She shoved open the door to a janitor’s closet, pulling Bruno inside in a hurried manner. Slamming the door behind her, she flicked on the light, her face far from calm. “Bruno, what in the hell are you doing here?!” She yelled, throwing her arms up.
“I needed to talk to you,” He said in a voice much calmer than hers. She shook her head, angry at him. “That could have waited for any other time besides now.” She crossed her arms over her chest, slightly pacing the small room. “Do you know how much shit I’m going to get when everyone sees you here? Things were bad enough last week; I don’t need a repeat.”
“Well do you know how bad it’s going to look when people see you leaving ajanitor’s closet with me?” He asked sarcastically, moving up to her level in a joking manner. She rolled her eyes, not in the mood for his humor. “What do you want?” She asked after a moment of silence, ignoring his previous comment. Bruno let out an exasperated sigh as he adjusted his fedora on top of his head, preparing the speech he’d thought through in his head all night. “I think you’re making the biggest mistake of your life, Natalie.”
Natalie shook her head. How could he even say something like that? She thought, more anger towards him building up. “No, Bruno. I’m not.” She spoke flatly, wanting to end the conversation. “You’re the one making a big mistake coming here. In fact, you should consider yourself lucky if I ever speak to you again after today.” She said, thinking about how the media would twist something so innocent into a cover-page story. Bruno looked at the ground, slightly shifting his shoulders. “Listen, I’m sorry if I caused any trouble with you last week; I didn’t mean to jeopardize anything.” He shook his head, his mind completely changing about ever coming. “You know, you’re right. I shouldn’t have come here,” He said, beginning to turn away from her. “I’m sorry.”
“Bruno,” Natalie spoke softly, her tone changing. He stopped as his hand reached for the doorknob, curious as to what she was going to say. “I’m sorry for being so bitchy,” She said with a shrug. “But why did you come here?”
He turned around from the door, taking a couple of steps closer to her. “I can’t stay away from you any longer.” He said, shaking his head as he looked at his feet. “And all of this is driving me insane. I can’t sleep knowing that I’ve lost you for good.”
Natalie shook her head. “Bruno, I’m moving on in my life. There’s nothing you can say that will just make me turn around back to you. It’s a waste of time.”
She saw his heart break in front of her, his eyes suddenly losing life. “And I realize that now,” He said, looking up at her with his best I’m-really-ok smile.
“But before I leave for good this time,” He said, placing his hands in his pockets, looking her in the eyes. “Remember when I said I would always love you?” he asked, causing her to look at the ground as she thought about the night that seemed so far away when he said the words to her. How in the hell does he still remember that?. “I meant it.”
She stared at the ground, reminiscing on their past. After a few moments, she looked up. Natalie shook her head over and over, repeating the word no in her head. “No, you don’t,” She finally spoke out loud, still shaking her head. “You can’t love someone you don’t know anymore. Whether you like it or not, Bruno,” She continued, her shoulders tensing. “I’m going to get married, and eventually you’ll have to accept that we’re done, for good.” Natalie said, subconsciously touching the engagement ring on her left hand.
Bruno simply nodded his head, the rest of his plans failing right in front of him. He turned towards the door again, this time opening it. Turning his head back one last time to look at Natalie, he said, “Don’t act like you’re happy with him. I can see it in your eyes, Nat. It may be working for the rest of the world, but you’re not fooling me.”
Ten years earlier…
Natalie glanced out the rounded window of the airplane as it landed, seeing a sign near the runway. ‘Aloha! Welcome to Hawaii!’ More like ‘welcome to hell’, she thought as she rolled her eyes, turning her head away from the window.
She slung her bag grumpily over her shoulder, crossing her arms as she walked behind her obnoxious twin brothers, heading over to baggage-claim. “Aw honey,” Her mom said, wrapping an arm around her shoulder. “Cheer up a bit, you’re in Hawaii!” Natalie clenched her jaw as she looked forward; not even glancing at her mom’s smiling face. “It’d be a whole lot better if you actually found a job in North Carolina.” She said moodily, shrugging her mom’s arm from her shoulder.
