Monday, August 25, 2014

Superstar-Chapter 23

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Chapter 23: Can We Talk?

Terry arrived at the Warehouse first. As he turned on the lights and set up the instruments, he breathed a sigh of satisfaction. He loved the solitude, the enclosed silence of the place, before everyone came and filled the space with human sounds and life. He sat down and tuned all the guitars, made sure the drums were tight and the keyboards ready to play. Once everything was satisfactory, he sat down with Rob’s Washburn bass and started plucking out a bass color that came in an hour before he arrived. He was lost in the music, following where the muse lead him, when he heard a guitar join him. Terry smiled and started dueling with Eric. For ten minutes straight, they traded licks, Terry leading the way at one point then Eric blazing the sonic trail with Terry following. During the whole exchange, Terry never looked up, but he played as if he could see what Eric was playing on his guitar. With a flurry of notes, they finally stopped. 
“Good morning, ‘Cuz.” Eric said.
“Good morning.” Terry answered and walked to the tape recorder set up by a speaker.
“That was nice.” Eric commented. “Was that something new?”
“Yeah, it came in this morning.” Terry grinned and placed the bass back on its rack. “With a little work, it’s gonna be a jamming tune. I can feel it.”
Eric just nodded. Terry was bothered by Eric’s nonchalance. Usually, he was more excited about a new jawn.
“What’s on your mind, Groove?”
“You’ve been blocked for a little while now.” Eric explained. “Right when things went downhill with Dom, the music inside you stopped, but now that you’re both cool again, you can write music again.” He shrugged. “What’s up with that?”
“What’s up with you not liking Dom?” Terry demanded. “I can already see where this is going: you think she’s affecting my work.”
“Isn’t she?” Eric said. “The girl’s got your nose so wide open a 747 could pull a u-turn.”
“I’ve been blocked before, Groove.”
“Not like this, Terry. You told me yourself, every other time you’ve been blocked, you kept on until you broke through. When this sitch with Dom came up, you didn’t even try.”
“What d’you want me to say, Eric? I’m in love with her? Okay, I am. I love, Dom, Groove. I know you don’t like her, but it’s not up to you.”
Eric sighed. “I have a bad feeling about her Terry. Gutbuzz bad.”
Suddenly, Terry didn’t feel so good.
Eric had this thing he called a ‘gutbuzz’ (which he described as feeling like bees were buzzing in his stomach). It came up whenever something really good was gonna happen or something really bad. Eric was usually right when it happened. Terry sincerely hoped that Eric was wrong this time.
“The same day Wanda pulled that stupid shit during rehearsal a week ago.”
“Maybe you’re wrong this time, Groove.”
“I hope so.” Eric grinned. “Anyway, I have some more happy news: I entered us in the Battle of the Bands contest at the Clique, yesterday.”
“Straight up.” Eric said. “It takes place in about two weeks and the grand prize is a recording contract with Musicmax records.”
Terry smiled and said, “Yeah. That’ll be good. When are you telling everybody?”
“Today, right before we start. Hopefully, that’ll give us some focus.”
“No doubt.” Terry agreed.
“No doubt, what?” Lisa asked as she bopped happily into the warehouse.
“Well, look who took their happy pills this morning--,” Terry observed. “—and remembered how to set their alarm clock too.”
“Bite me, a’ight?”
“You are all shiny with happy face this morning.” Eric added. “What’s up with that?”
A dreamy look and a loopy grin lit up Lisa’s face. “Roger.”
“Lemme guess--,” Terry said. “—he got the job done?”
“My baby worked me like a Hebrew slave.” Lisa confirmed. “He started out slow, then he grabbed my hips and…”
“Did Terry tell you about the contest?” Eric interjected.
“What contest?” she asked.
“Yeah, what contest?” Terry threw a ‘You-Ain’t-Slick’ look at Groove.
“The Battle of the Bands,” Eric said, ignoring Terry’s look. “I entered us in it. The Prelims are in two weeks.”

“Alright, now!” Lisa shouted. By this time, the rest of the band had walked in and Terry and Groove made the general announcement. Needless to say, the rest of the rehearsal was focused and, thanks to the dawning of hope, energized.

