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A Quiet Christmas

Celebration for Two

By Mary HaynesPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 11 min read
A Quiet Christmas
Photo by Greg Althoff on Unsplash

We drove up the snowy, winding road towards the cozy A-frame cabin. We almost got stuck several times, but eventually, there it was, the picture-perfect cabin just like in the brochure.

"Finally, that white-knuckled drive is over," Ana mumbled.

I shook my head. "It was your idea to get away. I was happy spending the holidays at your folk's house like we normally do."

Ana scowled as she lugged her big suitcase up the lantern-lit walkway. She unlocked the door and fumbled for the switch. The light from the rustic wheel chandelier lit up the wooden cabin.

I followed her in, lugging my suitcase and the cooler. "Wow! Look at that Christmas tree; it's huge. I hit the switch under the tree, and hundreds of lights twinkled on the ornaments. There were forest creatures, tiny skis, and little mittens on the white-tipped branches. "Blue spruce, I think. Do you agree, hun?"

Ana rolled her eyes. "I don't care what kind of tree it is. It wasn't in the photos when I booked the cabin."

"Well, bah humbug to you too! You need a Christmas beer," I pulled two out of the cooler and handed her one.

Ana groaned. "I've just had enough of the holidays already. It's been full-on at the advertising firm for the past six months. I'm up to here with bobbles, bows, and the endless holiday jingles."

She sat on the couch and flicked on the TV. 'The Grinch' was on one channel, and 'Charlie Brown's Christmas' was on another. She turned off the TV and sipped her beer. "Yuck! This beer is terrible!"

"What? Mine's fine; in fact, it's lovely, but I'll drink yours." I reached for the beer.

Ana took a swig and made a face. "What's wrong with you, Peter? It's totally spoiled. It tastes like malt vinegar."

I took her beer and had a sip. It was fine. I figured she was just grumpy about it being a Christmas beer.

She got up, grabbed a bottle of water, and settled under a fluffy red plaid blanket.

I turned on the gas fireplace, and the logs glowed warmly. I looked at the cover of the book she was reading. "People I Want to Punch in The Throat? My, how festive you are."

Ana shrugged, "It spoke to me. I like reading Jen Mann's New York Times blog, so I thought I would enjoy this."

By Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

I felt a little hungry, so I fixed a large Charcuterie board, added a basket of crackers and nuts, and placed it on the coffee table. I went back to the kitchen to grab a nice bottle of Merlot. When I returned to the couch, Ana had already eaten a plateful and was re-loading it. I handed her a glass of wine.

She swirled the wine in the glass and lifted it to inhale the bouquet. She started to gag and then ran to the bathroom. I heard her being sick to her stomach. I grabbed a washcloth and ran it under cool water. She wiped her face.

"I hope you don't have the flu," I said, checking her forehead. Maybe you just ate too fast. You inhaled that meat and cheese."

Ana was shaky as she sat back down on the couch. "It was the wine. It smells disgusting!"

I took another sip. "It's fine, and it's your favorite."

"Whatever, I'm not drinking it. It's been a long day. I'm turning in." She gave me a peck on my cheek.

I went with her up to the loft and made sure she was safely tucked under the massive down duvet. Then I went back to the couch and turned on the TV. 'A Christmas Story' was on, and I always wanted to see it. I woke up on the couch and realized I'd missed the ending. "Crap, now I won't know if he got his BB gun." I joined Ana in the loft, where she was sleeping peacefully.

By Anto Meneghini on Unsplash

The next morning the view from the loft was stunning. I wanted to wake her but decided to make breakfast instead. I put a pot of coffee on, fried up some bacon, and scrambled some farm-fresh eggs we bought on the way up to the cabin. I popped four slices of homemade bread into the toaster. As predicted, the aroma from breakfast awakened my sleepy head.

Ana proclaimed she was starving and finished her plate before I was halfway through mine. She eyed my bacon, so I gave her two pieces.

"Good Lord, woman, I've never seen you eat like this before," I said.

"It must be the fresh air and getting away from all the holiday stress." She raised her coffee cup and said, "Cheers!"

I jumped up. "Wait, we need to do a proper cheers." I popped the top of a split of champagne and poured it over orange juice in a flute. "To my love and our special Christmas alone in the woods."

We clinked glasses, and each took a sip. "Mmmmm," I said. "I think this is the best Mimosa I've ever had."

Ana made a face, put down her glass, and ran to the washroom. I followed her in and said, "Not again! Babe, I think we need to get you to a doctor."

She waved me off. "I'm fine. I'm going to shower, and then we can go hiking."

I sat at the table and finished our mimosas while googling sudden reactions to alcohol. When she finished her shower, I asked her, "Are you taking any new medications?"

"What? No. Peter, you know I don't take any medications. I'm as healthy as a horse, whatever that means." She laughed. "Why is that even an expression?"

I shrugged it off, and we grabbed our gear and headed out on the trail. The snowmobiles had already been through, making the walk easier. Sun glistened, and the snow crunched under our boots. I looked at Ana's pink cheeks and thought she had never looked more beautiful. Then the snowball hit me right between the eyes.

"Oops, my bad." She grinned. "I was aiming lower."

"That's it. You're going down, lady." I jumped her, and we toppled into the snowbank. She retaliated by rubbing snow in my face. It was getting pretty chilly, so I pulled her up and started walking.

Ana abruptly turned around. "I'm starving; let's go have lunch, Peter."