Nothing that she saw pleased her one bit. Hawaii was supposed to be paradise as they said, but from Natalie’s perspective, it only meant the rest of her life being wasted on a tiny speck that lay in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This is such bullshit, she thought, anger building up towards her parents. They’d announced the move only a couple of months ago; the minute her mom found out she’d landed a job in Marine Biology in the paradise state. “You’ll love Hawaii,” her mother had assured her when Natalie began freaking out over their decision. “There’s beaches, and music, and plenty of warm weather.” She had said, trying to change her mind.It sounds like it’s pretty much North Carolina then, she had thought at the time, not understanding why they’d move so far away from everyone they knew.
Natalie proceeded in not speaking to her parents for three weeks after, the thought of moving still not getting past her mindset. It wasn’t fair, she was just beginning her Sophomore year of high school, and suddenly her parents dropped that she’d be leaving all of the people she’d been friends with all her life?
She couldn’t stop crying when they left for the North Carolina airport two days ago. But now, she stood emotionless in this Hawaiian airport filled with eager tourists, wanting to bash in the skulls of whoever offered the job to her mother.
They finally left the airport, her mom, dad, two younger brothers and sister all crammed into one of the airport’s taxi vans. Natalie stared out the window the entire time as they drove along a road that sat beside the ocean, knowing that somewhere past all of that water was actual land of the United States, along with North Carolina.
The van stopped outside one of the beach houses, all of them piling out of the car. Her brothers ran around, excited that they’d be living next to the beach. Grabbing one of her suitcases from the back of the van, Natalie heard the door of the house open. “Aloha!” She heard her uncle’s voice ring out. Her father walked up the porch steps, giving his brother a hug as he greeted him. She ignored her uncle’s cheerful smile as he opened the door for her to go inside.
Natalie had never been to Hawaii, let alone inside the completely modernized beach house her uncle owned. It was large enough to house at least three small families; the living room itself was nearly twice the size of theirs back at home. How in the hell did Uncle Scott own a place like this when he was single? She thought, shaking her head. Well, I guess this is my home too now.
Natalie sat in the dining room later that evening, swirling her fork around in her Spanish rice. Despite the fact that her parents tried to start a conversation with her during dinner, she never said more than a few words in response, not wanting to talk at all.
“So,” Uncle Scott said after a moment of silence in conversation. “How are you all liking Hawaii?” He asked with a smile. Jackson and Jameson both answered of how excited they were, while Alexis said she loved the beach house. “Natalie?” Uncle Scott asked when she didn’t answer, causing her to look up from her plate.
“I think it’s pretty shitty, actually,” She said in a mumbled voice. The entire table got silent as her siblings all stared at her in disbelief. ”Natalie Marie!” She heard her father bark in response to her. “You can be excused now.” He said sternly, glaring at her. Pushing her chair back moodily, Natalie walked into the kitchen, angrily putting her plate in the sink. She heard footsteps of someone walking into the kitchen behind her, causing her to turn around.
“You need to clean up your attitude,” Her father said, pointing a finger at her in an angry tone. “I’m not going to deal with it anymore. I understand you don’t want to be here, but at least act mature about this whole situation.” He crossed his arms over his chest, a soft scowl on his face. “And I better not hear anything like that coming out of your mouth ever again, you understand?”
Natalie nodded her head, not in the mood to argue with her dad. He looked down at the watch on his wrist. “I think you should get ready for bed soon; your first day of school starts tomorrow.” He said, his statement further making Natalie want to kill herself.
Well this is it. Welcome to the first day of hell, Natalie thought as she looked in the mirror at herself one last time before leaving her bedroom that overlooked the backyard beach. She threw her satchel over one of her shoulders, walking down the hallway to the kitchen. She ignored her mom’s farewell of a ‘good day’ as she stepped out the front door, walking in the direction of the high school.
The school wasn’t far from their house; being within walking distance. She insisted her parents didn’t give her a ride, knowing that it would be far too embarrassing to be dropped off by her parents on the first day. She arrived a bit early, giving herself enough time to get her schedule from the main office.
Natalie looked down at the printed list of classes as she walked down the hall that was beginning to fill with students. Nobody seemed to notice her, which made her feel a whole lot better than she was already feeling. Biology 1-2, room 214, she thought as she looked up from the paper, heading to one of the staircases.
She shyly walked into the given classroom, seeing a bunch of students talking as they waited for the class bell to ring. Natalie didn’t see the teacher in the room, so she stood there awkwardly, not knowing what to do. Playing with her schedule in hand, she saw a group of boys near the back that noticed her, looking up from where they were standing.
