Lucy sat in the front seat looking over at the phone Bruno was going to give her. “Lucy. If you stare at it anymore it’s going to explode.” He joked.
“What?! No! It can’t!” she exclaimed almost about to cry.
“Luc! It’s fine. Just hang on. We’re almost there.” He said to her pointing to a green road sign that said Disneyland.
“What?! Nooooo waaaaayyyy!” she shouted almost jumping out of the car. “Oh my gossshhhh. Daaaaddddddd. I mean. Brunnooooo….”
“Yeah. And just wait until we get there, sweetheart.” He smiled at her.
Bruno turned down the street to an empty street. “But…it’s not open, Bruno…” she looked at him confused.
He didn’t answer her driving their car to the front of the park. Lucy looked around starting to get anxious. “It’s okay, Lucy.” He took her hand kissing her cheek sweetly calming her down. She watched as several Disney characters walked toward the car opening the door for her. She hesitated a little scared of what was going on; after all she was still only 6 years old. Bruno ran to the other side of the car getting in front of the heavily made-up character. “Come on, Lu-lu. It’s okay.” He said taking her hand leading her through the empty park past several chacaters strategically placed. “Where do you want to go first?”
“You mean I can go anywhere?” she asked him.
“Anywhere. We can even go on every single one if you want to.” He told her.
“Can we get ice cream?” she asked him pointing to the sign.
“The biggest one ever if you want.” He said watching her run to the ice cream looking at the flavors. They ordered the ice cream with the one lonely cashier watching them. They took their ice cream to a laser game where they pretended to be Buzz Lightyear. They made their way through the majority of the park stopping to have Lucy watch the characters that were putting on their own shows throughout their walk. He watched her light up the same way Evie did at the smallest things. She laughed the same way that Evie did but did so many of her own things. Halfway through the day Lucy decided she just wanted to go on all the rides that would take pictures of them. And they all had to be perfect she told him.
:”I want to take perfect pictures. Because then I can show everyone how perfect I am.” She told him. “No matter how many times we go on them.”
“Okay.” He said going to the first ride that snapped a picture at the climax of the ride, Splash Mountain. Lucy ran down the long hallway to get to the pictures flipping her wet hair all over. “Nope. We have to do it again.” She said taking Bruno to the front of the empty line again. “You have to smile, Dad.” She told him. “And when I say. Because if you do it too soon you’ll blink and if it’s too late then you just look silly.” Bruno laughed at her as they started down the ride again. “Now!” she shouted pushing him a little. And then she did the same thing again. “I like that one. Let’s go to another one!” she shouted taking the picture from the same person that handed them their ice cream.
By the end of the day Bruno was holding 10 photos in one hand and holding a tired and almost sunburnt Lucy in the other. “This was a bad idea.” He told himself looking around the empty park. We should have started in the back. He thought to himself as he moved a sleeping Lucy to a more comfortable position.
After driving home watching the sunset in the rearview mirror Bruno pulled up to the driveway seeing Lucy start to wake up. “Go back to sleep, Lucy.” He told her picking her up taking her into the house.
“How was it?” Evie asked sitting in front of her computer.
“I think it was exactly what she needed.” Bruno told her walking to Lucy’s bedroom.
“Let me put on her pajamas.” Evie said pulling out the pajamas.
“Mommm….” Lucy whined half awake.
“Yeah?” Evie asked lifting Lucy up to put on her pajamas.
“When do I get to change my last name?” she asked her.
“Soon baby doll.” Evie said laying her daughter down kissing her head.
Evie turned off the bedroom light walking out into the living room seeing the empty space. “Bruno?” she asked.
“I’m over here….” He yelled from the bedroom. She stretched her arms making tired noises walking toward the bedroom almost tripping on a suitcase.
“Ouch.” She whined walking into the bedroom. “How many bags do you have?”
“Three. The same I always do.” He told her.
“Can I fit in one?” she asked him sitting on the bed next to him taking some clothes to fold.
“I’d like that.” He smiled leaning over to kiss her. “Eve…you’re going to be fine.”
“I….I….I….know. It just doesn’t make it any better.” She told him trying to hide her emotions.
He watched several tears fall down her cheek wiping them away with his fingertip. “I love you, Geneva.”