(c)2014 Courtney & W.L. Sherrod

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Superstar-Chapter 22

Hello, All! New Chapter! Apologies for the day late dollar shortness...Like on Facebook and Follow on Twitter...and...Go!

Chapter 22: Destiny

Terry noticed a large swirling palette of emotions in the room when he and Dominique walked, smiling and laughing, into rehearsal together:
Lisa was actually there on time, and looked happy to see the both of them together finally. Rob was obviously pissed, which tickled Terry a bit. Wanda acted all nonchalant, but he was sure she wanted to pull out Dom’s hair and blacken her eyes. Larry was indifferent, as usual, and Eric looked concerned. This bothered Terry a little, but not enough to spoil his mood. He filed that concern away for later.
“Good to see you two made it.”, Eric said. “Let’s go, time is money.”
“Good morning to you, too, Groove.”, Terry replied.
Everyone took their places. Terry saw Wanda throw a gaze of utter contempt at Dom, who was completely unaware of it. As Terry signaled Larry to start, he hoped nothing was about to jump off.
Larry clicked his sticks together four times, counting off the beat, and played the beat for ‘Whatcha Gonna Do For Me’ by Chaka Khan. The rest of the band fell into place and locked onto a blistering groove. Dom began to sing and her voice fit the music like a glove. All this musical bliss lasted until a discordant wave of sound threw everyone off. The music came to an abrupt halt and everyone glared at Wanda. She merely shrugged and looked sheepish.
“What was that?” Terry asked ominously.
“I’m sorry.” Wanda whined. “My hand slipped.”
“Yeah, okay, ‘slipped’.” He groused. “From the top, Larry.”
Four stick clicks and Avant Groove was off and running again. Dom began to sing and her voice intertwined with the music, making a whole that was greater than the sum of its’ parts.
That is, until Wanda “slipped” and threw everyone off track again.
As one, the band turned and glared at Wanda. She had on her best innocent face as she apologized once again. Terry was about to confront her, but Dom was a little swifter than he was. She stalked up to Wanda and said through clenched teeth, “I don’t give a fuck how pissed you are about me and Terry, if you mess up one more time, I’m takin’ your damn keyboard and shovin’ it up yo’ non-singin’, jealous ass and make you fart in harmony! Got me?”
“Yes.” Wanda squeaked.
“Good.” Dom snapped. “Larry, once more from the top.”
Wanda played skillfully and without mishap after that. Terry was impressed. He noticed that Groove looked a little hot under the collar, though. Terry sighed to himself He knew this wasn’t going to bode well for later.

“Dom, can I talk to you for a minute?” Eric asked.
“Sure.” She answered. “What about?”
“What happened earlier with Wanda.”
“What about it?” Dom asked and folded her arms across her chest. She could feel a lecture coming.
“First, I do appreciate the way you handled it, but that’s not your responsibility. Next time, let me or Terry take care of it.” Eric said.
“If you would’ve taken care of Wanda’s diva bullshit before now, we wouldn’t be having this problem.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“That Wanda’s been on some personal shit, since before I got here and you’ve never called her on it.” Dom explained.
Eric folded his arms across his chest. “I don’t see where that’s any of your business.”
“It is when somebody’s disruptin’ my rehearsal time.”
Eric quietly gazed at Dom for a few moments, an unreadable expression on his face. Dom was about to ask what his problem was when he asked her, “What are your intentions with Terry?”
Perplexed, Dom asked him, “What do you mean?”
“I mean, what are you intentions towards Terry?”
“I don’t see where that’s any of your business.”
“It is when somebody’s breakin’ my little brother’s heart over some bullshit.”
“You and Terry are related?”
“No.” Eric answered. “But he’s like the little brother I never had and I’m a little protective of him.
“He’s a grown man, Eric.”
“Yeah, he is. That means he can make his own choices, even if they may not be the right ones.”
A flash of anger ripped through Dom and she swallowed down a caustic remark. After a deep breath, she said, “I wouldn’t do anything to hurt Terry, Eric, and I’m hurt that you think I would.”
“Maybe not intentionally.” Eric said. “I saw what went down after Wanda’s little trick and I saw that you genuinely care about Terry, but I know you love the spotlight, Dom, I’ve seen it. If it came down to Terry or Center Stage, which one would you choose?”

