Arissa and Anna pulled into their hotel early in the morning. They checked in, threw their bags down and looked at their phones. Anna started texting her boyfriend, who was at home, whining about not attending the Bruno Mars concert with her. Arissa checked her facebook and work e-mail.
Arissa was the perennial third wheel. She hated it, but Ryan and Anna loved Arissa to death and would die for the girl. She was quirky, fun, but yet still mysterious. They didn’t understand why she was still single. Arissa had perfect blonde hair, a perfect 36C chest and was, again, fun. She threw down. They thought she was probably just a bit picky. Whatever the reasoning, they loved her like a sister and would do anything for the girl. So, the fact that Anna drug Arissa around with her was part of why Arissa asked Anna to drive the three hours to Houston with her, but another reason was that she thought Anna might catch Bruno’s eye for her. And then she could make her move; in her dreams.
“Anns- The guy said there’s a gym down stairs. I didn’t run yesterday so I need to run today. I’m gonna only go 2 miles so I’ll be back in like 30 minutes.” Arissa ran to the bathroom to change. She came out in yoga pants and doo-wops and hooligans t-shirt that fit snuggly on her petite frame.
“Go get ‘em lady. And Bruno Mars too.”
“Yeah, like he’s down there. They’re probably doing sound check. “
“You never know, dude.”
Arissa swiped her hotel keycard to open the swanky member’s only gym. It was empty. I wonder how many people actually use a hotel gym. It’s lonely in here. Oh, and thank god there’s a mirror. I hate running without a mirror. It’s extra concentration seeing my ugly face….oh yeaaah buddy, Ladies is pimps too. This one is so darn good. Arissa started the treadmill at 5.5 and jogged for about 3 minutes when the door opened. A whole group of people came in. A sweet smell walked past her. It was intense. She wanted to glance behind her to see what he looked like, but stopped herself. It was too small of a place. He would notice her. And if he did notice her she wouldn’t be able to say anything. Her shyness always gets to her though when she sees someone cute at the gym. She knew she was getting cuter… as she glanced over to see a familiar face…that guy that sings with Bruno was at the elliptical…and wait…no…yess….oh holy shit. Oh my god. He was like treadmills away from her. Hitting the button to start. “Oh…Oh…” her hand hit the pause button right before she started to slip on the treadmill.
“That would have been embarrassing…” he said to her with a laugh.
“Umm…yeah…umm…it…oh…oh shit….” She pulled out her headphones and started the treadmill again on a lower level careful not to lose her time.
“I like your shirt.” he told her.
“Yeah, yeah. It’s super cool.” someone else yelled at her from the weights.
“I would hope that y’all would like it.” she told them. She gained her footing and started jogging at a slightly faster pace.
“How fast are you going, girl?” he asked her as she looked at the mirror almost starting to ignore them.
Fuck me. Bruno god damn Mars is two treadmills away from me and I can’t think of a thing to say to him. What do I say? What do I do? Do I talk to him like he’s normal? Do I freak out? I’m 4. I can’t do that. Oh lord. Oh my. Do I say I was listening to an illegal download of Ladies is pimps too? Oh my god oh my god oh my god. Kill me now. But I’m running at at 10 minute mile. I never run this fast without killing myself. I have to keep going. Keep running. Keep running…
“I’m only going at 6.1” she answered him as she swayed her arms. She lowered her music as he started to talk to her.
She jumped off the treadmill when she hit .0 miles and started to walk out the door.
“It was fabulous meeting you, Bruno…” she smiled and started to walk away, wiping a bit of sweat off her forehead with her hand.
“Wait, wait…” he paused and grabbed her hand. “Your name?”
“You’ll find out later tonight.” she smiled at him and walked out the door.
“Dude that girl had it going on.” Phred told him after Arissa walked out the door.
“You don’t have to tell me twice. She was outta this world. And wearing that shirt? Like really? And she knew we were here. It was like she was stalking us.”
“Ha…” Phil laughed at him. “Yeah. Are you sure you want to get involved with that, Bruno?”
“I know I want to get involved in all of that.” he motioned in a circle recreating her body.
Arissa practically ran 11 mph upstairs to her shared hotel room with Anna.
“Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, Annnnnaaaaa!”
“What Ris?” she asked.
“He was…he was….” she was out of breath. “There…we talked…he…oh my god..oh my god…”
“I told you!” Anna told her. “Go take a shower and get ready for the meet and greet…I have the eye lashes and the curler and all that fancy stuff out already.”
