“I might not remember things, but I’m not a liar…” she smiled at him.
“Well, that is true….” He smirked leaning in to staring into her eyes. “You have amazing eyes…” he told her touching her eye lids.
“What are you doing?” she tried not to squirm.
“Your eye liner. You always do it so perfect.” He moved his hand to her back pulling her closer to him moving his hand up her shirt to take it off.
“Bruno….” She said softly into his ears. “I always remember when I’m with you….”
“What does that mean?” he looked at her a bit confused.
“Like…” she paused. “You’re being so stupid!” she pushed him. “I’m trying to seduce you.”
He leaned into her kissing her passionately, deeply and lovingly pulling away from her. “All you had to say was sex, baby. I would have said yes.” He lifted her shirt up throwing it to the side while her legs were wrapped around his waist leaning into her collar bone kissing it while she moved her hands through his hair closing her eyes feeling everything that had happened in the past week go away. She moved her hands away from his hair moving to lift up his plain white t-shirt ignoring the sweaty cigarette smell as the shirt fell on the ground.
“It’s like nothing has ever happened…” she told him softly feeling him move his head up so she could kiss him.
“I….Mar….oh….you drive me crazy saying those things….” He lifted her up, keeping her around his waist making her laugh a little as he sat down the corner end of the sectional couch sliding off her sweatpants watching her kiss all over him. “You planned on this…” he looked up at her seeing a pair of her silky boy shorts that he loved.
“I might have.” She smiled at him.
“Marley…you are so beautiful.: he said sweetly watching her throw herself back as he moved down the end of the couch holding her tightly.
She smiled at him looking up at him. “The book…” she said to him remembering a gag gift that his sister had bought them on their anniversary.
“What the hell…” he shrugged his shoulders.
“The couch one….” She told him remembering the page of the book.
He lifted her up hugging her tightly feeling them match each others breathes. “Just stay right there….” He told her reaching around her to the piece of paper on the table.
“What are you doing?” she asked him a little frustrated.
“If I don’t write it down now I’ll forget.” He said to her throwing the pen away from her leaning in to her kissing her again. “I’m done. I promise.” He let her go watching her lean her body back exposing herself for him to see everything. She moved her body so he would be right inside her. She moved her arms against the couch almost like a tricep dip closing her eyes has she moved her body in a rhythmic motion with him. “Ohhh, Marlaaaaa….” He moaned as he moved his hand down touching her so her legs wrapped tighter around his waist. He bent down as she moved with him still closing her eyes feeling his lips against her neck moving up to her lips. Her body shuttered as his lips touched her so lightly that she felt the sparks between them just as they were when they first met.
“Oh fucccckkk…” she moaned catching her breath.
“I’m going to get you there….” He whispered in her ear touching her hair pushing it back so he could see the eye liner he had just commented on. “You’re so amazing.” He said as she moaned his name feeling her falling back releasing all the tension she had built up from the last few days. He lifted her up moving her to the back of the couch taking control of the movements with her hearing the same moans inside her ear as he laid his body on top of her letting go of all his own stress. He laid his head on her shoulder feeling her hug him tightly moving her body so they could feel their heartbeats together
“I like it this way.” She told him breathlessly.
“I like it too.” He told her kissing her cheek laying his head back on her shoulder. She closed her eyes laying her head on his feeling a tear fall down her cheek. She moved her hand quickly to catch it before it hit his head. He felt it hit his head. Do I say something? He thought to himself hearing her heart jump a little feeling her emotions. “It’s okay, Marley. It’s okay.” He told her softly. She closed her eyes crying even more as he moved her a little moving her head watching her open her eyes. “No matter what happens, Marla, I will always be with you.” She nodded her head still crying.
“I just don’t know why…” she said looking down grabbing her shirt and underwear handing him his clothes.
“No one knows…” he said wrapping his arms around her tightly. “All I know is that I will love you forever, no matter what happens.” He said sweetly trying not to cry.
She looked at his red eyes as he put on his clothes. “When you tun out of tears, that’s when you get better.”
