It was another sunny day on the Dominican Republic. Life is not easy when you’re living on the streets. I ran away from home 6 years ago. Life was hard those days. Luckily I could earn money by singing and dancing. Now as an adult, I’m taking care of other children that also ran away or were abandoned. Teaching them how to sing, dance and speak English. I learned it from the many tourists around here. We live in a small abandoned house at the edge of Santo Domingo. There were 5 of us. Paõlo Rodriquez, who is 18. The 16 year old Julie Eluna. The 10 year old Kyra de Arroyo, 13 year old Joshua Ramirez and me. 21 year old Camilla Rivori.
It was hot, like always. We all went to our secret little beach to relax, feel the ocean breeze and just forget about everything for a second. I was sitting in the sand thinking about whatever popped up in my mind, when Kyra came to me. “Wanna bwuild a sandcastle together?” she asked. “Sure, why not”, I replied, “and your English is getting better.” I flashed a smile and she smiled back showing her beautiful teeth. I always thought about the hygiene. I didn’t want them to get sick or anything like that. We need to be careful with our clothes. We don’t really have much but I make sure we always look fine, like we’re a family. “Wow! That sandcastle looks amazing!” said Paõlo. “Gracias Paõlo.” said Kyra. Kyra continued building sandcastles with the help of Julie and Joshua. I was watching the waves hit the shore. There was a storm coming up. Meanwhile Paõlo sat next to me. He looked towards Kyra, Joshua and Julie. I knew he felt something for Julie. “So… When are you gonna tell her?” I asked. “Tell who what?” “Tell Julie you love her.” “What?! I don’t love her!” “Fine. Whatever you want then.” I stood up and walked to the building crew. “I really like the beach. It’s pretty.” said Kyra to Julie. “Yeah, it is.” she said. “Sorry to interrupt but we need to go back. There’s a storm coming up.” I said to them. “Come on guys, grab your shells and other stuff. It’s time to go home.” They all disagreed but knew they had to go. The walk was about 30 minutes. We were all talking and laughing. An English/Spanish mix-up. When we were 7 minutes from home, I bumped into someone. “Excuse me” I said assuming it’s just another busy tourist. “It’s okay. It’s also my fault.” the tourist said. I saw the rest looking at me, waiting for me to continue. And just as I wanted to, I felt someone pull me back by grabbing my wrist. I looked up. It was a man. I think he was in his mid-twenties. “Did I do something wrong?” he asked while his brown eyes stared into my eyes. “What? Uhm… No. Why would you think that?” “You just wanted to walk away. I thought it was my fault…” His eyes were full of regret. “No, it’s not. It’s just that we want to get home before the storm hits the shore.” I looked at Kyra, Joshua, Julie and Paõlo. “What storm? The sky can’t get any bluer.” “Trust me.” I flashed a smile and he smiled back. ‘Maaaannnn… His teeth are white as pearls!’ I thought. I quickly snapped out of it. “But I need to go now.” I said as I pulled my wrist back. “Wait!” he yelled. “Can I at least know your name?” His eyes were pleading. “Camilla.” I said and ran to the others and continue to walk home. “I’m Bruno!” I heard him yell before we crossed the busy street.
At the time we arrived home, the dark sky covered everything. ‘I told him…’ I thought. Not soon after it started to rain.
The skies were black. ‘Maybe she was right…’ I thought to myself. Then out of nowhere the rain started to pour down. “How could this happen? The skies were so blue a couple of minutes ago.” Phil said. “I checked the weather this morning. They didn’t predict anything like this.” Eric said while they looked for a place to shelter from the rain. “Guys, this might sound weird, but remember that girl I bumped into?” I asked. Everyone remembered. “What’s with her?” Dre asked. “Well… She said there was a storm coming up.” I said while we ran into a café. “You gotta be kidding me.” Jamareo said. “No. I’m serious.” I said. “That’s creepy dude.” Dwayne said. “Dwayne is right man.” Kameron said. “I know. I actually hope to speak to her again. She seemed… I don’t know… Different. I mean she didn’t freak out or something when she saw me.” “Maybe she just didn’t recognize you.” Kenji said. “Didn’t recognize me? I’m Bruno Mars, man!” I said a little too loud. In a couple of seconds I was surrounded by a large group of people.
