The Juke Joint
Izzy Comes Home
It had been years since Izzy Moon had been home to Wycross Mississippi, he had come home to bury his uncle Buster. His uncle and his first wife Betty, raised him and his sister Cora after his mother died when he was fourteen. His uncle had owned a juke joint which was the baddest place east of the Mississippi river. The place had been closed down for ten years when his uncle got sick and he couldn't run his beloved Blue Delta Club. Izzy had stayed longer than he had planned but his uncle's wife Lilly wanted him to stay and help her with his affairs.
The Blue Delta Club, was located between a hotel and a restaurant, in a building, that had been in Izzy's family for generations. His aunt Lu ran the restaurant and his sister Cora ran the hotel. Now it was left to him what to do with the night club. Izzy thought about opening up the club again since he was now a famous blues man himself. His wife would not want to leave Los Angeles and move to Mississippi but if he decided to open the club, he would do his best to convince her to come with him.
He stood outside of the club door which was in between the restaurant and the hotel right on the corner. The dark blue sign outside the door was faded, the neon which lit up the sigh was gone and the sign was attached to the building with one bracket which was rusted. One strong wind and the sign would be on the ground. Izzy looked at the lock and to his surprise it was new. He wondered why a new lock was on a door to a place which has been closed for ten years..
Izzy stood in the doorway. The place was dark, Izzy turned on the light switch and amazingly the lights turned on. The place was clean for a place which had not done business for years. The bar still had the Christmas lights decorating it. He asked his uncle why did he leave the Christmas lights up all year round. His uncle replied "People who come in here want to be happy. What happier time of year than Christmas."
He went over to the stage and stood under the disco ball which was in the center of the stage and wondered if it still worked. He walked to the back of the stage and found the switch which he thought would turn on the lights and make the ball spin. With a flick of the switch the lights came on and the ball began to spin. Izzy smiled thinking about the first time he performed on stage; he was sixteen years old. The year was 1959.
His aunt Betty who was his uncle's first wife, thought that he had a lot of talent and he should go to school and study music. His uncle thought otherwise. His uncle thought that he had natural blues talent seeing that his father was a blues man who played the guitar. Izzy not only played the guitar, he played piano.
One Saturday night, when the place was very packed, the act that was supposed to play that night got detained by the local police. One of the members was arrested for whatever reason the police could make up and decided to detain him overnight. Later, it was rumored that this guy was talking to the policeman's white girlfriend who just so happened to be at the last club that the group had played.
When his uncle got the call that the group wasn't going to show, Izzy was quickly drafted. He'll never forget he was washing glasses in the backroom when his uncle said "Boy, git yo' gitar and come and play for these people befo' they tear down my place."
He remembered that he tried to say something and his uncle just said "C'on, boy I ain't got all night."
Izzy always kept his guitar handy. He was nervous, he had only been on stage when no one was there pretending that he was the star. He wasn't even dressed to go on stage, he had his hair tied up in a rag and he had on jeans and tennis shoes which was not the proper attire for a blues man. He' d be laughed off the stage.
His uncle peeked in and said "What's doin' boy, I tole you, I have a house full of people out there ready to hear some music/"
"I-I can't go out there. The women will laugh me right off the stage and call me country."
Uncle Buster looked him up and down and started laughing "Boy you sholl is right. They're gona' laugh you off the stage looking like you looking. Ok, boy I'm gona' call yo' auntie and tell her to bring you one of yo' Sunday suits."
Izzy was relived when he heard his uncle say that. He knew his first performance would be his last if he went on stage looking like one of the help.
Aunt Betty brought his blue suit with the light blue shirt with matching tie and handkerchief. There was a back room where the act would get dressed. His aunt met him at the backdoor of the club with his suit.
"Here baby." Aunt Betty said as she handed him the suit and kissed him on his cheek. "Good luck baby."
Izzy didn't notice that his aunt wad dressed in one of her church dresses. He was much too nervous. He knew that if he wasn't good he would be covered in beer and glass so he had to be his best.
Izzy took time to make sure he looked just right especially his hair. The women all loved his hair, the way that his hair would softly wave when he brushed for at least five minutes. Izzy didn't have time to be that meticulous so he prayed, checked himself in the mirror for the last time before he gave uncle Buster the ok that he was ready He straited his tie and slicked his hair back so every wave would be in place. His hair was naturally wavy. He stood in the mirror which he had done many times practicing his stance. When he approved of himself in the mirror he gave his uncle the signal that he was ready to go on stage.
