tagInterracial LoveUnfinished Business

Unfinished Business


Tennessee Whiskey: Reboot

Sean Elroy

It's been a little over six months since I've been released from Tennessee Correction Academy and I finally feel like a free man. My probation was finally over. I was working as a mechanic at my uncle Terry's auto shop earning a decent wage. After saving just about every penny I moved out of my grandma's trailer and into my own studio apartment downtown. I am determined to be a better man than I was four years ago when I got locked up.

The streets no longer appealed to me. The partying, drinking and drugs didn't hold the same value the once did. They had abused me, used me and then sent my ass off to prison. Taking me away from my family and my girl, Rosalind. The only girl who loved me for me.

I remember the tears that streamed down her beautiful face when they sentenced me. She loved me more than I loved myself. I failed her and left her all alone. All because of a stupid mistake I made. Hanging around friends who meant me no good. She was the one who warned me about them, but I ignored her because I grew up with those guys. We did everything together legal and illegal, but our loyalty was tested when we were pulled over in a stolen car. Apparently I was the only one of us that stayed quiet during interrogation because when the trial date came, I was the only one not called to the stand. All three of my so called friends pointed their fingers at me. And because I was the driver at the time of arrest and I had a record, I was convicted of Grand theft auto, DUI and reckless endangerment.

The original sentence was for six and a half years. I only served four years and two months due to good behavior and overcrowding. I was placed on probation for six months. Every week I had to check in with my PO. She drugged tested me and I paid on my restitution.

I would be lying if I said I didn't think about her everyday. We sacrificed a lot to be together. Our family's disapproval, the looks and stares we got from complete strangers. Rumors and gossip plagued our entire relationship from the beginning. We didn't let that stop us because we were in love.

I still remember the last conversation we had two days before they told me how much time I was getting. We were separated by six inch thick Plexiglas and we had to talk through a phone.

"Rosa, I don't want you waiting for me. "

"Sean, what they hell are you talking about? You are my life. I will wait for you. Six years isn't that long."

"Baby, I don't want that kind of life for you. I messed up, not you. You shouldn't be a casualty of my bullshit."

"But...I can't live without you. "She sniffled. Tears streamed down her beautiful face.

"I love you way too much to have you put your life on hold waiting for me to get out. You're too smart for that. I've already held you up enough. I don't need you to be my ride or die. I need you do what's best for you. I'll be okay." I fought like hell to keep my voice from shaking as tears welled up in my eyes. That was the worst day of my life.

I never cared what anyone thought about me until I met her. She was an escape from the poverty-stricken environment I grew up in. She didn't treat me like a bum or trouble maker. She treated me like a human. Like I could be someone in this world. She encouraged me to be a better me. I should've listened to her.

We met at an open mic night at Jimmy's. The first thing I noticed about her was her long curly hair. Next was the rich hazel nut tone of her skin. She wasn't what you would typically see in an old country bar, but there she was. Breathtaking. I watched her as she swayed to the music, singing along to a Kenny Chesney song word for word. I was mesmerized by the curves of her body. Her jeans looked painted on. She had the perfect heart shaped butt. Not too big, but not small either. Just enough to grab a hold of.

It was something about her. I had to get to know her. I sought my chance when she made her way over to the bar. She ordered a shot of whiskey. She tossed it back with no recoil. It was one of the hottest things I've ever seen a woman do.

"Drinking away your sorrows?"

She looked at me with big brown eyes. "Are you talking to me?"

"Yes, who else would I be talking to?"

She shrugged her shoulders and smiled.

"I'm drinking away my nerves." She signaled for the bartender to give her another shot.

"Why are you nervous?"

"I'm up next." She downed the shot.

"You're a singer?"

"Aren't we all?" She pointed to my guitar laying against the bar.

I nodded my head. "My name's Sean Elroy." I held my hand out. She accepted it.

"I'm Rosalind Clark nice to meet..."

She was cut off by the host. "Rosalind, you're up next darling'."

"That's me."

"Good luck."

"Thank you." She weaved her way through the crowd. Once onstage, the audience was silent. She sat on a stool.

"Hi y'all this is my first time doing something like this. I'm a church girl and sang in choirs all my life., so this is quite different for me. I have an oldie but goody. It's my rendition of Kitty Wells 'Makin' Believe'.