We could hear the rain hit the roof. We had 2 blankets. It was me, Joshua and Kyra. They were scared of the thunder so they crawled close to me. And the other one was Julie and Paõlo. It was clearly visible that they both liked each other. It was getting late. It was getting darker and darker outside. The sun was setting while the rain kept pouring. Joshua and Kyra were sleepy so I brought them to their beds. Well, mattresses. I gave them the blanket. I would be fine without it. Paõlo and Julie still sat cozy against each other when I came back. “I’m going to sleep, I’m tired.” I said to them. I wasn’t really tired but I wanted to give them some alone time. “Dormir bien.” I said to them and went to my mattress. I kept thinking about the guy I bumped into, Bruno. He had something that made me trust him. It’s weird because usually I never trust a tourist when I see them. After a while of thinking I fell asleep.
I woke up, feeling someone push my shoulder. I slowly opened my eyes and saw Kyra. “Qué está pasando?” I asked her. “I heard something…” she said with a scared voice.
“Dude, where are we?” Phil asked. “You said you knew where we were going!” Eric shouted. “Relax! I know the way!” Actually I don’t know the way. I just wanted to get away from all the fans. I love them but I need my time. “This neighborhood doesn’t look too safe either.” Phred said. “Just calm down, guys. I’ll get the way out of here.” I actually wondered if we really got out of here. “FUCK!” Eric yelled. “It’s starting to rain again.” I saw a little abandoned house. “Come on! Let’s go in here.” I said. We went inside. It looked like someone lived here yet didn’t live here at the same time. We just sat down and talked a bit, when we heard footsteps coming our way.
I slowly walked towards the front room. My body was in a position that I could attack any second. Luckily I’ve learned how to defend myself in my years on the streets. As I slowly looked around the corner I saw a group of people stand there. They probably were with 8 or something. I knew I couldn’t handle them on my own. But I wasn’t gonna run back like a chicken. I looked back to see if I didn’t wake anyone up. I saw Kyra standing, looking at me with her big brown eyes staring into my green eyes. She gave me courage. I took a deep but silent breath and tried to sneak up behind them. Too late. They heard me and turned around looking at me. “Maldito,” I said under my breath. I couldn’t run back. If I did, they would find the others. I couldn’t let that happen. I prepared myself for a fight. But instead of them running aggressively towards me, one of them slowly walked up to me. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know anyone lived here.” I heard a man say. I couldn’t see who it was. It was too dark. He took one step more, into the light of the streetlight that shone through the window. It was the tourist from earlier.
“Uhm… Hi?” I said questioning. “Oh… Hey. I didn’t know you lived here… I’m… I’m sorry.” “It’s okay, I guess.” All of the sudden I felt arms around my waist. It was Kyra. I think she came to look who I was talking to. She hugged me tight. I looked at her, giving her a smile and letting her know it’s okay. “So this is the creepy weather predicting girl, huh Bruno?” Phil asked. “I’m Phil.” He said whilst shaking my hand. “Nice to meet you, I’m Camilla and this is Kyra.” I said shaking back while Kyra just gave him a small smile. “You’re a pretty girl.” He said when he got to her level. She let out a shy laugh and blushed. Everyone introduced themselves to us. “So why do you live here with your little sister?” Bruno asked. “Well… She isn’t my little sister. And we live here ‘because we got nowhere else to go.” I said looking to the floor. “Cammie, I’m tired.” Kyra said. “Come on, then I’ll bring you to bed sweetie.” When I walked back to the front room, I was kinda hoping they all left. I was just so tired. I saw that only Bruno still sat on the cold floor. He looked a bit shocked. I sat down next to him. “Are you cold?” I asked. “No. I’m fine.” he replied. “Uhm… Are you okay? You sound sad.” “Tell me.. Do you really live in this crappy house?” “Yes.” I said trying to stop some tears from flowing. “Why?” I told him the whole story of how I ran away to living with everyone. I never told anyone this so soon. “Aren’t your parents worried about you? he asked. “I… I… I don’t know.” I said as a tear escaped from my eye. As soon as he saw it he wiped it away with his thumb. I looked outside. The clouds were gone and the sun started to rise. “I think you should go. Your friends must be worried about you.” “Naahh… They know me. But what do you actually do to earn money?” “I taught them how to sing and dance… It sounds stupid but we do a little show and that’s how we do it.” “And you live here with 4 people?” “Yeah. Paõlo, Julie, Joshua and Kyra.” “Wow. Sounds like a tough life…” “It is. How about you? I guess you’re a tourist so where are you from?” “I’m from LA.” he flashed a smile.