"Here boy, drink all of it, make you less nervous on stage." His uncle handed him a glass of his famous homemade brew.
Izzy took the glass and drained and immediately felt the liquid set fire to his chest and coughed.
"Boy, you gona be all right."
Izzy could barley talk let alone sing so he decided that he would do an instrumental piece that the crowd could dance to. He felt that the less that he said the better off he'd be. He plugged the guitar in to the amplifier and then he started to play. People stopped talking and began to listen after he got their attention on the first riff. The people at the table closest to the stage were tapping their feet to his beat. As the song went on some people were up on the dance floor by the end of the song, you couldn't see the dance floor because it was so crowded. He played to that crowd until four in the morning.
Izzy smiled at the memory. His pleasant memory was disturbed by the ringing and buzzing of the cell phone in his pocket. He wondered if it was his wife Lanetta, she was anxious for him to come home soon. The caller ID on his cell phone said it was Cora calling.
"Hey girl." he said when he answered the phone.
"Big bro, Lu told me that you went down to the bar."
"Yea, that's where I'm at now. Are you at the hotel."
"No I'm at home but I'm not far. I could be there in about five minutes if you're going to be there for a while."
"Yea, I thought that I would be here for a while. You know I haven't been here since they had uncle Buster's retirement party.
"I don't think you've been to Wycross since uncle Buster's retirement party."
"Has it been that long?"
"I believe so bro."
"I guess I should visit more often."
"You should. We can finish this conversation when I get there."
"Ok, see you soon lil' sis." Izzy said as he hung up the phone.
He walked around the bar and saw that it was well stocked and the glasses were clean. It was like someone had been waiting for him to come in. He took one of the brandy glasses off of the rack and poured a glass of top shelf brandy. He swirled the amber liquid around in the glass and then too a swallow. He felt a warm glow in his chest. Izzy went to a table and sat down facing the door. He'd wait until Cora got there to look around.
As he sipped on his drink more memories flooded his mind. He was thinking about when he was eighteen. It was the summer of 1961, the freedom rides were going on all over Mississippi and he wanted to join instead of going to summer school at the New York Institute for the Arts. He had won a scholarship after going to New York to audition. They were looking for talented underprivileged children and Izzy was the poster child because he was from Mississippi.
He remembered that he wanted to run away and join them when aunt Bessie said to him "Son, we can't do every thing that we want to do, there just some thing we jus' haf' to do."
"I think that fighting for the right to vote is more important than going to a music school."
"I agree, but if you don't go to school how you gona' know what to do with it? See up there in New York City, you gona' meet different peoples, who can teach you some thin' that you can teach us down here."
"I don't know Aunt Betty. I don't see why I just can't go in the fall."
"Because the school wants you up there and that's where you is gonin' and I don't wanna hear anymore. You gona be on that train in the morning." then she walked out of my room and before closing the door she said "Good Night."
That meant that she was not going to talk about the subject any more so Izzy closed his eyes and went to sleep.
Next morning Aunt Betty, woke him up two hours before the train was going to leave. It was still dark outside. His suitcase was packed and waiting by the door. The suit he was going to wear on the train was laid out. He was going to ride to New York City in style. Izzy had saved enough money to get a sleeping car. Nothing fancy, just enough room to move around.
The ride to the train station was quiet. Everyone went, Aunt Lu, Aunt Betty Uncle Buster, Grandma and Cora. By the time they got to the train station all the women were crying. It was like Izzy was going off to war instead of school.
He had enough food to last him the trip he would only have to buy himself a soda pop. Uncle Buster gave him two hundred and fifty dollars he said for emergencies. Izzy didn't realize how much he would miss home until he started to leave the train station. His eyes were damp but he wouldn't let a tear fall, as the faces of the people that he loved faded into the distance.
"Izzy where are you?" Cora called as she walked in the door. She didn't see him sitting at the table facing the door because she came from the bright sunlight into the dimly lit bar.
"Here Cora." he said waving her over to the table.
Cora put down her purse, keys and cell phone "I glad you came down here."
