When your parents stick you with a name like Charlie Brown, the Christmas season can be somewhat… challenging.
Even if it was a family name from long before Charles Schultz thought up his cartoon characters.
For that reason, Charlie Brown, the guy, not the cartoon character, decided that this year there would be no lame trees, bad Christmas carols, shitty office party, Snoopy jokes, crappy Christmas pageants… For that matter, no gift giving, no shopping; hell, he wasn’t even going to keep in touch over the holidays. With anybody.
What he was going to, he’d decided, was get out of town, away from friends who couldn’t resist Christmas TV special jokes and then visit friends and family in the New Year, after the “What do you want for Christmas, Charlie Brown” season was over.
For 30 years, he’d put up with the jokes. But not this year. This year, he was headed for the mountains, where he’d booked a nice little chalet with a fireplace, a lot of quiet, and some quality cross-country ski trails virtually outside the door.
He didn’t even tell anybody at the office. He’d said, sure, he’d be at the office party, but then left the morning of that party. The highway out to the mountains had been clear and bare, the weather wasn’t too frigid and the sun was shining. What could be better?
Three hours later, he pulled in at the Coyote Mountain Chalets. He stepped out of his truck, looked around at the mountain towering above, at the few small log chalets with their steep pitched roofs, the steam rising off nearby Coyote Creek and at a couple of feet of good snow that seemed to cover pretty much everything in site.
Charlie breathed in the fresh air, much fresher than in the city and suddenly noticed that something was missing. Then he realized what it was… noise. Just a few kilometres from the main road, Coyote Mountain seemed to absorb all sound around the accommodation operation. There were some cars in the parking lot, smoke was rising from several chalet chimneys and he heard a couple of ravens arguing about something, but it was quiet.
Nice, he thought. This was nice.
He walked over to the office, feet crunching in the snow, and stepped inside.
“Hi,” said a cute blonde with a big smile from behind the front desk. “Welcome to Coyote Mountain.”
“Thanks,” said Charlie. “I’ve booked one of your chalets for a couple of weeks and I’d like to check in.”
“Certainly, sir, what’s the name?”
“Brown, Charles Brown,” he offered.
“Oh, sure, just a second please.” The blonde quickly stepped into a back room and Charlie suspected she was barely stifling a giggle as she walked away.
From the back room, he now did hear a giggle, some whispers and a not too quiet “Shhh”. Then an attractive brunette stepped out of the room and walked to the desk. “Hello,” she said, “Patty had some work to do in the back, but I can help you. I’m the manager here, my name’s Lucy”. She smiled at him.
Shit, thought Charlie, here we freakin’ go. “Right, got it. I’m Charlie and you’re Lucy. Man, I’ve never heard that one at this of year before. Where’s Snoopy, he must be around here somewhere?”
The smile vanished. “I’m sorry..?”
“You’re sorry? I can’t imagine why. I’m Charlie Brown, you’re Lucy; I’m so tired of hearing these jokes at this time of year. Seriously, where’s Snoopy?”
The smile was replaced by a very frosty look and a blue-eyed glare. “Well, if you must know…” She whistled and a beagle came bounding out of the back room, barking. She bent and picked it up. “This,” she said as the dog squirmed in her arms and licked her face, “is Snoopy.” She stared at him.
Charlie suddenly had a bad feeling. “Seriously?”
“My name is Lucy. I’m the manager here. This is my dog, Snoopy.” She turned and took a key from a hook on the wall. “You’re in Chalet 6. Here’s your key. Dial 9 to call out on the phone, there’s wood stacked by Chalet 2 for your fireplace, the thermostat is behind the door when you walk in and there will be a complimentary bottle of wine on the table.” She looked at him. “Please, enjoy your stay.”
Charlie watched as she carried the dog into the back room. “Ah.” He decided there was nothing to be gained by trying to explain himself at that point, so he picked up the key, walked out to his truck and unloaded a bag and his ski gear into his chalet.
The chalet was nicely laid out. Tiny and warm. A small kitchen, a queen-size bed with a colourful quilt on it, a couple of easy chairs, a TV in the corner, a wood burning stove with a fire laid in it, tile floors, bright red curtains and some painting of what appeared to be the surrounding mountains. As Lucy, which was no bullshit he now realized, had said, there was a bottle of red wine on the small dining table near the stove. Even better, it was a favourite B.C. wine.