You never stop surprising me. I can’t even explain you some days. Today I spent most of the day in the studio, writing horrible songs that won’t even get to Phil they’re so bad. But, then, you came to see me. Have I ever told you how much I love it when you do that? Because I do. You told me that everything goes away when we’re together. I hope that’s true, because I want everything to go away for you. I want everything to be perfect, just like you. I wrote a song after you went to sleep. I think you’ll like it. I love you, Marla.
Marla sat at the kitchen table holding spoons with each of her hands feeding the twins watching Rosie from the corner of her eye playing with her food on the table. She turned to catch her daughter who suddenly put down her spoon.
“I’m sorry, mama…” Rosie told her.
“I didn’t see anything. What happened?” Marla asked her daughter.
“Oh. Nothing.” Rosie told her mother.
“Mi amor, what do you want to do for your birthday? Do you want to do something different?” Marla asked her daughter hoping and praying that she’ll have ideas.
“I want to be a princess, mom.” She told her mother. I know exactly what to do. She thought to herself grabbing a piece of paper from the counter writing down a note to herself about princesses as the twins started to cry because she stepped away from them.
“Shhh, you two need to learn to sooth yourselves.” Marla joked with the 5 month old twins running back to them watching Angelo’s face light up as she sat down next to him. “Mam, go get your stuff so we can go to school…” she turned to see Rosie laying her head on a pillow she had brought out in the kitchen. She narrowed her eyes at her daughter telling her to get up.
“Okay, okaaayyy.” She whined getting up as Marla picked up the twins to get them to their car seats. A few minutes later Bruno walked out into the living room stopping in the hallway to see Marla put the babies in a perfect spot on her hip to get them to the car seats. She looked up catching him turn around. He was watching me. She started to laugh seeing Rosie jump into Bruno’s arms before he could make it much further. This time she stopped to watch their father daughter embrace. They are just too much. She is a female version of him She watched him whisper something in her ear and then kiss her head letting her go.
“Mommmmm…dad has something to give you!” she said watching Bruno walk toward her.
“Good morning.” He said sweetly kissing her on the cheek.
“Was that it?” she asked him.
“Yep. That was it.” He smirked going into the kitchen.
“Will you keep the babies so I can take her to school? Please?” she pleaded with him. “I didn’t know you were going to get up.”
“Yes.” He told her taking the car seats from her hands. “Go take your daughter to school.”
Marla laid her head back on a rocking chair holding Hope in her hands as she tried to get her to fall asleep late in the afternoon. She looked down at the baby’s bright brown eyes that mirrored Bruno’s face as a baby. She closed her eyes thinking of something to sing to her to get her to fall asleep. She started humming the same song Bruno would sing to Rosie when she was a baby watching Hope’s eyes start to close. She waited to hear her daughter’s light breathing to stand up to put her in her crib to fall asleep. “Shh, baby…” she said softly seeing Hope open her eyes and close them quickly with a small cry. “You’ll be okay, mi Corazon.” Marla told her kissing the top of her head covering her with a light blanket grabbing the baby monitor turning off the lights. She walked passed a pile of toys and clothing still in the middle of their small house. As she picked them up she glanced up at a picture of the family that Bruno’s sister had taken just a few weeks ago. “We’re so perfect.” Marla smiled running her fingers along the picture hearing Bruno’s footsteps in the front of the house. She quickly dropped her hand to go see him.
“Hey, mama.” He said looking up at her with a smile.
“Hi.” She yawned sitting next to him. He pulled her toward him squeezing her tightly. “What did you do today?” she asked him glancing at the clock that said 2:30. “Shit….” She jumped up. “I have to go get the baby…”
“Stay there. I’ll go get her.” He said kissing her head lightly grabbing the keys. “I was going to take her to the studio with me when you came back.”
“What are you going to do?” she asked him.
“It’s a secret.” He raised his eyebrows holding the keys in his hands.
“I hate you!” she joked throwing a pillow at him.
“I love you, Mar.” he smiled leaving the house.
Later in the evening Bruno and Rosie came running in the house oblivious to the fact that the twins were asleep.
