Isela ran out the door at 3:30 AM fitting on high heels. She started her car, put on the head lights, started to back-up her 2008 Honda Civic and cranked up the Top 40 radio station that was still playing the tail end of its club mix. She belted out several tunes while stopped at the traffic lights while checking out the scenery. She glanced over at several cars and saw sleepy passengers and dull and drab drivers. She was getting ready to start her day as the Great Day LA! reporter and mid-day fill in. It was a normal day, nothing fantastic – a Thursday.
It was a dreamy and cushy job to for a 24 year old. She started as an intern at the station as a junior and did a stint as a senior as well. She was offered the morning traffic position after graduating from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in Communications and Drama. She was stunningly beautiful – compared to both Penelope Cruz and Eva Longoria. She was a third generation Mexican-American and had a large Latino family with a diverse background that made her equally as liked by the community and her colleagues. She talked candidly about her past experiences with friends and family. As a child she lost her mother to a car accident and was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer at the age of 19 and relapsed at the age of 23. She survived both. She even continues to train to run the Boston Marathon one day.
As Isela sang her songs and danced in her head she heard a new song on the radio. A song that had an amazing catchy tune – that sounded familiar to her. She turned it up for an unknown reason. Much like a song from the distant past – this song had that quality. The guitar was infectious and the singer equally as loveable. And as the voice continued she knew why the song was familiar. It wasn’t the song she was turning up- it was the voice. It was the voice of an ex-boyfriend that she had tried to forgot about. This was a boyfriend that had stood by her through two bouts of cervical cancer, several bouts of friends with benefits and even wanted to see her win a marathon one day. Yet, she still didn’t understand why he would stand by her. She hadn’t spoken to him since late 2008 though. It was now early 2010.
“Holy shit! Holy shit! Oh my god! Bruno! No way!” Isela screamed in her car all the way to work where she gathered her emotions and tried to find her Blackberry to contact her twin sister Yuli and her younger siblings to tell them that her ex, who they still felt as part of their family, was on the radio. She knew it was early, but she had to tell them.
She hated mass texts, but sent out a family text anyway. “Bruno was just on the radio! Like really!” Send.
A few minutes later she received a text from her youngest brother, 11 years old, who replied, “Yeah..heard it b4. It’s good. 4got 2 tell u.srry.”
A week later Isela sent Bruno a congratulatory text message but nothing more. She knew the two of them had ended on bad terms, so she didn’t expect anything in return from him. The song, Nothin’ On You, had entered heavy rotation on all the Top 40 stations in the area.
Several weeks later Isela arrived at work and was handed her call sheet which indicated what events she would be covering that day. As a co-anchor on an early morning TV show the most exciting coverage she got was fuzzy puppies and an occasional D list celebrity. It was a cold day in hell when she got a musician in the studio. It sure was a cold day on Tuesday because she read Bruno Mars and B.o.B. on her list. She gasped as a tired intern walked past her.
“:Did you not want to interview them? I made the schedule. I can have David interview them.” the intern responded.
“No, no. I can do the interview. Can you just find me something better to wear and find me some flats? Or can I borrow yours?”
“Umm…I don’t think we have any in wardrobe…so here are mine and I just saw some Alice and Olivia stuff added yesterday. What’s the deal?”
Isela, who was always an open book, shook her head and just blew it off. There was too much to talk about. She ran into the wardrobe room and rummaged through the new clothing as the Assistant Director walked in wearing baggy jeans and a USC hoody.
“Buenas Dias, senorita Ortiz. Que estas haciendo?”
“Trying to impress and ex boyfriend…find me something good…hurry.”
“Wait what?” The AD was confused.
“Bruno Mars. Don’t ask questions, just find me something good.”
“Here. Wear this purple dress and yellow sweater with red heels.”
“No heels. It’s a rule.”
“He’s short. Like really short.”
“Okay..keep on those shoes. The black ballet flats are fine.”
“Thank you. This is good. And it’s okay for the rest of the day?”
“It’s fabulous as always. Go get him.”
Isela knocked on the GUEST door. It was opened by another girl who she hadn’t met, but could guess was one of the two of the guests’ current significant others.
“Hi guys…just wanted to check in with you to make sure everything was okay. Congratulations on everything going so well!” Bruno got up and followed her out the door.
“Hi….”he paused and waited for her to respond. He touched her arm and smiled. “I got your text. I haven’t had a chance to respond to everyone. It’s been ridiculous. “
“I didn’t expect to get anything back. But thank you….” she didn’t want to get side tracked with anything personal that would cause her to get nervous around him. She prided herself on being professional. but, he was wearing a hat she had never seen before that made his eyes pop even more than she remembered.”They’re the normal where are you from, when did you get started, tell me about the song, etc.”
“Those are good questions, Isela. Can’t wait.” He squeezed her arm to make her feel comfortable with the situation and walked back to the waiting room where he was greeted by his group of friends.
“Vanessa, get over it. We knew she was going to do the interview. I know you can’t stand her. And to be honest, there are times when I can’t stand her either. Put your game face on.” Bruno told his girlfriend. He kissed her on the cheek and headed on the door with the rest of the group that was doing the interview.