Her green eyes were so beautiful. I could look at them for ages. How can such a beautiful, smart and nice person live such a horrible life? I thought. I wish I could do something but I’m afraid I’ll do something wrong. And I don’t want her to know my fame. I just want to have a normal person to talk to me without the freaking out thing all the time. “Tell me more about yourself.” I said. “Well… My last name is Rivori, I’m 21 years old and I love to sing, dance and make music. And you?” “My actual name is Peter but everyone just calls me Bruno. My last name is Hernandez, I’m 25 years old and I love to sing write and produce songs in my spare time.” I saw someone standing behind her. His look told me he didn’t trust me. “Oh. Buenos días Paõlo. Paõlo meet Bruno, Bruno meet Paõlo.” Camilla said. “Nice to meet you.” I said. He just stood there, looking at me like I’m a criminal. And when he turned around I could hear him say something under his breath. Camilla said something to him in Spanish but I couldn’t understand it. “I’m sorry for his behavior. He’s not used to having other people around here.” she said. “It’s okay. I can totally get it.” After 30 minutes I met everyone in the house.
“I think you should go. Your friends must really be worried now and we need to get us some breakfast.” I said. “I guess you’re right. Here.” What?! Is he giving me money?! Does he think I can’t take care of us? I thought. “No thanks.” I friendly replied. “Here, take it. I insist.” “No, really, thank you but we’ll be fine.” he grabbed my hand and put the money in it and whispered, “Just keep it”, just as the others walked in so I couldn’t give it back. “I’ll see ya later I hope!” he said as he walked away. There was something about him. He didn’t walk away or even give me a filthy look when I told him my story. He even listened the whole time. My thoughts were going crazy as I stood there totally amazed. I looked in my hand. He gave me 200 Dominican pesos. “Wow.” I softly said. “What did you say?” Paõlo asked. “Oh… Nothing.” I knew he didn’t believe me but he just ignored it. When everyone was done, we went to out to get breakfast.
“So… What did he want?” Paõlo asked. “Nothing. They were just sheltering from the rain and… yeah, we started talking. You don’t need to be so protective. I’m the older one here.” We both laughed. “No, really.” “Relax Paõlo. I’ll be fine.” “I’m sorry, I just don’t trust him for 100%.” “You’re sweet but relax. Nothing will happen. I probably won’t even see him again.” “Yeah… Probably…” he mumbled under his breath. We all walked to the market, looking at little stalls. Kyra saw a hat stall and putted a funny, way too big hat on. We all laughed and Julie took the hat and placed it back. After 1,5 hour we had what we needed so headed back home. I made them a delicious breakfast. After breakfast we went to the beach again. You never know what hits the shore during a storm. “Look what I found!” Joshua yelled. “Wow. That’s pretty cool little guy.” Julie said. Joshua had found 5 pesos. “You can buy yourself something nice with it.” I said with a smile. We found a lot of useful things. And a bag to put it all in. The way home was fun as always. And the clumsy me bumped into someone… Again… “Hey. Nice to see you again.” the person spoke. “Oh… Hey… Sorry, again. I’m just kinda clumsy.” “It’s okay.” He smiled and saw we were carrying heavy bags. “Need any help with that?” he asked. I looked at Paõlo. I knew he didn’t trust Bruno. “No thanks. We’ll be fine.” “No really. Need any help?” I heard everybody sigh. “Not again…” Julie whispered to herself. Paõlo wrapped his arm around her shoulder. I could see her blush from the corner of my eye. “No really, thanks but we’ll be okay. Come on guys. Bye.” I said as we walked away.
