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Chapter 37: In The Air Tonight
Avant Groove met at The Spotlight and prepared to perform. They were jovial, even a little happy, but there was an undercurrent of tension flowing between all the members. Eric pulled Terry aside and asked him, “Your girl ain’t gonna fuck things up, is she?”
“Fuck you, Groove,” Terry spat. “Wanda was wrong for what she did and so was Dom. I told her that. She won’t fuck things up.”
“She betta not,” Eric hissed and walked away. Terry shrugged his shoulders, trying to loosen up the tension that sprang to life there. He stole a glance at Wanda who was talking animatedly with some people she knew. Probably told them about her chance to sing lead tonight, he thought.
He turned and saw Dom walking into the room. She was resplendent in black and gray and took Terry’s breath away. The world reconfigured itself around her and she seemed more in focus, more real than everybody else in the room. She spoke with Eric and Lisa for a moment before she made her way over to Terry.
“Hey, you,” He said as he kissed her.
“You look great.”
“Thanks,” she smiled. “I’m nervous as hell, though.”
“You’ll get over it. You always do,” Terry assured her. “Is everything gonna be cool tonight?”
Dom shrugged. “It should be. Contrary to what Groove thinks, I’m not tryin’ to mess up our gig. If Wanda doesn’t start any crap with me, there won’t be any.”
“I can live with that.”
“You and the rest of the band.”
Terry chuckled. “What did Eric say to you?”
“To behave,” Dom smiled.”He needs to tell Wanda that.”
“As if she’d listen,” Terry remarked. “Besides, she gets to sing lead tonight, so she’ll be on her best behavior. I hope.” He looked at his watch and motioned to Eric. It was Showtime.
Avant Groove was in rare form as they provided a soundtrack for the myriad activities and conversations in the Spotlight Club. All of the tension that was present before they took the stage was gone and everything was melody cool. This lasted until Eric announced that Wanda going to sing lead on the next song.
Dom graciously relinquished her spot and Wanda stepped to the microphone. Wanda beckoned Dom to come closer.
“If you fuck up my song this time, I’m’a trash ya sorry ass,” She whispered in Dom’s ear.
Dom was flabbergasted. She couldn’t believe that Wanda actually threatened her in front of all these people. As she walked behind Wanda’s keyboards, Dom admitted to herself that Wanda deserved props for making it look harmless.
Terry, who watched the whole scenario go down, saw an ugly look seep onto Dom’s face. The band began playing and he felt his heart leap into his throat. He looked at Eric, who understood exactly what was gonna happen and cursed to himself.
Wanda began to sing. She sounded good and the crowd was into the song. Wanda was enjoying herself immensely until the second verse came and Dom decided to join in.
She sang a half step above Wanda, like she did in practice, turning the solo into a harmonic duet. Wanda glared at Dom, trying to relay how much she wanted to kick Dom’s ass without tipping off the crowd. Dom just smiled and started to duel with Wanda, daring her to keep up. By the end of the song, Dom methodically cut Wanda down to size and did it without letting the crowd know there was anything amiss onstage.
Once the song ended, Terry announced that the band would be taking a quick break. They filed off stage and gathered in one of the private rooms where Wanda made an announcement:
“You can’t quit, ‘cuz you’re fired--” Eric snapped.”—And Dom’s goin’ right out the door wit’chu!”
“Like Hell, I am!” Dom answered. “I didn’t start this shit! I was midin’ my own damn business when she threatened to fuck me up if I messed with her song again.”
“Fuck you, bitch! You just talkin’ crazy,” Wanda interjected. Eric noticed that she sounded confident, but there was nervousness around the edges.
“What did you say to Dom before you sang?” He asked.
“I told her she did a good job…” She began.
“No you didn’t,” Terry added. “You didn’t have to tell her that in her ear.”
Eric folded his arms and asked Wanda what she really said. She looked away and mumbled something unintelligible.
“Yeah, you threatened her,” Eric said. “Dom, forget what I said. I’m sorry.”
“Awright, y’all---” Eric said to the rest of the band. “---What’s the verdict?”
“Fuckin’ up. Been fuckin’ up,” Rob said.
“A headache in need of some ibuprofen,” Larry added.
“Kick da bitch to the curve,” Lisa grinned.
“Cancel the subscription,” Terry stated.
Terry looked towards Dom and asked, “What’s your vote?”
“How about we put her on probation?” Everyone was taken aback by that. Especially Wanda.
“Probation? I ain’t on no damn parole.”
“Personally, I wanna vote ya trifilin’ ass out,” Dom spat. “But since the Battle of the Bands is a week away and we still need you, probation looks like the best bet.” She glanced at Eric who nodded in agreement.
“But…” Wanda began.
“But, nothin’!” Terry snapped. “You’re on probation for the next three months. Any more static from you, ya gone, plain and simple.”
“I still think we should fire her ass,” Rob mumbled.
“Nobody asked you,” Eric responded. “What Terry says goes, Wanda, starting now.”
“Okay,” She said, cowed.
“Y’all can go on back and chill. Terry, Lisa and I need to talk,” Eric said. Everyone filed out quickly. Dom hung back to give Terry a quick peck before she left. Terry stared after her, feeling like the room had suddenly grown colder and the lights had dimmed.
“She’s good, Cuzzin’,” Eric stated.
“I know that.”
“No, I mean she could have really and truly fucked us up out there, but she got back at Wanda on a subtle, smooth tip. Nobody besides us even knew what was happening.”
“This is true,” Terry grinned.
“Don’t get happy, but I’m impressed,” Eric confessed.
“I am glad to hear that, Groove.”
“My hat’s off to, Dom,” Lisa began. “If it were me, I woulda axed Wanda, on the real.”
“Just another one of her more endearing qualities,” Terry beamed.
“Well, I hope her little mercy play, doesn’t come back and bite us in the ass,” Lisa said.
“Wanda’ll behave,” Terry said. “She needs us just as much as we need her.”
“Hope you’re right, Cuzzin’,” Eric said as they walked back out to the stage.
(c)2014 Courtney & W.L. Sherrod