Sweet Tea

By: Roger Wright

Date: 3rd Sep 2021

Roger stepped into the living area where Marie sat on the floor coloring a picture on the coffee table. Marie looked up and smiled at Roger. Hey daddy, do you like my picture? Marie held up the picture of her flying through the air on a Unicorn.

Looks great, Peanut. Roger kissed her forehead as she put the picture back on the table. Have you seen Voo?

Marie pointed towards the long hallway. That Dane Person guy is here talking to her.

Roger gave a soft smile before correcting her. Dane Preston? Marie just nodded in response as Roger took off down the hall. He stopped just short of the door as he could hear the two talking, for a moment the idea of eavesdropping came to mind but he decided to let it go, there was a mention of doing okay and Allison before Roger moved back down the hall to the kitchen area.

Minutes later Dane emerged from the room and made his way to the door, giving Roger a nod as he passed. Someone told me you were the man to talk to if my car was having problems. Dane came to a stop and gave Roger a smile. Itís an old Nova I think, I am not much of a car guy to be honest, I can fix a lot of things but cars are not one of those things.

Why donít we have a look. Dane said with a smile, Roger assuming it was just the kind of distraction he needed right now in his life. Besides, deep down Roger figured Dane just wanted to get a look at the car. Both men made their way to the lower garage area of the building to a private set of garage doors within the parking structure. Neither of them spoke the whole way.

Roger clicked a button and the leftmost door began to rise, and there before the two sat a red 1969 Chevy Nova with 2 white stripes stretching from the front to the back over the top of the vehicle. She sounds like she is struggling to get fuel at idle. Roger swung the driver side door open and popped the hood, Dane immediately lifting it and taking a look.† Sweet tea?†

Dane glanced over at Roger from under the hood with a smile and that was all Roger needed to know the answer was yes. Roger grabbed two mason jars and poured a glass for each of them. As he returned to the car Dane took the Mason jar and pointed at the car. I donít see anything wrong with it, in fact it looks recently rebuilt.

I confess the car was just a ploy to get you down here alone with me. Roger noticed the clenched jaw on Dane’s face at his words. Donít get upset, I just wanted to talk, it’s been quite a while since we had a talk.† Roger tipped his glass and took a sip.†

So talk. Dane said, an air of irritation in his voice.†

I have it shipped up from my ranch in Texas. You can never underestimate the value of quality sweet tea. My friend’s mom makes it, and has told me how a few times, but it never comes out the same when I make it. Roger smiled and took another sip. But we arenít here to talk about sweet tea.†

Dane gave Roger a get going look. Last time we talked, we had a serious talk. I remember being up against a wall and someone telling me that Anicka was his family, that the pack was his family. Now I donít forget things like that, and I take the prospect of family quite seriously. So I have to ask right out of the gate, why did you let that happen to Voo? I mean there she is, and here you are, went through hell and I have to admit you look pretty well.

Youíre right, I should have done something, part of me never really thought that Vhodka was that incensed to something so brutal. Sorry, but you donít get to play the role of savior here, where were you?† Donít think that I havenít noticed you getting all cozy with my friend and mentor, all the while just sitting on the sidelines while she is out there fighting for her godsdamned life. You know what sheís been through, and yet WHERE WERE YOU?

Roger held up his hand as a peace offering. You are right, I could have been there, hindsight I should have. But I wasnít there because you were there. Look I donít want a war, you and me we want the same thing Dane.††

Yeah what’s that? Dane took a sip of the tea, hiding how much he actually liked the taste of it.

For you to get your life back in order. Now before you get mad just hear me out. I have been exactly where you are, just 8 months ago I was on the verge of losing everything. You are a good guy Dane, I donít want that for you. Roger sipped his tea and watched as he could tell Dane was trying to process his words, the anger still shown most but he could see something else behind it.

What you donít realize is how everything is affecting everyone else. Yeah Iíll be blunt and I mean no disrespect when I say this, but your personal life is messing with mine. You need to fix it, I can help, thatís what I am trying to tell you. Roger raised the sweet tea to his lips and took another sip, waiting for the response. Dane being angry would have made sense to Roger, he wouldnít hold it against him. But something told Roger that maybe his words would have an impact, that maybe he chose the right approach.

Listen, Cowboy.† You hitch yourself to Vooís Caboose, you get all that comes with it.† She is very loyal, to a fault, and always looks out for those she loves.† Like Allison.† Like Marie.† Now, donít get me wrong, I know my house is in disarray at the moment.† Trust and believe Iím working on fixing it.† If youíre going to be part of Vooís life, that means weíre part of yours.† Like it or not.† But, Iím not one to turn away a helping hand.† As a matter of fact, Iíd hoped to ask you to get back in the saddle.† I need someone I can trust backing me and my family.Taking another sip of the sweet tea, Dane made no effort to hide how much he liked it this time.† Godsdamn, this is as good if not better than Jennaís sweet tea.So, how about it, Cowboy?† Can I count on you?One big pull and a satisfied sigh later, Dane cocks his eyebrow and waits for Rogerís answer.†The scene fades before Roger responds, the last thing we see a slight smirk on his both men’s†faces.