Chocolate and Caramel Ch. 01byqhml1©
This is a tale that primarily set in the middle seventies. It was half a generation removed from the civil rights movement. I live in a small county in a middle Southern state and I remember it well. Even now, racism is still present, but it seems more directed at the mass of illegals that has flooded the area.
I could have put this in interracial, or maybe even romance, but in the end it's a tale of a cheating wife, compounded by the fact she was black and married to a white man. You may not like the overtones, but I was a young man during this time and tried to make it real as possible. If this offends you, stop now. If it offends you and you read it anyway, don't bitch. For the rest of you, enjoy.
And even though when the tale starts the female protagonist is under eighteen, NO SEX occurs until after her eighteenth birthday, except for a brief reference to a statutory rape that happened far into the past. Just wanted to clear that up.
I admit it, I looked like a first class wimp when I walked into the karate studio. I had a black eye, a split lip, and a lot of bruises.
At six feet, and one sixty five[I had always been a little skinny]I didn't exactly look like a pussy. I actually was a fair to middlin' scraper, growing up in a small southern town and hanging with the bad boys had taught me a thing or two. I learned early, hit hard, hit fast, and hit first if you can. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. This particular time it was a first class disaster.
He had skills I never heard of. He bounced around, lightly, kicking and punching me with an almost robotic ease. I found out later he was a second degree black belt. An okay guy until somebody pissed him off or was drinking. That night he was both, being an asshole to his girlfriend and everyone around. I took all I could until he slapped his girl. I called him an asshole and dared him to try that shit on a man. Won't make that mistake again.
I gave it a good try, even got a few licks in, but he beat the fuck out of me. It took three bouncers to get him off of me, and they had to use clubs. He put one in the hospital.
When the judge found out he was a black belt, and threw the first punch, He reamed him a new ass. He had to do six months and enter anger management therapy once he got out of jail. He was warned, the next fight he was involved in he would get the maximum sentence possible.
Even though it was the bouncer who got hurt, and it was the club that pressed charges, he blamed the whole thing on me. He had a friend of a friend of a friend who knew a guy that another guy owed a favor to, to let me know that when he got out he was gonna kick my ass.
I knew six months of classes wouldn't get me a black belt, but maybe it would stop me from getting killed. That and the thirty eight I carried.
The sensei was a tenth degree black belt, so I figured he knew what he was doing. He was a tall, muscular black guy in his early forties. The class was mixed in age from sixteen to sixty two, in varying degrees of shape. I was twenty two.
I stretched, I strained. My muscles stayed sore for five months. I was saved the pain of a beat down when the asshole flipped out and beat the shit out of five prisoners and a guard. He got another three years.
In a fit of self revelation, I discovered I loved training. I made it to green belt in six months, going four days a week.
We would receive training from assistants, while the master would give lectures and demonstrate techniques. He had a mantra he pounded into us.
"Fight with your mind. Think, plan, don't just react! Improvise if you have to."
We had to pair up to practice moves. For some reason a woman just over five feet tall, not weighing a hundred pounds always chose me to practice with. I asked her once why she always chose me.
"Because you're basically the same size as my husband, minus the beer gut. When I get competent enough, I'm gonna beat the hell out of him."
Seems he was abusive, and she told him she went to exercise class instead of karate.
She finally felt confident enough to confront him, and that Saturday night he got a few beers in him and tried to smack her. She beat him so bad he hid in the bathroom. It was an old singlewide, and she took the phone and stood out in the hall and called every friend and relative they both had, telling them that Bubba had locked himself in the bathroom to keep her from beating him up. He was screaming about how he was gonna kill her when she went to sleep. Her last call was to 911, and she held up the phone so they could hear his rant a little more clearly. The deputies came and gave him a free place to sleep for two days, and confiscated every weapon in the house. He never did get his deer rifle and shotguns back. She used the time to empty the house and their bank accounts, and moved back in with her mother. She never came back to class.
There was a young black girl there, tall, athletic, well built, really good rack. She seemed to like me, but I was was twenty two and white. It was in the late seventies, in a small southern town. Plus she had just turned seventeen. I didn't do jail bait, whatever the color. It still didn't stop her from flirting, and sometimes I teased her back.