Charlie drove the five kilometres into town and picked up some groceries at a small store, filled up his truck with gas, bought some more wine at a boutique küçükçekmece escort shop and headed back. It was getting late in the day, and darkening already, so he thought he’d split some wood for later, or in the morning. He changed into some jeans and a fleece jacket and walked down to chalet 2 and saw the wood piled in a shed, with an axe hanging from a hook on the wall.
From the office, Lucy looked out through a frosty window at Charlie. She watched as he swung the axe, splitting the wood with some ease. As she gazed at him, she saw he was in jeans, which seemed to suit him, the jerk, and, when he took off the fleece jacket because chopping had apparently warmed him up, she could see he looked quite fit for a 30-ish guy from the city.
For a couple of days, Charlie’s routine was about the same. Breakfast, then out for a ski on a nearby trail. Lunch, with some wine on the chalet’s tiny porch, and another ski loop. Chop some more wood before dinner, then maybe a hockey game on the tube in the evening. His cellphone was off, he’d left his laptop at home and nobody knew where he was. Seclusion. And, the place being so quiet, he found that, along with the exercise from skiing and chopping wood, he was sleeping like a baby. A guy could almost get used to this, he thought.
While sitting in the mid-afternoon sun on his tiny porch, he’d noticed Lucy going about her business, Snoopy bounding along behind her. Apparently, she ran the place with only Patty and another blonde helping her. He’d also noticed her skiing back just as he was about to head out a couple of times. She looked very competent as a skier and in her tight-fitting ski gear, which would have done an Olympian proud, Charlie couldn’t help but notice she looked damn fine.
The next morning, as he was heading out to ski a loop, she was heading back in on the same trail. He stopped and she pulled up in front of him, panting from skiing hard. Charlie noted how her chest heaved and fell from her exertions and that up close, wearing black fitted ski clothing, she did indeed look fine.
“Mr. Brown,” she said, panting, the cold air making her breath swirl around her like smoke. A little steam rose from her body as she stood there. She must have really been going hard, thought Charlie. “I hope you’re enjoying your stay with us.” She started to ski past him.
“Um, Lucy,” he began. She stopped and looked at him through orange mirrored Oakleys. “I really have to apologize about the other day, the day I checked in? I thought you were putting me on when you found out my name was Charlie Brown and that you made up the Lucy bit.
“When you get to be 30, you’ve heard all the Charlie Brown jokes and one-liners that everybody thinks are hilarious at Christmas time. I’ve just gotten really tired of all that. Again, my apologies.” He stepped out of the track she was in and she moved past him.
Looking back at him, she said, “Actually, Patty did think your name was a little funny at this time of year. I’ll apologize for her, and then I guess we’re even.” She smiled. “Personally, I’ve always liked the Peanuts gang and that’s why I named my beagle Snoopy. It’s not original, but what better name could there be for him?”
Charlie looked at her. The morning sun was now behind her, outlining her and highlighting the steam coming off her body. Hmm, he thought. Her long dark hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and her smile was very bright when she smiled. “Good point. Anyway, he went to turn up the trail, I really thought I should apologize. It’s not your fault I’m tired of the”, he made quote marks with his gloved fingers, “Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown thing.”
Lucy looked at him and smiled. “I guess I can forgive you. Everything good with your chalet?”
“Oh, it’s perfect,” he said. “I’m really enjoying it here. Um, you’re out on the trail pretty early, I’ve noticed.”
“Have you?” She smiled at him again, noting his dark hair and that he was about six feet tall. “Well, it’s a busy place most of the time and early is when nobody else is out and I can get in a few kilometres in before I start working. Have a good day, Mr. Brown.”
Charlie laughed. “Actually, you can feel free to call me Charlie, I think staying here has me over the whole TV cartoon thing.”
She laughed. “Well, as you know, you can call me Lucy. Oh, and by the way, if you like, there’s a staff hot tub down by Chalet 12. We’re short handed right now, because of the holiday, and nobody’s really using it.”
“Thanks,” he said, “I’ll keep that in mind. Have a good day.”
“You too.” They skied off in their different directions.
It had snowed heavily overnight and Charlie woke early. He skipped breakfast, thinking he’d be the first one out on the trail. Carrying his skis to the start of the loop he’d been skiing, he saw that wasn’t the case. Skis had already made tracks through the new snow. Likely Lucy, he thought. A few hundred küçükyalı escort metres in on the trail, he began an uphill section. He was sweating with the effort and it was snowing heavily again. He’d stopped, panting to catch his breath, when he saw a red blur coming at him down the slope. As she whizzed past, Lucy called out, “Morning, Charlie.” He turned as she went past, bent at the waist, ski poles under her arms, the red of her Lycra pants tight across her ass. “Wow,” he whispered. She was gone through the snow in an instant. “I could watch her ski away all day,” he said to the trees.
