CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED and EIGHTY-SIX
Sunday early-morning — 1:42 A.M. MDT
The concert was incredible. Every Denver band showed up to play. Many of Seth’s friends from the Denver Symphony arrived. The music was loud, boisterous, and playful. Jeraine acted as master MC while Seth took over as conductor. The musicians and singers were having such a great time playing together that the crowd couldn’t help but enjoy themselves. The clubs owner Regis Christou told anyone who would listen that this was the best night he’d had as a club owner.
Tanesha spent her time with her girls. They laughed, danced with each other, and occasionally with their men. When Charlie, Nash, Teddie, Noelle, and Sissy arrived with Valerie, the small pack of ignored men went to hang outside to give the women time together. It had been a long time, a three weddings, a few surgeries, and two children ago since the women had been out. They were enjoying this chance to be together.
But the night was winding down. They’d already called last call. Unfulfilled from the night of music, the crowd inside and outside of the club chanted “Promises, promises, promises.” They wanted Jeraine to sing the song he’d written for Tanesha. As if he hadn’t planned it all a long, he acquiesced to the demanding crowd. They gave a rousing cheer.
Jeraine jumped down, found Tanesha, and herded her up to the stage. Just before she took the stage, Jill pressed something into Tanesha’s hand. She held up a white T-shirt that said, “I am Miss T” in red on the front with a picture of Tanesha on the back. Her girls put on shirts that said, “I’m with Miss T” with the same picture on the back.
“Put it on,” Jeraine said.
Tanesha pulled the shirt over her head.
“As you know, there is no Misty,” Jeraine said. “At least not one I’ve met.”
The crowd fell silent.
“I want to introduce you to Miss T,” Jeraine said. “Tanesha.”
The crowd roared to life. Tanesha thought she was going to die of embarrassment on the spot. Her eyes cast around for something solid and found her father standing next to the stage with Sam Lipson. He nodded to her. Empowered by his presence, she raised her hand in a wave and the crowd cheered.
“You’re going to hear that I wrote this song for a movie,” Jeraine said. “Which I did. You’re going to hear that the song was stolen from my email account, which it was. But don’t ever doubt who was on my mind when I wrote this song.”
Jeraine pointed to Seth and the sad violin began the soulful prelude. By the time Jeraine sang the first line of the song, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Everyone knew what it was like to not to be the person they wanted to be. Everyone knew what it was like to hurt someone they loved. Men pulled their women close. Women clung to each other. As if they were at a soul revival, people’s sorrow and regret welled up to filled the club. Looking out over the crowd from her perch on the stage, Tanesha was awed by the power of Jeraine’s music. She was so overcome that she could only stare.
When the violin played its last sorrowful note, Jeraine fell to his knees in front of her. Tanesha shook her head at him.
“Get up,” she said.
“Marry me,” he said.
“You know I can’t do that,” Tanesha said.
“Awwww,” went through the crowd.
He grinned. Jumping to his feet, he hugged her.
“Folks, Miss T is right,” Jeraine said. “She can’t marry me.”
“Tell them why,” Tanesha said.
“She already did when we were kids,” Jeraine said.
The crowd erupted in cheers and Jeraine hugged her.
“Stay clean one year,” Tanesha said in his ear. “And I’ll marry you again.”
“Folks, Miss T just told me that in one year’s time she and I are going to do it again,” Jeraine said. “You hold onto your ticket stubs. We’ll have the reception right here in one year’s time. You’re invited.”
The crowd cheered.