Monday, August 11, 2014

Superstar-Chapter 21

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Chapter 21: Skinz

This had not been a very enjoyable date for Dominique.
In the movies, Rob was very touchy-feely. So much so, she threatened to move to the other side of the theatre so she could watch the movie in peace.
Booty-Bass wasn’t pleased, but he did stop.
After the show, Dom was way annoyed with Rob, but a well placed joke dissipated the tension. He was even allowed to put his arm around her again.
Once they got to Red Lobster and ordered, that changed. She ordered a twelve piece shrimp dinner and a strawberry daiquiri, a fairly inexpensive meal, but Rob complained about it, in one way or another, during the whole time.
Then, he started bragging about his skills in the bedroom and how he could bring a woman to an earth-shattering, breath taking, feel-it-from-head-to-toe orgasm and, for the finishing touch, recounted a detailed list of reasons why Terry was wack.
Since Dom had Terry on the brain all day and really wanted this date to be with him, all of Rob’s remarks were slowly pushing her away.
A finished meal and seriously insulting tip later, they were on their way out of the door.
There was some conversation, which Dom responded to completely on autopilot, and some daydreaming on her part. She was imagining Terry’s lips on hers, his butterscotch arms surrounding her, his hands sliding down her body—
The car stopped, pulling Dom out of her reverie. She looked and saw that they were in front of the Motor Inn on Cicero.
“What are we doing here?” she asked.
Rob smiled and said, “I don’t know about you, but I came to get busy.”
“Then you must be using your hand, ‘cuz that ain’t goin’ on here tonight.”
“Look, I just paid for dinner and a movie, including tip—“
“A cheap-ass tip.” Dom added.
“—There will be some body-bumpin’ tonight. You owe me them skinz, girl.”
“Oh, no, nigga, these ‘skinz’ belong to me and I don’t owe you shit.”
He looked at Dom with a blank expression. Dom tossed a glare back at him with arms folded over her chest.
“It’s like that?” he asked.
“Yeah, it’s like that.”
Rob nodded, got out of the car, walked to Dom’s side, opened the door and bellowed, “Get the fuck outta my car!”
Dominique was too stunned to speak. All kinds of colorful names to hurl at Rob came to mind, but she didn’t voice them. She simply got out of the car and began to walk in the general direction of away. Rob sped out of the parking lot and tore off into the night. Dom watched his car disappear into the distance. All she could do was shake her head in amazement.
“What else could go wrong?” she asked herself.
As if on cue, a light rain began to fall.
“That’s just perfect.” She groused. Dom looked around. There was a restaurant called the Brown Derby across the street so she made a beeline for it. Once inside, she asked the cashier where the bathroom was.
“In the back, behind that booth on the left.” she answered. Dom thanked her and headed off in that direction.
Dom shivered a little, her clothes a chilly weight on her skin. A cold weight settled in her stomach as she wondered how exactly she was going to get home. She didn’t have a dime to her name. Dom grinned to herself, because she remembered when she first started dating, Ava told her to always keep some money on her in case a ‘nigga wanted to act funny.’ The one time Ava actually said something that made sense, Dom didn’t listen to it.
She looked in the mirror and said, “Dom, you’re an idiot.”
She walked out of the bathroom, steeling herself to take a very long walk back home, when she looked to her right and saw Terry sitting at a table.
At first, she thought he’d followed her again, but she pushed that line of thought out of her head. Dom knew he wouldn’t do that again. She did, however thank God above that Terry was there.
She walked over to his table. His head was in his hands and his shoulders trembled slightly. Dom’s heart melted because she was sure that he was crying, especially when he grabbed a napkin to dry his eyes. He looked up then and his eyes widened at the sight of her. His gray eyes glistened with unshed tears and at that moment, Dom thought they were the most beautiful eyes she’d ever seen.
“Dom!” Terry said, awestruck. “What are you doing here? Not that I mind seeing you, but…”
“Let’s just say my date with Rob ended on a bad note.”
“Sit down, sit down.” he urged. “Did you want something to eat; something to drink?”
“No, I’m good. I just came from Red Lobster.”
Terry looked shocked. “Rob sprang for RL? He’s usually a cheapskate.”
“He still is,” Dom stated.
“So, how is it you’re here? I thought Rob would’ve taken you to a hotel or something.”
Dom chuckled. “He did take me to the hotel right across the street, actually, but I told him I wasn’t giving up any rhythm and he kicked me outta the car and drove off.”
Terry was sipping some water and he nearly choked. Once he got his coughing under control, he said, with a fair amount of disbelief, “He left you at the hotel?”
“Yes, sir, he did.”
A murderous look of anger hardened Terry’s features. Dominique felt a small explosion of fear inside her and a great flood of relief that Terry wasn’t angry at her.
“Terry, it’s okay.” She said soothingly. “I’m not hurt. He didn’t do anything to me. I’m alright.”
“He left you stranded. What if I hadn’t been here?” he said fiercely. “You would’ve been stuck.”
Dom smiled. “That’s true, but you are here and I’m very thankful for that. Speaking of which, can I…”
“…Get a ride home? Of course.” Terry finished.
“Thank you.”
“You’re always welcome.”
There was a small moment of silence pregnant with all kinds of insecurities and hopes and desires that were unspoken. Dom studied the table top while Terry studied the curves of Dom’s lips.
Finally, Dom looked up and asked Terry, “Were you following me tonight?”
She nodded to herself and Terry took a drink of water.
“What was the deal with Wanda?” Dom inquired. “Did she kiss you just to get under my skin?”
Terry sighed. “Yeah, she did. The other day, she came over to tell me how she’s liked me for a really long time.”
“For real?”
“Oh, yeah.” Terry answered. “When I started pursuing you, she got really jealous and, well, her little kissy trick kept us apart so she’d have a clear shot at me.”
“Yeah.” Dom agreed with an embarrassed grin. “I’m glad you two didn’t get together.”
“So am I.” Terry took another drink of water. “So, Rob was after the poohnany, huh?”
“Yep, just like you said.”
“Hey, I’m not tryin’ to say I told you so.” Terry said as he gazed into her eyes. “I just want you to be happy. That’s what’s important to me.” He reached out and gently took hold of Dom’s hand. Bright smiles burst onto both of their faces and Dom entwined her fingers in Terry’s.
“I’m gonna get this wrapped.” Terry said as he signaled the waitress. “You ready to go?”

