I HATE crowds, so why exactly am I living in New York City? Well, I’ll tell you why. After being married for 9 long years, two children and a divorce right in the middle of my RN program. My Grandfather died and left me this massive building, one mile away from the heart of New York City! So with the money he left me, I finished school, hired a crew and remodeled the upstairs of my building and packed my bags!
“Laaace, you have a patient, Room 21!” Dana squeaked into my ear piece. It’s been pretty slow today, which is really unusual for a New York City ER. When I get to the door, I hear two guys laughing, hmm this should be fun. Grabbing the chart, I do a quick read through, Peter Hernandez, 27 years old, male. I knock softly and walk in, “Hi Mr. Hernandez, what did you do to yourself?” He’s holding a towel to his chin, blood on his shirt, but he has the most amazing eyes I have ever seen! Chuckling, he responds, “You can call me Bruno, I tripped and can’t get my chin to stop bleeding.” I quickly do a run-down of his vitals and tell him to sit still for a minute while I get the Doctor.
In the next hour, I pop in and out of Bruno’s room a few times, and every time he says something smart like, “you’re awful pretty,” or “can I get your number,” but my favorite had to be, “helllloooo nuuurse!” If I had a dollar for every time I heard that! When I come back in to discharge him, he asks again, “alright pretty lady, I usually don’t have to beg, but I will if I have too. PLEEASEE can I get your number?” Ugh he is so cute! “I’m sorry ‘Bruno’, But I’m not supposed to date my patients.” No, really, I am sorry; those eyes of his could melt butter! And don’t get me started on that curly hair! “Well what do ya know; I’m getting ready to discharge! See you won’t be breaking any rules”, “Look, I’m a single mom, I have 2 kids and I’m so extremely boring, I’m doing you a favor.” I hand him his papers, tell him to have a great day and walk out of the room.
When he leaves Dana comes running to my desk. “Girl, OMG you just took care of BRUNO MARS!” She is like dancing with excitement. “What are you talking about Dana?” I have no idea why she is so excited over this “Bruno” guy, I mean yeah he’s cute, but she is like fan-girling here. “The guy in 21, that was Bruno!” repeating herself again hoping ill catch on. “Yes, Dana, He told me his name was Bruno.” She’s looking at me confused now, I really have no idea what her deal is! “Wait Lacey, you have no idea who that guy actually is?” I just look at her waiting for the answer, “You know, the ‘Grenade Guy’? Lacey, he’s a singer, ‘Just The Way You Are’?” And then it hits me, “OMG, I love his music!”
“What do you mean ‘You love his music’? You didn’t know who he was” Ok let me explain, I’m the type of girl that likes music, but I don’t go as far as stalking them, finding out where they live, what they look like or who their family is. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I just don’t have that kind of time! “I mean, when his songs come on I sing along, I like his music, geeze give me a break!” Am I really defending myself to my best friend?
3 hours later, Dana and I are finally walking into my loft. Its 8pm and all the lights are out and Kelsey is sitting at the computer playing on Facebook. “Hey Kels, kids sleeping?” I ask my babysitter/best friends daughter. “Yep, and before you ask, they were great, ate dinner, had a bath,and finished their homework.” She knows me too well. “Ok, see you Monday!” I kiss her cheek and wave bye to Dana. YES! Its Friday night and I have nothing to do except sit on the couch and flip through the TV, and my children are in bed. What an exciting life I lead.
I head to the bathroom, strip my scrubs off and jump in the shower. In the shower I think about my day, this is where I do my best reflecting. “Bruno” pops into mind. Closing my eyes to rinse the soap out of my hair, I see those eyes. Why are they haunting me? After my shower I go grab something out of the fridge to eat, sit on the couch and find absolutely nothing to watch. Screw this I’m going to bed!
I open my eyes and listen, nothing. Wow I actually woke before the kids? Heading to the kitchen to start my coffee, I decide to make the kids some waffles. 5 minutes later Brayden comes stumbling sleepily into the kitchen. “Morning Momma,” he says. He looks just like his Dad. “Morning baby, why don’t you go wake Kenny and come eat some waffles?” I say kissing his forehead. As I’m pulling the last waffle off the iron, my beautiful clone of a daughter walks in. “Good Morning Kensley.””UGH, Morning”, 6 years old and she is so much like me, poor thin hair sticking out from all sides of her head. Breakfast is filled with recapping yesterday, and questions about the weekend. Both kids vote on going to the park. I’m not surprised, we go every Saturday.