“So, tell me all about yourselves. How did this song come about? It is incredibly catchy!” Isela boasted through her learned on air smile.
The two gave her canned responses. She didn’t even know him anymore, but it was okay. She was pretty sure that they were done and over. He had moved on to that Vanessa girl and she was trying to move on, with Jordan, Brian, Kyle and now this new guy…Mark? As they wrapped up the interview her head spun. How was he still smiling at her that way? He knew it drove her crazy. Like beyond crazy. She knew there was nothing there. If it was it would just hurt both of them again and again and again.
“Well, thank you both so much for stopping by this morning! It was a pleasure to meet with you. And, you will be performing this evening. Would you like to tell our lovely viewers about the performance?”
His partner told the audience about the performance. The interview ended and they walked off stage.
“Are you coming, Selly?” he asked her as the three walked off stage.
“Oh, oh no. I have to be up at 3:30 in the morning. That’s when you are all finishing. I can’t do that. “
“Ha! So typical. I have to work…I have school..I have this to do…that to do…I can’t go Bruno…I’m sorry! Next time!” he whined.
“Shut up!” she played along with his game even though she knew she shouldn’t have.
“Next time, promise.” she smiled and walked away.
On Isela’s drive home all she could think about was what he said to her. He was right. She was always excuses. She really did want to go out and see him. She had blown him off from day one, but he always stood by her. I bet if something were to happen to her that day, that very second he would have been there for her – even though Vanessa couldn’t stand her.
“You aren’t coming?” she yelled at him.
“No! I can’t come. You have your meet and I have a recording session all night. There’s no way we can both be in two places…” he yelled back at her.
“But Bruno! I always go to your stuff. Like always. I mean, since I met you I’ve been to most of your shows. I can count on one hand how many meets you have been to. Can you count how many shows, recording sessions, events, etc, etc, etc, things…I have been to for you? It’s just not fair! I can’t do it anymore! It’s bullshit!” she yelled at him with tears coming down her eyes.
“Isela! I can’t go. You’re right, it’s not fair, but I can’t do it. You have to understand. It’s not that I don’t want to go, it’s that I need to go to this. You have your parents support and money and know what you’re doing. This is all me…”
“Don’t even….don’t even give me that crap, Bruno Mars! That I can run off and play college girl because I have a father that is a professor and that school is paid and that I know I’m going to be in the news industry. You….oh my god! I’m leaving. Don’t even try to call me later tonight. I won’t answer your calls. And don’t try to call me with one of your friends’ phones. I won’t answer those either.” Isela picked up her gym bag, backpack and purse and slammed the door. He didn’t say a word.
“Dude forget her. She’s a complete bitch….” Phil said as they walked out toward the car.
“I know she is, but she just smiled so kindly and knew exactly what to say during the interview. She knew what she was talking about….” his thoughts wandered.
“Vanessa is way better for you than Isela. She wouldn’t leave you for a third string European basketball player, I can tell you that…” Phi, Bruno’s best friend and confidant reminded him.
“Well that is true…”
Bruno saw a familiar face in the crowd. She was holding someone else’s hand. Standing in between this man and her sister was Isela.
Oh my God. What, the hell, am I going to do? She looks so…so…so Isela.
Isela walked into the club holding Brian’s hand. She followed her sister and her boyfriend into the club and grabbed a schedule of the performers. She glanced over the list and saw Brian’s name as well as several unfamiliar names and then…there it was Bruno Mars.
“How did you not tell me he was going to be here, Yuli? Could you not have told me that the one person in the whole world that bugs the most shit out of me was going to be here, too?”
“You didn’t come for him, Selly, you came for Brian. Now suck up your pride and go sit down and watch. He’s good.” Yuli yelled at her sister to get over herself. It always went back to the two of them. She was sick of it. Los Angeles was a big city, but not a big enough city to hide. They were going to see each other – especially when they had like interests.
The most ridiculous part of the whole thing was that the most seats left in the small club were right next to Phil’s girlfriend. Isela took a seat next to her and said hello. They chatted for a bit about what she was doing and that they missed hanging out with each other. It was just too awkward to do things together after she and Bruno broke up. They also chatted about her new…she didn’t even know what to call him….Yuli had set them up thinking it was a good idea.
There was a gap between Brian’s set and Bruno’s set so they all chatted for a bit. Vanessa and Isela visibly competed for Bruno’s attention – flipping their hair and putting on enough lip gloss to sustain a small country. Brian had no idea what was going on. It was distracting. He just thought he was going on a date with a friend’s twin sister. It was hot…
“Isela…” Bruno took her hand gently after Brian left. Vanessa had walked away, which was a surprise, to get a drink.
“What?” she asked him, shocked that he would actually want to speak with her.
“I…I miss you…” he said quietly.
She got up, moving toward an emptier area of the club. “I miss you too, Bru…but I will not do this again. You know what happened last time. We were both hurt. And I will not do that again. I am not who I was 2 years ago…” Even though she was hearing what she wanted to hear it was not the way she wanted to hear. She wanted him to choose her. He didn’t say anything about choose her over Vanessa. And until that happened she wasn’t going anywhere. As much as it hurt her to walk away, she stood up, flipped her hair in a way she remembered drove him crazy and headed back toward her date.