"Me too. You want a drink?"
"Yes, get me a coke out of the frig."
Izzy walked over to the refrigerator and got out two cokes and the brandy he was drinking and walked back to the table..He sat the coke in front of Cora and poured another drink.
"So what do you think about the place?" Cora asked while wiping off the top of the can with a tissue before opening it.
"It looks good. It hasn't been open in ten years but it still looks good."
"There people who rent this place out for parties so we keep clean and well stocked."
"I could use a new owner and you know that Uncle Buster wanted you to run it even before he got sick and closed it."
"I know Cora. I've thought about it allot and at that time there were a lot of things going on in my life."
"I remember what you said and I'm not going to bring it up again. Times are different now. This place after what happened with Katrina, is really growing. There' a company that wants to build a casino. That could mean a lot of money for the town."
Izzy was a man who liked to make as much money as he could. He was beginning to think that reopening the club was not a bad idea. Blues clubs were on the rise and if you're already famous and wanted to open a club it should be successful. Izzy was willing to take that gamble "Go head what are you thinking."
"Well if they open a casino here, over on the bluff over looking the river then they are going to need more things to do than gamble."
He laughed "Cora honey, have you ever been to Las Vegas?"
"No, I haven't been there but I'm sure other businesses profit from the casino. They have more hotels there than what is on the strip."
"I guess you're right Cora."
"Seriously Bro, consider coming back. You know we all miss you."
"What about Lanetta?"
?What about her?"
"I don't think she'll leave L.A."
"Well leave her there." Cora said sarcastically "She's stuck up anyway."
"She's not stuck up, she was just getting used to everything. You know that she hadn't been down south in a long time."
Cora looked at her watch "I have to go I have some things to do at the hotel and then get ready for tonight."
"What's going on tonight."
"Aunt Lu is having dinner at her house. You forgot?"
"Yes I did but you know I'll be there."
"See you there." Cora kissed Izzy on the cheek and picked up her things and headed for the door "Don't drink too much."
"Don't worry I won't"
Izzy sat in the bar long enough to finish his drink. He locked up the bar and then he left.
Dinner at Aunt Lu's
There was a big spread at Aunt Lu's house. Someone had to be cooking all day. She made dinner for him because he was leaving day after tomorrow. Everyone was at Aunt Lu's. People he hadn't seen in years, some he hadn't seen since high school. There were relatives that he had forgotten and some he never knew. They all seemed to know Izzy Moon. They had herd his records on the radio and seen him once or twice on television.
His aunt even got him to play for the group. When Izzy started to play, every one knew blues knew that it was him playing, he has his own style. There were people from all over the neighborhood coming over to hear him give a free concert. Izzy wished that he had a couple of his CDs with him. He played all afternoon and into the evening. After most of the people left there was only Aunt Lu, Lilly, Cora and Izzy were left. They had retreated to the gazebo in the backyard. It was enclosed to keep out the mosquitoes.
"Thanks Aunt Lu for the dinner." Cora, Izzy and Lilly said in unison.
"You know I likes cookin' for ya'll." Aunt Lu replied.
Izzy went and gave Aunt Lu a kiss on her forehead "I know and you do it well. That's why the restaurant stays so crowded.
Aunt Lu laughed "I tell every one who works for me to do everything you do with love and it'll turn out al'right. "I want to ask you somethin'."
"I've been hearin' things about you thinkin' about openen up the club, is it true?"
"I don't know Auntie, Lanetta, don't like it here very much."
"It shouldn't matter. If she a good wife she'll follow her husband don't you think, Izzy."
He had to think about that before he said any thing because his aunt will bring up the Bible in a minute to back up her point and he was not in for a sermon tonight. "Yes Auntie, I think that she should follow me but she has things going on in L.A."
"I was married twice one man he worked on the railroad and he moved around and one man he worked for the riverboats. The husband that worked for the railroad was able to come home every night after work. The one that worked on the river boat came home every week. The one who worked on the riverboat gave me a choice I could stay here and see him once a week or I could move to New Orleans and see him everyday. I knew that I was going to miss my mama and everyone but I had to follow my husband. After everything was said and done and I did a lot of prayer asking the Lord to make me strong things worked out. So you see everything can work out for the best if you just give it a chance."
