Chapter 60: Los Angeles, California 1994 Are You Still Mad?
Dom had opened the package he gave her on the plane. It was a cassette of music Terry put together. Songs by other artists that they both liked or knew reminded them of each other and two originals: “Angel” and a song called “Inside You.” He also included his address and a note asking her to write him and let him know what’s going on with her and promising to write her back once she did.
Once Dom got situated with a place in L.A., she wrote Terry as he requested and told him pretty much everything that was going on: meeting with James Parker and the head of Quiet Storm Records, Rondell Prescott, working with Kevin Shields (But not the Lead Singer/Guitarist of My Bloody Valentine), the producer on her record and many of the artists that she was singing back-up for while her project was getting started.
Terry answered her back almost immediately, filling her in on how he’d left Avant Groove and basically just worked at Trudy’s and practiced his music at home. She felt a little guilty about that, since she was the reason he left the group. A voice inside said that Terry was a grown man and more than capable for choosing for himself. Dom knew that, but she still felt responsible.
About two months later, Dom got a letter from Terry. As she read it, her face paled and her heart dropped into her stomach.
He found the pregnancy test.
There was a lot of anger, cursing and general disapproval as Terry correctly assumed that Dom must’ve had an abortion or given up the baby, since she hadn’t mentioned a baby to him and the test was hidden in the box of garbage under the sink that he normally didn’t touch, but had been prompted by something to empty it.
Dom was considering answering Terry back, but he saved her the trouble by telling her to go to Hell and never write to him again.
Guilt and shame lanced through her heart and questions flooded her mind. All the doubts about what she did, and why she was doing it, started to whisper to her mind. Dom wanted to put all that behind her, but she felt locked in place, like she couldn’t move. She picked up the phone and called Kevin.
Lately, Dom had started talking to Kevin on an increasingly intimate basis. He always listened to her and gave her honest feedback, even if it was a little hurtful. She was a little nervous about opening up to Kevin about a previous relationship, especially with the abortion looming over it all, but she didn’t have anyone else she trusted to talk to about it.
So, she did and Kevin listened. There was no judgment in his eyes as he said, “Well, it was wrong not to let him know about the child, but I can see where you’re coming from.”
“You probably think I’m a monster.”
“If I did, I’d have to call myself one too,” Kevin said and told Dom about his own brush with abortion. Dom felt herself unclench and listened as completely and without judgment as he did. When they were done, she felt so much lighter and steadier inside.
Kevin asked her if she wanted to go out and get something to eat and talk some more. Dom was surprised, but pleased and said yes.
After that night, Dom and Kevin started to hang out more often and eventually became a couple. She’d never been happier and had never, ever been in a relationship that was as healthy. There were no games played between them or any attempt to control the other. Theirs was the beginning of a true partnership and it translated over to the recording of Dominique’s record. Dom and Kevin were so in sync, it was like they’d been together for years, like Ashford and Simpson, and not just a few months. They not only finished each other’s sentences, they wrote as if one person were composing everything. Everything was gelling and the album was on pace to be done by the end of the summer.
Then Quiet Storm Records filed for bankruptcy and folded.
Different acts were in different stages of production when this happened and the majority of them lost their deals and their albums were shelved and tied up in the legal red tape of the bankruptcy. Dom was sure she and her dream were done, but Kevin came to her rescue and bought out her contract with Quiet Storm and signed her to his newly formed label, Kuumba Records. Dom couldn’t thank him enough. After a quick break to get their legal ducks in a row, work continued on Dom’s album. The advance Kevin paid her was put to good use and Dom found a place and bought a late model car to get around in. It was mid-December when the album was finished. They decided to wait until the early part of January ’95 to release the album, but put out the first single in time for Christmas. It was called, “Wings to Fly” and once it hit, it quickly burned up the charts and was a favorite with R and B radio. When the album, simply called “Dominique” was released, it immediately went 2x Platinum and stayed on the top of the charts for six weeks straight and crossed over onto the Pop charts as well.
During this time, Terry started writing to Dom, about a letter a week. Dom would’ve opened them, part of her wanted to, and find out what he wanted but she remembered his last words to her and she returned them unopened. She wanted to talk to him and try to explain what happened and why she did what she did, but she thought better of it. I don’t have to explain anything, Dom thought. He didn’t want me to talk or write to him, wish granted. She had more important things to do with her time and a career to pursue.
“See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya.” Dom said as she left a note for the mailman. She didn’t tell Kevin about what happened, though.
(c)2015 Courtney & W.L. Sherrod