Eric walked away and left Dom with a hard, uncomfortable truth ringing in her ears.

(c)2014 Courtney & W.L. Sherrod

Monday, August 11, 2014

Superstar-Chapter 21

Howdy, everyone! New Chapter! On Time! Enjoy and Like me on Facebook and Follow me on Twitter!

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

Monday, August 4, 2014

Superstar-Chapter 20

Hey, Everyone! Thanks for checking out the story. Hope y'all are enjoying it. Here's another chapter of the saga. Like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter!

Chapter 20: Following

Terry was at his usual post, watching Dom get into Rob’s car for yet another date. He wasn’t entirely sure, but Terry would’ve bet a month’s wages that Dom was growing tired of Rob and actually starting to check for him again. There were times when Terry would look up and catch Dom looking at him with longing in her eyes. The look quickly changed to the usual remote disinterest or she simply looked away. Terry knew if he asked her, she’d deny it, so he never brought it up.
Terry noted that Dominique wore a cranberry colored sweater with a matching skirt that hit mid-thigh, black stockings and a pair of black shoes with a modest heel. He thought she looked good. He didn’t take inventory of what Rob wore.
Rob’s car pulled away from the curb and Terry carefully followed a discreet distance behind them.
Eventually, they pulled into Evergreen Plaza and parked by the movie theatre. Terry parked far enough away to avoid being spotted, but still able to keep an eye on them. He cracked his window, reclined his seat and settled in for a long wait.
A voice that sounded vaguely like Eric said that Terry was out of his mind. He had better things to do than stalk Dom like this. Terry ignored it. He couldn’t help himself. It was a way of keeping her close, staying involved. Granted, she wouldn’t talk to him or give him the slightest hint of what she felt, outside of disinterest, but Terry couldn’t turn away. He had to make sure Dom was safe, that she was okay; if that made him a stalker, so be it.

The movie was roughly an hour and forty-five minutes long and from there, Booty-Bass and Dom drove over to Red Lobster. Terry was suddenly aware that he was hungry. He was also aware that he might be wasting his time. He watched the two of them as they walked out of the movie theatre: Rob had his arm comfortably around Dom’s shoulders and they were laughing at a shared joke. If Dom was faking, and Terry really hoped she was, she was doing one hell of a job.
Terry’s resolve finally broke and he drove over to a restaurant on Cicero Avenue called the Brown Derby. Terry went in and ordered a Patty Melt with extra onions and a Coke.
The room was large, paneled with stained oak and the tasteful lighting a made for a cozy, intimate atmosphere. Waiters and waitresses moved among the patrons taking orders and serving food, the smell of cigarettes and disinfectant from the washrooms mingled with the aroma of baked chicken and sautéed onions. People were at the bar and in various booths in the restaurant, talking softly among themselves. The majority of the patrons were couples. Terry was one of a handful of lonely souls in the place. A light rain started to fall outside. The streets and buildings outside glistened with it. Even the cheap hotel across the street looked prettier than it actually was.
When his food finally arrived, Terry wasn’t hungry. Despair sapped his appetite and tears filled his eyes. He was alone again. Dominique was truly beyond his reach and there wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it.
Stop it! He silently shouted at himself. Just stop it.
Terry dimly realized that Dominique wasn’t the only woman in the world. He knew in his head that there were other women to be had. He knew there would be someone else. His heart, on the other hand, said there wouldn’t anyone else like Dominique. No one else compared to her and no one ever could.
Terry buried his face in his hands, gave in to the inevitable and had a bitter, choking cry. He kept his sobs quiet, but the tears flowed and soaked his cheeks and hands. When he was done, he grabbed a napkin and dried his eyes.

Now, Terry had been staring very intently at the table top while he was moping, so when he looked up and saw Dominique, who looked soaked to the skin and vulnerable standing in front of him, he was more than a little surprised.

(c)2014 Courtney & W.L. Sherrod