Chocolate Kisses Ch. 12bycalibeachgirl©
Tickets to Paradise
Copyright @ calibeachgirl
All rights reserved, 2011
With great thanks to Pepper Pace, Elliot and Reverend Joe for reading the rough drafts and support... and to Martine, the love of my life.
Late Thursday, March 3rd, 1932
The El Segundo house
Dinner was over. Roast pork with apples sauce, mashed potatoes with butter and peas... how she always knew what he liked, John didn't know but was grateful just the same.
Of course, after Bethany Rose talked with her sister, he only got his favorites every third day. The way Eliza cooked... every third day was enough.
James cleared the table with Eliza while Bethany Rose took the children upstairs to bed. He turned to his friend and asked, "You've arranged for the citrus to be shipped?"
"Yes, they'll get there about two months after we do so we've plenty of time to find the right piece of property. Two hundred, just like you wanted." He patted his stomach approvingly and then his pocket, looking for his pack.
"Oh, no, you don't, John. Go outside if you want to smoke. How many times do I have to tell you?"
"Liza, it's raining."
"I don't care, John. You should quit smoking, anyway. It's like kissing an ashtray, sometimes... and, John, I love you. I don't like the way you've been coughing."
"Damn," he laughed, "acting like a wife already. Man can't even get..."
"Out," Eliza said, throwing a dish towel at him. "Get out of here with those smelly things."
John went outside for his smoke, laughing. After lighting his cigarette, he leaned against the porch railing and inhaled, pulling the nicotine deep into his lungs.
The big dog at the next house over started barking.
"Shut up, you stupid dog! Damn, get some peace and quiet."
The rain had faded into just a light drizzle and combined with the darkness, gave the yard a strange quality to it.
As much as he loved Eliza, sometimes a man had to be alone, away from soon-to-be wife and her three children. A little peace and quiet, sometimes, just a little peace and quiet...
'After all,' he thought, 'smoking outside is worth it to have her sweet brown...'
The four men approached John from the misty shadows near the street, their presence given away by the barking of the neighbor's mastiff. He recognized two of them from long ago.
'...apple betty...' "Ah, shit." John looked at them. "Brought some friends, have you, Will? Where's your sheets? Forgot the cross, huh?"
The others looked around, nervously. They expected him to be afraid and he wasn't.
"There's some stuff we don't like about you and those nigger women you got in the house. That Ewart bastard, he seems mighty interested in that bookkeeper of his.
"Where is he, anyway?"
John dropped his cigarette and stepped away from the dark porch, silently cursing his decision to leave Jim's .45 in the house. He could probably take two of them... but, four?
"Been fuckin' them both, haven't you? Like that dark meat, do you?
"Well, I don't really care about that, fuck'em all you want; they got to be good for something. But, you've been seen drivin' them around town like they were proper white women and now some..."
"Shut your goddamn mouth and go home, Will, before I kick your fucking fat ass to the beach." Fists clenched, John moved closer, prepared to take a beating, still wishing he had the gun.
It started to rain, again, this time harder and thunder could be heard from the mountains.
"So, it's true, is it? You fuckin' traitor. You've been sleepin' with that nigger slut and now you're sweet on her, too?
"We don't like..."
John hit Will in the face, breaking his nose and knocking the larger man down onto the wet grass. The other three were unsure what to do, waiting for some direction like bleating sheep. Will was kneeling on the lawn, trying to stop the blood flowing onto the grass; the red liquid moving down his chin. John backed away to put some distance between them, holding his hand. He was sure he had broken a bone or two.
Pulling out a switchblade, Will lunged and cut John's arm before he was knocked down again.
The shotgun blast echoed through the night, startling the dog to howl again. Anyone hearing it would have thought it was another distant rumble of thunder rolling across the sky.
All five looked up to see Eliza holding the gun. "Looks like this nigger slut got the drop on your sorry white asses. You damn crackers got about ten seconds to get off our property before I blow your goddamn heads off."
"We'll get you for this, John; we'll get you and your whore for this. Just you wait and see."
The four backed away, warily looking around.
"Time's up, assholes." Eliza brought the gun to bear on them, causing them to turn and run down to the street.
John heard a loud clunk-clunk as she dropped it and fell back against the house, crying. He ran to her and holding her closely, kissed away her tears.
