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Chapter 48: Breakdown
They pulled up to Dom’s house and Terry turned towards her, ready to kiss her goodnight, when he noticed she was twisting the pinky ring on her left hand. She always played with it before she went on stage; a nervous tell, if anyone paid attention, which Terry always did.
“What are you nervous about?” he asked.
“I ain’t nervous.” Dom said, anxiously twisting and looking at her house.
Terry grinned. “You’re scraping the skin off your pinky finger with your ring, which you only do when you’re nervous.”
“I forget how observant you are.” Dom said. “I forgot to wash the dishes before I left and Ava fuckin’ flips if the dishes aren’t done. She works days this week, so I know she’s inside waiting.”
“She could be out and about…”
“You don’t understand, baby…” Dom said. “…She will wait to fuss at me about something she could easily do herself.”
Terry knew what that was like. Carl did similar things to him and thinking about them now, years later, made him squeeze the steering wheel, imagining Carl’s neck in his hands.
“I’ll come in with you if you want.”
“I’d like that.” Dom said.
“WHERE THE FUCK YOU BEEN??!”
Terry had a momentary flashback and almost stammered out an explanation. Then he remembered this was Dom’s private hell, not the one he escaped from.
“I told you I was going to the studio…” Dom began.
“I don’t give a rat’s ass if you was goin’ to the Taj-Mah-fuckin’-hal.” Ava yelled in Dom’s face as she poked a finger in her chest. “You supposed to have this house fuckin’ clean before you take yo fuckin’ happy ass anywhere!”
There was more and Dom had heard it or variations of it over the years. Usually, she’d put on a blank face, let Hurricane Ava blow over and get back to her life.
Dom looked Ava in the eye and yelled, “Shut up!”
Ava was stunned speechless, but she found her voice quickly enough. “What did you say?”
“I said, shut up. I’m tired you talkin’ down to me and makin’ me feel bad because you can’t deal with the fact you drove daddy away…”
Dom didn’t get to say anything else because Ava grabbed her and slammed her into the wall.
“Bitch, I will kick yo high-yella ass!”
“Get offa me!” Dom bellowed. They thrashed around on the floor, knocking things down and breaking a lamp. Terry was in momentary shock but his mind caught up to what he was seeing and he jumped in to break them up.
He was expecting to see Dom hurt and crying, but it was Ava who had not only a torn shirt, but a swollen, blackened eye and blood pouring from her nose. Dom barely had a scratch. Her eyes were wide and her face was bright with anger and the desire to tear Ava apart. Terry was silently impressed by Dom’s strength and very glad he wasn’t the focus of her rage.
Ava got up and bellowed, “Get out! Get the fuck out of my house!”
“Gladly! Don’t wanna be with yo hateful ass!” She stormed upstairs and began stuffing everything she could fit into her suitcase. Terry came in moments later and sat on the bed.
“Can I…” ,Dom started to ask.
“…Stay with me?” he finished. “Yes.”
“It’s just ‘til I get on my feet.” Terry gently held her chin and said “You can stay as long as you need, Dom. You know that.”
Dom relaxed and murmured her thanks as she continued packing. Terry looked uncomfortable and Dom’s heart went out to him. As embarrassed as she was about what happened, she knew it was worse for Terry. He’d told her about the many arguments Terry and his father used to have before he moved in with Groove. Dom was sure this was opening up all kinds of old wounds for him.
Dom heard footsteps and looked up to see Ava standing at her door, smoking a cigarette. Dom felt fear stab her in the gut and Terry immediately stood up, his body vibrating with tension. Ava leveled a pointed, angry gaze at Terry, then Dom. She took a drag and said, ”Anything you want, you betta get before I come back from work tomorrow or I’m throwin’ it out.” Smoke erupted from her mouth as she spoke, making each word a bullet that pierced Dom in the heart. She closed her eyes, sighed and said, “Fine, whateva.”
Ava walked to her room and slammed the door. Terry looked like he was about to go after her, so Dom put a hand on his arm, stopping him and said, “She’s not worth it. Let’s just go.” Terry nodded as she picked up her two suitcases and walked out of the room. He followed shortly thereafter.
(c)2015 Courtney & W.L. Sherrod