We were practicing how to break the hold of someone who grabbed our neck. shirt, or lapels.
The sensei gave us a lecture before practice.
"One of the best ways to break loose is surprise. Scream, do something unexpected. It'll slow down their response time. Sometimes a fraction of a second is the difference between rape, serious bodily injury, or death. Begin."
She did the standard grabs, and I did the taught responses while the instructors watched.
When it was my turn to be the attacker, I reached for her lapels. A tall girl at five ten, she bounced up on her feet, and I ended up with two hands full of firm boobs. Naturally I snatched my hands back, and she took full advantage of my exposed front, and knocked my down with a three inch punch to the nose. Already a bit off balance, I dropped like a rock. She leaned over with a sweet smile on her face.
The ones that saw what happened were laughing, and once every one found out they had to stop practice. The sensei, always looking for a teachable moment, brought it into focus.
"Although I don't really think what she did was appropriate for class, it makes my point. What she did was so unexpected that it froze her opponent, making him vulnerable. That's all for tonight."
By then most of the younger ones had formed a loose friendship, and we would often go to a fast food place for a light meal. Shondra and her sister never went. I asked a guy why once.
"They're broke. Neither work, they're both still in school. They live with their grandmother on a fixed income. They pay for their lessons by cleaning the dojo."
I was a little later leaving that evening. The others had gone ahead, and I was on my way when I passed them on the sidewalk. I pulled over.
"Hey girls, wanna go grab something with the others? I'll pay, just to seen in public with two babes."
There was a guy walking with them, obviously interested in her sister.I don't know if he thought I was trying to take them away from him, he didn't like white boys, or if he was just an asshole.
"Move on, honky. Leave the sisters alone."
"Damn, and I was gonna order fried chicken and watermelon. Looks like I'll eat a burger instead."
I had hopped out of my CJ5 jeep. Shondra had laughed, and the guy was shocked. I had on a Rolling Stones t shirt, my uniform pants, and sneakers, so I was dressed to mix it up. Her sister put her hand on his arm.
"Don't. He meant nothing by it, and he could probably kick your ass."
She turned to me.
"Thanks for the offer, but Shondra and I need to get home. Maybe next time."
She looked around, Shondra was already in the jeep, fastening her seat belt and waving.
"Tell Grams I'll be home soon."
I looked to her older sister.
"All right. Have her home by nine thirty."
I had the jeep stripped down. No top, no doors. It made her a little nervous for a second, but when the wind hit she loved it.
"You're going down main street?"
She seemed nervous. I grinned.
"Yeah, it's the quickest. Why? Ashamed to be seen with a honky?"
She looked down, embarrassed.
"No, I thought you might not want to be seen with me."
That pissed me off just a little.
"If you're my friend it doesn't matter what color you are to me. Besides, it's just a burger. It's not like we're eloping."
She stayed quiet the rest of the way there.
We could see our friends through the windows. Shondra was waving before we got parked.
"What can I order?" She asked, before we entered.
"It's McDonalds. Order what you like, love."
She looked at me funny. My last girlfriend had been British, it was an expression I picked up from her.
I gave her a twenty, told her what I wanted, and went to the restroom. I got back just as she was paying, picked up the tray, and joined our friends.
"Hi guys. Look what I found. Sondra 'Killer Boobs' Smith. Watch her, those are deadly."
It embarrassed her, but she got me back.
"Never underestimate the value of surprise, or a nice rack. Does your nose still hurt?"
I rubbed my nose. It was still stinging a little.
"Don't worry girl, one day it'll be my turn to surprise you."
We laughed and joked like the good friends we were for forty five minutes before we started dispersing, going our separate ways for the night.
"Uh Uh. I can stay out to nine thirty, and it's only eight fifteen. Take me for a ride. But first, I still got your change. I want a chocolate shake."
She'got her large shake, gave me what change was left, and got in.
"I've never been four wheeling. Is there somewhere close we can go?"
She was in luck. A friend had lumbered off about fifty acres just outside of town, and I had his permission to ride the logging trials. It had rained two days before, so there were lots of mud puddles.