There were a few cheers, but it was mostly silent. She began singing and you could hear a collective gasp fall over the room. Her voice was so smooth and soulful. She captivated the whole room. She sung with so much passion and conviction. On the last not the small bar erupted with applause.

She stood and placed her hand over her heart. Her smile spread from ear to ear.

"Wow Rosalind that was amazing. You did the late great Kitty Wells absolute justice. Give it up for her everyone." The host said hugging her. She got a standing ovation.

They played house music when she exited the stage. She was stopped by a few people who complimented her performance. A few of them even took pictures with her. She made her way back to the bar where I was still seated. I clapped my hands.

"Wow superstar. That was amazing. You did your thing."

"Thank you." She beamed from ear to ear.

"You're welcome. Another shot of whiskey on me?"


"I would hate to be the guy to have to follow after that."

"Hey, Sean where's your rowdy ass at? It's your turn bud."

"I so hate this." I said grabbing my guitar.

Her eyes widen once she realized it was me they were calling.

She giggled, "Good luck, cowboy."

I ran up on stage and sang the hell out of Eric Church's 'Drink in My Hand' The bar was jumping and folks were dancing. I spotted Rosalind, she moved closer to the stage. She raised a bottle of water and sung along with me. Her body moved with fluidity. I was smitten.

We were inseparable after that night. It started off as a friendship with music being our mutual interest. We jammed together. We even preformed a few times at 'Jimmy's' together. She had become my everything.

Last I heard she moved to Greenville which was about an hour outside of the city. I was happy she took my advice and moved on, even if it hurt like hell to do so. When I was locked up I thought about her constantly. I dreamed about her almost every night. The smell of her hair. The silkiness of her skin. Her laugh. Her face was a reminder to stay out of trouble. I tried to rid myself of her, but it didn't work. In the two years we were together she had made such a difference in my life.

The sun was about to go down, so the sky was a bright orange color. It had been a long day at the shop and all I wanted to do is take a shower and go to bed. Maybe call Melanie over for a little quickie. Nah. She's too clingy and would try to stay the night. She's a nice enough girl with decent looks who would probably be down for whatever I suggest, but she wanted way more than I was willing to give at moment. I don't need that headache.

I was sitting at the bus stop when a car pulled up in front of me. I looked up.

"Hey Cowboy, you need a ride?" A familiar voice sung to me.

Sitting in the drivers side of a silver Ram 2500 was a sight to behold. She hopped out of the truck. There she was in a pink and white sundress and sandals. Her curly hair was back into a ponytail. She stood a few feet away from me.

My heart sped up. It couldn't be. I stood up.


"In the flesh." She looked a little nervous.

I stood in front of her in awe. She was even more beautiful than I remembered.

"What no hug?" She smiled.

I lift her up and she hugged me around my neck. God, she felt so good in my arms. She smelled like warm vanilla. I put her down, but I held onto her.

"You look amazing."

"Thank you. You look good too. I ran into your cousin, Sara at the grocery store. She told me you were home and you were working for Fred. I stopped by his shop and he said you just left. I almost didn't recognize you. You're all jacked and shit." She touched my bicep.

"Four years in there, all I did was workout and write."

A flash of sadness crossed her face. She ran her fingers through my blond locks. It had grown out pass my shoulders.

"I'm glad you're out of that place. What they did to you was wrong. You didn't deserve to go down by yourself."

"You seemed to be the only person that believed that."

It seemed like everything around us had disappeared. We were back at her parents house in the basement listening to old records and making music and making love. We blocked out the world it was just us two. I wanted to kiss her. I wanted her to be mine again; pick up where we left off.

"Where are you headed? I can give you a lift." She broke the silence wiggling out of my arms looking around.

"I got a little studio apartment downtown. I don't want to put you out the way."

"You won't be. I was heading that way anyway."

We got into her truck. She navigated the stick shift like a pro. Memories flooded back of when I was teaching her how to drive a five speed and how nervous she was. She was a horrible student. I laughed out loud.

"What's funny?"

"Remember that time we were in Danny's truck and I was teaching you how to switch gears and you accidentally pushed the accelerator and we went flying over that dirt hill."

