Part II of the Dawnwalker Cycle
"A Spearfish Lake Story"
There was light streaming in the cracks around the curtains when Jon woke up to the strangest situation. He wasnít usually a slow riser, but this one took a little thought. He realized Tanishaís head was resting on his shoulder; she was sleeping softly on his arm, one of her arms thrown around his body. His free hand was resting on something soft, warm and wonderful: her full breast. And . . . and . . . her other hand was keeping a snug grip on his firm penis. It felt wonderful. It might as well have been heaven . . .
As he lay there, just enjoying the special wonder of this new situation Ė at least to him Ė one like heíd often dreamed of but never quite thought could really happen, his mind began to unfold the realities. Like the special wonder theyíd shared last night. It had just happened; he hadnít had any intent of doing this when theyíd come into the room, and he doubted if she did, either. But, how wonderful it had been . . . especially after all the heartbreak, disappointment and disillusion of the last two days. For everything else that had gone wrong, at least they had each other.
Dimly he was aware that this was going to change things between them. Change them a lot. How, he wasnít sure . . . but the future didnít seem anywhere near as hopeless or depressing as it had yesterday morning, or the day before that. And, he didnít even try to think about it too much, for just enjoying the special feeling he had at that moment was about all he could handle, or wanted to handle.
After a while Ė it might have been a minute or two, or it might have been an hour, he wasnít keeping track Ė he could feel her stirring a little. Helpless to stop himself, he leaned forward and placed his lips gently on hers. Now, she began to come around a little; he could feel her draw him a little closer to her, squeeze down with her other hand . . . and their instincts, along with the practice theyíd had the night before, took over. In a few more minutes of kissing and wandering hands, he could feel her try to roll over, taking him on top of her, and he helped . . . and once again he found himself in heaven between her legs. It was absolutely the best way he could have ever imagined to start the day.
It was a while afterward as they lay side by side mingling their sweat that he spoke his first words of the day: "Feel better now?"
"Much better," she smiled. "A different world. I never imagined how good that could feel. How about you?"
"Same thing," he smiled.
They lay there for several more minutes, just enjoying being together, holding each other, before reality began to set in. "I hate to say it," Jon said, "Because Iíd really rather do this the rest of the day, but we probably ought to get up and get moving, and sooner rather than later."
"I guess," she sighed. "But, youíre right; I donít want to get up, either. But, I guess we have to."
"Yeah," he sighed, "I guess it probably would be a good idea to get a shower before I stink you out of the car today."
"You could never do that," she smiled, "But, I need one, too." She let out a sigh. "Yeah, I guess we better."
It still took them a while to get around, and it seemed strange to walk around the motel room and head off toward the shower while they were naked in front of each other. Jon got the water running in the shower and stepped inside, and was just a little surprised to see Tanisha stepping in right after him. "Iíll soap your back if you soap mine," she smirked.
"Iíll bet you want your front soaped, too," he grinned, feeling the wet woman in his arms.
"Oh, yes," she smiled, "Even more than my back."
Jon shook his head. "Tanisha, youíre insatiable," he grinned.
"Yes, I am," she said shyly. "But you taught me."
It was a most interesting, enjoyable, and long shower . . . but finally they got dressed. Nothing special; it promised to be a warm day, so, jeans and a T-shirt for him, jeans and a tank top for her. The steakhouse theyíd gone to the night before was closed, so they got in the car and drove up the street to a chain restaurant for breakfast. While they ate, they didnít say a lot Ė there wasnít much to say, for their looks at each other and the memories of the night before said everything that needed to be said far better than words. Over coffee refills after theyíd paid the bill, Tanisha stared down into her cup for a moment, and finally commented, "Jon, last night changed things a lot, didnít it?"
"It did," he agreed. "I didnít intend for it to happen like that, but Iím glad it did."
"Me, too," she sighed and waved her head around, indicating there were people nearby, so she wanted to be circumspect. "Maybe it wasnít real smart of us, but after yesterday, I needed it. Jon, I know what I want after last night, but I canít make myself believe we should do it."
He nodded, waving his head around to indicate he understood. "Itís hard to be facing this alone," he agreed. "After last night, itíd be even harder."
"I know," she sighed. "Itís just, well, it might not be fair to either of us. I mean, who we are is just going to make it harder for us."
Jon realized there were things there that needed talking about, and this wasnít the place to do it. "Letís talk about it on the road," he suggested.
"Fine with me," she said, feeling uncomfortable.
Walking hand in hand, they didnít make it as far as the Monte Carlo before Tanisha quietly said, "Jon, maybe we ought to say last night was fun, but back out of it and just be friends."
"Why?" he replied. "Weíre both going to need each other if weíre going to do this, and I want to be with you."