That night, Charlie watched the Oilers squeak out a win over the Kings; a rare win this year. Thinking the victory deserved a toast, he uncorked a Shiraz and poured a glass. He stretched in one of the easy chairs, then remembered what Lucy had said about the hot tub. After a few days of unaccustomed skiing, he was a little stiff and sore. A hot tub soak might be just the thing, he thought.
Charlie pulled a swimsuit out of his bag that he’d brought with the idea of driving to a hot springs. That was a good hour’s drive or more there and back, he thought, which made the hot tub sound even better. He stripped down, pulled on the swimsuit, tied a large towel around his waist, pulled on his coat and slipped into his hiking boots. Very stylish, he thought.
Stepping out of his chalet, he was surprised how bright it was for 9 p.m. Looking up, though, he saw the moon was almost full and cast a cold, blue light over the snow. Over by the office, he noticed, someone had put a few hundred lights on couple of spruce trees. Festive. The multi-coloured display lit up the snow all around the office. For a moment, Charlie wondered if Lucy was in the office. He stepped back inside, picked up the Shiraz and his glass, then headed for where he thought Chalet 12 was.
He found Chalet 12 and walked around it, discovering a hot tub in the rear. It was partially enclosed by a wooden fence and was an above ground model, which, he noticed as he walked to it, appeared to be wood-heated. That was cool. He could smell wood smoke and something else. As he approached, though, he noticed somebody was already in the tub and he detected a faint aroma of marijuana.
“Hi there,” came a voice from the tub. “Just hang your things from the pegs there on the fence.” It was the blonde, Patty. He could barely see her head above the water. “Come on in, the water’s fine,” she giggled.
As Patty watched, Charlie took off and hung up his coat and the towel, stepped onto a little boardwalk and kicked off his boots beside the small-ish four-person tub. “You don’t mind?”
“Nah, plenty of room,” said Patty, looking him over. “Come in, Mr. Brown. I think I can fit you in.”
He placed his wine bottle and glass on a shelf built into the fence near the tub and as Charlie swung a leg over the side, Patty sat up to give him some room. As he moved to get in the tub, he found himself glancing down at Patty’s black bikini top, which appeared to barely contain her breasts. He eased in, then sat down, slouching down so the water came up to his chin. “Ahhh.”
“Great isn’t it,” said Patty, watching him. With Charlie in the tub, Patty was now sitting on one of the seats in the tub, with her arms spread wide on the rim of the tub.
“Sure is,” he said, looking her over in the bright moonlight. Patty’s hair was wet and steam was rising from it, while the water now covered about half of her bikini top. Nice, he thought; her breasts were buoyant in the water.
“Just taking a quick dip,” she said, smiling. “I’m working nights tonight.”
“Really? There’s enough business for that?”
“Oh, the boss insists somebody be on hand,” she said. “Mostly, I watch TV and drink tea, but at least somebody is in the office.”
“Good point,” he said, reaching for his wine. “Would you like some? I only have the one glass, though.”
“No, thanks. I’ve already had a relaxer.”
Ah, he thought, she must have been having a toke when he walked up.
As Charlie sipped his wine, Patty sank under the water again and their legs touched. She didn’t pull her leg away, he noticed. Neither did he. All was quiet and bright for maybe 15 minutes as they soaked. About the only sound he could hear was the fire in the tub’s heater.
Charlie found himself almost nodding off from the heat, the wine and the exercise earlier in the day. “Well, it’s about time I got to the office,” said Patty, suddenly. “I’ll put some more wood on before I go, though, to keep the heat up for you.” She hauled herself partly out of the tub and leaned well over the edge to pick up a piece of split wood near the heater. As Charlie watched, she bent to open the furnace door and push the wood in. Bent over the edge as she was, Charlie couldn’t help but notice her ass was barely clad by her bikini bottom, which stretched tightly across her cheeks when she moved to add the wood maltepe escort to the furnace. Nice ass, he thought, very nice.
As he sipped more wine, Patty stood up and the water barely reached her crotch. She looked down at him and smiled and he quickly gazed at her body, which was dripping water as it steamed from the cold air. Charlie felt a tent starting in his swimsuit.