"How could I forget? I almost killed us when we hit the bottom." She laughed. "Danny was pissed I messed up the front end of his truck. He didn't care we almost went through the windshield. I had to work double shifts all summer to pay him back."

"He loved that beat up Ford."

"More than his mama." She added.

"But not more than his dog, Shelby." We said at the same time, cracking up.

"Is that damn dog still alive?"

"Yup. Shelby is still kicking and mean as hell."

"God. I hated that dog. I think her ass was racist."

I laughed so hard I snorted.

"Ha! I haven't heard that sound in a long time. I missed it."

I almost forgot how good it felt to laugh with her. She made everything so easy and simple.

"I miss having something to laugh at."

We arrived at my complex way too soon. She parked and killed the engine. We sat in silence. So many things were going unsaid.

"I'm not ready to say goodbye, yet. You want to come in to have a drink and catch up."

"I can't. I mean it's not a good idea."

"Why not?"

She gripped the steering wheel tighter. For the first time I saw the ring on her left hand.

Of course, she's married. Why wouldn't she be?

"You're married?" My heart dropped.


"When's the wedding?"

"Two months."


"Thank you."

"You're welcome." I reached for the door handle. "It was nice seeing you again, Rosalind."

"Yeah, same here. I'm glad you're home."

"Me too. Drive safe." I got out.

I shut the door. We made eye contact. I began walking up the walkway to my building when I heard a horn blow. I turned around she rolled her window down.

"Just one drink." She said.

I smiled and waved her in.

"I know it's small." I said when she entered and began looking around.

"Yes, but it is all yours and you've decorated very nicely."

"Thank you. What would you like to drink? I have soda, water, beer, whiskey, and apple juice."

"A shot of whiskey and a bottle of water would be nice."

"Sure thing. Whiskey still your favorite spirit?"

"You know it."

I poured our drinks. I tossed back my shot.

"I hope you don't mind me taking a quick shower. I've been working all day in the sun, so I'm probably a little grimy right now."

"I don't mind. Take your time."

"Make yourself comfortable. I'll be right back."

I took the quickest shower I've ever taken. I return in a t-shirt and shorts. Naomi was sitting at my small dining room table rifling threw one of my many composition books I had all around the room. They were filled with poems, songs and thoughts I written over the years.

"I see you found one of my notebooks."

She jumped, "I hope you don't mind. I saw it laying on your bed and the title caught my attention. "When my heart is at rest". Are these songs you've written?"

"Some are. Others are just random thoughts I have through out the day."

"They are amazing. Every last one of them, Have you recorded any of them?"

"No time. Besides that was apart of my old life. A life I'm trying to move past. Now I use writing as my therapy. It gets me through some rough days."

"Has it been hard readjusting to life outside of prison?"

"It's getting better now that I have my own place. Being back in Smithfield Park with Nana brought back all the negative things I used to surround myself with. Time has stood still over there. The same people are doing the same things they were doing before I got locked up. Bad influences all around me. I am determined to not end up like my brothers and my friends."

She reached over the table and grabbed my hand. "Well I'm proud of you. You have matured, so much. I always knew you could do it. Yeah you had to go through some stuff to get here, but you did it all on your own."

"Thanks for believing in me."

"Always" She smiled at me and let go of my hand to grab her water.

"So enough about me, I thought you moved to Greenville? What are you doing in the city?"

"I did move. I come down here twice a week to help my parents with the church."

"How's the family?"

"Mom and dad are great. Nothing has really changed with them. Savon just graduated from M.I.T. Kevin is doing good. He's in eighth grade playing every sport his school has to offer." She laughed. She pulled out her cellphone and showed me a picture of Kevin.

"Wow that's little Kevin? What is he like six feet now."

"Damn near. How's your grandma?"

"Still loud and all over the place. She moved her forty year old boyfriend into the trailer, so you can't tell her anything. That was another reason I had to leave those two go at it like rabbits it's disgusting."

"Oh lord." Rosalind slapped her thigh laughing. "You better let Sherrie live her best life. She's in her sixties right?"

"She'll be seventy-one in November." I said shaking my head.

"Good for her. Your only as old as you feel."

"I guess. Where did you meet your fiance?"

"Do you remember Patrick Rogers?"

"Yeah the nerdy guy that followed you around the church like a puppy dog.?"

She laughed, "Well..."