Lucy looked over at the phone Bruno had given her earlier trying to figure out exactly what he meant by his instructions to call him if her mother was crying or was upset. She knew that Bruno was far away in Europe but didn’t understand the whole thing because she wasn’t as concerned with him during the last tour. All she remembered was that he sang a song to her on her birthday.
“Luccccyyy! Come eat!” Evie yelled at her daughter.
“Mommm..I’m cominggggg.” Lucy yelled dropping the phone on her bed next to her backpack to eat dinner.
Evie handed her the plate of spaghetti and a napkin watching her sit down.
“Luc…tell me what you and dad did when you missed school. He didn’t tell me anythhinnng.” Evie smiled trying to get some unknown secret that Bruno had told her out. As she finished her statement she went to the kitchen setting a small container of Lucy’s favorite ice cream on the counter. “Mmmm…I love this.”
“Momma. He told me not to tell you. And you’re not going to get me to tell you by showing me ice cream. I’m smart. I’m almost 7!” Lucy told her mother.
“Okay, Luc. Just remember that when I ask you to do some chores later this weekend.” Evie told her daughter knowing that she would claim to be too young to help her mother with cleaning the bathrooms later that weekend.
“I won’t! Mommm…Bruno will be home for my birthdayyy!” she said spilling spaghetti on her shirt.
“Yeah. But that’s still about 4 months from now.” Evie sighed. “But we can do it.”
“Mommmmm….Bruno told me to tell him if you cried. You can’t cry yet. Mommmmm…” Lucy whined. “You cried too much before. And you start your new job tomorrow. You can’t cry.” She told her mother.
“I know, Lu-lu. I’m not going to cry.” She told her daughter picking up her plate of spaghetti to put in the sink. They finished dinner and got Lucy ready for bed. Looking at the calendar that they had put up to count down the days until he came home she heard Bruno’s voice in her head. Baby, it’s okay. You’re strong and you’re amazing and you will be able to do this. I love you. She smiled crossing off the day. “I can do it.” She said out loud peeking into Lucy’s bedroom seeing her covered head under the quilt. She sleeps so weird. She thought to herself walking into the bedroom to go to bed getting ready for her first day of work at a Child Advocate Coordinator at a children’s non-profit. She looked down at her phone a little sad that Bruno hadn’t called her yet. But, she knew that he was probably busier than he had been in a really long time. She watched her daughter breathing not sure exactly what she was dreaming about. What she didn’t know was that Bruno was talking to Lucy that very moment.
“Lucy..what did you do at school today?” Bruno asked her. “But shhh..make sure mom doesn’t know.”
“We watched a movie and we did math. It was boring. I would have more fun with you.” She told him.
“And what did you have for dinner?” he inquired.
“We had spaghetti. She tried to get me to eat ice cream.” She told him.
“So she knows?” Bruno replied.
“No. I didn’t tell her. I said I was too big and could keep a secret.” She told Bruno.
“Okay, Luc. And your mom is okay? She didn’t cry?” he asked.
“No. She didn’t cry. “ she simply responded.
“Okay. Make sure you do everything she says, Lu-boo. She needed all the help she can get.” Bruno told her.
“I am. I’m going to do everything.” Lucy responded.
“Okay. But if mom tells me otherwise, Luc….you won’t get Angry Birds…” he told her.
“Nooo! I want Angry Birds!” Lucy exclaimed. “Oppppssss.Shhhh.” she told herself peeking over the blanket not seeing her mother.
“Lucy, love your mom like I do. Okay?” Bruno responded ignoring her reaction.
“But gross. I don’t want to kiss her. That’s my mommmm.” Lucy said.
“No, kissing.” Bruno told her. “I love you, Lucy. Sleep well, okay?”
“Good night, dad. I love you.” Lucy said turning off the phone putting it under her pillow.
“Lucy..did you sleep well last night?” Evie asked her daughter the next morning.
“Yeah. I had a dream about a wedding, momma. You and Bruno got married but it was raining. Your hair got messed up and then all the sudden you said my name was Lucy Hernandez…but then I woke up.” Lucy explained.
“Well, hopefully my hair won’t get wet when we get married.” Evie answered kissing her daughter on the head taking her empty plate away from her. “Are you ready for school?”