"Yes, but Jon," she frowned, "I just canít make myself believe we can make it work. Iím too black, and youíre too white."
Jon stopped in his tracks, and holding her hand firmly, he turned to look at her face to face. "Tanisha," he said in a firm voice. "My main worry is that I take after my dad a lot. Iím going to have to work very hard to keep from getting grumpy, set in my ways, and having a bad temper, so I donít want to sound like it now. But, Tanisha, you and your family have been putting yourselves down all your lives because youíre black, right?"
"No," she frowned. "Itís not like that at all."
"Bullshit," he snorted. "Tanisha, I love you. I donít want you to think I have a bad temper, and I really want to guard against it, but if I ever again hear you put yourself down to me because youíre black, Iím going to get seriously pissed."
"But, Jon," she pleaded, "I donít want to drag you down."
"Tanisha," he said. "Thatís exactly what Iím talking about. Iíll admit that if we do what we want to do, itís going to be tough at times. Itís not going to help if you just make it worse. Like I said, Tanisha, I love you, and I love you too much to let you drag yourself down."
"Jon," she shook her head, tears almost running down her face, "I love you, too, but I donít want to make things harder for you."
"Youíre just making them harder for me saying that," he frowned, and looked around for a moment, noticing what he was looking for in a strip mall a hundred yards away. "And theyíre bad enough as it is. We need to move ahead from here, not just make things worse. Youíre the one who said it Ė if we have to be alone, we need to be alone together." He let go of her shoulder. "Now, come on," he smiled as he took her by the hand and led her toward the strip mall.
"Where are we going?" she asked.
"Shopping," he said. "Thereís something we need."
A minute later, they turned into a small jewelry store. "Can I help you?" a tall, balding, older man said from behind the counter.
"Yes," Jon smiled, "Weíd like to look at engagement rings."
"Weíre having a special this week," the man said, "Matching engagement and wedding rings."
"Sounds good to me," Jon smiled and glanced at Tanisha, who didnít say anything Ė but the smile on her face and the tears in her eyes told him all that needed to be said.
Half an hour later, Amarillo lay behind them as they headed out onto the flat, dusty Texas plains. Jon was wheeling the Monte Carlo along one-handed, for his right hand was in Tanishaís left. The diamond of the engagement ring was bright on her finger; every few seconds he glanced down at it, just to make sure in his own mind that this was really happening and the ring was really there. In the glove compartment, there was a small black box that had matching wedding rings.
For several miles there wasnít much talking, for she was glancing down at her hand and the engagement ring on it just about as much as he was. "Jon," she said finally, "Youíre serious about this, arenít you?"
"As serious as I can be," he said. "I didnít exactly notice you saying Ďno.í"
"Well, no," she said shyly. "Itís just, well, did we let last night run wild with us?"
"I donít think so," he said. "Tanisha, that was possibly the most wonderful night of my life. Not because we had sex, Tanisha, but because we made love. I donít think I understood the fact that thereís a difference between the two until last night. But there is a difference and itís a damn big one. We may have speeded up the process some, bypassed some hurdles, but I donít think we came out anywhere that we wouldnít have otherwise."
"Yeah," she said, squeezing her black hand on his white one. "We might not have got up the courage to jump some of those hurdles otherwise. I guess thatís why Iím a little concerned. I know you want to ignore the black-white issue, but after listening to my father and brother for so long, itís hard to put it aside."
"I know," he sighed. "Look, just for a minute, imagine that Iím as black as you are, or youíre as white as I am, or whatever. If you overlook that, weíre pretty much alike, arenít we?"
"Well, yeah," she agreed, "If you overlook the skin color."
"Thatís my point," he smiled. "Crystal always used to be on my ass. She always said Iíd never find a woman I could love. But by God, I have too found one, so Iíve proved her wrong. So, weíve got a few differences. So what? I think itís worth putting up with a few hassles. Face it, weíre probably always going to get some of that shit from people, but we should never let it be an issue between us."
"Youíre not just justifying last night in your mind when you say that?" she asked. "I mean, you sound like youíve thought it out, at least, more than I have."
"Yes," he sighed, "Iíve been thinking about it ever since Crystal walked in on us. Tanisha, when I flew into Chicago a couple days ago, I had no idea that things were going to work out this way, but I knew they could. If I hadnít thought about it, if I didnít mean it, I wouldnít have had the courage to walk out on my family."
"You really are serious about this, arenít you?" she asked again.
"Just as serious as I possibly can be," he emphasized. "I think when you think about it, you will be, too." He let out a sigh. "Tanisha, I really donít want to get into this issue right now, but Iím beginning to see itís one weíre going to have to confront head on until youíre as comfortable with it as I am. Like I said back outside the restaurant this morning, youíve let your father and brother fill you so full of that racist shit that itís affected your thinking. You realize itís shit, so you turned your back on it, right?"