“Hey!” She heard from one of the boys, causing her to look over. A short boy with curly brown hair smiled at her when she glanced at him. “Are you the new girl?” He asked with a bright white smile. Natalie nodded her head, not wanting to draw attention. “Come here,” the kid said, motioning for her to walk over. When she didn’t move, the kid slightly laughed, saying “Don’t be shy now. We won’t hurt you.”
Natalie walked over to the group of four boys as they smiled at her. “I’m Bruno.” The boy said, sticking a hand out for her to shake it. He introduced the other three as Ryan, Josh, and Brandon. “You can sit here,” Bruno said, hopping over one seat so she could sit down at the two-person lab table. “So where are you from?” He asked, giving her another smile.
“North Carolina.” Natalie replied, returning the kind gesture to him. His eyes got wide at her words, surprised at what she said. “Really? That’s a long ways from here. Why Hawaii?” He asked, curious.
“Mom decided a job here was more important,” Natalie replied, rolling her eyes.
“You don’t sound too fond of it so far,” Bruno inferred, scanning her face. Natalie shook her head. “Not exactly.”
“Well, you’ll learn to love it here,” He said, reaching up to scratch his head of curls. “And the people.” He added with a smirk and a wink. The school bell suddenly rang, causing everyone in the room to find their seats. The teacher walked in a few seconds later, walking over to her desk, grabbing out a clipboard.
“Alright, alright,” She said, trying to shush up the class. She began calling roll, each of the students lazily answering to the sound of their name. “…Natalie Jackson—“ She stopped when she reached Natalie’s name, looking up. “Oh, yes! I forgot. Everyone, this is Natalie, she’s a new student here, so show her your best welcome!” The teacher smiled, nodding at Natalie whose face suddenly turned pink. She continued on through the list, Natalie following the voices as she tried to pound everyone’s name into her brain so that she knew everyone.
“Here!” She heard Bruno shout out before she finished pronouncing the last name. Natalie turned towards Bruno, giving him a strange look. “What?” He asked, raising an eyebrow at her. “Why’d you answer for someone else?” She asked, confused. “Huh?” Bruno asked, looking confused himself. “What are you talking about?” He laughed, dimples showing through his cheeks.
“I thought your name was Bruno?” Natalie was beginning to feel slightly stupid. “It is!” Bruno replied, laughing. “So why did you answer for that?” Bruno let out another giggle, clearly enjoying himself. “Because that’s my real name: Peter.”
Natalie shook her head, still a bit confused. That doesn’t exactly add up. Peter to Bruno? She didn’t question him further, still trying to comprehend everything.
“So North Carolina, huh?” Bruno said as they walked down the hall after class. Natalie nodded her head, looking forwards. “So what’s that like?” He asked, still trying to lead on a conversation.
“Way better than Hawaii,” Natalie replied, glancing down at her schedule. “Oh come on,” Bruno said with a smirk. “You haven’t even given it a chance yet. You just wait and see; a few months from now, you’ll be forgetting all about North Carolina.”
“I highly doubt it,” Natalie said, trying to figure out which direction to take. She saw Bruno glance down out of the corner of her eye, looking at her schedule. “Geometry. That’s just down that way,” He said, pointing down one direction of the hall. Natalie looked up at his smiling face. “Thanks,” She said with a small smile, beginning to feel thankful that someone was helpful around here.
“So I’ll see you around then?” Bruno asked with a hopeful spark in his eye. Natalie nodded her head once more. “I suppose so,” She said, returning his smile before heading down the opposite way from him.
Hey guys! I got a chance to write today during my flight, and I just got connected to some wifi at my cousin’s place just now…so I thought I’d sneak away from the family for a bit to post this.
I know this chapter is pretty boring, but stick with me; I had to set some things up…
welp good reading and Merry Christmas!
Natalie walked into the cafeteria alongside two of her female classmates, Savannah and Hadley. She had already had several classes with the two, and they were more than welcoming in helping Natalie out as she tried to survive her first day of school.
Throughout the day, the two added Natalie in on all of the gossip surrounding each person, and the simple do’s and don’ts. She learned several funny stories of her other classmates, and by the time lunch came around, Natalie was almost positive there was no more new information that either of them could give her further.
As they weaved their way through the tables, Savannah suddenly broke apart from the small group, walking over to the opposite side of the room. Natalie watched as she approached a group of guys three of which she recognized from her first period class.