"No way! That's who you're marrying? Get out of here. He finally wore you down."

"You can say that." She glanced at her ring.

"Wow. How is he?"

"He's great. You must not watch the news he's gearing up to be the next mayor of Greenville in November."

"Really? Good for him. Are you ready for all that?"

"It's a lot of pressure trying to be perfect twenty-four seven. Between being the famous Bishop Fredrick Clark's daughter and being the fiance of the city's future mayor, my life is a little chaotic. Any wrong move will be newsworthy."

"So being here with me is risky?"

She sighed, "Probably."

"I don't want to get you in trouble."

"I just left choir rehearsal, so I think I'm fine. Besides I want to be here. So what about you? Are you seeing anyone?"

"Me? No one solid. I don't really have time for relationships. Are you still singing and writing?"

"Hardly. The only singing I'm doing now is in the choir stand at Mt. Zion. Any free time I have now is dedicated to the campaign and the wedding. Have you been doing any open mics since coming home?"

She tossed back the shot. I poured her another.

"No, I've been busy working and staying out of trouble."

"It's good you're staying out of trouble, but music has always been your first love. You're so talented. It would be an absolute shame to waste your God given' gift."

"I can say the same to you. We used to shut Jimmy's down on Thursday nights."

"We had some wild nights there. Remember that song we wrote together? We never finished it. It was going to be our breakout single. It was so beautiful. The melody plays in my head all the time."

"That song has haunted me my entire stay at the Academy. I couldn't finish it without you." I went over to the wall and picked up my Fender. I sat on the edge of my bed and tuned it up. I played the melody to our song. She stood up and took her sandals off.

"Yeah that's it." She closed her eyes and began swaying back and forth, letting the notes invade her soul.

She began singing, "If the world was to believe that what we share wasn't meant to be. Then it would be just you and me against the world. And if our friends and family couldn't bear to see us both happy. Then it will be just you and me against the world."

I was mesmerized by the sensual tone of her voice. I missed it so much. Goosebumps raised up on my skin.

She walked over to me and sat beside me. I sung my part looking into her brown eyes. "They could say what they want but it will never change my views. 'Cause they'll never know you the way that I know you. See I'm trying to share the rest of my whole life with you and if we got to be alone, so be it baby. If they can't understand our love, then we don't need them baby. We can go against the whole world. Even if our friends turn on us. Even if our family turns on us. That's alright. 'Cause as long as we got each other baby then we can make it through whatever.

She took the guitar from my hands and placed it against the wall. She returned to me. She brought her lips to mine.

At first, I was paralyzed by this unexpected change of events. I dreamed about this moment for so long I wasn't sure how to react, but when her tongue snuck its way into my mouth I began to respond. Her kiss tasted like the whiskey we were drinking.

I pulled her onto my lap. She groaned in my mouth. We made out, tongues exploring. My hand found its way to the bared flesh of her thigh. My thumb making circles on the silky skin of her inner thigh. I moved it a little higher, but she stopped me by grabbing my hand. She stood up abruptly straightening her dress. She looked distressed.

"Shit...I'm sorry, Rosy. I didn't mean to..."

"Ssh..." She cut me off. She ran her fingers through her hair, biting her bottom lip, looking away from me. "We shouldn't be doing this."

"No, we shouldn't." I shook my head agreeing with her.

"I want to." She looked back at me.

I raised an eyebrow.

"We can't though." She said.

Disappointed, but I understood."We don't have to. This never happened."

"I should go." She looked around for her belongings.

"You don't have to." I jumped up. "We can just keep talking." I wasn't ready for her to leave.

"Yes, I do because if I don't I might do something I'll regret."

"I don't want you to regretting anything." I touched the side of her face, tracing her bottom lip with my thumb. She sucked it between her plump lips. I was instantly hard. Reminding me of the freaky things we use to do. I could tell she had the same thoughts when she got that far away look in her eyes.

She released my digit and licked her lips.

I wrapped my arms around her and whispered across her lips. "Stay."

She said nothing. We looked at one another. God, she was so beautiful. She reached up and tucked a strand of curly hair behind my ear. It was still damp from the shower. I wanted to taste those sexy lips again. I want to hold her, make love to her. I wanted to carve my way back into her heart. Selfish I know, but I needed her like my next breath.

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