension she had carried for almost her entire life finally dissipate; she wasn't sure what to do next. Nadezhda reached her hand across and took Mischa's.