"Don't cry, please don't cry. We'll be out of here soon enough and all this will be behind us." He knew, though, that threats most times came true and this was probably no exception.
"John, I was so afraid they were going to..." She shuddered in his arms.
"Shh, baby," he said softly, all the while peering into the darkness and wondering if they were coming back, praying they wouldn't. Leaving Los Angeles couldn't come soon enough. 'City of the Angels'... who was kidding who?
John realized that his desired 'peace and quiet' was inside with Eliza and her children. Picking up Jim's shotgun and then going into the house, he threw his pack of cigarettes into the trash.
She took him into the kitchen where Bethany Rose looked carefully at the cut on his arm. "This is going to hurt a little, but you'll be all right after I'm done." She took soap and water and washed his arm while some water was boiling on the stove. While several handkerchiefs were soaking in the hot water, she put her thread and needle into a cup of Mexican tequila and began carefully sewing up the cut. "If you don't fool with it, it'll heal nicely without too much of a scar. Now, hold still while I bandage this up."
Putting his arm around Eliza, they went upstairs to bed. Their lovemaking was a gentle affair, more loving reassurance than physical sex.
Neither of them had seen James coming out of the darkness, holding his own gun. He knew the importance of being a wingman, even if the other person didn't know you were there.
It was, and always would be, Eliza's night.
Sunday afternoon, March 5th
He had closed all the stores for the day and invited everyone to the house for a picnic. It was sad, he thought, the very first company picnic was also its last.
Bethany and Eliza were working in the kitchen with several other cooks. "How many do you think will come today, Jimmy?" she asked, following him into the living room where the baked goods from the various stores were piled high.
"I'm hoping all of them, but you never know. Maybe two-fifty, three hundred. I'm going to check on the bar-be-que in the back. When John gets back, have him come out to see me."
James left the kitchen to see how the meat was coming along. He could smell it as soon as he walked outside. "Buenos días, ¿cuándo estará listo todo?"
"Una hora más, el señor James. ¿Qué más usted necesitan?"
"¿Está su madre aquí?"
"Sí, sir, gracias mucho por lo que usted ha hecho para nosotros..."
"Espero que usted acabe la escuela convertirse en un buen hombre."
By three o'clock, most the employees and their families had arrived and were eating picnic style on the back lawn. James and Bethany Rose walked around greeting people, thanking them for their years with the company and expressing sadness about leaving them. She was carrying a basket filled with envelopes and a checklist and while James handed out the one-hundred dollar bonuses, she carefully noted each family down.
Some of the women who had secretly loved him were saddened to the point of tears to see him leave but romantically understood the forbidden love he had for her. The men were of mixed opinion but most kept quiet about it and wished them well.
Evening, Monday, March 14th
SS Malalo, ten miles west of the California coast toward Hawaii
"I thought I'd find you here," Bethany Rose quietly said. "It'll be all right, Jimmy. It'll be all right."
Standing at the rail, they watched the last of California disappear on the eastern horizon.
He noticed Bethany was wearing another of Catherine's dinner dresses, a light green one this time, accentuating her dark complexion; her face, just visible in the pale light from the passageway, could not hide her concern for him.
'Of course,' he thought, 'why not?' After a while, neither sister was uncomfortable wearing his wife's clothes. It seemed like an erotic mix of both women, a blending of his wife's memory and his lover's presence. Vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce... good separate, mixed together something altogether different and better.
"Beer?" he asked, unable to say anything else. He church-keyed another bottle and gave it to her.
She put her arm through his and leaned against him, seeking warmth against the last winter cold of the year. "You know I don't..." she started to say but then took the beer, not wanting to argue the point. She took a sip from the still cold bottle.
"You know," he said, "I never thought I'd leave; they were there and then they weren't; even after all that, I didn't leave.
"Then, there you were; I vowed to do whatever was necessary for us to be together and got a new family for it. John was the surprise, kind of like a brother, now, I guess.
"My God, what a change... what a chance..." He stared at the dark blue-black water churned up by the ship's passage, the foam brightly fluorescing in its wake. He threw his empty bottle into the water and opened another.
"Oh, look!" she exclaimed and pointed to the water. Flying fish gave chase for a while and then disappeared as something flew by in the dark.