‘Maybe she doesn’t like me…’ I thought. ‘Why would she turn down help? Maybe it had something to do with the others?’ I stood there thinking for a minute. “Yo dude. You okay?” Phil asked. “Huh, what? Uhm… Yeah I’m fine.” “You don’t seem too well.” Phred said. “I’ll be fine.” “You like her, don’t you?” Eric asked. “What?! No!” I yelled, pretending I’m shocked. I really did like her but they didn’t need to know. “You gotta stay focused man. 2 days till the concert.” Kenji said. We walked through the town for hours. The night was starting to fall. ‘I wanna go on a date or something with her.’ I thought as we walked back to the hotel.
It was around midnight and everyone went to sleep. Except me. I just sat in the front room looking at the stars. They have always been so fascinating. I got out of my deep thought thanks to a knock on the door. ‘Since when do people knock here? They don’t even know we’re here.’ I thought. I opened the door anyways, preparing for the worst. When I opened the door I saw Bruno. “Uhmm… Hey. Why are you here?” I asked. “I don’t really know. I guess I just wanted to talk to someone.” “But you have your friends.” “Yeah. But I wanted to talk to someone else for once and you’re like the only person I know here.” “Okay, I think. Wanna come in?” “Sure.” he said smiling. His dimples were like the cutest thing ever. “We need to be quiet though. Everyone else is sleeping.” I softly said as I joined him on the floor. “And may I ask why you aren’t sleeping young lady?” he gave me a wink. I totally melted but tried not to show it. “Because I was in deep thoughts until you knocked on the door.” I laughed. “I’m sorry for disturbing you,” he said in a spoiled accent. “So what were you thinking about then?” “Just stuff… Nothing that really matters.” “Okay.” “So tell me. What are you REALLY doing here?” “Like I said, I just wanted to talk.” “Really?” I said, giving him a look of disbelief. “Fine. I’m busted.” he chuckled. I giggled a bit. “I actually want to tell you something, it’s quite important.” “I’m all ears.” I said. “Well… I’m not completely honest. I’m not really who you think I am.” “Okay. I just lost you.” “Just listen. I’m not here as a tourist. Well, technically I am, but I’m not here on vacation.” “Then why are you here? Business?” “Sort of. I’m actually a famous singer and I’m here for my tour.” I looked down. Knowing he’s famous means I’m probably just another person to him. He lifted my chin up. “Is there something wrong?” “No… I was just thinking. Again. I think a lot.” “I’ve noticed.” he smiled, showing those dimples. I could feel him getting closer to me. And feel his warm breath on my lips. ‘Is he really trying to kiss me?’ I thought. ‘I’m just a street girl, what’s there about me? He probably just uses me.’ And just as I wanted to tell him to stop, I could feel his soft lips pressed against mine. I just couldn’t stop it. It was like I had no control over my body.
I slowly leaned forward to kiss her. I could see she was hesitating. But when my lips pressed against her silk lips, I could feel all her nerves and stress just fall off her shoulders.
I quickly pulled away when I heard footsteps rushing towards us. I turned around and saw Paõlo. He looked mad. And before I knew it, he was about to hit Bruno. I grabbed his arm firmly and dragged him with me. I might be small but I was strong. When I looked back I saw him still sitting on the floor with a shocked expression on his face and a shaking body. I gave Paõlo a face. He was about to say something but he closed his mouth again. Instead of yelling at him, I gave him a hug. “You’re just worried.” I whispered. I felt a tear running down his face. “It’s okay.” I said whilst wiping the tear away. “It won’t work out anyways.” I could see he felt sorry. “Go back to Julie. I’ll go to sleep too in a couple of minutes.” “Sure.Dulces Sueños.” “You too.” I walked back. He looked happy to see me. “Are you okay?” I asked. “I’m good. Just a bit scared.” “That’s good to hear. I mean it could be worse.”
