One thing I have always loved is the way that music seems to inspire writing. I have always wanted to take certain songs that inspire me and write short stories to go with them. This short story is inspired by the beautiful song, “Johnny and Donna,” by Mali Music. The calmness of this song first grabbed my attention and as I listened to the lyrics, I immediately became drawn to this scenario. Listen to the song below, read the short story, and tell me what you think.
“Come on Renee. I’m tired of you sitting in this house all alone. Come out with us tonight.” Renee shook her head at her roommate’s request. She didn’t want to go anywhere. Clubs were never her thing. “I have a book and a bottle of wine that’s calling my name.” Her roommate grimaced. “Okay, are you 26 or 36? Come on! It’s a really cool jazz bar. One of Teddy’s bands are playing. You’ll love it.” Renee sighed. “Please! I won’t ask you ever again.” “Okay, okay. I’m gonna hold you to that,” Renee said. Her roommate giggled as she went back into the bathroom. Renee shook her head as she went into her room and got dressed. When they arrived at the jazz club, Renee was not impressed. “What is this hole in the wall?” she asked as they waited in line. “It’s called Donnie’s. You’ll love it.” “As long as they serve wine, I’m sure I’ll love it,” Renee smiled. Once inside, Renee and her roommate were seated at a table close to the stage. Renee quickly ordered a glass of red wine and looked around. The inside was a lot nicer than the outside. There was a full bar, a dance floor, and a small stage. The walls were adorned with different abstract art pieces. The crowd seemed extremely diverse and the numbers grew quickly. Renee noticed a band setting up on the stage. There were three men setting up their instruments. She noticed the guitarist immediately. He played a few riffs as he tuned his guitar. The acoustic guitar caught Renee’s eye. It was painted black with several different graffiti type images arranged at the base. The young man seemed to be the leader as he gave orders to the other two men. Renee was so caught up in this man that she completely forgot about her drink that she ordered. Her roommate whispered, “Um, are you okay? Your glass has been there for about two minutes and it’s not empty yet.” “Oh,” Renee quickly laughed, “I was just checking out the band.” “Yeah, that’s who Teddy was telling me about. I forget their name, but his name is Nathan.” Renee blushed as she tried to play off her obvious trance that she was in. Finally, Nathan and his band began to play. Renee fell back into her trance as she listened to the intoxicating melody. As Nathan played, he began to sing softly into the mic. He looked over and locked eyes with Renee. Caught a little off guard by her, he smiled showing off a beautiful set of dimples. That was it. Renee had to talk to him. They continued to flirt with one another until his set was finished. Renee, feeling a little overwhelmed, went to bathroom. As she was coming out, there he was. They locked eyes again as he walked towards her. Renee fidgeted with her dress as she waited for him to get closer. This seemed like an eternity. Finally, he was there, right in front of her. “Hello,” he said. His voice was intoxicating. “Hi,” Renee softly said. She tried to avoid his gaze, but she was of no success. “You were really good out there. I liked your music.” “Thank you. You looked very good out there as well. Well, not to say you don’t look good standing here right now, but…” Nathan stammered. Renee laughed. Her laugh was beautiful. “I understand Nathan.” “How do you know my name?” “You said it when you introduced yourself and the band.” “Aw damn,” Nathan said, smiling. He couldn’t believe how he was slipping. That never happened to him. But Renee, for some reason, had him shook. She was beyond beautiful. Her cocoa brown skin highlighted by the red dress that she wore. Her natural beauty was evident as she only had on a dark brown lipstick. And her tightly curled hair was sending Nathan over the edge. She looked like an African goddess. “So, what’s your name?” Renee introduced herself as she felt her phone vibrate. It was her roommate. “That’s my friend checking on me. I better get back.” “Yeah, I have to get back to.” He took her phone and entered his number. He called the number and saved hers in his phone. “I’ll hit you up after the show.” Renee blushed and said okay. He took her hand and kissed it. “It was a pleasure meeting you tonight Renee.” He pulled her in close and looked into her eyes. “I hope to see you again.” They both stared at each other, breathless. A few moments later, Renee came back to Earth. She smiled again as she let his hand go, something her body did not want to do. She walked back to her table and sat down. Her roommate started to grill her but her words were being drowned out. Drowned out by the thoughts of him. After the show, Renee continued to think about him. She stared at his number until her eyes became sore. She wanted to call him, but she knew the rules. Hours went by and still nothing. Finally, Renee threw on her hair bonnet and got ready for bed. She tried to forget about him as she laid down. But this was easier to say. She picked up her phone again. She decided to text him instead. When she opened up the messenger, her phone vibrated. It was Nathan. Now she was nervous. She answered the phone after the third ring. “Hello,” she said. “Am I calling too late?” “No. I was actually on the phone with someone else. But you’re good.” “Is that so?” Renee blushed. “I was very serious about seeing you again,” Nathan stated. “We can arrange that.” “How about now?” “Um, its like 3 in the morning.” “So what? Do you have somewhere to be tomorrow?” “Not really.” “Okay then. Send me your address and I’ll come by.” Renee’s heart started to race. She couldn’t