Drinking Dark Whiskey
Just For You
DRINKING DARK WHISKEY BY BETH HALE
☆ Nolan ☆
The first drop burns, but the second one goes down smooth.
That’s how a lot of days start out for me.
My name is Nolan Fairmont and I’m an alcoholic. But I’m not in any twelve step program.
I wasn’t always craving the next drink. But sometime between drinking a shit ton of beer at Friday night tailgate parties during senior year and being a twenty-five-year-old mechanic barely hanging on to anything, I’d become dependent on that old black label.
And, if I’m being honest, it bothers me. I’ve tried to kick the habit. I’ve tried to kick all my bad habits: the whiskey, the smokes . . . and Josie Speck.
Josie had been the preppy, pretty, perky head cheerleader. Her dimples, blond hair, and blue eyes disguised the fact that she liked hard and rough sex. I’d been addicted to her long before I’d become addicted to booze.
We’d started dating in eleventh grade. By the time we’d graduated, she’d become a fever in my blood. And whenever I start making noises about getting sober and moving away from the cesspool of our hometown, she just pours me another drink and leads me to bed.
It’s a vicious cycle, one I can’t seem to break. Then one day, Josie comes to me holding a stick with two pink lines. Whoops. Determined to pull myself together for her and the baby, I try one more time to be a better man. I actually make it to the three-month mark. And then disaster strikes.
While driving Josie to a doctor’s appointment, I hit black ice and lose control of the car. I have a broken arm. Josie suffers a concussion, a shattered leg . . . and a miscarriage.
She’s grieving. Fuck, I’m grieving. And reaching for the bottle. But this time, Josie tries to stop me. Let’s be better, let’s try again, she tells me. Let’s get it right this time.
But can two broken people come back from everything we’ve put each other through?
☆ Josie ☆
I knew the moment Nolan Fairmont kissed me the first time that he was my always. I could sense the battle in him–the way he fought against the darkness. He was too good for this town, too good for the likes of me, if I was being honest. But I loved him, so I found ways to keep him here with me.
I’d grown up as white trash, but I had ambition. One day, I’d claw my way out of crippling poverty. And Nolan was my way out. The first time we had sex, I let him do whatever he wanted to me. And I liked it.
So even now, eight years later, we have a darkly satisfying sex life. I still let him do whatever he wants to me, and I still like it. Sex is just one way I can hold onto him and keep him with me.
The other way is his favorite whiskey. I make sure to buy a few bottles every week. Working at the bank earns me a decent paycheck, and Nolan brings in a good living as a mechanic. The apartment above the garage we live in is a far cry from the thirty-year-old single wide trailer I’d grown up in. I am mostly content, living the life I want to live with the man I love.
And then comes the day when I discover I’m pregnant. And everything changes. In one blinding moment, I know I want more for my baby, myself, and Nolan that I’d let us have before. So I start doing right and help Nolan get on the right path to sobriety. Everything is going well–until it isn’t.
Nolan hitting the black ice is a horrible accident. His broken arm, my broken leg and concussion may take a while to mend, but they will. What hurts most, what will hurt forever, is the loss of our baby.
I coast along, lost in a fog of depression for a while. So does Nolan. He’s reaching for the bottle again. But this time, instead of enabling him, I fight him on it.
Better, I remind him. We were going to be better. And we’ll keep trying until we get it right–with ourselves, with a family. My words are firm, but inside I’m afraid.
Can I be strong enough to hold him now? Will we be able to overcome our past and the monumental loss we endured? Is our love enough to beat back the demons that plague us both? Or will we give up, give in, and drown while drinking dark whiskey?