I scared her, until she got used to it. Then she laughed, yelled, and told me to go faster. I got a little careless, hit a pool too fast, and doused us both with muddy water. I pulled over in a clear spot and stopped.
I had taken the backseat out and used it as storage space when I went camping. I had a storage box I always carried for just such occasions. It held towels, dry shirts, even a couple of pairs of shorts. There was no way my white skinny ass shorts was going to fit over that well rounded butt, so I gave her a shirt and two towels. It was warm, but once I hit the highway the wet shirts would be very uncomfortable.
"Here. Go over there behind those bushes and dry off. Put this shirt on, or you'll freeze on the way home. Go on, nobody can see you out here."
It had gotten dark, so I gave her a flashlight.
Once she was behind the bushes I stripped out of my pants and shirt. Just as I reached for the shorts She screamed at the top of her lungs, came running out from behind the bushes, jumped in the jeep, and started yelling "Snake! Snake!"
Then she stopped screaming and froze, looking at me. I was naked, with my shorts in my hand. All she had on were her panties and a white cotton bra. It barely contained her magnificent teenage breasts.
Glad of the darkness, I slipped into my shorts and handed her the t shirt. Giving her time to slip the shirt on, I went and retrieved the clothes behind the bushes. She slipped her pants on while I looked away. If there had been a snake, the commotion drove it away.
I got in the Jeep and we sat for just a minute.
I looked at her seriously.
"We're to never speak of this."
She burst into laughter, and was still laughing when we hit the highway. Just before we pulled onto the roadway she grabbed my face and gave me a kiss that said anything except inexperienced teen. She let go and giggled.
"I always wanted to kiss a white boy. By the way, nice equipment, especially for a white boy."
If she expected me to be embarrassed she was going to be disappointed.
"Thanks. And I have to tell you, you've got a great rack, for any color."
I could see the white of her teeth when she smiled. She held my hand back into town, only letting go when I changed gears.
The mantra 'seventeen, seventeen, seventeen' kept going through my head, trying to keep the rest of my mind off her body.
We pulled up to her apartment. It was in 'the projects', government housing for the poor.
My engine, complete with headers and glass pack mufflers, announced our arrival.
"I'll slip in, get changed before my gram sees me. I'll bring your shirt back next week."
I got out.
"Look around. There must be fifteen of your neighbors sitting on their front porches. How long do you think it's gonna take them to tell her a white boy in a loud Jeep brought you home? Or that you didn't have your uniform on? No, you're going to take me in and introduce me, and I'll explain what happened."
You could tell she really didn't want to, but I gave her no choice.
Her gram was a tall woman, just like her daughters. She wasn't fat or skinny, she looked like an average sixty year old woman, regardless of color.
She shook my hand when I offered it, and listened stoned faced while I explained what happened. When I was done she leaned forward and looked into my eyes.
"Damn if I don't believe you. That story is just too crazy to make up. Care for some coffee and peach pie?"
So we sat at the kitchen table and had a snack. Judging by the pie, the woman must be a hell of a cook. Shondra sat with us but didn't say much. After my second piece, I pushed back from the table.
"I thank you for your hospitality, but I need to go. Work tomorrow, you know. It was a pleasure to meet you ma'am."
"I love a man with manners and a good appetite. Good night. Shondra, walk our guest out, and you better be back in ten minutes. You have school tomorrow."
She wrapped up a piece of pie for me to eat tomorrow.
Shondra switched the porch light off and grabbed my hand.
"You're the first man I've seen my gram like. That must mean something."
Before I could stop her she kissed me, hard, and stood back giggling again.
"I'm gonna keep your shirt to remember this little adventure. See you at the dojo."
She practically skipped back into the house.
I mused on the way home. Better be careful with this one. She's young and black. But her kiss wasn't young, and her lips tasted as good as any I had ever touched. Plus, those boobs said woman, and not child.
Shondra became my full time practice partner. Without fail, she was in the Jeep waiting for me afterwards. Her sister Gail would go with us about every other time, and we became friends.
Once Shondra was sick, and Gail went with me alone. We ate, then she asked me to take her somewhere to talk. I only lived ten minutes away, so I asked if my house would do. She surprised me by agreeing.