believe she was actually thinking about going out with him. She never did anything like this. But, she did want to see him again. “How about this? I know of an ice cream parlor that is 24/7. I’ll text you the address and you can meet me there.” Nathan agreed and Renee texted him the address. She threw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Since it was a little brisk outside, she decided to add her leather jacket with it. She took her bonnet off and fluffed out her twists. She grabbed her purse and phone and quietly snuck out of her apartment. Waiting at the parlor, Nathan was sitting in one of the booths. He kept looking outside, waiting for Renee. When he finally spotted her, he felt like his whole body was on fire. She walked in and smiled at him. She sat down and said hi. Nathan wanted to grab her and never let her go. It was more than a physical thing. He felt incredibly drawn to her. This was the main reason why he wanted to see her tonight. He had to see if she could match his mental energy as well. “You look beautiful.” Renee blushed. “Thank you. You look nice as well. Nice to see the man on stage is the same man off.” “What do you mean?” “Well, you know how some people play a role when they get on stage. They try to appease the audience, but that’s not who they really are. It’s nice to see that you are who you are on stage and off. I can tell by your dress and just your mannerisms. It’s refreshing,” Renee explained. It was Nathan’s turn to blush this time. She was definitely on the right path. They both ordered chocolate milk shakes and continued to talk. Their discussion went from politics to career choices to favorite foods to which Power Ranger was the best. Renee looked outside and realized the sun was out. “Wow. I can’t believe we talked for this long.” “Yeah. Time just seemed to fly by. Didn’t even seem like it was that long,” Nathan said, taking out his wallet to pay for their order. Renee got up and waited for him at the door. They walked outside and looked at each other. Neither one wanted to leave. “So, do you have another show tonight?” Renee asked. “No. Not until tomorrow night. What about you? Are you doing anything today?” Renee shook her head. “How about we grab some breakfast?” Nathan smiled. Renee laughed. “You still want to be around me?” Nathan grabbed her hand and pulled her in close. “I want to be around you for as long as you allow me to.” Renee lost her breath again. He came closer to her. “Is that okay with you Renee?” She looked into his eyes and became lost. She looked down at his lips and could feel the warmth of his breath. She could sense the energy coming from his body into hers and vice versa. Nathan smiled. “I’m going to take this as a yes.” Renee blushed again as he let her go. She looked at him and nodded. He started to walk and Renee grabbed his hand. She put his arm back around her waist as she kissed him. Her intentions were to give him just a small peck. But once again, this was better said than done. The warmth of his lips ignited a flame inside of her. He cupped her face into his hand as he began to kiss her deeply. From that moment, they were one.
Two years later, Renee and Nathan were as happy as when they first met. Nathan and his band had decided to part ways and Nathan begin to travel with another crew. Renee was by his side the entire time. They travelled all over the world, playing at different venues. They were both able to experience new things and share in each other’s journey. They both were just happy to be in each other’s space, enjoying one another. Renee woke up one morning to the smell of Nathan cooking. They were back home, in their loft, for a few weeks. Renee walked into the kitchen and saw Nathan standing next to the stove. He was preparing her favorite, Cajun shrimp and grits. Renee took in a huge whiff of the aroma, but something different happen. What normally sent her stomach grumbling, instead sent her stomach tumbling. Renee ran into the bathroom, barely able to make it. When she finished, she rinsed out her mouth and started to brush her teeth. She went back out into the kitchen, but the smell overwhelmed her again. She ran back into the bathroom and this time Nathan noticed. “Baby, are you okay?” He could hear her throwing up and became concerned. “Renee!” “Just a minute,” she said as she flushed the toilet and rinsed her mouth out again. She opened the door and covered her nose. “Nathan that shrimp has to be old! The smell is horrible.” “Baby, what are you talking about? I just bought those this morning from the market. It actually smells great. I’m a little offended.” Renee smiled. “It’s not your cooking. I’m telling you that shrimp is bad. I can’t eat that.” Nathan shrugged his shoulders. “More for me.” Renee kept her nose covered as she walked into the living room. She opened the window and sat on the window sill. “Guess I’ll stay over here and eat then,” Nathan laughed. “Yes please do.” Nathan finished eating and cleaned everything up. He came over by Renee. “Do you feel better?” Renee nodded her head. “It’s a little weird because I’ve never thrown up before. Not even when I was sick. Maybe it was something I ate yesterday.” Nathan played with her hands. “We had subs yesterday. Maybe it was the meat.” Renee shrugged. She was in deep thought. Nathan could tell she was a little shook up. “Baby, I’m sure it’s nothing. It’s not like you were coughing blood or anything serious. Just a little throwing up. You may be pregnant,” Nathan laughed. Renee looked over at him with dread on her face. Nathan stopped laughing. “I was just joking.” “I don’t think it’s just a joke. I haven’t had my period since we left for France.” “Renee! That was almost two months ago.” “I didn’t think anything of it until now. I thought maybe my body was just off from all the travelling. They never