“Shhh!” Marla snapped sitting on the couch folding laundry. Bruno covered Rosie’s mouth making her laugh.
“Shhh, mija. Go get ready for bed.” He said pushing her away from him.
He walked back to the living room grabbing clothes to fold holding onto the small baby clothes looking at them. “They’re so tiny.” He said putting them down in the pile.
“I know. But they’ll be her size soon.” She smiled at him pushing things over for him to sit down.
“Where were we?” he asked pulling her in to him.
“If I sit here with you too much longer I’m going to fall asleep.” She told him.
“I know. You should fall asleep. I’ve got this.” He said to her turning to pick her up making her laugh.
“What are you doing?” she asked him as they neared the bedroom.
“Putting my baby to bed.” He said kissing her on the head. “Stay right there…” he ran into the bathroom counting the pills she needed to take coming back in the room with a bottle of water. “Take these and go to sleep.”
“But nothing. Rosie will take a bath and go to bed. And I’ll finish the laundry for you.” He explained.
“That’s even worse!” she exclaimed.
“Shhhh!” he said turning off the light walking out the door. “Good night, Marley.”
“I hate you!” she said turning around to fall asleep.
I finished the laundry for you. You’re probably going to redo it all, but I feel accomplished. I took Rosie to the studio today. She redid the white board on the wall. She’s an artist, Mar. She’s gonna be famous one day. And don’t laugh at that. You know it’s true. You are the best mother in the world Marla. You have this amazing relationship with the twins. I tried to get Hope to fall asleep tonight by just holding her and singing to her. But it was so hard. I don’t know how you do it. And Angelo, he’s such a good baby. He woke up once tonight. And that was it. I love you.
“Marrrrlllaaaa!” Bruno whined late at night a few weeks later.
“Whaaatttt?” she came out of one of the bedrooms with a box in her arms. “Wait..take this…” she said dropping the heavy box in his arms.
He looked down at the contents of the box. “Oh. There it is.” He said pulling out a shirt he wanted handing her the heavy box back.
“Hey! What the hell!” she exclaimed dropping the box on the floor. “It was too heavy.”
“I took something out. It should help.” He smiled shaking the t-shirt in his hand.
“No! Because that’s going to be dirty tomorrow and I’m still going to have to pack it.” She took the shirt from him throwing it back in the box. “We’re moving in two days. You have four days worth of clothes right now. Just wear what you have, please.” She pleaded looking down at the box.
“Okay, Mar. But only because you said please.” He smiled kissing her cheek picking up the box putting it with everything else.
“Thank you.” She said turning back toward the room that she was packing. He grabbed her quickly before she could walk much further holding onto her kissing her deeply. She felt all her memories come back for some odd reason. This was just a random kiss that he decided to give her. What the hell? She thought to herself feeling eyes watching them.
“Eww!” they heard Rosie yell from behind them.
“Ewww! Bruno! Gross! You’re a boy!” Marla pushed him against the wall winking at him. He smiled back at her the same way he did when they discreetly flirted in front of their children. She raised her eyebrow trying not to laugh.
“Stop! That’s gross!” Rosie yelled holding onto a small box. “I don’t want to move.” She told them.
“Sorry, mama. You gotta. Unless you want to live here by yourself, and cook and clean and get to school on your own.” Marla told her.
“I can do that.” She said sitting on the floor.
“I’m not going either.” Bruno said sitting down next to his daughter.
“Fine. Whatever. You two figure it out. I’m going to go check on Hope and Angelo.” She answered turning around. “But, Rosalia your birthday party is at the new house. And I know you don’t want to miss that.”
“I’m moving! I’m moving! I’m moving!” she screamed throwing the box on her father.
“Ouch.” Bruno moaned feeling the small box full of her dress up clothes hit him.
“Tell your dad you’re sorry, mija.” Marla asked her daughter.
“I’m sorry! Don’t die!” Rosie said falling on top of her father.
“It’s okay. I’m okay, Rosalia.” He smiled standing up putting her box next to her pile of things.
