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Chapter 63: It’s On
Avant Groove welcomed Terry back with open and very grateful arms.
He was reinstated as leader of the band and took over as the lead guitarist. He did notice that the band had gotten tighter, if that was even possible, and were more of a unit, a true gestalt that could play pretty much any style of music they wanted to and sound great doing it.
Eric introduced Terry to Philip Overstreet, who took over Wanda’s vacant spot on keys. Terry remembered him from the Armada and asked him why he left Mikki’s group.
“He was on some Prince/James Brown shit, tryin’ to fine people for being late or missing notes.” Philip explained. “That’s why everyone left the group and he’s currently a solo act.” Serves him right, Terry thought to himself.
Over three rehearsals, Terry learned and re-learned all of Avant Groove’s material. He was ready to rock with the band on their gig at Club Jam that Thursday. From the first note, Terry was happier than he’d been in a very long time. He’d missed being in front of a crowd, playing all the sounds he heard in his head for people to appreciate.
He was home.
One day, Terry set up a microphone and surprised everyone by singing “If You Want Me to Stay” and sounding a great deal like Sly Stone. He was voted in as lead singer in addition to everything else he was doing for the band. He didn’t mind a bit.
About four weeks after Terry’s return, a co-lead singer was found. Her name was Denise Jefferies, formerly of the group Billie’s Bliss. During her interview, she and Terry did a spirited rendition of “Take Me With U”. There was a subtle chemistry between them. Everyone saw it and assumed they’d get together. Terry stopped that cold. He’d just gotten over Dominique and he wasn’t about to put his heart on the line again.
Groove was glad to have his brother from another mother back. He’d grown as a musician while Terry was gone and felt more confident. Still, Eric welcomed the chance to step back a little and let Terry handle to heavy lifting. He noticed that Terry had acquired a taste for alcohol and approached Terry about it.
“It’s under control, Groove,” was the reply. Groove tried to ignore the itty-bitty gutbuzz that started after Terry said that.
Lisa asked Terry about his drinking also.
“I got this.” Terry snapped. “I’m not my father.” Lisa declined to comment.
One night after their last set at Club Jam, everyone was feeling good. Terry especially since he had three Rum and Cokes during the show and two more when they were done. Denise was a little tipsy and the liquid courage gave her the guts to finally act on her attraction for Terry. She kissed him and he actually responded. Terry closed his eyes and started to get lost in the kiss when visions of kissing Dom swam through his head and the desire he felt turned to anger.
“Stop,” Terry said.
“Why?” Denise asked, her voice thick with desire. “You like it. I felt it, Terry.”
He grabbed her hands and told her to leave him alone. Denise looked at him and saw the anger behind his eyes. She didn’t understand what was going on, but she did as he asked and walked away.
“You know you were wrong for that.” Lisa said as she sat on the stool Denise vacated. “You know you like her. Why not give her a chance?”
“ I’m not getting screwed over again.” Terry stated. “I already lost time because I let myself get distracted by a relationship. I’m not doing that again. I’m staying focused.” He took a swallow of his drink and looked into the glass as if the answers to life were inside it. Lisa shook her head and left him to his isolation.
“He’s really angry.” Lisa said to Eric.
“He’s really drunk.” Eric said. “I’m glad he’s focused, but I think he’s more concerned about getting revenge on Dom than anything else.”
“You’re probably right, but what can we do?”
Eric sighed. “Until he lets us in to help? Nothing.”
(c)2015 Courtney & W.L. Sherrod