"Of course," she said. "I mean, thereís sexist shit there too, but they wanted to set limits on me that I wouldnít accept."
"My point exactly," he smiled. "Then why are you still accepting them?"
"Shit," she let out a sigh. "Itís just hard to get over thinking that stuff, as much as I hate it." She stared out the windshield for a moment, then let out a laugh. "You know," she grinned, "My brother was right."
"You really are a smooth-talking white devil, who can seduce an honorable but naive little black girl into his bed, into thinking sheís just as good as a white, just as good as a man."
"Actually, I think it was your bed that you seduced me into," he laughed.
"We never got around to deciding whose was whose," she grinned. "All right, I give up. Jon, itís going to be hard for me, and youíre going to have to help. Iíve listened to my father preach about equality between the races all my life, and I guess I always realized he was just giving lip service to the idea. Now, youíre going to have to help me learn what it really means."
"I know what you mean," he said. "I listened to my dad all my life, too. Feel free to kick me in the ass if I ever sound stupid."
"I doubt if Iím going to have to do it very often," she smiled. "But yes, this does change things. I really enjoyed last night, and I can hardly wait until tonight when we can do it again."
"Well, me too," he laughed.
"Jon, youíre insatiable," she teased.
"Yes," he grinned. "But you taught me."
"I wonder," she shook her head, "Maybe we shouldnít bother with getting two apartments, and just share one."
"Works for me," he agreed.
"Iím not sure it works for me," she frowned and let out a sigh. "Maybe itís just the good little preacherís daughter talking again, but just living with a man, well, it just doesnít seem quite right."
"We can solve that," he said. "Itís about as far to Las Vegas as it is to Phoenix, and we probably have a day to kill. I hear you can get a marriage license any time, day or night. We could be married before we go to bed tonight."
"You really are serious about this, arenít you?"
"What else will it take me to convince you of that?"
"I know," she sighed. "Itís just, well, kind of a rush. I mean, so much else has happened in the last couple of days, Iím wondering what happens when we come up for air."
"I suppose youíre right," he said, "But, Iíll do this the way you want to do it. Whatever works for you, works for me. Iíd prefer that we live together, and Iíd be perfectly happy to get married if thatís what it takes."
They rode along for a couple miles as she stayed silent, thinking about it. "All right," she said finally, "Letís just get the one apartment, but letís not get married today."
"If it works for you," he said.
"If you really want to get married, Iím all for it," she said. "But maybe weíd better do some checking and see what itíd do to our grants and scholarships."
"Oooohh, yeah," he said, "I didnít think about that. It does need some looking into. My folks make too much money, so Iím not getting federal aid, and that means I donít need them signing anything for me. As far as I know, Iím nailed down for next year, but the year after that . . . yeah, it does need a little research."
"Right," she agreed. "Mine is a little different, and Iím sure itís tacked down for next year on account of grades. But Jon, we may not be able to go back to Tech at all."
"Why . . . oh yeah, your family will know youíre there, mine too. Yeah, that puts a little different spin on it. We may have to transfer someplace."
"Yeah, and maybe without such good scholarships," she said. "Well, there are always student loans, and maybe we could qualify for federal aid if weíre married. We just donít know enough about it to make a decision today."
"Thatís true," he sighed. "I really would rather go back to Tech if we can manage it, but if we do weíre going to have to figure out how to do it and be a little hard to find. On the other hand, if we were married, itíd make it seem harder to bust us up."
"True," she said, "We just donít know enough. But, weíve got all summer to find out."
The rest of the Texas panhandle rolled by, flat and barren and empty, then the deserts of New Mexico, and then Arizona. Now, they talked, and not the least about those two rings in the glove compartment of the Monte Carlo. Several times that day they were prepared to drive right on through to Las Vegas and use them, in spite of everything. But, when the exit for I-17 came at Flagstaff several hours later, theyíd finally settled into a consensus that perhaps theyíd be better off waiting for a while, partly due to the practical considerations of college financing.
Unspoken by either of them, there was fear, too. Though they shared a lot, they both knew damn well that their skin color differences were going to cause problems, no matter how they felt about each other. In the end, the fears and the uncertainties got to them, a little; they decided, at least, not to rush it.
But, they also firmed up the decision that theyíd only be taking one of the two apartments theyíd arranged for in Phoenix. "Maybe itís wrong," Tanisha said somewhere southbound on I-17 to Phoenix, "But, like the song says, it canít be wrong, when it feels so right."
"My feeling exactly," Jon agreed.