A few days later Bruno, Marla and the twins piled into the car driving the 5 miles to the new bigger house they had been searching for since before the twins were born. It was almost 7 in the evening as they drove into the sunset. “I feel like everything is starting over again.” Marla told Bruno grabbing his hand playing with his wedding ring. “Such horrible things happened there.”
“But, Mar. Good things happened too.” He said not looking back at her. “I think the good things way out number the bad ones.”
“I guess.” She shrugged her shoulders. “I just need good stuff to happen now. I’m sick of the bad stuff. I want everything to be perfect.” She told him.
“They already are, Marla.” He finally turned to her at the stop light moving a piece of hair out of her face making her turn red. “Stop.” He told her sweetly feeling a ball hit his head and a small baby laugh.
“Oh my god.” Marla laughed seeing Angelo smiling at them. “You are in so much trouble, little man!” she smiled making him laugh even more turning her head toward Hope seeing her start to laugh at the same time.
“No, mom. I won’t laugh.” Rosie said sternly looking out the window.
“You will love the new house. It’s already decorated and pretty.” Marla told her daughter.
“I don’t think so.” She said looking out the window with an upset face that reminded Marla of Bruno’s stubborn face.
“Okay, Rose. Just don’t jump up and down when you see your purple walls.” Marla told her trying to get her daughter to pay attention unsuccessfully.
“I’ll talk to her. Just go inside with the babies.” Bruno told her as they pulled into the short gated driveway. Marla nodded her head opening the door unbuckling the twins carrying in their car seats grabbing the keys to the house they now called home. She opened the heavy wooden door dragging the twins behind her then letting them out to crawl around the carpeted floors. “That’s nice, huh?” she asked them. “Now when you start walking you won’t hurt your head as much as your sister did.” She said following them through the house as they explored finding their way to the small area of the house with the toys. She sat down with them worrying about what Bruno was saying to Rosie. She would never be close to Rosie like he was to her. She understood why they were so close and how he got through to her, it just hurt her sometimes knowing that she would sulk and ignore everything that she would say to her but listen to Bruno like nothing was ever wrong. What happens when he leaves again? She’s getting older. I have to get through to her. Marla thought to herself seeing them run in the house toward her bedroom.
“Ready?!” he exclaimed opening the door to the purple and yellow painted bedroom. Marla quickly picked up the babies going into the new bedroom to see her daughter’s reaction.
“Whaaaatt?” Rosie screamed jumping on top of her new full sized bed.
“Be careful…” Bruno said catching her as she jumped from the bed onto him. Marla smiled at him as he gave her the same flirty smile he did earlier that week.
Marla walked passed an empty room that would one day be one of the twin’s bedrooms, but for now was a room with an extra bed for whoever wanted to visit them for the night. She laid them down into the freshly made cribs. She watched them close their eyes holding onto their bottles drinking slowly. A few minutes later she took the fallen bottles from their hands looking at the newly pained room with their names above the cribs. “You two are so perfect.” She said to them. “Everything you do amazes me. Don’t tell anyone, but you’re my favorite.” She smiled kissing each of their heads turning to see Bruno laying his head on the door frame yawning.
“I heard that. I thought I was your favorite.” He said sweetly holding his hand out for her. She grabbed his hand feeling him wrap his arms around her tightly.
“You are. The four of you have to share the title.” She told him laying her head on his shoulder.
“Come dance with me….” He said lifting her head up leading her to the expansive patio that was lit with dim orange light. He pressed a button selectively turning on the surround sound so just they would hear it. A familiar song that she couldn’t place started. She started humming the lyrics Only you can make this world seem right, only you can make the darkness bright…it was one of his favorite songs. She could feel him smiling starting to sing the soulful lyrics in her ears.
She’s not going to remember this. He thought to himself as he continued singing softly into her ear.
“That was our first dance, Bruno.” She told him letting him continue to sing moving with her slowly. :It all comes back when I’m with you.” She said to him as the song finished.
“I love you Marla.” He leaned in to kiss her lightly.