"Aunt Lu you must have been talking to Cora." he laughed nervously knowing that his aunt was serious about what she had said.
"I think that he should just leave her there. There are plenty of women here that would treat you like a king." Cora said.
"Izzy, your uncle wanted you to take over the place once he was gone. I think that you would be good for it. You know that you're the most famous person around here." Lilly said.
"I think that you're all trying to talk me into staying." Izzy said.
"Yes we're trying to talk you into saying we miss you Big Bro." Cora added.
"I miss you too but I can't stay here I have Lanetta to think about."
Cora snorted "Lanetta can take care of herself."
"Is that any way to be. That is his wife and he has a responsibility to her and they have to make the decision together on if they're gona' move here or not. An' we don't need to be meddling in their business, Cora." Aunt Lu said.
"You know Cora, Aunt Lu is right. That's not the right attitude to have about the situation. We should be praying that Lanetta will soften her heart towards her husband's dreams." Lilly interjected.
"Is it your dream Izzy to open up the club again or was that all talk?" Cora said challenging Izzy to put up or shut up. He didn't answer quick enough so Cora said "Well is it?"
"I have to think about what to do here. Yes I want to open the club again but I also like I said I have a wife to think about. You know all of her family is in California." Izzy said in his defence.
Aunt Lu interrupted Izzy and Cora before they could get into an argument about Izzy's wife "Alright childrn' you need to stop all that fightn'. I know Cora don't care too much for Izzy's wife and we have to love and respect her like family. So we's gona' stop all this bickering over his wife right now."
At that point all disusing stopped about Izzy's wife. Cora was the first to speak "Well I guess it's time for me to go home. I've got to get up early in the morning." she went over to Aunt Lu and kissed her on her forehead and gave her a hug, then told her "I'll see you in the morning to go over the books."
Izzy stood up and walked over to his sister and gave her a hug. "Bye Lil' Sis. Even though we have our differences I love you and there's nothing you can do about it." then he kissed her on her cheek.
"I love you too Big Bro and there's nothing you can do about it." Cora replied hugging him back.
Lilly said "I'm going too. Izzy are you coming back to my house or are you gona' spend the night with Aunt Lu?"
"I'll spend the night here with Aunt Lu." Izzy replied.
Lilly hugged and kissed Aunt Lu on her cheek "I'll see you later."
Cora and Lilly walked out together leaving Aunt Lu and Izzy.
Aunt Lu said "I'm goin' to bed now. You stay out here as long as you like. I got some of Buster's home made hooch up on the top shelf in the kitchen, you're welcome to some. There is some soda pop still left in the cooler."
Izzy hugged and kissed his aunt good night "I'll see you in the morning."
"Ok baby, see you in the morning."
Going Home to the Little Woman
Izzy spent the last two nights of his trip over to his Aunt Lu's house. He had plenty of time over Aunt Lu's to think about what everyone had said especially Cora. He didn't realize until he had dinner over to Aunt Lu's house how much he missed everyone. Cora had the right idea about reopening the club. When the casino is complete, it will be full and people will want a place to stay, real southern cooking and down home blues. Izzy and his family could provide the visitors to the casino all of those things. Izzy's only problem was to convince his wife that this would be a good idea. He had a long plane ride with a stop over in New Orleans. He would call her when he got to New Orleans.
Lannetta was a headstrong woman and wanted her way most of the time. He had wanted to move back to Wycross when Uncle Buster first asked him to take over the club. He didn't then because he had just gotten married to Lannetta. Izzy knew that she didn't like Wycross from the moment they drove into Uncle Buster's driveway when they went down for his retirement party. He knew his idea would be a hard sell.
Before he married Lannetta, he dated her for six years waiting on the youngest of her two sons to reach eighteen years old. He didn't want responsibility for another man's children. One of the best things about Lannetta is that she's fifteen years younger than he is and she is beautiful. She was not in she same shape that she was when he met her but she still looks good and can make heads turn still.
Izzy had no intention on leaving Lannetta like he did his first wife, Stella. Izzy had been married a year after graduating from music school. He divorced her three years later because she didn't want to leave New York. He had tried to have a long distance relationship with her for about a year. That didn't work like he had planned. Stella found a boyfriend and well Izzy had many girlfriends so both knew that it was over. He wasn't going to let that happen in this marriage, Izzy was going to convince Lannetta that this would be the best move they could make.