“See ya, Mr. Brown.” The bikini bottom stretched again and her breasts almost fell out of her top as Patty got out of the tub and pulled on a terry robe. “Have a nice soak. Is that wood okay?”
“Thanks, Patty. It’s fine. Have a quiet night at work.” He sunk in to his chin again, soaking up the heat of the tub, now hotter thanks to the wood Patty had put in the heater.
As Patty headed for the office, she saw Lucy walking toward the tub with a robe pulled around her, a beer in hand. “Hi boss,” she giggled and winked. “Your Mr. Brown is in the tub right now.”
Lucy looked at her. “He’s not my Mr. Brown, what do you mean?”
“Oh, I’ve seen you checking him out at the woodpile,” said Patty. “And watching when he comes back from skiing.” She stepped closer to Lucy. “And I’ll tell you, he’s no Pigpen,” she whispered, then walked away.
Lucy continued to the hot tub. “Good evening, Mr. Brown. I didn’t know anybody was here. I could come back later…”
“Hi Lucy. I preferred it when you called me Charlie earlier. I can make room.” He watched as she took off her robe and hung it on a peg. Her long dark hair was again pulled back in a ponytail and she was wearing what appeared to be black men’s boxers and a white shorty T-shirt which barely covered her breasts. Damn, he thought sneaking more looks, what a body. Lucy put her beer on another shelf on the fence, sat on the edge of the tub and swung long, well-muscled legs into the water.
She sunk in to her chin as well, basking in the sudden heat. She sighed and looked over at him. Charlie was sitting on the seat chest-deep and she could see he had well-muscled arms and shoulders and not too much hair on his chest. She watched as he took a sip of wine. His dark hair was plastered to his head from sweat from the tub. He smiled her way.
“Usually. But tomorrow’s a day off, so it’s all good.”
“What do you do on days off? Ski? I see you’re very good at it. Very”
Lucy blushed a little. “Thanks. Yes, I ski pretty much every day once the snow starts. A few years ago, I was on the national cross-country ski team, the training kinda sticks with you.”
“You’re not racing now?” he asked, interested. No wonder she was so damn fast and had such a good body. She’s a real athlete.
“No. About three years ago I injured my knee and I couldn’t rehab it to the point where I used to be. That’s why I’m working here now. My parents own the place, so it’s a permanent job, and I can ski pretty much whenever I want.”
“They own it, but don’t run it?” he asked. “Where are they?”
“You’ve been in town for groceries?” she asked.
“Then you’ve been shopping in their grocery store. They own several small businesses around here.” She reached for her beer and drank.
A comfortable silence settled in, broken only by the popping of wood from the wood heater and occasional howling by coyotes. The bright moon was now overhead, casting a blue glow over everything.
Charlie sipped his wine and watched as Lucy put her head back on the edge of the tub, eyes closed, and stretched across it so her toes gripped the other side. She now floated just under the surface. Charlie noticed her eyes were closed, so he was able to look more obviously at her. Her breasts pushed out of the water a bit, and her now wet T-shirt was pulled tightly across them, displaying her nipples in the moonlight. The tent was back in his swimsuit.
Lucy eased open an eyelid slightly and saw him looking at her. She smiled to herself.
Close by, Charlie noticed her shapely legs stretched across the tub and saw some scars on her right knee. The one she injured, he figured.
“So Charlie,” she said as she sank under, then sat up across from him, “what do you do for a living?” Their legs touched under the water. Neither of them moved their leg away.
He looked at her, steam now rising from her as she sipped her beer again. With the moon so bright, he not only saw her nipples, but with the T-shirt soaked, had a good view of the outline of her breasts. He gulped.
“Well,” he said. “I’m a photographer. Freelance. Pretty much anything that you can take a picture of, I take pictures of.” Man, he thought, I’d love to take a picture of you, right here and right now.
“Sounds interesting. Sounds like you enjoy it.”
“Other than time in the office, yeah, I do really enjoy it.”
“I haven’t seen you taking any pictures around here,” she said.
“I’m on a holiday. If I pulled out my camera, it’d be like work.” He slid in deeper and their legs interlocked a bit in the close confines of the tub. She didn’t pull away.
“I understand. Most people, when they come here, actually get away from their daily life for a short time,” she said. “We have a lot of return business.”
Charlie couldn’t help but gaze at her body again. “I’m sure you do.”
“Well,” she said, standing up. “I should get out now, I’m up early tomorrow for a ski.”