“Yeees! We’re going to make a volcano and tape it and put it on youtube!” Lucy told her mother.
“Oh my gosh! That’s so exciting!” Evie responded excitedly. “Come on…let’s goooo…”
“Mommy…you look really pretty today. You’re going to be the prettiest person there.” Lucy said hugging her mother.
“Oh. That’s so sweet. Thank you, Lu-lu.” Evie said grabbing the keys to the car, her bags for the day and she turned off the lights to the house. They drove the short distance to the school listening to a silly radio show while Lucy told Evie about all the things she was doing in school. “Okay, Luc. Have a good day, love. Nana’s gonna come and pick you up.”
“I love you momma.” Lucy said hugging her mother on her way out of the car waving at her mother.
“Oh god. When did she get so big?” Evie said to herself hearing her phone start to ring. She picked it up seeing it was Bruno.
“I’m sure you look beautiful.” He answered the phone.
“Oh god. You are ridiculous.” Evie laughed at him pulling out of the parking lot.
“You’re going to be the prettiest girl at your office, Eve.” Bruno told her.
“Have you been talking to Lucy?” Evie wondered hearing the same thing from her daughter earlier in the morning.
“No…I mean…no. I haven’t.” he answered.
“Because she just said exactly the same thing to me before we left the house.” Evie told him.
“Oh. That’s it? She’s just a smart girl, Geneva.” Bruno told her.
“Okay. Whatever, Bru.” She laughed. They talked about a few of the other things that he had been doing and how he was adjusting to being away from them for so long.
“Baby…you’re going to do amazing at your job. Just breathe.” He told her after she admitted she was scared about starting her new job.
“I know. I just…it’s scary.” She told him.
“You are going to be amazing.” He reiterated. “I love you. Call me even if it’s 3 in the morning, doll.”
“I will. I love you.” She said turning off her phone getting her bags walking into the non-profit’s small office saying hello to her new boss and co-workers. After a morning of paperwork and mandatory smiles and hellos she sat down at her empty desk trying to decide what to put next to her computer and on her wall. She looked down at her pictures scattered on her desk hearing someone come into the office. She turned and saw another advocate, Sophia, look down at the pictures.
“Is that your family? They’re beautiful.” She said sweetly.
“Yeah. My daughter and….and….he’s my fiancé.” She told her co-worker with a stutter.
“You’re in LA. No one is going to judge you for being in a relationship with him, Geneva.” Sophia reassured her.
“Oh gosh. Good. I mean…I….it was something I was worried about.” She told Sophia.
“You two are just people. That’s it. He just has a different job. Right?” Sophia asked.
“Yeah. That’s a good way to put it.” Evie laughed.
“I think this one is the best….” Sophia said pointing to a picture of Lucy holding Geronimo while he licked her face.
“It is the best. That dog, though. He’s a handful.” Evie responded.
Evie sat down on the couch after she put Lucy to bed later that evening. She sighed heavily looking over at her phone. Please call me. I want to talk to you. Please. She continued to think as she flipped through the tv channels landing on E!. She laid down on the couch grabbing a Wedding magazine laying on the table. She flipped through it folding some pages thinking that she might like to have those flowers or those dresses for their wedding. “Yeah. Like we’ll ever get married. I’ll fuck it up somehow.” She told herself seeing her phone start to light up. She grabbed it quickly before it could start ringing.
“Hey beautiful.” He said to her sweetly.
“Bruno…I’m going to fuck up again. I don’t know if I can do it.” She blurted out.
“Geneva. You can do it. You are strong. You are amazing. You just had a hard day. I know you did. It was a lot starting a new job and not having me there.” He told her.
“I feel like it was like before we were dating. Bruno, I had to have my parents pick Lucy up. I hate having them pick her up.” She started to cry.
“But baby. It’s not the same.” He answered her.
“Yeah it is.” She told him.
“How is it the same?” he asked her.
“She doesn’t get to see me. I don’t get to talk to her about school or what she’s doing. Or help her with her homework. All we did tonight was eat dinner and go to bed.” She told him.
“But, Eve. I know she’s fine. She’s not hurt because you’re not there. She knows you’re doing your best. You’re not giving up on your daughter.” He told her.
She sniffed wiping away her tears. “I guess…. I guess…you’re right.” She cried again. “Thank you, Bruno. You always say the right things.”