It didn't take the plane about forty-five minutes to go from Jackson Mississippi to New Orleans. He had to change plans for a bigger one to go the rest of the way to Los Angeles. He found his way to the terminal where his flight was leaving going to Los Angeles and a seat. He took out his cell phone and pushed the speed dial for Lanetta's cell phone. The phone rang five times and then it went to voice mail. Izzy looked at his watch and it was seven am in Los Angeles, Lannetta was still sleep. He had an hour lay over maybe she would hear the phone before the plane leaves.
Having nothing to do, Izzy went to the newsstand and picked up a USA Today newspaper. He went back to find that his seat was taken but there were plenty in the terminal. Izzy thumbed through the headlines but he couldn't focus on what he was reading his mind went back to his ex-wife Stella. He remembered when he first met her. She had walked into a club he had been playing at in New York. What made him remember her the most was her white mini skirt and her patent leather black boots. She sat down at a booth not far from the stage crossed her legs revealing more of her sexy legs and ordered a drink. Izzy was on stage tyring his best to concentrate on the music but all he could concentrate on was her wrapping her legs around him.
A few moments later the waitress brought her drink and gave her two napkins. The waitress waited a moment while she wrote a note. Izzy imagined that the note would be going to him. Then the waitress came and gave the note to the piano player to give to him. The piano player put the note in between the strings of his guitar at the top where you tune it. The band was almost finished with the set. when the song was finished Izzy read the note, the note read: You look mighty thirsty up there. When your set is finished why don't you come and have a drink with me. If Izzy could blush he would have.
"Izzy what did she say?" The piano player said.
"She wants to have a drink with me. She says that I look thirsty."
"I've been trying to talk to the girl for weeks and then all of a sudden she wants to talk to you. Can you believe that!"
"She knows the best when she sees it." Izzy said as he straitened his tie and slicked back his hair. He wiped the oil on a napkin so his hankie wouldn't get dirty.
He walked over to her table smiling his best smile all the way. He slid into the booth slick as oil and said "Let me introduce myself, Izzy Moon and you are?"
Stella extended her had and said "Stella Martinez."
Izzy took her hand and kissed it "A pleasure to meet you Stella Martinez. Are you here alone or are you waiting for someone?"
"I was waiting for someone but he's here now."
"Well excuse me, I guess I should leave, I don't want to interrupt anything." Izzy said as he was getting up to leave.
Stella laughed " I was waiting on you so there's no need to leave."
Izzy sat down and they both laughed. After that night they were inseparable. A year later they were married and three years after that divorced. Izzy shook his head and thought he and Stella could have been so good together.
The cell phone rang and buzzed in his pocket he looked at the caller ID and it read Lannetta.
"Hey girl what's up?" he answered.
"I'm just missin' you."
"And I miss you too."
"Where are you?"
"In New Orleans waiting on the next leg of my flight."
"How long before you leave?"
Izzy looked down at his watch and said "They'll be calling for us to line up to get on the plane in about fifteen or twenty minutes."
"Good that means that you'll be home in a few hours. I've got a surprise for you."
"What is it?"
"If I told you then it wouldn't be a surprise now would it?"
"That's one thing I love about you, Lannie is that you're all ways full of surprises."
She laughed and then said " I know."
The announcer called for passengers for his flight. "Lannie, I've got to go, they're calling people for my flight." He blew a kiss through the telephone "Bye baby, I'll call you when I get to the airport."
"Ok, baby. See ya' when ya' get here." Lannetta said and then blew a kiss through the phone and then they both hung up.
Izzy thought as he hung up the phone that he had a surprise for her too. He didn't know how she would take moving down to Wycross but he felt it was something he had to do. He felt he could talk Lannetta into going if she were able to perform. She really has a great voice and she could pack them into the club. Lannetta always wanted him to make her part of the act but he felt that the road was no place for her at least with him. He needed his freedom when he was on the road to be with his group and hang out and do what men liked to do when their women weren't around, which is get drunk and chase women. Izzy liked to flirt with women and with Lannetta there she'd just spoil his action and that of the rest of the guys. He was not going to bed with them, he was just having fun.