She admired my house, a little two bedroom cottage that had needed a lot of work. A friend had inherited it from his grandfather, and he didn't have enough to pay the estate taxes. I offered to buy it for half the tax value. He agreed immediately.
At twenty I became a home owner. I had worked construction jobs in my teens and had learned a good bit, so I spent every spare dime I had on improvements. What I couldn't do myself I traded labor, or paid when I had to. After almost two years I was about seventy five per cent done. I was inordinately house proud.
Gail couldn't believe someone as young as me could own a house, and marveled at how well kept it was.
"It's actually easier to be neat than be a slob. Plus, I've always been a bit of a neat freak."
I poured two glasses of tea, and we sat at the kitchen table. She looked nervous.
"Spit it out, Gail, before you choke on it."
"All right. You need to be careful around Shondra. She's decided she's in love with you. She told me yesterday she fully intends to marry you. She has a plan, and I saw one of her notebooks, she's been practicing writing "Shondra Turner" all over it."
I didn't believe her.
"Are you sure? I've never given her any reason to think like that. All I've ever done is buy her a few Big Macs and taken her for a ride twice. We've never dated. Plus I'm twenty two and she's seventeen. That's jail bait, Gail, and that scares the shit out of me. I don't want to offend you, but factor in the race thing. My friends and family wouldn't accept her, and except for your grandmother and you, I can't see me being close to her family or friends."
She gave a sad smile.
"I'm not offended, Bobby, it is what it is, and you've always been nice to us. Just watch out and try not to hurt her. She, hell we, haven't had a lot of good things happen in our lives. And as far as jail bait, you don't look that fine around the brothers and not get noticed. She may be seventeen, but she's as experienced as a twenty five year old. You can take me home now, thanks for the tea and listening to me."
Surprising me, she gave me a big hug and a kiss, stepping back grinning.
"Damn, Bobby, maybe I should have tried to hook you. I'm NOT jail bait, I could show you things, sugar, things that would rock your world. Now, if you're not going to take me to your bedroom, take me to your Jeep."
She kept her voice light and bouncy, but her eyes looked way to serious, so out the door we went, with haste, while she laughed.
I disappointed Shondra by not going out with our friends a few times. It came to a head when I found her sitting in my Jeep with a determined look on her face.
"I'm not getting out, Bobby. Wherever you're going, I'm going too, even if it's just home."
I was kind of glad, I found myself wanting her company.
I just grunted and we ate with the group. They welcomed her back, kidding her about how glad we had kissed and made up. She just smiled, and I actually blushed a couple of times. She rushed us out as soon as possible. I thought she needed to get home, but when I started to pull out, she said "Turn Left". To get to her apartment you had to turn right.
I had the top and the doors back on my Jeep because it was supposed to rain. She wanted me to take her off road, so I took her on the logging trails. We were at the back of the property, the highest point. I had to turn around.
She asked me if we could sit for just a second, so I switched off.
We sat for a second. It was almost dark, and we were facing the sunset. She took my hand.
"What are we doing here, Bobby?"
The question took me by surprise.
"I don't know. This is your idea. You wanted to go four wheeling."
"Stop! That's not what I meant, and you know it. I like you. You like me, I think, but you won't do anything about it. It's because I'm black, isn't it?"
I thought about it for a second, but decided to tell the truth.
"Yes and no. This isn't a big city with cosmopolitan views. This is a small town with a healthy share of racists, but that's not the whole reason. I'm twenty two, you're seventeen. I've been out in the real world for awhile, you're still in high school. And you're under legal age, so if we get intimate, I could be in real trouble if you ever get pissed off. I will admit I'm attracted to you, but I don't see a future here."
I figured that would kill it, but she was smiling.
"You're attracted to me? I can work with that. The rest can come later. So, no sex for eight more months. To be fair to you, there's been guys in my life that aren't so honorable, so I'll know what I'm missing. But you're worth the wait to me.
It's not illegal to kiss, is it? Just no sex. "
I should have stopped her. Looking back, that was the definitive moment for us. If I had stopped her then it would have averted a tremendous amount of grief and pain.