By all aspects to most people Kelly Marie Munson was an enormous success. She had inherited the fur shop from her parents as a young woman. She had sold enormously expensive fur coats to every celebrity anybody had ever heard of. She was one of the town leaders in fundraising for many of the charity events in town and the surrounding areas. She knew so many celebrities that she was constantly including them on the guest lists of high profile events for fund raising.
Kelly had returned home after a successful four years at the state university that was nearby. Her parents were killed in an auto accident on an icy road one winter. She had been helping at the store during the summer months of high school and weekends. During her college years, she also returned to help. The high mountains of Colorado were excellent training grounds for her long distance training.
The only thing that she had not been successful at was love. She had been burnt once in high-school and was fairly reluctant to get involved after that.
Kelly was forty two, now and had pretty much given up hope that she would ever get married or have children. Still, there was a twinge of longing to have the one thing she had never accomplished; having a daughter to leave everything to.
Kelly's routine was pretty mundane. She would get up early enough to eat something, run the hills and back roads from 5:00 until about 7:00 during the summer. In the winter she swam the same amount of time in the community center.
Today was going to be warm by Aspen standards. She had finished her run and had stopped in Godiva's; the local candy manufacturer and coffee shop. She had been reading the local newspaper and was getting ready to go when a customer caught her eye.
She had some sense of who he was, but since she was not a close follower of the Colorado NFL team, she didn't know that much about him.
Joe Don Kelly was near the end of his ride. He had played on many super bowl winning teams and was a hot commodity, but the end was in sight. He could always be counted on for some good games, but his age was against him. He would be forty soon, and that is way past the prime for a tight end.
Kelly Marie looked up from her newspaper to see Joe Don order a cup of coffee. He was hard to miss. His 6'-4" and 240 lb. frame turned heads no matter where he went. His close shaven hair was thin on the sides, but was capped by the kinky, curly wide Mohawk that ran down the center of his head.
He did not seem to have the markings of an athlete or rock star. Most of them were covered from head to foot with tattoos. Kelly Marie couldn't stand that.
She was ready to leave, but decided to do the crossword puzzle out of curiosity over this new customer. It was like driving by a car wreck, or flipping the remote and coming across the UFC channel. It was on the one hand disgusting, but still curiously compelling to at least watch briefly.
He never seemed to even notice her, which was a little discomforting for Kelly Marie. With all her reluctance to date, she was at least hit on almost everywhere she went.
Her long reddish brown hair had been meticulously braided into a French braid that hung almost to her waist. Her black Lycra Speedo running outfit fit like a powder coated, electrostatically applied matt finish. It fit like a glove. She was not trying to appear provocative, but the thin fabric covered, cooled and kept her body temperature at the optimum running temperature. In cool weather it kept her warm. In warm weather it kept her cool.
Kelly watched him as he tried to drink his coffee and read the paper. He was dressed in running shoes, black spandex football pants, and a New England Patriots football jersey with his name across the back.
She watched how many of the younger girls stopped to try to talk to him. She watched how the men asked for autographs "for their children." He was gracious and smiled and chatted briefly with all of them. It was an ironic situation. He didn't like the distraction; but couldn't live without it.
When he left, he passed Kelly. "I'm done with the paper. Would you like to read it?" Kelly tried to shove the rest of the paper she had under the FYI section that had her crossword puzzle.
"Yes thank you." she said in a cool aloof manner. She was pleased to be recognized, but wanted to appear aloof. She didn't want to appear to be an easy pick up. She wasn't about to fawn over this celebrity football player. She didn't really know who he was, but could see easily that he must be somebody to get the attention he was getting.
The ritual continued for a number of days, with her getting his newspaper as he was leaving. Finally, one day he came in a little earlier and was in line in front of her. He smiled and greeted her. "Can I buy you a cup of coffee and share my paper with you he asked."