He could make up an act for her, she'd like that, seeing her name as the headliner. Another plus he thought was that they were building a new casino. Lannetta loved to play the slot machines. She goes to the Indian casinos almost every weekend, she goes there more than she goes to church.
The plane arrived early. He would call Lannetta when the pilot said that he could do so on the plane. When the pilot made the announcement soon after the plane landed he immediately called Lannetta.
The phone rang three times before she picked up "Hey, are you here?"
"Plane just landed a minute ago. Where are you?"
"Not far, I should be there before you get you're bags."
"Ok, see ya soon." she said then she hung up the phone.
Izzy got his bags and headed toward the door when he saw, Lannetta's Mercedes SUV sitting at the curb in front of the door. He walked over to it, opened the back door, put his luggage in and said "I'll be up front in a minute."
"Hurry up, I ain't seen you in three weeks."
He shut the door and went to the passenger's side and sat next to her and kissed her on her cheek.
"What the hell kind of kiss was that, after I haven't seen you in three weeks. Don't you think that I deserve a proper kiss." she said pouting.
"I think that we can wait until we get home for that."
"Ok, I guess that I can wait that long."
Izzy remembered that she had a surprise for him. "What's your surprise?"
"Now you'll just have to wait now won't you."
"Ok, tit for tat."
They both laughed.
Soon Lannetta pulled up to the Hampton Suites near the airport.
"What are we doing here?" Izzy asked.
"This is my surprise. I thought that we'd have a romantic couple of days since I haven't seen you in three weeks."
"Oh so you want to seduce me do you?" Izzy replied smiling.
"That's the idea, baby."
The went up to their room. When Lannetta opened the door, there was a table which was set for two. Izzy was definitely surprised when he walked in. "Oh baby, this is wonderful, what a welcome home." he said as he hugged her "Now it's time for a proper kiss."
They kissed themselves into the bedroom and fell onto the bed still kissing. When they stopped, Izzy noticed a bucket, a bottle of champagne and two glasses. He pulled out the bottle out and looked at the label "Expensive, you must think that I'm special."
She kissed him on the lips and said "Of course only the best for the man that I love."
He poured them a glass of champagne and then said "This is a wonderful surprise, I love you." After he filled the glasses he said "Let's make a toast."
They lifted their glasses and said in unison "To the most wonderful loving couple in the world"
Gently they tapped their glasses together and took a sip.
"I've got some thing to tell you, Lannie and I don't know how you're going to take this..." Izzy said before Lannetta interrupted him with a kiss.
"I don't wanna' talk about that right now. I just want to make love to my man, who I haven't seen in three weeks." she said as she kissed his chest.
Izzy gave in and they made love until they fell asleep. It was dark when Izzy woke up, he went over to the window to look at the planes take off and then he went over to where Lannetta was sleeping and watched her for a moment. He was wondering what she was dreaming about he knew that she didn't want to move from L.A. but who knows she might change her mind.
Lannetta stired in bed and then she sat up "What ya' doin'?"
"Watching you sleep."
"Did you like what you saw."
"Yes, you're always a vision of loveliness to me." he said kissing her forehead. "Now what are we having for dinner I'm starved."
She looked around the bedroom for a clock, she found one on the nightstand "It's six o'clock, I've got to call the restaurant to have them deliver dinner I should have called an hour ago."
She got the phone and called the restaurant and food was delivered with in the hour. They took the other bottle of champagne and drank it during dinner. They sat after dinner eating desert when Izzy said "I think this is a good time to talk."
"I know what you're gonna say; You want to move back to Wycross and reopen your uncle's club." she said before he could open his mouth.
"How do you know what I was going to say." he smiled.
"I know you. You don't know a person for almost twenty years and don't know something about them. That was what you were gonna talk to me about wasn't it?"
"I guess you do know me. Yes that is what I wanted to talk to you about."
She reached across the table and put a finger to his lips and said "I know that is your dream to reopen the club and I'm willing to follow you and your dream on one condition."
"I get to sing at the club."
"Is that it, you just want to sing at the club."
"Yes and you know I can you've said it yourself that I can sing."
He smiled, walked around the table and put his arms around her shoulders and kissed her on her forehead then said "I know that you can sing, I was just looking for the right place to show off your talents."
"You thought about this already."
"I did." he said with a wide grin. "So this means that we're going to follow our dreams."
