Christmas Tales - Brandon Witt Page 0,1

only tracks over the snow. I would have undoubtedly flipped the driver off, forgetting that I was wearing mittens, and then sat down on the nearby stump of a recently fallen spruce to get my heart rate down to an acceptable syncopation. I would have finished my snowshoeing, returned to my Jeep, and gone back home to review the small lists of tasks for Christmas morning and then fall asleep.

That might have happened if I had made it a practice to do even just one sit-up a day.

Alas, no sit-ups had been done in the recent past. Or the far, far past, for that matter.

Therefore, when the snowmobile, unheard over Glee’s version of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” zoomed over the ridge, caught air, and headed back down in my direction, I screamed at the top of my lungs, attempted to fling myself out of the path of the speeding onslaught, caught my left snowshoe in the branches of a recently fallen spruce, twisting my ankle in the process, landed in more branches of that damned recently fallen spruce, and screamed again. And for its part, the snowmobile also didn’t respond according to how it should have. Snowmobiles don’t do sit-ups, so I am not clear on its excuse. Regardless, upon finding a snowshoer enjoying the magic of Christmas Eve in its path, the snowmobile landed in an explosive cloud of snow, attempted to swerve in an overcompensating jerk and crashed into the branches of the recently fallen spruce that I might have mentioned. Mere inches from my recently twisted ankle.

It turns out, I did not have an opportunity to flip off the snowmobile driver, mittens or not.

Well, in all honestly, maybe I did have the opportunity. The driver, demonstrating that he had done at least one sit-up a day, launched effortlessly off the snowmobile, and tucked himself up as he rolled harmlessly across the snow. To his credit, he did rush over to check on me before inspecting his snow machine of death. If he’d had on a helmet, I might have taken the opportunity to offer him a mitten-clothed flipping of the bird. However, the large brown eyes peering down at me from the Marlboro Man face (before the nicotine did its work) caused any thought of flipping an angry bird to flit away.

He completely caught me off guard, my thoughts equally torn between marveling at the sheer stupidity of anyone being so unprepared as to not wear a helmet and goggles, and the sheer stupidity that anyone could be so hot in real life.

“Wow. You really threw yourself into that tree didn’t you?”

Maybe check on me was an overstatement. Still, I took his outstretched hand and stood, managing to untangle myself from the branches with his help. And, again, maybe stand is an overstatement.

To my shame, I let out a pain-filled yip that was part Pomeranian and part five-year-old girl. Although, I guess I could say I howled like a shape-shifting girl who sometimes morphs into a Pomeranian. There. I made that noise. That’s more manly.

“Oh, jeez! You must have hurt your ankle.” Marlboro slipped an arm over my back. “Let me help you stand.”

I might have been tempted to point out that I neither threw myself into a tree nor twisted my ankle, that both of those had been his decisions, not mine. Instead, the arm muscles I could feel flexing as he supported my weight left me with no other words than, “Thank you for helping. My name’s Paxton.”

His smile turned out to be as captivating as his eyes. “Nice to meet you. I’m Logan Charles.” He glanced down, and for a moment, I thought he was checking out my crotch. “Looks like your snowshoe is fucked.”

I’d been wearing snowshoes?

I followed his gaze.

Sure enough, the rawhide webbings were twisted and ripped through by the entangled branches.

“I didn’t know people used old-fashioned snowshoes anymore. Have you seen the new models? Might be a good investment.”

Again, my smartass reply was cut off as he bent down and began freeing my foot from the ruined snowshoe. If this is how Cinderella felt, I was beginning to understand the appeal.

Even after I was freed, though somewhat less painful, standing on my own wasn’t really an option. At least not standing and moving at the same time.

He, Logan of the two first names, motioned toward the stump. “How about I help you over there and then I check out the snowmobile?”

Real prince charming for a straight guy. “Sure, thank you.”

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