“I love you, too.” She said walking over to their new sparkling salt water pool dipping her feet into the water. He followed behind her dropping his feet in with hers entangling his right foot with her left foot. “You’re right. This is perfect.” She responded to his touch laying her head on his shoulder.
We moved into our new house today. It’s the most amazing house. It’s just the right size. It’s not too big but it’s not small. Rosie had a hard time moving though. We had a long talk though. I told her that nothing changes even though we’re in a different house. She still gets to eat pancakes on her birthday and come sleep in bed with me when I’m up late and we still get to sing and dance anytime we want. It’s just a different bedroom. Everything else is the same. Then I told her that I would get her ice cream the next time we went out if she went to bed. I’m such a sucker, Mar. Teach me how to be hard like you. Please. After the babies all went to sleep we danced under the stars. I got lucky. I didn’t pick the song that we danced to. The house already knows us, Mar. It picked Only you. That was the song we danced to at our reception. You picked it. I didn’t. You did a good job. You said you remembered it while we were dancing. I hope you remember tonight too. I think it was a good one. I love you, Marley.
Here’s the link to the song he was singing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QT-JUj-0bg8&feature=youtu.be
Marla clinched her eyes seeing the sun coming through their big window overlooking the big sparkling pool in their backyard. She turned her body over laying on top of Bruno not wanting to get out of bed that cold Saturday morning in late February. “Get up, momma.” He whispered in her ear. “We have a birthday to celebrate today.”
“She’s not even up yet.” She moaned hearing a cry in the distance. “But they are.” She sighed sitting up to go get the twins. She grabbed a sweater after putting no her glasses walking into the bedroom to get each of the babies. A few minutes later she walked in the bedroom with a baby on each hip giving Bruno an ugly look. “You get up.” She smiled.
“But you said. Rosie’s not even up yet.” He smiled at her turning over in the bed. She lifted her foot up kicking his back lightly. “Get up, Bruno.”
“Fine.” He told her sitting up.
“Sometimes you act like you’re a six year old.” She turned around walking back into the living room.
“Marllaaaaaa….” He whined walking up behind her after getting out of the bed.
“Don’t Marlaaaaaa me, mister. We have a really busy day today.” she told him handing her a wrapped birthday present that was sitting on a high chair.
“Baby….” He took the presents from her hand setting them on a table. “Don’t stress out. I don’t want you to get sick. Go sit down.” He pointed to the couch. “I got this. 3 is nothin’.” He kissed her on the cheek watching her walk to the couch laying her head on a pillow for a few seconds before she heard Rosie running down the hallway jumping on her.
“Mommm! I’m six! I’m six! In ten years I can drive! I can drive soon!” Rosie shouted making her mother jump.
“Oh dear, Rosalia. No. Don’t remind me.” Marla laughed picking her up carrying her to the kitchen.
“Do you want pancakes, mama?” Bruno asked Rosie.
“Can I dump them in the thing?” she asked him.
“You can do whatever you want today. But look…” he pulled out cookie cutters in the shape of flowers and hearts for them to make the pancakes out of.
“I want those!” she jumped up on the counter holding them.
“I knew you would.” Bruno smiled at her helping her finish the pancakes. He glanced over at Marla sitting at the kitchen table holding small spoons to the twins who were banging their hands on the high chairs.
“Hey!” she laughed seeing Angelo put his hands in his mouth licking off the baby food with his hands. “That’s not very polite.” She told him watching him smile at her. “But I think I will allow it…because you’re so cute doing it.” She finished wiping off the food from his mouth with the bib. She put down his spoon looking at Hope who had food in her hair. “But, that, miss, is not cute at all.” She told her daughter picking the food out of her curly brown hair handing her another spoonful of food making funny faces at her daughter. “See, that’s better.” She encouraged her daughter to finish the food wiping off the food from her mouth with her bright pink bib. She finished feeding them standing up seeing Bruno and Rosie in the kitchen putting the pancakes on the plates. “See, I knew I could teach you how to cook.” Marla told him squeezing his butt.
“It only took 7 years.” He laughed at her.