"That's what it means baby, that is exactly what it means." she said as she grabbed his shirt and pulled him down so his face was close to hers and kissed him passionately.
He returned the kiss, pulled out her chair, lifted her up in his arms and took her into the bedroom where they made passionate love as a seal to their agreement.
A Year Later
It had been a year since Izzy and Lannetta moved back to Wycross. The casino set up a temporary casino not far from where they're gong to build the permanent one. The owners didn't want to loose any money while waiting on the casino to be built. The temporary casino was good for Wycross it brought a lot of business into town and a lot of business to Izzy's club.
The neon sign on the outside of the club was now fixed, bright blue and read Izzy Moon's Blue Delta Club. the line to get into the club was around the block on most weekend nights. The headliner for the club was Lannetta. Izzy credited the success of the club mostly on her.
It was a Thursday night and the club was packed which was unusual. He wished that Lannetta was here because the crowd was asking for her. He had to tell them this was her night off but he would be playing with his trio later in the evening. He had a group which was just starting out on the blues scene playing. He usually reserved Thursday night for people who were just getting started in the business. Everyone needed a boost to get to the top and he was willing to provide it for them.
It was an energy which was going through the club and Izzy loved it when so much was going on he could see why his uncle enjoyed the club so much. One of the servers in the front told him that they had a celebrity in the house. When he asked who he found out it was his ex-wife Stella.
He was nervous. It didn't matter that the last time he saw her was five years ago, he was still nervous whenever Stella came around. He went into his office to change into his stage outfit and make sure that he looked good. He looked in the mirror and gave his hair one more stroke with the brush to make it have a nice wave. The women liked his hair.
He saw the server who told him that Stella was in the house and called him over. "Bobby, make sure that Ms. Martinez and her group have a good table wherever she wants." Izzy stopped Bobby before he could go and do as he was requested "And make sure to give them whatever they want to drink on the house."
"Yes sir."Bobby said as he hurried off to do what Izzy asked him to do.
Izzy stayed in the back for a while watching Stella and her entourage walk through the club. Izzy thought that she still looked good. She still had those long sexy legs that haunted him for years. He was glad that she had come lately he had been thinking about her a lot.
Izzy waited for Stella and her group to sit at the table and once they got settled he would come over. He strolled over to their table and touched Stella on her shoulder. "Hey girl, long time no see."
Stella stood up and she hugged Izzy and kissed him on both cheeks "Yes stranger it's been a long time."
"Five years since we last saw each other. What brings you down here?"
"I've been doing shows up in Tunica at the casinos there and I heard that Lannie was making a name for herself around here."
"Yes she really does pack them in. She's off tonight she went to spend some time with her mother."
"She's in L.A.?"
"No her mother and aunts moved to West Helena Arkansas and she went to spend a few days with them, she'll be back tomorrow." Izzy laughed "She better be or else."
Stella laughed "Or else what?"
"I can't pay the bills, unless you plan on taking her place."
"I can't say that I will, you know, these little towns are not my speed. You know I have to be in the big city. Too bad I won't get to see her sing, I was looking forward to it."
Izzy remembered why they broke up. It was because he wanted to go to Chicago. Chicago isn't such a little town. He wanted to ask why she didn't go with him but he didn't. "Yea I guess that you wouldn't do well here, you're a big city girl."
"So I guess I'll miss hearing Lannie sing?" Stella said disappointed.
"Not unless you stay until tomorrow."
"Can't stay I have to move on. I have a gig in New Orleans."
"That's too bad. Hey, would you like to do a number, you know give us a preview of your New Orleans show."
"Do you perform or just Lannie." Stella smiled
"I perform sometimes, when Lannie will let me."
"I'll do a number if you back me up."
"What do you want me to do play piano or guitar."
"You can't do both. I always thought that you were Superman."
Izzy laughed "No, not Superman, just a wonderful accompanist to your lovely voice."
"Izzy you sure know how to flatter a girl. What song do you want to do, one of our old ones or do you know my new songs."
"Let's do one of the ones I know."
The announcer said "We have a special treat for you at Izzy's Blue Delta, a duet. Ms. Stella Martinez and our own Izzy Moon."
