Excerpt from Loving Dr. Martin
Serena almost felt bad for womankind as she watched her boyfriend Michael perform his guitar solo. Their band, It’s Complicated, was playing at the Rose Club in Fenway, a stone’s throw from Boston’s world-renown baseball park. The boisterous crowd of mainly college students was clearly enjoying the show. Michael strode to the edge of the stage, a poster boy for sexy cool. At over six feet tall with a lean muscular frame, he had presence. He cradled his sleek John Petrucci and played it with such finesse, undoubtedly making women wish they were in its place. Michael was arguably the most popular member of the band. At least with the ladies. He had wavy light brown hair which, though short, fell over his eyes frequently as he played, lending him an air of mystery, which coupled with his British accent, sent the ladies in their audiences into hysteria. Serena forgave the fans as she herself felt like she was missing part of her mental faculties whenever she was around Michael.
Serena smiled as she admired the figure Michael cut as his pick flew over the strings. His muscular thighs strained against his jeans and his sweat-soaked black t-shirt was plastered to his chest. They’d been dating for two years, since she joined the band in her freshman year at Boston University. Michael had been a sophomore then. Two years later they were still going strong, personally and musically, and being paid to play all over the city and even beyond. Their band was in such high demand they had to turn gigs down. They gave up trying to explain what kind of band they were. Their music was mostly rock, a little hip hop, some jazz and folk, and a whole lot of fun. Their female fans fawned over Michael’s deep raspy voice when he performed duets with Serena, but her powerful soulful voice he thought was clearly the band’s greatest asset. Together they created soul-wrenching harmonies and their chemistry was palpable.
Michael concluded his guitar solo. He looked up, caught Serena’s eye and winked. She melted and almost forgot her words. She blew him a kiss full of promise and turned to face the audience.
She’d stopped singing for a few years after her dad walked out on her and her mom but by high school she’d found her voice again. Now, music was her outlet for an intensive pre-med program. She’d resisted when Michael first asked her out because she didn’t think it was a good idea to date someone she worked with so closely. She’d hated to think of what would happen to their band if they started to date and it didn’t work out. But Michael was persistent. And he was seriously talented and charming. Plus, he was like a magician on his electric guitar. Serena hadn’t stood a chance. She just had to consider briefly how his skilled fingers would move over her body and make her sing. More than that, he was kind, thoughtful, and completely into Serena.
Two hours later, they were finally allowed off stage after performing several encores.
“That was awesome, guys. We rocked it!” Devin their drummer said as he shared a high-five with Michael. Devin was insanely talented. He had been playing drums since he was four years old and it was a full body experience for him. He delighted their audiences with the acrobatics he performed with his drumsticks. His handsome looks, muscular frame and tattoo sleeves didn’t hurt his popularity either.
“Yo, Devin, that was sick what you did tonight. Are you high on something? Cause you were out of this world on those drums, man!” Patrick gave Devin multiple hand slaps. Patrick was on the keyboard. He was enrolled in the music engineering program at Berklee College of Music. He saw himself as being at the ultimate crossroads of art and science. He practiced yoga religiously to help him channel his artistic and scientific energies and he never failed to deliver with the tunes he came up with. He and Michael worked closely on the songwriting. Kiera, the final member of the band, was their bass guitarist. She carried her nearly six-foot frame with confidence. She had long blond hair that fell past her shoulders but came short of obscuring the tattoos on her upper arms of her music heroes - Paul McCartney on the left and Marcus Miller on the right. She wore artfully ripped jeans and a black vest over her tank top. Serena had been intimidated when she first met Kiera, but the two women had become good friends, especially once Serena realized that, as a matter of preference, Kiera would never have any designs on Michael.
She waved as Devin, Patrick and Kiera collected their equipment and left the club. Alone at last in the backroom they’d used to get ready, Michael pulled her into his arms and kissed her soundly on the lips.
“You are like a goddess when you sing,” he said. “Do you know that?”
“You’ve said that before, but I don’t see you worshipping me.” Serena replied with a coy smile.
“Believe me, darling, I worship you.” He pulled sway for a moment to gaze at her. “I worship your earlobes…” He kissed each slowly. “Your beautiful hair.” He kissed her by her temple. “Mmm, definitely your lips.” He placed his soft lips on hers and worshipped her till her knees almost gave out.
She came up for air and looked at him tenderly. “That was an awesome show tonight. Your guitar solo had the crowd screaming and all the women begging to marry you.”
“Just the women?” he asked with a naughty grin.
“The women and the men. You are irresistible.”
He kissed her again, soft kisses all over her warm brown face. “There is only one woman I want to marry.”
Serena wasn’t yet ready to have that conversation. “I’ve told you time and time again that you can’t marry Professor Rosales.”
Michael allowed her the side step. “Why not? She’s gorgeous.”
“That’s not enough to marry someone.”
“Her body is…” He brought his fingers to his lips as he smacked his lips.
“What body?!?” Serena pretended to be incensed.
“What body indeed? Yours is the one that I can’t get enough of. These buttocks that I can barely cup.” He proceeded to demonstrate. “These sexy hips… I want at least three boys from those hips.” Serena slapped one hand away. “Oh, and a girl too.” She slapped the other. With a laugh Michael drew her close once again. “But your spirit is what I love most about you. You are an incredible woman. You’re beautiful, smart, people love you. I don’t know what you’re doing with a mere mortal like me.”
Before she could say another word, he blurted out. “Say you’ll move to London with me.”
“Come to London with me. I was approached by an agent whose worked with Tornado, The Beats, and several other bands who’ve become quite successful. He wants to sign our band and can help us break into the music scene in London and from there, who knows how far we’ll go. It’s not going to pay a ton since we’re just getting started, but you know how good this band is. The sky’s the limit. This is our break.”
“What about school?” Serena asked. “I’ve still got the rest of junior year and senior year to do and you’ve only got six months left till graduation.”
“We can finish later. Let’s see where the music thing goes. This is the chance of a lifetime. This is our chance to take It’s Complicated to the international stage. Don’t you want that?”
“I want to be a doctor.”
“But baby, you sing like an angel.”
“That’s no guarantee. You are talking about taking a huge risk. Interrupting my studies, leaving my Mom to move to a country where I don’t know anyone.”
“We’ll be together.”
“It’s not enough.” Michael fell back as if she’d punched him in the chest. Serena softened her voice. “I care so much about you, Michael, but I can’t do what you’re asking. It may be a great opportunity but it’s a risk I’m not willing to take. After the upheaval of Dad cheating on Mom and leaving us, I need stability in my life. Great bands fail all the time. That’s the nature of the music business. But all doctors who finish school get jobs. I need that. I’ve had a clear plan for my life since I was eleven years old. I’m going to finish college, go to medical school, become a doctor, run my own practice, buy a house, have a family and take care of my mom. Moving to London to sing with the band - not part of the plan.” She took a deep breath. “This has been fun, Michael, but it was never meant to be the main path I was going to walk in life.”
Michael studied her as she spoke, his features sad. “Music has been my dream since I was a little boy. I can’t pass this up.”
“Then don’t. You are an incredible musician and I’m sure you’ll do very well.” She kissed him. “Come on,” she tugged on his hand. “Let’s go get something to eat.”
Michael stood and shook his head. “I have to pack.”
“Right now? When are you leaving?”
“I’m flying to London tomorrow to meet with Oliver and discuss terms.” His tone became pleading. “Please, just think about it. You can come later with the rest of the band.”