The girls got ready and drove the 2 minutes to the arena for the meet and greet. They were one of the last few to arrive. Even though Anna was very much in love with Ryan Bruno was totally “on her list” as she put it. But, isn’t Bruno on everyone’s list these days?
Anna continued to text whoever she was texting while Arissa waited patiently talking to another meet and greet participant who was from the Houston area. She told them all about how she and Anna had won the tickets and meet and greet just three days ago. She was still in total shock. She didn’t tell anyone about talking to him in the gym, though. That was her secret.
Suddenly, everything got really quiet. The group of about 30 meet and greeters could hear a pin drop. And then he came out, right in front of her. He danced a little and waved at everyone. He looked dead at Arissa and winked at her. He didn’t know she was going to be here. Why did he do that? He doesn’t even know we’ve met before. Whatever. This is dumb. I’ll shake his hand, take the picture, put it on my computer for a few months, gush about it and then move on.
They moved through the line. It was so typical. Shake hands, smile, 1, 2, 3, thank you! The girls were, again, toward the end of the line. Someone with a lanyard started to walk up to Arissa. It wasn’t someone from the radio station that she had met before; it was someone from the gym. “Hey, umm, can you go to the back of the line? And if someone else comes in, like from the radio station let them go before you? Bruno wants to talk to you.”
“Umm…okay?” she answered inquisitively. After about 15 minutes the last group of people took their picture. The guy who had handed them their tickets for the concert led them towards Bruno.
She got a little nervous and held out her hand. He looked so normal in his jean jacket, red v-neck shirt and Fedora. He licked his lips before shaking her hand. “Hi, I’m Arissa Henderson.” she said to him, looking him dead in the eyes.
He blinked and smiled her. Holy cow, she’s cuter now than she was earlier…”Nice to meet you, I’m Bruno…” The record label guy watched them get positioned. Bruno put his arms around them and smiled. He squeezed Arissa’s waist as she started to walk away. “Wait…Arissa…”
She turned around to face him quickly. “Yes?” she said politely.
“Here. These are for you and your friend. And don’t leave after Talking to the Moon, okay?” Arissa handed Anna the envelope and started to walk away.
“What’s in there, Anna banana?” Arissa asked.
“I don’t know dude. You open it. He gave it to you.”
She grabbed the envelop ripping into it. It was kind of heavy. “Holy shit, Arissa!” They were standing by one of the radio station booths near the girls that had ushered them into the arena. “They’re back-fucking-stage passes and another meet and greet thing. There’s a note too.”
Wear something cute for the after party. I want to see those runner’s legs. –Bruno.
“Oh my god!” they both screamed. Everyone turned around to look at them. “We’re just excited to be here…” Anna said to one grungy looking guy.
“Work the middle, dude.” Anna smirked.
“Ha. Yeah right.”
“I think you will, Rissy.” Anna wandered off to sit down and rest her feet and to text Ryan.
At 9:30 pm as Bruno worked the stage, Anna and Arissa jammed out in their seats. They weren’t front row, but they had a good view of him. Arissa was holding her phone anticipating tweets and facebook updates from friends about the concert. She got a handful saying how great the seats were. Then she got one from a 903456 number. “You won the 3rd row seats! Come to the front of the arena!” She hit Anna and showed her the text.
“What the fuck? Your luck, girl You know he did this. He wants to get in your pants.” Arissa rolled her eyes not being about to believe the text message. They got up from the end of their seats, watching the people on their aisle watch them get up. One of the girls from the radio station was sitting near them. She gave Anna a dirty look. Anna shot her a look right back at her. A man led them toward their third row seats. “Oh my god, Anna! This is outrageous!”
“I know it, Rissy!”Anna screamed as he started singing again. He caught her eye and pointed at her. Arissa wished to be the Just the Way You Are Girl, but she couldn’t win everything in one day. Or could she? After the song the lights went down and everyone started to scatter. And then he came back. And killed it. He looked right at her. And sang to her. Right at her. Oh shit. Oh lord. Oh my god. “He’s looking right at you, Arissa. Dead in the fucking eye.” she whispered.
“I know. What am I going to do?” He ended with “Somewhere in Housssttooonnnn.” and then left. By the time there were only a handful of people left a big burly guy walked up to them and asked if they were Arissa and Anna. They nodded followed him through a maze. “It reminds me of the ‘Dome…” she babbled.
“Yeah..it does…but there’s not as many cute boys there.” Anna pushed her.
“Ha! You’re right!”
“Ladies…” the man opened a door for them. They peered in to see the guys that were at the hotel gym and then saw Bruno.