“Oh, and that’s Savannah’s boyfriend,” Hadley stated as she nodded over to the taller of the four boys.
“You don’t sound too enthusiastic about that,” Natalie replied as she sat down at an empty table, opposite from where Hadley sat.
Hadley shrugged her shoulders. “Savannah’s just not too tight on keeping a guy around for long.”
Natalie nodded her head, understanding of what she meant. She glanced back to the direction of where the guys were, watching as they lazily made their way across the cafeteria, messing around the entire time.
“His name is Ryan,” Hadley said as she nodded her head when Savannah got beside him. “He’s probably got the nicest body you’ll ever see from anyone at this school,” she added with a small shrug and a laugh. “But I’d say good luck on getting your hands on him with the way he and Sav are right now.”
“And if you decide you want to stick around with us for a while,” Hadley continued, glancing over to Natalie once more. “You’ll probably be seeing those three around a lot too.” She turned her head back to the other boys who were all chatting about something.
“The taller, dirty blonde haired kid is Brandon. He’s definitely the nicest kid I have ever met,” Hadley continued on, pointing out the one who stood closet to Ryan.
Natalie didn’t mention the fact that she already met the kids in her first period class, so she simply nodded her head as Hadley continued to introduce the boys’ names. “The short kid with curly hair is Bruno or Peter, or whatever the hell you want to call him…He and his family got some sort of music thing going on,” she said with a small shrug of her shoulders. “He’s really good if you ever get a chance to hear him sing, actually. And the last kid on the left is Robert. He’s really loud, so you may want to keep your distance when he’s talking. It’s actually pretty annoying sometimes…”
Hadley finished the sentence just as Ryan and Savannah were within earshot of the two, walking over to the same table Natalie and Hadley sat at. She leaned in close towards Natalie as they neared, whispering quickly, “But just watch. It’s only September. Two weeks from now, Savannah will be long over Ryan,” she said with a small laugh.
“What?” Savannah asked as she sat down at the table, Ryan taking a seat next to her.
“Nothing. Just talking about how cute you two are together,” Hadley said with a sly smirk. Savannah simply rolled her eyes at her response, not seeming too worried about it.
The rest of the guys sat down at the table, in a deep fit of laughter as they did so. The one Natalie remembered to be Bruno sat next to her, his bright white teeth flashing as he laughed towards the guys.
“Oh I forgot,” Hadley said suddenly, glancing up at Natalie. “This is Natalie, she’s new here—“
“Yeah yeah, we’ve covered that in first period already,” Ryan said as he turned to face Natalie with a smile. “I remember you, North Carolina!”
“It’s Natalie, and…thanks,” Natalie replied to him, feeling slightly awkward now as they all stared at her.
“Oh right, Natalie,” Bruno said suddenly as he realized he was sitting next to her. He smiled at her with a small wink. “I could get used to seeing you.”
“Leave her alone, Bruno,” Ryan said as he shook his head, reaching for his can of pop. “The poor girl can’t even make it through her first day of school without getting hit on.”
Natalie felt her cheeks burn, glancing down at her tray suddenly. She normallywasn’t a shy person, but the fact that she was in a whole new environment sort of freaked her out.
“Oh don’t worry,” Bruno said as he glanced over to her with a smile. “She knows I’m only joking, right?”
“Of course,” Natalie replied with a shy smile and a roll of her eyes, reaching down to open her sandwich.
“So what do you like about Hawaii?” Bruno asked after a moment of silence, not taking his eyes from her. “I mean, there’s got to be something.”
Natalie shrugged her shoulders. She was still pretty bitter about the whole moving thing, so she found it pretty hard to actually find enjoyment of this place. “I like water I guess…” she finally stated, remembering how her and her friends would spend ninety percent of their free time at the beaches back home.
“And music, right?”
“What?” Natalie turned towards Bruno at his apparent question, slightly confused.
“You like music? Good music?” He asked with a sly smirk.
“Sure, I guess. Everyone loves music.”
“And live performances?” Bruno asked, the same smile on his face as he slightly exchanged a glance with Ryan who rolled his eyes at Bruno.
“Well then you can hardly say anything until you’ve seen a real Hawaiian performance,” Bruno concluded with another wink. “You have lots to see. What do you think about guys who can play guitar?”