“I know. I’m flawless.” He laughed thinking about the things he had talked to Lucy about earlier in the day while she was at Evie’s parents’ house.
“Bruno! You have such a big head!” she laughed forgetting why she was upset.
“No. I just know I’m right.” He answered her.
“Okay, okay. Whatever.” She answered. “Bruno….”
“When are we going to get married?” she asked him.
“The second I get home, babe.” He told her.
“Are you serious?” she asked him shocked.
“No.” he told her pausing waiting for her answer. “I want it to be everything you’ve ever wanted it to be. I want it to be perfect. And perfect takes time, baby doll.”
“What does that even mean?” she asked him.
“It means next summer.” He told her. “Save all those pictures you are folding down and we’ll make it the perfect wedding.”
“I don’t want a big wedding, Bruno. I want a wedding like McKenzie and Caleb’s wedding. That was the most perfect wedding ever.” She told him.
“I want one like that too. I met my wife at that wedding.” He smiled through the phone.
“I met my husband at that wedding.” She responded.
“Do I know him?” Bruno played off.
“You do. He’s a really great guy.” Evie continued their game.
“Well, tell him I’m gonna kick his ass because you’re mine.” He told her.
“Oh god, Bruno. Have you been drinking?” she asked him.
“Nope. It’s like 4 in the afternoon.” He replied yawning. “I need a nap.”
“Then go take a nap. I need to go to bed.” She told him.
“I love you, Geneva.” He said yawning again.
“I love you too, Bruno. And keep talking to Lucy. It makes her happy. She misses you too.” She said waiting to hear his response.
“Damnit! Did she tell you?” he said shocked.
“No. My mom did.” Evie told him.
“Don’t let her know you know. I told her to keep a secret. She’s doing good.” Bruno said.
“I know. She is. Thank you for talking to her. I love you for that.” She yawned laying down on the couch.
“Go to bed, baby. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
“I love you, Bruno.” She said closing her eyes.
“I love you too. Good night.” He said ending the call.
“Mommmmmmm…..” Lucy ran into the house while she was replying to an e-mail on her phone late at night.
“Whaaaaat?” Evie mimicked.
“Bruno said that he’s coming home tomorrow!” she said handing her mom the pink phone.
“Don’t tell Mom that I’m going to be home tomorrow.” She read out loud.
“Lucy! It’s a secret, why did you tell me?” Evie gasped.
“Because….I don’t know what to do. I’m so excited!” Lucy yelled trying to do the moonwalk on the kitchen floor.
Evie laughed at her daughter looking over at the pink phone that had been revealed only a few days after she had found out Lucy had the phone when speaking with her parents. Lucy whined saying it was a secret but Evie just laughed letting the two of them continue their relationship via the child safe phone. Now, two months later, Bruno was coming home for a few weeks for a break from the tour. It was late April with no special holidays coming up, so they had planned just to stay home for those few days with Evie taking off a few days of work and dragging Lucy out from school using those special school privileges they had.
“Luc… just go get ready for bed and we’ll read a story so you can fall asleep. Then tomorrow will come faster.” She told her daughter who was still struggling to dance like Michael Jackson.
“But, I want to wait for him! That’s what we did last time!” she yelled.
“It was summer then, baby doll. You have to go to school tomorrow if he’s here or not.” Evie told her daughter.
“But Harlow stays home!” she yelled.
“Am I Harlow’s mom?” Evie asked her daughter running toward her daughter picking her up as Lucy started to yell and scream having a temper tantrum. Instead of carrying her into the bathroom as she had originally planned she decided to set her down in her bedroom. “You sit there and stop crying and then you’re taking your bath.” Evie said sternly.
“Mommmm!” Lucy yelled through her tears as Evie walked away ignoring her daughter. She heard Lucy throw herself on the bed crying even more. “I want to stay uppppp.” She cried even more. As she sat down to look at her phone she jumped getting a text message from Bruno.
“I’ll be home at like 4. I love you.” She read to herself. “Lucy! Are you ready now?”
Evie heard a small cry come from the other side of the house. “Yes.” She said softly wiping her eyes.