“Hi cute girls from the meet and greets!” one of them said. “I’m Kenji! And you’re…?”
“Oh…oh..I’m Anna..and this quirky one is Arissa.” Arissa looked at her feet before looking up at Kenji.
“Hi. Nice to meet you.” she shook his hand and was still ridiculously nervous.
“Here girls..have a drink…”
“Oh my gosh. I so needed one of these. There was a 1 year old girl screaming her fucking head off next to us…” Anna said taking a glass and handing one to Arissa.
“It was kind of out of control…” Arissa responded.
“That’s what I like! Out of controlllll!” Bruno came in wearing a purple shirt, denim vest, black skinny jeans and black vans with the same fedora on.
“Ladiiieeesss.” he said grabbing them. “Are you ready for tonight?”
“Umm?” Arissa asked.
“Yes, yes, yes. You’re coming with us!” Everyone started to talk and wander around. They almost stopped noticing Bruno and Arissa’s conversation.
“Bruno…I thought we would just happen to be at the same place and you would be there. And that would be that. Anna and I would go back to the hotel. Sleep off our hangover until noon, eat some tacos and drive back home. The end. Great story. Tell everyone. Make them green with envy. What is this?”
“It’s nothing! I want to dance with you!” he poked her in the chest and smiled that infectious smile.
“Okay. But at least let us meet you there. We’ll drive my car and then we can leave by ourselves.”
“No way! I want to know who I’m dancing with!” he said taking a sip of his drink. She gave him an odd look. “Then I’m driving with you!” he laughed.
“You heard! You, me, Anna anddd…andddd…Phil! we’re going in your car. Heeey, heeey…heeey. I need the address. We’re going to go with Arissa. Meet y’all there?”
Bruno walked away to get the information for Arissa and Anna.
“What am I doing, Anna? This is weird. Like not just kind of weird for me, but like out of control for me…..”
“Calm down, honey bunny. He obviously kind of digs you. So just take a deep breath.”
“I am…but I can’t do it. I need to pass out. This is weird.”
“He’s just a guy…you’re the one that said that earlier today….”
“But…but, no one that amazingly handsome has ever said one word to me ever, except maybe, ‘excuse me, can you hand me the spray bottle?” Arissa started to kind of shake.
“Ready girls?” Phil said as he the girls started to talk a bit more quietly.
“Yeah, yeah. We’re ready….”
They led the boys out to Arissa’s bright Red 004 Rav 4.
“Oh dang it. Give me two seconds. We have the cooler with water and cookies in there…” Arissa pulled her hair up as she opened the door to pull the cooler which was still full of ice.
“Woah. Have you done P90x and Insanity? You’re a beast, Arissa.” Phil responded to her ability to lift the cooler to the trunk.
“I’m training for a marathon…eventually.” she smiled and pointed to the back seat.
“Just like you!” Bruno laughed.
“Oh lord. You are a charmer.” Arissa said sarcastically. “Do you have the address? I have absolulatemente no idea where we’re headed. I can get to 59, 610 and 10…oh and Fannin. That’s it.”
“Wait. You’re not from Houston?” He asked handing her the address punching it into her phone’s GPS.
“No! We came from San Antonio, silly. Remember the first meet and greet? We were at a hotel!”
“But…you could have just done it for the hell of it….” he trailed off.
“Oh no….” Anna started to tell the story.
“She just clicked enter online. The radio station called her on Thursday to say she won the tickets, a hotel, the meet and greet; the whole thing. And now she’s driving Bruno Mars to his own after party. Oh and her birthday is in 5 days.”
“Well, happy freaking birthday, Arissa!” Phil said from the backseat.
“It sure has been a heck of a birthday present…oh crap…we need to be over there…” she pointed toward the left lane. “Houston is so fucking crazy…” she moved over to the left lane and exited.
“Here…” she pulled up and valet parked her car.
“Oh, I see you have valet skills.
“It’s the only way to go…”
“You’ve got extra class, Arissa. You know that?” he said grabbing her leg as they got out the car.
I don’t know what I’ve gotten myself into. I have no idea what I’m doing. What am I doing? What the hell am I doing? What is going on? When will I wake up?
Anna smiled at her as she and Phil led the way upstairs. It was just a regular group of people walking upstairs until some rowdy drunk girl screamed, “Oh shit! There he is! He’s so damn fine!” Then the screams started.
“Go upstairs, Arissa…Anna. We’ll be up there in a second.” he whispered in her ear. It made her tingle a little.