Chapter 15: I Wish
Dom had to admit that she ended up having some fun on her date with Booty-Bass. If she looked past the fact that Rob was like a damn octopus. He constantly touched Dom or held her hand which quickly made her very uncomfortable. When she relayed this to Booty-Bass, he just laughed it off and continued.
They arrived at Joe’s where Dom quickly excused herself and fled to the bathroom. As she looked in the mirror, Dom saw nothing but flaws: a big forehead, soup cooler lips, a nose that didn’t look right for her face and she was too short. For a moment, she wondered what anyone saw in her. Then her mind shifted to thoughts of the one person she was trying to annoy with this date.
Why am I thinking about him--, she thought,--He’s nothin’ but a little hoe tryin’ to get his freak on in front of his woman. Even as she thought it, Dom didn’t really believe it.
“’ I already told you Wanda ain’t my woman. You don’t wanna listen? Fine. I don’t wanna talk anymore—‘”
He wouldn’t be so angry unless he was fuckin’ around on Wanda--, Dom thought, --or, if he was telling the truth.
Dominique closed her eyes and saw Terry in her mind’s eye: his sparkling gray eyes, his curly black hair and his caramel-colored, wiry muscled body that drove her to distraction every time she saw him. She sighed, because she knew that he didn’t want anything else to do with her. That thought made her sadder than she expected. She shook her head, touched up her makeup and headed back to her table and her own personal Squidilly Didilly.
Terry had a firm grip on his glass of Coke. It was so firm in fact that the glass was in danger of breaking. Terry stared at the plateau before him: Rob had an arm draped snugly around Dom’s shoulders, which Dom seemed to enjoy, as they listened to the sounds of a five piece jazz band. That was why Terry was strangling his glass. Secretly, he wished it was Rob’s neck.
For the millionth time, Terry asked himself why he was putting himself through this. Dom didn’t care about him one way or the other and she didn’t want to see him outside of rehearsals so why was he torturing himself like this?
Because he still cared. Dom may’ve been able to let go and move on, but he couldn’t. Dom was his, even if she didn’t agree with or would if the question ever came up, and Terry wasn’t about to give up just yet.
Terry pulled his eyes away from the happy couple and looked at the rest of the restaurant. He’d never been in Joe’s Be-bop Cafe’. The stage the band was on dominated the front of the room. There were windows behind it and seats outside facing
Since it was still early Spring and Winter’s cold edge still lingered, there
was no one sitting outside. The tables surrounding the stage were full of
people as was the bar where Terry sat near the entrance to the restaurant.
Pictures of Jazz legends adorned the wall along with restaurant merchandise and
memorabilia from Jazz and Blues artists. The cavernous space was somehow
spacious and intimate at the same time. In different circumstances, Terry
would’ve liked the place.
The emcee came to the stage and announced the beginning of the open mike session. A few brave souls, most of them more than a little drunk, got up and did a good job of murdering good music. There were some, however, who did a fairly good job. Terry was waiting for Dom to grace the crowd with her voice. His eyes turned towards her and he saw her and Rob laughing and obviously making comments about the various singers ability or lack of it. Rob pointed towards the stage, looking like he was challenging Dom to go up there. She nodded her head, accepting the challenge. When the emcee asked for another singer, she immediately got up and walked onto the stage. Dom was about to tell the band what she wanted to sing when she locked gazes with Terry.
A thrill of fear raced through him and his face grew warm. He was caught, they both knew it. ‘You’ve got some damn nerve followin’ me around’ Dom’s face seemed to say. The basilisk stare Dom inflicted on him at the Golden Spoon was bad, but Terry was sure that the burning look of silent, raging anger Dom directed his way was much worse.
Dom turned to speak to the saxophone player and Terry breathed a sigh of relief. It was only a few moments, but it felt like Dom had stared at him for hours.
Dominique stepped to the microphone and, at the sax player’s cue, the band started to play ‘T’ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do’. She didn’t try to imitate Lady Day, but simply sang in a supple falsetto and made the song her own. Terry didn’t miss the underlying message: He wasn’t going to stop Dom from doing whatever it was she wanted to do.
With that, he turned and headed for the door. He looked at the stage one last time, longing scrawled all over his face. Dom looked so beautiful and sounded like an angel from on high who deigned to bless the mere mortals in the restaurant with her voice. He couldn’t stand watching anymore, so he left.
Later that night, Rob drove Dominique home. She was happy to see the old homestead, which was strange because she never really wanted to be there if she had a choice.
“Well—“, Rob began as he brought the car to a stop. “—I don’t know about you, but I had fun tonight.”
“So did I.”
“You was singin’ yo ass off, girl.”
“So, Caramel-cutie—“, Rob said as he slipped an arm behind her seat and leaned in closer, “—when are we goin’ out again?”
“That’d be up to you, wouldn’t it?” Dom said and leaned discreetly away.
“Right, right.” He agreed. “What’re you doin’ on Thursday?”
“I gotta work that evening, so how about lunch?”
“That’s Kool and the Gang, Caramel-cutie.” Dom was beginning to hate that nickname. Rob looked at her, waiting for her to kiss him. As cute as he was, Dom wasn’t in the mood to kiss him. She closed her eyes and pretended it was Terry she was kissing. Silently, she hated herself for that. She didn’t want to get carried away so she creased her eyes open and quickly kissed Rob. She suppressed the urge to gag.
“Well, I gotta go.” Dom said as she opened the door.
“Lemme walk you to your door.”
“No, no, that’s alright. Just watch to make sure I get in okay.”
“Awright. See you at rehearsal.”
“Bye.” Dom said. She practically ran to her door and waved Rob off when she opened the door.
The house was quiet and tension free. Ava had to work nights so Dom didn’t have to deal with Ava and her bullshit. She turned off the lights Ava had left on, except for the kitchen light and went upstairs to her room.
Dom was angry at Terry for following her, but a part of her was flattered in some strange, twisted way. She shook her head.
It was totally stupid for her to not be with Terry. He was all she thought about all night and the person she wished was waiting for her when she returned to the table every time she went to the bathroom. She was aware of all this, but her stubborn, bull-headed pride refused to give in to the burgeoning fire growing for him in her heart.
In the shower, however, Dom imagined that the water cascading over her skin was Terry’s hands sliding and caressing her everywhere. Dom closed her eyes imagining that Terry was in the shower with her and that her hands were his as she brought herself to the edge and over it.