Tales from the Finchbottom Vale – (98) Christmas in Sharpington – James’s Tale (Part 02)
Because she was to be Elf to his Santa they worked closely together and apart from their mutual attraction they bonded over their dislike of the “Overlord” of the Grotto operation, Sharpington Council employee Amanda Rawlings, who was an officiously obnoxious control freak, which would have been ok, had she been any good at it.
During their first week they were beset with problems while they were getting ready for the big event there were problems everywhere.
Some of the other expected volunteers were no shows due to illness, the donated gifts were late, and were unwrapped and they were all feeling the pressure of being massively behind schedule.
Then, a day before his debut as Santa they discovered a problem with the throne which necessitated getting in a carpenter at great expense which was the last straw for James, so when Amanda walked in moments later dressed as an Angel and holding a Christmas Tree he snapped.
So when she said cheerfully,
“Isn't this a lovely tree? Where would you like me to stick it?”
James looked first at Charlotte then turned to Amanda and said
“Up your arse”
Charlotte laughed as Amanda stood open mouthed and added
“Well that is the tradition isn’t it? To have an angel on top of the Christmas Tree”
They didn’t see much of her after that which suited them down to the ground because with her absence everything began to run like clockwork.
But on the day he walked in to Sharpington with his brother and sister things took an interesting turn.
The grotto opened to the first child at 11 o’clock and there was a pretty constant stream, almost non-stop until 3 o’clock and then the visits became more sporadic as the weather had deteriorated and heavy snow was falling.
With James wearing his red suit sitting on his throne, Charlotte was dressed as an Elf and escorted the excited or apprehensive child in from the ante chamber.
The child would then climb up on to Santa’s lap and while Santa had a quick chat with them and gave them their gift, and a man called Owen would take a photo.
Charlotte then escorted the happy child back out to their parents and this well-oiled machine kept operating like that for the duration of the day and when Charlotte escorted the final child back to their waiting parents, Owen followed them out.
James sat on the throne and gathered his thoughts before he got up and changed and just at the moment he prepared to move the lights went out.
“Oh bugger” he exclaimed and then the door opened, spilling light into the room and a figure appeared but disappeared again when the door closed.
But he heard footsteps in the darkness which grew louder with every step and when they stopped the owner of those steps sat on his lap and kissed him.
It was a long and lingering kiss and when it was over he said
“And what would you like for Christmas little girl?”
“Some more of that would be nice” Charlotte replied
After an unhurried passionate embrace they left his chair with the intention of going for dinner with the prospect of more kissing to follow.
But when they left the darkness of the grotto they found the rest of the building was also in darkness.
Whereas Charlotte had plunged the grotto into darkness for her own ends, the other volunteers had assumed it to be empty when they left, which they did promptly because of the snow.
Charlotte turned on the lights and they soon realized they were locked in, all the windows had bars on them and the doors were padlocked and chained from the outside
“Well it looks like we’re here for the night” she said and James thought about being stuck in the grotto with an Elf ten years younger than him and he said