“It’s an art.” She told him taking his fork tasting the pancake. “I think you mastered it.” She said taking the plate over to the twins who by that point were crying and banging on the high chairs. “Calm down. Goodness.” She told them cutting up the pancakes handing them pieces. “Is that good? Because I think so.” She told them as she continued handing them small pieces. She turned around to see Bruno eating with Rosie at the other end of the table. “Switch me places, Bru.” She said handing him the plate.
“Oh….yeah…okay.” he responded as they changed places. She watched him smile at the babies making faces at them.
“Momma…” Rosie started to talk to her mother. “Do they have to come today? Everyone is going to talk about them and not me.” She said sadly.
“They have to come, mommy…” Marla told her. “But don’t worry. They will sleep most of the time. You know that.” She told her daughter.
“But…today is my birthday. Not their birthday.” Rosie told her mother.
“I know. But they’re going to be here for every birthday for the rest of your life.” Marla told her daughter.
“I liked it better last year. When your tummy was warm and it was just you, me and daddy. Can we send them back?” Rosie asked.
Marla tried not to laugh at her daughter’s comment. “No. We can’t send them back, baby doll.”
“But, we sent Samantha back…I didn’t like her…” Rosie said about her American Girl doll.
“But Samantha had a mommy and daddy to take care of her. “ Marla told her daughter. “And we are Hope and Angelo’s mommy and daddy. We have to take care of them just like we take care of you.” Marla said touching her daughter’s nose seeing the concern in her daughter’s eyes.
“Mommy…why do you spend so much time with them and not me?” Rosie asked her mother.
“I’m spending time with you right now.” She told her daughter taking a bite of the pancake.
“But in the morning and you don’t take me to school anymore. I liked that.” Rosie told her mother. “And when you go away…I don’t want to forget you…”
Marla looked at her daughter thinking about her deep thoughts that just poured out. She was still so young that her thoughts were so transparent and open.
“You just tell me when you want me to be there and I’ll be there, Rosalia. Whenever you need me, I’ll be there.” Marla answered.
“Like one, two, three?” Rosie asked.
“Like One. Just say one and I’ll be there.” She told her daughter.
“Like right now? Can you sit next to me today? Let autie Lis and Travis take care of the twins? Please?”
“Of course…” Marla answered looking at the empty plates. “Come help me clean up.” She asked her daughter.
“Okaaayy…” Rosie jumped up helping her mother.
“I’ll be right there, baby.” Marla said walking over to Bruno who was cleaning up the babies.
“Mommmmm!” Rosie whined.
“Okay, okay. I’m coming.” Marla told her daughter going back to the kitchen.
Later in the afternoon, after telling Bruno about the conversation she had with Rosie, Marla sat next to her daughter helping her open her presents watching her face noting the same emotions that Bruno has when he is happy. Rosie threw the big pieces of wrapping paper all over the room ignoring the mess she was making. “I’ll be right there…” Marla said looking at Bruno who was sitting next to his sister taking pictures of the presents. Rosie nodded her head ripping into the new items.
“Look…” Bruno leaned over showing Marla the pictures they had taken. “This is my favorite….” He showed her a picture of the two of them just moments ago where Marla was leaning in whispering to her happy daughter. “She looks like you.”
“She still laughs like you, though.” Marla told him taking his hand watching the rest of the presents be opened. He sat next to her holding onto her hand. Through the shouting and the excitement Marla felt the first few days of Rosie’s life flashing through her head. The morning when she ate a blueberry bagel and when she started to put on the personally designed dress feeling the spot on the floor. And pushing, and Bruno turning away from the needle and holding Rosie for the first time. Looking down at her perfect face and touching the smushed curls on her head. And hearing Bruno’s voice late at night holding her and the small bottle getting her to fall asleep. She still fell asleep to the same songs.
“Mar! Look!” she heard her brother yell and everyone turn to face her brother who was on the floor with Hope and Angelo. She moved her head over feeling Bruno moving to see what everyone was looking at. He grabbed onto her as she felt his smile against her hair.
“They’re crawling!” she yelled clapping her hands running over to them to sit on the floor with them.
