Monday, June 22, 2015

Superstar-Chapter 60

Thanks for reading... Follow me on Twitter and Like me on Facebook! Check out previous chapters of Superstar and samples of my first novel, Facets: Stories of the Mundane and the Weird, here on the blog.                                        Facets is available on the Kindle Market!

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 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Superstar-Chapter 59

Thanks for reading... Follow me on Twitter and Like me on Facebook! Check out previous chapters of Superstar and samples of my first novel, Facets: Stories of the Mundane and the Weird, here on the blog.           Facets is available on the Kindle Market!

Chapter 59: After the Fall

Terry came back into the apartment after driving around and calming himself down a bit. He saw Dom sitting on the couch, her bags sitting under the window as she waited for her ride to the airport. He sat a respectful distance away from her. Dom tensed initially and guilt stabbed Terry in the gut. He breathed past it and said he was sorry.
Dom didn’t acknowledge him. She kept staring out of the window as if he hadn’t spoken.
“I mean it, Dom. I am so, so sorry for hitting you.” He said. “It’s just that…I…I didn’t want to lose you.”
“And hitting me…,” Dom replied softly. “…would help you keep me?”
“I don’t know what I was thinking…”
“I’d say you weren’t thinking, period,” Dom answered.
Terry paused for a moment. Finally, he admitted she was right. He knelt in front of her and gently took her hand. Dom flinched and tensed up, which caused guilt and shame to bleed inside Terry, but she eventually relaxed.
“I know I don’t deserve it, but I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.” Terry began.
“I don’t know if I can do that.” Dom said. “I know I hurt you and I didn’t confide in you or the group about what my plans were, but that doesn’t give you the right to treat me like shit and hit me just because you’re angry with me.”
“What d’you expect?” Terry stood and walked over to the window. “I’m not gonna act like I’m all good with you signing a deal without us…without me.”
“I’m not gonna forget about you or the band, Terry.” Dom insisted. “I’m gonna talk about how good you guys are and help you get a deal. I won’t leave y’all hanging.”
Terry scoffed and said, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
“It’s like that now?” Dom asked. “So much for the trust, huh?”
“Why should I?” Terry asked. “It’s not like you were being completely honest with me or anyone else in the band.”
“Honesty, huh? How about the fact that you’re jealous and controlling? You kinda neglected to mention that to me when we got started; Or that you’re a weak little boy who hits women? I could’ve used a heads up about that,” Dom spat.
“We’re not talking about me,” Terry groused.
“Well, I am. You need to pull the two by four outta your eye before you try to gouge out the wood chip in mine.” Dom paused and took a deep breath. “Look, Terry, we’ve both done some crappy things to each other. I’m sorry and I don’t want to leave with things unresolved. Do you?”
Terry sat, turned away from her and his arms crossed in front of him. He didn’t say anything or look at her, he just sat there. She called his name but she didn’t get a response, only more silence. Just then, a horn blew outside. Saved by my ride, Dom thought to herself.
 Dom got up and gathered her bags. She stood in front of Terry for a moment and said, “Anything else to say, before I go?”
Terry was silent.
Dom shook her head and started for the door.
“Don’t go.” Terry said. Dom looked back and saw the raw and naked pleading on his face. She stepped to him and they awkwardly hugged.
“I need to go, Terry,” Dom stated.
He sighed. “I don’t want you to go. I know you have to, but…just wait a minute. Please.” Dom sighed and nodded. Terry left the room and came back with a small package. He held it out to Dom, who reluctantly took it.

“You don’t have to open it now,” Terry said.”Wait until you get to L.A.” Dom nodded and Terry gathered her into a slightly less awkward hug. The horn bumped again.  They broke apart and Dom told Terry goodbye as she walked out of the door.

(c)2015 Courtney & W. L. Sherrod

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Superstar-Chapter 58

Thanks for reading... Follow me on Twitter and Like me on Facebook! Check out previous chapters of Superstar and samples of my first novel, Facets: Stories of the Mundane and the Weird, here on the blog.           Facets is available on the Kindle Market!