"Jimmy... what is it with you and John? He worked for you all these years and now, you're best friends. It can't be just because Eliza's in love with him could it? What's changed?"
He turned to her with a dark look on his face. "I don't think you'd like it, Bethany, not at all. Can't we just be happy with what we now have?" He stared back out at the black water.
"Are you worried I'll leave you? What could you possibly say to me that would make me do that?"
He gripped her hand instinctively, painfully.
"Jimmy! You're hurting me!" She tried to pull away.
He let go of her, ashamed. "Baby, it's a very bad thing. Please, don't ask again."
Now, she put her hand on his, seeking to reassure him of her love. "Just tell me. What did you do, kill someone?" She meant it as a joke, trying to break the tension but then, she saw his reaction. "Oh, Jesus. What did you do? Oh, God, you didn't..."
And then a change came over her. She didn't care. She silently finished her bottle and dropped it over the side.
"Whatever it was... whoever it was... they had it coming. I know you. I trust you but I have to know. A man and wife should never have secrets, Jimmy. Just tell me."
"God! All right... let's sit over there."
She huddled against him, cold. The movement of the ship made the brisk cold wind chill her... or was it what he might say? She shivered.
He looked around. There was no one there as far as he could tell, everyone was at the party in the salon.
"Bethany, you know I love you. That will never change.
"But, as much as I love you now is as much as I loved Catherine and my girls. I still love them. That's why I couldn't leave them behind."
She nodded her head; she understood the most basic needs of this man. This was not a time for talking; it was a time for listening.
"They arrested those two for the rapes and murders. I told everyone they were innocent and tried my best to get them out.
"Everyone thought I was crazy. I... Bethany, Catherine told me it was them. It was THEM, Bethany, it was them. She knew them from the reverend's church."
She put her hand to her mouth, shocked to the depths of her soul. "Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh, Jesus. But..." She stopped talking and grabbed his coat, trying to keep from shaking... from falling to the deck.
"It wasn't 'till later that I discovered they were the reverend and Ruby's boys. They didn't know and I wasn't going to tell them. They didn't deserve that.
"At the trial, I watched them... their smug faces watching me back. They were sure I was going to get them off with my testimony about what Catherine supposedly told me."
He stopped talking and looked at her. All he saw was love in her dark eyes. He took a long breath and turning to her, he put both his hands on her shoulders.
"The prosecuting attorney said it was something called 'hearsay' evidence and got it thrown out. We were all surprised but I thought the jury would still acquit."
"Imagine their surprise when they were found guilty and then executed."
"But, Jimmy, what's so bad? I don't understand." But, she did; she just needed to hear the truth from him. It was so primal, so Biblical.
"I wanted to kill them, myself, Bethany. I thought, after they were released, I would kill them. I was going to hurt them as much as I could before I put a bullet into their goddamn heads.
"I'm sorry. If you want to leave me... I'll understand. I'll take care of you and Eliza in Hawaii..." He looked down to the deck, unable to face her. She had left him once, that New Year's Day... she could do it again.
"James Ewart... who do you think I am? I told you I love you and nothing you could say or do would ever change that."
Her hand turned his head. "If I knew you then, I would have helped you do it. Hell, I would have pulled the damn trigger. What were you worried about? That I would think you were a murderer? I already know you killed sixteen men, maybe more.
"That they were colored and so am I? You've already proven color doesn't matter to you. I don't know why but...
"Jimmy, listen to me. They deserved to die. They couldn't be punished enough for what they did. It's just you didn't get to do it, that's all.
"I'm so sorry that this happened to your daughters, to your wife, to you.
"I'd like to think that if Catherine knew me, she would like me and be happy for us. I won't say I'll be the best wife you'll ever have, that would be disrespectful to her. I will be the best wife that I can be for you. I will never replace her, I know that and I'm not trying to. I understand why you brought them with us and I hope we find a place where they can be with us, where ever that might be.
"I love you, Jimmy and I'm so sorry... what I did New Year's Day was horrible. I'm just glad we're together again and you forgave me."
Her gloved hand touched his face, the leather smooth against his skin.
"C'mon, it's cold out here, take me to bed."
Morning, Tuesday, March 15th, 1932
"Good morning, lover." Her head disappeared beneath the covers.