‘It won’t work out anyways.’ These words kept haunting in my head. I could hear everything they said. ‘It won’t work out anyways.’ It kept echoing. I wanted it to stop but I couldn’t make it stop. I saw her coming back. I’m just gonna pretend I’m okay. “Are you okay?” she asked. “I’m good. Just a bit scared.” “That’s good to hear. I mean it could be worse.” “Like what?” “Well… Let’s just say Paõlo is quite strong.” “Oh… I get it.” “Are you sure you okay? You look kinda pale.” “I think it’s just a bit of the shock. I’ll be good.” “Okay. But… Uhm… Mind leaving now? I’m kinda tired.” “No sure. Uhm… So I guess this is goodbye. I have my concert tomorrow and then I’ll be out.” “I guess so.” She looked down. I lifted her chin up and gave her a peck on the lips and walked away without saying anything. The walk back to the hotel was cold and lonely. I didn’t want to take a cab. I’m not in the mood to sign things right now. The words, ‘It won’t work out anyways.’, still echoed through my mind. She was kinda right but maybe this could’ve been something. I mean I really like her. It sounds weird since she’s very poor and I’m rich but still. I think, I think I might love her. I walked into my room and saw the guys sitting and chatting throughout the room. They all looked up. “Dude! Where have you been?!” Eric yelled. “Just walking around a bit.” “And we need to believe that? We were worried as fuck dude!” Phil screamed. He never screamed at me. They must be really mad. ”I… I’m sorry I guess.” “You guess?? You better be!” Eric yelled walking towards me. He stopped right before me. “Do you guys mind leaving? I wanna have a talk with him. Alone.” Eric said not breaking eye contact. They all left mumbling stuff. “Where have you been?” Eric asked when the door closed. “Like I said, just walking around.” “We have been doing that for the entire week. Tell me, where were you?” I looked down. My own brother knew me so well. I didn’t speak. “You went to that girl again, didn’t you…” I still didn’t speak. “TELL ME BRUNO! DID YOU GO TO HER?!” I nodded. “We told you to just leave it there. It isn’t gonna work out.” He sighed. “I know.” I softly spoke. “Huh?” “I said I know. She said the same thing to Paõlo…” “Okay… Hold up. So she understands it, but who the fuck is Paõlo?” “Just some guy. It’s not important. Could you leave now? I’m gonna sleep.” I said with a sad tone. “You really liked her right…” “No… Not really.” “Bruno, I know when you’re lying. And you’re lying right now.” “Fine. Maybe I like her. It’s just that, she treats me like a normal person. I told her I’m famous but she kept acting the same. Not begging for money or anything. And I haven’t spoken to someone like that in ages. Except the band. Every girl freaks out right away when they see me. She didn’t.” “I get what you mean. Being surrounded by screaming girls isn’t everything.” Eric sat with me on the bed. “But I won’t see her again anyways, the concert is tomorrow and then we’ll be back in the US.” “Can’t you, I don’t know, take her with you to LA?” “I’m sure she wouldn’t leave the others behind.” “The others?” “Remember that group she was walking with?” He nodded. “They also live on the street, she cares for them.” ”I wish I could help you little bro, but I don’t know what I can do…” I just sighed and went into deep thoughts. Maybe there was a way for me to take her with me and give her a better life. I felt Eric get off the bed. He was about to open the door when I gasped of excitement. “You okay?” “Totally! I just got an amazing idea.” I said with the biggest smile ever. “What’s your plan?” “She said she loves to sing and I’ve heard her sing once. And before you ask it, yes. I have been a creeper.” He chuckled. “And… I guess it’s not your total plan.” “What if I take her to LA and record a song with her? I’m sure Elektra would sign her if they heard her voice.” “That’s an amazing idea!” Eric agreed. “I’m gonna tell her right now.” I said full of joy, grabbing my jacket.