Chapter 58: Blue Monday (How Does It Feel?)

    Dom never knew that silence could speak more eloquently than words ever could.
    For the past week, Terry had been completely silent towards her. He fixed meals for two, but he didn’t share them, if she needed something, he got it for her. He didn’t neglect her, but he didn’t make any kind of move to show her any kind of affection. He even slept on the couch.
    And the music he listened to was as angry as he was: Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Rammstein and some stuff that even she didn’t recognize, but it all sounded like she imagined he felt inside: angry, agitated and betrayed.
    Dom felt anger rise up inside her. Who the hell did he think he was? She was about to start living her dream. Wasn’t that something she and her man should be celebrating? Just because he wanted to be a big fish in a little pond didn’t mean that was what she wanted. If he couldn’t understand that then it was time to drop Terry’s dream sniping ass and move on to bigger and better.
    Dom just shook her head and continued packing. Most of her stuff was in storage and what she was taking with her to California was in front of her. She looked at Terry, who was sitting on the couch listening to “Got Me Wrong”. Yeah, he most certainly did, Dom thought.
    Dom looked up, startled. The voice she heard was a raspy croak that didn’t sound at all like Terry. His gaze bored into hers as she met his eyes.
    “Why?” He repeated in the same strangled voice. “Why are you leaving me?” Dom felt the despair and pain in his voice and despite herself, felt her heart softening towards Terry.
    “This is my dream, Terry. I’ve always wanted this. You know that.”
    “What about our dreams, huh? The things we said we’d do together?”
    "They’re not dead, baby. They’re just gonna have to wait a little while is all.”
    Terry just stared at Dom, full of surprise and confusion. Slowly, his face started to change to a mask of smoldering anger. “’What happens to a dream deferred?”, He said, quoting Langston Hughes. “’Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore…and then run? Does it stink like rotting meat? Or crust over like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it sags like a heavy load…’” He drilled a dark gaze into Dom’s eyes. “’…or does it explode?” Guilt stole the breath and speech out of Dom. She felt very heavy and couldn’t move or even bring herself to look Terry in the eyes.
    “Look at me!”, Terry shouted as he stalked towards Dom like a prowling beast. “Look at me, Dammit! She reluctantly focused on him. His gray eyes gleamed with the same dangerous mania she saw when he faced Booty-Bass down.
    “What, you can’t look at me now?!”
    “I am looking at you!” He grabbed her by the wrist and began to squeeze.
    “Terry, you’re hurting me!” She started trying to break his grip, but he was too strong, too full of anger. Hers started to flare inside her as she demanded he let her go.
    “I’m hurting you?!” Terry bellowed. “You’re about to leave me behind like you don’t give a fuck about us to be all famous and shit, but I’m hurting you? No! You’re mine and you ain’t goin’ nowhere!” He pushed her against the wall for emphasis.
    Dom had, finally, had enough and slapped Terry. Hard.
    There was a moment of stunned silence. They never hit one another before, and knew that this had just changed everything. Dom was just starting to utter an apology when Terry punched her in the face.  
    Dominique sagged against the wall and Terry grabbed her by the shirt, ready to hit her again. The world was spinning and her jaw felt like it was going to fall off. She didn’t have the strength to defend herself, so         Dominique hunched over and tensed for the coming blow.
    The blow never came. Terry had come back to himself and saw what he did: The blossoming bruise on her jaw, the trickle of blood from the corner of her mouth, and the fear in her face and her body language. Shock, horror and disbelief intermingled violently on his face as guilty tears cascaded from his eyes. Memories of Carl and Belinda fighting and his promise to himself to never, ever do what Carl did to the woman he loved crashed on his consciousness. He let go of Dom and stumbled out of the house, sobbing as he went.
   Dom unclenched and started to cry as she slowly sagged to the floor. Betrayal and disbelief squeezed strangled sobs out of her and she felt utterly small and alone with no one in the world to love her, not even the man who fervently claimed he did.

(c)2015 Courtney & W.L. Sherrod