“This is so stupid! Those stupid babies! This stupid day! It’s just stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid!” she heard Rosie yell jumping from where she was running out of the room. “I’m running away!” she yelled at everyone.
“Stay here….” Marla told her brother running after Rosie a few steps behind Bruno who had caught up with his angry daughter at the front door. She watched him lean down hugging her telling her something to make her stop crying.
“Go back in there, Marla. I’ll fix it.” Bruno told his wife.
Marla nodded her head trying not to cry as she walked back into the room where everyone was standing trying to figure out what to do next. “They’ll be back in a minute.” She told the party guests wiping away a small tear as she picked up Hope who had a piece of wrapping paper in her hand.
Marla used her crisis intervention knowledge to calm everyone down sending them all back to play video games until she saw Bruno walking back with Rosie who was holding ice cream in her hand.
“Are you okay, mama?” Marla asked her touching her head not sure if she would be happy with her mother.
“I’m fine.” She told her mother not looking back at her as she walked over to her cousin, Liam, handing him his ice cream to finish.
“What did you say to her?” Marla asked him.
“Not a lot. I just let her cry and throw the rocks by the parking lot until she calmed down. I hugged her and got her ice cream and here we are now.” He told her.
“That’s not all you did, Bru.” Marla told him.
“Mar. Sometime she just needs someone to be there for her. And not because something bad has happened, but because she needs to know they care. She loves you so much, but when you run around doing other things she feels forgotten. Today was the one day when she couldn’t be forgotten and the twins took away the attention from her.”
“I get it.” Marla said to her husband shrugging her shoulders. “I get it. I’m a shitty mother.” She told him ”I can’t give them all attention all the time.”
“Oh, Marla. No.” he sat her down at the long table taking her hand playing with her wedding ring. “Stop saying that. You are the most amazing mother in the world. You haven’t done anything wrong. She’s 6. Come on.”
She took his hand looking down at his ring. “I guess you’re right. I’m just being really emotional. I just…she was just a baby.”
“She’s still a baby…” he said turning around seeing her dancing around in circles with her younger cousin, Tessa.
“You’re right.” She smiled. “Let’s go eat cake….” She stood up taking his hand leading him back toward the cake.
After the birthday festivities Marla and Bruno piled all the presents into one car and drove home. Marla turned to see Rosie asleep in the backseat holding onto a doll someone had bought her. The babies sat wide awake looking outside talking to each other about what they saw in their twin language. Marla picked Rosie up while Bruno took the twins in their rooms.
“Bruno….” She whispered opening the door to the house with one hand. “We need to feed them.” She told him.
“I’ll do it. You take care of her.” He told her.
“But…you…” she started to question what he was doing.
“Go.” He told her a little inpatient. She watched him go in the kitchen after placing the babies on the floor asleep. “Go! Vayas!” he told her with a smile.
“Okay! I’m going!” she told him keeping her six year old in her arms walking her to the bedroom laying her on the bed.
“Daddy?” Marla heard Rosie ask. “Read me the story. The one about mommy.”
“What story, baby?” Marla asked confused.
“It’s a secret, Momma. You can’t know it.” Rosie said squinting her eyes seeing it was her mother in the room and not her father.
“Do you want to tell me the story?” she asked her daughter.
“No. If you’re going to….” She jumped up grabbing another book from the shelf. “This one…”
“What is this one?” Marla asked flipping through the pages not recognizing the book.
“Daddy bought it. He buys me books all the time.” Rosie told her handing her mother a stack of them. “Mommy. I want to read it to you.” She said taking the book she handed her mother.
“Okay. Then let’s read it.” Marla told her daughter after putting on Rosie’s pajamas. “Do you need help?”
“No. I can do it…” she said getting in her big bed. “Sit here…” Rosie demanded pointing to a corner. Marla did as she was told listening to her daughter stumble through the pages of the illustrated book. She was reading most of it. The story, the Frog Prince intrigued Rosie because she couldn’t understand why someone would ever kiss a frog, no matter what. It made Marla laugh as Rosie explained herself. “Momma…” Rosie stopped reading at the end.