The stage went dark and then the disco ball was spinning spreading colorful twinkles of light on the stage. Then there was a single spotlight on a bar stool and the piano was plain softly in the background. There was a low babble, the tips of cigarettes were glowing red in the darkness and the ice was tingling in the glasses. Soon Stella took the stage.
Stella picked up the mic and slid smoothly on the bar stool. "How ya'll doin' tonight." Stella said causing the crowd to respond with "Good baby!." and "Sing pretty now!"
Izzy played the piano while Stella sung and the audience went wild. They played until after midnight and the people wanted more. They didn't stop playing until after two in the morning when the club had to close.
Izzy and Stella stayed in the club after it closed and Stella's entourage went to the hotel talking.
"I had fun." Stella said
"Yea, it felt like old times." Izzy said as he twirled the ice and the whiskey around in his glass "I wondered why we didn't try to make things work."
"Izzy, I don't know why we didn't work out. I guess we were too young."
"I guess. I'm glad you came."
"Me too." Stella said as she drank the last of her drink.
There was silence. Izzy and Stella were contemplating the ifs. What would have happened if they would have stayed together.
"Izzy I've had a wonderful time and it was nice seeing you again. You look happy and I'm glad." Stella said as she stood up to leave.
"Yes, I'm happy. Lannie and I have a good life here." Izzy said as he was standing up to walk Stella over to the hotel. "I've been wondering this for years and that is do you think that if I wouldn't have gone to Chicago we would have still been together?"
"I don't know Izzy. Maybe who knows. We might have stayed together a little longer and then broke up anyway. You know what, past is prologue, I don't waste my time wondering what would have been, I'm too busy thinking about what could be." Stella said as they walked toward the door.
"That's one of the things I loved about you Stella your practicality." He said as he held the door open for her.
They walked in silence to the hotel next door. Izzy held Stella's hand as they walked. It was late and there were no nosy people on the streets. He walked her to her room When he got there her gave her a hug and a kiss. "I guess that I'll see you in another five years."
"Or whenever our paths cross again." Stella said as she swiped the door card through the reader and opened the door.
Stella walked in the door and Izzy said taking her hand and kissing it before she closed the door "Until next we meet fair lady."
Izzy stood outside Stella's door for a moment. contemplating the ifs. He knew that what they had was over and he loved Lannetta. Izzy left Stella's hotel room and went home. On the way home he couldn't get Stella out of his mind. He pulled into the driveway to see that Lannetta's car was there and this made him happy.
He closed the door softly to not wake Lannetta and made his way through the dark to the bedroom. Lannetta was in bed sleeping soundly. He went to the bathroom and changed into his pajamas and tried to get in bed quietly without waking her but she woke up anyway.
Lannetta woke up and turned on the light when he got into bed "It's late."
"The club was packed tonight and everyone was asking about you." He said kissing her on her lips.
"They were?" Lannetta said sitting up more in bed.
"Yes they were. We had a special guest."
"Stella my ex-wife."
"Your ex-wife!" Lannetta exclaimed "How'd she know we were here!."
"You know Lannetta, it is no secret that we're here. She was doing some gigs in Tunica at the casinos there and she stopped in on her way to New Orleans. She said she heard how well you're doing and she wanted to hear you sing."
"Really, she told you that?" Lannetta said in disbelief "Did you do a number together?"
"Yes, she told me that she came to hear you sing, and we did a number together." Izzy noted that Lannetta was pouting."Don't sit there and pout like we never do any numbers together, we do when you let me."
"Did the crowd like it?" Lannetta asked ignoring Izzy's last comment.
"Yes, they had us playing until the club closed. Your not jealous are you?"
"No not jealous, just curious." Lannetta replied and then continued "I do want to know something."
"And what's that?"
"Do you still love her?"
Izzy didn't know what to think of that question. Yes he loved her but he couldn't help but love Stella, she was his first love. " Do you want to know if I slept with her? No I didn't" Izzy said answering her unasked question "I care for her Lannetta, she's my friend. What I feel for her is different than what I feel for you. We're a team Izzy and Lannetta and nothing can come between us."
"Is that true? You didn't sleep with her?." Lannetta said with relief
"Yes, its true i didn't sleep with her. I'm not going to let anything or anyone come between us.." Izzy said reassuring her.
Lannetta hugged and kissed him and then they went to sleep reassured that their love remained unbroken.
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