After getting around, we head out the door. It rained last night. Just a few blocks away, a park with lots of shade and a pond. The kids love throwing rocks and looking for fish. But today, stomping in puddles is what they have decided on. Sitting on a bench, I laugh watching them compete with each other to see who can make the biggest splash.
“Phil, why are we up this early?” ”Bruno, we have to find an empty space if we want to put a studio here.” Phil is married with kids; he’s always making me do crazy things like get up early on a Saturday morning! We’re sitting in a little dinner, right across the street from a little park. Lost in my thoughts, I’m starring off into space, and then I realize I’m looking right at the nurse that took care of me yesterday! “Yo, Phil, it’s the nurse” I tell him pointing across the street. She’s been on my mind all night. I can have any girl in the world, and for some reason, I can’t get this girl off my mind. She’s short, with long brown hair. Nothing spectacular about her looks, I mean she’s pretty, but not my usual type. There is something about her though. I must figure this out! “Hey man, I’ll be back, I have to talk to her.” I throw money on the table and leave without waiting for his response.
Kensley gets bored with the puddles and walks over to the edge of the pond to resume her favorite activity, starring at her reflection. I’m lost in the world of my children, watching them play and laughing at/with them, when I feel someone sit next to me. Looking up I can’t believe my eyes! “Hellooo Nuuurse!”, he says “Hi Bruno.”
“So, I was just sitting over there eating breakfast with my friend Phil, and I saw you and figured I could come say Hi,” he says pointing to a little diner across the street. “So you did. How is your chin feeling?” I ask him. “Lacey, you’re not on duty right now, can you talk to me like a regular guy, instead of one of your patients? Its fine by the way, I had an amazing nurse take care of me.” “I’m sorry Bruno, I just don’t really know how to talk to guys anymore.” I’m going to make a total ass out of myself here, I can see it. “Don’t do that, I’m a normal guy, yesterday you were fine, and now your hands are sweating. What’s changed?” Shit! How did he know that? “Well, yesterday, you were Peter Hernandez, my patient. When you left all my co-workers started getting all excited and had to tell me WHO you were.” I tell him rubbing my hands on my jeans. “You really had no idea who I was?” He asks, really looking at me for the first time. “Not a clue in the world. Like I said, I’m pretty boring.” Bruno lets this half smile form on his face and says, “So Lacey, can I take you out?” “I have my kids, they are my first priority Bruno. Maybe some other time.” Throughout our whole conversation, I’ve been facing my children, keeping a close eye on them, but believe me, I’m watching this beautiful man out of the corner of my eye. And what he does next blows me away!
I’m not going to let her get away with this, ‘I’m busy with my kids’ excuse. I stand up and walk over to her little boy, he looks about 8 years old. Squatting down to get even with his eyes I extend my hand and say,”Hi little man, I’m Bruno. What’s your name?” He looks up at his mom with those same icy blue eyes that she has, nodding her head Lacey tells him “it’s okay baby.” “I’m Brayden, nice to meet you.” He says placing his small hand in mine and shaking it. I can’t help but smile. “Do you like ice cream Brayden?” I ask him. Again he looks at his mom for approval. And again she nods her head. Looking up at me with curious eyes he nods his head also. “What do you say we take your Momma and pretty little sister out for some ice cream?” His eyes light up and I give myself a mental high five! Running over to his sister he yells, “Kenny, ICE CREAMMMM!” I stand up and walk back to Lace, extending my hand and helping her up, joining the kids, we’re off in search for an ice cream parlor. Out of the corner of my eye I see her smile and shake her head.
I can’t believe this man, using my children to get to me! Alright two can play this game, I think as I grab at his hand, like I’m going to hold it, but then at the last second I only brush the palm of his hand with my finger tips and walk past. Looking over my shoulder I grab my children’s hands and keep walking. He follows behind for a few minutes texting on his phone and then catches up with us. We chit-chat until we find the kids favorite Ice cream place.