“Yeah, baby doll?” she asked.
“I love you. Please don’t leave me again.” Rosie told her looking up at her mother yawning.
“Happy birthday, Rosalia Diane.” Marla kissed her daughter’s cheek taking the book from her hands.
“But momm….dad stays until I fall asleep.” She complained.
“If I stay I’m going to fall asleep too.” Marla laughed.
“Stay, momma.” Rosie begged watching her mother stand up. She pulled her hand down closing her eyes as her mother laid her head on her daughter’s head.
“I’m not leaving.” Marla whispered to her daughter looking out the door hoping to see Bruno with the babies, but all she saw was the dog falling on the floor asleep in the hallway.
“Marley…” she heard Bruno’s voice against her ear.
“Oh…sorry. I fell asleep…” she whispered back moving her arm away from Rosie. Bruno took her hand lifting her up from the bed wrapping his arms around her.
“It’s okay. I almost fell asleep too.” He admitted leading her to the dimly lit living room.
“What are you doing?” she asked seeing pictures on the table.
“I want to tell you a story…” he smiled at her.
“Is it the one you tell your daughter every night?” she returned the smile.
“Maybe. “ he smirked sitting her in front of the table. “See…there once was this girl. She was so busy helping other people….” He showed her a picture of her at her second internship in a group of cancer survivors. “That she didn’t have time to think of herself, until this boy came along….” He handed her a random picture of him from 2010. “And he loved the girl. He loved her because of her heart, and her smile, and the way she cared for him. But he wanted to care for her too…” he handed her a picture he had taken of her that she didn’t remember. She was laying in her bed at her apartment covered in a blanket with a red nose and Kleenex in her hand. “And he took care of her. And she took care of him. And then they had a baby….” He picked up a picture of the three of them when Rosie was about the twin’s age.
“Aww…that’s so cute.” Marla said holding onto the picture. “When was that?”
“Shhh. You’re ruining the story!” he pushed her playfully looking at the next picture. “And they were happy and a perfect family until somebody came and took her memory from her….they just took it. In the middle of the night they just reached in and took it away. Everything. She couldn’t remember the boy, or the baby or her family.”
“Who took it?” Marla asked Bruno getting closer to him to feel his heartbeat through the story.
“See…the boy is still trying to figure that out. But he has an idea. He thinks it’s the dog.” Bruno told his wife pointing to their older dog, Tippy.
“What did the dog do with it?” Marla asked.
“She buried it. She buried it in the ocean. And we have to find it.” He told her handing her a picture of their wedding on the beach.
“Is it there?” Marla inquired playing with his story.
“The boy doesn’t know…but he wants to find out….” He said taking her hand playing with her ring. “Marla…” he paused looking back at her with some type of emotion that she hadn’t seen from him in a long time. “Marry me.” He took off her ring reaching into his pocket slipping on another ring on her finger.
“But, Bru..we’re already married…” she tried not to laugh.
“I’m serious, Marla!” he said looking at the amusement on her face.
“Like renew our vows and the whole thing?” she asked him.
“I mean, the whole thing. The dress, the rings, the mess of planning it all. Then we can find your memory again.” He said trying to convince her to go along with his plan.
“You really think that will help bring me back?” she asked.
“I know it will.” He told her looking at her cheek wiping away a tear from her cheek. As his nail ran against her cheek she could see his nervous face the first time he proposed to her. “Say yes, Mar. Come on!” he smiled at her.
“I’ll marry you.” She said wrapping her arms around him closing her eyes taking in every moment that they had together.
Today we celebrated Rosie’s birthday. She turned 6 last week. 6. 6 years ago you wanted to kill me. Today, though, you wanted to marry me. I asked you to marry me tonight, after the babies went to bed and after telling you a story about a dog stealing a girl’s memory. Her memory is buried in the ocean, so when we get married on the beach we’re going to look for it. Whoever finds it gets a giant hear shaped chocolate chip pancake. I love you Marla. We’ll find it in the ocean. I know it.