were very regular anyway,” Renee said, shameful. The reality of what could possibly be was settling in for them both. “Nathan, I’m so sorry. I should’ve paid attention. We could have done something to prevent this from happening. I’m so sorry,” Renee said, tearing up. Nathan, still in shock, looked over at a trembling Renee. He held her. “Baby, it’s okay. It’s not something you need to be sorry about. We both took a part in this. Let’s just see if you are and we can go from there. Okay?” Renee nodded her head as she wiped her tears. “I’ll go out and get a test, okay?” Nathan kissed Renee on the forehead as he went to put on his shoes. He grabbed his keys and wallet. He looked over at Renee. “Please don’t be in that same spot when I get back. Don’t make me call your mother,” he smiled. Renee smiled softly as he closed the door. She got up from the window sill and walked into their bedroom. She looked at herself in the mirror. She lifted up her shirt. Her stomach didn’t look too different. She put her shirt down and sat on her bed. Maybe she was overthinking. Her periods were never regular so this could just be another episode. But what if it wasn’t? How would she be able to travel with Nathan carrying a baby along with her? Would he be willing to settle down with her and the baby? To be a real family? Renee forced herself to stop thinking. She went in the kitchen and poured a glass of water. She sat in the living room until Nathan returned from the store. He handed her the test as he put his beer in the refrigerator. “Really? Just in case huh?” Nathan laughed. Renee sighed and went into the bathroom. Nathan grabbed her arm and gave her a hug. “Whatever the results. Know that I love you.” He kissed her on the cheek. “I love you too.” Renee went into the bathroom and Nathan collapsed on the couch. How could this have happened? He never imagined he could become a dad, especially not with all the opportunities he had in front of him. If she was pregnant, what would he do? Abortions were out of the question, but could he really settle down and be a family man? The main reason their relationship worked was because Renee was so flexible with his moving around. Would she be the same with a baby on her hip? Nathan sighed and went into the kitchen. He took out his beer. He needed to calm his nerves and didn’t care if it was warm. As soon as he opened the can, Renee opened the door. Nathan stared at her as he put the can down. He could see she had been crying but didn’t now if they were happy tears or sad ones. He wanted to go to her, but he was frozen. She walked over to him slowly with her head down. He lifted her head to look into her eyes. She looked at him and began to cry again. She collapsed into him and Nathan knew the answer. He could feel his legs getting weak. He sat down on the floor with her in her arms. He could feel his emotions trying to overwhelm him, but he refused to let them. He needed to be strong for her, at least at this moment. He wasn’t sure if he could account for any time after this, but in this moment, he was going to be here for her.
“Do you like the crib? You don’t think it’s too girly?” Renee was putting the finishing touches on the baby’s side of the room. “Nathan! What do you think?” Nathan shrugged. “It’s fine. Looks like a unicorn threw up in our room.” Renee rolled her eyes. “Shut up. It looks nice.” Nathan went and sat down in the living room. “Renee. We need to talk. I’ve been trying to talk to you all week and you keep putting it off.” Renee stopped what she was doing. She closed her eyes and sighed. This was it. The conversation she had been dreading since she found out she was pregnant 7 months ago. Nathan hadn’t been adamant about it until this week. Renee was foolish to think she could keep escaping the obvious. She took another breath and went into the living room. She sat next to Nathan. He looked at her. “We need to talk about everything. The band, the baby, us.” Renee felt lightheaded when he said “us.” She never thought that would come into play. “What do you mean “us”?” Nathan sighed. “Renee. We can’t sit here and act like what is happening to us isn’t life changing. You know my goals. You know what I have going with this band can’t just stop. I can’t be here the way that you want me to be. I can’t be what you want.” Renee felt her breathing becoming shallow. Nathan couldn’t take it. He never wanted to hurt her, but he had to be honest. It was only fair to the three of them. He held her hand. “Baby, I love you more than you could imagine.” Renee shook her head. “You don’t love me. You would stay if you did. You would make this family work. You haven’t even tried.” “I don’t need to try, I already know. I know how I am. When have we ever stayed in just one place for more than a month or two? Do you really think that is healthy for our baby? Being on the road? Travelling with a band? I don’t want that for my child. I want them to grow up in a stable home. Somewhere where they can start memories. Somewhere where they can always call home. I didn’t have that growing up and that’s the reason why I can’t sit in one place for too long now. I don’t want that for her. She deserves better,” Nathan explain. “She deserves her father.” “Renee, she will always have me. I am not saying I will not be here for our child. I would never leave you with such a thing. That is my blood pumping through her body as well. I will always be here for her, whenever she needs me.” “Just not for me,” Renee whispered, finally looking up. Nathan looked away. He could feel the hot tears, welling up in his eyes, but he refused to let them fall. Renee got up and walked into the bedroom. He could hear her cries begin to intensify and he could no longer refuse his own pain. He placed his head into his hands as they both cried together. Both pained by their love.