After paying for all the ice cream, Bruno joins us, sitting across from me. His eyes are just as amazing as I remembered them. I ask him about ‘what he does’ and before he answers me, he gives me a ‘your completely crazy look’. After filling me in on his writing, producing, 1st album, and world tour, I’m completely impressed. He tells me that he is in New York looking for a place to put a studio, he wants a change of scenery. His phone keeps going off, but after every text he sends, he places the phone on the table and says something to me or teases the kids. They like him. Once the ice creams are all empty, I follow the kids to the bathroom and stand outside the doors while they wash their hands. Bruno’s giving me puppy eyes, I know he wants to ask something, but he’s holding it back for some reason. “Just spit it out Bruno. I’m not one to beat around the bush.” That smile, oh my, those dimples! This man is going to be trouble! Walking out of the bathroom Brayden looks from Bruno to me grabs Bruno’s hand and then says, ”Mom, can Bruno come over for dinner?” A victorious smile spreads across Bruno’s as he looks at me waiting for my answer. “Okay baby, he can come for dinner.” I say as Kensley walks out of the bathroom. “Bray, what do you want for dinner, It’s your weekend to choose?” I already know the answer, it’s the same every time. “Spaghetti and Meat balls!” I grab a piece of paper out of my purse, write my address on it, hand it to Bruno and walk away. “Dinners at 6, don’t be late” I say looking over my shoulder as we walk out.
“Take your shoes off and don’t move” I tell the kids when we walk in the door. They know the drill, one at a time I pick them up and carry them to the bathroom. I’m a freak I know, but they just got done stomping in puddles, and I don’t want dirt all over the floors! “Wash your feet off and then get to the piano Bray” Two days a week they practice. I’m their teacher. Brayden has been playing since he was old enough to sit up on his own, and before he would bang on the keys in my lap. The kid has talent. At 8 he can play a handful of classical pieces, Kensley doesn’t care for playing, although I make her practice just like her brother. Brayden takes after his mother. He would sit there for hours playing if I didn’t make him step away and go be a kid.
As I’m getting everything laid out to make my meat balls, my cell rings. Its Nancy, she owns the small bookstore in the bottom floor on my building. “Hi Nancy, how are you doing?” I ask her, wondering why she’s calling. “There is a nice looking young man here, and he’s asking for you.” It must be Bruno, “I’ll be right down” I tell her. “I’ll be right back kids, Ken, please turn that TV down.” I say as I head for the door, the piano stops suddenly and I hear Brayden running after me. “He’s here mom? My friend is here”
I step out of the bookstore and let myself through the privacy fence Nancy directed me to. Just as I’m walking through I see Brayden running down the stairs. “Hi Bruno!” He yells at me, “hey buddy, who’s playing that beautiful music I just heard?” I ask him. “That was me, Moms making me practice.” He says pointing up the stairs, I follow his little finger with my eyes, and there she is, standing at the top, one hand on her hip.
Brayden and Bruno are playing on the piano, Kensley is helping me roll the meat into balls. Once we pop them in the oven, I send Kenny over to the piano and Bruno comes to sit on the kitchen counter, watching me start my spaghetti sauce. “That boy has talent, I’m willing to say he out-plays me!” Kensley is banging on the keys, she refuses to learn anything above ‘Twinkle Twinkle’, “Thank You Bruno, he’s the easiest child I’ve ever worked with.” “You mean…YOU, taught him?” Bruno is looking at me starting to get excited. “Yes, I’ve been playing since I was Kenny’s age.” “You know you have to play for me then.” Bruno says with a huge smile on his face. “If you’re lucky, I might play for you after dinner,” I tell him, although, I know he’s not going to let it go till I play.