“Then let’s go take a bath and read you a story. Your dad comes home tomorrow.” She smiled taking her 6 year old daughter’s hand. She started the water making sure it wasn’t too hot dumping in the strawberry bubble bath for her daughter. Lucy jumped into the bathtub splashing her mother with the bubbles laughing.
“Mom! Put it on!” Lucy told her mother handing a handful of soap suds to her mother.
“What are we doing with these?” Evie asked.
“Playing. You’re the fairy God mother and I’m the ugly princess.” She told her mother.
“You can’t be the ugly princess!” Evie answered with a dramatic tone. “I…make you the most beautiful Princess Lucy everrrrrr!” Evie said lifting up her hand tapping Lucy’s head.
“But, mom. I can’t be prettier than you. You’re the most beautifulest mom ever.” Lucy told her mother.
“Oh, Lucy. That’s too much.” Evie laughed throwing the suds back in the tub washing her daughter’s hair.
“It’s true!” Lucy said closing her eyes as the suds got in her face.
Evie got up watching her daughter looking at her phone while Lucy finished playing in the water. “Let’s get you to bed, Luc.” Evie said letting out the water grabbing a bright pink towel wrapping it around her daughter walking her to her bedroom.
“Mom…” Lucy asked looking at her mother. “What would happen if Bruno wasn’t here?”
“I don’t know, Luc. Let’s not think like that.” Evie said wrapping a small towel around Lucy’s head drying her hair walking her to the bed covering her up grabbing the book they always read.
“Mom…tell me a story. Your own story.” Lucy asked, “Please.” She looked up at her mother with her deep brown eyes and caramel skin making Evie melt.
“What type of story?” she asked.
“A love story.” Lucy said.
“Okay. So, one day, on an island so far away that it’s not even on the map….” Evie pointed to the map on the wall. “there lived a boy. And a girl came to visit his friends. They didn’t know each other. But, the boy was at his friend’s house at the same time the girl knocked on the door. And his friend open the door and the girl walked in and they fell in love with each other instantly.” Evie told her daughter watching her eyes close and her head fall on Evie’s shoulder. “You already knew that story.” Evie said standing up to turn off the lights. “Good night, Lu-lu.” she whispered leaving the door cracked going to take her own shower getting ready for bed. She walked through the house in her pajamas turning off the lights leaving a small light on in the from so Bruno wouldn’t trip walking in the house later on that evening. She threw herself in the bed laying on her stomach stretching out to take up the whole bed for the last time for about 2 weeks. Well. I’ll miss this part of it. She thought to herself closing her eyes holding onto the pillow smelling his fading smell against the pillow case quickly falling asleep.
Bruno walked in a few hours later seeing the light on stepping over some of Lucy’s things. He picked them up with his suitcase still in his hand throwing it somewhere else in the house out of the way. He set his bags by the kitchen table seeing a pile of papers on the table. He picked them up seeing Evie’s scribbles all over it. He leaned against the counter using the moonlight to read over her scribbles. They were all about the wedding and the things she wanted. It was a huge stack of papers that he wasn’t supposed to see. She must have forgotten to pick them up. He thought to himself grabbing them taking them to other end of the house, slowly and carefully not to fall in the dark. He sat down turning on the computer making copies of all of them turning on the small light visualizing the wedding she had planned in her head. They had bright flowers and light airy dresses all taking place on the beach with only a few guests, those that had had the biggest impact on their lives. In big letters by the guest list she put in large capital letters NO JENKINS. She didn’t want her father or half siblings at the wedding. “Hmmm.” He thought to himself as he finished the copies. He walked them back to the kitchen leaving them exactly as he found them. He walked past Lucy seeing her stretched out on the bed the same way Evie slept when he wasn’t at home. He smiled leaning against the wall to watch her for a few seconds feeling like he was going to fall asleep. Shit. He thought to himself dragging himself to the bedroom he and Evie shared. He dropped his clothes off near hers in the bedroom pushing her to the other side of the bed where she belonged.
“Bruno?” she said half awake.
“I’m right here.” He said sweetly kissing the top of her head.
Evie moved her head feeling Bruno underneath her early in the morning. Oh. I forget. She thought to herself feeling his hands move to her hair running his fingers through her hair.
“Good morning.” She smiled to herself turning from on her back to her stomach kissing him lightly getting out of bed.
“Where are you going?” he asked her.