"Ahhhh! Jesus, Bethany!" The blankets rose and fell until there was no motion and a gasp from his lips and with his eyes closed and his hands gripping the covers, he happily trembled several times.
A while later, he lay flat on his back and she covered him face to face, one hand still between his legs, stroking him. He smiled. "You know, we really should get something to eat."
"I'll give you something to eat. How hungry are you?"
"Hungry enough to satisfy you, baby." He rolled her over and moved down the bed.
An hour later, James lifted Glory into his arms and kissed her. "Let's get something to eat, little girl." But, he was looking at his Bethany Rose as he spoke. She was blushing; he could just see a little purple tinge cover her face.
"Let's take the other two to the salon and get some food into them. Hey, John, give me a hand, here, will you?"
Fortunately, Lizbeth had accepted John as her new father. She came out into the hallway, her little hand wrapped tightly around his finger.
James was already heading up the stairway to the next deck, Glory laughing in his arms as he tickled her. He turned. "Well, coming? I'm hungry, Bethany Rose."
She put both hands to her face, laughing so hard she couldn't move. Eliza, finally understanding what had transpired, laughed with them. She never thought she would ever enjoy life as much as she was.
Later, as they sat around a large table in the salon, James held up a pineapple wedge. "C'mon, Glory, take a bite, it's nice and sweet." He touched it to her lips. She tasted the fruit and smiling, opened her mouth, letting him push it in. She took the wedge from him and finished eating it herself.
Balancing her on his lap, he took a forkful of his waffle. She reached for his fork, which he pulled away. "Glory, you want some waffle? Say, 'waffle', baby, c'mon, say 'waffle'."
"Waffo..." Her hand went out again.
"Close enough... here..." The syrup covered waffle disappeared into her mouth and she chewed it, watching him for another piece.
He wondered if he and Bethany would ever have a child together. It wouldn't be from lack of trying, he thought. He'd like another daughter, another little chocolate to kiss.
Later that afternoon...
"You're never going to believe who I just saw!" James said as he hurried into the cabin, slamming the door behind him.
"Who?" Bethany already had her hand on the zipper, pulling it down and dropping the light-pink dress onto the floor.
"Bethany, listen... it was Clarence Darrow, for God's sake!"
"That's nice," she said, reaching behind to unhook her bra and reveal her welcoming breasts, so much like large Hershey kisses. "So what?" she asked.
"He's going to defend muhhhhhh..." He had to stop talking; his mouth was full of dark chocolate.
"Ahhhhhhhh..." Her hands were in his hair, pulling him against her, demanding his attention. "Lick me, Jimmy, and then love me."
All thoughts of the old lawyer disappeared as he picked her up and took her to the cabin's bed.
"Ah, yes... my little chocolate kiss... let me enjoy your sweetness.
"Bethany," he moaned, clearly intending to get her attention. Her dark curly hair moved. She looked back over her shoulder at him to see the incredibly erotic sight of her ass in the air and him kneeling behind her
Their eyes locked as she felt the head of his thick cock pressing slowly in.
"Ohhhhhhh... oh, yes... right there... ooooooo..."
He pushed slightly and she gasped at the forever welcome sensation. He continued inch by inch, taking his time, his eyes never leaving hers until he was buried deep inside of her.
Bethany was trembling beneath him. She brought her arms up to grip the sheets as he slowly, teasingly withdrew from her. A moan escaped her and to her lover it was the sweet sound of her begging for more.
He drove back into her gently, not too hard yet. Each time, the exquisite feeling of her pussy wrapped tightly around his cock was more than he had hoped for and though he knew it wasn't going to be long, he wanted to make it last as long as possible for her.
She whimpered softly, wanting him back inside of her... and he obeyed.
He slid back in, loving the wet sound they made when their bodies came together. One hand stayed planted firmly on the curve of her dark brown hip while the other meandered around her body, searching.
Much, much later...
"You mean that monkey evolution lawyer? That's who you want to talk to? I don't know, Jimmy. I mean, he doesn't even believe in God. I mean, what the hell?"
"Yeah, that's the one. Think of it, Bethany... all in one court, Darrow, Bryan and Mencken... it was amazing and crazy all at the same time. People will still be talking about that trial a hundred years from now."