The whole time I’m cooking Bruno sits on the counter talking and flirting back and forth with me. At dinner I can’t help but laugh, he’s eating like he’s never had food before in his life! Every other word that comes out of his mouth is “mmmmmm”. After dinner the kids clear the table and put all the dishes in the sink. “Ok, dinner is over and your children are busy, come play!” He says taking my hand and pulling me from the table. I sit down at the piano and look at him, “What do you want me to play?” I ask. “Hmm, something by Bach,” he says, with a little smile on his face. He’s sitting next to me, but as soon as I start playing he stands up and walks to the end of the piano. I lock my eyes with his the whole time. The longer I play, the wider his smile grows. Brayden runs up spoiling our moment and requests ‘Beethoven Piano Sonata No.8’, he says it wrong but I know which one he’s referring to, it’s been his favorite since he was a baby. “Watch this Bruno, my Moms gonna blow you away!” Bruno starts chuckling, but as soon as I start playing he stops, with a look of awe on his face, he looks down to Bray and says, “your right little man, she’s blowing me away.”
While the kids are showering, I clean up dinner with the help of Bruno. I keep thinking to myself, ‘I am so boring, why hasn’t he left yet?’ Our jokes are flowing freely, his laugh is contagious. Every time those dimples come out my stomach gets butterflies. My children are worn out, laying on the floor watching TV I glance at the clock, it’s after 8! How did this night go so fast? Kissing both of their heads I send them to bed.
Coming back down the hall from tucking in the kids, I look up and can’t help but smile at the beauty of this man, sitting at my piano. He looks up from his tinkering and pats the bench next to him. As I sit down next to him he scoots over till he is touching me. Leaning back just a little he whispers in my ear, “I get the greatest urge to kiss you when I watch you play.” Raising my eyebrow at him I touch a key. He leans over and places the smallest of a kiss right behind my ear. Okay, this is gonna kill me, but I have to say it, “Bruno, before we let this get out of hand, remember I have two children, right down that hall, can we please just wait until I know for sure that they are asleep. I don’t want something to get out of hand and then one of them walk in on us.”
Taking a deep breath Bruno says, “Lacey, why are you single? I’m mean, your beautiful, your funny as hell, a great Mom, you have this talent on the piano that just blows me away.” I can’t speak, how am I supposed to tell him that my children are more important than men without offending him? “Well, I don’t ever bring men home, ever. The only reason I agreed to tonight is because Bray invited you. I’ve dated a few men since my divorce, but I never brought them home, in fear of my children getting attached to them and then having to pick up their broken hearts.” I can’t even look at him. I am terrified that he’s going to be bored with me and never want to come back. “Those weren’t men Lace, those were boys. Your children are amazing, I have had so much fun tonight.”
I can’t even reply to that, I’m so close to tears. I just close my eyes and breathe for a minute. “Why are you single Bruno?” “I was with a girl, for a long time, and then when I started touring things happened and we split. Music has been my mistress for the past almost two years now.” Oh, he’s a pro at avoiding questions. “That’s the shittiest answer I have ever heard!” He’s laughing now. “No really, I just spilled my guts to you, and you give me that!” He’s looking at me now, standing up and taking a few steps back I say, “Look Bruno, I’m not your fan, nor am I interviewing you. I’m a woman that you’re trying to kiss. Be straight with me, don’t bullshit me, and don’t pull “I’m a celebrity” shit, that doesn’t fly with me.” Ok ya I’m kinda mad. He’s looking at me with wide eyes and his mouth is gaping open. Turning on my heel I walk down the hallway to check on my children, both are sleeping.
Honestly, I don’t know whether to be mad or turned on by this ass chewing I just got. I’ve never had a woman I barely knew put me in my place like that before. I have to tell Phil! He will love her! ‘Yo man, Lacey just called me out. She straight up said “don’t pull this I’m a celebrity shit on me”’ I hear a noise and look up, and there she is, 100 times sexier than she was five minutes ago. “Hey,” I say getting up and walking toward her, “Look I’m sorry, I’m just so used to not talking about personal things.” She’s standing there, leaning against the wall, ankles crossed, looking like she’s waiting for a kiss. My phone vibrates in my hand, when I look down I can’t help but smiling, “DAAAYMM, She’s already got you! Good luck thoughJ” Oh Phil you know me too well.
