Church Gals and Juke Joints

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Church gals have no business dancing so closely with men and staying out so late...

Submitted: November 29, 2013

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Submitted: November 29, 2013

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4.

Tess was frustrated and distraught. She had been with Silas all evening, and she was more than ready to leave for home. Silas tried his best to treat Tess to his unusual wealth, but did not understand that Tess couldn’t care in the least. 

He had taken her to the town ‘hot spot.’ The Dew Drop Inn is what they called the place. It was a quaint little brick building; the inside glowed dimly and appeared hazed over due to a faint dispersion of cigarette smoke. Silas was accustomed to this sort of life; Tess, however, knew nothing of it. 

The music roared as many young and energetic dancers filled the intimate little  place with life. Tess didn’t say much to Silas, but she watched him carefully; and in this setting, Silas didn’t seem so bad… He had a way of talking to other people that Tess had never before witnessed.

“So, Silas… You do have a personality,” she said with sarcastic amusement.

“Contessa… I ain’t brang you down hea’ to be sassin‘ me, hea?“

Tess smiled and sat back quietly in her chair. A new song played on the jukebox and seemed to suit the room‘s alluring, melancholic venue perfectly. 

It was a slow, sweet, jazzy tune that slinked amongst the lean bodies of swaying men. The melody wrapped its rhythmic essence around the curvaceous hips of dancing women. Not a soul within the Dew Drop Inn seemed to worry about a thing…

“Hey, Tess!”

Tess turned quickly at the mentioning of her name. Who in such a prominent night club could know her by name? She had never been to such a place, and surely she knew of no one else who had either.

“Oh my goodness…” Tess had seen that it was Cheryl Ann who had called out to her, and she appeared to have Reggie hanging on her arm. 

Both of their jazzy appearances blended in with the gloomy backdrop of the rustic little night club. Reggie wasn’t as flashy as he was when Tess had first met him… He seemed more approachable now. 

He held his hat in his fingers and had his long suit jacket folded over one arm. A set of suspenders dangled from his loosely fitted trousers. 

Cheryl walked alongside him, clinging laxly to his other arm. She wore a sleek, form-fitting, red dress and walked tantalizingly towards them in her murderously high heels. 

“What’chu doin’ in a place like dis’, church gal?” Cheryl giggled.

“…Hi tuh’ you too, Cheryl…” Tess’ said, smiling dryly.

“Why y’all jus’ sittin’ still?! Get on up and dance to dis’ good music!” Cheryl grabbed Silas’ hand, “You don’t mind if I steal yo’r man, do ya Tess?!” 

Silas didn’t protest, and before Tess could answer, Cheryl had already begun to dance with him out on the floor.

“Hmph… ain’t that nothin…” Tess said.

Reggie looked down at her, “You jus’ gon’ let her take him like that?” He said laughing.

“Yeh, why not? Good riddance,” Tess responded calmly. 

“You country women are somethin’ else,“ Reggie said tickled. Then, testing the waters of acceptance and rejection, he asked, “Would you like to dance with me?” 

Tess smiled, “I don’t really dance…” 

“It’s not hard… Here, take my hand. I’ll show you.” 

He extended his hand, and after a moment of hesitation, Tess accepted. Reggie chose a spot directly behind Silas and Cheryl Ann. 

“Slow songs are the easiest to dance to,” he whispered to Tess.

Reggie pulled Tess closer, and she rested her head against his chest. He placed a hand amidst her back and raised the other, which was tightly clasped in hers, into the air--as if both of their hands combined were in position to pray. 

He bent down and pressed his chin against the side of Tess’ face; he noticed that she had closed her eyes, for her long lashes gently brushed against his neck. So, he closed his eyes as well.

 Tess felt kinda like she was swaying with his soul… Her body blushed with warmth, and she could hear the faint sound of his heart, pulsating slowly but powerfully within his rigid chest. 

Silas was leery about the two dancing together so tranquilly. Although he was dancing with Cheryl Ann, he could hardly enjoy himself. Tess had never willingly come so close to him as she did with Reggie, and Silas felt insulted… The song couldn’t end quick enough for him.

“You ready ta’ leave Tessa?” Silas said, hurriedly pulling Tess away from Reggie’s arms.

“Um… Sho’r… I’m ready to go…” Tess answered.

“What’chu wanna go home fo’r, Tess?! You don’t wanna stay?!” Cheryl Ann contested.

“…I best be gettin’ home. It’s late anyway…”

“Well, why he gotta take you home?! He havin fun wit’ me!” Cheryl Ann said, feeling cheated. ‘Sides, he was the reason why she had gotten all dressed and showed up there anyway. “Can you take her home Reggie??”

“--I kin’ do it,” Silas intervened.

“No! Reggie’s on his way home anyway… Ain’t chu’ Reggie??”

“I guess I am…” Reggie said laughing. “Let’s go, Tess.”

She gathered her things and headed out with Reggie. She could hear Cheryl Ann talking underneath her breath to Silas, "You shun’t be hangin’ out dis’ late wid’ a lil’ bitty, church gal anyway…”

Tess acted as though she hadn’t heard that… Instead, she faced forward, tilting her graceful neck and bowing her chin towards the ground, and followed Reggie outside.


© Copyright 2018 Jennifer Brighton. All rights reserved.

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