Kelly panicked. She didn't know what to do. She secretly would have liked to talk to him, but didn't think it was appropriate. She looked around and didn't see anybody she knew. "Sure," she said hesititatingly.
"My name is Joe Don Kelly." He said as he pulled a chair out for her. "My name is Kelly Marie Munson." They both laughed at the similarity in their names.
Kelly said she worked in a clothing store. Joe Don said he works during the winter in Denver and travels a lot. They chatted much longer than Kelly could afford. She had to open the store soon and had to go home to shower and change. She thanked him for the coffee but said she had to go. She offered to pay for his the next day.
"Why don't we just go out for dinner tonight?" he asked.
"I've got other plans." She replied. "Can't we just meet for coffee after I'm done running?"
"I'll take what I can get." He replied with a smile.
Kelly didn't have plans, but she was reluctant to be seen socially with a big black man. She wasn't sure what that would do to her business and her image in town.
During their coffee conversations, Kelly learned that Joe Don had purchased a large acreage in nearby Ruby, Colorado. It had been a ghost town for most of the time she could ever remember. It was a remote location only accessible by four-wheel jeeps over a rough road. Joe Don liked the privacy.
If you come to my house, I'll cook you dinner he said one day. Kelly was a little more open to meeting him in a remote location where her community members might not recognize her. He gave her GPS coordinates and address. "Call me when you get to the gate. It is two more miles to the house. I will meet you there. You cannot get there with your car."
Kelly drove her 4WD Toyota pickup to the point on the map where he instructed her to call. "I'm close," she said. Joe Don was waiting at the gate.
He was driving an old military hummer. It was much smaller than the ones that have been sold in the last few years. It was still painted with camouflage and a star on the hood and sides had been removed; leaving the green there much newer.
Joe Don helped toss her up several feet to the passenger seat. It was awkward because she had a fairly short button-front thin summer dress, high-heeled boots that were zippered to the tops which stopped just below her knees. Her pearl necklace was wrapped twice around her neck and hung almost to her waist. Her long French braid was something for her nervous hands to hang onto for security. She struggled to keep her dress down as they bumped over small boulders and pot holes.
When they got there, Kelly was not ready for what she saw. His house was almost on the side of a cliff. At the base of an almost 150 foot vertical black granite vertical face, an abandoned gold mine entrance was used for his garage The tailings from the cave cascaded several hundred feet into the river below. Joe Don had not figured out how to put a door on his "garage" yet. For the moment, it was a potential danger because nobody knew how far into the mountain it went or whether there were any cave-ins to block it.
There was a hewn stairway going to the top. The treads were about two feet deep. The risers were about 18" high. It was an almost impossible walk for anybody but the fittest. "How am I going to get up there in this?" Kelly half screamed in mock horror.
Joe Don picked up the dainty woman in his arms. Kelly was in a dilemma. She couldn't protest too much. She wasn't outraged. She wasn't too indignant. She didn't kick. About all she could do was put one arm around his neck for additional support and put the other hand to use keeping the already fairly short dress together and down as far as possible.
Joe Don started up the side of the cliff easily, talking to her about his project as he went. The switchbacks seemed endless on the climb up.
About half way up, he paused. He leaned back against the granite wall at one of the landings on a switchback. "I think I may need a little rest." He said. Kelly felt his heart pounding as she laid her head against him. "On the other hand, I could get more energy back sooner if I had a kiss."
Kelly was intrigued with the situation. Hesitant to initiate or openly engage in what she knew was probably inevitable. "What did you think was ultimately going to happen when a popular big black athlete invites you to his house for diner in an isolated, remote place like this?" she asked herself.
Kelly looked him in the eye and turned her head up to meet his. She closed her eyes and turned her face slightly to miss his nose. She was safe as long as she was in his arms. He did not have a free hand to do anything else. He did not insist on inserting his tongue. She had softened her lips to accept him if he did. For the moment it was exciting; the first kiss.
.... There is more of this story ...