“Look if you have something better to do the door is right there.” I tell him walking towards the door. “Girl, you’re gonna give me a run for my money with all that attitude.” Bruno starts walking towards me, “I know you smoke, I smelled it on your breath at the hospital, but I haven’t seen you smoke all day, why?” “I don’t smoke in front of my kids, I could use one now though, come on,” I say walking out the door. “When I started touring, she was positive that I was gonna start cheating on her, she started calling nonstop, asking all these crazy questions. I got drunk one night at an after party and kissed a girl, that was it, a picture got out and she saw it a couple days later and broke up with me.” He doesn’t look up at me the whole time he’s telling me. We sat in silence for a few minutes, and then I said, “Well what kind of kiss was it, cause I mean if it was just a peck on the cheek, I would be okay with that, maybe even the corner of her mouth. But full on French kissing, to me that’s cheating.” He looked up at me with sad eyes and said, “Look, I meant to kiss her cheek, she took it too far, and I didn’t resist. I know I fucked up, but theres nothing I can do now, I’ve moved on.” More silence. Man silence gets really awkward really fast after a conversation like that! We end up smoking 2 cigarettes before going back in. “Get back to the piano, I wanna hear you play some more.”
Sitting down at the piano, I start playing. “What are you playing?” “Moonlight Sonata, I’m just playing really fast.” I tell him with a smile, and then slow down to the right tempo. “No no, do that again! I love that!” He looks like a little kid when he gets excited, it’s cute. I start playing again, and this time I let myself get lost in the music, closing my eyes and letting it take me where it wants to go. When I open my eyes Bruno is right there sliding onto the bench, straddling it! I stop playing and look at him, but he motions for me to continue.
I have never been turned on by watching someone play the piano, but sure enough, I’m hard as ever! Sliding closer I say, “You remember what I told you?” She bites her lip and nods “mmhmm” and keeps playing; I think she actually sped up the song more. I slide closer again until she is basically sitting between my legs. I brush her hair over her shoulders to reveal her little ears. When I kiss behind her ear, the same spot that I kissed earlier, she makes a mistake, leaning back, I can see a flush take her face. I’m not going to be able to stop, I want to kiss her so bad!
I can’t play anymore, I can feel him pressing into my leg, and he keeps placing kisses right behind my ear! Turning a little I say, “Will you just kiss me already?” He leans in and kisses the corner of my mouth, and pulls back. The smile across his face is irresistible. He leans in to kiss me again, this time parting my lips with his tongue. Without breaking the kiss, I stand up a little and put my foot over the bench so I’m straddling the bench. When I sit down he grabs my thighs, lifting them up he slides me towards him resting my legs on top of his. He pulls away and smiles. “I told you, I can’t help but kiss you when you play like that!” With one hand I smack the keys, and the other hand is grabbing the collar of his shirt to pull him back in for a kiss.
She’s running her fingers through my hair, everything she does turns me on even more, if we keep this up clothes are gonna start coming off. Now look any other time I would be all for having sex, but right now, with this girl, I want her to know I respect her, there is something about her, she would be good for me. I run my hand up her back and she smiles against my mouth. Breaking the kiss she says, “Look, there is nothing I would rather do right now than drag your ass back to my room and have my way with you. But that’s not the type of girl I am. I know how guys are; I’ll put out and then never hear from you again. I don’t have some crazy 5 date rule, or anything like that but if we keep going like this your clothes are gonna have to come off. I’ll enjoy it while it’s happening and then ill beat myself up for it afterwards. But my time is valuable and you’re gonna have to work for it” The look on her face says ‘please don’t hate me’ I smile and genuinely mean it when I say, “You just read my mind, I don’t want it to be just sex.”
Who is this guy! I smell a ‘too good to be true’. I get up and excuse myself to the bathroom, change into sweats, throw my hair up in a ponytail and then walk back out. The front door is cracked, he’s outside smoking. Joining him I lean against him and say, “please don’t be mad at me.” He smiles, “never, I was actually thinking the exact same thing you said right before you said it.” After we smoke and he makes fun of my Hello Kitty pants we go back inside and sit on the couch flipping through the tv, he’s tracing patterns on my hand but I don’t think he even realizes that he’s doing it. I have no idea how long we sit there but when I look at the clock I realize its after 2! “Holy shit! My kids are gonna be waking up in 5 hours!” “Ya, Phil is gonna want me to get up and go on a wild goose chase with him bright and early. You parents are ruthless; making us nonparents get up early and do productive things.” He gets up and starts for the door, right as he gets to the door he turns around and says “wait, you never gave me your number.”