Natalie let out a small laugh. “What’s up with the questions? Sure, I think it’sawesome when guys play guitar,” she said as she rolled her eyes.
“See, I like you,” Bruno said with a satisfied smile. “I have a feeling you and I are going to be real close,” he added as he threw an arm around her shoulders, pulling her in close to him with a shrug. “It will be a great year for you, Miss Natalie!”
“Oh my god Bruno, It’s only the first night of summer and you’re already fucked up,” Natalie said, reaching her arms out to stabilize his drunken body. He smiled at her, his breath reeking of alcohol.
“Now, now Nat,” He said, wrapping an arm around her shoulder, walking outside of Ryan’s house. “It’s summer! We’re young, so let’s live it up!”
Natalie shook her head, smiling. “Shhh,” she said, trying to shut him up so he didn’t cause Ryan’s neighbors to be suspicious. “You’ll be living it up with an MIP if you keep shouting like that.”
“Shouting like what?!” He yelled, tossing his head back up to face the night sky. Natalie covered his mouth with her hand, stopping him from speaking.
”Ew, Bruno!” She yelled when he licked her hand. Wiping off his spit on his arm, she continued to walk as he kept his arm around her shoulder. He laughed as they walked down the street a ways, going to his car. Nearly tripping and face planting on the sidewalk, Natalie helped him from falling. “Bruno, give me your keys.” She said, holding her hand out.
He shook his head stubbornly. “Nah-uh. I’m fine.” He said, walking on to his car, leaving her behind.
“No you’re not.” Natalie stated as she watched him barely walking in a straight line. She walked up, taking the keys from his hands.
“Aw, you’re no fun.” He said with a pouting lip, giving her a fake sad look. “Why didn’t you drink, Nat?” He asked as they got into his car.
“Because I actually have to go home tonight,” She said, putting the key in the ignition. “And I’m supposed to be watching my brothers and sister since my parents are gone.”
“I have to go home too,” He said, rolling the window down as he stuck his hand out flinging his hand around. Natalie glanced over at him, seeing his eyes glossed over.I’m sure Bernie will be pleased to see him when he comes home like this, She thought, biting back her lip. “Stop the car!” Bruno quickly yelled, causing her to slam on the brakes. He flung open the door, stumbling out of the car as he hunched over on the side of the road, letting out the contents of his stomach.
I can’t take him home like this, he’ll be in deep shit, She thought when he got back in the car, looking like shit. She changed courses of where she was going, taking the route towards her house instead. Bruno didn’t notice any change in where they were going, he softly sung songs to himself, looking quite pleased.
“Hey, this isn’t my house, Nat.” He said when they pulled up to her driveway. Natalie shut off the car opening the door. “Yes, I realize that Bruno. I can’t take you home like this,” she said, waiting for him to walk up to the door. She turned around to face him before opening the door, holding up a finger to her mouth to make sure he was quiet. “Just go straight to my room and don’t mess up anything on your way there.” She whispered, opening up the door.
Natalie walked into the living room, seeing her ten year old sister watching TV. “Hey, did Uncle Scott already leave?” She asked, knowing that her uncle worked night shifts. Alexis nodded her head, her eyes still glued on the TV. “You were supposed to be home at eleven. We’ve been home alone for over an hour.”
Natalie scratched her head, praying her little sister wouldn’t tell her parents. “I’m sorry, Lex.” She said, sitting on the arm of the sofa. “Are Jameson and Jackson in bed?” She asked, realizing her little twin brothers weren’t in the room. She nodded her head inaudibly.
Mirroring her, Natalie nodded her head, thinking she shouldn’t leave Bruno alone much longer. She got up, walking over to the kitchen, grabbing a water bottle. Turning to walk down the hall, Natalie glanced back to the living room. “You should go to bed too. It’s late.” She said before heading to her room.
She opened her door, finding Bruno completely passed out on her bed. “My God, Bruno,” She said, speaking mostly to herself. “You’re only fifteen. By the time you’re twenty, you’ll be an alcoholic.” She added, knowing he couldn’t hear her.
Man, I can’t believe it’s already summer, Natalie thought as events of the school year filled her head. This year went by fast
She glanced over to Bruno one more time, seeing his mouth half open as he slept, sprawled out on her bed. Shaking her head, she tossed on a t-shirt and shorts, grabbing a pile of blankets. Making room on her floor, she plopped down, rolling over as she fell asleep immediately.