As Terry drove, Dom sat across from him, absorbing him with her gaze, cataloging every detail, every curve and line of his body in her memory. ‘Damn U’ by Prince and the N.P.G. was on the radio and it became the soundtrack to the fantasy that was running through her head. Now that he was here with her, she didn’t have to pretend that anything else but him was on her mind and for the first time in weeks, she finally relaxed.
“So, what now?” Terry asked.
“About us. What now?”
“Well, I do like you, case you were wondering.” Dom grinned.
“You had a brotha wonderin’ for a minute.” They both chuckled at that. “I do like you, Dom, a lot. I don’t wanna waste another minute pretending I don’t want you in my life.”
“Me neither.” Dom agreed. “I don’t mean to pry, but were you crying back at the restaurant?”
“Yeah, I was.” Terry sighed.
“Because I thought I’d lost any kind of chance of being with you.”
Terry’s hand was resting between them on the gearshift. Dom took it and cradled it on her lap.
“Not quite.” she said as she stroked his hand. “The whole time I was with Booty-bass, I was thinking about you.”
“Yes. I thought about you everyday and when I saw you in rehearsal, I wanted you so badly.”
“You never let on that you did. Hell, I thought you hated me.”
“No, Terry, I most certainly did not. Never underestimate the power of a woman’s pride.”
“News to me.” Terry admitted.
They drove in a comfortable, companionable, silence for a while. Dom kept drinking Terry in with her eyes and she noticed that he was taking covert glances at her as well.
“How long have you lived in Cal Park?” Terry asked, breaking the silence.
“All my life. I was born and raised there. How about you? Have you always been a Chicago boy?”
“From the cradle to the present. I used to live on Ninety-ninth and Racine.” A shadow fell over Terry’s face, Dom noticed. “I moved in with Groove during my sophomore year in high school.”
“My old man and me didn’t get along after my mom died.”
“Oh. Terry, I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be. You didn’t do anything.”
An awkward silence sprang up then. Dom continued stroking Terry’s hand, unsure of what to say. After a few moments, Terry spoke up again, asking…
“Where do I turn?”
“You said you lived off of 127th street, which we’re on now, and I need to know which street to turn on to.”
“Oh, right. Turn right on Throop.” He did. There were single story houses, mostly brick, gave way to two storied, brownstone-like houses on the tree lined avenue.
“Nice neighborhood.” Terry commented.
“Thanks. It’s one of the nicer parts of Calumet Park.”
“So I see. Which house?”
“Here, on your left.” Dom pointed towards a two story brick house with a picture window and a metallic pink and white awning. There was a large tree on the front lawn. The house looked very permanent and very secure. Dom always had the vague feeling of being trapped when she came back here.
“Home, sweet home.” Terry quipped.
“If you say so.” Dom responded. “Thank you for the ride home. I really appreciate it.”
“You’re welcome, Dom. Always. Need a ride to rehearsal tomorrow?”
“No, I’ll just take a cab.”
“It wouldn’t be a problem.” Terry insisted.
Dom wanted to say yes, but a part of her was scared of how easily Terry broke down her defenses. She wanted to maintain some kind of emotional distance, but something about him drew her in, made her want to get closer.
“No.” Dom said with gentle and firm resolve. “I don’t want to be a burden to on you.”
“If you were a burden, I wouldn’t offer, Dom. Come on, who’s it gonna hurt?”
Dom looked into his eyes and saw how sincere he was. There was no hidden agenda in his offering a ride, he genuinely wanted to help her out. She felt like a heel for doubting him, so she relented and said he could pick her up in the morning.
“Okay. I’ll be here about seven-thirty.”
“I’ll be ready. Thanks.” Dom said as she opened her door. She gave him a quick peck on the cheek and got out of the car. She walked towards her house, then stopped in mid-stride and turned around. Terry got out of the car with a look of concern on his face.
“What’s the matter?” He asked.
In answer, Dom enveloped him in a warm, lingering hug. She felt him return it as she closed her eyes and breathed in the scent of him. She loosened her embrace and looked up at Terry. Her heart melted as she absorbed how the light carved Terry’s face in starkly chiaroscuro planes and reflected in his eyes.
It was hard to say who kissed who first, but once their lips met, they began to dance and their tongues started to intertwine and explore the warmth of each others’ mouths and their arms tightened as if they were trying to meld and melt into one person.
When they finally broke the kiss, the only thing either of them could say was “Wow.”
Dom laid her head on Terry’s chest and felt him wrap his arms around her and rock her gently back and forth.
“I wish this moment could last forever.” He said.
Dom smiled. “So do I, but, since we have to get up in a few hours and I’d like to get some sleep, I’d better let you go.”
“Yeah.” Terry sighed. “Take care and sweet dreams.”
“Same to you.” Dom replied with a quick kiss. She wanted to let it linger, but she knew it would evolve into something heavier if she did.

Dom walked into the house, but not without a small wave to Terry before she closed the door. He waved back and got into his car. Dom watched him through the window as he drove off. Dom leaned her back against the door and felt a smile explode onto her face and happiness fill her up like a balloon.

(c)2014 Courtney & W.L. Sherrod

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