“I have to work today. I would have taken today off, but you said you were going to be home tonight, not last night.” She told him with a sad face.
“Oh.” He sat up in the bed rubbing his eyes noticing her clean face with no make-up on.
“Eve?” he asked her as she started to walk out of the bedroom.
“Yeah?” she yelled.
“You’re beautiful.” He yelled back at her.
“You are too.” She yelled back at him with a laugh as she neared Lucy’s room to wake her up.
“Momm!” Lucy screamed already out of her bed looking at clothes in her closet.
“Well good morning, sunshine.” She laughed. “Go say hi to Bruno.”
“What? He’s home?!” she exclaimed pushing her mother out of the way running into the bedroom jumping on the bed.
“Brunnnoooo!” she said excitedly jumping on him while he walked down the hallway.
“Oh! Lucy!” he gasped. :”Did you grow like five feet while I was gone?” he asked looking down at her.
“No. That’s silly. I’ll never be as tall as you.” She told him dragging him into the kitchen. “Make me oatmeal!”
“You want the apple ones? Or the raisin ones?” he asked her looking in the pantry.
“I want you to make it! Not warm it up!” Lucy demanded.
“Then it’s raisin.” He said pulling out the box of oatmeal and raisins. “Do you want to help me mix it?” he asked her.
“Yesss!” she shouted getting up grabbing the small stool they had for her to wash her hands by the sink.
“Okay….” He drug her over to the stove watching her carefully. “Don’t put your hands anywhere near here….” He directed her pointing to the burner jumping away from it. “Owwwww!” he joked.
“No! I won’t do that! That scares me!” she told him.
“It should.” He said handing her the big spoon letting her mix the oats in the pot. He laid his head on her head kissing it watching her mix it. “Don’t change anything. I’ll be right back.” He told her.
“But….” She turned looking at him concerned.
“Lucy, you can do it. Just keeping mixing.” He reassured her seeing Evie leaning in doing her make-up in the bathroom. He walked slowly behind her as she finished putting eyeliner on her eye. He put his arms around her making her jump throwing the eyeliner in his direction hitting his cheek.
“What are you doing?” she exclaimed turning to wipe off the black eyeliner on his cheek.
“I just wanted to tell you that I love you before you go to work.” Bruno said holding her tightly looking into her eyes.
“Did you brush your teeth yet?” she gave him a dirty look as he got closer to her.
“No.” he said quickly leaning in to kiss her feeling her wiggle away from him grossed out.
“Ewww! Stop!” she laughed feeling him pull her closer to him feeling his hot breath on her neck as he kissed it. “Ewwwww….” She continued to moan feeling his hands move down her dress. “No!” she shouted finally escaping his grasp.
“It would have been like five minutes!” he sighed watching her walk away.
“What are you doing, Luc?” Evie asked walking into the kitchen leaning to see her mixing the oatmeal covered in what seemed to be a whole container of raisins.
“I was just doing that you do…” she said in a frightened voice.
“Luc! You did perfect!” Evie told her daughter picking up the spoon from her hand blowing on the spoon taking a bite. “But it needs some sugar and cinnamon.” Evie grabbed the sugar and cinnamon.“Finish it all up, for us, mi amor.” Evie handed Lucy the ingredients watching her pour in almost the whole container of each. They turned hearing Bruno singing some random song about oatmeal.
“I want some!” he leaned in to them kissing them both on the head squeezing Evie’s waist. “I brushed my teeth.” He smiled in her ear.
“It’s not happening, boo.” She said moving his hands grabbing bowls for them. Bruno put the breakfast in the bowls for them carrying them over to the table.
“Sit down, Luc. What are you doing today while you’re mom is at work?” he asked Lucy.
“It’s a secret. Mom can’t know.” She told him winking the same way Bruno did moving her whole face.
“Oh goodness, Luc. : Evie laughed. “Fine. I’ll go to work.” She threw up her hands picking up her bowl clicking her high heels at the same time. “I’ll be home at like 5:30.” She said picking up her purse and work bag.
“Bye momma!” Lucy exclaimed with her mouth full.
“Eww. That’s gross, Lucy.” Bruno said finishing his food as he started to talk.
“Both of you are gross. But that’s okay.” She said kissing her daughter on the cheek and then squeezing Bruno’s hand.