By Mara Ket on Unsplash

We returned to the cabin before noon, and I made grilled cheese sandwiches. She devoured hers and then snagged the pickles off my plate.

"Why did you take my pickles?" I asked. "You don't even like pickles."

She shrugged, "They looked good. I wanted something crunchy. I think I like pickles now."

"Okay, new alien Ana, what's next on the agenda?"

She grabbed my hand, "That's easy, a nap. Care to join me?"

It was twilight when we rolled out of bed. Ana stretched and said, "Oh my, it's getting so late. I'm…"

I groaned, "Let me guess, you're hungry?”

She smiled and nodded. In the kitchen, I seasoned some T-bone steaks. I hassle-backed some potatoes, alternating onions, and bacon between the slices. We looked at the stars together while the dinner was on the grill.

I asked if she wanted a glass of wine. She sniffed the bottle and wrinkled her nose. "No thanks," she said. "It just doesn't appeal to me."

I took a long sip of my wine. I said, "You know, when I googled adverse reactions and nausea to alcohol earlier, there was another possible suggestion." I paused and looked into her eyes. "Could you be pregnant?"

She looked away, "No, don't be silly. The doctors said there was almost no chance I could become pregnant."

"But almost no chance isn't quite no chance, is it? You're eating like that proverbial horse, and you get sick when you even smell alcohol." I reached for her hand.

"And I've never seen you look more beautiful. You are, as they say, glowing."

For a moment, Ana looked hopeful, but then she took her hand back and cut a big chunk out of her steak. "Let's not talk about something that isn't going to happen. Let's talk about this fabulous steak you made for me."

After dinner, she read her book while I watched the movie, 'Love Actually.' I saw Ana sneaking peeks at the screen and tearing up. She never cried at movies; she wasn't the sappy type.

By Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Early the following day, I drove into the small village. I picked up a box of Godiva Chocolates and two pregnancy tests at the pharmacy. When I returned, I found her on the couch with a large bag of potato chips. I asked, "Potato chips for breakfast, love?"

"I was hungry, and you know I'm a terrible cook. Where did you go? She inquired."

"I went for a drive into the village, most things were closed, but I found these." I handed her the box of chocolates."

"Godiva, yummy." She opened the box and ate two.

"Oh, and I also picked up a couple of these." He handed her the tests.

Ana pushed them away. "Don't be ridiculous! The odds are stacked against us. I'm not taking the stupid test."

I hugged her. "That's okay; you don't have to. I guess we'll know soon enough anyway." I whipped up some sausage, eggs over easy, and some toast with cinnamon and honey. She ate three more chocolates while she waited for breakfast.

By Clint McKoy on Unsplash

We hiked in the opposite direction on the trail. A large dog popped out of the brush and ran around us in circles.

I froze, "Whew! I thought it was a wolf."

Ana was already on her knees, cuddling the big border collie. "Where did you come from, buddy?"

The dog barked and headed up the trail that ended at an old farmhouse. The farmer was outside trying to round up some chickens. The dog ran up and helped him get them back in the coop.

The man introduced himself. "I'm Jack; I see you've met Abby. She tries to round up everything that moves, even humans. Since she's corralled you, let me offer you a cup of cocoa, and you can visit the animals. A cria, a baby llama, was born a few days ago. He's an active one already."

Tracy, Jack's wife, brought us out two steaming mugs. She explained, "It's mostly a hobby farm now. Jack and I decided ten years ago that animals were friends, not food. We eat eggs and fish from the stream and grow vegetables and fruit."

We toured the farm. There was an old horse in a pen with a donkey; they seemed pretty content together. The llamas had the pen next to them. The baby bounced around. It shyly came over to the fence. Ana's eyes glistened as she patted the soft wooly coat.

We thanked Tracy and Jack for the hospitality and headed back to the cabin. After lunch, we indulged in another nap.

By Jackie Park on Unsplash

I rolled over, and Ana was not beside me. I found her on the couch in front of the fire. I sat down beside her and snuggled under the plaid blanket. She reached over and grabbed a wrapped box.

"It's not Christmas day until tomorrow, but I have a gift for you. Open it!" She pushed it into my hands.

I unwrapped the festive paper and found a Godiva chocolate box. Puzzled, I asked. "You're giving me the chocolates that I just gave you?"

She smiled, "Don't be silly. I ate all those while you were napping. Open the box."

I opened the box and stared at a flat plastic stick. I picked it up and saw two definite lines. "OMG! Is this true? You really are pregnant?" I jumped up. "Well, this is fantastic. We've got to phone everyone. We have to go to your family's Christmas. Everyone will be so excited."

"Whoa there, boy, simmer down. It's very early still. And no, we are not phoning anyone, and we will definitely not spend a hectic Christmas with family this year. We are staying here and enjoying this moment together in this special place." She looked at me and held out her hand.

I took her hand and pulled her to her feet. "Dance with me lady!"

"But there's no music." She protested.

I started swaying to an imaginary beat. "Yes, there is, can't you hear it? There's music in our hearts, our three hearts."

Ana rolled her eyes. "Oh, man! No more sappy Christmas movies for this guy.” But she leaned into me and picked up my rhythm.

By Felipe Castilla on Unsplash

#romance #Christmasmovie #hallmark #holiday #holidaystress #llama #chocolate #baby


About the Creator

Mary Haynes

Mary Haynes splits her time between a romantic old sailboat in tropical waters and a beach home in Ontario. A wanderer, by fate, she embraces wherever she roams! Mary recently completed her first children’s book, “Who Ate My Peppers?”

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